Saturday, October 6, 2012

The election I'm looking forward to

Revolution is happening all around the world, while all I'm left with this lousy election. A single party that I disagree with on nearly every issue; war, education, climate, sustainability, poverty, fair trade, the environment, healthcare, transparency, civil liberties and so on, I stand in opposition to both parties, left without a voice, without a vote, without a choice, in what i'm told is the world's greatest democracy.

But there is an election I am excited about. Hugo Chavez is up for reelection. The American media likes to paint Chavez as a dictator, but the democracy in Venesula puts ours to shame. No corporate or private money is allow, public funds are given to the candidate and they receive equal air time. Great effort is taken to get people registered to vote, currently 96% of Venezuelans are registered to vote, where the US has about 70% registered. The voting machines are the most advanced in the world, totaly fool proof and completely auditable at every level. If the US system was that good in 2000, we wouldn't have had the 5 to 4 supreme court decide the election. This is what democracy looks like. 

Jimmy Carter, when not buying sweaters for the winter months, oversees elections with the Carter Center. He said, "Of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world." Every poll has Chavez in the lead. His strategy is simple, represent the masses, dramatically improve their lives, and raise voter turn out. It is the opposite of a fixed election. It is revolution, through democracy. 

There is something big happening in South America. They are working to end an era. We are still in the age of imperialism and capitalism (you can use those words almost interchangeably). Since Columbus, South America has been been exploided for its land and labor by the west. Conquistadors, plantations, colonialism, neo-liberialism, IMF loans, Structural Adjustment Programs, war on drugs, right wing death squads, overthrowing socialist leaders, United Fruit, world bank, deforestization, privatization, free trade- all have been or are impearial tools of the west and has crippled the people and land of the continent. Imperialism and colonialism are still very much still practiced. 

Many South American countries are shaking the shackles of colonialism, and standing up for themselves, and for the first time claiming thier land for themselves. (not first time, but previous attempts have been met with CIA coups- exception: Cuba) This is why we paint Chavez as a evil dictator, he threatens the order of things, and the current order of things is good for our businesses.  Now the exploited are standing up to the exploiters. They are cutting ties with the IMF, standing up to western banks and institutions, nationalizing industry, standing up to the US in climate talks and trade agreements, and no longer being bullied by the affluent. A recent example of this is Ecuador granting asylum to Juilian Assange. I kept seeing post about little Ecuador standing up to the big UK, but Ecuador isn't little, they are a part of a bigger movement. 

Latin American and Caribbean countries have formed The Bolivian Alliance of the Peoples of our America. Members include Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and a handful of Caribbean states. Some call it Socialism for the 21st Century. Literacy rates, health care, wages, quality of life, infrastructure, education, and democracy are on the raise. Poverty and pollution are in decline 
(In Venezuela, poverty has been reduced in half, extreme poverty reduces by 70%). When industry become nationalized, profits stop being extracted from the people, and decisions can be made based on what is good for the people, instead of what is good for the company.  When a compainy becomes under state control, there is no longer profits, but public revenue. That money can go to anywhere that society sees fit. Exxon alone makes annual profits of 80 billion, imagine if that 80 billion were public funds or tax revenue. Exxon tends to use that money to squash alternative energy research and development, if it was a public company we could do the opposite. There is no solution to the environment crisis under capitalism. The good news is an alternative is growing. 

These countries have been systematically keep poor and beat down for hundreds of years. It is amazing what they have been able to do in 10 years. They are doing things sustainabley. Many western economicist have said the growth can't last, but it has. Many said a recession would cripple them, but they have done well with every recession and economic blow that has been dealt. Our growth is not sustainable, we inflate as fast as we can leaving the middle hollow and the edges expanding while destroying the environment and creating more inequality. They are building solidly, making sure thier foundation is strong, protecting the environment, eliminating inequality, and looking out for each other. How do you think these economies will compair in as time goes by?

When fueling, fuel from Citgo.

I hope this is the beginning of the end of the age of imperilism/capitalism. My name is John Shambo, and I am a socialist. 

Socialist Anonymous

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Socialist Anonymous

I’m sick of attending these socialist anonymous meetings

I want to go public

but that propaganda would smack me so hard

hard like 50 years hard labor

that by the time the misinformation got through with me

I’d look like a peasant from Stalin’s Russia

I’m not for Dictators ruling with iron fists

but I’m sick of these corporations with their golden gloves

a left to the chin, a right to the gut

I’m left swollen bruised and cut

as I hand them my money

in exchange for bandages and ice packs

as if the market is going to save us

from all the problems the market has made for us

we look to the troublemakers for discipline

but they are responsible for the mess were in

The only problem with capitalism

is that most of us live lower case

while supporting the bold fold

and our fonts keep shrinking

but When I suggest it is our economic system causing our sinking

I get strange looks

and is sent off to rehabilitate my thinking

I’m sick of attending these socialist anonymous meetings

like the first step is admitting that I have a problem

but it wasn’t me who waged this class war

All I did was point and say “look there it is”

“Don’t you know it is impolite to point

Now get back in line

complete your purchase at the checkout

and everything will be just fine”

We are give plenty to occupy our minds

hypnotized eyes fixed on whatever shines

meanwhile our government has become a free market

supply and demand is no longer just for the economy

we treat these bills like they are comities

Market value for policy is more than I can afford

Fascism is what the invisible hand is pushing towards

even Herbert Hoover, Who hung out with Edison and Ford

reflected on the crash and would insist

“The only problem with capitalism is the capitalist”

I don’t sit on any board of trustees

I’m too busy paying interest and late fees

so sell my share of the American Dream

because this whole economy is a pyramid scheme.

