Corporations Do Not Create Jobs

One of the biggest lies told which perpetuates the corporate control of our government and society in general is the claim that corporations create jobs.

It would be far more accurate to state that jobs create corporations. If you have a job with benefits, you probably have a 401k plan. In other words, an investment plan which places your money in the hands of corporations for their expansion. Money they use to lobby elected officials to enact legislation favorable to the corporation and against your own best interests. Part of that legislation includes you paying a financial penalty if you withdraw your own money, taking it out of corporate control.

Maybe you have heard the business maxim, “location, location, location”. What this means is when starting a business, finding a location favorable to your specific business is important. I’m not judging this, it’s rational and logical. I once lived in a mostly Hispanic neighborhood which had no less than 10 Mexican restaurants in a 1.5 mile straight line. Plus, most of them sucked. One would fail and close, another Mexican restaurant would open in it’s place, only to close a few months later. The problem was lack of insight or research into the local market. The local market was mostly low income and people who ate the same foods at home which those restaurants were serving. None had a gimmick and the prices were almost identical from one to the next and all were overpriced for the specific area.

Corporate invasion. Enter multiple corporate chain fast food places to the area. Each had lower prices and different menu items from the existing restaurants. Guess what happened to the local businesses? They suffered major loss of traffic and income. Now, in this particular case, I will state that most of these businesses fairly deserved to lose business. They were doomed to begin with. Though no small part of that was lack of business education and no money to consult with experts.

Cookie Cutter Corners. However, that situation is fairly rare. I am a fan of small businesses. I like eclectic or family businesses, ones with character. Hole in the wall treasures that serve the best food you can find. Problem is, these places that used to be so common are becoming more rare on a daily basis. They are being replaced by homogeneous chains of bland, identical, plastic, rubber stamped corporate block structured clones. No more family run places with menu items you just cannot find elsewhere. No more places that look plain but you would eat nowhere else. No more places you can sit and talk with the actual owner for hours at a time. No more being hailed by your name as you walk in the door.

Why has this happened? Mostly because today’s business owners have no passion other than money. They want guaranteed profits and instant name recognition. There was a time when banks and local backers would loan money or become silent partners in local businesses. When business owners would take risks based on their passion and skills. Those days are gone. Investors form Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s) to purchase franchise licenses and build just another BK, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, etc.

Location, location, location. One advantage these corporations have is the money to buy or lease prime real estate locations. If they see a neighborhood that has a thriving small business community, they want in. Because they have the combined money of numerous investors, they can bid prices out of the range of potential small business occupants, so they can buy or lease from the LLC-owned property owners. They have the money to invest in market research to determine how much demand there is for that business or it has already been paid for by the licensing corporation.

What is lost. When these franchises move in, they steal business from the local small businesses while driving up property values or lease prices. They oppress the ability of potential small business owners to locate in places where they are likely to succeed. Driving the small businesses out to less desired fringe locations. Then, if that location becomes popular and successful, the chain moves in again.

No jobs created. Corporations like to claim they create jobs. Yet, as in the example above illustrates, the corporations do not create jobs. The small businesses would create jobs and profits which would remain in the local community. Instead, the same people who would work for the local business take jobs at corporate chains because that’s what is available.

Downstream. Local businesses often purchase supplies and services from other local businesses. From carpet cleaning to appliance repair to restaurant supplies and on and on. The chains order supplies trucked in from other cities and states, have their own contracts for services and ship in appliances from their own companies. This drives other small businesses under, eliminating more jobs and often business failures.

No passion, no diversity. Corporate chains offer no room for variances. They have standard floor plans and color schemes. Menus and items set in stone by corporate offices. Every ingredient is measured and duplicated. Employees wear uniforms and adhere to dress codes. Owners are never seen, being a group of people in suits who may not even live in the same state. Changes to the corporate standards, no matter how positive, result in punishment or termination.

What we can do. One of the best things we can do to battle this is patronize local small businesses as much as possible. If you want to invest in or start a business, look at something not corporate. Help rebuild diversity and local enterprises. Have passion, encourage passion in others. Pull money out of stocks and place it in more local efforts.

The more we support the corporate dominance of our country, the more of it we will see. I’ve detailed before how large corporations are consuming one another to become even larger corporations. That results in even less diversity. We can see that from what has happened to the media. 95% of all news media in this country are owned by six corporations and they are fighting to consume or destroy each other.

Want fries with that? It becomes ever more conceivable that at some point the US will be entirely owned by one corporation. If that one corporation fires you from a job, you will have no options left for employment. Speak out and you will be a criminal. While many will endorse the system because, “Hey, it’s not the government.”

GDP Is A Scam

Gross Domestic Product is a scam. Okay, not really GDP itself. What I mean is the expectation of GDP always growing is a scam, like much of capitalism.

According to Britannica, GDP is “Gross domestic product (GDP), total market value of the goods and services produced by a country’s economy during a specified period of time. It includes all final goods and services — that is, those that are produced by the economic agents located in that country regardless of their ownership and that are not resold in any form.”

Notice the words, “all goods and services”. The problem with this is that we are producing fewer and fewer goods. Most of our economy is based on services. Services fewer and fewer Americans can afford to purchase.

Services. Part of those services include financial services. Such as stock trading. In my opinion, this should not be included in the GDP at all. Stock trading produces nothing of value. While it is claimed that GDP does not include anything for resale, a stock trade is considered a new product with each trade. It is counted as one product when you purchase a stock and a new product when you sell that same stock. Which artificially inflates GDP.

Gas and oil. Oil is one of America’s top 3 exports. That counts toward GDP. Oil is also one of our top 3 imports. That does not subtract from GDP.Instead, it inflates the GDP of the country selling us the oil we import. I’ve pointed this out before and ask the question again. Do you feel like you’re getting played? That’s because you are.

It’s all in the wording. Notice another term used in the definition. “Total market value of the goods and services..” What this means is the value of goods or services if they are sold. It’s supply-side economics, which is a completely false representation.

Supply side economics. Supply side economics is an economic view which states the value of a good or service (product) is based on the existence of that product. Simply put, if you produce a product, it has an estimated value. So you make widgets. You fill a warehouse with your widgets and they have an estimated value. You just added to GDP. Problem is, you pay your employees so little that they cannot afford to buy your product. Neither does the company next door. Your product stays on the shelf in the warehouse because nobody is buying it. It does not take long before you do not need warehouse workers or truck drivers, so you lay people off. Now your suppliers have lost business, so they need fewer employees and they lay off workers. On down the chain.

Production/consumption cycle. All economies are based on production and consumption. For the consumer, that means having the means to purchase goods that are consumed. Food, furniture, clothing, housing, transportation all count. Yet this cycle is limited. Even if we all had unlimited resources, consumption is limited. You can only eat so many meals a day, live in just so many homes. Most of us don’t really want multiple vehicles or homes. We don’t want clothes we wear once and throw away. If you do want 12 homes, 85 cars and clothes you only wear once, I advise therapy. You have issues we cannot address here and will not try.

I’ll even skip the environmental aspect of this discussion and save it for another day.

