The Dangers of Subversive Propoganda from… Disney Movies?

I have a daughter who is now eight years old. Given that I have an inherent bias, just going by the endless and consistent comments from when she was just a baby, she is a beautiful  Young girl and always has been.  Like most girls, she fell in love with the Disney princesses and very quickly had all of them at both her mom’s and my house, along with the requisite Disney castles.  We have enjoyed them all, with her naturally having favorites, but she really did like Disney’s Mulan movie.  She didn’t seem to like to play with the Mulan doll as much as Arial or Cinderella, but there’s no doubt she enjoyed the movie. As kids are known to do, she’s watched it many, many times.

But for  current Vice President, Mike Pence, Disney is up to something far more nefarious than just entertaining and highly profitable children sounds. in fact, Disney is subversive Propaganda for your children, says Christian extremist, Mike Pence. He wants to convince you women should not be in the military & that Disney’s “Mulan” is propaganda to teach young girls it’s okay to be in the military. In fact, she can succeed and even achieve glory in battle.

Here is the piece Mr. Pence wrote on the dangers of Disney’s “Mulan.”  I have always been uncomfortable with the impossible physical attributes given to Disney’s female characters. It’s impossible for a woman to have a waist as thin as any of them. If you read the short Op-Ed from Mr. Pence, you will see his interpretation is very different from mine.

As a parent of a daughter just eight years old, who has already made comments about her waist size, which I assure you is anything but perfectly normal,  One has to wonder if she grows out of it or be detrimentally affected by this ‘body image’ issue that girls & women never really escape all her life? Just look at the magazine covers in the checkout line – nearly all unrealistic unless you happen to be a hard-core athlete, work out like a champion, have the right genetics, and/or are extremely cognizant of proper nutrition.

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But with the completely unrealistic body’s on most cartoons and Disney Channel shows with child actors, all of whom seemingly have ultra thin figures, and the dolls themselves especially, it is very easy to see how body image problems develop. These mostly unrealistic figures given to all Disney princesses can be confusing to a young girl and as they grow older.  It would seem natural to ask, why doesn’t my body look like that?

Continue reading The Dangers of Subversive Propoganda from… Disney Movies?

Did Donald Trump Commission Russia’s Hack of the US Election Himself?

She’s a great reporter that was dismissed early on b/c she made some errors. Imagine if we held the Mass Media to the same standard… one mistake and you’re fired. Follow her & stay in the loop of this complicated, convoluted story because it’s the real deal.

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Sources linked to the intelligence community say that Donald Trump accepted laundered Russian money which, through shell companies, supported Russian hackers as they attacked America – and then supported Wikileaks and Julian Assange as he published the results of those hacks.

Donald Trump’s link to the hack on the US election appears to be far more direct than anybody thought – with Russian money, washed into his campaign, paying for Russian hackers who attacked both state voter registration databases and the DNC. Trump also appears to have had direct personal knowledge of the propaganda botnet used by Russia.

As I previously reported exclusively on Patribotics in three earlier pieces, the first of which was an exclusive by Laurelai Bailey, Peter Chayanov (one of his many aliases) is a Russian hacker who owns a hacking and spamming company called Hostkey. Upon being outed on Twitter by myself, Bailey and @OpFerguson, Chayanov…

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The Trump Organization and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Donald Trump, as we all know, has business ties all over the world. This includes the Former Soviet Union, like Azerbaijan for example. It is well-known that Vladimir Putin is aggressively trying to recreate the sphere of influence the former Soviet Union used to have an iron grip on during the Cold War. The Soviet leaders decided, a common strategy in the days of old because the effect is a buffer between the USSR and their adversary in the United States and Eastern Europe. This is less important now given the satellites and other means to discover whether nefarious things are happening near your “frontier” as it used to be called now just a border.

The former Soviet states have slowly been reclaimed by Russia by placing their desired leaders in power by hacking, spreading misinformation disguised as news, and the new “weaponized trolls” that were very active in the 2016 Presidential election. Putin has been honing his techniques before attacking the US in what I feel is nothing short of a Cyber-Pearl Harbor, thankfully without the loss of life and damage to the US Navy. (New developments in this story breaking today.)

By now we all know that Donald Trump has been effective in marketing his brand and continues to build Hotels and golf resorts. Being familiar with building in foreign countries, Donald Trump is aware of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977  (FCPA).

