Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What The Oligarchy Fears Most

What is it that the rich and powerful fear the most?
They fear the loss of the tenuous hold they have on their wealth and power. 
...They fear the loss of thier income stream.  

Many among the super-rich think they're better than us. But the flip side of all that perceived intellectual superiority is the realization that there are people out there with better ideas. They know it. And it keeps them awake at night. 

Meet Nick Woodman, CEO and founder of GoPro – a company that sells a camera. Of course, not just any camera. This is a tiny digital video camera that has been ruggedized and designed to mount just about anywhere. Nick Woodman started his company from scratch in 2002 with a few thousand dollars. Nick Woodman is now a billionaire. He's sold that many cameras. 

Now consider Kodak – the most successful film company for decades. Now bankrupt – no longer in the photo business at all... Kodak had to see the digital camera age coming. They did. They sold digital cameras. But these were digital cameras just like everybody else's. With all of Kodak's money, people, and business degrees; they couldn't develop the next best thing. This is common. In fact, there are reasons for it.

With all the money Kodak was raking in selling film, nothing else looked profitable.
With all the employees Kodak had, no one thought of it, because they were all busy doing their assigned jobs.
With all the success Kodak had over the years, their management lost the will to take risks (even though, with all their education, they might have known better).
In other words; Kodak got fat and out of touch – and lost their edge.

Either way, Nick Woodman is a billionaire and Kodak is out of the photography business. And every big company knows they could be next. The truth is; many of them should be.

When any company ceases to provide it's customers with the most desirable goods or services, the market is justified in seeking another provider.

But that's not the capitalism we have.
We don't have a free market economy.
We don't have well regulated open markets.
That means we have the freedom to choose from what the monopolies have to offer – and it usually is just barely good enough – but that's OK, because it's expensive.

We have allowed the oligarchs to play whack-a-mole with better ideas.
They do this:

Competition is fundamentally necessary in capitalism. Without it, the market cannot adapt. Of course, that's exactly what oligarchs want. American capitalism rewards monopoly control. Monopolies maximize their profits by selling us federally subsidized - overpriced (and often dangerous) junk. And when our tools from them don't work, everything goes to pieces. But for a while, the oligarchs keep their income stream.

If nothing else, this is what we have to stop. The fate of all life on the planet is at stake.

I'm not exaggerating.

Think about it. Humanity's genetic advantage is that we are capable of instant change. We can adapt by changing our minds. We can learn. This is extraordinarily important. Humans can adapt without having to change our genetics.

Being human means being able to determine, and change, our own destiny.

But if we can't, for numerous underhanded reasons, change our minds; we can't utilize our genetic advantage. If we can't utilize our genetic advantages, we move to the front of the line for extinction. And it's likely we'll take a lot of other life forms with us. 

Oh... by the way, the Arctic Ice Cap just melted to its smallest size in recorded history this year. Nobody seems to be really shocked any more. We know what needs to be done. We know it can be done. We just haven't been able to get around to it yet.

Some people have. The Occupy Movement has peacefully tried to make a difference. And they got the expected mistreatmenttimes ten. This is a sign. This is a sign that the oligarchy is much more powerful than most of us ever imagined. And this is also a sign that they are very afraid...

Hey, it's our money they're taking. And if we ever found out... well, we might buy our stuff from some other monopolistic supplier

The oligarchy has used every trick in the book to keep us under their control. They have realized that all they have to do is control some of us – cast doubt in the minds of most of us – and ostracize the rest of us.

The oligarchy has realized that the more they squeeze the populous with absurd laws, the more the populous will call for smaller government. And the more pressure there is for freedom from restrictions, the more restrictions the oligarchy can avoid

Remember, when it comes right down to it; most of the time, those in power write the laws – for their own selfish benefit.

...But not always.

Their goal is to keep us making payments.
Our goal is to live a happy life.
There is bound to be conflict.
But ultimately, they can only dominate us if we let them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

What If The Whole World Were Like Haiti?

Have you ever noticed that Haiti sounds a lot like Hades?
Maybe this is prophecy.
What if some profit from the past had the insight to foresee that a nation which would suffer the fate of a man-made hell would have a name that sounded like Hades? Hey, maybe even the “s” at the end of the word Hades even implied multiple Haiti-s?

I am not a scholar on this. I only offer this speculation up as something to think about.

And of course, I'm not saying that Haiti is Hell. But we all know that Haiti has been through hell.

Apparently the Judeo-Christian version of the word “Hades” originally meant something like mass grave.

(Approximately 70,000 Haitians died in the 2010 earthquake.)

