Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ukraine, Crises or Opportunity For Who?

Uh-Oh Putin, Now What?
I wrote about Ukraine, last December, The Polygon: Ukraine Winter, and their efforts to oust their corrupt dictator. Now the opposition leader in a stunning turn of events, Yulia Tymoshenko, former Prime Minister, has been released from prison.What has happened in Ukraine, is nothing short of amazing. 
As former President  Viktor Yanukovych, ran way left office he trotted out the "repeat of the 1930s when Nazis came to power in Germany and Austria", to explain the rebellion in his country, while probably on his way to Russia.
  The BBC explains "The protests broke out after President Yanukovych's government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favour of stronger ties with Russia. Thousands of people, outraged that a long-standing aspiration for integration with Europe had been ditched overnight, poured into central Kiev for peaceful protests. They have occupied Independence Square, known as Maidan, ever since."
What's going to be interesting is to see if  "Shock Doctrine" will "exploit crises by pushing through controversial, exploitative policies while citizens were too busy emotionally and physically reeling from disasters or upheavals to create an effective resistance." In other words, there was an effective resistance, however now, Yulia Tymoshenko, also an oligarch, Ukrainian oligarchs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (lets not kid ourselves) is looking like a front runner to lead Ukraine. She made her money in Russia. There may be an element of seeming to go along with the political agenda of this revolution, but the corporate "Gas Princess" may be allied with Putin. Tymoshenko: Ukraine’s polarizing ‘Gas Princess’ - The Washington Post
Let's take a look at Crimea, the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, also Russia likes to cut off the gas flow to Ukraine when they start drifting away from Russian influence. The EU agreement with Ukraine is going to be a very big deal regarding Russia and Putin doesn't want it. Putin's position is "The government is only for the people who agree with it. Those that disagree are radicals. The security structures—the police, the courts, the army—are, like Medvedev so artlessly said, there "to protect the interests of the government." 
I am not sure if the people in the Ukraine know what they will be getting into regarding the EU agreement. (ask Greece) After their hard won victory, will they have a new President that will also be as corrupt as Yanukovych, just with prettier packaging? Will they be making the choice to go to the EU agreement, a more "free market" system, that as far as I can see, this system in the U.S. isn't so "free."  
The common people of Ukraine don't need the U.S., Russia or the EU. The Orange Revolution was supposed to make Ukraine a better place and it didn't. If things degenerate into a civil war, there could be a lot of trouble for Europe. This could be another opportunity for American war mongering. I hope the Ukrainian people will be successful, but I fear that all it will be is another system or situation to be exploited for global conglomerates and corporations. Look out Ukraine, don't allow corporations to be people. Elections are no guarantee of Democracy. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Comcast Cartel

People are looking at the Comcast Monopoly merger and shrugging. Can't say that I blame them since most Americans lives are so busy with working crazy hours or two jobs, they don't have time  to look at the Comcast-Time -Warner deal. I'm not sure they would understand it if they did, the devil is in the details and one of these details probably means that cable won't be any cheaper. You have to wonder what kind of "free market" system we have that endorses or encourages monopolies?
Over a year ago my cable bill was over $120 a month, that's when I cut off cable. I know people who pay way more than that. It's like a car payment it's so expensive. Here's what I wonder, will this "merger" make cable any less expensive for anyone? The only other option people have are the dish and DSL (even slower than our crappy cable internet connection), there is no such thing as competition when it comes to cable. It just makes me wonder how many other monopolies control peoples lives?
Then there's the whole Wall Street aspect, Wall Street will surge after weeks of losses with all the hype of this deal. We all know who's in charge and it's not Main Street and their impossible slow internet connection. (Lativia's is faster and cheaper)
 The Justice Department will have to approve the takeover of Time -Warner and Eric Holder recently vacationed with Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and President Obama golfs with him, well played, triple play.
You just have to wonder if we are still so caught up in 'Murica being so much more "special" that we won't even consider how other countries are managing their cable companies. How many people think their cable service will improve as a result of this merger? People trying to stream Netflix are having all kinds of problems. Will Comcast upgrade their infrasctructure so people will have faster internet service? Funny, but I don't think so, since shareholders profits matter more than competitive (whoops! no such thing) prices.
Then there's the TV programing, Oh dear Lord, the Reality Shows. I don't watch sports so whats left? That would be cancelling my cable. I walked away from TV and went right to internet since there is nothing for me to watch. We can't order our programing a la cart. We have to subsidize programing we don't watch. Then there's the commercials I don't miss and the nonsense news Like Fox and CNN, who the hell believes those people? Their aim is to keep you on the couch watching Real Housewives, so you're not in the street with torches and pitchforks. Maybe it's time to cut the cord.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


V isn't only for Valentine.
It's for V-day.
 It's about an end to violence against women.
ONE BILLION RISING: Rise Up, Demand An End To Violence Against Women! | V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls Worldwide.
"One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.
One billion women violated is an atrocity.
One billion women dancing is a revolution"
Let's end violence against women, it's better than chocolate!
Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coptergate Part Deux

The crazy just got crazier, it may well be that Chris Christie flew over the GW bridge during the traffic jam in Fort Lee that his staff was responsible for but he didn't know about.
Did Gov. Christie fly over Bridgegate traffic mess in a helicopter? | PIX 11
Chris Christie has a fondness for helicopter travel. There's really no better way to get to your son's baseball game. 
I'm guessing that if the Governor, did do a flyover on 9/11, back to Trenton, it would be pretty hard to not notice, "traffic problems in Fort Lee." 
This the same Governor who has said 

“…shared sacrifice is going to be required of everybody to fix this system.”