Unlimited growth? The capitalist model relies on the concept of not stability but continued growth. Yet we have already gone beyond the growth capacity of capitalism in this country. We have entered the future envisioned by Marx wherein capitalism feeds on itself in an Ouroboros manner. There are many claims that large companies like Walmart create jobs. That’s not true at all. Walmart merely consumes competitors and absorbs them. Like a large fish eating a smaller fish. When they drive a competitor out of business, the jobs of the competitor cease to exist. Walmart hires those employees or, more likely, a small fraction of them. What that means is that Walmart has actually eliminated jobs. Gibson’s, Woolworth’s, JC Penney, Montgomery-Ward and on and on no longer exist, while they were fixtures in communities for many decades.

Downstream effects. Walmart has a limited number of suppliers for each product. That makes their suppliers much larger. However, their competitors used different suppliers in many cases. Once the smaller suppliers no longer had market access, those suppliers also went out of business. The larger suppliers may buy out or merge with smaller suppliers but the effect remains the same. More jobs lost, fewer choices available to consumers.

Market and stock market effects. The growth of Walmart and their suppliers causes a false image of growth. Notice that the stock market indexes such as S&P 500 only list the top 500 stocks. That represents only a fraction of the actual stock market. While the value of stocks for large corporations reach historically high numbers, it ignores the fact that the majority of stocks have decreased in value and the number of stocks available for purchase has narrowed in recent decades.

Worker effects. That narrowing represents a smaller choice for both consumers and employees. It represents smaller warehouses and factories which sit empty in diverse locations while vast warehouses and megafactories in a centralized few locations have taken their place. Jobs are lost in smaller communities while large cities host employees struggling to pay for housing as rent and housing costs skyrocket in overcrowded cities and wages do not keep up with rising costs. Grocery costs, transportation, medical services all increase in price in these centralized locations. While wages stagnate.

What GDP does not measure. I’ve mentioned the debt to GDP index before. As it sounds, this is the amount of debt a nation owes in relationship to it’s GDP. The estimated (but not yet official) debt to GDP of the US for 2018 is 108%. Meaning we owe 8% more as a nation than it is stated that we make.

GDP does not measure quality of life. GDP does not measure how many citizens are homeless, that go without medical or dental care, that cannot afford life saving medications, that declare bankruptcy or are food insecure. It does not measure how many citizens work multiple jobs with no benefits. It does not measure how many are under water from debt. How many struggle with student loan payments for decades or how many decline higher education due to the expense. How many are on anti-depressant medications or suffer health effects of stress. It does not measure suicide rates.

Very real danger. Stating the GDP as a measure of the economic health of a nation is erroneous, as is evident. Many things can affect GDP and especially debt to GDP. As we look at how many jobs are eliminated in rapid succession by corporate failure, centralization, merger, export and automation, it paints a bleak picture of a very real danger. GDP states the profit margin primarily of the rich while the national debt falls primarily on the shoulders of the middle class and the poor.

As of right now, the interest on the national debt stands at $371 billion and rising. One report states that is an increase of 20% but does not state in what time frame. When we speak of job loss, that has an effect on consumption and that has an effect on production, as explained above. Yes, this all ties together, I wasn’t being schizoid here. All of this, in turn, has an effect on GDP. So, if consumers cannot afford to consume, producers have no need to produce.

Another thing which can affect the GDP is the stock market. Again, as mentioned above. If the stock market declines then at this point it directly affects GDP because stock trade profits are reflected as part of the GDP. In December alone, we saw a drop in the stock market of over 2000 points. I expect a much greater drop is coming because the stock market itself is riding on thin air. I recently wrote that there is no consumer market logic regarding the rise of the stock market this month.

Runaway debt. As the debt rises, so does the interest. At some point, we run the very real danger of the interest on the national debt exceeding GDP. At that point, we will no longer be paying on the debt at all and it will continue to climb indefinitely. Should that happen, the entire US will fall under austerity measures, which will include inflation of double and triple digits. In some countries that have undergone the same problem (often because of US sanctions), inflation rates of greater than 1000% have been seen. See Greece and Venezuela. Yes, it can happen here.

The danger does not end there. If austerity measures come to this country, banks will close their doors and not allow you to withdraw your money for days, weeks, possibly months. If you owe the bank debts and possibly even if you do not, the banks may seize your deposits and even your hard assets to save themselves and their major investors. Look up the process called “bail in” (not bail out). It has been used in other countries, most notably Cyprus a few years ago. In addition, social support programs will be frozen indefinitely. Meaning Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps. Schools will close. States will halt any operations aside from administrative. Cities will declare bankruptcy. Manufacturing plants will close, corporations will shut their doors.

Obviously, this is a worst case scenario. However, the danger of all the above is quite real and not far off.

The true measure of a nation’s success and prosperity lies in a clear assessment of the health, generalized wealth, well-being, satisfaction and freedom of it’s citizens. Without these things, a nation is a failed state. It cannot be measured by the status of it’s corporations and privileged elite.

So, stop believing what corporate media and WAR Street “experts” are telling you. You’re not going to hear these things from them. You can question or challenge what I have to say but I encourage you to look the information up for yourself. Don’t take my word for it but don’t call me dishonest without looking further for yourself.

Chew, Swallow, Vomit, Repeat

On occasion, I have to disengage from the direct battle with neoliberals and Conservatives. It’s a practice I suggest all Progressives follow. Give yourself an occasional emotional rest.

One reason I do this is simply because I get tired of dealing with their mindless rote repetition. Virtually none of them think for themselves. This is not saying they are not capable, it’s worse. They are not willing. Memorize, seek reinforcing identical viewpoints, regurgitate. Never follow the profit path, the motivation of the author of the opinion they allow to think for them. Chew, swallow, vomit, repeat.

They pay no attention to minds or voices that are separate from the standard corporate model. Those are voices to be discredited without listening. Dr Richard Wolff, Robert Reich (on economics, not politics), the UN report stating capitalism is a failed model. Don’t read, don’t listen, don’t learn, don’t question.

One thing is absolutely true. When your arguments are rational enough to touch a chord, that’s when they start using insults and invalidation. Attack the source. In my case, they will attack saying I am not popular enough to be listened to. In other cases, they will use any accusation against a popular voice which they can. The accusation doesn’t have to be relevant to a quote or theory. The accusation does not have to be proven in any way. In fact, accusations can be absolutely proven false, as in rape or pedophilia accusations against Julian Assange. That doesn’t stop them from using it. Chew, swallow, vomit, repeat.

I think at this point I have written enough articles going into extreme detail on enough subjects that I can merely post links to previous articles on almost any popular subject. I’ve detailed why a 70% tax rate on the rich is not enough. Why imposing a Maximum Income is a good idea. How Social Democracy is profitable. Why universal healthcare is the best system. How weapons sales cost this country more money than it makes. Why Russiagate is an absolute farce (numerous articles). How the media is the advertising arm of the war industry. Why you should not be listening to corporate advertising or “intelligence professionals” because their specialty is literally brainwashing. How supporting the current system is truly fascism and will get worse. Why the economy and the dollar are doomed to fail. Soon. Catastrophically.