...In a recent post, I offered up the possibility that Hell is not a place so much as a time – and that our accumulated behavior could create Hell (or Heaven) right here on Earth.

Quite likely humanity's greatest fear is that we destroy so much of the Environment that the whole world becomes like the worst of Haiti – everywhere... Could someone with Nostradamus-like prophesy have foreseen that?

I don't know.
But what I do suspect is that you can't blame Hell on God – if we make it ourselves.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Barefoot" Running In The Snow!!!

My latest creation: A cleated minimalist sandal with waterproof sock – combination that can run on packed or shallow snow.

I just got back from the initial test run of my Winter Barefoot Running System. Yeah... I call it a system :) The acronym? WBRS – pronounced “wubbers.”

...I think I just realized I now like running better in the Winter than in the Summer. There aren't as many sharp rocks! In fact, running on packed snow on WBRS feels like running on the beach – barefoot!

So, how do my WBRS work, you ask. Quite well... I wore three layers of socks. My first layer was a pair of Injinji toe socks. I just like the way they feel. With them on, I'll never get a blister between my toes, and most important; they counter the pressure from the socks that go on over my toe socks. Admittedly, this isn't much pressure. They're only socks. But the outward pressure of the socks between my toes counters the inward pressure of the outer socks. This provides me with a neutral, barefoot, feeling. The second sock layer was a mid-hi REI wool hiking sock, kind of thick. And the outer sock was a calve-height SealSkinz waterproof sock.

My sandal design is similar to the distance running Tarahumara Indian huarache sandals, but these strap over the top of the foot. Since no company makes a waterproof sock with a slot for the tie to go next to the big toe, I had to make a sandal similar to the Unshoe Pah Tempe.

What I did different was to cut the sole slightly wider in places to accommodate screws that could function as cleats. I used 5/8” countersunk screws on a 10mm sole... They worked! I didn't slip much on packed snow (a freshly plowed dirt road).

Admittedly, I haven't tried them on ice yet. But if there are issues I can always use different length screws – or install more screws. Presently, I only feel the screws when I stand on something firm, like concrete. The screws must bend the sole a little. If this becomes a problem, I can always take the screws out. (The screws haven't come undone, so I haven't glued them in.)

I did one more thing different from the Unshoe design. I added protection for the 3/4” nylon straps on the sides and the bottom of the sandal. I used strips of bicycle inner tube, taped on, so that they can be easily replaced. Electrical tape works just fine – so far.

Overall, I'm very happy. Some snow does accumulate between the sandal and my foot, but I can always clear that with a brush of a finger. However, if I do leave the snow there, it doesn't seem to bother me any more than running over rocks in the Summer – and eventually it clears itself out.

So, not only can I now “barefoot” run in the Winter – I can use this system as an approach shoe when I go backcountry skiing. At lower elevations, where there isn't much snow, I can wear my sandals and socks and carry my telemark boots in my pack. Which means that with this “barefoot” system, I only have to carry one pair of heavy boots.

I already love my WBRS. I just have to remember to carry spare socks – especially waterproof socks – just in case the ones I'm wearing leak. This is only a minor inconvenience, especially when you consider two pairs of WBRS are still much lighter than one pair of snow boots.

There is some (sort of) bad news, however. I only intend to make these shoes for myself. So, you're on your own. But that's a good thing. If you make these shoes yourself, you can make them to fit your feet exactly.

You can get the sole at Luna Sandals. And you can get the strapping and the rest of the materials at most hardware stores. I used carpet thread.

...OK, OK; if you just don't have the time, I wouldn't be surprised if the people at Unshoe would custom make them for you. 

And one more thing; the cleats are an open source design.  

Apparently there are a few people who run literally barefoot in the snow. I'm impressed. But I'm also a little concerned. Our ancestors evolved to run barefoot out on the savanas, not in the snow. There may be a serious risk of frostbite. Not necessarily while running. But if you have to stop... especially out in the backcountry (where there isn't anyone around to rescue your barefoot carcass), you could be in a world of hurt.

I wouldn't want to be in a predicament where I have to run, barefoot in the snow, no matter how badly I'm injured. If you just have to try literal (bare) barefoot running in the snow, start out with short runs and stay near places where you can flag down help or call for quick help. Or... you can carry a spare pair of insulated boots - but then you might as well wear them and take them off when you feet get sore - which is what most everyone does anyway


Monday, December 10, 2012

What if Hell is actually a place in time?

We haven't found Heaven in the heavens and nobody really expects to find Hell at the center of the Earth. So, where are they? Maybe "where" is not the right question. Maybe the right question is; when are they?

