Break The Echo Chambers!!!

This is a rant on frustration.

I am well aware of the prevalence of click bait in the media, especially on social media. There are click bait farms that churn out nothing but one article after another, all day, every day including Christmas, New Years and any other holiday you can name. Frequently they will post numerous articles on the same day regarding the same subject, all nearly identical. I’m looking at you, Vox!!!

I don’t write click bait. Ever.

The fact is, many times even the title of my articles can drive away readers from one or both parties (cults). My writing has nothing to do with popularity and everything to do with objective reasoning, critical thought. It is not the result of jumping on the latest populist bandwagon. Often my articles on a given subject come out later than the initial screaming wave of emotional responses. Instead, I take the time to fact check, examine, consider and run calculations. None of my writing is ever regurgitation of talking points dictated, authorized, paid for and vomited out by militant zombies on one side or another.

It is not a question. My writing offers rational viewpoints that you are not likely to find from any other source, whether corporate or independent.

Nobody else I have seen has offered a four part series on universal healthcare in layman’s terms, explaining what the effects would be on the economy, job market and society as a whole. Not all of that is obvious. It takes a thorough examination, which I have done because I have been an advocate of universal healthcare for decades.

Nobody else has offered a (currently) 6 part series showing how marketing is used to brainwash the public. It is a tool used by media, the intelligence agencies and political candidates.

Nobody else has run numbers saying how the recent “defense” budget increase could help millions of people if dispersed to humans instead of for bullets and bombs.

I was writing about thereal “defense” budget being over $1 trillion forYEARS before anyone else came along and they did a worse job of illustrating it. I’ve run example numbers in easy to understand formats to display the point.

Nobody else I have seen has gone through the entire 448 page Mueller report, line by line, fact checking all of it and placing his numbers in perspective.

Nobody else has explained how our weapons sales to other countries are done at a loss to the US economy.

Nobody else has detailed exactly why and in what extensive ways Russiagate is dangerous or how Russia would have had nothing to gain by bothering with our elections. I have done this across many articles because it is a very real threat to the entire planet.

This is a short list of examples showing that what I write is far different from other sources. No, I do not have a massive following. Many of my ideas are too detailed, too out of line with the mainstream consciousness. It is not for the zombies, the cultists, the mindless hordes seeking nothing more expansive than what fits in a meme because that is the extent of their mental capacity.

It pisses me off when I spend hours, sometimes days (even weeks) gathering information, fact checking, sometimes running calculations, having spent years studying subjects formally and informally, only to have some deadhead idiot with no comprehensive capacity think that they can contradict something I have written based solely on the article title or a small excerpt while they offer one sentence or less. Yes, that was all one sentence and I actually cut it short.

Read the article before commenting!!!

Sharing every “Hate trump” article, meme or quote you come across by any source, including GWB, does not make you Progressive, “woke” or even remotely conscious. Nor does sharing every pro-Bernie, Warren or whomever article, meme or quote. It makes you a puppet dancing on a string.

To be really Progressive and awake takes a lot more. It takes time, effort, close examination on people and issues. I know most people do not have the time or energy to spend on these things. To know the truth on these things means listening to sane, rational, intelligent voices that have nothing to gain, nothing to lose because they are NOT backed by corporate interests or a profit motive. That fully describes everything I write. I spend time and effort on all of this to condense and interpret it, then use simple language that most people can understand. I break complex issues down over multiple articles that are still in a readable format which will not take days of your life to read.

Yes, what I write can frequently cause a severe disruption in any cognitive dissonance you may have present. That’s generally the point.

If all you want is more of the same thing you hear Fox, CNN, MSNBC or any other corporate mouthpiece spews 24/7/365, from talking heads paid millions of dollars per year to market the views they want you to have or by weapons contractors and CIA propagandists, you have no need for independent content producers. Just stick to what you believe in and never make the attempt to change it, never challenge the authorized narrative. However, then you have to stop claiming you want anything to change for the better. Admit that you just want more of the same. The same names, same voices, same parties, same policies, same tactics, same arguments. You either cannot emotionally handle something different or you fear anything different.

If that’s what you want, stop commenting. We’ve heard what you have to say. Millions of you because you’re cloned, stereotyped, programmed, conditioned, rubber stamped. Stick to corporate media with the rest of the clones. Stick to the same two parties with the rest of the cult. Stick to the pages and groups that never speak a word you disagree with. Keep going through the same processes, same arguments, same statements over and over. If real Progressives want to hear that, we’ll tune in to the sources we turned off long ago for these exact reasons. We don’t need you trying to force it on us.

