Saturday, May 16, 2015

TPP and Economic False Flags

Governments throughout history from monarchies to dictatorships, Communism to Democracies, have staged the reasons for war in order to promulgate that war when there was scant support for the war in the first place. Many times the simmering resentments, the disenfranchisement and cultural discrimination are present but there is no spark to set off the pent-up rage that will eventually burn down some part of the world. While the seeds of revolution may already be in the people, there must be a match to light it up. This is where the propaganda machine comes into play.

Creating that spark is the occupation of the founders and leaders of what is to come. They may set off the fighting by winning a decisive first battle. They also may engender popular support by being the victim of a heinous attack against which no patriot could sit idly by and not throw full support and resources into the defeat of the enemy. In military circles this initiating act may be a false flag event, or it may merely be a "willfully neglectful" lapse in ones defenses that "could not have been anticipated." The false flag event is one where one stages an attack on one's self in order to elicit popular support. The Gulf of Tonkin naval attack that brought America into French Indo-china (Vietnam) is alleged to have been such an affair. One may also just lean back and allow a first volley to set in motion the gathering storm such as the allegation of the September 11, 2001 attack on New York and the Pentagon. There is always the risk that the initiating events become greatly out of hand, as with the female Forest Service officer who went into the woods to ostensibly to "burn letters from her estranged husband" and touched off a major wildfire conflagration in Colorado.

"A love letter went terribly wrong in the 2002 case of Terry Barton, a U.S Forest Service Worker, who burned a letter from her estranged husband, which caused a massive wildfire that burned 138,000 acres outside of Denver and destroyed more than 100 homes."
The two varieties of causative acts are the false flag and what Naomi Klein refers to as "Disaster Capitalism" in her book, "The Shock doctrine." The latter maneuver may also be staged but is more prominently opportunistic in nature.  The people who seek to benefit from the "disaster" don't have to dynamite the dam to get the results they seek when they only have to curtail funding of the dam inspection agency until the dam fails of its own decay. Then they also limit funds for rebuilding the government dam while calling "government dams" inefficient and wasteful of taxpayer dollars. After all just look at what just happened to that dams. Now the way is paved for a privately financed dam and revenues from its placement going to the investors. Does this sound very familiar recent politics?

Government schools. Defund public education and create magnate schools run by corporations. Local school boards can delegate their community responsibilities to the profit makers who will indoctrinate the children in the ideals of the corporate mentality that is consumerism and don't rock the economic boat.

Defund Amtrak, that government railroad that is inefficient and wasteful of Congressional grants. With the lack of proper funding service quality and safety will degrade to the point where it will be more desirable to shut it down.

Defund government Social Security and turn it over to the financial sector who is "far more efficient in investment strategies" and will do a better job.

Kill Medicare and Medicaid and let people choose for themselves what coverage they want and can afford. Never mind that most people cannot afford any coverage at all.

Privatize municipal water supplies and wastewater treatment because the pipe infrastructure is so old and in need of neglected maintenance that only a for-profit business could ever make it right.

Sell National Parks and let concessionaires develop services, attractions and amenities. First Congress must under fund the existing system while declaring that the budget will not support such continued funding.

Make laws that are specious in the first place, will have plenty of people breaking them, develop minimum sentencing requirements, and then under fund the existing prisons. After creating the demand and showing that government prisons are dangerous and inefficient, put out contracts for corporations to line up investors to build prison cells and run the penal system to maintain shareholder value by having mandatory minimum occupancy.
A recent move has been started to privatize Air Traffic Control in the US.

The strategic approach in the dominant Republican Congress is to incrementally strip the Federal government of operating funds by enacting tax cuts all over the place. While some lower income strata will benefit, the greatest beneficiaries are the most wealthy people and corporations. Without necessary revenues the Federal agencies and administrations cannot do their essential jobs of protecting the lives and health of American citizens. Once it is established that the government system is "broken" the profiteers step in to save the day.