Posting those links or sharing information often feels like it does no good.

If you can manage to drag people kicking and screaming away from their cults (good luck with that), they consistently fall back on false narratives which they have no actual understanding of to begin with. Yet will use them as defense and offense. They can definitely be offensive. Anything to avoid challenging their established world view which they have never bothered to question or examine. Even when that world view locks them into a position which is literally killing them directly. Sit back, turn on corporate media. Cheer for the cult. Wallow in the filth. Chew, swallow, vomit, repeat.

The most frustrating part of all of this is that all of this is based on fear. Americans love to portray themselves as brave and courageous when in fact they are completely ruled by fear. Call it anger, bigotry, hatred, aggression, whatever. Every bit of it is based on fear. Yet too many people feed on this fear voraciously and with wanton gluttonous abandon, seeking it out like drunks on an endless binge. The media is more than happy to keep serving as they collect the profits on the tab. Because that’s what it’s all about to the media. The media doesn’t GAF what damage it does and if people die, they will gain even more money reporting on the deaths while covering up their own complicity.

Think of all the things you are told you must fear on a daily basis. Trump, Hillary, Bernie, third parties, Democrats, Republicans, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, Mexicans, Hondurans, climate change, guns, not having a gun, anyone of a different generation, Socialism, lack of medical care, universal healthcare, unemployment, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, taxes, black people, white people, Nazis, KKK, men, women, pedophiles, gays, TG people, vaccines, no vaccines, lack of clean water, fire, flood, every bite of food you put in your mouth, hunger, obesity, high blood pressure, bad breath, body odor, wearing the wrong shoes, being rich, being poor, bad tires, shirts not white enough…

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” These words holds great wisdom which has been forgotten or ignored for decades. The more people hold onto fear, the less they open their consciousness to the fact that we have the power to fix our problems. If we stop fearing each other.

I know what the real truth is, though. If we stop being afraid, that means we actually have to take responsibility. Most Americans abhor that idea. The rich don’t want to give up their piles of gold so that the poor can even survive. The warmongers don’t want to stop the bombs. None of the media wants to be brave enough to end the cycle and stop being sensationalistic. That would lose advertisers.

It’s up to us. We cannot put it onto others. It’s up to us to turn off the media. It’s up to us to turn the narrative around. To realize that we don’t need to defeat anyone. To let others live their lives while we live ours. To walk away instead of adding to the hatred.

It is up to us to stop being afraid.

My disengagements are always short. It never means I will stop speaking out.

Define Terrorism

Define terrorism.

Since 2001, the US has incited the world to engage in “the war on terrorism”.

The biggest problem with this entire concept is that “terrorism” is never truly adequately defined. It is an amorphous, vague term which can be applied to basically any activity by any authority against anyone they please.

Non-military combatants? Traditionally, terrorism is defined as armed actions by non-military personnel against either a civilian or militarypopulation. Yet in the case of Palestine, this poses a problem in and of itself. Palestine is not allowed to have their own military force by decree of the occupying Israeli Defense Force (IDF) under command of the Israeli government, who refuses to recognize Palestinian human rights. Therefore, any military actions in aggression or defense taken by Palestinians is deemed terrorism. Look at the living conditions of Israeli citizens and Palestinians and consider, whom do you think lives with more terror?

Non-traditional tactics. Historically, the term of terrorism also denotes nontraditional military actions, also known as guerrilla tactics. By this very definition, the American Continental Army was a terrorist force. They engaged in guerrilla tactics against the occupying British military, using methods described by the British as uncivilized and barbaric. It was also a fully civilian force at the outset of the American Revolution against a formal militia. Yet we consider our forefathers heroes for using those tactics.

More recent times. More recently, Muammar Qaddafi was described as a terrorist, even as he was the formal ruler of a country with a formal military. Many in our government and media describe Bashar Al-Assad as a terrorist, while he is also a democratically elected leader of a country with a formal military.

Military force is terrorism. Nobody can incite more terror in a populace than a formal military force. Interviews with civilians in countries subjected to US “humanitarian interventions” reveal just how terrorized the civilian population can be with very good reason. Children describing how they fear blue skies because that’s when drone strikes are most likely to occur. Just the fact that those children have that knowledge is horrifying in itself. How terrifying do you think it is to see family, friends, neighbors, playmates or your own children scattered in pieces or so torn apart as to be unrecognizable?

Refugees. To date, millions of people from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and other countries have been driven from their homes and countries from the terror visited upon them by terrorists and US military intervention. Forced to evacuate over land on foot, over sea in unstable boats where many die on the way. Only to arrive and seek shelter in countries where they, the victims, are treated with suspicion, hate and derision when all they really wish is survival at that point.

Camera angles and editing. Our media is fond of showing sanitized video of individual car bombs or suicide bomb attacks but never pan out to show the absolute destruction caused by our 121 bombs dropped per day, every day, relentlessly. Cities in rubble covering many bodies that may never be identified, if they are ever found. Cities where millions once lived. No longer inhabitable.

Skin color and religion. In America, a person of a certain religion or ethnicity can be deemed a terrorist by owning a firearm legally, wearing a traditional scarf or speaking their native language. Meanwhile, a white Conservative male can shoot over 50 people, massacre the patients and staff at a clinic or kill dozens of children in cold blood, only to be called a “mass shooter” who was “troubled”. But that’s not my point in this article.

Resources. Right now, in multiple countries on different continents, citizens are terrified. They are not terrified of some mad suicide bomber in the marketplace or driving across an IED. They are terrified of the US government, our foreign policy. Our “humanitarian interventions”. People right now are terrified in Iran, North Korea and especially Venezuela. In most cases, they sit atop oil resources envied by American corporate interests.

What to fear most? They have no idea what to fear most. Cooperating with the US, which would bring crushing poverty as in Haiti, with destruction of their culture and land. Or not cooperating and being prone to drone strikes, proxy or direct invasion by military or mercenary forces bringing rape, interrogation by torture, torture for torture’s sake, looting and leveling of their homes, disease and murder of their country’s people. While US media hails the attackers as “liberators”.

They understand what they are facing. These countries have seen what we are capable of, not only in the countries I mention above but closer to home, in their own histories. Americans do not know what regime change and fascism looks like. They do. Many of the older citizens of these countries have seen regime change and CIA-directed coups up close and personal. They’ve seen US military and proxy mercenary interventions in Venezuela, Honduras, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Iran and many others. They have watched Qaddafi accede to every demand placed upon him, only to be assassinated, cities destroyed and the citizens of Libya sold at slave markets on the streets of what was once their relatively peaceful land.

No surrender. So these countries have no reason to surrender to the will of the US. Even if they have problems in their country it is their right as a sovereign nation to solve their problems on their own without our “help”. Help which has already been defined openly by numerous US politicians as having nothing to do with the plight of the people and everything to do with oil. The other problems are caused by US sanctions, now being made worse by more sanctions.

Define terrorism. Has that definition changed for you yet?

