Deadly integration of militarism and capitalism

I didn’t mean to start out the new year of 2017 with a downer and most likely opinionated post. That is what has happened though as I decided to read an article with an unassuming title that ended up pissing me off. If you’re interested in reading the source article for all the quoted text:

SOURCE: America Deconstructed: the Great Unraveling

This is what started getting me pissed off…

American GREATNESS is code for world dominance in all areas of life; arguments to the contrary are matters of unjust defamation and internal subversion.

As if we’re so awesome, in our privileged arrogance, to believe that we’re superior to everyone else in the world. What is an American anyway? British, German, Irish, Russian, etc. We all have multicultural roots as hundreds of thousands immigrated to this country from the 1400’s to the 1700’s most often as a punishment. A lucky person was considered to have survived the trip to the “new world” only to be met with conditions worse than the ones they left. I submit that America is not great anymore, we’re not #1 in things that matter, like education and industry, but in things like gun ownership and incarceration. We’ve spent the last 15 years, at least, pushing a military agenda to fuel our capitalist machine to grow wealth for a relatively small portion of our population. Our elite have managed to transform our country into an Oligarchy. Head here to read a good post about oligarchy on In Saner Thought.

Business has been allowed to expand practically without limit, banking even more so, but it is the military factor that has given American capitalism its particular identity, a capitalism bent on solipsistic force-feeding, the ingestion of world power at the expense of other nations and our own people (upwards of 90% of them). Militarism and capitalism comprise a heady brew: the martial spirit turned inward, to ensure conformity with the System as it is, and complicity with its criminal activities (as in war crimes, or more difficult to discern, legitimated violence, in which society’s upper groups enjoy a privileged status, the violence practiced on those below).

The gold standard stopped being a standard in 1971 thanks to the Federal Reserve and Richard Nixon. Ever since then, there has been a slow erosion of policies and law that hindered business and banks from making more money at a quicker pace. The repeal of Glass-Steagall brought banks and lending institutions into the financial market mix as well in the 1990’s. The Fed ran with a 0% interest rate for several years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008-09, where no one in business or banking was held accountable, but Lehman Bros. was used as a scapegoat. My opinion is that they were used to show other businesses what would happen if they didn’t fall into line with the oligarchy that had taken control of our financial systems. The far-reaching powers granted to the President to use military force abroad to protect national security and punish terrorism and those who are harboring terrorists further fueled the capitalist machine.

Finally, don’t judge Trump too harshly, unless of course one is prepared to judge his peers by the same standards as well. Obama is Trump, without the hotels! He is Cheney, without the Wyoming twang, or Bush, the Texas ranch. He is what may be termed, an ultra-imperialist statesman, using liberal cosmetics to disguise policies of repression (targeted assassination, a blip on the radar screen of evil, outweighed by policies, e.g., nuclear modernization) which can bring down the house. Trump is not thereby exempt from criticisms and responsibility; he is a distillation of American political culture (and US culture in general), rashly opinionated, inflated in self-esteem, reactionary in political-economic core beliefs, hateful of those who do not see things in the same way he/she does. This is the start of a bleak winter—not for ourselves alone, but for everyone on the planet, as America’s destructive tendencies come more and more to the foreground.

The eyes of history will be the true judge of Trump and the U.S. democracy in the coming decades. We’re living through an interesting time, faced with a fork in the road, we chose to go with the wildcard candidate hoping that things will get better. The problem I see though, is that corporations, banks, and lobbyist purchased government officials are actually running the country. The President is just the lipstick on the pig that the American people are allowed to see. When media is controlled by the oligarchs, when the financial systems are controlled by the oligarchs, when the government is controlled by the oligarchs, are we not therefore, living in an oligarchy?

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better if, and when, the American people decide that they’ve had enough of the current system that is systematically favoring the wealthy.

