Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

More RNC

Today the NYT printed an article referring to the Social Conservative influence on the republican platform. Among the items was the following:

quote:
he Republican platform echoes Mr. Bush and says the cuts must be made permanent. "We believe that good government is based on a system of limited taxes and spending,'' it says. "The taxation system should not be used to redistribute wealth or fund ever-increasing entitlements and social programs.''

The platform describes the current deficit of $445 billion as "unwelcome but manageable,'' and argues that it should be reduced by cutting spending, not limiting tax cuts.

Republicans also called once again for "strengthening Social Security with ownership,'' allowing workers to direct part of their payroll taxes to personal investment accounts. Critics assert that the transition costs of such partial privatization would be huge because tax revenues would be diverted from the Social Security system into the private accounts.


According to the US Budget Office, the debt as a percentage of the GDP is only 3%. This is why talk about it is probably wayy overrated. I'll admit to having been worked up into a frenzy about the debt, but seeing as how last year (2003)reciepts by the government amounted to $1.7 trillion with a GDP of $10.8 trillion, paying down $375 Billion would be easy. In fact the "discretionary budget authority" line item of the budget for 2004, which includes the Homeland Security nondefense budget and "other operations" by itself accounts for more than 2X the deficit.
Furthermore; the Department of Defense saw a "growth in discretionary spending" of $385 billion a 32.8% increase in 5 years. In that same time the Social Security admin has gotten $6.7 billion and the Education department $55.7 billion. The Housing and Urban development department has seen $30.1 billion. Clearly the priorities of the government are clear: Better to be able to blow up as many people as possible ( and have the attitude to match) than spend to educate, house and look after the elderly in the population. Upon closer examination we could ask where the $385 billion goes. Well we know that Lockheed-Martin is a huge contractor with the DOD. Last april they reported:

Lockheed Martin reported a rise of 16 per cent in first quarter net profits on Tuesday and forecast increased full-year sales and earnings. The arms and aerospace manufacturer saw net earnings rise to $291m on sales up 18 per cent at $8.3bn. Earnings per share rose to 65 cents from 55 cents a year before.

The company said its guidance for the full year had been revised upwards with sales now seen at $33.8bn-34.8bn, up from $33.5bn-34.5bn. The forecast earnings per share range was lifted by 10 cents to $2.50-2.60.

The aeronautics division came out top with operating profit up 42 per cent at $206m on higher deliveries and increases in combat aircraft programmes. Electronic systems operating profit rose 10 per cent to $202m with space systems rising 15 per cent to $120m as one contract was completed and US government support for another programme supported profits.

The smaller systems and solutions, and information and technology divisions also recorded healthy profit growth in the quarter.


Back to the platform though. Most Americans haven't a clue about how money works. Furthermore, the use of stocks as a vehicle to create wealth for retirement sounds more like a means for companies to get investor money. To be frank, I don't see the point, when so much money is spent on other things in the budget. In fact I think that if most Americans had a clue as to how much of thier taxes are going to the DOD, they would start to question the lines given to them by politicians. Ultimately though such questions wont be asked and the facts and figures would go over the average citizens head.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The RNC or The Terror Convention

I missed much of the DNC 'cause I was in Chicago. The RNC is here in NY and I tell you there is some shady dealings going on here in the US. The Republicans, each and every one that has spoken, that I've caught, has been playing the fear/revenge/faith card. These have to be the most base instincts to push in humans. Fear leads to want of revenge and if you believe that God tell you to do so, you've got the perfect trifecta. This is in contrast to much of the opposition ( I did NOT say Democrats). The opposition deal squarely with higher brain functions. Again, I'm not trying to say that Republicans are not intelligent. Far from it. They have intelligently outmaneuvered the Democrats and other opposition groups. The problem the opposition has is that it does not largely push the "instinct" buttons. It is not instinctional to not fear ( at least not for adults). It is not instinctual to resist the urge to seek revenge, but to think clearly. So the opposition has more work to do because it not only has to convince people to not listen to their instincts, but they also have then convince them of the effectiveness of alternative action. This is why Dean (or Sharpton for that matter) could not be allowed to get the DLC nomination. It's too much work, it is easier to attempt to graft onto the fear plantform. That is what Kerry is trying to do, but he's not as crafty as those in the Republican camp.

Senator Mc Cain, who some democrats think is on there side (put down the crack pipe), just like Kerry justified the invasion of Iraq. And the worst part about it is that there are enough facts out there to show the whole story about Iraq is not as it has been presented and yet and still at least half the US population believes in the story from the Republicans.

Fooliani (Rudy G) Milking 9-11, stated that as long as GW is in office, the "terrorists" will 'hear from us." Well ok, assuming GW does win, he only has another 4 years. Assuming that all terrorists are not killed off in the next 4 years, then what? Another republican president just like Bush? Ok...... Gulianni is milking the terrorism angle like a Dairy farmer.
Cosby Strikes Again

Yesterday on LIke It Is with Gill Noble, Bill Cosby was seen at a Newark Church talking with a number of gang members who had formed a truce. This ofd course does not fit with the image that some black "pundits" painted of a ranting and taving Cosby, who far removed from the people he criticises, does nothing "hands on" to deal with those who he speaks about. He was his usual comic self. Most importantly when he spoke he made it very clear that each of the men involved had made a choice to be at that church, at that program, rather than be wherever else they could have been. He said that ultimately thier lives would come down to the choices they make. So again, the Cosby haters were wrong and most likely, and as usual, they won't be big enough to admit it.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Lesser Evil

There is a good read over at counterpunch today.
quote:

It may have been easy once to dismiss this as a message from the lunar right. But Brzezinski is mainstream. His devoted students include Madeleine Albright, who, as secretary of state under Clinton, described the death of half a million infants in Iraq during the US-led embargo as "a price worth paying", and John Negroponte, the mastermind of American terror in central America under Reagan who is currently "ambassador" in Baghdad. James Rubin, who was Albright's enthusiastic apologist at the State Department, is being considered as John Kerry's national security adviser. He is also a Zionist; Israel's role as a terror state is beyond discussion.