Heaven and Hell could be metaphors for our possible futures here on Earth. In fact, the accounts of Heaven and Hell appear to be lessons on the consequences of our actions. Herein lies a overlooked positive potential influence on our behavior. What if Heaven and Hell are reminders of our significant power to influence the future? 


Maybe we have been selfishly focusing on our own personal lives (and afterlives) so much that we have missed the big picture. Maybe the “life after death” in this world (that we have been ignoring) is the lives of future generations.

It would only make sense that we not endeavor to kill people in the future. Remember; “thou shall not kill.” ...If we emit poisons into the Environment (that we know will eventually kill people) isn't that committing a sin? And it appears that some religious organizations are beginning to take notice.

It may be that the greatest potential positive influences of religion on humanity could be to get us to consider the long-term consequences of our actions – and to focus on maximizing happiness instead of quick profits. There is definitely a need... now... to do some well thought out evaluating (and planning) for what we really want. Our religions have the moral responsibility to take high ground on this (even if it means lower tithes for a while). And everyone who is a member of a religious organization needs to be working towards improving their religious organization's focus – even if it means fundamental change.

What our society needs to focus on now is finding the best, happiest, healthiest, most sustainable path for us and future generations to follow. What our religious organizations need to do is teach that path. But this isn't quite happening. Or at least it isn't happening fast enough to avoid a future Hell on Earth. My wish is that our religious leaders be more open to looking forward, without limiting themselves by the overpowering constraints of the ancient documents of the past. If there is a God, he (obviously) gave us minds to think with. And (obviously) we make the best decisions with the most up to date information. All I ask is that we think clearly, plan wisely, and act responsibly.

...In my humble opinion; only the lazy just pray. (That would essentially be; defining your goals, and then sitting back and waiting for them to come to you.) Instead of just relying solely on prayer for salvation, maybe humanity needs to build our salvation (our ark). Doesn't it say somewhere that God helps those who help themselves? Isn't there something about following a path of righteousness? There's a time to think and a time to act. The thinking comes first. But sooner or later we have to act.

Humanity's situation is now different from what it has ever been before. And every new day is an opportunity to re-evaluate what righteousness is. It only makes sense that we need to adjust what we perceive good behavior to be – based upon what tools we have now.

One of our most effective tools for re-evaluation (of the consequences of our actions) is our capacity to predict the future – better than we have in the past – because we are now closer to it...

Imagine if, sometime after we die; the Earth becomes a man-made-hell because of our actions now? Wouldn't that make us sinners? Wouldn't realizing that destructive potential make us more responsible? ...Wouldn't it at least make us more aware of our actions?
No ancient text gives us clear guidelines on how to deal with the consequences of our new technologies. We have to decide what the righteous path is.


Most everyone is familiar with the Terminator movies. They depict a future that has gone horribly wrong for humanity. (The movie Screamers also deserves a mention.) These films depict a future where our own robotic "tools" turn against us. In the Terminator scenario, the artificial intelligence develops its own evil intents. But in the Screamers scenario, rebels build the robotic tools of destruction that self-innovate to catastrophic proportions. Either way, humanity sows the seeds of our own hyper-violent destruction.

Most everyone is also familiar with the Isaac Asimov novel (and movie) I, Robot. Written in the 1940's, it highlights three laws of robotics. The very first law, at the top of the list is:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

And here we are now; totally ignoring that advice, and training our most advanced drones to kill people. Our drone development is playing directly into the Terminator/Screamers scenario. And we can't just vote to stop America from building drone weapons. Anybody can do it. Worldwide, dozens of designs have already been built. Some by people we call terrorists. Likely, someday soon, no one will be safe from drones. 


Arms buildups such as this follow an inevitable trend. Humanity builds tools to kill each other. We develop more and more effective tools. And eventually, these tools become too dangerous to use. We've seen this with chemical and nuclear weapons. Eventually, we become too good at killing each other. And yet ironically, many people are still looking for the next big bad killing machines. It appears we've found them in Terminator drones. But this time, the development of these tools is out of our control. No one will be able to turn them all off.

It only makes sense that some people would predict that if we don't figure out a way to stop wars, eventually we will invent the tool that will result in Hell on Earth.

...Or then again, maybe we already have.
Our “Hell on Earth tools” don't have to kill us all directly – and instantly.
All they have to do is make things worse – and there be a lot of them.
And all these “tools” have to be... is perceived as indispensable.