Trump’s Parade

Democrats and neoliberal media are having a meltdown over Trump’s military parade. I’m a veteran and don’t GAF.

You think there is something wrong with this? Yeah, I do. Along with a lot more in this country.

I think it’s wrong when military recruiters show up at high schools. Especially when they show up at a hell of a lot more schools in low income minority-majority neighborhoods than high income white-majority neighborhoods, where they are virtually absent.

I think it’s wrong that ROTC is a thing in public schools at all. And I went through ROTC in high school.

I think it’s wrong when we have military “patriotic” displays at sporting events, paid for with your tax dollars, whether you support it or not, whether you attend sporting events or not.

I think it’s wrong when “news” (sic) media channels host advertising for military contractors.

I think it’s wrong when those same “news” outlets have “experts” from weapons manufacturers and “intelligence” (propaganda factory) agencies, with every single one of them trying to get you to support the next war and the one after that, the one after that, the one after that….

I think it’s wrong when Brian Williams refers to “the beauty of our weapons”.

I think it’s wrong when veterans have a medical system separate and apart from non-military civilians.

I think it’s wrong when I tell people I am a veteran and they thank me for my service. I rarely get that kind of response when I tell them I am a nurse or a Progressive writer.

I do more to fight for their rights, freedom and welfare now as a writer than I did as a veteran!!!!!

I think it’s wrong when we have multiple holidays worshiping the military.

I think it’s wrong when most of the history taught in schools has more to do with warfare than any other, more important part of our history. Always portraying the US as the world hero and any opponent as nothing short of demonic.

I think it’s wrong that you don’t hear a damn word from “The Resistance” opposing military buildup along the Russian border, the South China Sea, off the coast of North Korea, in 50 African nations, threatening Venezuela.

I think it’s wrong that there are slave markets in the streets of Libya thanks to US “humanitarian intervention”.

I think it’s wrong that we are bombing 7 countries right this minute, some of whom we have been bombing for 16 and 18 years.

I think it’s wrong that the number of countries we are bombing expanded from 2 countries to 7 under a “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” and the Secretary of State that became the DNC nominee.

I think it’s wrong when Democrats and the media talk about “Russian aggression” yet cannot point to a single aggressive military act by Russia.

I think it’s wrong that we have 1600+ military bases globally while calling any other nation “aggressive”.

I think it’s wrong that social support programs are gutted while our “defense” budget will be increased by another $33–50 BILLION this year. That’s just for the Pentagon. I’ve written extensively that this does not include upgrading nukes, CIA, NSA, FBI or VA funding. When you add all of that to the official Pentagon budget, we spend more on “defense” than every other country on earth COMBINED. Even though nobody has threatened us.

I think it’s wrong that every politician that receives military contractor “donations” advocates for a “strong defense”. Really? When do we consider our “defense” to be strong enough? Where is the cutoff for this?

I think it is wrong that it is legal for military contractors to “donate” money to political campaigns when that very money came from taxpayers pockets.

I think it’s wrong that we are threatening Iran due to an attack on two Japanese ships, with no evidence Iran did anything and while the Japanese prime minister was in Iran on a diplomatic mission. Have you heard “The Resistance” speak out against any aggression toward Iran?

I think it’s wrong that we give nearly $4 billion a year to Israel while they slaughter Palestinians.

I think it’s wrong that we are buying oil from Saudi Arabia, helping to fund their genocide of Yemeni people.

I think it’s wrong that we have no arms embargo against Israel or Saudi Arabia.

I think it’s wrong that too many Americans are brainwashed enough to believe anything at all about Russiagate.

Fine. You object to his military parade? Then don’t tune in. Leave the corporate stations with no views at all. Leave the National Mall empty. Don’t mention it, don’t make it trend, don’t increase traffic and views regarding it. Don’t talk about it. Ignore it.

On the other hand, this would be the perfect opportunity to raise your voices and hold anti-war marches nationally. Are YOU going to do that?

Didn’t think so. If the same parade had been held by Obama or Hillary, would you object? Didn’t think so. So STFU. Your objection is false, empty and useless. You just want a warmonger that uses prettier words.