Cast an eye over the rest of the world. As Iraq has crowded the front pages, American moves into Africa have attracted little attention. Here, the Clinton and Bush policies are seamless. In the 1990s, Clinton's African Growth and Opportunity Act launched a new scramble for Africa. Humanitarian bombers wonder why Bush and Blair have not attacked Sudan and "liberated" Darfur, or intervened in Zimbabwe or the Congo. The answer is that they have no interest in human distress and human rights, and are busy securing the same riches that led to the European scramble in the late 19th century by the traditional means of coercion and bribery, known as multilateralism.


The Congo and Zambia possess 50 per cent of world cobalt reserves; 98 per cent of the world's chrome reserves are in Zimbabwe and South Africa. More importantly, there is oil and natural gas in Africa from Nigeria to Angola, and in Higleig, south-west Sudan. Under Clinton, the African Crisis Response Initiative (Acri) was set up in secret. This has allowed the US to establish "military assistance programmes" in Senegal, Uganda, Malawi, Ghana, Benin, Algeria, Niger, Mali and Chad. Acri is run by Colonel Nestor Pino-Marina, a Cuban exile who took part in the 1961 Bay of Pigs landing and went on to be a special forces officer in Vietnam and Laos, and who, under Reagan, helped lead the Contra invasion of Nicaragua. The pedigrees never change


read on....

Links:
http://www.counterpunch.org/pilger08232004.html
The State Police

In a continuation of the police state that has engulfed the US once again, I offer you This little piece regarding how bad things are getting.

quote:
Turn to Philadelphia, and were protestors accused? Yes. But convicted? Mostly not. In fact, the enormous majority of the cases brought against activists were dismissed, in no small part because of the revelations about undercover police tactics that came out in court. Legal documents revealed that in violation of Philadelphia law, the police infiltrated protest groups, spied on organizers, instructed city housing officers to shut down buildings on specious pretexts, police provocateurs provoked violence. Federal, state and local police, it turned out, were working together with the Secret Service – and the basis for at least one group of search warrants was a report produced by a extremist right wing think tank, the Maldon Institute. One targeted demonstrator, arrested while walking down the street, made history when he became the first American ever accused – but not convicted – of brandishing a cellphone with intent to commit a crime. Bail was set at $1million.

All of this, it should be said, was long before the PATRIOT ACT.

Why go into all this history? Well look at this way, the very same guy who was police chief in Philadelphia is now advising the city of New York on policing the RNC. After Philly, John Timoney became the chief of police in Miami where he oversaw the militarization of that city in advance of the protests targeting the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit. A judge presiding over the cases of protestors arrested there told the Miami Herald that he personally witnessed no less than 20 felonies committed by police officers during the FTAA demonstrations. Miami got $8.5 million in federal funds "for security" from the money approved for spending in Iraq
[my italics]

I doubt if any of the officers who committed those felonies were arrested, tried, convicted and jailed for those offenses. The reason why this stuff is getting attention is because unlike the prevailing police state that has been in various black communities since we've been here in the States, "wholesome" and "impressionable" white youth are being locked up and brutilized and parents are worried that it could be thier kid next.

The one thing I do have to say is that I have witnessed the Anarchist work first hand and they have had a habit of brteakign out and doing what they want when they want, which can be a bad reflection on the larger group. However, I have never seen Anarchists, in NY, destroy any property. And given that the "intelligence" agencies are very willing to plant antagonists into organizations, i would not be surprised at all if such provocateurs were in fact the source of violence.

Now some people, think that such actions by the state are all good. Their basic argument is that they feel that they can sit at home and say whatever comes to mind. They can sit in a cafe and talk and have no police bother them, they see talking heads on TV argue for or against a particular position and say to themselves "see there's free speech." What they fail to realize is that getting ones voice on the airwaves is nearly impossible without the "approval" of the gatekeepers and most gatekeepers want cash. Furthermore, most of the people who hold the "all good" position don't find themselves on the "wrong side" of policy. They fail to realize that they test of democracy is not what is done to those that you agree with, but what is done for those who disagree.
The arresting of people on the street on trumped up charges, in order to prevent them from exercizing their "right" to assemble is clearly unconstitutional. It is the same as what the US charges Cuba and China for doing. I repeat this is the same behavoir that human rights organizations condemn in many countries around the world. Just because a country has the most nukes and the [temporarily] most powerful economy does not exempt it.

Links:
http://www.alternet.org/election04/19667/

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Coup Plot Deepens

Earlier this year Zimbabwe officials stopped a plane full of mercenaries apparently on it's way to Equatorial Guinea for what appeared to be a coup attempt. The plane involved was traced back to South Africa. There were denials all around. Well today Margaret Thatcher's son, Mark Thatcher was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the coup attempt. That, to me, leads the trail to Great Britain. If it does lead to GB, then it's position against Zimbabwe's current leadership becomes even more untenable and hypopcritical.

quote:
Police are investigating Thatcher on charges of violating South Africa's tough anti-mercenary law in connection with what officials have called a plot to overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer.

Eighty four foreigners, mostly South Africans, have been put on trial simultaneously in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea in one of Africa's most spectacular mercenary cases for decades.

"We have alleged that he (Thatcher) is a financier in that particular coup attempt ... we are looking for documents that are going to assist us in our investigation. We take this very seriously," Ngwema said as his colleagues searched the house.

"He should not use our country as a springboard to export violence and disorder," he added.

Local media said he is a friend of Simon Mann, the former British special forces member regarded as the leader of the Zimbabwe group of suspected mercenaries, who were arrested in March when their plane landed in Harare on what officials said was a trip to join co-conspirators in Equatorial Guinea.