Corporations are tools also – “tools” for making money. And like all tools, there are consequences for using them. I shouldn't have to tell you how our “tools” are trashing the planet. One might even argue that these corporate “tools” have developed hyper-efficient super powers of turning everything of any real value into money. Sounds great for now, but in the long term, the consequences of world-wide exploitation will be horrific.


The fossil fuel industry provides us with the fuel to run our civilization. But the industry has long outlived the accumulating consequences of mining and burning fossil fuels. We are altering our atmosphere and poisoning ourselves.

It is likely that a third of all disease is caused or exacerbated by man-made chemicals. And what does the chemical industry do about it? They manipulate our regulators – not to regulate – to keep our money flowing in – at any cost (to us). And what does the fossil fuel industry do about it? They manipulate us into believing that millions of us burning poisons has no significant effect. And what to we do about it? We keep right on burning fossil fuels we know are changing the climate and using chemicals we know cause disease.

The most frightening realization is; we can't turn these corporate “tools” off, no matter how dangerous they are – because we believe we need the services and products they provide.

Have we been conned by the monopolistic providers of our own tools?

Consider this:

  • We think we need money. But what we really need are food, clothing, shelter, health, and love – in a environment sustainable indefinitely. Ironically, the process of the accumulation of money often reduces, degrades, or destroys what we really need.
  • We ignore better options and better designs because we don't see advertisements for them – or companies buy up the patents or overregulate to keep anyone else from utilizing better designs than their profitable ones.
  • We believe that renewable energy (etc.) is more expensive – but we don't consider the externalities; the costs to our health, the climate, and the environment when we calculate the bottom line.
  • On top of it all; we buy the biggest gas powered (artificial) “muscle” cars we can ever imagine wanting – for the longest trip we could ever imagine taking – and then manically drive them around (filled with stuff we don't really need) to places we could have ridden a bike to. (Of course, we have the same attitude about homes.) 

It appears that our biggest mistakes in life most often involve the misuse and poor design of our tools. We waste. We pollute. We impoverish. We kill. Because that's what we've made our tools do.

The next two Laws of Robotics (in Isaac Asimov's I, Robot) are applicable for all of our tools, business structures, and economic systems:

  1. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  2. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Our systems aren't doing that. Our systems actually compel us to do wrong sometimes. In fact, you may have noticed our corporations, political parties, countries, and even religions have taken on their own artificial “lives” – and are sometimes more concerned about protecting their own existence than ours. Moreover, when these organizations do obey orders, they ignore the vast majority of us – at our expense.

One could even claim that our systems have already consumed us and now we exist as merely organs of a planet sized super-organism that is obsessively maximizing profits above all... and consequently hell-bent on self-destruction.

Of course, organizations are only people. But these organizations are often organized to essentially force those who make decisions to choose what's best for the organization over the employees, humanity, or even life on Earth.

But we know this...
and for the most part, we feel powerless to stop it.

These unruly systems are our inventions, and at least for now, some humans control them.

The key is to take responsible control over our destiny.

We need to plan for the future.
We need to plan far beyond the next quarterly report.
We want to create something more like Heaven than Hell.
We need to design a civilization that does not reward preparing for and committing war.
We need to design a society that rewards sustainable behavior.
And we really should develop belief systems that truly reinforce walking the path of righteousness.

This is our duty.
This is our mission.
And as far as future generations are concerned; if we fail, we will be committing mortal sins of utter ignorance.

Besides... following a path of righteousness beats creating your own Hell


Monday, November 12, 2012

An Open Letter To SNWA's Pat Mulroy:

(This letter is directly addressed to Southern Nevada Water Authority's General Manager Pat Mulroy. Please excuse any confusion in the presentation if you are not Pat Mulroy.)

Retire now Pat. This is your best opportunity - while your still young enough to do those things you've always dreamed about

You're at the top of your game. You just accomplished a deal with Mexico that gives Lake Mead a buffer... (Hey! You've found another better option than the watergrab!) And you've been treated like a guru by the press. But that won't last. Your big projects always have big cost overruns. And now you're slamming headlong into Southern Nevada's biggest water project... ever. The watergrab. We already know this is your downfall. It's going to be cripplingly expensive. It's bound to decimate the high deserts of Central Nevada. And most of the people paying for it won't be the people benefiting from it. The watergrab is bound to explode right in your face.

Las Vegans can't afford it.
Rural Nevada can't afford it.
Life on Earth can't afford it.

But if you try to cancel the project, there will be millions of painful questions about why you spent hundreds of millions of dollars on it. Ironically; canceling a project which you, yourself, once called the; “singularly most stupid idea anyone ever had” is likely political suicide.

