Sunday, February 19, 2017

Paradox of Propaganda

I don't have a TV, I haven't had one for years. Mainly for economic reasons, having cable is like having a car payment.
 I don't subscribe to any print media.
Since the Iraq War, CNN, Fox News, The New York Times and so many more, reinforced the notion of weapons of mass destruction, it's all fake news to me.
 Trump isn't wrong calling out fake news, but the thing is, he's fake too.
I have a hard time believing anything that politicians do or say, along with TV stations and any mainstream print like the Washington Post or The New York Times.
I am not alone acknowledging that there is a propaganda MSM infrastructure being maintained to either keep people in a constant state of fear over Russia; Oh My God there's a Russian ship in International waters off our coast!
Or, alternately putting them to sleep with reality shows or the History Channel's, so-called history.
I have friends who watch Fox News or CNN, some of them still believe what's on TV, but most of them have no idea of what's going on, TV or no TV. They have no idea who Trumps cabinet picks are, what their history or experience is.
The rate of constant 24 hour breaking news gives them amnesia. They can barely remember what occurred yesterday, let alone last week. It's a constant stream of information that is, for the most part, almost meaningless or just plain nonsense.
When fake news is touted as truth then found out to be lies, and no one is responsible or accountable for fake news, it just goes on and on.
I think this country was founded on fake news and it's come back to bite us on the ass. Native American genocide propagandized as Manifest Destiny comes to mind, the Salem Witch Trials, More recently the Gulf Of Tonkin, WMD's and the Iraq War.
Now all of a sudden there's mayhem because the President is talking about fake news.
While the media acts like there's no such thing as fake news, it begs the question; what's really going on that isn't being reported?
We have leaks all over the place, supposedly because our non-elected Shadow Government isn't happy that @realdonaldtrump is acting like he isn't playing by the usual rules, like good old Obama did. I don't care which of Trump's cabinet picks resigns or gets approved, they are all from the same apparatus. Whether the NSA or whoever leaked Flynn's conversations and why that's a big problem, doesn't matter to me, since we're all in the same boat being spied on.
The reality is that almost everyone I know who voted for Trump, barely knows even one of his cabinet choices. However, they are super impressed that FLOTUS was a super model. (was she a super model? I have no idea, probably more fake news) Maybe they're right not to pay any attention, since it's become a revolving door of self serving, stale, pale and male dudes, or useful idiots like Betsy DeVos and that twit Ben Carson.
Meanwhile, the country is a shambles, I had five friends of mine get laid off from their jobs last week. I see abandoned houses everywhere, since we have a major foreclosure problem ongoing in my state and one of the major bridges connecting New Jersey to Pennsylvania was recently closed due to a crack in the structure, and so it goes. There's nothing fake about any of those things.
I anticipate more arguing about the deficit and how we can't afford all of the entitlements people actually paid for. This country is bankrupt morally and probably financially, since people like @realdonadltrump and all the other elites can offshore trillions of dollars in tax revenues while everyone's rushing around with their W-2's trying to get their taxes done.
The one thing you can count on is Americans are still caught up with Republicans versus Democrats, Black Lives Matter-All Lives Matter, the drug war, it just doesn't end and it keeps everyone distracted from the fact that it's the system that's the problem and no amount of voting will fix it.
The fix is in and no average American is going to come out the winner. Why would you even play their game?
Step away from the TV.
 It's 65 degree's in February here in New Jersey, I am going to take my box of paints and go out and paint a landscape, at least that is real, I guess global warming is fake too.

                                                     