At their trial in Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday, a South African suspect told the court the plotters hoped to install an exiled opposition politician at the helm of the oil-rich state.

South African Nick du Toit said he had met with Mann, who is among those now held in Zimbabwe, to discuss buying weapons, recruiting personnel and logistics for the alleged coup plot.



links:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/3596948.stm
http://cnn.netscape.cnn.com/ns/news/story.jsp?floc=FF-RTO-PLS&idq=/ff/story/0002/20040825/0701903354.htm&photoid=20040825LON803

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Willy Williams Just Can't Stop

I wish I were paid to write anything that comes to mind. Mr. Willy Socialism is evil Attempted to answer some of his detractors by pointing to a portion of Article 1 section8 of the US Constitution which he quoted as:

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution enumerates just what federal functions Congress has taxing and spending authority. Among them are national defense, post offices and post roads, courts and a few other activities

a "few other activities" such as? Well being one who during myh college years kept a copy of the constitution on my person at all times, I went back and looked at exactly what section 8 says:

Section. 8.


Clause 1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Clause 2: To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

Clause 3: To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Clause 4: To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Clause 5: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

Clause 6: To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Clause 7: To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Clause 9: To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

Clause 10: To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

Clause 12: To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

Clause 13: To provide and maintain a Navy;

Clause 14: To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

Clause 15: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

Clause 16: To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Clause 17: To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, byCession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

Clause 18: To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.


I'm not seeing how this helps Willy's argument. Furthermore there are other sections of the Constitution that directly contradict Willy's point, which was that the taking of public funds to give to some other entity is wrong and that the Federal government does not have the right to do so (he called it theft).

The very next section of the constitution states the following:

Clause 7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

how are appropriations made? Well by the powers described in Section 7 and Section 8. In other words had Willy actually read the document that he chose to back up his argument he would have seen that he had no argument.
In the end Willy's problem is not the mechanics of how public money gets used, it's what it is used for. I think he has an excellent point on that. I definitely do not agree with my taxes going to Israel or Iraq. I don't agree with the massive defence spending that is used to bomb the US' way out of stuff they talked themselves into. But Willy decides to use faulty arguments that most people can see through. And he wonders why he get's asked dumb questions by the press.

Links:
http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html
http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams.html
Comments on Chavez

I was over at the BBC online and read this comment which I believe is a running joke around the world:

Reminds me of the old joke: "Why are there no coup d'etat in the US?" "Because there are no American Embassies in Washington!"

On the real though, On one hand I agree with the commentators that say that Chavez must work to unite the country. Though he won, he still had 42-48 percent of the country that voted against him. I seriously doubt that 40 percent of the population are elites. Therefore much like in the US, a significant portion of the population voted against thier interests. Chavez must organize his party to address these people. We know that the elites are simply greedy, butt kissers, who are shills for a flawed US foreign policy in the region. One commentator said that Chavez has polarised the nation. I disagree, I believe the opposition is in fact the polarisers. It was they that tried to remove Chavez by means of coup. They clearly are not for "rule of law." Even now they refuse to accept that the voting was fair. Indeed thier actions now are indicative of thier true motives. But they will not go away because the current [and most likely next]administration would like nothing more than to continue to fund and support the "opposition." I hope that Chavez's party is training its new leadership. the next election is in 2007 and will no doubt be a very nasty election.This is but a battle won, La luta continua!

The last thing is how the press uses the "deep" divisions in the election to point out how divided the country is and how "volatile" the situation is. However, a large number of people in the US do not approve of Bush. There is great division in the US but no one is acting like the sky will fall any minute. In fact it would appear that Venezuela has shown itself to be more democratic than the US. At least if we were running their system, we could have recalled Bush before the 2004 election.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Marcus Garvey Day

Today August 17th, is the birthdate of Marcus Moziah Garvey. Founder of the UNIA and the Pan-Africanist thought now refered to as Garveyism. Many in the black community are not fully cognizant of the long lasting effects of Garvey. The UNIA was home to Malcolm X's father and the blueprint upon which the Nation Of Islam was founded. Leading Anti-colonial movements and leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and the ANC to name a few, were greatly influenced by Garveyism Indeed the national flags of Malawi, Kenya and Ghana are all derived from the Red, Black and Green of the UNIA. Before Marcus Garvey very few blacks would even dare to think of internationalising the struggle of blacks. Very few organizations were even cognizant of the need for blacks to organize themselves economically and industrially in order to compete in the coming global marketplace. Today such nations that took such advice, such as India and China have become well respected in the world and feared for thier growing economical strength. Meanwhile those who failed to heed the words of Garvey some 80 years ago, now find themselves mired in poverty, AIDS and dependency upon their former colonizers. Their leadership, as Garvey predicted would be vultures of the masses.

Often times people talk about how much progress blacks have made. In terms of social acceptance, this cannot be argued with. Indeed as Garvey told us, the leadership of "colored' organizations had as their goals the social acceptance of blacks in America. In so much as that was thier goal they have suceeded. But Garvey warned us that such a goal in and of itself was dangerous becuase it would distract 'the negro" from developing ecomincally and industrially and would result in blacks falling further and further behind the "more advanced races." If we look across the globe we find that Africa is full of problems. Just two days ago there was a massacre in Burundi. The reason: colonisation by the Tutsis? Colonisation? Zimbabwe is falling into famine because even though the white farmers are off the land, the indigenes apparently have no skills to farm. No doubt white experts will eventually be on the way as most blacks with expertise ( in America) won't volunteer to go. We couldn't get people to go to Liberia in 1924, why would they go now? Black farmers are losing land left right and center in the US, but I bet nary a single one of them would consider opening up shop in Zimbabwe and guarantee themselves a living. But Garvey told us that while telling the Black man and woman that they had no place in Africa, they would go there. And there they are taking the oil. They are taking the Coultan. They are taking the Diamonds, they are taking the coffee. They are taking the Nurses and the Doctors. Everyone can find value in Africa except the black man.

