Tuesday, May 23, 2017

This past week President Tayyip Erdogan had a meeting with President Trump. As observed before when he met with President Obama, once again his goons took to beating up and violently attacking protestors.  But this is not important for the time being, what is pertains to the Trump administration plans for after the Mosul offensive and even ridding Syria of IS.  This is valid for my main botheration with Obama was his failure to plan for what was to occur after the implementation of any of his foreign policy escapades from Yemen to Syria to the South Sudan and especially in Libya.

Unlike the prior administration, I can note that Trump seems to be engaged with the issues but I am not so certain that he grasps the seriousness of a fallout between Erdogan and Turkey and/or the US and the Kurds.  Something must give and I am not at rest that President Trump, as Obama before him, is ready for this. And he is the one who opened this can of worms when his administration announced that the U.S. would back, arm and support the Kurds in their effort against the Islamic State and to show he was about that life, the Trump Defense Department immediately sent military vehicles with American flags to the YPG fighters engaged in combat activities on the Syrian side of the border.

As expected Erdogan was not happy and expressed such through one of his many mouth pieces this time being one of his top foreign policy advisers İlnur Çevik. Cevik expressed succinctly the differences between Washington and Ankara over the U.S. military’s partnership with Kurdish military organizations in Syria by hinting that American troops could be targeted alongside their Kurdish allies in the country since U.S. forces have teamed up with members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and since Turkish fighter’s patrol along the border region with Syria frequently bombing the YPG who they see more of an enemy than IS. Specifically, Cevik stated that if the U.S. troops would "go to far, our forces would not care if American armor is there, whether armored carriers are there" adding that “Suddenly, by accident, a few rockets can hit them.”

It was a simple choice for Trump based on all he has been talking about wiping the Islamic State off the face of the planet. Easy also because the YPG have shown themselves to be one of the most effective forces on the ground in the fight against IS next to the Syrian Defense Forces. Moreover, most Kurds are Sunni Muslims, however, they consider themselves Kurds first, and Muslims second, and don't want to be absorbed into a universal caliphate or equally any affiliation with Sharia law. Also of importance is that the Kurds are the most pro-American people in the entire Middle East and believe and acknowledge equal right for women.

The fact is northern Syria  has a large Kurdish population which for decades, Turkey has viewed a major political threat due to the mounting influence of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the region.  Erdogan was hoping the US-YPG alliance which President Barack Obama started would be discontinued under Trump. But it has not and he made this clear in an interview in which he stated that seeing US military vehicles operating close to the border with Syrian Kurdish fighters "seriously saddened" him.

The Kurdish and US soldiers who support them are during an offensive to take Raqqa, ISIS’s Syrian capital, and have recently made significant gains against the extremists in the region but recent attacks by Turkey against Kurdish areas in Syria are hampering the offensive against ISIS. Erdogan doesn’t want the YPG or the PYD to be the leading powers in Syria’s Kurdistan region and sees both as part of the PKK.

To understand this one must understand the Kurds in the region (Iraq, Syria and Turkey). Erdogan’s forces are fighting the Turkish Kurds (The PKK or Banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party led by Abdullah Ocalan who was jailed in 1999 with the help of U.S. CIA) and Erdogan is extremely hostile with the Syrian Kurds (the PYD or Democratic Unity Party) who are aligned with the PKK and have their own militia called the YPG. Last there are the Kurds in Iraq who have established a Kurdish Regional Government since the US invasion/occupation of Iraq and who have their own military forces called the Peshmerga. All three Kurdish areas are fighting IS, but all are considered problems to Erdogan. The Turks want to destroy the PKK and its affiliates, as well as the YPG.  They consider them to be the same or equal to ISIS – terrorist. This is what the U.S. and Russia equally must syphon through because Erdogan sees the possible defeat of IS in Raqqa by the Kurds and U.S. forces as major political leverage for the YPG.

When the Turkish State was founded in the aftermath of WWI, the Kurds were promised the creation of an independent state as part of the treaty of Sevres in 1920. Unfortunately for them, this part of the treaty was never ratified and Turkey has refused to recognize the existence of a separate Kurdish ethnic community within its borders.  Upon which several major Kurdish rebellions occurred in Kurdish strongholds in Turkey during the 1920s and 1930s. Since then the Turkish ruling class began viewing a separate Kurdish identity as a threat to the nation-state - Turkification.

Now, Turkey has become one of the world's largest and most powerful Muslim fundamentalist states. I say this because it is well known that Erdogan’s administration (maybe with the exceptions of the Saudi’s) is the main state sponsor of ISIS. Add to this that Erdogan is an Islamist that embraces Muslim fundamentalism to the level of even destroying the last bits of democracy in Turkey to eradicate all Kurdish people so that he can establish a new Ottoman Empire for Turks and only Turks.  Now, it is estimated that around fifteen million individuals of Kurdish origin live in Turkey who under the present leadership of the Republic, have been treated worse than a second-class citizenry.

Trump and Putin know that they NEED the YPG to continue with its fight against the Islamic State. Although the U.S. has maintained good relations for the past seven decades, the war on ISIS has led the Pentagon to decide that it is the best interest of the U.S. to work with Kurdish forces if the objective is to defeat ISIS. Thus, the conflict: the U.S. want to work with the Kurds on the ground in Syria effort to take Raqqa (the headquarters of ISIS) but Turkey doesn’t want this thinking that it with give them more clout with the current U.S. administration.