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Not A Fan

Photo by DAVID ILIFF
It's the holiest of holy days, here in America. Super Bowl Sunday.
Bread and circuses, wings and beer. I never really got it. I don't like football.
I was a soccer player in high school and on the track team. There wasn't any football girls could play any way, except backyard games with my brothers.
 It seems like a lot of money is spent on the Super Bowl. $14.1 billion. Everyone at work will be talking about the Super Bowl commercials. $5 million for a 30 second spot. It blows my mind.
Some people have way more time for football than I do. Even if I had the time, it wouldn't be for a football game. People are way more invested in the Super Bowl, than politics or Donald Trump. I've seen way more dudes rattle off obscure stats about all the players, but can't tell me any thing about Trumps cabinet picks or the last book they read.
Thankfully, I keep my expectations lowered.
Most Super Bowl watchers don't vote, I don't blame them.
It costs over $4000 for Super Bowl tickets. The Super Bowl is for rich people, let them eat balls.
Like everything in this country it's been co-opted and corporatized.
The NFL get's billions from taxpayers subsidies, priorities much?
Local governments give all kinds of subsidies away for stadiums, they get discounts on
 utilities, breaks on their property taxes. The NFL is a non-profit, yeahhh, ok. Not a fan of that. They make over $1 billion in profits a year, actually it's $7.25 billion.
Someone tell me how that's non-profit?
To put this in perspective, it would cost $1.5 billion to clean the water in Flint, Michigan.
We have a huge homeless problem in this country, we currently spend $4.5 billion on.
We have a huge student debt problem, because we'd rather subsidize football teams than the future for our young people.
We need to rethink these ridiculous "non-profit" profitable corporations in everything but name only.
When it get's to the point that over half the country is living in poverty and churches, football leagues and other nonsensical schemes don't pay taxes on their "donations" and everyday people are struggling with three jobs, somethings very wrong. I seriously doubt anyone watching the Super Bowl game today is thinking about that. That's just the point. They don't care, They are too exhausted or too hypnotized by the Super Bowl circus and all the marketing for products they want you to buy with what little money you have left after you pay your property taxes, you don't get subsidies for.
I guess people think it's ok to be funding the NFL. they probably would rather pay for that, than a veteran out on the street. We wonder why the suicide rate for veterans is so high?
I'm kind of surprised they don't just put these military gladiators in the stadiums and feed them to the lions. Maybe that would get someone's attention. No one seems to care what happens to them.
There is an interesting story going back to Roman times. There was a guy named Gaius Marius. He was living during a time of Roman oligarchy. This guy Marius, tried to make reforms for the military. Afraid of a barbarian invasion, He used the promise of property to get more people from the lower classes motivated to join the military. There was a very large unemployment problem then. (sound familiar?)
Marius gave the military a retirement in the form of land grants & pension, anyone who fought with the army could become Roman citizens..It seems like veterans got a better deal in Roman times, (I wonder what the suicide rate was?)
This caused men to become more loyal to their generals than the Roman State, causing the destruction of Roman Republic and the onset of The Emporer.
In the end Marius, who once had sided with his army, co-opted himself with the oligarchy Senate and put down a rebellion of "radicals" to establish public order. After this Marius was exiled, but then returned. A few years later, Rome passed a decree, expelling all residents who were not Roman Citizens. A social and Civil war erupted, It would be the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.
It seems to me America long ago crossed the Rubicon of Republic into Empire.We have a similar breakdown occurring now, there's much we can learn from ancient Rome, but I am sure everyone would rather think about what Lady Gaga is going to wear for the half-time show than contemplate exactly where America is headed.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_reforms  for more detail.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Trumpistan

People are just beginning to suspect that Trump may be a malignant narcissist. One thing you want to watch out for is the amount of chaos and drama they leave in their wake. They are very hard to predict, because they lie so much. You can not believe what they say, which is like most politicians. They all lie. 
You have to look at actions.
What's really interesting to me is in his first Week in office Trump has pissed off people on  these foreign issues, Mexico's president cancelled his visit, the purge of the State Department, the 90 day immigration ban, If you are in an airport and stranded, go to this link,
 https://www.justice4all.org/who-we-are/staff/
 There are lawyers who can help.
So, I want to know how many terrorists have been caught since the ban has been in place? Every single country that's on this immigration ban list is from Paul Wolfowitz neo-con takeover of the Middle East
This is an unprecedented action. One that comes close was Jimmy Carters ban on Iranians after the Iranian Revolution. 
It is a 90 day ban for any non-citizen from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. Every single country on this list has been subject to mayhem the US has caused. 