I'm very aware that not all is bad in Africa and not all blacks have it bad. Indeed throughout history it never been bad for alblacks. But unlike so many previously colonized we seem to just not really care for our own general well being. We only do what we see others doing. For example, Pan-Africanism and a Pan-African government wasn't really taken seriously until the EU came to fruition. And even with changes to the OAU to the AU (how much aping can be done?) it is still a ways from where we should be. The overthrow of Artistide is a shameful mark on blacks. To have it happen in the bi-centenial is just even worse. Garvey would have unlikely been alive today. But there is little in my mind that makes me think that he would have been a powerful voice up thorugh the 60's and perhaps the plight of Africans around the globe would be different. Perhaps it was best that he died when he did.

Peace

Garveys' Ghost.

Monday, August 16, 2004

The Police State grows

A while back I reported on how NYPD were found in Boston attending a metting of an civil organization in order to identify protest leadership and plans. Today the The New York Times has posted two articles that should cast aside any doubt as to the police state that the Unites States is becoming under the present administration.

Eric Lichblau has written on how FBI agents have been "visiting" persons from a "list" at their homes in order to "question" them about thier activities surrounding anti-war activity. Of course, just as when Malcolm X and Martin L. King Jr. were under surveliance, the FBI is using the "lookout for criminal activity" as thier cover.

quote:
F.B.I. officials are urging agents to canvass their communities for information about planned disruptions aimed at the convention and other coming political events, and they say they have developed a list of people who they think may have information about possible violence. They say the inquiries, which began last month before the Democratic convention in Boston, are focused solely on possible crimes, not on dissent, at major political events.

"The message I took from it," said Sarah Bardwell, 21, an intern at a Denver antiwar group who was visited by six investigators a few weeks ago, "was that they were trying to intimidate us into not going to any protests and to let us know that, 'hey, we're watching you.' ''

..."We vetted down a list and went out and knocked on doors and had a laundry list of questions to ask about possible criminal behavior," he added. "No one was dragged from their homes and put under bright lights. The interviewees were free to talk to us or close the door in our faces."


Six investigators come to your door, flash FBI badges and most Americans don't think to say "no I'm not saying sqaut, please leave." And we know that refusal to cooperate ( a constitutionally 'guaranteed' right) will only lead to more problems. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

But is this isolated? is it merely the convention? No! Bob Herbert writes in the same edition of the NYT

tate police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November...

"We did a preliminary inquiry into those allegations and then we concluded that there was enough evidence to follow through with a full criminal investigation," said Geo Morales, a spokesman for the Department of Law Enforcement.

The state police officers, armed and in plain clothes, have questioned dozens of voters in their homes. Some of those questioned have been volunteers in get-out-the-vote campaigns.

I asked Mr. Morales in a telephone conversation to tell me what criminal activity had taken place.

"I can't talk about that," he said.

I asked if all the people interrogated were black.

"Well, mainly it was a black neighborhood we were looking at - yes,'' he said.

He also said, "Most of them were elderly."

When I asked why, he said, "That's just the people we selected out of a random sample to interview."

... "People who have voted by absentee ballot for years are refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their homes. And volunteers who have participated for years in assisting people, particularly the elderly or handicapped, are scared and don't want to risk a criminal investigation."


MAy be a different "reason" but it's the same aparatus of the state "law enforcement" making unneccessary and I believe extra-legal attempts at intimidating people who are against the current administration. Meanwhile these people talk about Chavez and how he's being undemocratic. But like it's been said: when you point at someone, four other fingers are pointing right back at you.

Links:

http://nytimes.com/2004/08/16/opinion/16herbert.html?hp
http://nytimes.com/2004/08/16/politics/campaign/16fbi.html?pagewanted=2&hp
Viva Chavez!!

I'm not sure if that headline is grammatically correct but it appears that Chavez has won the referendum vote in Venezuela that was held yesterday. If you recall the BUsh administration backed the coup that occured in Venezuela that lasted all of two days. This administration that claims to support "Democracy" and "rule of law" and who purportedly went to war in Iraq to "free the people' and rid the world of an ;"evil dictator" found itself [again] on the wrong side of history and true democracy by backing the military coup. And why is it that they detest Chavez so much?

quote:
`The Venezuelan people have spoken and the people's voice is the voice of God!'' roared the former paratrooper, who has diverted wealth from oil exports to housing, food and medical care for the poor majority.

He also called for a round of applause for his opponents, a rare conciliatory gesture. But he pledged to intensify his social reforms during a typically fiery, rambling speech.


From the BBC:

Venezuela was polarised by the surprise victory of Mr Chavez - Venezuela's first president from an indigenous heritage - in presidential elections in 1998.

His opponents, who are mostly white, middle-class and control most of the media and business, say he is authoritarian and has managed a rich economy badly.

Despite the country's oil wealth, 80% of Venezuelans are poor but Mr Chavez has won the hearts of many with extensive school and health programmes, analysts say.


How evil of him. Surely it would be preferable that oil profits went to the rich or better yet to the US ( which sometimes is one and the same). Well I hope that Chavez faces no more disruptions to his term in office and I hope the people who have benefited from his policies remember to stay mobilized to make sure they elect an equally responsible sucessor.

Also of interest was that the voting was done via electronic voting machines much like those intended for use in the US in the upcoming election. The opposition is claiming that the machines were rigged and that there was widespread fraud. The international observers have not said anything on these matters but one would think that if there was fraud they would have said so by now. Thing is, if the machines are bad or have been tampered with in such a country, then how does that bode for elections in the US?