According to that law, it is incumbent upon American businesses that is precisely what brings me to the former Soviet bloc five-star hotel in residence called the Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku. In 2012 the Trump Organization entered into multiple contracts with Azerbaijani developers, the Trump Organization made plans to transform the tower into an all ultra-luxury hotel with large guest rooms that would occupy the first 13 floors and the higher stories featuring residences widths spectacular views of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and the beautiful Caspian Sea.

There are many oddities surrounding the development which are clearly explained in this excellent article in The New Yorker by Adam Davidson in the March 13, 2017 issue.
What I intend to focus on herein is the Trump Organization’s business partner in this venture. The Azerbaijanis behind the projects were relatives of Ziya Mammadov, the Transportation Minister and one of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful oligarchs. As stated in the New Yorker article, the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rates Azerbaijan as among the most corrupt nations in the world.

Ziya Mammadov became the Transportation Minister in 2002, around the time the regime began receiving enormous profits from government-owned oil reserves in the Caspian Sea. Presumably this is how mamma dogs, who spent his career as a government official with the salary equivalent to about $12,000 became a billionaire.
Once Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president mother Jones, the AP, the Washington Post and other publications ran articles raising questions about Trump’s involvement in the Baku project. Interestingly, these articles referred to a series of tables sent from the US Embassy in Azerbaijan in 2009-10, which were publicized by none other than wiki leaks. In one of those cables, an American diplomat referred to as I have mamma dogs as “notoriously corrupt even for Azerbaijan.” Alan Garten, the chief legal officer for the Trump Organization, told reporters the Baku hotel project raised no ethical issues for Donald Trump as his company never engaged directly with Mammadov.

According to Garten, Donald Trump was involved merely as a licensor, allowing his famous name to be used by a company headed by Ziya Mammadov’s son, Anar, a young and well-connected entrepreneur. It is unknown the revenue the Trump Organization received from the licensing agreement, although his Public Disclosure pursuant to the election revealed he received $2.8 million apparently there was an additional payment of $2.5 million in 2012 though no other payments or income has been disclosed. Donald Trump also signed a contract to manage the hotel upon its opening for an undisclosed fee tied to the hotel’s performance. Once Donald Trump was elected president, Garten announced the Trump Organization severed its ties with the Baku hotel project and brushed off the transaction as mere housecleaning. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, Adam Davidson’s reporting tells a very different story about the Trump Organization’s involvement in the Baku project. “I was in Baku at the time, and it had become clear that the Trump Organization’s story of the hotel was incomplete and inaccurate.” Trump’s company had made the deal not just with Anar Mammadov, but also with Ziya’s brother, Elton – an influential member of the Azerbaijani parliament.” Elton even confirmed it in an interview he founded Baku XXI Century, the parent company that owned the Trump Tower Baku. When he was asked who owns Baku XXI Century, he called it a “commercial secret” but added that he “controlled all its operations” until 2015, when he “cut ties to the company.”

Further reporting reveals the Trump Organization was involved far more than initially revealed. In addition to the licensing agreement, it also signed a technical-services agreement promising to help its partner meet Trump design standards. This appears to be a contract allowing Donald Trump extensive oversight in the back to project the attorney revealed “we were always following their instructions. We were in constant contact with the Trump Organization. They approved the smallest details.” He continued stating Trump staff visited the site monthly in order to inspect & approve further progress. The article details the very extensive, almost micromanaging of the project, even Ivanka Trump’s involvement in nearly every aspect of the project from the landscaping, the paneling, the ballroom doors – all of which were of the highest quality and commensurate expense. Ivanka Trump even posted a photograph of herself wearing a hard hat on the side of the project, which was about half completed, and the caption reads: “Ivanka has overseen the development of Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku since its inception, and she recently returned from a trip to the fascinating city in Azerbaijan to check on the project’s progress.” Interestingly, Ivanka Trump declined to discuss the project with reporter Adam Davidson.

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Continue reading The Trump Organization and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard

Torture: Ineffective and Illegal

A comprehensive look at why Torture is illegal, immoral & ineffective. Posts like this are so important with Donald Trump’s war on the Truth and ALL media EXCEPT his own propaganda. This is a more dangerous time to our Republic. Study the Foinding Fathers and you quickly realize they fully understood how fragile the Republic they gave us really is. This explains Benjamin Franklin’s comment when asked as exiting constitutional Hall what the wisemen had given the people, Franklin responded: “A Republic, madam. IF you can keep it.”