Like Obama (called Erdogan a trusted friend), Trump underestimates Erdogan's hatred of the Kurdish minority and the level of his support of ISIS.  Trump must decide if its relationship with the Kurds in Syria is a temporary relationship of opportuneness until IS is defeated or is the beginning of something new? Something new that could lead to an independent Kurdistan? Erdogan wouldn't be happy about it, but he'd accept this from the U.S. and I believe that is his main concern. After all, we saw what he did after the strong electoral might of the Kurdish party that prevented a parliamentary majority of Erdogan's AKP in June's election. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

For long as I can recall, at least after the civil rights era, the economic prosperity in the African American community has been on the decline. Ironically this started under the purview of a new approach to economics trumpeted to be the end all and be all to the problems (economic and civil) that confronted the U.S. since the end of the Vietnam war. This is what it was supposed to be but what it became was a new-fangled form of lassez-faire policy that to date, has serve to retard economic growth and increased disparities in wealth and income inequality in the U.S. and worldwide.

You got it, I am speaking about neoliberalism. I have defined neoliberalism policy as policy that transfers controls of economic factors from the public sector to the private sector. Neoliberals rather in the form of Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, Tony Blair or The Clinton’s assert that economic and foreign policy that removes trade barriers and restrictions on capital flows is the best thing you can do to create job growth, economic prosperity, wealth and more importantly, eliminate or at least, lift folk out of poverty. Although apolitical, after the 80s, democrats (social democrats in France, Labor in England & Democrats in the U.S.) used this ideology to usher in and promote their views on domestic and foreign policy. A strange occurrence, since historically, these political parties were framed as being the representative of the little man, main street, the factory worker and union member. Establishing neoliberal free market foreign and domestic would mean that the democrats would not have to work with the vulture class.  This meant forming more relationships with the elite and wealth of the big cities more so than the lowly farmers of the Midwest or miners in other states.  Even in urban areas, it meant economic ostracization for minority communities until it was time to secure their vote.

This alone demanded that Democrats listen and accept more ideas from the wealthy and affluent, and it has been the same since Tony Blair and the Clinton’s. Although democrats proclaim their policies serve progressive and liberal objectives, the harsh reality is that the do not. They have led to the destruction of unions and reduction in collective bargaining rights while they claim to be the party of the working class.  They have tightened relationships with the white-collar elite and for taking their money, have put in place policy that has help to suppress wages and wage growth.  These policies have also resulted in the ruination of the auto industry as we have witnessed in Detroit. But they did not stop there.  Starting with Bill Clinton, they even deregulated banks and had the gumption to tell the working poor that their situation was due to education, while rich liberals ignore the fact that even going to college, whether one finishes with a degree or not results in most African Americans having amassed nearly two times the amount of student loan debt than whites. Even Obama and other black establishment cats representing the democratic party got in on the act preaching the same credo asserting a culture of poverty argument that basically suggest that black are poor and need to go to college. As if all our problems are due more to having a poor education, than the neoliberal policies they unabatingly advance.

With Obama and his neoliberal economic locution, African American unemployment is still two times that of white unemployment. Economic disparity between whites and blacks has grown wider since his election and African American median income has fallen more than 10 percent with 26 percent of Black households being considered “food insecure.” Since Obama took office, the seasonally adjusted labor-force-participation rate for black Americans across the board has declined and the number of black food-stamp participants has increased more than 50 percent. Add to this that the percentage of black Americans who own homes has declined sharply and that real median income among black households based on data from your Census Bureau has also declined.  This means a higher poverty rates for blacks since 2008, a reduction in the number of young black men with full-time employment and an increase in median white wealth providing them with more income at a pace way surpassing that of blacks under your administration. Maybe this is why it has been determined that single African American women ages 36 to 49 have a median wealth of $5. This is without me even mentioning the paltry rate of GDP growth since you took office.  To put it bluntly, the economic liberalism of the Obama era was just a more murderous form of Reagan – unfettered (legal or illegal) immigration was encouraged and a blind eye was turn to both corporate tax evasion via overseas accounts and the activity of criminal banker activity on Wall Street.

All the can be connected in a causal manner to policy put in place by folk (99% democratic progressive liberals) elected to office or thought leaders, by the poor and working class black folk who have been distressed by said policies. Again, plainly put poverty and racism has only got worse during Obama’s tenure. Obama and democrats love to tout a higher minimum wage as being a solution but never answer how is this possible, when even with a higher wage, you cannot be sure that cats will give folk the hours they need just to get by let alone move out of poverty? How can this solve any economic issues sustained for blacks since democrats came to power during the post-civil-rights era and with democrats still pushing for capitalist globalization that has had a disproportionately negative influence on African Americans over the past 40 to 50 years? How can this help when 95% of the jobs created during the Obama Presidency were temporary? And don’t say because we talk about education because the reality is that African Americans with some college education have higher unemployment rates than whites who never went to college or even completed high school?

It was President Obama in 2014 that stated "if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching Sports Center and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics." This in a nut shell is neoliberalism, who's efficacy that even the IMF is starting to question. A philosophy which states we get rich if you vote for us and us alone while you black folk will remain restricted to unstable low wage service sector jobs (which are vanishing) and represent the fastest growing population of homeless in the U.S., women and children. This is one reason why economic position of African Americans have not changed since democrats began to represent all major urban areas since the mid-1960s. If I am wrong, then why have schools failed to improve and have been on a downward trend since then?  Why have long-term job prospects in these same places decreased and even disappeared since then? Neoliberalism has never been shown to have been effective or even work in the real world, especially when it comes to improving the economic conditions of blacks regardless of location of residency. So, I ask you, why support a party that takes your vote and destroys your community and ability to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Riddle me that Batman.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

After the civil war in America, several new political terms were introduced into our lexicon, one of which was the word carpetbagger. A carpetbagger was a northerner who moved to the South during Reconstruction (1863–1877 or 1865-1870 depending who you read) mainly to seek political office in an area where they did not live. To be accurate, during Reconstruction most of the Republican governors in the South were from the North.  This past week in Georgia, where I live and in a district, I don’t, a carpetbagger managed to place himself in a run-off for the Georgia sixth congressional district and his name is Jon Ossoff. I will expound on this and in the process, introduce a new term of political etiquette, the “vacuum cleaner.”