Happy Independence Day

Freedom!

Some Americans are free from having a roof over their heads.

Some are free from knowing where their next meal is coming from.

Some are free from a living wage. Or any wage at all.

Some are free from financial security, too far in debt because of the loans they signed to get an education.. so they could gain financial security.

Some are free from the life maintaining medications they need.

Some are free from the basic medical care they need.

Some are free from bodily limbs or emotional stability, surrendered to wars for corporate profits.

Some are free from having a choice over their own body.

Some are free from their freedom because they ingested a substance deemed “illegal”. Or because of planted evidence.

Some are free from a safe environment because of the crossfire between criminals and law enforcement.

Some are free from feeling safe if pulled over or just walking down the street because of the color of their skin.

Some are incarcerated, held in cages, possibly too young to walk, because their freedom to remain safe and alive in their own country was taken.

Some are free from the right to speak their own voice against corporate interests.

Some are free from the ability to reveal the truth about the atrocities and illegalities of our own government.

Some are free from the right to vote, to change things. Possibly even with no criminal charges against them but because of where they reside or changed registration or discarded ballots.

Some are free from the right to openly practice their own religion.

Some are free from the right to use a bathroom of the gender they associate with.

Some are free from the right to marry the person they love.

Some are free from the right to enlist in the military because of their sexual orientation and/or body self image.

Some are free from having safe water to drink.

America. Land of the Free. Home of Independence. Where none of us are free and all of us are dependent on one another, like it or not.

This Independence Day, ask yourself what you are celebrating. Recall that this country was created by Revolution, by people rising up against an oppressive government and corporate power.

It’s not enough to be unhappy with the conditions in this country. We must be willing to stand up and DO something about it.

I’m ready. Are you?

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Flooding In Midwest, Huawei, China, EU Tariffs.. It’s Not Looking Good

It was announced this week that Trump will ease sanctions on Huawei following an 80 minute discussion at the G20 Summit. While some may find this a good thing, many others say not so fast. Huawei is not expecting that this means they will be allowed further access to the US market.

In any case, easing of such sanctions tends to negate the claims that banning Huawei had anything to do with national security.

Trump claimed some weeks ago that China had agreed to purchase more agricultural products from the US. There were no specifics given in that statement, true to form for Trump. This must be called into question with recent flooding in the Midwestern US, which has caused late planting of millions of acres of crops.

The fact is, many crops will simply not be planted at all this year. Most strains of corn take too long to reach harvest to bother planting at all at this date. Farmers may be able to plant other crops in some limited cases. Though much of that will be determined by whether weather permits, availability of seed, if their equipment is compatible with other crops, time to harvest for the alternative crops and other factors.

No matter what, with sanctions on goods from other countries, including agricultural products combined with extensive flooding, you can expect grocery prices to increase in the near future on top of the price of other products imported from China, Mexico, Canada and the EU.

It was also announced this week that Trump will be imposing tariffs on multiple EU products, allegedly due to subsidizing of aircraft parts. Never mind US subsidizing of oil, coal, agricultural products and other industries. The EU is expected to respond with tariffs of their own on US products.

Translation- You pay more.

OPEC has chosen to limit oil production until next April. Which will drive the price of oil and gas higher in this country. They made this decision at the same time that the US has an embargo on oil from Russia, Iran and Venezuela, three top oil producing countries, coupled with sanctions on countries that still trade with these countries.

Keep in mind that if the price of oil and gas increase, the price of all consumer products increase along with it due to increased price of manufacturing, processing and shipping at every level.

With the way things are shaping up, not only will we be paying more but there is the distinct possibility that availability of many items could be in shorter supply. Of course, that means capitalists will take advantage of that situation and increase prices on those items, even when the cost has not increased for them. This will result in some items only being available to ever-higher income levels.

Increasing prices, especially in relation to income level, are something this country has become accustomed to over many decades. However, we have not been subjected to limited availability of consumer goods or food. This may be the straw that breaks the social camel’s back.

To make it clear, I do not think that what is coming in the near future will cause large numbers of deaths, perhaps not even illnesses. However it will cause enough inconvenience to those in the middle class who view themselves as “privileged” that it can change their stance. No question the media will blame Trump, China, Russia, Iran and anyone else they can blame. We know the truth, that while nobody controls the weather, corporations dictate trade and both parties have the power to reduce Trump’s power.