You're cornered. No one knew that things would turn out like this back in 1990. No one knew that the population of Las Vegas would level off. No one knew that the cost of offshore desalination would drop so much. No one knew that the Great Basin Water Network's attorney would make your hideously expensive team of attorneys look like amateurs. No one knew that our hydrologist and the Environmental Impact Statement would make such a convincing case that the environment is in so much danger. No one knew that your own hydrologist would turn on you and predict environmental disaster. No one knew that one of your primary partners in the watergrab, Harvey Whitemore, would end up indicted. No one knew how well Las Vegans would understand “predatory lending,” and how quickly they will recognize predatory lending on this project. And no one knew that all this bad news couldn't be suppressed – on the Internet.

Your best option is to let someone else make that fateful watergrab decision.

If you quit while you're ahead, most people will believe that you've done a great job. Sure, there may be some controversy, but there will always be controversy. ...Besides, what will you care? You'll be retired.

You've become an icon of water conservation. But the watergrab is poised to spoil all that. The world is bound to notice the who-cares-what-we-kill audacity of wanting to take what little water there is in the natural deserts to waste on so many artificial lakes, water fountains, swimming pools, golf courses, lawns, and multi-headed showers.

Las Vegans have a critically important life decision to face. You and your watergrab have become an impediment to the city's maturity.

Las Vegas can either continue to sustain unsustainable growth, or learn to live sustainably. There is enough water now. Even if Colorado River flow does drop, and the present population of Las Vegas are required to use less; cutting back on waste would result in a minor inconvenience. Contrast that with the trashing of South/Central Nevada to the point that its only destiny is the dumpsite of the Nation – and the draining of water resources that could only support Southern Nevada temporarily – which would leave Southern Nevada truly desperate for water in the long run.

I love the desert. The natural desert is beautiful. Like everywhere natural, being out in it is like a form of Eco-Therapy. We feel healthier in the natural world, because we are. Killing a big part of it would be a sin... a sin!

Sure; you can keep lying about how responsible SNWA is (and that taking out a river of water from a place that has no rivers will have no effect); but sooner or later, people will see through all this "monitoring and mitigation" B.S.
  • So what if you monitor the extinction of endangered snails and fish – and the localized extinction of horses, antelopes, etc, etc, etc, etc. So what if you monitor what is essentially the extinction of a beautiful high-desert ecosystem unique in the world.
  • And so what if you decide what the mitigation should be – and when you feel like paying it.

Even if you somehow temporarily convince the angry people who will be forced to pay for all this mitigation that this expense will be no big deal, the courts have already decided otherwise.

This can't end well. And for political reasons, you can't back down.

May I offer a suggestion. Retire. Come join us. Come live with us here in Central Nevada. Why do I know you're welcome? Because you can't live here and be for the watergrab. They would be taking your water. They would be killing your desert. You would bond with the land. Everyone does.

Some of us out here in Rural Nevada understand that we are the closest thing that life has to an alarm system. This watergrab is going too far. This is stepping out of line. One day, your name will be synonymous with the catastrophic desertification of the Great Basin. Oh, excuse me; it already is. The only way to stop that is to get out now.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

What Hasn't Been Said Enough About Our Elections

Does anyone remember the “Swiftboat Veterans for Truth”? They were lying.

When all that matters is winning, somebody has to lose – and those who lose the most are the people who believe the lies. 


It doesn't have to be that way. We could all win together.

As we witness the nations of Europe practicing “austerity” by saving their rich at the expense of everyone else, we have the choice of not following suit.

And what a choice.

We can pick between “things aren't going to get any better” or “things would get a lot worse.”

I'd like to cast my vote for “fixing things.” But that option doesn't seem to be on the ballot.
And why not?
Because there's not enough money in it for the greedy to think long term.
Ironically, the act of actually fixing things aren't really allowed in the political debate.

We watch the candidates debate over the somewhat ethereal deficit – yet never mention climate change; the force behind the ferocity of hurricane Sandy (and the droughts, and the tornadoes, and the flooding, and likely even Snowpocolypse).

Politics has become the act of distraction, deception, and disgust. Most of our votes will be votes against someone.

The Grand Old “Austerity” Party has shown us their true colors. They will lie... and they will cheat (on every occasion they can) so they can steal when in control. And who will they steal from? Well, let's just say (lie'n) Paul Ryan of the Republican Party wants to “invest” Social Security funds on Wall Street. Those are funds from the very people who have been duped into voting against their own best interests. These are the very people who get most of their “news” from for-profit media. (Not that there aren't a few good people in mass media, they just have be careful not to agitate their sponsors – which makes them liars of omission.)