Ossoff like carpetbaggers back then were only concerned with self-interest that could be attained via exploitation. Exploitation in the sense that he is trying to profit by making use of and benefiting from resources from other cats outside of the 6th district to use the same district to enrich himself – nothing more or nothing less. Ask anyone in the 6th about him and you will quickly find out they don’t know him or ever see him. He has raised millions of dollars from folk that ain’t even in Georgia just to try and get the Republican seat in the special election vacated by Dr. Tom Price.

There are several reasons I consider Ossoff a carpetbagger throwback yet I will stick to two: that he doesn’t live in the district he is running to represent and that he cannot even vote for himself in said district.  I could add that I personally think Ragin Edwards, an actual East Cobb county and 6th district resident would have been the best choice for the Democratic party to support, but I should have known better based on the racist history of the Democratic party, that they would support a white man over a black woman who also happens to be a graduate of Georgia Tech. Then there is the fact that very little of his financial support comes from Georgians or folk that live in the 6th district. One source reported that he has raised tens of thousands from many of the Hollywood liberal and progressive elite, which proffers the question, what are they buying? Ossoff’s campaign, per Politico had raised more than $8 million by the election date with more than 95 percent coming from out of state. The Atlanta Journal Constitution noted: “If 95 percent of Ossoff’s $8.3 million was from out of state, that means 5 percent was from Georgians.And 5 percent of $8.3 million is $415,000.

I find it hard to consider that folk like Debra Messing, Rosie O’Donnell, Kyra Sedgwick, Chelsea Handler and actresses Jane Fonda know anything about the needs of Georgians to even comment or tell folk who to vote for. Not to mention that they most likely send their kids to private schools and have private security and therefore are unqualified to remark on such public issues on behalf of citizens involved in selecting their new representative. But who cares if out of state cats fund a Sixth District’s Georgia candidate for the U.S. Congress who also doesn’t live in the district they are running to represent and can’t vote for himself in said district? True, Ossoff did get most the votes in the primary for the 6th district, but in terms of basic math, it was less than Republicans and independents combined.

But such logic is lost on the new political class of what I call “vacuum cleaners.”  I describe vacuum cleaners as a byproduct of this new social media age.  They are hyper-partisan and typically are liberal progressive types that believe they are tolerant but are not.  The suck up every and all bits of information that supports their political view and on places like twitter, RT their views which they get from other folk, all day long.  A good sign that they are a vacuum cleaner is if most the folk they RT are from DC, New York, or California.  You may see a Massachusetts, Chicago or Atlanta person RTd but not as much as an inside the beltway or NYC cat. Honestly, I think Democrats need to suck up this L because this past Tuesday they had their best chance in Georgia but the lost it.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I have attempted to stay out of the fray regarding what has just happened in Syria.  It is almost as if Obama is still in Office and as if Trump has turned into Obama in the same fashion Obama turned into Bush. For all I know Trump is putting together a secret “kill list” like his predecessor and continuing Obama’s drone strike assassination program. I have read some interesting perspectives on this topic and agree with many of them.  For example, Norman Solomon’s suggesting that all this incessant Russian bashing may have been used to ‘bait’ Trump to bomb Syria, with or without evidence. I also agree with MIT professor of Science, Technology, and International Security Dr. Theodore Postol in his assessment of the White House report noting that it provides no evidence that the Sarin came from or was dropped from an Airplane and that without being on the ground at the time such a position is impossible to prove given Assad’s advantage in his battle against IS and other western supported terrorist proxies. For lack of a better statement, to use the words of Mike Whitney, “You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that the case against Syrian President Bashar al Assad is extremely weak.” Or as the free-thinking cats at MOA have pointed out, the White House “assessment” begins with "The United States is confident that the Syrian government conducted a chemical weapon attack, ..." noting that “The U.S…. does not have"proof" - it is just "confident".” And returning to Dr. Postol, he was also correct in 2013 when he disproved the Obama Administration uninformed position that Assad was responsible for a chemical nerve agent attack in Damascus.  My question is will Trump be another Obama with respect to Foreign policy in West Asia and use his war powers even out there past Obama? Will he engage in even more unjustified and clandestine wars in the same way Bush and Obama did by targeting even more majority-Muslim countries?

Let us begin with some historical perspective. The west has had its eye on Syria for decades now.  Although many would assert it started with a 1949 coup attemp timplemented by the CIA just 3 years after Syria became an independent country, I would suggest it started after WW1 in 1919 and continued up until the Franco-Syrian war initially. Specifically, after the implementation of the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916 - which cut up what was left of the Ottoman Empire between France and Britain. The war itself happened in 1920 ending in a victory for the French and the formation of a new pro-French government. This resulted in Syria being divided in to several regions according to religion. This is an important historical event because it appears the object of current western interference and the call for regime change in the nation has a similar objective.

In addition, history shows us that the objective of these efforts was to dominate and control the rich natural resources (oil and natural gas) in the region. As early as 1957 President Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan were making plans to establish and support financially the establishment of what they called a “Free Syria Committee” for the singular purpose of regime change in Syria to try and control the oil fields of not only Syria but also Iraq. There was no real geopolitical reason for this other than the desire of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) to build a Trans-Arabian Pipe Line (TAPLINE) from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean via Syria through to Turkey. This required a “Syrian right-of-way” to be agreed upon without input from the Syrian people of course.

Unfortunately, the efforts of the west resulted in making a divide between Shiite and Sunni that has been going on since the seventh century even worse especially if one considers that Shiites are the majority in Iran and Iraq, and are the largest Muslim group in Lebanon and their lands include what many consider the richest oil fields in the entirety of the Middle East. 