This may be enough to start a real Revolution. Let’s do what we can to keep it a peaceful but effective one.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

Help The Democratic Process And Your Favorite Candidates

I started my new website http://rallyandprotest.com/ with a specific goal in mind. To promote citizen inclusion in the democratic process as much as possible. To achieve this, it is intended to be a central website where anyone from any partyany social movement can spread awareness at a reasonable cost, from local to national. No such site exists anywhere else. If you seek information on rallies and protests right now, any information you find will be specific to a single party, candidate or organization.

If you go to the message board on the site, you’ll see that pricing is reasonable and at the moment I am running a special of 4 event listings for the price of 1 to help get the site off the ground. This will run until 12/31/19. With the special, that means a protest can list their event for as little as $2.50, a sum which is basically disposable for most movements.

Users of the site and message board are not required to register to view event listings. You can register but you don’t have to. There are no ads on the site and there is no mechanism whereby I make any money from traffic to the site. In addition, the privacy policy is pretty simple. No identifiable information will be gathered, so none can be sold. Even if you register, none of your information will be sold to anyone.

If I had the financial means, the entire thing would be free. Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic option. It takes time, money and effort to create, develop, maintain and promote the site. I have not yet gotten to the stage where I can promote the site because there are no listings yet.

There is also the security aspect regarding requiring payment. Charging a fee reduces fraud and spam. Payments have to clear before a listing goes live.

I am currently contacting campaign managers for my local/state campaigns and for presidential campaigns.

This is where readers may be able to help. If you support a certain candidate at any level, belong to a social activist organization planning an upcoming event, please tell them about the site. Be sure to point out that listings will include text message updates on events free of charge. There is virtually nothing for them to lose and much potential gain in terms of visibility.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

The Programming of America, Pt 6- Cult of Personality

As I have detailed throughout this series, the media and the government discourage critical thinking and try to incite emotional reflexes, suppressing critical thinking. This is true from advertising to news to music to movies and TV to political campaigns.

Where political campaigns are concerned, ideas and issues are discouraged. Instead, you are expected to focus on a name. There is a story, a legend, an emotional response created to accompany the name, the face which is packaged and sold to you like toothpaste. “Want whiter teeth and fresher breath? Vote for Joe/Jane Doe!!” It really is no different.

You are sold the idea of fear. Then a candidate promises to keep you “safe”. The threat does not have to be real, only your perception of a threat has to be real. If they keep repeating it, they condition an emotional response in the average person. If the narrative is questioned, no need to respond using facts, just accuse your questioner of “treason”, being “anti-American”, an agent of a foreign government (the outsider/invader), a “coward”, “weak”. Call them “inexperienced” and “naive”. Use blame and state or merely insinuate that they or some cohort they belong to are the reason for every problem the country has. In all cases, use emotion to condition a negative response to any opponent or questioner of the narrative.

The next time you watch a political debate, watch these dynamics in action. When you’re aware of it, the entire picture changes in your perception.

One of the most popular emotional tactics used in politics is the portrayal of a candidate as an underdog, disadvantaged and winning against the odds. Or they portray themselves as an insider who knows all the tricks, all the people to “get things done” and hence their success. The goal being to gain feelings of camaraderie or as someone to be respected and looked up to. That’s not even saying this is a negative, just something to be aware of. Business people and lawyers try and portray themselves as being knowledgeable. Military veterans try and portray themselves as aggressive. Lesser known, female and minority candidates portray themselves as having fought their way up, even when they did not. All of them try and portray themselves as having esoteric knowledge of information which you are not privy to. Of course, they can never convey that knowledge openly because “national security”.

The most interesting part of this is that nothing at all makes this country less secure than does “national security”.

Basically, political candidates try to be more like pop stars than political candidates. You can blame most of this on campaign managers and the media, though many candidates are better at putting on a public show than they are at governing. If they have policies and platforms, they try and hide their true agendas until after the election because most of those agendas are nothing you, the voter, would approve of. In other cases, the only thing they have is their public persona which is devoid of substance. Much like the majority of pop stars. The unfortunate thing is that many Americans would vote for a vapid pop star over a rational and intelligent candidate with genuine policies because too many Americans don’t want to extend the effort to think hard enough to understand what the candidate has to say.

