Monday, May 2, 2016

An "Exceptional" USA: --Really?? Not quite; government authorities routinely break laws

...And here is merely one case in point: the U.S. Forest Service,
which I have mostly admired, has allowed corporate giant Nestle
to violate laws regarding public lands (i.e., putatively owned by
the people) for TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS. Now Nestle
wants a five year extension. What IS this??

Nestle, according to a USA Today article from October 2015,
is the world's largest food and beverage concern--I'm not
certain if this means by volume of sales or net profit. Nestle's
American division taps into Arrowhead Springs in the San
Bernardino Mountains (CA). Former foresters and several
environmental organizations have sued, protesting this long-
standing practice, as no rigorous scientific studies seem to
have been done to gauge any environmental degradation.
Considering California's lengthy drought, how does this pass
the smell test? The U.S. Forest Service in California issues
permits which allows Nestle to take great amounts of water,
but federal law has been broken by not requiring Nestle to
officially renew its permits; this shocking laxity has continued
for the above-mentioned 28 years. (!)

Dear readers, this outrage, others as well, greet me daily
in my Yahoo inbox. How can we be "the city on a hill",
"exceptional", "the best nation on Earth", etc., ad nauseam,
when laws are so often broken by government authorities as
I'm routinely aware of?  --Really?? Isn't the United States just
another nation wallowing in an all-too predictable chauvinism?
I love this country because I was born here, a compelling
indication of loyalty as President James Madison said in
Marbury vs. Madison. Everyone I love is here--but I am not
blinded by all-too human flaws in its actions nevertheless.

The disgusting, disquieting tragedy is that much of what's wrong
here at home is not necessity or inevitability. We could become
a mature society, defying at last, the analysis performed by
Alexis de' Tocqueville in his world-famous Democracy in America
(~1835), wherein he describes us as being shallow, too restless,
hungering after novelty. --The prescription for this malady?

"Drink deep or taste not the pierian spring" (--fount of knowledge)
by Alexander Pope, poet from the UK.

[P.S.: For more details, anyone can check Case 5:15-cv-02098
Document 1, filed 10/13/2015. Kudos to the USA Today
for providing the full 15 page legal and source document
in its online version.]

Thursday, April 21, 2016

--Hurray! Heroine Harriet Tubmann Gets Her Overdue Symbolic View

--On the soon to be issued new $20 bill. This is one of those
rare times when policy proves perfect--at least, in my opinion:

(1) She will be on one of  the most used currency denominations
we have, when you think about ATM withdrawals, etc.

(2) Alexander Hamilton, one of our key Founding Fathers,
is left alone to reign over the $10 bill. --Here's to Hamilton
as well!

(3) BUT MOST OF ALL, the U.S. president I have hated
most continuously, murderously racist Andrew Jackson, will
be gone...whew! I did not expect this happy happenstance to
occur in my lifetime, but here it IS.

Harriet Tubman was indeed a true hero; she follows the
definition of risking her life for others many times over.
The clarion call for acknowledging her in this way finally
reached those that matter, those who would be able to
make momentous decisions/policy changes.

My other personal currency and history hero, Alexander
Hamilton, was an actual hero as well, facing death many
times to help Washington wrest us from the British; later,
as a Founding Father, Hamilton (along with others) created
an actual nation with his contributions to our U.S. Constitution,
the Federalist Papers, and as Treasury Secretary.

Here's to heroes, then: Tubman and Hamilton, both of whom
made our country great...hip, hip, hooray!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Memo to the 50 States--STAY IN YOUR LANE

Arrggh, here we go again; democracy is indeed messy,
even when what we actually have is a republic. Our
president is trying to be humane AND, attempting
to be logical as well, he is busy crafting laws that
would trump the Donald's irrational wish to deport
~11 million undocumented workers. Mr. Obama's
plan seems to be simple: let them stay, get workers'
visas. This would allow immigrants to be traceable,
just like the rest of us are ( via Social Security), yet
avoid the incredible expense removal requires
(which we have no funds for) and a  massive,
logistical and strategic nightmare.

Boy, would I ever love to discover the chest
of drawers Donald Trump keeps his magic
wand in...because only a supernatural source
could effect his idiotic, xenophobic "plan".
Ditto for "the Wall" and the "Hairy Whaaat's"
confidence he could force Mexico to pay for
it. --Yow! We are still benefiting from our
two coasts and two friendly neighbors--why
would we risk ruining that?