Links:
http://nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-venezuela.html?hp

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3569012.stm

Monday, August 09, 2004

I, robot, The Social Problem

Saw I Robot over the weekend. It was okay. I was struck by the concept of what role robots would play in the future. Specifically I was struck by the displacement of humans in many jobs. I, robot takes place in 2035, when yours truly will be in his 60's. at that time it appears that robots are rubbish collectors, babysitters, cooks, janitors even bartenders. My question was, what happened to the people who usually do these jobs? It is presumed that those persons are enjoying life, free from the mundane work of life and can go about their business. The problem with that assumption is that the movie clearly shows that there are classes of people. Smith's character rides in an Audi. The CEO of USR is clearly well off and Smith's character, Audi notwithstanding seems to live in a less than upscale apartment relative to the female lead. It is quite clear that some people made more than others and lived different lives. Therefore there still must be some means of making money. As we know, all throughout human history, where there is class there are those who are deprived. Clearly, everyone cannot be an accountant or a programmer and clearly even if they could, there would not be enough jobs to go around. So where are these people in this 2035 Chicago? Is there some huge welfare state going on? I'm not sure, but the absence of regular people doing regular things just bothered me. Currently (Aug 2004) the rate of job growth in the US was 35,000 for July. Unemployment in the US is about 5.5% representing 8 Million people. At that rate it would take 228 months (20 years) to achive full employment (which in a capitalist society will not happen as unemployment is a neccessary byproduct of capital creation). furthermore, most of those jobs are in low wage sectors.

quote ( from the NY Times):
"You want to think of two job markets - roughly speaking, one for college graduates and the other for high school graduates,'' said Frank Levy, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an author of a new book on the subject, "The New Division of Labor.''

"The market for college-grad jobs over the last four years has been expanding,'' Professor Levy said. "But the market for high school graduates has been deteriorating, with production and clerical jobs shrinking and being replaced by lower-paying service sector jobs.''

Other analysts say the long-term trend is more complicated, noting that real wages for middle-income workers have been losing ground to those in the top 10 percent of earners over most of the last 30 years.


So if it is true that high wage/low education jobs are not being created (or worse yet disappearing) then how does the future presented in I Robot even exist? very few people would be able to afford a robot much less the 1 robot to every 5 humans spoken of in the movie. I know, I know, this is science fiction and none of this is real. But i think that the movie presents a very very real spectacle as to how the elite in the US view the masses, People without "ends" are expendable and replaceable and hopefully we can make them just disappear. Perhaps even Will Smith's character buys into this. After all he is biased against the robots because they cannot replace human "intuition." Yet apparently he does not really mind that many people's livelihoods have been wrecked.

Ahhh..maybe it's all just in my head.
Elections Dirty Secrets again..

Here on my ongoing commentary on the real deal on voting I want to highlight two things. Yesterday on Like It Is, with Gill Noble, Greg Palast blew the lid off the blatant vote robbing in Florida in election 2000 ( again). He also porvided information on how the Republican Party is already up to the same thing again with, get this, the same list they had last time. What caught Mr. Noble out there is when Greg Palast told him that nothing in the constitution guarantees the right to vote. In fact there are provisions in the Constitution on how to removes ones supposed "right" to vote. Palast explained, as I have done to many people, that people vote for "electors.' these state electors then go to the "Electoral College" and cast thier vote for president. Furthermore, the Elector is under no obligation to vote with the majority of the people of his or her state. In fact, the Florida Legislature had already determined that they would send their elector for Bush regeardless as to the outcome of the recount. Ruminate on that for a second and then read on.

Today I ran across an excellent piece that demonstrates the obsolute futility of voting as it concerns Federal elections. Ilana Mercer in a exclusive Worldnet Daily commentary sites Loren E. Lomasky and Randy Barnett:

quote:
Loren E. Lomasky observed, "As electorates increase in size, the probability that one's vote will swing the election approaches zero" ... "[I]n large-number electorates, there is a vanishingly small probability that an individual's vote (or voice) will swing an election ... [F]or citizens of large-scale democracies, voting is inconsequential."

The winner in an election is certainly not the fictitious entity referred to as "The People," but rather the representatives of the majority. While it seems obvious that the minority in a democracy is thwarted openly, the question is, do the elected representatives at least carry out the will of the majority?

In reality, the majority, too, has little say in the business of governance – they've merely elected politicians who have been awarded carte blanche to do as they please. As Benjamin Barber wrote:



It is hard to find in all the daily activities of bureaucratic administration, judicial legislation, executive leadership, and paltry policy-making anything that resembles citizen engagement in the creation of civic communities and in the forging of public ends. Politics has become what politicians do; what citizens do (when they do anything) is to vote for politicians.



In "Restoring the Lost Constitution," Randy E. Barnett further homes in on why, contra Mr. Diddy, genuinely informed individuals have little incentive to exercise their "democratic right":



If we vote for a candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for, but we have also consented to the laws she has voted against.

If we vote against the candidate and she wins, we have consented to the laws she votes for or against.

And if we do not vote at all, we have consented to the outcome of the process whatever it may be.



This "rigged contest" Barnett describes as, "'Heads' you consent, 'tails' you consent, 'didn't flip the coin,' guess what? You consent as well.'"


I don't agree that in the process of "not flipping the coin" one consents to anything. Strategic non-particpation is a blanket disaproval.

regardless to how this election turns out, there needs to be a serious "citizen education" campaign waged so that people understand exactly how the system works. If they knew how it worked then Senators Chuck Schumer and Hilary Clinton would be out on thier asses come thier time for re-election for failing to sing on to investigate what happened in Florida Can't win a senate seat in NYS without NYC and you can't take NYC without the black vote.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Willy Williams on Socialism

Walter Williams hates Socialists. I guess that's ineveitable for someone of his age and ideology. In an article on Free Health Care Williams states:

Let's start out by not quibbling with America's socialists' false claim that health-care service is a human right that people should have regardless of whether they can pay for it or not and that it should be free. Before we buy into this socialist agenda, we might check out just what happens when health-care services are "free."