The only way that this country or the world is going to improve the conditions we currently have will be to put empty emotions aside, think objectively, listen critically and ask questions we may wish to avoid because the answers reveal truths that are uncomfortable. We need to seek out less of names and more substance. Less cheer leading and more policy. More truth and less “feel good” messaging. Which means WE have to step up and be brave. These people are our elected representatives, not our “leaders”, not our parents, not our friends. They are applying for a job. Once hired, we need to hold them accountable for doing that job effectively. Stop allowing for human mistakes. They have staffs, advisers and entire government agencies in addition to their constituents to rely on for assistance and information. They have few if any excuses other than intentional misdeeds. Holding their feet to the fire and demanding better is the only way we will ever get better from them.

This is not a pop concert. Stop acting like it is.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

The Programming of America, Pt 5, Sex and Violence Sell

A major recurrent theme in the programming of people is the constant onslaught of sex and violence in media. From prime time television to YouTube videos to cable to movies to anything you can name. Print, video, static images, song lyrics, books all sell themselves too often based on the most primal human instincts.

The reason for this is simple. Sex and violence incite responses which are indeed primal. People focusing on what are nothing more than hormonal impulses have the tendency to cease thinking critically. This is historically especially true of men but is just as true of women today.

However, this concept can be expanded to include anything emotional. From tear-jerking stories meant to provoke empathy to cutesy advertising featuring puppies, kittens, pandas or sloths.

Once your emotions are engaged, most people never get past the immediate emotional response. If you are able to overcome that emotional reaction, chances are you will be labeled. Cold, mean, frigid, cowardly, weak. Thus, even those able to overcome the emotional influence may not vocalize the fact openly for fear of being ostracized in some way, leaving them rejected, isolated, their humanity or simply attractiveness degraded, judged, considered “less than”.

We live in a society where men who are violent are considered “manly”. Gun or sword fights are “exciting”. Those who use their mental faculties may be seen as incapable of violence, fearful, less able to provide.

People who remove their clothing at the drop of a hat are considered desirable. Those who show more modesty no longer have a mystery to them. They are seen as avoiding intimacy or passion.

In each of these cases, the consequences of actions in real life to violence or sexual promiscuity can be damaging or even deadly. They can ruin lives personally, socially, professionally.

It often seems like our society has gone backward on the evolutionary scale, being driven by basal instincts led around by our primitive brains. Some would call it our “lizard brains”.

Basically all of this comes from the marketing industry. As mentioned earlier in this series, the marketing industry focuses on gaining emotional reactions. Using social anxiety to sell deodorant and toothpaste. Fear of illness to sell medications and insurance. Hunger and craving to sell food. Violence to sell movies and TV shows. Sex to sell beer, perfume, clothing and anything else you can name.

The less you rely on hormonal impulses and the more you rely on your intellect, the more informed you can be and the less you can be manipulated. There is literally no advantage to relying on hormonal reactions over rational thinking. Believing that hormones and primitive behavior is more important than rational thought places you squarely in the realm of anachronistic middle school jock, bully and “mean girl” mentality. You know, the people we all despised when we were younger because they were vapid and had nothing useful to offer.

For the record, using your brain does not make you less capable of defense or weak. Those who cannot think for themselves become servants to those who can. Besides, intelligence is truly sexy. Nothing is hotter than a smart woman. Like my gf.

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I am an independent writer with no corporate sponsors or backing. The only income I make from my writing comes from views. At least I have reached the point where it makes more than it costs me! lol! (Not by much.)My writing is done in between full time (and overtime) nursing, shared custody of my brilliant daughter and mundane existence.

I have opened my new website which is intended to be a central listing of protests and political rallies across the US. It’s still a work in progress but is functional. You can find it at http://RallyAndProtest.com

Please consider becoming a patron on Patreon. I try and average at least 20 articles a month, so a $1 a month donation would come down to 5¢ per article to support independent, non-corporate writing. My Patreon page is here.

If you care to share articles with those who do not have Medium or Patreon accounts, I also post most of my articles on my own website, which has no advertising and I pay for with income from writing. My website is at https://issuesunite.com/ and all articles can be shared freely. You can always quote me, no attribution required. My goal is spreading information and awareness. The whole point is building a better, more peaceful, more equitable world for us and future generations.

America Has No Enemies, Meeting With Foreign Leaders Is Not Treason

I see a lot of people sharing articles from clickbait farms and neoliberal propaganda warmonger sites about Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un. In the last few days, the same sites and people were sharing stuff about Trump shaking hands with Vladimir Putin.