The only people who are doing any sacrificing are the people caught up in traffic jams and ordinary people who lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Towns with mayors who endorsed Christie received money, even thought they weren't impacted especially hard, if at all. The whole state seems to be in some kind of stranglehold by Christie and all the crooked politicians in Trenton. Fixing the system, isn't going to be possible. The system is broken. The highest property taxes in the country, one of the highest unemployment rates, people still struggling to repair their homes from the hurricane. None of these things are a priority. "Shared sacrifice" is just some kind of smokescreen for shared rip off of ordinary citizens. It really means New Jersey peons will be sacrificing their homes and their jobs. Now there's a huge circus concerning whether or not Governor Christie shut down bridge traffic. I would like to imagine that this would distract him from serving the people in New Jersey. However since the day he was elected I have only seen things get worse here. After telling us that we all have to sacrifice to fix the system, it now seems that the system will stay in place, because the system is meant to keep things to stay exactly the way they are. Sacrifice is something Christie talks about and doesn't have to worry about, that's for "everyone" else.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Doxxing Of Walmart

I think Anonymous, like a lot pf people, are sick of Walmart.
Dox of CEO of Walmart here. Family members, political bribes, contributions, etc. Information you might like to know, even as they claim they can't pay a living wage to their employees. Anonymous released a video, here is the transcript:
    "It has come to the attention of the anonymous collective that the business practices of the Walmart corporation are detrimental to democracy and economic prosperity world wide. Despite recording massive profits greater than the G.D.P. of more than one hundred small countries, the walmart corporation claims to be unable to pay its workers a living wage. The starting pay for the average full-time walmart employee is only eight seventy-five an hour. To put this in perspective, a full-time walmart employee makes eighteen-thousand two-hundred dollars a year BEFORE taxes, well the U.S. department of health and human services says to support a family of one spouse and one child, a person needs nineteen-thousand five-hundred and thirty dollars of AFTER tax income. This means that walmart workers supporting a family, which is the majority of walmart workers, live below the poverty line. This is why nearly eighty percent of all walmart workers require government assistance in the form of food stamps, costing the american tax payer more than two and a half billion dollars a year. On top of this, the walmart corporation has deliberately and meliciously attempted to corrupt American democracy by lobbying in washington d.c. and various state legislatures to prevent increases in the minimum wage, so that they can avoid paying there workers a living wage. This is also why walmart workers all over the country have begun striking for a fair and living wage for all full-time workers. In the spirit of solidarity with our fellow activists and the working poor, anonymous is prepared to use the full might of the collective in defense of the working class, until walmart is willing to give its workers fair pay for fair work. We demand that the Walmart corporation change its labor practices, so that all full time workers get minimum pay of eleven dollars an hour and basic health benefits.
    We are anonymous.
    We are legion.
    We do not forgive.
    we do not forget.
    expect us."
    I don't know if this will work, but I want it too. It's not just Walmart. It's fast food chains and other businesses that just won't pay a living wage. When gas is over $3.50 a gallon and the same for milk, never mind energy bills and utilities. It doesn't add up when minimum wage is so low, however, the price of food has skyrocketed.
    Gas and food? don't look for either of those things to be counted when it comes to inflation, we have no idea what the real inflation rate is. So how in the world can you pay these horrible poverty wages to people and think they can survive? Go ahead and pitch a fit about food stamps and other assistance these "moochers" collect. Just trot those CEO's out on the cover of Forbes, because these "job creators" are the all American dream. Right. 
    If this is what it's going to take to get our country back to any kind of humane way of life for working people, I'm for it. So look out Walmart, Anonymous is coming for you.

