Thursday, April 18, 2013

Funny Things Happened On Our Way from the Bombing

While the media and most of the American public has been engrossed watching looped coverage of pressure-cooker-and-BB bombs going off and the oh-so-sensitive-and-touching film of people with gross amputations of limbs, some interesting little items have been largely unnoticed.   So I thought I'd help you all notice them.

1) The President and Congress Returned Some Insider-Trading-Gained Feathers to Their Nests

From The Hill's On The Money blog:
President Obama quietly signed legislation Monday that rolled back a provision of the STOCK Act that required high-ranking federal employees to disclose their financial information online.

The White House announced Monday that the president had signed S. 716, which repealed a requirement of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act requiring the disclosure, which had previously been delayed several times by Congress.
That provision, added to the bipartisan bill aimed at halting insider trading by members of Congress, would have required roughly 28,000 senior government officials to post their financial information online, and had come under harsh criticism from federal government employee unions.

Both chambers of Congress quickly — and near silently — approved the repeal legislation at the end of last week by unanimous consent, just before heading home to their districts.
The long and short of it is that S.716 delays for another year the creation of a publicly accessible database that would disclose any insider trading by Congress or the President. 

Interestingly, just a year or so ago, this very same President and Congress made a great show of passing this legislation to begin with, in order to restore confidence in Congress.  I'm feeling really confident; how about you?  Read more here.

2)  The Warhawks in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Pledged the US' Undying Love, Affection, What Little Money We Have Left, and the Lives of our Children, to Israel In the Event They Decide to Annhililate Iran For Not Making a Nuclear Bomb

Per Yitzhak Benhorin of YNet News:
Members of the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee have adopted "Senate Resolution 65," according to which the US will support Israel in case it is compelled to take military action and actualize its right to self defense in the face of an Iranian threat.
The resolution stipules that Israel will enjoy Washington's diplomatic, economic and military aid.
More on this here.

3) The US House of Representatives Is Resurrecting the Domestic Digital Spying Act, Also Known as "CISPA" to Ensure that the Government Is Legally Entitled to Knowledge of Our Every Online Move (Hi FBI!) Without Any of Those Pesky Warrants or Legal Protections, Which No One Needs Anyway (pffft)

Having had previous attempts at big brother internet surveillance thwarted, our pals in the House are at it again.  They've defeated all amendments designed to protect people's privacy, and are ready to vote again today, while everyone's looking at the suspect/no suspect drama of the bombing.  Read about it.

4)  The Criminal Banking Cartel Known as the Federal Reserve May Have Crashed Gold Prices to Initiate Pre-Set Stop-Loss Trades and Thereby Shore Up the Value of the Obviously Failing Monopoly Money US Dollar.

According to Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Treasury Secretary:
This is an orchestration (the smash in gold).  It’s been going on now from the beginning of April.  Brokerage houses told their individual clients the word was out that hedge funds and institutional investors were going to be dumping gold and that they should get out in advance.   Then, a couple of days ago, Goldman Sachs announced there would be further departures from gold.  So what they are trying to do is scare the individual investor out of bullion.  Clearly there is something desperate going on….
The Federal Reserve began its April Fool’s assault on gold by sending the word to brokerage houses, which quickly went out to clients, that hedge funds and other large investors were going to unload their gold positions and that clients should get out of the precious metal market prior to these sales. As this inside information was the government’s own strategy, individuals cannot be prosecuted for acting on it. By this operation, the Federal Reserve, a totally corrupt entity, was able to combine individual flight with institutional flight. Bullion prices took a big hit, and bullishness departed from the gold and silver markets. The flow of dollars into bullion, which threatened to become a torrent, was stopped.
Now, I'm not a gold bug--don't own an ounce, and I think that in the event of a financial collapse, or other catastrophe, a case of canned applesauce will be worth more than gold.  And if you're not a gold bug either, you might be asking, "why would this matter?"   Well, here's a way to look at it.  If there's a pack of man-eating wolves running toward your village, is the guy who falsely tells you they aren't there doing you a favor?

Try to understand it, a little, here.

5.  A Non-Profit, Bipartisan Commission, The Constitution Project, Released a 577-Page Report Proving that the US Government, Under Obama and GW Bush, Illegally and Systematically Tortured Prisoners, and (Based on International Standards, Treaties, Laws, and What We've Said About Other Governments) Thereby Committed War Crimes

It's long.  It's disgusting.  And I've only read part of it.  But it should be the biggest story going.  It's so far been pretty much crickets from the mainstream media except the NY Times.   It's worth at least a thorough scanning.