So Williams believes that Health Care should not be provided for universally because there would be long lines of sick people that would overwhelm the system. In his indictment of the Canadian healthcare system he shows that there are massive wait times for appointments and surgeries. Furthermore, Doctors are exiting the country, presumably to the US where they can make some real loot. Apparently in his exaultation of the so called 'free-trade medical system" Williams does not feel the need to discuss the very real fact that regeardles of which system you have, people will continue to get sick. In both systems the sick "disapear" that is they find alternatives to the "free" system provided to them. In the "dollar must rule" camp, those that do not have insurance, which is how most Americans "pay" for thier healthcare simply do not show up to the doctor. Instead they show up at the Emergency Rooms across the nation. Emergency rooms are required by law to attend to anyone who shows up. By the time people get to Emergency rooms their problems, which may have been treated for far less than the resulting E-room visit are far further along and often have related complications. Since these people still can't pay, who ends up footing the bill?

See the problem with Willy, is that he confuses setting a minimal standard of healthcare for all, with guaranteeing the best care for everyone. So long as there are costs associated with health care and there are people who have more money than others, Health care, among other things, will never be equal. But providing for a healthy population is the job of government. But I guess Willy, prefers the free death we dispense to people around the world. THAT's ok by Willy, 11,000 Iraqis and 900 US Soldiers dead. Cost to the Iraqis: 0. Cost to the taxpayer: A couple billion Dollars.

Continuing on. Willy here get's besides himself on an article entitled Socialism is Evil in it he makes the preposterous statement that:

 Regardless of the purpose, such behavior is immoral. It's a reduced form of slavery. After all, what is the essence of slavery? It's the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person. When Congress, through the tax code, takes the earnings of one person and turns around to give it to another person in the forms of prescription drugs, Social Security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts, it is forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another...



 What is socialism? We miss the boat if we say it's the agenda of left-wingers and Democrats. According to Marxist doctrine, socialism is a stage of society between capitalism and communism where private ownership and control over property are eliminated. The essence of socialism is the attenuation and ultimate abolition of private property rights. Attacks on private property include, but are not limited to, confiscating the rightful property of one person and giving it to another to whom it doesn't belong. When this is done privately, we call it theft. When it's done collectively, we use euphemisms: income transfers or redistribution. It's not just left-wingers and Democrats who call for and admire socialism but right-wingers and Republicans as well.


 Republicans and right-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to farmers, banks, airlines and other failing businesses. Democrats and left-wingers support taking the earnings of one American and giving them to poor people, cities and artists. Both agree on taking one American's earnings to give to another; they simply differ on the recipients. This kind of congressional activity constitutes at least two-thirds of the federal budget.


 Regardless of the purpose, such behavior is immoral. It's a reduced form of slavery. After all, what is the essence of slavery? It's the forceful use of one person to serve the purposes of another person. When Congress, through the tax code, takes the earnings of one person and turns around to give it to another person in the forms of prescription drugs, Social Security, food stamps, farm subsidies or airline bailouts, it is forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of another.


 The moral question stands out in starker relief when we acknowledge that those spending programs coming out of Congress do not represent lawmakers reaching into their own pockets and sending out the money. Moreover, there's no tooth fairy or Santa Claus giving them the money. The fact that government has no resources of its very own forces us to acknowledge that the only way government can give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- take that dollar from some other American.


 Some might rejoin that all of this is a result of a democratic process and it's legal. Legality alone is no guide for a moral people. There are many things in this world that have been, or are, legal but clearly immoral. Slavery was legal. Did that make it moral? South Africa's apartheid, Nazi persecution of Jews, and Stalinist and Maoist purges were all legal, but did that make them moral?


 Can a moral case be made for taking the rightful property of one American and giving it to another to whom it does not belong? I think not. That's why socialism is evil. It uses evil means (coercion) to achieve what are seen as good ends (helping people). We might also note that an act that is inherently evil does not become moral simply because there's a majority consensus.


 An argument against legalized theft should not be construed as an argument against helping one's fellow man in need. Charity is a noble instinct; theft, legal or illegal, is despicable. Or, put another way: Reaching into one's own pocket to assist his fellow man is noble and worthy of praise. Reaching into another person's pocket to assist one's fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.


 For the Christians among us, socialism and the welfare state must be seen as sinful. When God gave Moses the commandment "Thou shalt not steal," I'm sure He didn't mean thou shalt not steal unless there's a majority vote. And I'm sure that if you asked God if it's OK just being a recipient of stolen property, He would deem that a sin as well.


Well I guess that Willy nearly fainted in class when the concept of social contracts were discussed. Apparently Williams has a hard time grasping the concept that people agree to give money to the state in order to benefit collectively from the pooling of those resources. In fact the state in essence is the result of a populance pooling their resources. If the transfer of money from an individual to the state, and the state then transfering money to other individuals that then produce something that returns money back to the state and then back to the person that initially made the investment, then you have a money cycle. Simple economics. News to Willy: America is a corporation. Those in the state of America buy shares in the state (taxes) the state ( corporation) Does what it wants with the money (which is where the real problem lies) and then pays a divident ( infastructure, public education, healthcare ( didn't we cover this?), defense ( sadly and really offense) back to the public.

Similarly Car and Health insurance works on the evil socialist model. Everyone pays into the pot and because of that large pot, the price of medical care drops (supposedly) and instead of paying $100 for a visit to the doctor, you pay $5. Similarly with car insurance, society ( the people) pay into the pot. when you have an accident in your $50,000 vehicle and cause $10,000 in property damage and rack up $30,000 in medical bills, that $500 premium you payed for that year suddenly allows you to draw upon nearly $1 million in funds. I think that if Willy thinks that socialism is so evil and un-Christianlike, then the next time he has a car acccident he should pay for the damage out of his pocket. And should he require medical attention he should take himself to a private hospital ( can't use that ambulance or county hospital), and be sure to pay the bill cash.