In every case, the claim or implication is that Trump is committing treason.

First, consider what the Constitution considers treason. For any person to be guilty of treason means that Congress has formally declared war against another country. The guilty party then must be offering aid in some form to that country. Congress has not declared war against any country as of this time. Treason is not a charge which can be applied retroactively.

What you need to be paying attention to is what the “Resistance” suggests regarding any path to peace or diplomacy with alleged “enemies”. Because when you look at things from that perspective, they have nothing. Not one word about ending a single conflict, reducing tensions with other nations, bringing troops home from conflict zones, cutting military spending or US military presence anywhere in the world.

Does this mean I trust Trump? Absolutely not. North Korea has described Trump and his testosterone-drunken team as “gangsters”. In multiple cases there are convincing cases that he plans to make personal financial gains from any so-called “peace efforts” he has engaged in. Has the “Resistance” stepped in to prevent his profit motive? Have they devised stipulations that include peace but eliminate his opportunity to make a profit? Taken part in the peace process to make it more equitable and convince other countries that we are indeed not a threat to them?

No, they haven’t. Because we are a threat. In some way we are a genuine, very real threat to every nation, every person on earth in numerous ways at all times.

Some people discuss sanctions in ways that illustrate the fact that they have no understanding of how sanctions work. I’ve written about how sanctions work and how damaging they are many times. Sanctions kill human beings in targeted countries. Do you consider it peaceful when a person starves to death or dies from lack of medical treatment, rather than being shot or bombed? Dying slowly and painfully from preventable conditions imposed on your country is peaceful? In addition, sanctions do extensive damage to countries considered our allies. Sanctions reduce sales between countries, meaning allied countries may have to find alternative sources to buy products (like oil or grain) they once bought at more reasonable prices from the now-sanctioned nation. Or they lose sales to the now-sanctioned nation, which can and has destroyed entire industries in allied nations. How is that being helpful or a friend to our own allies?

Russia is no threat to us. I’ve written extensively on that subject. What is a threat to us is our continued threat against Russia, including our sanctions on our own allies.

North Korea is no threat to us. They have never threatened the US and their only threats involving any countries are solely in self defense.

Iran is no threat to us. Nobody claims they have missiles or weaponry of any kind that could reach the continental US. They have not invaded another country for over 200 years. They are not against Jews, they host the second largest Jewish population in the Middle East after Israel. They have synagogues older than the founding of the US and the Jewish population worships their faith openly.

Venezuela is no threat to us. That’s it, they’re no threat to us. Period.

China is no military threat to us. Unless we give them reason to be and even then it will likely only be in that region, where our military has no business in the first place.

Other countries hacking our elections are not a threat. It is a rationale to move to systems which are not online. You know, like paper ballots?

Other countries hacking our electrical grid are not a threat. It is a rationale to move to systems which are not online. You know, like we had for decades? There is literally no reason for our electric plants to be online in the first place. Who the fuck ever thought that was a good idea?!!!

When Trump threatens other countries, the “Resistance” and media have nothing to say in opposition. No more than there was any opposition or objection when Nobel Peace Prize winning Obama expanded bombing from 2 countries to 7 countries, largely with Hillary’s help as SoS. Nobody who supported Hillary said anything when she threatened to use “political, economic and military force” in response to alleged electronic warfare.

I understand you hate Trump. I agree. There is much about him which earns that sentiment. However, international conflict at this point is not about him. This is about you. To oppose Trump does not mean you should support tensions with other countries which may lead to even more wars. You cannot personally object to the ridiculously large military and “defense” budget while endorsing the same sentiments and paranoia which capitalize (literally) on the basis for that budget. You cannot blame Trump for this. If you want to blame someone for the next war, look in the mirror. Yes, he is a threat but so are you. If he leaves office without starting another war, then you will still be here. Your hate and fear will still be here. The defense budget will not decrease as long as you keep cowering in terror based on nothing.

We have many things to fear in this country. Let me repeat that. We have many things to fear IN this country. Not a damn one of those things can be solved with missiles, bombs, invading other countries, arming oligarchs conducting genocide. None of those problems can be solved by spending the entire federal budget on weaponry. None of that makes us safer. None of that improves international relations. None of that improves access to healthcare, improves wages, helps the homeless, improves education, decreases racism/sexism/religious prejudice. None of that does anything about censorship and in fact is the basis for much of our censorship.