The lesson?  This is like a game of three-card monty.  While you're looking "over here" at the spectacle, a "plant" in the crowd is stealing your wallet (or your rights.)  Keep your eyes open.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombing: Rodents' Edition

Okay, I know.  I'm a nutter, a conspiracy theorist, a tin-foil mad hatter.  But once again, I've noticed some odd stuff about the latest thing to scare our pants off.   There's some stuff that just doesn't jive.  Look.

Here's a screenshot of a paused video you've all probably seen a dozen times, when a camera mounted on a runner in the marathon captures the first explosion.  This particular location is at the UK's Guardian website, but the same runner-cam video is all over the place, like at Business Insider, and others.

On this particular version, the announcer is just saying, "...with the finishing line in sight, this footage, shot by one of the Boston Marathon runners, captures the moment of the first explosion...."   You see the cloud of the explosion on the left.  When you watch the video, you'll see that the runner is about two buildings down from where the explosion occurs, and you can see all the way down to the building where the explosion happens.

In the same Guardian video, immediately after this scene, we see this, another screenshot of a different video--a stationary one this time, paused:

See the cloud of the explosion on the right?  As this video runs, the announcer is saying, "that moment again, as a steady flow of runners cross the line.  There's confusion and panic.  Ten seconds later, a second explosion...."  You don't need to trust my transcription skills.  Watch the video for yourself at the link above.

Another video, very familiar to all, shows the "moment of the explosion"  from a higher perspective, as if from a building.  You know it.  It's the one where you see the older man who falls, but later we're told he gets up and finishes the race.  Touching.  That video's here, as well as lots of other places.  And here's the still from that video:

In all three videos, we're supposed to be watching the same exact moment--the instant of the first explosion at the Marathon.  It's first from one direction, then from the other, as you can tell by the way the runners are moving.  Now, here's the rub.   In the first pic and video (the runner-cam), look to the side of the street where the explosion is occurring (the left of the frame).    We see the curb, with metal gate-like structures and spectators crowding up to them. 

In the second  and third views, look at the side where the explosion occurs (now the right of the frames).   See all the blue banners on the gates?  See all the brightly colored, very visible flags lining the side of the street?   Now wait just a cotton-pickin' minute!  How the hell did those get there?   

These are clearly two different events.  The same street at the same moment can't have plain metal gates and people AND brightly bedecked, corporate sponsored banner covered gates and dozens of international flags.  It just can't be.  So why do you suppose we're being told (from the left, right and center) that these are all footage of the "Boston Marathon Bombing?"  And if one IS genuine footage, and one is NOT, then just when did another explosion occur in a very similar looking building as a whole bunch of runners went by it? And why would someone make video of it and say it's the infamous bombing?  Why, indeed. 

I smell a number of rats.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Heal Thyself

There's a phrase attributed to Jesus in the Bible, "physician, heal thyself."  It's usually thought to be a proverb meaning that you should take care of your own business before anyone should have confidence that you can take care of theirs.  I'm using it today literally, because it's become all too clear that people need to hear it.   Here's why.

It may surprise some of you that there is a segment of the population, not insubstantial in number, who believes that somebody is on his/her/its way to save us from all the degradation we've made for ourselves on good old planet Earth.  Some of these folks think its ETs, or extra-terrestrials, who are on the way.  Some say it's EDs (extra-dimensionals) or what one might think of as angels or spirits, who are our cavalry.  Some say it's "positive military"  or veterans who will, in one fell swoop, take out the corrupted institutions we currently live with, in a lovely coup, and hand us back a perfect world--a golden age.

Of course, religions tell us of external saviors too, whether it's the second coming of Jesus, or the conquest of Kalki the Destroyer, or the arrival of the Red and Blue Kachinas.  And there's some pretty interesting groups of folks who claim to BE the saviors-- one says it's going to foreclose on the banking system and the government and give us each a big pot of money for past abuses (yes, there is such a group, and they do say that's what they're doing).

Now, I can't say that Jesus isn't on his way, or that Kalki won't ride in on his horse and destroy everything, or even that foreclosing on the Federal Reserve wouldn't be a dandy idea.  Moreover, I'm one of those who would have no trouble accepting finding a space ship on my lawn, or an angel in my hall closet, since I think it's utterly ludicrous to think that the entire Universe (and all the other Universes we might not even know about) is all here to house just us.  But I have a feeling--just a hunch--that if any of these folks are around, it isn't to save our sorry behinds with no input by us.  That would be the cosmic equivalent of the wealthy parent who bails their kid out of jail and buys them a great lawyer to get off charges of stealing cars, and is then surprised when the kid does it again.  I'm guessing the Universe isn't quite that stupid, no matter how convenient it would be if it were.  Instead, what seems to be occurring is that the truth of the corruption, fraud and abuses of various systems is being disclosed, and we're supposed to get the message and DO something about it.