You, Venezuela, The Draft and Armageddon

For at least 74 years, the US Empire has been on a non-stop push for global domination by any means. Any means can include the absolute decimation of the planet with everything and everyone in it.

This has been a push since at least the end of WWII. During WWII, the US and the USSR were allies. Check your history books and you will find the US president meeting multiple times with Russian leaders in solidarity against Nazi Germany.

After WWII ended, so did US government goals and tactics. Russia became an enemy by virtue of the fact that they were seen as a competitor and propagator of Marxism, which stands in complete opposition to capitalist desire to own all in it’s view and destroy anything that stands in it’s way.

Not about Communism or Socialism. It does not have anything to do with Communism or Socialism, exactly. The US also opposes vehemently any capitalist economy that stands in competition rather than cooperation with the goals of the kleptocracy. Russia and China have been competing with us on capitalism and largely winning in recent years using fully capitalist methods. Depending on what method is used to measure, China is already or soon will be the strongest consumer market on the planet. They are not just producing goods for export, they buy their own goods. Russia has improved their economy and become a major oil/gas and grain exporter. Hence, they become major threats, though neither country is Communist any more.

No loyalty. Make no mistake in thinking that this has to do with country or nationalism. The same competition was taking place before the US became the world capitalist leader. Think back to the British Empire, which attempted to dominate any country which had resources they could plunder. So did the Spanish at one time. Capitalists have no loyalty to country or ideology. Their ideology is greed and power. They have no other belief system and never will.

Willing submission of the populace. To dominate the entire planet, it is mandatory that they convince the populace of the strongest country, whatever country that is, that oppression, murder, destruction and theft of resources is not only necessary but the birthright of the citizens of that country. They must be convinced to fight and die for some vague ideal which does not profit them but benefits the owners of capital, holders of power. To not only embrace their own slavery, real or virtual, willingly but to enforce that system with any citizens who raise an opposing voice. In reality, those who turn against dissident voices are no better than Nazi sympathizers.

Modern feudalism. Prof Richard Wolff has stated that the most stable economic system in history was the feudal system. Today the feudal lords are corporations and we are the peasants serving the masters.

Female draft approval. In June of 2016, CONgress quietly approved females for the draft. Most Americans are still not even aware of this fact. There are several things to note about that decision. 1- This was the first time that CONgress had discussed the draft in over 40 years, since the end of Vietnam. 2- We are not formally at war with anyone. 3- This was decided at a time when the military had not been meeting enlistment quota for several years. This remains true now and many service members have been involuntarily extended for years. 4- CONgress does not discuss the draft in abstract. This was planning. It did not matter who won the 2016 election.

Increased international tensions. Since that time, the government and media have intentionally ratcheted up tensions and animosity against numerous other countries with a strong military presence or resources worth pillaging. Syria, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela.

Military discharges. In the same time frame, the Trump administration has discharged and deported thousands of immigrant service members. Recently, they also managed to ban transgender service members from duty. In addition, there has been a strong push to discharge all service members who cannot be deployed to war zones for any reason. That accounts for tens of thousands of service members.

So, what do you expect to happen if we expand our military presence or our conflicts any further than they are now? Expanding that presence and conflict appears to be the goal of our entire CONgress.

Oblivious. Many Americans are oblivious to the fact that the US is currently bombing 8 countries, have armed forces in 50 of 54 African nations and are militarily threatening all of the countries mentioned above plus North Korea. Nor do most Americans do the math to realize that we have 1400+ military bases that are acknowledged by the government. We have no idea how many black sites we have.

That is a total of at least 28 military bases per US state. That is not even counting aircraft carriers, submarines and other warships spanning the oceans.

The draft is coming. To replace all the service members being discharged, those reaching retirement age, those injured and killed in the line of duty, the draft is coming. With the foreign policy which has been the same and expanding for decades, there will be no other choice if we, the people, do not stand in opposition to these policies. To do that means we have to see through the propaganda and we must rage against further invasion into other countries by any method, be it political, economic or military.

Allies? The US likes to speak of our allies. Yet because our alleged allies have been harmed in numerous ways by US sanctions and military actions, we no longer have true allies. In some cases we have accomplices but they will abandon us if there is no profit in the alliance for the “leaders” of those countries. Europe is resistant to US sanctions on Russian and Iranian trade. It costs Europeans more money to follow along with those sanctions. While some leaders follow like puppets, polls of the majority of European citizens show they do not feel Russia or Iran are threats. The same is true of Americans.

One must keep in mind that the UNSC never issued approval for the invasion of Iraq. Also that the UN has always considered US presence in Syria to be against international law.

Allied opponents. While we lack true allies, our opponents do not. Note that I do not call them enemies. That’s because they have legitimate complaints of our behavior and specific reasonable steps which would still ease tensions with them. Our government refuses to cooperate with those steps. When you look at the list of our opponents, you find they are all allied in one way or another. Russia and China are military allies. Russia has interests in Syria, where they have had a military base for over 40 years in addition to business interests. China and India trade for oil with Iran. China absolutely opposes any US presence in North Korea, right on their border. Both Russia and China have vested business and political ties with Venezuela which they will defend far more assertively than most Americans have any realization of.

There are more alliances beyond that. Turkey remains connected to the US only reluctantly. That can change, as it has before. Mexico and several South American countries only barely tolerate us. Other South American countries are only allied with us for monetary reasons. Pakistan wants nothing else to do with us. Nor do the Philippines.

Low consequences. With all of our military conflicts for well over a century, the continental US has not suffered domestic attacks. No civilians on American soil have died or been injured as a result of our military adventures. This makes Americans far too prone to supporting attacks on other countries. However, should we enter a major conflict with the opponents we are provoking now, that could very well change at a moment’s notice.

Lack of antiwar representation. Corporate media does not present the voices of Americans who oppose war. In the rare case they do, those voices are presented as less intelligent or not patriotic. At this point in time, we are likely to be called Russian trolls.

If you think this is a change, you’re wrong. Look back to how anti-war protesters were presented during Korea and Vietnam. They were often called Communists, portrayed as drug addicts prone to violence. Meanwhile most were college educated and protesting against violence.

With protests against later conflicts, the media has simply ignored us. If they do not present anti-war protests, people become disheartened and feel alone in their opposition. It is as if a protest does not exist and the entire country supports conflict.

The only choice we have is to engage in such massive protests and boycotts that they are undeniable. However, I do not expect to see this happen until a draft is announced. By then it may be too late and we will be in conflicts we can not back out of.

US Interventionism In Venezuela

Right now, the US government is actively and openly endorsing interventionism in Venezuela.

I know many people are going to claim this is only Trump but have you heard “The Resistance” oppose this? At what point have you heard any organized faction of our government or media oppose the illegal invasion or attack of any country in our history? Ever? I’d be really interested if anyone can name one single time that has happened which they can recall.

First of all, I am going to address Trump supporters on this. Trump campaigned on and has promised a policy of no interventionism or regime change. Yet here he and his administration is, endorsing some guy to replace the democratically elected president Maduro. The endorsed replacement is some guy whose name has been basically never heard in corporate or independent media until this week. So now Trump supporters have to face the fact that Trump is no better than Hillary or Obama, because this is a move they would have performed. Exactly, to the letter.