These efforts have only increased and intensified over the past few decades with regime change in Syria being priority. First a unified Syria stands in the way of policy objectives in the region to numerous and nuanced to discuss (US interests both in Lebanon and preventing the establishment of an Iraq’s pipeline to the Mediterranean for example). We know this because recently unclassified documents show that the CIA even made plans to use Iraq, Israel and Turkey as proxies in 1983 to pressure the Syrian government by using covert military actions just to establish a pipeline. Although this didn’t manifest, it did not prevent the CIA from continuing to try for in 1986 they drew up some more ideas to overthrow Syria by provoking sectarian tensions (does this sound familiar?). The same policy goals were desired again in 1991 and in 2001.

What we see now - with the supposed “civil war” in Syria - has been years in the making and the recent efforts of ISIS and other terrorist extremist (all supported by the West and Saudi Arabia) may have finally come to fruition after hard work put in by the British government according to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas who is on record saying that he got it from the horse’s mouth that “top British officials” were in the process of arming Sunni nationals “to invade Syria” in 2009 – two years before the anti-Assad protest. Then there is what then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in 2012: that the best way to help Israel deal with Iranis to help overthrow Bashar Assad.

So it seems that President Trump is no different than Obama or Bush or his democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and their desire to use any excuse to make bankers and oil giants the benefactors of the wealth to be generated by a divided Syria without Assad at the helm.  Chemical weapons like WMDs in Iraq, was contrived as an excuse to justify their goals.  I mean we know that Turkey supplied Sarin gas to Syrian rebels in 2013in order to frame the Syrian government. We also know that independent Humanitarian organizations have documented that ISIS has used chemical weapons, including Sarin, chlorine and sulfur mustard agents, at least 52 times on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

We also know that just like the Bush Administration, Hillary Clinton and Obama cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government to fund and arm clandestine operations designed to take down Iran and its ally Syria  by encouraging Sunni extremist groups that not only champion a militant view of Islam but are also are anti-America and sympathetic to ISIS and Al Qaeda. All which seem to be from extremist Islamic fundamentalist groups with origins in or connections to Saudi Arabia. 
In all sincerity, the west, as in Yemen, is backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, Sunni’s who are an openly admitted group that considers the U.S. and of Israel as lifelong enemies. By bombing Assad, we are basically s one writer put it serving as the ISIS/Al Qaeda Air force. This in my opinion, is no different that when Barack Obama invaded Libya without Congressional approval in 2011.  Trump clearly is no different and seems to take his marching orders from the neoconservatives and neoliberals who won’t be happy until a major U.S. military intervention happens in Syria (and other places) even if it means a confrontation with Russia and/or China. You may question my analysis but for what it is worth, NSC adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster is no dissimilar than Hillary Clinton, Victoria Nuland, or Nuland’s husband – Robert Kagen on this matter.

Again as I asked in the beginning of this essay, is Trump any different than Bush or Obama? I suspect not. As one writer pointed out: “I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that Assad or anybody else in the Syrian government really ordered a chemical weapons attack on anybody.  To believe that it would require you to find the following sequence logical: first, Assad pretty much wins the war against Daesh which is in full retreat.  Then, the US declares that overthrowing Assad is not a priority anymore (up to here this is all factual and true).  Then, Assad decides to use weapons he does not have.  He decides to bomb a location with no military value, but with lots of kids and cameras.  Then, when the Russians demand a full investigation, the Americans strike as fast as they can before this idea gets any support.  And now the Americans are probing a possible Russian role in this so-called attack.  Frankly, if you believe any of that, you should immediately stop reading and go back to watching TV.”

I remember the Gulf of Tonkin and other major U.S. lies to justify war like the one in 1970 when our government lied to the American people and said, “We didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia” when in fact we did. Former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, was correct in his assessment equally when he said like Libya, Syria will "implode" if President Assad was removed from office period. Not to mention bombing Syria does nothing to provide humanitarian relief and merely distracts the world from the West supported atrocities in Yemen, Mosul and the South Sudan.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On Monday, I read the transcripts from the Sunday morning talk shows.  One comment that struck a tone with me that I read was from Laura Ingraham.  Now honestly, albeit an intelligent person, I rarely agree with her observations but this time I did. She gave an apt description of Obamacare as a “libertine mess of a piece of legislation.” I wanted to name this essay exactly this, however fearing copyright challenges, I came up with my own title of a similar nature

Regardless if you call it the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, the fact is that for the vast majority of Americans, in particular the ones that lost coverage and now have higher premiums and deductibles, the foul side effects and unplanned imports have not been received well. Admittedly, no new government program is going to be completely perfect and however laudable a desire as it is to provide health insurance to millions that do not have any coverage, the reality is that health benefit mandates and willy-nilly rating rules significantly increase health insurance costs, and as a result are passed on to consumers.

I don’t mind saying it, but I predicted all of this years ago. It began with, from the very start, when President Obama kept on saying that American families would experience an annual reduction of $2,500 in their health costs if his law was passed. This would be mathematically impossible unless some extreme assumptions could be made and they were. The biggest being one of structure given that the ACA doesn’t even address the cost of health coverage. It is easy to make sweeping statements when the direct object of a statement (cost of health insurance coverage) isn’t even spoken about in the legislation. Another and more problematic aspect of the law is that Obamacare can only work the manner stated if cats participate in the“individual mandate.” If you don’t then fear the tax and be fined either greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or $695 per uninsured adult and $347.50 per uninsured child in your family. This flat fee rate will increase each year with inflation. The assumption here was that if employer and employee insurance costs were greatly reduced, then that would have a direct, outcome on citizens in the form of the aforementioned $2500 per year for the average family. Maybe this is why then President Obama stated that his law would “not burden people who make $250,000 a year or less,” or why he said that the ACA would not add “a dime” to the federal deficit

Economics side, another problem for many, myself included is that Obamacare abrogates individual and personal freedom not only by limiting choices but by allowing the government to make you to participate by buying insurance for not obeying the law. Almost every main decision in the health care sector of the American economy under the ACA is in the hands openly or ultimately, by federal officials – unelected federal officials.