Weird, no ban on Saudi's or Egypt, oh wait, our sales professionals with the State Department will be happy to service your contracts for weapons. 
Most of the people who voted for Trump, don't even have a passport, let alone have ever traveled outside of the US. So I doubt it's much of an issue for them. With the amount of problems we've got in this country, this is one of the first actions Trumps takes.
Seriously, I want some statistics as to the amount of undocumented or terrorist people Customs stops. It seems like those people are always on FBI lists but manage to elude everyone, is this going to stop it? 
It seems to me that the people stranded in the airports are the ones trying to get in the country legally. Are there any statistics about immigrants that get into the country illegally through the airports? 
I couldn't find any real information about that. 
http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/sep/08/jorge-ramos/ramos-40-undocumented-immigrants-come-air/
It looks like Mexico in 2014 was responsible for 52% of our illegal immigration
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/11/03/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/

I guess this pretty much says it all, I thought Trump had a fondness for immigrants?
                                       

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Grabbing Pandora's Box

To tell the truth, I was a lot more interested in the Women's March than the Inauguration, this weekend.
 I don't want to keep a sister down, but I am not sure what this march will do, when everyone goes home on Sunday. They say they "aren't going anywhere."
I took a look at the mission statement of the march;
We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families - recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
There were a lot of women, in my community, who did not know why women were marching. I tried to tell them it was a march about human rights. More than likely provoked by Trumps scary rhetoric, about abortion, among other things.
The problem is, this march is too late. Actually, there's a couple of problems here. If women are so concerned about their rights they should have done something about the hijacking of Bernie Sanders candidacy by the DNC. If anyone could have done something about human rights it was him. I am sure a lot of women are still towing a Democrat Party line and voted for Hillary.
The Mission Statement also states concerns for Native people. Really? Maybe you should have gone to North Dakota then, while our backs were turned and everyone was watching Washington DC, more violence ensued in North Dakota. (Maybe that's fake news?) Which brings me to my third observation...
Not one arrest in Washington DC, no pepper sprayed people, no water cannon. According to one woman, who was quoted saying no one got arrested, because no one was doing "stupid stuff."
Nice one, I see what you did there.
More likely, it was because women weren't marching against the corporate takeover of our government. They weren't protesting against an oil company or against health insurance corporations denying care to their fellow Americans or the more than 20 million Americans who are going without.
They weren't protesting against almost half the country living in poverty, There was an explanation of "worker's rights. You have the right to work crap jobs, however, there was nothing about unions,
 In the "Unity Principles" it explains "workers should have the right to fight for a living minimum wage." So, that's helpful.We already have the right to fight for a fair and livable wage, however, we still don't have one. Bernie Sanders supported a $15 minimum  wage. I am not sure how many women marching  had Saturday off and could afford to go to Washington, they probably weren't working multiple jobs, trying to support their families. They made fancy p*$$y hats, (it takes 4 days to make one, you have time for that, right?) while most women are just trying to buy their kids warm winter clothing, not hats for themselves, but I digress. The "Unity Principles" are on the website.
I am guessing this march, will go the way of Occupy, although Occupy got way more pushback.
It's great, I guess, that there was a march that "couldn't have happened without police cooperation" That's not what happens with most protests and the President was safely locked away, unlike on Friday at the Inauguration, when 217 people were arrested. They should have waited until Saturday I guess, when police were "cooperating". Instead, protesters broke windows at Bank of America and McDonalds, "symbols of American capitalism" Violence and damage to property occurred, whether by agent provocateurs or not, I have no idea.
Does anyone remember People's Climate March? In 2014? Remember #FloodWallStreet? 100 people were arrested, 10 stood trial and were found not guilty. It's been almost three years since that march, most people don't even remember it. My point being either marches are ineffective now, since the government is even more of a plutocracy since Dr. Martin Luther King's time, or you need a bigger march, way bigger. At least it got a lot of publicity for Madonna, but she's been grabbing her own p*$$y for years.
Glad to know women aren't going anywhere after this march. But the women I know were either working or couldn't afford to go or had no one to watch their kids. Which makes me wonder, how much class is an issue here? In the Unity Principles access to affordable childcare was included, but I wonder where any actual action or access is going to come from? Ivanka Trump? Madonna? Maybe Cher?
Lady Madonna's Daycare Center, has a nice ring to it, right? A girl can always dream.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