Trumpbama. In fact, Obama was the one who got the ball rolling on Venezuela. Assisted, of course, by then SoS Hillary Clinton.

While Trump and the neoliberal media (who completely support Trump on this) rage about the conditions in Venezuela, they fully neglect to mention that the problems the country is facing have been caused by US sanctions on Venezuela. Those sanctions began with Obama/Hillary, before Maduro ever took office. Those sanctions have continued under Obama and made worse by Trump. So, with his actions, Trump has proven himself to be exactly the same as Hillary and Obama.

I’ll get back to the sanctions below.

False image. Maduro is being portrayed as an authoritarian who oppresses his people, starves them and crushes opposition. That’s interesting, since Venezuela has the lowest rate of homelessness of any nation in the western hemisphere. There are open protests in the streets which have been going on for at least 2 years.

Food shortage. Abby Martin has reported that there is no shortage of food. Note that she spent months on the ground in the country. There is a lack of specific common items, like wheat flour. In many cases, these items were available but were locked in warehouses by capitalists who oppose the price controls put in place by the Maduro government. Those price controls were not so harsh that goods were sold at a loss. They just placed a cap on profit levels. So the capitalists allowed the food to sit in warehouses and rot. If you look, you can images of this. You can also find video of citizens tearing down the walls of warehouses to get to these items.

Meanwhile, there is a shortage of specific items like toilet paper. Yet paper towels are easy to acquire. Try and explain that.

The effects of sanctions. The sanctions placed on Venezuela have limited the government access to funds and trade. They have been banned from selling gold to other countries. There are limits on their oil trade. They are unable to borrow money for greater than 30 days. Government bonds cannot be purchased by US citizens, nor can the government-issued cryptocurrency, the Petro.

The government cannot purchase military or police equipment from other countries, which places limits on efforts to control violent riots.

The lack of funding and trade restrictions insure a lack of availability to medications, food and other supplies, leading to a growing humanitarian crisis in the country.

Right now, the Bank of England is holding $1.3 billion (in gold) in escrow which belongs to Venezuela at the direction of the US. Money which could help relieve the humanitarian conditions in Venezuela.

Effects of coming sanctions.. on you. Venezuela is currently the third largest supplier of oil to the US. Proposed new sanctions on Venezuela will mean that you will pay more money for oil and gas. Of course, American oil companies and the propaganda wings in the media are completely in favor of this. Considering that oil is the major source of what funding the country has, that will cause the social and humanitarian crisis to grow far worse.

Compare to other countries. The US has a long history of claiming to intervene in other countries for “humanitarian reasons”. There are too many examples to list, so let’s go with current comparisons. In 2011, the CIA orchestrated the assassination of Qaddafi, followed by merciless bombing of Libya. That has led to the current conditions in Libya, with open slave markets in the streets. One need only look at images of Syria in 2009 compared to what it looks like now to know the horrors caused by US backing of “moderate rebels” to overthrow Assad. The refugee crisis affecting Europe so badly was created by US interventions. We sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, even with full public knowledge of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Korean war being caused by that.

If our government or media cared so much about humanitarian distress, then why are none of them screaming thunderously for peaceful humanitarian assistance to those countries?

Complete hypocrisy. You will not hear elected officials on either side calling for easing of sanctions on Venezuela. Even as the media and Democrats cry crocodile tears about unproven “Russian interference” in our election, the only proof of which has been a few FB ads. Half of those were only posted after the election, 25% were never seen by anyone, many which had nothing to do with the election and Google stated the total amount spent with them was $4700. There was no violence, no humanitarian crisis caused in this country or even claimed. There was no effect on trade. Until we did what? Oh, yeah. Imposed sanctions.

Maduro was elected by a majority of the people of Venezuela. That election was monitored by international observers and declared valid. Jimmy Carter has said of elections in Venezuela, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

By comparison, Jimmy Carter has said of the US that, “The United States does not have a functioning democracy at this time.” That had nothing to do with 2016. He said that in 2013 but it still applies.

Bigger problem than most realize. US intervention in Venezuela is a much bigger problem for us than most Americans realize. Because of who is backing Venezuela. Last year, China loaned Venezuela $5 billion to develop their oil trade. There have been talks of Venezuela selling part or all of their oil business to Russia. While that has not happened, talks are still ongoing.

The US has suggested possible military intervention in Venezuela. Most Americans are unaware that Colombia was extended an offer to join NATO in 2016. Anyone care to explain to me what part of the North Atlantic Colombia occupies? The purpose of that was to have full NATO support against Venezuela.

If the US does attempt to invade Venezuela, there is the distinct possibility that both Russia and China will defend their own vested interests in the country. Other countries backing Maduro are Mexico, Cuba, Iran and Turkey.

US Diplomats (sic). Maduro ordered all US diplomats out of the country. The diplomats refused to leave. To which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said if our diplomats are placed in danger we will respond militarily. First of all, our “diplomats” are not being diplomatic. Diplomats are supposed to engage in rhetoric which decreases tensions and work toward peaceful solutions. Second, refusing to leave is a conscious decision whereby they place themselves at risk. Maduro could very well place them under house arrest in the embassy and not allow them to leave except to go to the airport. No danger involved. Be sure and deliver the same kind and amount of food to the embassy that the average citizen of Venezuela is being forced to eat right now. And give them paper towels, no toilet paper.

The only right step. The US has no right to step in and determine the future of Venezuela. A country that has been deemed by one of it’s own past presidents to have no functioning democracy, that has engaged in regime change around the globe, that has been at war for 17 years, is bombing 8 countries and threatening numerous others, that has armed troops in 50 of 54 African nations and is $21 trillion in debt has no right to dictate what happens in Venezuela.

The only right step which could possibly happen is for the US to leave the country and lift the sanctions. Allow Venezuela to do what they deem best for themselves, unimpeded.

Actions. Call or write your elected officials and tell them to leave Venezuela alone. To lift the sanctions. Tell them you do NOT support military or economic actions against the country.

How Increased Taxes On The Rich Creates Jobs

Always the strangled, desperate cries from the oligarchy echoing from the mansions on the hills that increasing taxes on the wealthy will destroy the economy and reduce employment.

Bullshit.

Increasing taxes on the wealthy absolutely creates jobs. If done properly, of course. It is less a matter of the numbers than how those numbers are applied. Which would require other measures which are desperately needed to restore income equity in this country.

Here are a few of those measures. The thing to note most of all is that many of these measures are not new. They actually existed in our legislative code during the most profitable years for the general population in this country. Those regulations have been gradually eliminated ever since Reagan.

Investments. One of the most important measures which should be enacted is eliminating the allowance of stock purchases as business expenses. The single exception may be stock purchases as an expense for businesses that are focused entirely on stock trading. Not allowed for banks or any other business where stock trading is not their only business function.