Makes me cringe, I’m on the fringe

as I go on another Marxist reading binge.

I’m sick of attending these socialist anonymous meetings

like “Hello, my name is John

and its been one month since I last talked about class war”

But in that time the gap in wealth has only grown more

is there a connection between record quarterly profits

and records records of poverty?

you see, the only problem with capitalism is

that it just doesn’t work

sure it looks good on paper

paper printed from the treasury

generating massive wealth of the backs of the peasantry

Only I’m forbidden to say so

well, I can say, but somehow unable to be heard

mind control through language control, redefine words

like socialism is slander

and liberty somehow belongs to the right

my head spins when I think this Orwellian double speak type

The frame is drawn around the status quo

applied parameters to the mind

all content is keep under control

and the debate is predefined

I wont even be invited to the table

until I’m a reformed socialist, and a self proclaimed liberal

But I’m a radical,


but they want me silence and remain is Socialist anonymous

I’m sick of attending these socialist anonymous meetings

I’m going public

and I’ll say it loudly, proudly

That I am a Socialist for equality, abolish poverty

and if at first the individuals words sound absurd

I’ll say it again and again

until it is the message that is heard.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Party lines for the people, Bipartisan for the 1%

The American Jobs Act can’t make it through congress. I’m not arguing the merits of this bill, but it is to help the American people, and it comes at little expense to business and tax payers. The Act pays for its self with 5% tax on millionaires and closing some loopholes. Here is a bill set to help the 99% and it is can’t make it through congress due to party lines.

At the same time, three free trade agreements passed with bipartisan support. These agreement were drafted under Bush, and pushed ahead under Obama. The AFL-CIO estimates that 150,000 jobs will be sent out of this country. It makes our labor force compete with Colombia, a country that has a history of murdering union organizers. This is the largest free trade agreement since NAFTA, which has proven that free trade is terrible for the 99%, both here and abroad, and very good for the 1%. So when it come to benefiting the 1% at the expense of the 99%, there is bipartisan support.

How can these two things be true? Democrat and Republican are divided on whether or not to help the American people, but at the very same time are united when it comes to screwing us over when it is good for business.

It is also important to note, that one of these stories gets headlines, and one slips through unnoticed. The focus is always on the lines that divide us, blues blame the reds and the reds blame the blues, and we all bicker among ourselves along party lines, while simultaneously both parties are working together in the interest of big business. The occupy movement encourages us to drop the left vs right thing, and look at it as top vs bottom. The media and politicians are certainly working hard to reinforce the right/left narrative, which keeps us divided, and ignores the bottom/top narrative, which unites 99% of us.

I don’t know if much of politics is a song and dance to distract us. I don’t know just how close allies Democrats and Republicans are. Maybe they just agree where their money interest overlap. I have no idea how to explain this. It is without logic. They certainly are not looking out for us. Policies for the people get blocked with party lines, and 1% somehow gets a united congress. Stop blaming each others through right and left lenses, and recognize we are all getting screwed. And Occupy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Military Budget and the 1%

Our Military Budget, not counting emergency spending sent through congress, is 48% of the world’s military budget. We could just about take on everyone and be evenly matched. Add in our Allies, and we have nearly 75% of the world’s military budget. The second largest military is China, and we spend 7 times as much money as they do. We spend 85 times more than Iran. Why is this necessary?

The reason for our gross military spending is simple: Profits. Our military operations are increasingly being carried out by private profit making companies funded through our tax dollar. War is big business, besides winning Oil contracts for companies like Exxon-Mobile and BP in Iraq, private military contracts have gone up and up. There are companies that provide products such as Lockheed Martin, who was given 7 billion tax dollars last year. Other Companies provide services, they known as private military and security contracting companies (PMSCs). Xe, formally know as Blackwater are one such PMSC. They are basically private profit driven mercenary Amries. During the 1991 Gulf war, there was 50 soldiers for every PMSC operative, ten years later there was 10 troops for every PMSC operative. Today they are the 2nd largest force in our military. There are so many problems with the US relying more and more on private mercenaries, I don’t want to bog down the blog with.