But if you participate, you give up most of the liberty us as individuals connect with choice and medical freedom. Just take the Obamacare's Independent Advisory Board (IPAB) for example. This allows for the ACA to create a 15-member panel of experts that determining the type of care that Medicare pays for on behalf of the individual and consequently rations Medicare through price controls for that individual – whatever they decide you are stuck with. Why, because under Title I, federal officials define the content of health insurance coverage, including but not limited to obligatory medical actions, treatment and preventive health care services.  Then there is the large long-term care program called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. As early as five years ago we knew many of the components of the legislation were not practical or affordable. The Obama Administration’s from the start knew that the CLASS act was not financially feasible, but wanted it and so kept the program anyway.

In summary, the ACA has increased costs for individuals,families, and businesses and unlike proponents of the bill claimed, instead the American people have come to hate the bill more and more. Not only is it worsening America's debt problem, federal spending on healthcare is also increasing which some believe will result in trillion-dollar deficits in seven years' time. The Congressional Budget Office has indicated that U.S. Federal debt could be as high as $30 trillion by 2030, as a consequence of Obamacare. Don’t even include the absence of insurance options under Obamacare or the failing co-ops. Large insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare and Aetna are all leaving the exchanges and several states have only one insurer providing insurance through Obamacare. Less competition in the exchanges only means higher premiums and deductibles cost and less consumer choice (this is the law of supply and demand).

But such should have been expected, I mean congress had not even read the bill or given the chance to read the bill before being forced to vote on it. But folk still stick up for Obama care.  But to me, a woman over 70 should not be forced to purchase prostate cancer or maternity coverage if she doesn’t have a prostate gland and can’t have a baby.  But folk like this cat seem to don’t get this. How would you feel if you paid the same price for auto insurance as a person with 3 DUI’s? The ACA is truly a hodgepodge, mishmash jumble of confusion - a  Farrago for lack of a better word.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

For some reason that I have failed to comprehend, people are actually up in arms over the manner in which President Trump is addressing and defining mainstream media outlets – namely CNN, the Washington Post, New York Times and MSNBC among others. I have heard it pronounced as an attack on democracy or that his actions characterize an effrontery to a free press. It is the latter notion that sets me aback for the press in America isn’t reflective of free, rather it is corporatist for lack of an even more accurate description.

When we assert the concept of press freedoms or freedom of the press, it implies that there is no interference from any ever-powerful or omnipresent political or established state, or other organizational entity.  We do not have this with the mainstream media in America anymore. What is called and referred to as a “free press” is in reality just a vehicle by which the public is fed the agenda of government and corporations under the cloak of unrevealed activities of elites in newsrooms primarily located in New York and Washington, DC. Modestly put, the mainstream media isn’t a free press but rather a speaking board by which state and corporate bodies are able to repeat without investigation, the narratives designed to encourage spreading specific political information to program thought and behavior.

Moreover, the people that own and run these East and West coast news outlets are billionaires, like Rupert Murdoch,  Michael Bloomberg and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who own all or significant proportions of media platforms the likes of the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. This is factual at the local level as well for Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owns more than 60 daily newspapers across the nation. Taking this a step farther, it is estimated that 90% of what we watch, listen to and read is owned by 6 companies. Yes it is true, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner, CBS and Comcast own 90% of the TV stations, radio stations, movies, magazines and newspapers that every American rely on for news, entertainment and information many require to be so-called ‘woke.’

Such a consolidation of news media companies cannot be considered the stalwart of a free press, instead it is an ‘owned press’ in which freedom means motives of operation imbued in the content they select to provide or hide thanks mostly to Congress and the FCC, and which was accelerated in 1996 when then President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act, which led to rapid consolidation of the radio industry. Just think about it, in 1983, 50 companies owned 90% of American media.

Now I know the contrarian who watches six or more hours of TV a day, well above the time we spend reading and asking questions will disagree.  But history and the official record suggest otherwise. In 1975, the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found that the CIA submitted stories to the American press. In fact, in the 1950s, the CIA put in place Operation Mockingbird which was a program designed to, and effectively used US journalists at establishments like the New York Times and CBS to feed them official state propaganda stories to send out to their American consumers.

Journalists were even paid by the CIA to promote such stories or on the low end, just given the information and put it out as real news, when in fact it was made-up and fabricated propaganda - ‘fake news’. The truth of the matter is that the US government via the CIA, has for years influenced US news media to advocate specific political storylines. Although Operation Mockingbird was supposedly ended in the 1970s, the objective and free thinking individuals could imagine that the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 still serves the mission and purpose of the federal government by allowing for the American public to be a target audience for U.S. government-funded narrative inculcation campaigns. And don’t sleep, it was way harder to carry out such activities after 1953 when Allen W. Dulles became director of the CIA because there were more individual players in terms of wire services and newspapers then.  

I’m not sure but I think it was Malcolm X who called this shit ‘tricknology’. These folk are effectively and actively trying to influence the narratives that mindless self-absorbed narcissist ignorantly consume in an effort to create your reality for YOU. And I know it is effective because YOU believe it.  Wouldn’t surprise me none if such cats watch the Oscars and see a movie about the White Helmets win yet yo dumb azz can’t comprehend you been sold a storyline to completely hide the fact that the White Helmets are a component of Al-Qaeda. It is called TV programming and not TV reasoning – they just  “programming” into your mind every single day for hours upon hours what they want you to think and accept without research and query to believe what they want you to believe and sway on how you see the world. 

