“To hell in a handbasket”

Posted on: August 17th, 2012 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

Pussy Cats verdict: Where is Putin taking Russia – pre 1989! I read history. I have read about Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and all the rest from far past to present. Making people objects, dehumanizing, manufacturing enemies from innocent people. You want to question me, I will shoot you, don’t take it personally.

Syria: The killing has ceased to appall us. One more day, a 100 more deaths, Ho Hum. The naiveté of the UN, of the US, of everyone. There is nothing remotely incomprehensible about Assad’s actions, broken “promises” or violence. Read about tribal cultures. Read about genocide, pogroms, and rats backed into a corner. Assad has everything to lose (his tribe will be wiped out if the rebels take over) and nothing to love by pursuing his genocidal methods.

Saudi Arabia and Iran: Closer connection. Where does that leave the US? The Saudis are Arabs. Arabs have survived thousands of years but adjusting to reality. Arabs are survivors (as are Persians). Whatever you want us to say or promise . . . no problem. Word are just words, contracts but pieces of paper. If we are in the same room, in front of each other . . . we will abide by these signed agreements. Outside of the room, away from the agreement signatories, and whatever is best for us is a valid action. The boundaries of many of the Middle Eastern states are not centuries old; were not forged by wars, or even language homogeneity. They were created by western nations, politicians (or Statesmen as they prefer to be called) who either wanted to sloth off responsibility or look good to the world. Even today the UAE and Iran are fighting over islands, and Saudi Arabia quibbles about borders on the Arabian Peninsula. Iran and Saudi Arabia have no problem changing allegiances and loyalties at a whim.

Israel: Bomb them, bomb them, bomb them. US, please don’t. UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran. Yemen, Oman – I can see those on the top of Burg Khalifa watching Cruise Missiles fly past (hoping the missiles guidance system are accurate). The US election, competing ideologies and political backing, lobbyists and their employers focused on next week, profits, deniability, shifting blame, and lets bomb the heck out of them because think of the profits to be made on rebuilding these bombed out countries!!!! No lose situation, save the planet by destroying the planet. Initiate a Middle East conflagration that could spread to the whole world – WWIII – now theirs a business opportunity!

US Elections: devolving into pathetic idiocy as the Republican make up false stories that they can then comment on when the Obama administration does not respond. And if the race elephant in the room is totally ignored, the millionaires win (thing of the way Obama was treated by the female republican politician). It is terrible to think that people feel they receive more objective news from a comedy show, than from networks purporting to be “news” networks. No longer is there pride in being an America based on separation of Church and State, the truth, honest comment and an unwavering belief in the process of government and the ethical and moral behaviors of its leaders. Republicans and Democrats are not enemies. They are “positions” and “policy suggestions” designed to protect, build, and survive.

Canada: Harper destroying every Canadian ideal, belief, and ethical standard. The US works on health care for its citizens, Harper attempts to dismember the world renown and respected Canadian Health Care system. (Check Switzerland for a terrific role model for “medicare”.) People all over the world fighting for more government transparency and responsiveness to citizen needs and Harper’s government is the most secretive, divisive, and deliberately condescending (Opposition, Premiers, and anyone with criticism) government in Canadian history. (I have studied Canadian history.) To Harpers helpers, the Liberals and NDP are the enemy to be crushed, destroyed, put out of existence. That is not the Canadian way. Harpers Helpers, lower taxes, lower health service, next to no environmental protection (Canada or the rest of the world), helping the rich while reducing services for the poor (they don’t have lobbyists or power or political contributions). Building more prisons rather than investing in the health and welfare of Canada’s youngest and more needful citizens. “Let them eat cake.” “Let’s lead them to the guillotine.” What do you call millions of unemployed, helpless, denigrated, and poorly served young people – a really good basis for a rebellion. (Which as it true throughout the world, will have not impact on the rich and the leaders who will bail for another country as soon as they can no longer rape and pillage their “home” country.

The banks: Where to start. They are just criminals taking as much as they can, using their reputations as the most trustworthy companies in the world (Royal Bank of Canada on Prince Street in Truro Nova Scotia Canada circa 1960 . . . could not be more respected). Billions in profit as they raise their bank fees to the extent they are greater than the discount they give to seniors. Banks for years, manipulating anything they can hide their manipulations, and feigning surprise over being caught out. And the penalties are paid to whom? Not the people who suffered.

Ponzi Schemes, Hedge Funds, High Risk Mortgages and on and on and on. Lord of the Flies, 1984, Robber Barons . . . everything is legal in the pursuit of power and money as long as you a) set up regulations so loose and ineffective no one can tell what is legal or illegal, b) don’t get caught.

Corporate executives: Earning thousands of times the wage of their lowest employee. A difference so great (compared to the 1950’s) as to be obscene. And then given golden parachutes for incompetent, pilfering, unethical and immoral decisions. (What lessons/example are they given to anyone?) Admiration for rapacious, sanctimonious, manipulative, and purchased “spin doctored” exhortations of brilliance, humility, honesty and morality. Did anyone read Outliers? Luck, luck, luck, luck combined with just enough intelligence, and willingness to work and take credit for everything successful, while removing competitors both internal and external. (I studied Machiavelli. The Prince is very, very “good.”)