The result. The nature of business is that businesses hate taxes. That makes sense. They don’t want to pay money for which they perceive nothing directly in return. So to pay less in taxes because of deductions for business expenses, they would have to spend money. That money would be spent on capital investments, such as equipment upgrades, new equipment and other investments to expand business, creating jobs. It would even, dare I say, be spent on higher wages and benefits for employees.

Slowed automation. It would also slow the pace of automation which eliminates jobs. Automation is invested in because it increases profits. If those increased profits are simply subjected to higher taxation rates, the benefit would be lost. It would not stop automation, just slow it down.

Higher taxes for foreign investment profits. Investors and corporations invest in foreign manufacturing for lower labor costs. If taxes were increased to equal or (preferably) higher than domestic production costs, this would negate any labor cost difference from exporting jobs to other countries.

Higher taxes for offshore headquarters. A number of corporations have changed the official registration of their corporate headquarters to other countries to avoid US taxes. This could be nullified by charging equal or higher taxes for any corporation that has done this. Simply apply taxes for all profits made from domestic sales to these entities. Most of the time, the actual operating headquarters are still located inside the US and the offshore “headquarters” amounts to nothing but an office or even a PO box.

Equity investors. Equity investors can be one of the most problematic for this country. By equity investors, that means real estate investors that own rental properties, from malls to warehouses to apartments to single houses. Obviously taxes on equity investors should be adapted to scale, so landlords/ladies who own 1 or 2 rental properties are not taxed as harshly as large property management companies. For the large companies, increased taxes would force them to spend more money on property improvement.

This must be balanced with rent controls at local levels. Otherwise, the result would be gentrification, which we have already seen run rampant across the country. Companies use property improvements as tax deductions, then use the improvements as justification for jacking rent sky high, forcing out existing lower income residents. It often also results in increasing property values, causing nearby home and business owners to be forced out because of property tax increases.

However, property improvements creates jobs for construction and does stand to attract business to areas which are in decline. Or encourages nearby existing businesses to also improve. Increased property taxes for already improved properties results in more revenue for municipal improvements, such as street repairs. If the municipality is not too corrupt. That’s a completely different issue which requires activism at the local level.

Remove the Social Security cap. Right now and for many years, there has been a cap on the amount a person pays into Social Security. At present, the cap on income for which Social Security is collected is $132,900, for which a maximum $8,240 is collected for Social Security. It does not matter how much you earn above that income level, you will not pay another penny toward Social Security.

The claim is that a person above that income level will not benefit from Social Security and so should not be subjected to the tax. However, this is not true. They do benefit, if indirectly. Most of those whose income is above that cap gain their income from methods which mean they gain income from those of us that pay in and the consumers on Social Security. Meaning business owners, whether retail or financial services. So they should absolutely be subjected to the tax which only serves to maintain their profit margin in the first place.

More jobs. Higher taxes for high income “earners” (sic) and corporations results in more jobs, even if civilian contractors are used. The biggest issue is not the taxes but how they are spent.

If civilian contractors are used for infrastructure improvements, nobody decries their right to make profits. Yet if those profits reach the level of the highest tax brackets, the tax revenue collected goes back into the system cycle of: government spending-infrastructure improvement-profit-taxes-government spending-infrastructure improvement… That cycle is broken when a corporation collects profits and pockets every penny. Then the cycle goes: government spending-infrastructure improvement-profit. Period. There is no cycle. At that point, for further improvement, the cost is entirely on the middle class taxpayer.

More bridges, fewer bombs. In spite of the government and media fear mongering screaming how we need more money for “defense” against countries which are no threat to us and extremist groups that have no aircraft to get here, our military and intelligence budget is killing us more than any potential enemy. Anyone sane does not approve of how much this country is spending on warfare with no end in sight.

Weapons do not create jobs. Building weapons may create a few jobs but most weapons production jobs are automated. We create more jobs when we spend money on infrastructure improvement, education, healthcare and even food stamps than we create from weapons sales or corporate subsidies for oil companies. When we create those jobs, they are not limited to specific geographic areas, where weapons manufacturing remains fixed in specific locations. The money spent on these functions goes into salaries and activities which benefit local communities. Those jobs mean more consumer spending, meaning more local tax revenue for more municipal improvements. They support home purchases, vehicle purchases and general consumer spending. Once again, those jobs mean more taxpayers paying taxes which go back in the system, perpetuating a cycle. These activities improve lives rather than destroying them.

So let’s close our ears to the mournful wail coming from private jets and penthouses, private estates, exclusive resorts and corporate boardrooms filled with those who already have more money than they could spend in 10 lifetimes. Let’s start thinking about ourselves and our neighbors. Let’s take steps that create real jobs for real people. I don’t know about you but my ears hurt from listening to their pitiful crying.

Smaller Government?

Conservatives rage continuously about wanting a smaller government. Yet their actions and attitudes speak exactly the opposite.

When Conservatives discuss wanting a smaller government, what they really refer to is reducing money spent on social support programs and reducing regulations on business, mostly on corporations.

I have written previously explaining how Social Democracy is profitable on the social level and supports a healthy economy. You can find that article here.

Supply side economics. All healthy economies function from the bottom up, not the top down. Conservatives promote the idea of supply-side economics, which does not work at all. That’s like saying an economy is healthy if you fill warehouses yet do not pay the employees enough to buy the products in the warehouse. What really happens is that the warehouse sits full, perishable items spoil and durable items rot while people starve and go without needed items. If goods are not sold, the warehouse starts eliminating jobs. Production and transportation are no longer needed to fill the warehouse, so those jobs are lost as well.

Border security. Conservatives promote border security, which mandates and even larger government. That costs money, which they seem quite content to pay, even though it will only create jobs in four states and most of those are temporary jobs. Most of the jobs will be in sparsely populated areas of those four states. In addition, it will steal land and resources from thousands of land owners along the border. Border cities will feel a major negative impact and we can expect to see entire communities become ghost towns very quickly.

What creates jobs? Rational immigration standards that allow for migrant workers. Agricultural jobs affect many things downstream. Truck drivers, food processing, grocery stores, restaurants. Enact immigration standards that limit migrant agricultural workers and you increase food prices. The higher prices go, the less volume people can purchase the more jobs are lost.

Military. Both Conservatives and centrist Democrats support an ever-larger military and military spending. The claim is another one I have addressed previously, that building weapons creates jobs. You can find that article here.The fallacy is ignoring that the majority of weapons production jobs are automated and in limited areas. After all, would you want to live next to a bomb factory? Those jobs are also dependent on maintaining military conflicts in other countries. If we achieve peace with any of the countries we are bombing, jobs are lost. Even the military positions created by a massive military are mostly jobs in other countries and most of the money the service members spend is spent in those other countries. That is all money we pay that flows out of this country, never to return.

What does create jobs? Schools including colleges and universities, libraries, building bridges, building and fixing roads, affordable medical care. Even food stamps. These are jobs in local communities which help to support other jobs in local communities.

Deregulation. Deregulation of corporate entities has a long list of negatives and virtually no positives.