It is you, your bich azz that allow these immovable establishments to fix the agenda for what they want you to care about – Russians, Jeff Sessions and Russians, General Flynn and Russians, Russians interfered in out elections. But as I said, yet you don’t even realize the information released in Podesta and DNC hacks (if the Russians released it or not) was accurate and factual but never ask if I should consider if I should have this information to make a electoral decision, or tow the MSM line that I should not use this to inform myself, although factual just because of what I watch on TV say you shouldn’t? But keep on with the Bay of Pigs, Gulf of Tonkin, Mandela a terrorist, FBI didn’t spy on MLK, there was not Tuskegee Experiment, we have to do Iran-Contra and the ubiquitous Iraq has weapons of mass destruction (when you knew Iraq never attacked us).

Six corporations’ folk, 90%, send everything through your television, everything you watch. You can trust them folk, I won’t.  So wake up folk, can’t be woke and sleep walking, they are not the free press, they got a pimp.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The sudden resignation of National Security Adviser and retired General Michael Flynn and the unprecedented leaks pouring out to damage and even destroy the Trump presidency is a throwback to what I recall other nations (namely autocratic or communist regimes) did when the political status quo felt threatened. Likewise, they often emerged as a consequence of actions taken by top members in state sponsored intelligence operations.

There are several possibilities for this including oscitant retribution proffered by folk like former CIA director John Brennan and former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, or even a backlash by career officials (Democratic politicians and, more importantly, theintelligence community) in an effort for whatever reason, to keep Trump from instituting his foreign policy agenda.

Sadly many in the elite east coast press and large numbers of Democrats support these actions while failing to accept and admit that for unelected officials to go around the constitution and imped policy efforts of a democratically elected official, whether you support that official or not, is seditious and boarders on actions of former governments run by police apparatus like the Stasi of East Germany.

The Stasi was a shorthand term used to describe the East German State Security "Staatssicherheit." It was a combination of the United States FBI, CIA and NSA for lack of a better description, meaning they had policing, investigating and uninhibited surveillance powers. The Stasi was responsible for hundreds of thousands of perceived political opponents being tried without due process, imprisoned and even murdered in an effort to suffocate political dissention against all the tenants of conventional democratic standards.

Most people they imprisoned and executed where charged with specific acts such as engaging in "propaganda hostile to the state," interfering in “activities of the state or society" orthe "treasonable relaying of information." In addition to domestic surveillance, the Stasi was also responsible for foreign surveillance. Through the use of wiretapping (it is illegal to wiretap the U.S. President) and anonymous unsourced claims unaided by any evidence (sounds familiar), for more than four decades, the Stasi operated unfettered and without remorse until the collapse of Communist East Germany and the opening of the borders with West Germany in 1989. These type of energies seem to have been put into action inside the Beltway as it regards the Trump administration.

It is obvious that there is a real fear or hatred for Trump as he goes about his campaign promise to “drain the swamp” and dismantle the bureaucratic system of politics including the FBI, CIA and NSA and their historic abuse of unfettered power that they feels places them over the elected government. Also clear, is that even before Hillary Clinton ran, highbrow member of the Washington political establishment, including assets of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, were supporting her hook, line and sinker. From former acting CIA Director Michael Morell and Gen. Michael Hayden who served in the capacity of both director of the NSA and CIA under George W. Bush. Both men, without evidence or proof asserted that Trump was a “useful fool” and Russian agent being influenced by Putin.

Upon which, immediately rumors started to be thrown into the political ether. In particular when then candidate Trump continuously rejected the establishment narrative of the media and intelligence community that under the direct orders of Putin, Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta emails in order to interfere with the election on the side and behalf of the Republican nominee. This was followed by a pile-on by the Democratic Party which since then have willingly encompassed this effort to disrupt the elected President who they gave no chance of winning.

Since then we have had the Trump “dossier” which was produced by a former member of the British intelligence agency MI6 and hired first by a never-Trump super Pac and then the Democratic Party to find some dirt on Trump. This report fell apart, although the media tried to establish a narrative that it was true, when it was proven that unlike the dossier stated as fact, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had never secretly traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russian officials or had ever been to Czceh Republic..

Why would the intelligence establishment take this path? Well even a blind person can see that their preferences for Clinton was in line with all of their desired policy objectives: Trump wants to work with Putin to destroy ISIS and Clinton wanted to go deeper into Syria in an effort to get Assad out of office as she did Gadhafi in Libya. For this reason if my logic is tenable, targeting Trumps security executives would be paramount.  More than likely, Flynn was planning to try and reform and change the mindset of the national security state in America. Such would have surly been an economic loss the military industrial complex could not afford to take a chance on.  It has been said that all wars are banker’s wars and we are well aware that banks dole out large sums of money to the US military and intelligence apparatus.

The short of the story is that the East Germany Stasi, even if not in body, in action is alive in the administrative halls of Washington, DC.  Like the Stasi, elements in the U.S. intelligence community are essentially committing treason against the Office of the President of the United States by leaking classified material to the press. This is also without a doubt happening with the urging and assistance of former Obama administration appointees because anonymous leaks without any evidence at all is speculation, guessing and/or gossip. Unfortunately, the democrats and mainstream media flunkies are more than giddy to run with any claim, substantiated or not to bring down Trump and his administration. This is the most probably scenario given from the Obama years, we know the immense powers the U.S. intelligence community has through the leaks (not anonymous) of Edward Snowden alone and that he gave them even more powers days before leaving office. As one writer noted: “Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what policestates do."

Any assertion regarding Russia’s interference in U.S. elections as been presented based on guess and without evidence. The charges with Flynn began with the remnants of the Obama Department of Justice when then acting attorney general Sally Yates told the White House counsel that Flynn was not telling the truth with respect to talking about sanctions with the Russian ambassador. How did she know this and who authorized wiretapping Flynn’s communication? Still, we do not know if this was true since the phone transcripts have not been released. All I can state is that these attacks against the President and his administration were planned and contrived in what I perceive as a hidden effort to thwart the will of the American people by elements representative of the Democratic Party, the U.S. intelligence establishment and mainstream media.