Labels don’t help anyone

A liberal is defined as:

open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

A moderate is defined as:

professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme

A conservative is defined as:

holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion

You now what? I’m sick of labels. I get why we have them, it puts people into neat containers that assist others in interacting with us in a predictably certain way. In my life I don’t think I’ve considered myself completely a conservative; I see my parents as conservatives. They’re in a routine that spans the entire week, a daily ticker of tasks that are done in order. They get cranky and out of control when they’re routine is imbalanced, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. I see a lot of people I’m friends with solid conservatives and that isn’t a bad thing. The problem I have in trying to accept their point of view and opinions is when they take me back to History class when I learned about Jim Crow and the horrible treatment people who didn’t deserve it went through. The Catholic Church is conservative. My Grandparents were conservative, and often to the point of me getting angry at the hateful crap coming out of their mouths.

I’m also not completely a liberal, or at least, not to the extent that it fits my viewpoints. There are some ideas and actions that I endorse that can fall conservative, some liberal, however the context around those ideas and actions are what drive me to support them. Not just the idea or action by itself. A good example, I’m opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed through property that isn’t the domain of the government; eminent domain is pure bull. I’m not categorically opposed to the pipeline itself being built provided that modern technology be utilized to make it something safe and productive. In 2016, I can’t believe that we’re not able to build a pipeline properly in the same fashion that we can build a 110 story building designed to resist an earthquake up to 8.0 magnitude. The point I’m making is that I see the benefits of being less dependent on foreign oil in the short-term (conservative) so that we can make the changes necessary to find alternatives to oil (liberal). Embracing both sides of the fence I see as being moderate; embracing the best ideas, on both sides, for the common good of all.

When it comes to human rights though, I’m very much a liberal in that we need to shed the conservative views of the past, and big time. We live in an age where people are gay, lesbian, trans-gender, bi-sexual, pan-sexual, etc. (all labels by the way). My frustration starts with the lack of understanding as to why any of these people, all human beings by the way, do not have the same rights to live as they want as Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, etc. live in this country. Being fundamentally opposed so something doesn’t mean that the person who *is* that something should be treated any less than human than you. The level of prejudice in this country is at a ridiculous level, but it’s always been like this. The only difference now, as opposed to the past, is the Internet. Our species has been connected in such a way as never before in history and our reaction to this interconnection is fear. Real time atrocities come at as from all directions and we don’t have the capacity to process it properly, we acknowledge the fear and fall back on fight or flight response. We have a lot of healing to do before we can expect things to change at all, if they ever do.

Capitalism is defined as:

an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state

Socialism is defined as:

a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole

Here is my issue with these labels. You could reasonably debate that the United States is a capitalist economy, but not politically. You could reasonably debate that the United States is a socialist political system, but not economically. This system of socialism, where the wealthy elite control trade, industry and the means of production, distribution, and exchange of said industry while the rest of the country languishes in what’s left of a capitalist system just doesn’t seem to work. I know this because the people most affected by this clearly biased system silently made their voice heard regarding the Democrats and elected Donald Trump as our next President. I’m not saying he isn’t the right person for the job nor am I saying Clinton would have done better or worse than him, please don’t comment about that. My point is trying to show that our system is broken, hopefully not beyond repair, and I hope that the Republican controlled WH, Senate, and House can make the changes necessary to start repairing the system as a whole.

Our path forward is a foggy sea of labels and preconceptions. We need a storm of change to blow away the fog and finally get us to a better place as a species. It starts with one, then two, then four, then eight….. we can spread tolerance and the need to treat people with dignity as quickly as hate and prejudice spread now. Years ago, I used to be “that” guy with a “black friend” that thought he knew everything about treating others with respect. It took someone very wise, that I consider a close friend and life mentor, to break me of that learned behavior and see the world through his eyes. I was appalled at how I had been living and thinking, I attached labels to everyone. Even more disturbing was that I felt ashamed that I had lived my life completely opposite of how I “thought” I had been living it. What he taught me, showed me, helped me understand is priceless. Most of my writing reflects what he was able to make me understand over several years after graduating high school. I’m not perfect, my archives show that, but I’m listening and in turn, I’m learning. I don’t label others anymore, except my brother, but that’s a topic for another day.

We can all learn something from everyone, we just have to give them a chance to do it. A label puts you at a disadvantage every time.