Either you are for peace or you are for conflict and war.You are for the US being the good guys or the US being the global bully. There is no middle ground on this. Nobody has threatened us. If we have enemies, we created those enemies and we are creating more daily. No more excuses. What is YOUR choice on this?

I am for peace.

The Case For Federally Funded Elections

Many people realize that one of the biggest problems we have with our electoral and legislative systems in this country are based in corporate control of our government. Many have focused on Citizens United in the belief that rescinding CU would solve this problem. However, this is not true. We had corporate money in politics and elections long before CU came along. Rescinding CU would be nothing but a symbolic measure which had no actual effect whatsoever.

Let’s begin with election campaigns. The majority of election campaigns are mostly funded by corporate and rich donors. Those donors don’t fund campaigns out of the goodness of their hearts or dedication to democracy. They fully expect to gain from those “donations” in the form of legislation favorable to them. Which they typically get.

The only real way that we can solve this issue is by federally funded elections. It would be more difficult to eliminate PACs, since SCOTUS ruled decades ago that corporate speech is free speech. That’s difficult to argue against without impacting other forms of free speech. However, by eliminating all direct donations to campaigns, we could have the potential to move the goalposts in our favor and reduce the so-called “debt” any candidate has to their “donors”.

Before I even launch into the advantages of federally funded elections, let me address the most common objection to it. That we would have to pay for it. The fact is, you already pay for election campaigns and lobbying. You pay for it with every consumer dollar you spend. With profits corporations make and turn around to “donate”. With low wages from employers so they can reserve their funds for lobbying. With subsidies handed to corporations which cost you, the consumer and taxpayer hundreds of billions of dollars a year. You pay with military contracts paid by a “defense” budget which increases tens of billions of dollars every single year. That money gets spent on campaign donations, lobbying and advertising. When Boeing, Raytheon and other DoD contractors advertise on corporate media, that is your tax money they are spending to do so. Now, don’t you feel secure and safe?

One advantage to federally funded elections would be that we could very well include equal funding for not the top two parties but the top four parties. I’ve said on many occasions that one option is a mandate, two options are an ultimatum. It takes at least three options to be a choice.

Another advantage to federally funded elections would be that a candidate would not have to be rich to be a candidate. The majority of congressional representatives are millionaires or billionaires. There are several reasons for this. One is that the rich tend to have more direct connections to other rich people, which gives them an advantage when seeking funding for their campaigns. The other is that it costs money to take time off from work to campaign. That may still remain true, unless we included basic living salaries for candidates, at least once they gained the nomination for their parties. At that point they would no longer be beholden to anyone but the American people they are seeking to represent.

One more advantage would be freeing time up for elected officials to actually do their jobs. Members of Congress have been documented to spend half of every single work day making calls to “donors”. They often start raising money for their next campaign as soon as they assume office or win an election. Thus, they are calling and asking for money from corporate and rich entities while in office, during the very hours they are supposed to be legislating and attending to their official duties associated with their office. It doesn’t even matter if they do favors for their donors, they are already spending 50% of their time not doing what they were elected to do!

Of course, campaign funding reform would only be the beginning but a very important one. To have a truly representative government, reform would have to include other measures.

Some have proposed measures which limit elected officials from acting as lobbyists for a specific time frame after leaving office. My own proposal goes much further. Make corporate lobbying a criminal offense subject to mandatory prison time for both lobbyist and lobbied official. The most recent estimate I heard states that there are 8 lobbyists in DC for every member of Congress.

A Duke University study several years ago found that if 100% of the American public supported specific legislation, that had absolutely NO affect on the legislation passing. However, if corporate/rich donors supported legislation, the chances of that specific legislation passing were 60%, even if the public was 100% opposed to that legislation.

In this particular case, the most powerful would of course claim that making lobbying illegal would be an infringement of their freedom of speech. That’s not true at all. They would still have their freedom of speech. They would just not have ready access to elected officials whom the general public has no access to on an equal basis. It is the direct access to elected officials whom they hold in debt which needs to be considered a criminal offense.

Of course, they could always use advertising to try and sway public opinion. The majority of that advertising would be via corporate media. I’ve told people for years to turn off corporate media. Stop letting corporations think for you.