There are far more examples of this use of false flags in economics than has been presented here. Each passing month Congress comes up with yet another use. The development of the Trans Pacific Partnership is just one more example. The premise goes like this.

The United States needs to be able to export its goods to countries where labor is so cheap that they will manufacture everything they need domestically. They impose tariffs and duties that make US products uncompetitive. They manipulate their currencies to make their money more valuable and the Dollar less. We want to stop those tariffs and onerous foreign laws that hinder our corporate profits. We want to be able to bypass their uncooperative governments and go directly to their courts for monitory remedies. And when I say "we" I really mean a major multi-national corporation.

Part of the trouble with this TPP is that foreign corporate entities can do the same to us. They can sue for lost income if a town refuses to let them extract mineral from under their real estate. They can sue for damages if a state shuts them down for polluting rivers. They can sue to remove costly safeguards for public health or demand reimbursement for the cost of compliance. This set of conditions is weighted heavily in favor of companies that engage is dangerous processes and don't really care about the "externalities" to their core business activities.

Every other trade agreement that the United Stated has sign on to has served to diminish our position, our employment, our wealth in favor of the very few at the top of the economic heap. These trade agreement have never benefitted US labor or ordinary middle class citizens. All the messaging says that the plan is good, the plan is right, but we have yet to see that be true.

The extensive agenda of Republican legislatures all across this country is one of making it possible for investors to make their money on more and more aspects of our daily lives. This is not unlike the Tuna Schemes that are the essential topic of this Blog. It seems that corporations have reached some limit to how much revenue they can squeeze out of their traditional endeavors and now are moving farther into new territory. One only has to look at Coca-Cola and Pepsico to see that they need to open the bottled water market, the vitamin water, Smart Water market and energy drink market to find a way to continue to expand their enterprises even as the drinking of caramel-colored sweet fizzy water has plateaued.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Gun Manufacturers Know Precisely How Many Guns Are Sold to Inappropriate Buyers

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Gun Manufacturers know precisely how many guns will be sold to inappropriate buyers including those who will use the gun to commit suicide.  This is why they so strongly oppose background checks and competency criteria for gun ownership.

Since gun suicide is a one shot deal, the buyer of the gun will not be a brand loyal customer who comes back for more weapons.  Two-thirds of gun deaths are suicides.  This amounts to 27,000 deaths per year.  Over a ten year period that is at least 270,000 guns sales.  If a person with major depression or any psychiatric institutional intervals were denied a gun purchase, just on the basis of suicides, they would lose those sales.

One in eight Americans are consuming one of more prescriptions for their depression and 25% of adults will experience at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime.  The availability of a gun in their household is a significant contributor to them becoming a suicide statistic.

The gun manufacturing industry is actively working against solutions just like the tobacco industry did for decades before the Legislature freed itself from the bonds of financial duty for the funds they took to influence their votes.

Automobile manufacturers resisted seat belts, turn signals safety glass and collapsing steering columns for years until Congress got serious about the carnage on out highways with  numbers as high as 54,000 deaths per year.  The mid-1960s saw the introduction of several mandatory improvements: seat belts, collapsing steering columns and padded dashboards.  Highway deaths plummeted after the high in 1972.  All indicators show that regulation, laws that govern behavior, and improved hardware design reduced the death toll AND the collateral disabling injury level that automobile collisions exacted.

We all get wrapped around the axle about the gun deaths but neglect to consider that there are millions of serious gun injuries, such as Gabrielle Giffords, Senator Bradey, and all the targets of mass shooters who wound a person without necessarily killing him. Those lives are inextricably altered too.  Their dollar cost to society is far greater than the deaths.  A gun shot victim may need $100,000 or more in services to survive and be rehabilitated.  Nobody can foot that kind of bill alone so We The People pick up the tab.

Gun ownership might have been an easy thing 100 years ago, but today the world is different and gun owners must come to terms with the exercise of their rights and recognize their responsibilities.

If every gun owner was a responsible law abiding citizen, then we would not be having this discussion today.