'Twas The Night Before Trump

'Twas the night before Trump
and all through the nation,                                                
some are full of fear and others jubilation.            
Women will march, others will resist.
But, it's our "shadow" we elected
and that is the gist.
People are fearful
or ready for change, all of their hopes are probably in vain.
A man of business say's "healthcare for everyone!"
Not sure if he know's about the repealing his party has done.
Part Santa Claus. part savior, can he rescue the middle class?
Why you would even think that?
He's completely crass,
Everyday his appointment's, look more like swamp people.
Many are saying it looks like, his dealings are illegal.
Banksters, from Goldman-Sachs he'll appoint,
while people are busted in the street for a joint.
Representatives boycott, as people take to the streets.
It won't change a thing, because of the elite.
The moon over the White House, on inauguration night,
while you work three jobs, where's your invite?
Will he bring back the jobs? Will he last long enough?
Will he get impeached, before the going gets tough?
America will be great again, according to him.
When dealing with the status quo, his chances are slim.
Like Christmas stories and fairytales, these promises are made,
broken in a backroom or right in your face.
The system is broken, Trump cannot save it.
Remember this, when you see every hypocrite, dressed to the nines.
Eating and dancing and drinking fine wine.
While you drag yourself to bed, weary from your day,
your bank account empty from the bills you have to pay.
 Trump will get your jobs back and healthcare for all,
immigrants deported, he'll build that big wall.
 Nothing to worry about, he'll take care of it all.
All Your dreams will come true!
Tomorrow, when Trump makes his inaugural debut!













Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Free! Chelsea Manning!

For the first time, in a very long eight years I am actually happy with the man I voted for in 2008. I haven't voted since, but today he made me glad I did. He commuted Chelsea Manning's sentence and she will be free, May 17, 2017!
Hang in there Chelsea!
After two suicide attempts and a hunger strike, her suffering will soon be over. It is a damn shame this travesty went on for so long.
We owe her a debt of gratitude.
The first time I wrote about Chelsea was during the pre-trial hearings, way back in 2012. I wrote about the brutality she was subjected to, It's shameful and disgusting. I can't imagine what she suffered. I wanted to know why George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, et al, weren't standing trial for lying us into an unnecessary military debacle, killing hundreds of thousands as Chelsea Manning's material showed. They will never have to pay the price for opening a Pandora's box of violence and setting the Middle East on fire.
However, Chelsea Manning has paid dearly and as far as I know, no one died as a result of her actions.
There have been to many who lost their lives in a war that never should have happened. Here is a list of what we know, thanks to Chelsea Manning, Egyptian torturers were trained by the FBI, the 2009 US backed coup in Honduras, Oil company Shell "inserted" it's staff into the government of Nigeria, the US spying on the United Nations, that US used Turkey as a base to transport people to extraordinary rendition locations, it goes on and on.
If you read any of Wikileaks and the Chelsea Manning information, you are never the same after reading it. I know I wasn't, especially after watching the "Collateral Murder" video.
This is a bittersweet moment in American history. President Obama did the right thing, but this situation was cruel and unusual as Chelsea Manning had the longest sentence, for which there was no precedent, of 35 years.
I am so thankful that Chelsea's nightmare will soon be over. I know I was deeply affected by what Ms. Manning did, making the information available, starting me on a 5 year blogging journey, that is still ongoing.
Thank you Chelsea Manning and thank you President Obama!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"Not All Psychopaths Are In Prison-Some Are In The Boardroom" Robert Hare

Remember this guy?
An Odd Bird, Most Fowl
He's kind of like this guy, they're from the same kind of folksy place, Indiana.