The Savings and Loan collapse of the 1980's was a sign.
The Home Loan collapse of 2008 was a sign.
There a powerful people in the world who only care about what they can take – they have a lot of control in this country – and they may even stand to profit from America's downfall.

Remember; the Grand Old “Austerity” Party was the driving force behind deregulation of both the Savings and Loan industry and the Banking industry. Hmm...

And who does the “Austerity” Party pick for their chief downsizer? “Myth” Romney. A vulture capitalist with very close ties to the big Wall Street banks. And to top it all off, he won't show us his tax returns.

What kind of example of leadership is that? Are we supposed to believe that if one doesn't pay their taxes, they're more likely to get rich? That seems to be the case. The oligarchy has set a terrible example. America now has a culture of corruption the likes we have never seen before. Yet oddly; the Grand Old “Austerity” Party seems to consider that corrupt group their base.

Though there are good people in public office, the electoral system is rigged to keep them weak. Campaign contributions are in actuality required bribes. And the mass media just loves to pounce on public officials who aggravate their sponsors. Having a conscience and a spine in Washington pretty much assures one of a brief career – if any. Consequently, all we are left with is a bunch of part-time puppets to the uber-greedy.

The Republicans have apparently totally sold out to those who want to continue to loot and pillage until there's nothing left. And the Democrats are either unable or unwilling to stop them. In critical votes, such as the elimination of Glass/Steagall, some Democrats have been quite willing to join the Republicans.

Is America better off than it was 30 years ago? Candidate Ronald Reagan promised us less government regulations (you know, more freedom). That is definitely now true for the oligarchy; but the rest of us are stuck with Homeland “Security,” a failed drug war, privatized prisons, and more regulations and limitations on our liberty than ever in the history of the United States.

We now know what a corporate takeover of government looks like. We're witnessing a total takeover attempt right now.

And we know what the oligarchy plans to do (if they can). They are going to see to it that the rich don't have to care about the poor – and that the middle class pays for everything. And because the middle class is shrinking, those in the middle class will end up working like slaves. But that's not all. With austerity measures; the middle class tax dollars that get spent on services for the middle class will be minimized. So, even in hard times; the the pork keeps flowing. And the Stock Market keeps rising.

That's just corporate capitalism.

The system is rigged to ultimately take everything from us...
They call it “maximizing their profits.”

...but voting won't be enough. least not until we vote on issues.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Myth Romney - Wall Street Chicken Hawk

Adolph Hitler once said; “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”

Is the Mitt Romney story a Myth?

Ironically, the truth about Myth Romney is so shocking that his lies are easier to believe.

Here are some almost surreal examples:

Only four years after big bank gambling caused the Wall Street financial collapse, we have a presidential candidate almost directly from the seedy side of Wall Street (Mitt Romney was a corporate raider who was a business partner to Michael Milken and Goldman Sachs).

Myth Romney has hidden his tax returns from us – which is something that should automatically eliminate him from voters' consideration (because he probably paid next to nothing), yet it doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

Myth Romney can lie – and cheat – and steal the first debate from Obama. (Don't believe me? How many times did Romney get the last word? Almost every time. That's cheating. And the media barely mentioned it.)

...And then there's the one about Myth Romney's empty promise that we can have our economic cake and eat it too. (For instance; when he showed his true colors as a sell out to the oil companies – condemning renewable power with false data, falsely implying that America could pump all the oil it needs domestically, and ignoring Global warming.)

But my biggest concern was when he told the truth. He wants to drastically increase military spending.

...Now why would he want to do that?

Maybe because Sheldon Adelson has contributed $70 million to the Republican campaign this year? This is the highest campaign contribution in history by a factor of three! And what does Sheldon Adelson want for all that money? He must want something really big... I suspect he wants to buy a war. I suspect that Sheldon Adelson believes he can buy himself a war with Iran – for less than $100 million (his cost).

The whole concept is so outrageous that one has to step back and think about it. So... Sheldon Adelson wants to push us into a war with Iran? Wow! Could one person do that? Should they have the right? Well, with the “Supreme” Court decision on “Citizens United,” he now has the right. And he has the money. And he is a radical supporter of Israel. (What else could Sheldon Adelson possibly want for $100 million? The list is short and unconvincing.)

Sheldon Adelson is a radically staunch supporter of Israel. And President Obama has continued a long tradition of supporting Israel. But Obama hasn't done everything Israel hawks want without question. President Obama isn't a puppet to Israel. So, apparently; Sheldon Adelson wants to get rid of him. Sheldon Adelson so publicly supports Israel that this suspicion isn't really a stretch. And Republicans have been chomping at the bit to invade Iraq. The match-up seems inevitable.