In the last year, we've seen many scandals come to light.   We've seen officials in the Catholic Church be tried and jailed for their roles in covering up sexual abuse of children.  We've seen creepy old guys get outed for being sexual predators. We've seen that the banking and financial system is rigged with rate fixing and rife with fraud on those of us regular folks who are referred to as the "Muppets" for being dumb enough to trust known thieves with our money.  We've seen people who blew the whistle on government abuses and corruption getting jailed, slandered, fired, or worse.  We've seen the political discourse devolved to the place where we're actually going to debate about whether someone who works full time doing jobs that we acknowledge must be done for society to run "deserves" to be able to raise their children slightly above the poverty line, or well below it.

We're seeing a debate over whether it's "ok" or even desirable for the big, powerful military to murder Americans who it claims are "terrorists" if it's inconvenient to capture, charge and try them in a court.  We're seeing evidence that our "foreign policy" of bombing people who may have an intention to harm us, but who haven't done so yet, is killing lots of innocent people--even babies and children--along with the supposed "bad guys."

We've seen payola scandals, campaign finance scandals, and a Supreme Court decision that basically places the stamp of approval on huge, multinational corporations being able to buy the government under the pretense that bribery through campaign donations is "free speech."  So we have the information we need.  We know what the trouble is.  And yet we sit and wait.  We keep working and paying taxes to the government who's tossing it at unwinnable wars, while its representatives get rich, somehow, to the tune of tens of times what they make in Congress, and we're not even supposed to wonder what it is they do to "earn" all that extra money.  We keep buying the cheap crap that's made Walmart the size of most small world economies.  We keep reading the news and shaking our heads and tsk-tsk-ing how terrible it all is.  And then we go back and keep putting one foot in front of the other, plodding along like a broken old nag with blinders on.  We keep waiting for the savior to arrive.

But for a long time now I've been convinced that, whatever saviors are lurking out there (and I don't presume to know which, if any, that might be), the truth is that the things wrong with our systems, our culture, and our world are merely a larger reflection of the things wrong inside us as a people.

For example, we hear that near slave labor with people locked inside compounds for 36-hour shifts is what's required for us to get our $5 t-shirt, but we say, well, yes it's terrible, but they wouldn't have any job at all if it weren't for the sweatshop, so buy away.  We see the continual unrest, thievery and corruption that it takes to keep the middle east holding the oil straw to our greedy lips, but we complain bitterly that we simply must keep using more oil than the whole rest of the world; we couldn't possibly make our cars get better mileage, ride the bus, or walk a little more.  We read the articles about pesticides killing off the bees, sickening people, and causing the security of our food system to be in doubt, but the pull of the three-dollar frozen "pizza" is just too strong and we just can't bring ourselves to say that these chemicals must be eliminated, even if in the short term it causes some problems--like a pizza that costs three and a quarter.   And we know that our defense of this "way of life" has caused millions of deaths, countless wars, and the degradation of everything we touch, but we've got our big screens and our SUVs and so we give it a big "whatever" and keep right on going.   We want everything to change, without changing anything.  

But lately as we see all the scum rising to the surface of the pond, it's becoming astonishingly clear that all the eggs we've been busily stashing away in our western cultural "baskets"--the economic and political systems that are equal parts smoke, mirrors, and BS, the idea of government "looking out" for people, the notion of "safety" being achieved through militarism,  and the delusion that the piper will wait forever to be paid--are rotten and beginning to stink.    And there's a basic truth that I learned a long time ago:  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.  So here's my best advice:

You can't really expect people to treat you better than you treat them, or better than you treat yourself.

You can't really think that anything's going to change when you don't demand that it be different, and you keep rewarding the bad behavior with your vote, your loyalty, or your dollars.

You can't really figure that other people are going to make a difference if you won't.

You can't really expect people to be measured and respectful in their dialog if you aren't.

You can't really expect to have rights when you rush to give them away, for supposed "protection," every time a threat comes round the corner.

You can't really expect a ceasefire to hold if you won't even unload your gun.

You can't expect to take a grand journey if you won't even take the first step.

So, the real question shouldn't be whether it's Jesus or ETs or Kalki who's coming to save us.  The real question is when we're planning on getting off the couch to save ourselves.