I really didn't know what happened to Danworth Quayle, I honestly didn't care.
Until I started reading an article about Trump and how much he likes the idea of privatizing prisons.
 I thought, hmmm, wonder who's lobbying for that?
That's when I found out about Hobart Ventures and the group that has retained them for their lobbying services, The Corrections Corp of America.
Sounds a little like the Peace Corp of Incarceration.
So who's a "strategic advisor" for Hobart (HHQ Ventures)?
 J. Danworth Quayle, shocker!
 HHQ "works in Washington D.C., but lives in the 'real world" according to the website. "The real world" of lobbying  for Corrections Corp of America, (rebranded as Core Civic) procuring  "The First and Largest Private Prison Owner" government contracts.
 I clicked and found out that they have one such government contract "to accommodate up to 500 detainees" Currently they are detaining 600 detainees in their 2,016 bed (sounds like a hospital, right?) correctional facility.
I wonder exactly, how much a government contract is worth?
 Plowing through the shareholders report, I noticed lots of bragging about shareholder value, its time consuming just trying to get to the value of the government contracts that's footing the bill for Core Civic & being able to afford to pay Dan Quayle for his lobbying efforts.
What I like best is this; "Taxpayers also benefit from government agencies partnering with CCA. Whether new bed capacity is needed or old, antiquated facilities need to be replaced, partnering with CCA means taxpayers do not incur the upfront capital investment which can often reach hundreds of millions of dollars."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't government agencies funded by tax dollars?
"Every day we remain focused on providing high-quality, safe and secure facilities that meet the needs of our government partners. By consistently doing so, we have experienced more than three decades of continued growth and contract retention rates in excess of 90 percent."
"our ability to meet and maintain qualification for taxation as a real estate investment trust, or REIT" essentially, leasing space,(See below for explanation of REIT*) "facilities owned by our government partners" and they pay no federal income tax, 92015 tax form 10k, Payments by federal correctional and detention authorities represented 51%, 44%, and 44% of our total revenue.
That's not all, not only do they lease out private correctional facilities to their "government partners"
"We currently provide transportation services to governmental agencies through our whollyowned TRS, TransCor America, LLC, or TransCor. During the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, TransCor generated total revenue of $4.1 million," pg. 12
"Despite our increase in federal revenue, inmate populations in federal facilities, particularly within the BOP system nationwide, have declined over the past two years." Remember, they pay no Federal taxes, because of the deficit and budget cuts, the funding has been cut. So, that's disappointing.
We provide space and services under contracts with federal, state, and local government agencies that generally have credit ratings of single-A or better. In addition, a majority of our contracts have terms between one and five years, and we have historically experienced customer retention of approximately 90%, which contributes to our relatively predictable and stable revenue base. This stream of revenue combined with our low maintenance capital expenditure requirement translates into steady predictable cash flow. We believe the REIT structure also provides us with greater access to capital and flexibility to pursue growth opportunities. pg 14, (*Real Estate Investment Trustavoid most or all tax liabilities,)
'The demand for capacity in the short-term has been affected by the budget challenges many of our government partners currently face." pg. 24 (ie; less money for government contracts)
 'we have created new business opportunities with customers that have not previously utilized the private corrections sector, expanded relationships with existing customers, including all three federal correctional and detention agencies, converted to a REIT,' pg.14
This next offering made me laugh for all the wrong reasons;
"As an alternative to providing "turn-key" correctional bed space and services to our government partners,
"we also offer our customers an attractive portfolio of prison facilities"pg.24
 Sorry, but, an attractive portfolio of prison facilities?????????
This is the best part "Any or all of our forward-looking statements in this Annual Report may turn out to be inaccurate." Ooops!
I could go on and on, but an attractive portfolio of prison facilities is sickening.
So the next place I go to in my head is; uh-oh, there has to be problems with these psychopaths who think prisoners are a for profit situation and surprise, surprise! It's the employees they are abusing;  History of wage violations, poor treatment of employees, I am sure that is just scratching the surface. If employees are having problems, what is happening to the prisoners?
The CCA passed it's thirty year anniversary, read about it here, Not much to celebrate, unless you're Dan Quayle, or you're on the Board of Directors for CCA, like Thurgood Marshall Junior, Yes, the son, of THAT Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice. I'm sure his Dad would be so proud.

 President-Elect Trump is on board with the whole privatization of prisons, it's nothing new and has been going on for quite some time, When Vice President Pence is finished his term as VP, maybe fellow Hoosier, Dan Quayle can guide him in his post-VP lobbying career.
 I just hope he keeps his spelling pointers to himself.
                                           Dan Quayle helps a kid out by spelling potato WRONG.
*http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/IROL/11/117983/2015%20Annual%20Letter%20to%20Shareholders%20-%20Final.pdf
http://www.hare.org/