Friday, February 17, 2017

When Donald Trump began his run for the Presidency, I thought to myself that he reminded me of Andrew Jackson a little.  Not completely like these pundits currently have been suggesting, but just a little.  I said this even before most made the comparison.  Maybe it was my bias of Jackson in my view being the greatest President (for destroying the Second National Bank) ever and for being from Tennessee.  But I also said that he had attributes of another southern politician that I admired - Huey Long, who was elected as Governor of Louisiana in 1928.

In simple terms from a surface perspective, Trump is nowhere close to the seventh President of the United States.  However, like Jackson, he was an outsider buttressed by the common persons vote to take on the political establishment. To prove his recognition of this I suspect this is why immediately upon taking residency in the Whitehouse Trump hung up a portrait of ‘Old Hickory’ in the Oval Office.

Like Trump, Jackson was a populist, but was the son of a poor farming family with the key word being poor.  Trump has never experienced being poor. Nonetheless, from what I have read, in disposition and temperament - seeing he was described as rash, impatient, rude, volatile, hot-headed and defensive, he could be a Trump twin. Comparably, he was considered a mean-spirited bully and equally as being unfits to serve as president. I would even go on a limb and assert that if it were acceptable, like in Jackson’s day, Trump would challenge any and all of his naysayers to duels.  This was something Jackson did on occasion,even killing a man as a result of one. Jackson never mentioned “America first”, but his actions and campaign rhetoric said everything synonymous with the concept.

One could also postulate that the manner in which Trump disemboweled his opponents during the Republican primary was an act reflective of Jacksonian effort.  I mean one cannot help but read how Jackson depicted John Quincy Adams (as an elitist European in American attire) could have fit the way in which Trump described, Rubio, Bush, and the other GOP hopefuls. Then there were the parades and barb-Q’s that Jackson used in the same manner as Trump did with his massive rallies. Other than that, it ends there.  Not only was Jackson (in my view) America’s greatest general, he also closed out the War of 1812 with a dramatic victory at the Battle of New Orleans where he was out numbered 2 to 1 by most estimates. Jackson had also served as the attorney general for the state of Tennessee, as a judge, a congressman and a senator. Trump hasn’t had any experience in government or politics ever in his life.

The other part that makes the Trump political hybrid in my opinion is Huey Long. Long really had more in common with Jackson than Trump, both being southerners and from poor farming families. He also had a career in politics after first having had a successful career in law. Long had a nickname too – the “Kingfish.”

Like Trump and Jackson, Long was either loved or hated and viewed as being either a populist breath of fresh air on the one side or an autocratic tyrant on the other. All three were able to come into power by taking advantage of sentiments against the widespread public dissatisfaction with years of corrupt government activities and anti-elite sentiment. Like Jackson and Trump, when it came to disposition, Long was their equal. Historians note that it was common for Long to bully and curse at other lawmakers until he broke their will and got his way. This started from when he was first elected Governor of Louisiana in 1928 and continued until his death via assassination in 1935.  Once in office, he put his supports in positions of leadership valuing proficiency over political cronyism.

His policies were Trump-like equally, as well as Jacksonian. Long focused his attention on the common farmers and workers of all races and on improving infrastructure in the form of bridges, roads, hospitals, and schools as well as social services. He also revised the tax codes. All three had better than popular support.  Likewise they had the ability to speak directly to and influence regular citizens (their supporters) in a way that allowed them to overlook their personality failing’s and all entered into office at a time of social and economic upheaval.

For Long it was the start of the great depression, for Jackson it was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and Trump the economic conundrum proffered by an advancing age of technology and reduced utility for humans in manufacturing. All spoke to people whom felt as if they were being left behind. All were bedbugs to the established political elite albeit Long was still prone to the dirty and corrupt politics of Louisiana at the time. But most of all, each was extremely patriotic.

All came to power with support from ordinary people of ordinary means. Equally, Jackson, Long and Trump vowed to clean up corruption in Washington. Similarly, all three made direct links with the voters by speaking plane and directly to them without the filter of mainstream news outlets or the political elite, vowing to serve as the defender of the people against large special interest collectives. As well, they all expanded the scope of their executive power; Trump with his rapid pace of executive orders, Long with his unorthodox political arm-twisting and Jackson (like Trump) by implementing policies through a private bevy of advisers referred to as the "Kitchen Cabinet." Huey Long passed an inordinate number of laws that enabled him to enact his programs within the first year of becoming the governor of Louisiana. One thing for sure is that all of these men believed the federal government should be simple and reachable by the people.

Although it has been said Trump is a racist, he is likely the less racist of the three. Jackson is well documented in history for his belligerent Indian removal policy and Long for accusing a local judge in Louisiana of having "coffee (Black, colored, mulatto or negro)" blood. A racist slur which according to accounts caused the judge's son-in-law to shoot Long down in the state capitol eventually leading to his death at a time when he was considering running for president as a populist, third-party candidate. Some historians have asserted that he would have been likely to have defeated Franklin D. Roosevelt from winning reelection in 1936.