The View from the Armchair

From CNN: “Trump on waterboarding: ‘We have to fight fire with fire’

Trump did not invent the metaphor of fighting fire with fire, but let’s examine it. If your house is burning, and you put more fire on it, will it solve the problem? Maybe, if the issue was that the house was burning too slowly.

In this case, the metaphor is appropriate. Fighting brutality with brutality is only effective if you think the problem is that there isn’t enough brutality.

On torture, the facts are clear: it is ineffective, illegal, and is a handy propaganda tool for our enemies. I have written on this more than once before. I will include the full text of my first piece below. Additional writing from this blog are here (Torture and Moral Laziness) and here (“We will not torture people…”).

From September 12, 2016:

The debate about…

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Hurricane Trump… hold on!

A Barrage of lies and Propaganda… Un-American Policies Executed with the Incompetence Demonstrated Throughout Trump’s Campaign & That Weaken Our Security at Home & Abroad.

This is absolutely insane! This president seems to attack or alienate, disparage and weaken all of our most important alliances, the latest being with Australia. Of course, Republicans like Sen. Kori Gardner of Colorado refused to say anything but talking points regarding how they feel about trumps “diplomacy” with our allies – not our adversaries – these are our long-standing allies.

In 20 days we’ve seen conflict with Mexico – we’ve threatened to send US Troops into Mexico if they can’t address their drug problem, a personal insult to Germany’s Angela Merkel, our strongest ally in remaining in Europe, a public disagreement with the majority of the rest of the world as evidenced like that of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who had the audacity to say Canada will welcome Syrian immigrants (mostly women and children) fleeing to escape the horror in Syria, a horribly hostile call with an ally that has been in every war with us since World War II – of all countries to fight with, we fight with our best ally.

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America & the World hold on as Hurricane Trump’s rapid fire barrage of hot-air has them scrambling: BNPS

 

I fully believe this is an intentional strategy from Steven Bannon, a strategy is to constantly change the subject with one controversial move or ill-advised tweet, in an effort to get the media to shift focus. That is precisely why Trump moved up his announcement of the Supreme Court nominee to distract from the Muslim Ban. Now we know that he may have, without Trump’s knowledge or consent, slipped into the “Modernization” of the National Security Council (NSC) a permanent seat on the NSC, while taking permanent seats away from the Direction of National Intelligence – the highest intelligence officer in the Nation whose job is to advise the President on Intelligence issues.

As you try to follow and think about the ramifications are of this machine gun of errors, it is almost impossible to keep up much less write a serious piece with links to the examples of the constant lies from this administration. I was glad Kellyanne Conway finally admitted that the President was offering “Alternative Facts.” It doesn’t take a genius to realize there is no such thing as alternative facts. In the real world these are LIES and correctly called lies. There are way too many lies to even keep up with them all, but let’s just look at the very first White House Press Briefing the Trump Administration had.

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In the very First Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, whose job is to speak for the President. Spicer too no questions but read from a statement excoriating the media and flat-out lied to the American People four (4) times:

  • There were 3-5 million votes cast by illegal in the election;
  • That it was the “Largest crowd in history” to have seen an inaugural ‘both in person and on TV’;
  • There were magnetometers on the mall that slowed people joining the crowd before; and
  • The Parks Service never used white grass protectors; making it seem like the crowd was smaller.

Taken in reverse order, it took just a few minutes to debunk the last lie from Sean Spicer’s mouth: 4) was proven a lie after a simple Google search revealed images shots of workers placing the white grass protectors on the ground during President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013. 3) Though the Secret Service generally does not issue statements demonstrating the President LIED to the American people, the did issue a statement to verify there were NO magnetometers on the National Mall. (2) Trump Inauguration was not even remotely close to either of President Obama’s inauguration and even George W. Bush after another peculiar electoral process had a larger audience.

Let’s be honest, no one in their right mind thought Trump had anywhere near the crowd of either of president Obama’s 2009 crowd of 1.8 million and 2013 was only 1 million. Just having functional eyes and a brain is all that one needs to discern that assertion is so completely ridiculous it barely deserves discussion. YET that story dominated the new President’s thoughts for at least a week. His thin skin is so bad that he has to make up a completely obvious lie, that no one outside Trump believes and points to the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever, that 3-5 million illegal votes were cast… otherwise he could have won the popular vote. The most laughable assertion he has made yet. It is no coincidence the Oxford word of 2016 is “Post-Truth.”