Though the best option would be allowing them their voice. As long as it is in a public venue, announced in advance with the general public allowed to attend and speak for or against any legislation proposed. Then we would have complete transparency of any lobbying taking place.

Whether by advertising or in public venues, that would completely eliminate any claims by corporations and the rich that their freedom of speech had been impacted. They would have freedom of speech but it would have to be in full public view, not behind closed doors, not using bank accounts. The general public would also have our freedom of speech. With our wallets. If we object to certain legislation, we vocalize it. If our voices are not heard, we boycott. It’s just that simple. Money speaks louder than words (or even human lives) to capitalists.

Now, if you disagree, feel free to say so but include what suggestions you have which you think are better. Dissent without an alternative is worth nothing. It’s all about solutions.

The Case For Forgiving Student Debt And “Free” College

I have been in favor of forgiving student debt since first hearing Jill Steintalking about the subject. To be honest, while I have been in favor of universal adult education for decades, I had not considered this possibility until I heard her speaking about it.

I get sick of hearing people calling this idea “Bernie Sanders’ idea”. No, it’s not. Fact is, this has been on the Green Party platform since 2014. Yes, the party platform. Compare to the DNC, which opposes the idea as a party. This is not something which will make it to the DNC platform any more than universal healthcare will. BTW, universal healthcare is also not “his idea”. I have been in favor of universal healthcare for decades also. Numerous countries have had universal healthcare and adult education for as long as 70 years.

If you truly support an idea, an issue, that means voting in a way that you can believe it may be acted upon because it takes more than one person to bring it to reality. When a party opposes legislation and a candidate has a history of compromise on vital issues, then talking points mean nothing at all.

No matter who may or may not bring student loan forgiveness into being, it is a very good, very effective idea which would benefit the economy to a great degree. So, let’s explore how it would help the economy and real people on the ground.

First of all, this would free up billions of dollars in a single year which is currently being paid to banks. In other words, this money is suspended from being used in the general economy. So forgiving student loans would put money back in the pockets of consumers. This is money which would nearly all be spent in the general economy. This would increase real profit margins, maintain and create jobs.

Obviously, this would generate sales tax revenue for municipalities and states. In addition, it would increase income tax revenue from workers who benefited from the jobs maintained and created.

This would not be a short term boost to the economy. A one time forgiveness of student loans would mean increased money in the general economy for years, even decades. Students who currently have large student loans with years to pay on them would instead be boosting the economy with the money currently going to banks for the entire length of the remaining time left on their loans. So this would not be a one-time-and-done deal. Nor would it be like tax breaks for the rich, which just went to increased profit margins and stock repurchases.

Student loan forgiveness would be best if coupled with universal adult education. In other words, “free” college for US citizens.

However, in each case this should come with certain limitations and exceptions to truly benefit the economy.

First, both student loan forgiveness and free adult education should have an income cap. Being reasonable, say only available to students whose family incomes are below $200,000 a year. (Income meaning from all sources.) For families with incomes above that, it would simply result in more welfare to the rich. The wealthy simply don’t even feel the cost of education like poor and middle class people do. That’s not saying they could not deduct tuition, fees, books and student loan interest on their taxes, so that amount is not taxed.

There should also be legislation placing a cap on profit percentage for adult education facilities and organizations. Something reasonable like 15% at most. No deductions allowed for executive bonuses, sports facilities and related expenses, advertising and extracurricular events/facilities/etc. This would limit the continued rise in the cost of education.

Participation in universal adult education should not be mandatory. Colleges and universities that choose to opt out should be allowed to. However, this should come at the cost of no longer receiving any federal or state funding at all. No federal research contracts, either.

For those that object to student loan forgiveness because “I paid for my college”, I challenge you here and now. Pick a college or university. If the one you attended still exists, use that one. Go to their website and look at what the current costs are to attend compared to when you attended. Be sure to include all fees. Then look up the cost of textbooks for the subject you studied. Multiply the cost per credit hour times the number of hours you completed. Do not comment until you do so. When you do reply, be sure and include how much you paid and how much the same program costs now. Then and only then, explain how you don’t understand the situation students face today. No insults, no profanity, no diversions, no exceptions.

If enacted these issues would improve the US economy, the standard of living for millions of Americans, expand availability of higher education and improve the education level of the US, which has badly fallen behind other countries.

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