Greed: Unbelievable, unethical, immoral, silly (how much money do you really need?), and sickening. How can we ignore the reality of the monopolistic practices that allowed Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen, and every bloody company president get so much money that it is . . . I don’t have words to describe. These people are monopolists. There companies are monopolies. Adam Smith’s whole capitalist concept is based on ease of entry and exit from business. If a company is making huge profit, that situation brings in competitors who can offer equivalent services and products at a lower price. Selling software for $500+, when it costs a dollar to produce, and then having the government, (remember lobbyists) protect copyrights, is illogical. Perhaps a limit on how much profit can be made. Do you really think Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or whomever is actually “worth” as a person, that much money? And that is without considering the poverty, debts, and deficits – personally and nationally – through the world that allows the disparity between rich and poor. I started out as a libertarian, capitalist, anti-Socialism believer. And then I saw reality; poverty, hopelessness contrasted with “gated” communities, the rich buying islands and every other obscene representation financial success. It is said the American people are not offended by the behavior of the rich, because the American Dream has inculcated the concept everyone/anyone can become rich, powerful, famous and successful. No one dares to criticize the very dreams in which everyone “buys into” and thus considers right, valid, moral, and ethical.

Roman Catholic Church: ignoring for so many years / centuries the child abuse endemic to their priests. Add to that the Boys Scouts. Add to that abuse of young children by neighbors, friends, family that is known but ignored. This abuse cannot be condoned in any way ever. It is a criminal activity. It is rape. It is punishable by prison terms and execution. Period. (I know a friend who was abused by a neighbor as she babysat his children. It had a hugely destructive impact on her life. (Her parents denied it could have happened.) To my mind there is nothing more heinous. (direct from Law & Order, SVU)

Penn State: condoning sexual exploitation of young men by a “trusted” colleague. (Penn State is getting everything they deserve.)

Global Climate Change: How can anyone say it is not true? Although I am afraid it is far too late to do anything remotely useful. One executive speaking to the HCT in September 2006 stated that Climate Change was terrific because of all the business opportunities (read government largess from last minute efforts to mitigate the disasters) that would result. (Ah the power of positive thinking (don’t let me get started on that!))

The stock market Deity: What is the Stock Market – buying and selling of shares or bonds – really mean? It is just playing with investor’s money and making money with every transaction, with every rise and fall of a stock price. What connection does the Stock Market have with reality? None. Really, None. It is just a fabrication to justify making money by those whose only goal in life is to make money, more money, and well, all the money out there. I have laughingly said that the fisherman from Newfoundland Canada saw Cod as their enemy, and proudly said “we gate’s all, by the Jesus, we got’em all! And don’t even get me started on the destruction of the Canadian Fisheries, aided, abetted and paid for by the Canadian government following the advice of corporation paid scientists. Anyone with any common sense knowledge of the fishing industry would know the huge government “paid for” trawlers would devastate and eventually destroy the first stocks.

Human Rights: When opposition to Gay Marriage is considered a Political Police/Position rather a fundamental Human Rights violation equivalent to racism, anti-Semitism, and genocide, that does not auger well for a society.

Africa: Death, death, death, death. Wars, Pirates, Civil Wars, Genocide, Child Soldiers, Starvation on a scale too great to comprehend. And the Chinese are having a field day. (Don’t think they don’t see themselves as England, Spain, France, Portugal and the Netherlands saw themselves 300 years ago.) You give us your resources, we pay you to dig them up, cut them down, mine them to empty, ship them to us for manufacture so we can re-sell them to you. And you might recall the wars were fought to maintain ownership of these colonies. The method: keep them poor, uneducated, and dependent. (And yes I too hope for the best, that I am completely wrong, and that China has only the highest regard for the peoples and countries they are exploiting. Still there is that image of Tiananmen Square: democracy is good (for others). “Don’t take your death personally.”

India: Space mission to Mars when they can’t provide guaranteed power to their population. And they have immense poverty, inequality, billionaires and beggars on the same street. And graft, dishonest politicians, bribery . . . beyond any thing anyone can imagine. Not that India is alone in these practices; it is just that India has one of the largest populations, and greatest poverty in the world . . . and the fact that the country seems proud of their ineptitude.

China: There are more young people (upwards of 250 million) unemployed, hopeless and “desperate” than the populations of just about any country other than India. What do we call men 18 to 23 who have no hope? Warriors. Warriors for any cause that fills their stomach and gives meaning (any meaning) to their lives. And that includes money, cars, women, children, homes – which their country and its leaders and elites enjoy without seeing anything unfair or unjust.

Hybrid and totally electricity powered cars: Using power generated by burning fossil fuels. WTF? Removing dependence on non-renewable (but incredibly profitable (okay obscenely profitable)) energy sources when, with a political will and dedication equivalent to putting a person on the moon in 8 years (using “computers” the size of $1.00 calculators we give away) could make Solar Power, Wind Power, Tidal Power, Geothermal, even fusion all within a dedicated US and other technologically advanced countries ability to achieve. Right now. And we all know costs go down as volume goes up. (What about EVERY building from the small house, every apartment building, and every skyscraper with gardens and solar power collectors on tops and sides (yes their are vertical gardens on the side of buildings)? Europe wants to do this. There is a policy and government support to develop the methods, machinery, technologies and infrastructure to make this happen. Think of a world commitment.

Technical Gadgets (I hate an iPad being called a gadget!) that are priced beyond the yearly income of billions of people, with profits that could, without effecting the company’s success, feed the world.

The 1%: Can any religious person or atheist or humanist or citizen of this world in any way think this is a standard to be set and rewarded in a ethical civilization.

Offshore tax shelters: How can anyone think this is a valid “human” action. 1) How much money does ANYONE really need, 2) Countries are tasked to maintain the peace, create the infrastructure, education, medical services, defense required for the rich monopolists (entitled people) to get their start, survive and prosper and then refuse to pay the taxes the government needs to pay for the country’s investment? Obscenely rich people from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, building huge estates in Bermuda, sheltering their income, avoiding taxes, and then when they get sick, coming back to Canada to take advantage of the Canadian Health Care System. How can that be ethical?

All this is just a start.

It is not what we know; it is what we do that matters.



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