Meanwhile, several states governed by below
the waist motivations are also urging reactionary
support for these impractical (insane) ideas.
Memo to you states' rights enthusiasts:
Y'all should summarily be thrown out of
office if for no other reason than  you have no
knowledge of or respect for the U.S. Constitution,
putatively the highest law of our land. Governors
and state senators do NOT overrule a president--
consult the document...

SO STAY IN YOUR LANE and shut Up.
(Y'all are embarrassing me and any other
smart person; bank on it, which will inspire
us to act against you--IN NOVEMBER
when we vote. Before then we DO possess
our powers of persuasion.)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Even with Jamie Dimon Gone, the New York Fed Still Lacks Credibility

--Yippee! Jamie Dimon stepped away from the NY Fed, an
apparently very quiet relinquishment of power, according to a
January 2013 issue of the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Dimon wasn't
solely felled by appearing before the U.S. Congress regarding
the $6.2 bn stunning losses at J P Morgan Chase racked up by
a single trader, "the London Whale" in 2012. So serious and swift
a loss in that relatively unregulated investment portion of banking
raised the hackles (-finally!) of the SEC, the Fed, and the FBI
(-purportedly).

No, a high-magnitude world-wide financial scandal alone
wouldn't have tempted JD to leave his Board of Directors'
post at the New York Fed, but his throat cancer around
the same time period certainly added its own version of
a "stress test". Jamie also resigned  from a subsidiary post
at his own bank, but remains the CEO...

And very likely, retains all his board memberships, which
are formidably numerous, prestigious and powerful indeed:
Bloomberg's web page, 04/07/2016, lists Mr. Dimon's
connections to no fewer than 284 board members across
six different industries. Many of the most troubling are
through an entity called "The Partnership for New York
City, Inc." This is a select coterie of ~300 CEOs of that
city's top private sector heads, corporate, investment,
entrepreneurial, etc. The PFNYC is a not for profit,
pro NYC organization, but I'm sure it does more than
act as a ceremonial, cheer-leading "I Love New York"
group. It wields enormous influence in donation decisions
with a purse totaling well over $110 million.

Checking Wikipedia, the writers there claim the
PFNYC is dedicated to keeping NYC's status
as the global center for culture, commerce and
innovation. Looking at a very small, partial list
of interlocking directorate colleagues/members,
associated through this PFNYC, I have to
wonder if the Clayton Act and Dodd-Frank
are routinely being violated.

Meanwhile, mea culpa, as only today did I
learn that Dimon had left the NY Fed...three
years ago! The larger objection still remains,
irrespective of Dimon, et al.: the system is still
substantially broken, deliberately requiring major
bank CEOs as Class A directors, sitting CEOs.
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Economist  Simon
Johnson (MIT) both cautioned against this
back in 2012; Dodd-Frank only partially
alleviated "rule by the foxes" by giving more
power to the Class B and C directors.

Memo to the U.S. Congress: The whole federal
reserve system really should be made more
accountable and transparent, firstly, by reinstituting
Glass-Steagall, secondly, by not allowing any large
bank's current head to serve on the NY Fed--or any
of the other 11 regional feds.

Take THAT, Jamie!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Panama Papers, Eh? Where are American Names? Share the Shame

Dear Teddy Roosevelt, you had no idea about ugly, unintended
consequences when you opened passage from one ocean to
the next with the Panama Canal project. Now a massive,
money laundering or hiding or obfuscating reality has been
exposed, revealing the greed, sense of entitlement that too
many of the powerful, the famous, the athletically talented
possess--and act on. Many nations' top people are implicated;
one head of state, the president of Iceland, has resigned,
supposedly temporarily. Imagine a head of state so
unsupportive of his/her country's good that he/she is
quite unwilling to pay taxes to benefit the very nation
which catapulted said head to fame, fortune and power.

My chief interest is here at home, naturally. This scandal,
reported worldwide days ago, has yet to release/reveal
any American names...now why is that? One news report
blames the lack of U.S. participants in the scandalous
scheme on the huge amount of material  to examine.
I don't buy it--so many other names and nations have
already been published. --Where are ours? The veils
over the evils of homeland humanity, effective so far, will be
whisked away soon, bank on it.