There’s no excuse anymore to not vote

Call me jaded, or disheartened, about this year’s Presidential election. That’s fine. Over the last several weeks of finding and reading truly unbiased and factual information on the Internet from sources that boast their verifiable pedigree, my eyes and mind have been opened more than in my entire life since I turned 18. My parents, almost polar opposites from me, are focused on the “standard” issues that have been discussed on the election campaigns for more than three decades. Heck, my Mom is voting for Clinton because she wants to be part of “history” in helping the first woman ascend to President of the United States. It is a very narrow point of view and indicative of a tragically closed mind. I get it, and I certainly don’t hold it against them. I am not opposed to and strongly support equality among men and women, but is Clinton really the best choice? My parents and their generation aren’t going to foster the change that I am now convinced we need in this country. Yes, I’m generalizing, I mean no offense to anyone that is in the boomer generation. Generation Y, my generation, is at a cross-road where they need to decide if the status quo is adequate, or if revelational change is needed. One has no risk at all, but has the potential for damage into the next 2-3 decades. The other is loaded, dripping, on fire with risk, however has the potential to upend and reboot the system in ways that could benefit us much longer.

I have not endorsed any one particular person strongly other than that I support third-party candidates in general. My view of the two-party system is that it reinforces the other, unspoken, two party system that we’re all currently living with now. We’ve all heard of the 1%/99% division in the country, but I think it goes much deeper than that. The 1%, aka elite, are a group of people who control an overwhelming majority of the wealth in this country and truly can do what they want, how they want to, and essentially without impunity by the law. The remaining 99%, aka non-elite, is the rest of the country who are unfairly measured against the law that has been distorted by the elite to keep all of us in check. The law is no longer equal. The elite have managed to completely distort the founding fathers ideal of a true democracy where absolute law is the core belief in only 40-50 years. We are essentially two types of economies; the 1% socialist elite and the 99% capitalist non-elite. They want us to keep buying stuff, creating more debt, surrendering our freedom to become modern slaves to our debt. Debt that is becoming increasingly harder and practically impossible to get away from.

With this explained, I am now officially supporting the Libertarian Johnson/Weld bid for the presidential election this year. It was recently announced, that for the first time since 1996, a third-party candidate will be sitting along side the Democrat and Republican nominees in all 50 states. In an election year where a lot of normal Americans do not like either Clinton or Trump, a third party nominee is a welcome relief. His platform is more in alignment with my newfound understanding of the problems in our country right now, more so than either Clinton or Trump combined. My fear is that, should he actually pull off the upset of the millennium, he won’t have any traction during his entire 4 years as President due to the gridlocked House and Senate. Executive Orders aside, he absolutely needs to have support of the Legislative branch of the government in order to effect any real and lasting change. The more likely scenario is that he garners a much larger chuck of the Electoral votes that prevents Clinton or Trump from reaching the minimum 270. The election in 1800 was the last time that this happened. The process to decide the President/Vice President is truly bizarre and is explained HERE.

The 1% is, in my opinion, truly afraid of one thing. That the 99% remaining population catches on to their deception, lies, manipulation, and socialist ways and decides to make a change through who they decide to vote for. Regardless of whether you think your vote matters or not, the fact we can still vote despite the control the 1% has of us is a core Constitutional right. Granted it took more than 100 years to even get that right, it eventually did get changed to where 1 American equals 1 vote. I’m happy that a third-party candidate is on the ballot in all 50 states because I was seriously close to not voting for the next President. I would be no more effective than a rock at that point. We as Americans need to start realizing that knowledge is power and individually we have the power to affect change at the highest levels of government. We need to take the time to re-learn how to wield this power again and flip off the elite in this country. I’m still appalled that 97% of the people in this country make less than $250,000/year yet the majority of them have decided to not vote for multiple reasons. I’m sorry, but if you don’t vote, you need to get off your ass and get to the voting booths and make your voice heard. There is a powerful message sent when 97% of the country unites and screams at the same time demanding change to the current system. Well, you going to vote?