Right now in this country, we have over 1300 superfund sites. These are areas where the environment has been poisoned in some way and requires massive cleanup efforts which cost huge sums of money. Some were caused by the military but most have been caused by corporate entities that violated environmental laws. In most cases, the corporations have either declared bankruptcy and no longer exist or they were fined token sums which account for a fraction of the cleanup efforts.

The cost of these sites cannot be calculated because the costs include contaminated water sources, extravagant cancer rates in many areas, loss of life, loss of farms and ranches, closed public lands, poisoned wildlife which may spread to other areas and more. Among the list of violators still in existence you find such familiar names as Exxon, Dow, 3M, Shell, BP, Georgia-Pacific and many more. Of late, one of the biggest culprits are fracking companies. As areas are contaminated, whole towns evacuated, water sources made unusable, farms and livelihoods are lost, often along with the health of tens of thousands.

Yet many of these sites have yet to have cleanup efforts even begin, while others have had that work continue for years or decades. All because of inadequate funding.

What creates jobs? Funding these cleanup efforts actually creates jobs. Returning those lands to public use would create more jobs.

What is not included in smaller government. What is consistently not included in the calls for smaller government is elimination of subsidies for industries which post massive profits. The oil and gas industry is subsidized to the tune of nearly $40 billion each and every year. Yet that does not include the cost of military escorts for ocean-going tankers. Even though oil is one of the US’s top three exports and one of our top three imports. Get the feeling you’re getting played? That’s because you are.

Corporate dairy farms are subsidized, corn farmers are subsidized, soybean farmers are subsidized, chemical companies are subsidized, aircraft manufacturers are subsidized. You pay for their products even if you do not use their products.

Oil, gas and coal companies are also subsidized by direct purchasing of their products by federal, state and local governments. Yet this is not included in what is considered subsidies for those industries.

Also not included is a call for the breakup of national and multinational corporations to match the size and region of the smaller governments. In many cases, individual corporations would far exceed the size, reach and budget of individual state governments. Right this minute, how difficult is it for a coalition of state AG’s to challenge a corporate or industry battery of lawyers? Imagine breaking that up so that each state must stand on their own against oil, coal, tobacco, alcohol, chemical, weapons manufacturers, etc.

Smaller does not mean smaller. In most cases where proponents of smaller government make their calls, it will not result in smaller government at all. What they really call for is shifting responsibility for necessary services to state and local government agencies. If such a shift occurred, what would happen is an increase in the cost of these services, while delivering less. While that shift would create some jobs, the number would be statistically negligible while the additional cost would be significant. Instead of one single database or agency required for a service, we would need 50 or more agencies using differing programs and accounting methods. In many states, it would result in greater corruption, crony capitalism and nepotism than we already have.

Meanwhile transparency would suffer greatly and news organizations already under corrupt corporate control would not even ask relevant questions. We already see these problems with our national corporate media, who support their sponsors far above and beyond the effort to expose the truth. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has been revealed to have a policy to punish or even terminate journalists who so much as question the actions of a corporate advertiser, not just in the paper but on social media as well.

I know I mostly discuss Conservatives in this particular article. I’ll be honest and say I do not think centrist politicians and parties are any better. They differ in their approach but mostly in favor of keeping their control or lack of control centralized. Their policies for regulation aren’t much different. They like the corporations to see them as friendly to the status quo.

I would like smaller government. For the most part, I would be in favor of smaller government under the right conditions. Meaning the secession of many states from the national structure and forming a federation of allied nations. Something I have written before is highly likely to happen in nearby future years. If that happened, obviously some nations would be more Progressive and others more Conservative but in all, it would offer more options for comparison. It would definitely prove that Social Democracy is more profitable and offers more benefits. It would take very little time for Conservative nation-states to see a mass exodus and Progressive nation-states to see a huge influx. The Conservative states would have to completely collapse before they would change their approach. Even then, it’s possible some would try to invade neighboring Progressive states.

In such a scenario, each nation-state would have the ability to set regulations and trade agreements on their own. If a large entity tried to manipulate that system, it would be more difficult to do so in nation-states that created systems that mandated greater transparency and accountability. Things that will never happen under a corporate-friendly CONgress that does not answer to it’s people.

For now, just accept the fact that the calls for a smaller government are nothing but a smokescreen for the benefit of the rich and powerful, using whores and uneducated blind puppets to promote their agenda.

The Wall Versus Russiagate- Both Massive Lies

For several years now Americans on each side of the aisle have been deceived and divided by some of the biggest lies in the history of this country. Each one of these lies are potentially or actively deadly. Each side which supports either lie refuses to see it. They prefer their delusions over any question, any fact, any reality.

Obviously I refer to the border wall on the right and Russiagate for centrists. The far left opposes both lies. Yes, I know that we face many lies on a daily basis but these are the two largest, most dangerous current lies we are dealing with.

Trump’s wall is completely based on a web of lies. Honestly, the lies predate Trump by decades and many of the same lies were used by Bill Clinton in the 90’s.

One lie is that illegal immigrants are stealing jobs. This has many facets. For one, the jobs most illegal immigrants take involve farm labor, which most Americans will not do. In 2011, Alabama tried cracking down on illegal immigrants. The result was crops rotting in the fields, leading to farmers losing profits and possibly even their farms. Agricultural communities lost revenue because those immigrants were also consumers. Meaning small local businesses and agricultural services companies lost money. Then there is the fact that the unemployment rate in Mexico last available for August 2018 was 3.3%, while in the US current unemployment is stated to be 3.7%. So they have a lower unemployment rate than we do.

Another aspect of this is that the immigrants are stealing jobs in the first place. They’re not stealing anything. They are hired by American capitalists seeking to pay low wages. If you get fired so a business owner can hire an illegal immigrant, the immigrant did not fire you, the business owner fired you. The immigrant is simply seeking to survive just like you are. You have more in common with that immigrant than you do with the capitalist.

Another lie is that illegal immigrants are causing some massive crime wave across the country. Pay attention. You hear some anecdotal stories of illegal immigrants committing violent crimes. Most of those stories are years old and did not happen this week, month or year. If it happens so frequently, why do you have to go back years and repeat the same old stories? Because the truth is that it so rarely happens. Even if you hear of a story that happened yesterday, put it in perspective. How many crimes happened yesterday in this country? Crimes by illegal immigrants are statistically irrelevant, accounting for less than 0.001% of all crimes on record. This is all true while violent crime is at a 40 year low nationally. McAllen, TX on the Mexican border is reporting the lowest crime rate in 33 years.

One more lie is that illegal immigrants cost taxpayers a fortune in welfare. I won’t even make the argument that they are not eligible for welfare. Instead, I wrote another article where I ran the math. If every single illegal immigrant collected welfare, the total spent from your paycheck on illegal immigrants would come to a maximum of 0.5% of your pay. In other words, $0.50 per $100. That calculation uses a maximum far above any officially available estimates. You know what does cost you money? The war on immigration. Building and staffing detention facilities, feeding detained immigrants, providing any medical care provided, transportation, heating, cooling, water, garbage, clothing, detergent, toiletries, etc. All that costs far more than any welfare they ever collected. And that is before laying one brick or post for a wall.