Links:
ttp://www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20040721.shtml
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20040728.shtml
Heeeeey Little Walter

Last week I spied an article by Walter Williams about the evils of socialism. I'll get to that in a minute but first I need to address his latest Conservatives, Liberals and Blacks as published on the Town Hall website.

I have to say that I agree with a few of his points such as:

quote:
According to a Washington Times story (July 14, 2004), Democratic hopeful Sen. John Kerry, in a speech about education to a predominantly black audience, said that there are more blacks in prison than in college.


 "That's unacceptable, but it's not their fault," he said. Do you think Kerry would also say that white inmates are faultless? Aside from Kerry being factually wrong about the black prison population vs. the black college population, his vision differs little from one that holds that blacks are a rudderless, victimized people who cannot control their destiny and whose best hope depends upon the benevolence of white people.


Yes Kerry is wrong in general, but it has been demonstrated that is certain geographic locations it is a fact that more black males are in prison than enrolled in undergraduate curriculums of that state. And I agree that if one is going to make such a statement that it be done correctly. I also agree that it is outeright pandering to say that it's not thir fault.

I do however diagree with this point:

On July 23, President Bush gave a speech to the National Urban League. Unlike so many other white politicians speaking before predominantly black audiences, Bush didn't bother to pander and supplicate. He spoke of educational accountability and school choice and condemned high taxes, increased regulation and predatory lawsuits. He defended the institution of marriage. He didn't see blacks as victims in need of a paternalistic government to come to our rescue. He saw blacks needing what every American needs -- an environment where there's rule of law, limited government and equality before the law. The most important question President Bush left with the audience was whether blacks should give the Democratic Party a monopoly over their vote and take their votes for granted.

How anyone who is informed and educated can even think that Bush is for "small government" is beyond me. But Wiliams previous article explains that. But I'll get to that in a minute. The government is currently running a deficit this means it's spending more than it takes in. In the past conservatives have man handled "liberals" over the "tax and spend" programs and ideologies. Yet here is an administration who reduces the government's income AND increases it's spending. The difference is that it spends the money on billion dollar weapon and defence contractors, and others rather than social programs. Bush can't even bring himself to fund his own "no child left behind" program. Earth to Williams. That is not limited government. it's big government. I won't even begin to discuss equality before the law. Does this man really think that a president who signed into law, provisions that make is legal to grab up a person and hold them incommunicado for unspecified amounts of time, without formal charges is for "equality before the law?"

Ultimately Williams has a "wish I was white" complex. We know this because he tells us so.

Quote:
On occasion, when the question-and-answer session began, I'd tell the press, "You can treat me like a white person. Ask hard, penetrating questions." The remark often brought uncomfortable laughter, but I was dead serious. If there is one general characteristic of white liberals, it's their condescending and demeaning attitude toward blacks.

I mean really.. is that the best he can do? Why not ask to be treated like Dr. Ben Carson or Phillip Emeagwali But I guess to Mr. Williams the only intelligent people worth making into a standard are white. Sad. At least now I know why the press doesn't ask Willy deep questions. He seems incapable of real deep thought.

Links:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/walterwilliams/ww20040804.shtml
http://www.neuro.jhmi.edu/profiles/carson.html
http://emeagwali.info/biography/

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

What the FOX?

Yesterday after working on my car I took a nap and left Fox News on. Foiks that is not a tv station to leave on while your subconsious defences are not up. The stuff emanating from the tv was so offensive that it woke me up. Even my subconscious could not accept what was passing as information. If that station represents the best of "conservative" intelect, then Republicans should be scared. in "man on the street" interviews the single reason given for liking Bush was that he was "consistent" and "resolute." Well sheeeeeeeeeet,aA schoolyard bully is consistent and resolute. Hitler was consistent and resolute. A crackhead is consistent and resolute. What's the point of being constent and resolute when you are consistently wrong and resolving to keep being wrong?

Threat Matrix

Threat Matrix

So I come back to NY/NJ to find that there is a major terrorist scare. What is it this time? Car bombs at certain financial institutions. Apparently an A-Q operative in Pakistan was captured with a laptop that contained relatively recent surveliance info on the Citicopr building, Wall Street and the Prudential Building in Newark NJ. Supposedly the idea is that the terrorists would use vans (and now limos) packed with explosives to target these buildings. A few months ago I told a co-worker that the only thing limiting the damage from terrorists is the terrorists imagination and that the next attack would involve ordinary vehicles. I still believe this and this recent scare is a validation of that point. And you should be very nervous.

Firstly, I doubt that the Stock exchange was a new target. Anyone who has been in the Wall Street area knows that it is impossible to take a vehicle into the immediate proximity of that building. Therefore the only way to do any real damage would be to land an airplane on it or have someone walk in there. Do I doubt that was a real target. perhaps prior to 9-11-2001, but not after. The other two buildings are indeed (until this week) way easier targets. The Citicorp building has traffic on 4 sides and a subway station underneath it. Up until yesterday you could get right up on the building with a vehicle pretty easily. The Prudential Building in Newark NJ was similarly accesible. But that isn't even important. What is important is the following:

Every day 12 million people come into Manhattan. A couple hundred thousand vehicles come into Manhattan from all north, south, east and west. It is simply impossible to stop and search all of those vehicles. Let me restate that: It is IMPOSSIBLE< with current technology and means to search every single vehicle entering Manhattan. Let's make an even more sobering observation: Vehicles are only checked when they enter Manhattan, leaving the outer boroughs completely vulnerable. What are they vulnerable to? Random bombings. I say to you that the terrorists will eventually find that for effect it would be easier to plant random car bombs all over the 5 boroughs and have them go off at random. Imagine for a minute that you are walkking down 7th Avenue and the car next you blows up and kills maybe 3 people. How nervous would you be for the rest of the day? How about multiple car explosions. all over the city? How scared would you be? How would the city react? Ban all vehicles from Manhattan? Ok. What would be the financial loss from that? Perhaps greater than bombing a single citicorp building. Let's take this further that that. What about a car bomb going off in Howard beach or Bedstuy? it is only a matter pf time and intelligence on the part of the terrorist before these things happen. How could they do this? Well as they discovered with planes, every single vehicle that gets its power from an internal combustion engine holds up to 20 Gallons of gasoline. Therefore it does not take much of a genius to figure out how to get that material to explode. I'll even give you a hint:

1) Fill tank
2) put in electrical leads to the gas tank that could create a spark of some kind to ignite the fuel. Run wires to a switch or timer of some kind in the cabin. This would allow the terrorist to leave the vehicle without poping the gas tank and manually starting a fire and thereby calling attention to him/herself.
3) With the timer set, walk away as if going about their business
4) contingency: should the terrorist get stopped at a bridge crossing and the bomb sniffing dog makes a ruckus (but it shouldn't given that all vehicles have gasoline in them). Flip the switch and blow the car right there and then (remember that many terrorists are not afraid to die). This would throw that particular crossing into chaos and halt all traffic, perhaps even at all other crossings. Citizens would be shook by the fact that they were "this close" to the car that just blew up and many will not go to work for the next few days. What would the cost of that be?

Unfortunatly, it seems that those in charge do not realize that thier current strategy is much like the body's reaction to the HIV virus. the very mechanism by which the body attempts to defend itself turns out to be the mechanism that makes it more vulnerable. Remember it's not HIV that kills the body it is the opportunistic infections that does that. Believe me when I say that there will eventually be many oppotunistic attacks happening, if they are not already occuring; and the in all probablity the pretty buldings will still be standing.

Edit: 9:43 AM:

According to the NYT, I'm correct in my suspicion that the data was old.

Quote:

SHINGTON, Aug. 2 -Much of the information that led the authorities to raise the terror alert at several large financial institutions in the New York City and Washington areas was three or four years old, intelligence and law enforcement officials said on Monday. They reported that they had not yet found concrete evidence that a terrorist plot or preparatory surveillance operations were still under way...

..."You could say that the bulk of this information is old, but we know that Al Qaeda collects, collects, collects until they're comfortable,'' said one senior government official. "Only then do they carry out an operation. And there are signs that some of this may have been updated or may be more recent.''

Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said on Monday in an interview on PBS that surveillance reports, apparently collected by Qaeda operatives had been "gathered in 2000 and 2001.'' But she added that information may have been updated as recently as January....

...Federal authorities said on Monday that they had uncovered no evidence that any of the surveillance activities described in the documents was currently under way. They said officials in New Jersey had been mistaken in saying on Sunday that some suspects had been found with blueprints and may have recently practiced "test runs'' aimed at the Prudential building in Newark.


Information may have been updated as recently as January. Does this remind anyone of the Duct Tape scare? As I said before, anyone who has taken a stroll through Wall Street after 9-11 ( 3 years ago) would know you cannot even get close that bulding. So why would it even be a current target. I believe that this release of info was to get ready for the RNC. This new "security" provides the perfect cover for police to search the bags, vehicles and perhaps even persons in NYC much like Boston, but without the need to pass new laws. I smell a very large fish.


note: should I suddenly be incommunicado..you can assume it was because of this post which by some evaluation could be construed as giving expert advise to terrorists.

Links:
http://nytimes.com/2004/08/03/politics/03intel.html?hp
Oh -Bama

Barak Obama is possibly the most recognized black face of the new Democratic party. He gave the Keynote address last week during the Democratic convention. However Paul Street wrote an excellent review of the serious flaws in the new platform of the Democratic Party.

Quote:

They are hardly enthralled by what passes for political "democracy" in the United States, where highly ritualized, occasional, and fragmented elections are an exercise in periodic pseudo-popular selection of representatives from a "safe" and small circle of privileged "elites." One term to describe really existing US "democracy" is "polyarchy," what left sociologist William I. Robinson calls "a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation in decision making is confined to leadership choices carefully managed by competing [business and business-sanctioned] elites....

...Obama's address advanced a truncated, passive, and negative concept of democracy, one where we are supposed to be ecstatic simply because we don't live under the iron heel of open authoritarianism. It is an American "miracle," he claimed, "that we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door" and that "we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted -- or at least, most of the time."


I've made the same analysis of the voting process so I won't belabour the point now. However on te point of being free to say what you want, Perhaps you'll not get a knock on the door,,but you will be monitored and under current law you may face indefinite imprisonment without council. Most Americans would be shocked at what could be done to them under the law. Furthermore, as is probably the case in any country, saying something out of the "mainstream" can be constly economically as one is marginalised and demonised at ones place of employment.

at's why many leftists cringed when they heard the newly anointed Great Progressive Hope Obama refer to Americans as "one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America." Its part of why I was uncomfortable when Obama praised "a young man" named Shamus who "told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week." One of Shamus' endearing qualities, Obama thinks, is "absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service." "I thought," Obama said, "this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child." Not me. I hope for children who regularly and richly question authority and subject the nation and its leaders/mis-leaders to constant critical scrutiny.

Let's be clear. Obama is "riding the donkey as far as it will take him." there is no doubt that black Democrats like Obama and Ford Jr. Are the type of black leadership that both the Republican and Democratic parties want in their parties. The contrasts between Sharpton and Obama/Ford are clear. One may say that Sharpton is "lost in the 60's and 70's." but at least he is able to and willing to keep where he has come from at the forfront of his addresses. yes Sharpton will need to make a wide appeal should he want to have more power (which he does want). But It should not come at the expense of a whitewash of black issues.

links:
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=41&ItemID=5951