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I believe shorter, single issue posts is the way to try to keep up with the barrage of steps this “learn-on-the-job president keeps firing at us hoping there is no time to focus on one thing before the next distraction is manufactured by the big “ratings machine -DJT.”

I also think reposting other very well done posts is a great idea as well. The more the truth is circulated to defy the Trump Propaganda machine modeled after his idol, Vladimir Putin, and his use of propaganda and now fake news. Trump also has the first “news” channel that is solely devoted to making him look good, making everything Democrats do as evil and un-American, and freely spread the fake news and lies the right uses to confuse so people don’t know what to believe. All of us are guilty of echo-chambers because social media is designed that way… that makes the more extreme politicians attractive to badly misinformed voters and stoked by Right-Wing Media so we get “the party of NO.”

The same is true for Democrats though maybe not quite so bad – but I want democrats to really Stand for Something again – like being the party of the middle class in Deed and not just in word. The party left the unions… heck they let unions be weakened to the point of extinction. Now Corporate Interests dominate the media, political system, and they are executing their takeover of the Courts, which we see is the last line of defense in the brilliant Separation of Powers our Founding Fathers established. Unfortunately is has been slowly gobbled up and now serves Corporate interests rather than being “beholden to The People, alone.”

Democrats need to repay the GOP for the awful Republican treatment given to President Obama by the right – like Mitch McConnell saying on 1/20/09 that his “number one priority is making Barack Obama a one-term president.” Remember, that was said as the Country was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs per month. He didn’t want to help the President that actually had an electoral mandate guide the country through the Great Recession. Thankfully he succeeded without any Republican help at all. Despicable.  As much as I despise Trump, I want him to somehow become a great president because that means American is doing well.

Unfortunately, the only evidence available is not encouraging. As a result, all Americans should watch like they never have before and educate themselves on what is really happening despite what ALL the Corporate media tells people. But this does not mean the Democrats should work to make compromises unless it pertains to issues that are actually good for America, and make him expend every bit of political capital on fights that distract him from killing Americans by just ending The Affordable Care Act (ACA or ‘Obamacare’) or starting a war with an adversary or even an ally because Trump’s has no idea to act with grace and diplomacy which he sees as weak… the rest of the sane world calls it good governance.

Trump Will Tell You He’s Keeping Us Safe from all the Terrorist Attacks Suffered Under Obama & Bush? Problem is, what attacks justify this Executive Action – which Republicans would have called ‘an Imperial fiat from King Obama’ while they are now silent as Trump equates the morality of America versus Russia. Guess he means the ‘Lone-Wolf’ attacks  the Muslim Ban would not have prevented.

This Blog is Changing…

The United States is the Only Country That Has Always Had a Peaceful Transfer of Power For Our Entire History.

That Said, There Will Always be a Cloud Over This Administration. For the First Time in Our History There Was Unquestionable Russian Interference in Our Free & Fair Elections

This is usually a tremendous day for the United States. There is always one party in the 2-party system, but everyone puts down their clubs to witness the peaceful transfer of power. I believe the US is the only nation that can say we have never had a coup, martial law or things we see in the so called Banana Republics where this is commonplace related to transferring power from one leader to the next.

It is with great discomfort that I write that our entire Intelligence Community (IC), the massive 17 agency apparatus meant to keep the Commander-in-Chief the best informed person on the planet. At this moment, as Trump prepares to take the oath – ready or not and there is plenty of news to suggest he is far from done. So far Trump asked President Obama if 50 or so staffers can stay around for what the President-Elect’s spokesperson, Sean Spicer, called “continuity of government.” This is an admission the Trump Team is not prepared to get to work at 12:00 noon today as they should be, they need Obama’s people to help show them how things operate on a daily basis. This is a sad statement of Trump’s overall preparedness for  the office. Nothing during the campaign or transition gave one the impression they are gunning for January 20th.

This is similar to Trump’s cabinet nominees being rushed through as fast as Obama’s were, but what is NOT spoken is the fact that all disclosures were submitted for review by the relevant committee the Monday after the inauguration so by the time the hearings occurred, the senators had all the materials well in advance of the hearing so the conflicts of interest can be explored and satisfactorily addressed. Mrs. DeVos, the nominee for Secretary of Education wanted to address questions to the nominee on her billions and whether any conflicts of interest were present in such a massive portfolio. But to this moment, as far as I know, she has still not provided her basic disclosure handed in by President Obama’s nominees on the day after the election in 2008.