And there it is... proof – right there in Myth Romney's projected military budget. That big ramp in military spending is the war with Iran. That's right; Mitt Romney already has the invasion and occupation of Iraq planned out (in his elusive budget).

But what will it cost us? At least $300 billion a year. Apparently, war profiteering can be very profitable. (Don't be surprised if some company like BainCapitol makes out like Haliburton did during the Dick Cheney Vice Presidency.)

So, some crazy old billionaire is trying to buy a war. Where is the outcry? I'm amazed! What has happened to America? In the time it has taken for the anti-war teenagers of the sixties and seventies to become the leaders of this country, America has forgotten the lessons of Viet Nam.

War is hell... but only if you're getting shot at.
War is very profitable if you're making the bullets.

The American military/industrial complex has become a giant, self-perpetuating mega-industry that makes money getting us into fights.

If Mitt Romney lies, cheats, and steals the election; America will soon be at war with Iran. This is another Viet Nam on top of Iraq and Afghanistan. And why? To keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons? This is a noble goal. But does it matter? What would actually happen if this nuke panic is realized? What if Iran were to get nuclear weapons? What then? How bad would it be? Well, most likely not really all that bad. Every country that has joined the nuclear weapons club has refused to use them as weapons.

Maybe the MAD theory (Mutually Assured Destruction) that the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. relied on for decades, works. It still makes sense. If Iran were to nuke Israel, Israel and the U.S. would pretty much vaporize Iran. Not worth it. And if Israel were to attack Iran; and Iran had nuclear weapons... well, all-out war ceases to become a reasonable option.

Like Viet Nam, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken a huge economic toll on America. So, how does Myth Romney intend to pay for a war with Iran? …especially when he intends to give everyone (including himself) a 20% tax cut? Deficit spending, of course – just like Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush Jr. did.

Of course, Myth Romney won't tell us he intends to even further increase the national debt. He claims he will get rid of some (secret to us) tax deductions. Nonetheless; getting rid of middle class tax breaks (such as tax deductions for house payments) won't pay for it. Myth Romney has to increase deficit spending to accomplish a tax break for the wealthy and a big increase in defense spending (on a defense program that is already more expensive than all of the rest of the worlds' defense spending combined). To cut taxes and increase spending, Myth Romney has to drive up the deficit by trillions of dollars.

That 20% tax break will cost America 5 trillion dollars over 10 years. That increase in defense spending of 300 billion dollars a year, over 10 years, could amount to another 3 trillion dollars. That's 8 trillion dollars of deficit spending Myth Romney won't admit to. And we let him get away with it... because he says he won't.

That's what makes the myth of Myth Romney so effective. Empty promises to voters – and total sell outs to contributors.

But the myth is even bigger than Myth Romney. This is the reality of our electoral system. Every politician has to take what are essentially required bribes. The whole system has become corrupted. A recent U.N. report cited the U.S. as a failing democracy. Our "uncontrolled, undisclosed, illegal and opaque" financing of elections has lead to the obvious; the turds float to the top. 

In an election that is actually an auction; the highest bidder inevitably wants the dirtiest deed – and the dirtiest candidates get the biggest “contributions.”

Things are getting worse faster than they are getting better.

And we can't expect them to fix this..

Let's vote on it...
Let's vote on issues.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Corporate Imposed Censorship In Rural Nevada

I noticed that this month's issue of Rolling Stone Magazine was missing from the racks at Ridley's Market. That's not particularly interesting until you realize who's picture was on the cover. Mitt Romney – giving a swift kick to an American worker. That's right; one of my favorite reporters, Matt Taibbi, had done a cover story, “Greed And Debt – The True Story of Mitt Romney & Bain Capital.” And the magazine was missing from the rack... for a month.

Was someone trying to hide something at Ridley's? Did someone not want us to see that picture of Mitt Romney giving a swift kick to an American worker? If so; that would have essentially been corporate imposed censorship.

Ridley's is the only retail source for this magazine in our small community. I have to wonder. Did Ridley's ban the August issue of Rolling Stone Magazine in Ely, Nevada? If so, this statement from Matt Taibbi may have been what they were trying to hide:

But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.”

It doesn't matter what religion Mitt Romney claims to be. His god is money. We need to know that. And if Ridley's wants to prove to us that this wasn't about censorship, they can put the August issue of Rolling Stone out on the magazine racks along with the September issue. 