One story that used to be passed around a lot was that people came here for medical care from Mexico and South America. Have you noticed you rarely hear this claim any more? That’s because even most Conservatives now know that Mexico began implementing universal healthcare in 2012. Something we still don’t have. So do Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay. Almost every country in South America. Quality of care? Have you heard of medical tourism? Americans are taking vacations to South American countries for elective medical care because the vacation at a resort and elective medical procedures combined cost less than the US, while offering high quality care.

That list could keep going but I think the point is made. Time to get to the other side of this coin.

Russiagate. This has been a raging headache for me since July 2016, as it has for any American with the ability of critical thinking.

I’ve pointed out a countless number of times that Russia had no motive to bother with our election. I challenge people continuously to name one profit motive Russia would have without mentioning Trump’s name. Just focus on what Russia would gain. 95% of the time they fail to offer any response at all. They cannot offer any argument except TDS- Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Russia paid off the last of their national debt in 2017. Since then, they have posted a budget surplus two years in a row. Some people love to argue Russia has debt and quote a number they looked up online. Yes, all nations have rolling debt. The question is whether they can pay those debts. Russia has the lowest debt to GDP ratio of any G20 nation, at less than 13%. By comparison, the debt to GDP of the US is 105% as of the end of 2017. It has increased since then. If you don’t understand that number or term, just know that the higher number is bad, not good.

In spite of the absolute propaganda shoved down your throat, Russian trade is expanding even in the face of sanctions placed on them. Meanwhile US trade is shrinking. China is no longer buying oil from us. The EU is largely fighting against the US to buy oil and gas from Russia.

Some claim Russia wants to dominate us militarily. First, that has absolutely nothing to do with an election. Second, Russia spends less than a 6% equivalent to the US military budget. They have 8 military bases outside their country, we have over 800 foreign bases. So for every 1 foreign base Russia has, we have 100. Meanwhile, one should note that Russia has universal healthcare while in the US, VA funding should be considered a cost of defense, as it does not include all US citizens.

For those that believe some nonsensical story that they want to sow discord, again ask yourself one question: Why? What do they get out of that all by itself? The joy of laughing about it? Because that’s worth risking WWIII? Turn off your reality TV shows and join reality.

No actual difference. In the effect both of these delusions have on this country, there is no difference at all.

The cost. The cost of both of these delusions is extensive in all ways. The wall is expected to cost at least $20 billion plus maintenance plus increased manpower indefinitely. Russiagate has led to military budget increases of over $80 billion. In each case, this leads to funding denied or even reduced for social support programs, so Americans suffer in real terms and the economy will absolutely suffer.

Stress, anxiety, depression. In social terms, mostly thanks to the media, we have a level of stress and animosity in this country which has not been seen before. Rates of clinical depression and anxiety keep rising. The media doesn’t care. They just sell more advertising space for mind altering drugs and beer commercials. You have high blood pressure? No? Well, keep watching! You will!

The real point. The real point of both of these fantasies is diversion. As long as you remain focused on immigrants or Russia, you pay no attention to what WAR Street is doing to destroy this country. As along as you believe “the other party” is favoring immigrants or Russia (deemed enemies), they keep us divided. If you keep fighting your fellow Americans and some invisible distant threat, you have no time or energy for the real enemy. The enemy whom you are actually paying money to willingly after they rob you blind.

Gangsters. It’s basically like a protection racket run by organized crime. They create the perception of a threat, make believe the threat is from someone else. Then you pay them to keep you safe. Stop paying them and they stop “protecting” you. Red gang or blue gang doesn’t matter, they both use the same racket.

If we are going to move forward as a nation in any way that benefits our citizens, we have to stop this. Open our eyes to the real problems we face, the real enemies in our midst. It has nothing to do with Russia or immigrants. Our best weapons are not weapons at all. They are information, picket signs, shoe leather, phone calls, votes for actual Progressives and boycotts.

Nancy Pelosi’s Afghanistan Scam

Nancy Pelosi is raising drama over Trump denying her the right to paid exclusive travel to Afghanistan to visit with service members there.

Before anyone begins with the attacks, I’ll make it clear yet again that I do not support Trump. I support facts.

The facts in this case come down to a number of questions up front.

Why now? Why is Pelosi wanting to travel to Afghanistan now? More than a little odd that she wants to travel to Afghanistan immediately after Trump stated he will be bringing US troops back from there.

Then again, we all know that Democrats have become the War Party. There could have been little doubt of this during the 2016 DNC Convention which featured non-stop talk about a “strong defense” and references to military expansionism. It was like the roles had reversed because there was virtually no discussion of these things at the RNC Convention in 2016.

Since then, any effort or mention by Trump to decrease tensions with other countries or reduce military presence in other countries has been met with outright attacks and claims of treason by the DNC. Yes, Trump is largely opportunistic and dishonest. Nobody rational fully trusts his “peace” efforts. Though honestly, if he brings peace, I don’t GAF if he makes a profit in the process. It’s better than profits made from warfare. He meets with Putin, talks with Xi or Kim Jong Un and that is labeled treason? He suggests bringing troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and these moves are made to seem evil. I see no such efforts coming from the DNC, no suggestions, no meetings with foreign leaders of those countries, not even any rhetoric suggesting a peace process.

The end points of every bit of it are that if a Democrat made the same efforts, Democrats would praise them. However, the media would still be pushing for more warfare because of their advertisers. As is, the Democrats are forcing the agenda of their military contractor “donors”. Who just happen to be the same as the media advertisers.

What about her job? Right now the government is in the longest shutdown in US history. CONgress is supposed to be in session. Tens or hundreds of thousands of government employees and contractors are not being paid. Millions of citizens risk going without public assistance while they desperately need it. Many may go hungry, some may lose their residences. She is the Speaker of the House. Her job is here at a critical time. Now is not the time that she should be on the other side of the planet for some politically motivated demonstration and petty power struggle which does not affect any policy at all. Her duties are here, now.

Support the troops? Speaking as a veteran, the presence of a politician saying they support the troops means one thing in a war zone. That they have every intention of keeping you there for a long, long time. When politicians make speeches to military personnel during wartime of providing the best equipment for the troops, what they are really saying is, “Keep killing. We don’t care who you kill, just keep killing. Keep using those expensive weapons so we keep contractors profitable and happy.” How many troops come back injured, with PTSD or in body bags means nothing.

The mind of the military members. Many of these military members have family members who are government employees. Those family members are not being paid right now. Many families already have so little income that they qualify for food stamps which are also at risk. Believe me when I say these are the things on service member’s minds. Not whether Nancy Pelosi offers empty and false words of “support” while she neglects her duties to them, their family members and the citizens of this country.

While Trump is a problem for this country, let’s not act like the “resistance” has any concern for the well-being of the citizens of this country. Right now every member of CONgress, especially the alleged “leaders” should be working every single day and night to resolve this shutdown, resolve problems and reach a rational consensus. Instead, what we have are theatrical displays which cause more division and harm than any potential good. What’s worse is that this is exactly what we can expect for at least the next two years. Or until the country completely collapses under the weight of corruption, greed and power hunger on both sides.