We won't be exempt from this sadly revelatory embarrassment;
why should we be? --Exceptional, my foot. When a country
can't even understand or honor the one entity that might
MAKE it exceptional, the U.S. Constitution,  allowing Sen.
Ted Cruz (Canadian born) to get so far in his presidential quest,
violating the key stipulation of Article II, Section 1, Paragraph
Five, THAT is a serious situation indeed. It is indicative of
ignorance married to an uncaring chauvinism buoyed by
belligerence and a needy, whining disappointment brought
about by an arrantly arrogant salesmanship selling "you can
be anything, do anything you want" to a population of dreamers.

When people here finally find out they will not be the next
rich CEO, the next beauty queen/movie star, senator,
president, astronaut or athlete, many won't take it lightly.
Casting about for a scapegoat/problem-solver, promptly
enough,--voila! "The government is to blame, but we can
fix everything (and ourselves) by electing someone who
promises everything, even the impossible." Can we not get
real, is it even possible at this late date?

Where are American names in the Panama Papers? We
belong on the wall of shame, surely, along with already
outed others. Share the shame, share the blame; now
THERE might be a democratic turn I could be proud of.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Back to HUAC? Bad Old Days Are Now New Bad Days

If you aren't inclined to read American political history, you
may be unaware of the U. S. Rep House Un-American
Activities Committee from the 1950s (HUAC), where many
careers and lives were ruined in "Red" baiting based on the
flimsiest evidence. The current crop of right-wing "republicans"
(they're not real republicans, but are much closer to fascisti)
want to throw the babies out with the bathwater YET
AGAIN, by proposing patrolling Muslim-American
neighborhoods (got $$$, support and manpower for that,
Crazy Cruz??), by strongly suggesting Muslims of any sort
from everywhere be barred from entrance to the USA, etc.,
courtesy of Trump. Then Ben Carson, that well-known U.S.
Constitution's "venerated legal scholar", said that Muslim
philosophy does not meet the federal documents' stipulations
...REALLY??

Add to all that disgusting drek the assault on women's rights,
minority voters' rights (--remember the poll tax?), the
recent rise of white cop murders of young Black men, illogical
(therefore irrational) Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens
United vs. the FEC; what you must then surely see is an
evil witches' brew of ignorance, intolerance, intransigence,
fear--hate, period. The rise of the rabble (which the media
mentions in code --"we are so surprised about Trump's success")
has serious, negative consequences for anyone of us interested
in the survival of our republic (--No, we do not have a
democracy, we've got a representative republic).

Sadly, over decades and centuries, there are  "dark age-
like" down-swings which come to the fore--and we've been
in one for decades, as many including me have been tracking
and protesting it...

Bad new days, bad old days, aren't they all the same? Let's
bid them a not fond farewell; the work required is awe-
inspiring, but I hope, not exactly like the Myth of Sisyphus.

 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Egregious Errata, Excrescences, Etc.: Time for Spirited Critique, Caution and a Prescription or Two...


Critiquing:

-An evil, prune-faced troll, Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell has long felt no compunction in abandoning
his state, his obligation to the nation, while blocking Barack
Obama at every turn--Mitch Mc DID say his only job was to
stop Obama; I saw and heard him do so, online and on TV.

McConnell probably possesses president-envy as well as
the "other noun's envy", a quality no doubt shared with other
confirmed racists. I don't see him yelling at press conferences,
but, betting on the dark side of human nature once again,
feel pretty certain he does so in not-for-broadcast settings.

-The USA's criminal justice system is spectacularly unjust,
from the Supreme Court down to Dogpatch, U. S. of A.
-Need I elaborate?? No, I think not; any literate, informed
reader can supply numerous examples from all 50 states.

-When surveying the public/private sphere, it's hard to avoid
an awareness of a key, sad reality: consciences have atrophied
or become blunted, so why the shock and amaze? Why would
we expect a marvelously, morally-emancipated society?

Cautioning/Prescribing:

-We must not acquire the very flaws, faults and actions of the
evil ones we fight. If we were to descend to such levels, we
merely add more people to the dark side, scarcely what we
need here at home OR abroad. (-!)

Gov. Kasich is right: don't take the low road, take the high one.
He recently promised to do just that, one of  several reasons why
I'm voting for him, did so in the IL primary. This is a president I
could live with, a centrist with few ostensible behavior and/or
anger management problems; he also served in Congress, let's
not forget.

It's time for all the concerned, rational and educated folk to
unite in an effort to drive the violent, ignorant and hated-inspired
back down the putrescent rat holes they are emerging from.
--Frankly, I prefer the real rats, who can be more easily excused.

Egregious excrescences, BEGONE.