One more thing; did this just happen here? Ridley's is a chain of 20 stores in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Did all of these stores hide the August issue of Rolling Stone Magazine? And in the future, will they cease selling Rolling Stone Magazine? And if it happened at Ridley's, could it have happened at other retail outlets?  Corporate imposed censorship might be much bigger than any of us imagine. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What If Obama Canceled The Election?

I have crazy idea.
But maybe it isn't as crazy as I think.
What if President Obama were to delay the election – until we get the elections we really want?

I know; it sounds crazy.
Hear me out...

Every American knows that we're not getting what we're voting for. Our representatives no longer represent us.

Every American who is paying any attention knows that campaign contributions are essentially required bribes, and that our “elected representatives” are anything but. Our candidates are hand-picked long before we ever get to vote for them. And sadly; “free market” legislation has led to the self-destruction of America almost in the blink of an eye. What's worse is that, when we need it the most; our citizenry's electoral power to fix things is being stolen from us.

Every American who is paying any attention knows that there are people trying to steal the coming election. And this isn't something new. In the past three presidential elections, there has been a systematic effort to subvert our democracy:

After numerous voter registration purges, the “Supreme” Court gave away the 2000 election to Republicans without an official recount.

There was substantial evidence (and witnesses) that the 2004 election results were tampered with electronically. But there may have been another, low tech way the theft was perpetrated; uncounted votes.

There are accusations that President Obama lost 6 million votes in the 2008 election

And now we're witnessing Jim Crow like laws being enacted in numerous States, with the obvious intent of stealing the 2012 election. And now, even more than ever, nobody trusts those electronic voting machines.

President Obama has every right to claim that the November election will not even be close to fair.


What if President Obama were to declare the upcoming elections corrupted, and cancel them until outside organizations declare them fair?

Canceling the elections would make Obama president indefinitely, of course. The far Right would call him a dictator. And America would be in an uproar... But maybe not.

Americans might not be outraged if we saw a real chance at fixing our broken system.

I have faith in the American people working together. Together, we either know how, or could figure out how to fix things. Sadly, our present political system has held us back from that. Sadly, there is profit in subverting a system. Politicians for hire sell out to the highest bidder. And the highest bidder always wants the dirtiest deed. We desperately need to fix that.

Our legislators need crystal-clear mandates directly from the people. But they don't want them. They want all the power to decide our fate. They want to make our decisions for us. That's not really a democracy. We want a real democracy! And I guarantee that we won't get it through regular channels.
So... What if President Obama insisted on adding some direct democracy to our hopelessly corrupted political system?

What if President Obama offered us the opportunity to vote directly on policy issues? What if we had the right to vote on actual issues instead of voting for some corrupt representative? What if, for the first time in our Nation's history; “We The People” had some direct influence on policy decisions?

Everyone knows that our present system of checks and balances has failed us. Congress is at a standstill, and has been for 6 years. The only laws that have passed are so watered down they're often worse than nothing. We're not getting what we've paid for. We need more checks and balances. We need checks on the Legislative Branch of government. And we need to balance our political system in favor of our citizenry. We need something like a fourth branch of Government.

Direct democracy could function like a fourth branch of American government – a check and balance to the three branches that have swung so far from democracy.

Imagine; a fourth branch of government, consisting of “We The People.”

What if President Obama were to fight for a fair election with clear policy mandates legislators would have to follow? All President Obama would have to do is add 12 policy questions to the ballot.

What questions do I feel should be asked of “We The People?”

Here are 12 ballot question suggestions (with links to further information):

  1. Concerning any possible future bailout; should America require upper management of the bailed out company retire without golden parachute benefits?
  2. Should we amend the Constitution to counter the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United?
  3. Should we fundamentally reorganize the Federal Reserve System?
  4. Do we want a socialized medicine option?
  5. Should we break up (or impose level-playing-field regulations on) monopolies?
  6. Should we be able to vote out Supreme Court Justices?
  7. Should America retrain Federal military/security/intelligence employees for Federal civilian jobs?
  8. Do we want to end the war on drugs?
  9. Should mass media news be required by the FCC again to voice opposing opinions?
  10. Should there be a constitutional amendment to include direct democracy control over the Legislative Branch of Government?

These are all questions that Congress won't touch. These are all issues that are critically important for our future. These are all questions that “We The People” have every right to decide.

We might not even have to postpone the election. It is August as I write this. That gives us September and October to dump the electronic voting system for a monitored paper electoral system – and the same two months to print up ballots with policy questions added.

Or, if the anti-democracy folks don't like it; they can have Barrack Obama for President from now on.