The Cloud Hanging Over This Inauguration: RUSSIA.

This cloud will remain until the investigations are completed. We know from an article published yesterday that investigations into intercepted communications and inappropriate communication and Financial Transactions between senior members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials since around April 2016. An article published January 18, 2017 – just 2 days ago – in McLatcheysDC revealed the “FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into the well-established Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump.”

In addition to the FBI, the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) were involved with the investigation for several months according to the article’s two (2) sources.

“Investigators are examining how money may have moved from the Kremlin to covertly help Trump win, the two sources said. One of the allegations involves whether a system for routinely paying thousands of Russian-American pensioners may have been used to pay some email hackers in the United States or to supply money to intermediaries who would then pay the hackers, the two sources said.”

That Russia hacked into the election and used their known pawn, Wikileaks, to make sure a daily dribble of sometimes embarrassing emails were leaked t o the Press on a daily basis to guarantee domination of the news cycle, which was achieved. This was known and included in a Joint Statement from the ODNI that there was “a consensus” that Russia was behind the attacks. Russia has long done conducted these cyber-ops in every former Soviet states to delegitimize the government to allow Russia to increase its old “sphere of influence” that existed under the U.S.S.R

Our NATO allies have been telling us this was happening regularly in the former Soviet spy agency. The US knew its old nemesis, Vladimir Putin has been trying to reestablish the old-Soviet sphere of influence. The election of an authoritarian figure like Trump has the entirety of Europe frightened as to Russian intentions to destabilize democratically elected Governments in former Soviet States. These former Soviet bloc countries have been subject to Russian cyber-attacks for years and the US knew it, but I sincerely doubt we ever expected the “oldSoviets” to conduct an operation of this magnitude against the United States election. But they did and it and, at minimum, delegitimize the electoral process and confidence American citizens have in that sacred democratic process. One could argue they are already skeptical of elections and participated at an embarrassingly low 47% d in that process in this of all years. That seed of doubt sown by the Russians is already a major success if it goes no farther but the investigation continues since April.

In the hacking realm, nothing more damaging than revealing what observers knew already: that the DNC clearly “greased the wheels” for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders resulted in enough Sanders’ supporters home on election day to have swung it in Trump’s favor. I hate to say that, not only have I suspected precisely this exact collaboration between the Russian Intelligence Service (FSB) and Wikileaks, I also suspected direct collaboration between Trump and the FSB – formerly known as the KGB where Vladimir Putin spent his entire career as a Soviet Spy.

This fact along with the well-known reality that Russia opposes everything the US and our European allies stand for based on the NATO treaty in place since the end of WWII. A very important alliance which has as the most significant part of the alliance – the Article V provision which means an attack on one NATO country is an attack on ALL NATO countries. Few realize that provision was only used once – after al Qaeda attacked the homeland on September 11, 2001. Those allies are still fighting with us today. This makes any notion that our NATO allies owe us something seem a statement in poor taste. Perhaps some behind the scenes discussions, but not for the Public Realm  and most certainly not appropriate for Twitter.

President-Elect Trump has been making statements that are completely opposite U.S. Policy and every president since WWII. It happens to be a complete 180 degree turnaround from consistent and bipartisan policy for 75 years. There have been no major wars in Europe partly because of the NATO alliance. Vladimir Putin sees it as a threat to his goal, which is to remedy what he calls the “greatest tragedy of the 20th Century: the fall of the Soviet Union.” Now he has an ally in the White House that calls “obsolete” NATO alliance

Eliminating the Sanctions placed on Russia after their invasion into the Ukraine and ultimate annexation of the Crimean Peninsula – the first time one country has annexed another since the Second World War. Trump has mentioned lifting those sanctions and recognizing the Crimean Peninsula as part of Russia. That will pay a serious debt, if one is owed, to Russia and  the oligarchs that we would know about if we had seen a tax return. But we did not for the first time in modern US History despite there being no law against disclosing part of that tax return for public consumption. This is a way to ensure our president has no conflict of interest that may be present if he or she were to owe billions in debt to foreign banks or individuals. We do know Mr. Trump owes $627 million to the Bank of China.