For me, here is the kicker: this is a huge amount of money that travels in a circles and makes a few people very rich. These companies make huge profits from tax dollars, those profits can then be used to lobby to keep our war machine alive, and to grant them additional contracts, which makes them more profits, those profits can then be used to lobby to keep our war machine alive, and to grant them additional contracts, which makes them more profits, and so on. This is why are military is so grossly huge.

Here is one example: Bechtel is the 3rd largest company in US, has large contracts in around the world. The CEO, Riley P Bechtel, is the 50th richest person in the country. This company doesn’t have a good track record on human rights issue, or environment. They are now heavily involved in developing and producing our nuclear weapons. This is a company that has always put profits over people, and the are making NUKES?!?!?! I don’t feel safe about that. We can already destroy the whole world many times over, what do we even need nukes for? Well, companies like Bechtel, lobby to get Iraq contracts, get back door deal type contracts, that guarantee profit. Bechtel’s Iraq contract was worth nearly a Billion of tax payers dollars. They can then use the power and influence to affect policy, the policy then gives them more tax payer money, that they can use to influence more policy.

This trend of privatizing our military, and making war profitable, is criminal. And it is all funded by our tax dollar, and supported through our complacency. W Bush made steps in this direction, as does Obama, as would Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Herman Cain, or anyone else who stands a chance of getting elected. This is one of the sick injustices that we are given no political alternative to. Which is why we occupy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Scott Brown’s truck

The Republican Scott Brown won the Senate seat in the dark blue state of Massachusetts. For those who did not follow the election closely, one of his main talking points was he drove a truck. It seems silly, but it was highly effective. President Obama even went to Massachusetts himself and told the citizens that driving a truck was not a big deal, but it had little impact, and Obama got back into his limo and went home.

After the election of Obama, there was a lot of talk about the uncertain future of the Republican party. After a defeat like that, Democrats would have found a nice cozy rock to hide under for the next six years, but not the republicans. They are firing back in a big way, and have maintained quite a bit of control in congress despite being the minority party. Now with 41 seats in the senate, seems Democrats are scared, and are giving in to every Republican demand.

Republicans are brilliant. A year ago their party was broken. Now Fox News is pushing this tea party Astroturf movement, taping into this phony populism, common people are really upset that the richest people might have a tax increase. They are taping into the Palin approach and getting people elected with campaign ads featuring a candidates truck.

What really gets me about Senator Brown’s truck is that it is so contrived. It is Republican strategists with degrees in PR and advertising, sitting around as a think tank, and coming up with ways to get the American public to support a party that is set out to hurt the, and they come up with a truck. It is insulting that this is their conclusion, and even more insulting that it works. Democrats should be scared, if that is all it takes, it looks like republicans are coming back. The Republicans set the pace, and democrat react. Republicans hold their positions and democrats step to the right. Republicans are unilateral and the Democrats keep attempting to negotiate. Doesn't work.

Anyway, it appears that the majority party is in trouble and is being bullied by the republicans. It might not even matter too much now that corporate contributions to campaigns are protected as free speech. Justice Scalia wrote “We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate.” However it is no longer a public debate, it is a private one. I can not afford a voice. I will just vote for the guy with the truck. I sure the American car companies will be giving millions to each candidate anyway.


The great Howard Zinn has passed.

If you only read one book in your life time, it should be “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, and you should read it at least twice. As a society, we have lost our historical memory, and it makes us fall for the same mistakes over and over. We rely on the powerful, the elite, the victors to supply us with our historical narrative, and without our own historical memory we are left to take their word for it. History cannot be told objectively. You can not be neutral on a moving train. When one claims to be neutral, they really are taking a stance in favor of the status quo.

I was introduced to Zinn in boring 100 level college history class. The professor assigned one chapter from “A People’s History” and a reaction paper. I was so struck by that chapter, I went on and read the book cover to cover, and did not pick up my main text again. I ended up failing that class, because I didn’t hand in any of my papers because I was too busy reading Zinn. The class did not help my GPA, but it shaped who I am.

The book changed me, and is a very important part of who I am today. Howard has his place in history, and it is history that makes us who we are today.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The War is Over

We have finally reached victory in Iraq, oil has been privatized. No longer in the hands of the Iraqis, Oil fields are now owned by the likes of Exxon-Mobile and Shell. Now we can truly state “Mission Accomplished”, and we can stop pretending that the war was for any other reason.

We go to war and use public dollars to fight for private corporate interests. We even use a private military. More than half of the people we use in our wars are not members of the US military, but work for private independent profit driven companies. Those enormous profits these companies make are built into our military budgets. It is a giant scam, and there is a a lot of money to be made.

The federal government always has enough money when tax revenue can be transformed into private profits, such as our military budget and wall street bailouts. But never enough money for the things in the public good, such as real health care reform, education, or fighting climate change. Congress just approved an additional 636 Billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, as compared to our 10 Billion we plan to put forth for climate change. I wonder what out schools would look like with an additional 600 Billion dollars. I bet we could afford to give Coca-Cola back all their scoreboards.