I do not see Trump as being exactly in the mold of Jackson, or of Long, but I must admit they all have/had powerful personalities. Maybe Trump will have an outcome like Jackson.  If you recall, Jackson was quick to kick folk out of his cabinet who did not do what he said. In two terms for example, Jackson went through four secretaries of state and five secretaries of the treasury alone.  Still, they all had detractors that considered them to be tyrants, with Long even being described as the ‘dictator’ of Louisiana. The state house of representatives even voted to impeach him but it failed.  They are trying to impeach Trump now. The only commonality in my mind is that all three voiced populist resentments to the wealthy and evinced an I don’t give a fuck if I hurt your feelings attitude, I am here to do a job.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Years ago there was a little girl, she operated a lemonade and candy stand, her name was Heaven Sutton. She isn’t with us anymore because she was gunned down in her front yard.  Now years later the names of children killed by senseless gangland (or any form) violence in places like Chicago are too numerous to name.  Acen King, Ja'Quail Mansaw, Cylie and Caden McCullum, Payton Benson
Antonio Smith Jr., Tiana Ricks and Londyn Samuels are just a few, but you don’t know their names or even know who they are.  They were never romanticized with hashtags like #remeberhername or #sayhisname or #bringbackourgirls because although they were black there death's were not sensational enough for the retro chic political narrative of the day.

If they were killed by police or an idiotic white lunatic, they would be known and remembered and we would cite their names with the likes of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown.  But they have no value in the eyes and minds of social justice warriors because mentioning or remembering their names does not help to enable their goals of getting rich off of racial and identity politics and obtain fake fame by receiving television air time for pretending to be “woke.”

The artificial pretense of the so-called woke culture is metastasizing like a cancer, especially with the election of Donald Trump.  It is as if black folk can only attend to complaining about him and police shootings and nothing more.  Not the pathetic state of our inner cities. Or our failing government public schools or increasing rates of poverty (all of which by they have been happening in places that have been run by democrats since the 1940s in most cases and problems Trump had nothing to do with). The fake outrage at the election of Donald Trump that I have written about before will never manifest into true honest civic outrage for real problems that confront us daily like the deaths of the little children or the economic constraints I mentioned previously. 

These same folk, especially the black ones will protest against Trump and his ban on seven specific nations but were silent when Obama was bombing families of the same innocent women and children in the same nations with his drone wars which he dramatically increased when compared to George W. Bush after giving his 2009 Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech: wars that the former president conducted with impunity in places like Somalia, Libya, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Syria that created his current migrant-refugee crisis to begin with. They are loud when they are not allowed within the U.S. proper but were quiet when they were being slaughtered religiously on the orders of America’s first black president. It is as if they say it is cool to kill them, I can get with that but it is a problem when we try to improve criterion for entry to the U.S.

For the life of me I cannot figure this out – being open to individual and personal acquiesce to murder but opposed to none murderous acts to an option of personal choice.  Likewise, there was no outrage when Obama stopped Iraqis from immigrating to the U.S. for 120 days.  Clearly politics and not protest in the name of basic dignity is hey problem or issue.

At Berkeley we saw this in action. Incantations of divide and conquer. Destroying property and setting vehicles on fire has nothing to do with protest based on what is called for to stand on the side of righteousness regarding human dignity or else they would affirm the nonviolent approaches of Gandhi, King and Mandela.  This is all show and mechanically contrived vexation.  They do not really care, they just want attention; and they do not seek change, rather they only want to define what is acceptable or should be tolerated as meaning you have to agree with me or else you are wrong and my speech is more important than your speech. What I am paying attention too is more important than anything else. But where were they before this?

For example, cities and states all around the nation have been finding funds available to deal with litigious actions that may be pending for illegal aliens under asserted or proposed Trump planes to deal with the issue.  You got black folk even out on the front lines of this fictitious battle.  Mind you that for decades we have been trying to get the same cities and states to hire more public defenders for the many of our fellow men and women locked behind bars but the response was always “we do not have the money for such.” Yet there were none of these adamant protestors standing next to us when we made this request but we stand with them. And all of a sudden places like LA can magically come up with $10 million for this but no funds for additional public defenders to defend people born in America.

It is as if we are living in an alternate reality where all injustices are equal when evidence dictates they are not.  There were only one specific people designated as slaves in America who did not have a choice to come him but rather was forced to by a combination of the Bible and the barrel of a gun. Still opaquely innocent and manipulated we go along with the flow when it makes no logical senses and supersedes our own collective interest.  We hail the arrival of Muslim immigrants without out the consideration of the fact that if they are terrorist, they will kill us too, and want to kill us too.  Liberal or conservative they do not care, they will set you on fire and chop your head off with the quickness for things we call liberties (sexual orientation, wearing revealing clothing if you are a woman, drinking alcohol, being a Christian or having an abortion).

That they do like beating women and condemning homosexuals to death don’t outrage us, nor what they believe.  It is this myopia that believes we are justified not to speak up on behalf of the children I mentioned earlier because they do not meet our narrative.  But don’t let it be an award show, or you will have protest and outrage out the azz.  There would be #oscarssowhite or the recent #grammyssowhite because Beyoncé didn’t win album of the year.  This is an issue although WORLDWIDE the woman she lost too sold waaaaaaaay more albums than she did. Now let that sink in, cats are so mad that a millionaire didn’t win an award while sitting in a room filled with other millionaires outfitted in $5,000 or more worth of sartorial splendor, that they are willing to express emotional disdain.  But let a two-year get shot in the head the result of a gangland hit, and they won’t say jack. But it makes sense, after all these rich Hollywood cats are oppressed too, with their body guards with automatic weapons, drivers and walled-in mansions.

Have we lost our way? Are we so caught up in self-absorbed mindless celebrity twaddle that we can be eaisly paraded about like a puppet by presentations of what Juvenal called “bread and circuses?” Do we even know what we are upset by, angered by or protesting against?  I don’t think so and I don’t think for those who are black, really have have any interest in improving our conditions collectively as a people, if they were, they would know of Lavontay White, Takiya Holmes or Kanari Gentry Bowers. Unfortunately they don’t, they just know Beyoncé didn’t win a Grammy for Album of the year and that it takes precedence above all else.
Torrance T. Stephens. Powered by Blogger.

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