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We know since President Obama met with Director of National Intelligence,  James Clapper, the individual who is in charge of all 17 intelligence agencies, on Thursday and President-Elect Trump Friday. During that meeting, the 2 page summary of the 35 page dossier that purports to lay out the Russian effort to obtain “Kompromat” or compromising information on a Presidential candidate.

After that meeting, James Clapper released a statement that led to another ill advised tweet in which Trump mischaracterized the information relayed to him, leading Director Clapper to issue a statement indicating Trump mischaracterized the information and that the IC (intelligence community) determined the dossier “crap & Fake News.” Like so many Tweets, that was definitely NOT  what the statement said. The DNI had to clarity in writing – a rare step by anyone in the IC – that the IC reached no conclusions as to the reliability of the information contained in the dossier (different from saying we have concluded it is not reliable).

More importantly it said no information from the dossier was used in any conclusions. We have to again look at what was not said. We know there’s an investigation looking into possible collusion between what is now our 45th President (just sworn in), and we have known since the before the dossier was leaked. That means the dossier simply corroborated (at least partially) other information that originally led to the investigation being initiated. Trump failed to notice the nuance and reading between the lines.

Regardless, a President was sworn in that is being investigated for potentially colluding with a foreign adversary that we know to have affected and interfered with the cornerstone of our Democracy – Free &  Fair Elections. The investigation also includes an alleged transfer of funds from the Kremlin to Trump. I hope there is nothing more to this than we already know… but I doubt it. I hope President Trump exceeds all expectations…but I doubt it. I hope there is not the corruption that seems imminent given the new President paid $25 million to settle a lawsuit for defrauding our fellow Americans. The President takes office with a 30% approval rating – precisely 1/2 the 60% of an immensely popular, now former President Barack Obama. We hope he succeeds because if he succeeds, America theoretically succeeds.

Time will tell. From this point forward, he now has to Govern the United States of America rather than campaign. Let us hope he studies more and tweets less. Most importantly, lets hope he does well for America.

Human Rights v. Human Obligations

Have you ever considered the notion of “human obligations” as a corollary to the term human rights? Not to suggest one is dependent upon the other by I cannot help but wonder how things may be different if certain human obligations were dealt with in the same manner as human rights have historically been addressed. This would obviously require careful monitoring, but imagine if every Citizen was obligated to prove he or she knows the basics of how our government works in order to vote. I know this brings up thoughts of the poll tax or IQ test to those that was only applicable to African-Americans, but this is different. Let’s use the basic civics test we require those attempting to become Naturalized citizens of this country who are naturalized are required to know and .are tested upon. If we require it of those we grant citizenship to, it is not unreasonable to demand that same basic knowledge from our citizens.

How delightful would it be if all those seeking to serve Public Office be required to have a certain level of education, degree, certificate or whatever we decide to call it in Political Science and the Art of Statesmanship & Governing before they are eligible to run for elected office? In fact let’s do the reverse, every person that has completed such training is automatically eligible for election process (if they announce an intention to Run). Wouldn’t provide a basic level of competence. We require training of lawyers, doctors, professors, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc. so why not those in charge of our own government?

Once they have successfully completed the appropriate education from an accredited Political Science department (like accredited law schools), all they need do is announce their candidacy for lower office. And then they must first have held a lower office and demonstrated an ability to fulfill those duties that in a way that warrants their eligibility for higher office. These need not even alter the existing constitutional age requirements for the certain offices in Congress & the presidency.

Is it mere utopianism to hope for an elected official feels a “Human Obligation” to have in mind the best interests of the People he or she represents? At this stage, it is so blatantly obvious our elected officials no longer even try to hide the fact that they spend up to 70% of the time fund-raising.

The Supreme Court has somehow found it appropriate to give Corporations the same rights that we individuals have in our Constitution. Combined with other case law, they are now permitted to essentially give unlimited funds to campaigns, PACs & SuperPACs with almost no disclosure necessary – at least not before the election in question.

It’s so obviously wrong that there is a significant movement to change the law to undo the damage, which was to essentially put the entire government up for sale to the highest bidder. Between 2010-2012, during which the Supreme Court rendered its controversial Citizens United ruling, spending on campaigns, PACs & SuperPACs increased by something like 1900%. Does anyone in their right mind not believe the donors are expecting ROI – Return on Investment – which is a concept they are very familiar with in business? I certainly hope that level of naïveté does not exist.