Tomorrow Never Knows

The first time I ever heard them was on the radio, kept on top of the refrigerator in the kitchen.
"I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
I had never heard anything like the Beatles before. First I just froze and listened, then I wanted to dance, it was amazing to me.
My favorite Beatles album;
 For me, this is when the Beatles really got interesting. It is still my favorite album, ever. One of the first psychedelic albums. There are so many layers and textures on Revolver, I still get something new from it.
It's a bittersweet feeling this anniversary. My favorite Beatles have passed away, the irony of Johns death,  because of a handgun is not lost on me.
Thanks a lot 2nd amendment, loonies can shoot rock stars and just about anyone else they point their guns at.
It is hard to put into words what the Beatles meant to me. How much they inspired me. Listening to their music changed me, changed the world. Music would never be the same. That's power.
The Beatles changed more than music, they challenged the way we thought. There was a lot of truth in their music, usually the best art has that as a foundation.
I guess when the Beatles blasted onto our TV sets it was the perfect storm, the birth of our culture of consumerism. We had the financial wherewithal to spend money on albums, posters. Economically, these were good times considering the boom we were having after WW2. There was a lot of optimism in those days. Affluence, youth, equality, pop culture and the "generation gap." The sad Eleanor Rigby, a song about a lonely old woman., who keeps the" face in a jar by a door" a dull and boring older generation whose funerals no one goes too is  a "generation gap" song. I know I experienced this difference in generation every time my parents would play their Perry Como or Mitch Miller records that I detested. There were no Beatles albums.
By the time Revolver came out in 1966, The Hippie movement was taking off and George Harrison experienced this in San Francisco, with weird results. There was a movement for human rights not seen before that was gaining traction.These were exciting times when actual social progress was made. Sgt. Pepper, (the first concept album) the White Album and so much more came out of this creative, experimental time. With Revolver and Harrison's "Taxman" was the first social criticism  The Beatles made with their music. I don't think it's any secret that the Beatles didn't grow up rich, however they never made an issue of that when they sang "I Want To hold Your Hand." It must have surprised them to end up so wealthy.  The Beatles are still most famous as a band than any of them are as individuals. What I really admired was John Lennon's activism and George Harrison's work for the poor in Concert for Bangladesh. I admired their work for social justice. I am old enough to remember the Beatles influence 50 years ago, change was coming, or so we thought.
 The Beatles 50th anniversary should be something to celebrate. I wonder what this generation, this "lost" generation has to be happy about? Do they have same advantages as my generation did 50 years ago? We are still wrestling with issues that should have been overcome a long time ago. Rampant commercialism that propelled the Beatles to their fame and fortune now threatens us with no end in sight. The change that we all believed in has retrograded and become stagnant, because we have allowed corporations and profit to become more important than our kids and they should be really pissed off about that.
One thing I do believe in is that change is possible, because "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Just Don't Look To The Government in New Jersey

There's a big game that's being played today. Literally millions of dollars are spent on this game. According to one estimate the residents of New Jersey have spent $17.7 million.
We are willing to spend that kind of money on a game.
Our Governor, Chris Christie, was booed during a Super Bowl ceremony in Times Square. Mainly, I guess, for the Bridge closure he seems now to have knowledge of and probably ordered. Maybe that's enough of a reason, but there's more than that to justify peoples anger and dissillusionment.
For me, it's the hold up of aid for Sandy victims. Christie camp held Sandy relief money hostage, mayor alleges | MSNBC
Funds were held up for almost a year, while the people of New Jersey suffered. What kind of leader does that? The kind of leader who's wife and brother had plenty to do with what happened to the Sandy money. In the report, the company given a prominent role in the monitoring employs Christie's brother, Todd.
Here is Christie's wife's website,Grant Awards -
 a lot of grants have been awarded but it won't be until they file their 2013 forms to see how much money was disbursed to the victims and how much went to administrative salaries.
 In my town, which was hit very hard by Sandy, a food pantry opened, "during one of the worst years on record for the community still recovering from Hurricane Sandy" the pantry was built with volunteer labor and $76,000 in donations.
Congressman LoBiondo, says "There's such a need for this service." Why? Why are there so many people who need a food pantry?
According to Congressman LoBiondo, "oftentimes people look to the government to do everything for them."
Look at everything the government has done for us!
 Yes, Sandy caused a lot of problems in my community, to tell the truth, food pantries (yes, there's more than one here) have been a life saver for more than Sandy victims, they've also been a life saver for the victims of this economy that shows no signs of recovery here.
Because New Jersey has one of the worst unemployment problems in the country. The 8.7% is probably woefully inaccurate. I hope the Super Bowl will help things, but I doubt anyone here will see any benefit from it.
New Jersey is the biggest joke in the U.S. right now. Thanks to the Governor and all his corrupt cronies. Look what the government has done for us.
Traffic problems in Fort Lee, Sandy funds held up - so the people in New Jersey can suffer and struggle even more, but look! Here's a food pantry!
We have a government that's spending trillions on war, weapons and listening to our phone conversations, while Americans go without. I doubt seriously that anyone here is looking to the government to do ANYTHING for them. So if government can't do anything for the people, what's the point?
I think Congressman LoBiondo should look at what the government is doing for him; "Since 2008, LoBiondo has helped secure $4.68 million for beach monitoring and nourishment along the shores of Ventnor City, N.J., where he and his wife own a home about 850 feet from the beach." the congressman earmarked funds for work on that beach. I am almost afraid to look at what lobbies are buying him. He is lobbied by Abromoff Tom Delay's "closest and dearest friend" Abomoff is the Republican Party's biggest lobbyist.
Government can do a lot when it comes to LoBiondo. He pledged to serve "only" 6 terms and broke that "pledge" in 2006. So, government is doing a lot for Congressman Lobiondo. Just don't try looking to government to do anything for the peons in New Jersey.