I think it may take a constitutional amendment to fully eliminate the blatantly corruptive influence money currently has on our government, which explains why is it: 1) so bitterly divided and vitriolic; and 2) unable to accomplish anything, leading to the lowest approval rating Congress has ever seen.

The lawmakers have benefited so drastically from these rules and we cannot rationally expect they would change those rules themselves. They certainly have not done anything thus far. On the contrary, it’s gotten much worse. If you study campaign contributions, PAC & SuperPAC contributions as well as lobbying activity, Wall Street exceeds the other big players combined.

Which simply means Wall Street owns both parties and why there is currently a strong movement within the Democratic Party to get away from Secretary Clinton’s real & perceived ties to Wall Street and that of her husband. Of course, it was Pres. Bill Clinton that executed the plan to make sure Wall Street knew Democrats were as willing to play ball as the Republicans, as long as they kept the campaign money flowing. And boy did they ever.

It such a dominant influence in current politics that things the American people almost unanimously agree SHOULD get done will not get done. They won’t even come up for a vote because the industry watchdogs Big Corporations have purchased in Congress won’t allow it.

Take the controversial gun issue: over 80% of Americans are in favor of universal background checks for every sale. Though I’m not certain, I believe the statistics for closing the show loophole are similarly overwhelming. But the power of the NRA and the gun lobby is immense & they OWNER the GOP.

Let’s investigate how much money the industry has made under the current president because of the constant NRA campaign of lies like, they’re (Obama, Harry Reid, pelvis);; literally coming for your guns and they’re going to imprison you in FEMA Camps”. It might make for interesting fiction if a majority of Americans didn’t believe it to be so. You may recall the proposed invasion of the state of Texas under the guise of “wargames” that was supposedly leaked by the military or something of that nature – and, of course, didn’t happen. I still see people saying Pres. Obama has time and will declare martial law, confiscate all weapons and retain power.

Then again, there are those that will argue till they’re blue in the face with as much passion as if they were fighting for civil rights that there is all a massive conspiracy to cover up the fact that the world is flat. Even though it’s mathematically impossible as the extra gravity accumulated the closer you came to the “edge” of the earth would be something like 9G’s. The Internet is an amazing and wonderful place but it’s also given something to do to those people who have that little bit of knowledge we all know can be a dangerous thing. And now with the technology they can organize, groupthink sets in, and suddenly we have militias and the most creative conspiracy theories one can consider.

This stemmed from an interesting thought that occurred to me when I ran across this quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

“It is time in the West’s to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.”

Now I acknowledge having no idea the context in which the quote was made. He may have been referring to obligations as burdensome while I’m looking at them as a way to force citizens to realize the government isn’t here just to protect your freedom and allow you to take, take, and take. This is what happened with the fossil fuels industry for the last 200 years.

Think about this way: you find something in the ground that doesn’t belong to you, but that you essentially pay the government for the rights to steal from the ground – from the ground owned by “The People”. And they pay absolutely nothing for the right to exploit the resources of our, which we know it took millions of years to get there.

First of all, this exploitation of resources removes any doubt as to why fossil fuel companies have been among the most profitable the world has ever seen. Look at the business model! They get to extract as much of the resources mother Earth created over millions of years at virtually ZERO COST, and turn around and profit on it as if they created the chemical in their own laboratories and obtained the requisite patent. If that were the case, they have the right to have all of the profits (that’s the model of the pharmaceutical of big Pharma which is for another subject), but these guys take from the earth. Worse, what they take, and take and take from the earth has already done a great deal of damage in terms of the climate, and some will argue we are already too late without immediate & drastic measures that the fossil fuel industry will certainly oppose.

It’s happening right before our eyes as the developing countries (China, India & Brazil, etc.) are now fully developed and they unanimously realize how serious a threat climate change truly is. Of course they have no insane political party made up of politicians paid to deny the unambiguous science as we have here. Thankfully b/c it allowed them to take the bold steps (though not enough) that they took at the Paris Climate Agreement. The party that denies the science, also denies its beloved war making machine that has identified to climate change as a global threat. A real & true threat – a clearly defined strategic threat to the security of the United States of America. Despite this, half of our government refuses to even acknowledge it exists because they are so beholden to the Fossil fuel industry. They will protect that industry regardless of the cost to the American people and the environment we live in.

As I’ve said many times, the choice is ours. The only way in which we can exercise that choice is basically which party we vote for given the limited choice we really have. As always, would love to hear your thoughts, reactions or impressions.

Thanks and have a great day!