As I’ve thought about this and about our nation giving $3.5 million dollars a day to Egypt, along with no telling how much else for a brutal dictatorship to be kept in power all this time, and after hearing the Republican comment on the news several days ago about how the protesters in Egypt had “bought into Obama’s rhetoric from his speech when he was there” and were acting on it – and having seen enough to know that the amount of money per day being paid out to Egypt and other countries with the same kinds of regimes is far in excess of that –
I just keep thinking about the words in the Pledge of Allegiance – and the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Oath our legislators, presidents, secretaries of agencies, staff of agencies, administration officials and foreign policy committees take – and the words keep rolling around in my mind.
Did they think those things were just “rhetoric”?
The current version of the Pledge of Allegiance reads:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
To be honest, the part I always had trouble with was that “indivisible” thing. I had trouble learning to spell it and trouble when I was younger, learning what it meant. How could I have had so much trouble understanding, “a thing which cannot be divided, is never to be divided, is to forever be one great thing together.” That is how it was explained where it finally made sense to me. I was about 5 years old, maybe younger when I must have asked thirty or forty adults, every time I had the chance, “what does indivisible mean?”
But, the part I didn’t have any trouble with understanding was that last part that says, “with Liberty and Justice for all,” and the fact that I was giving my “”oath,” (my full and complete commitment throughout the full course of my life,) to something greater than myself. The pledge of allegiance isn’t just something we stand and say in a classroom somewhere or before an event of some kind. Those moments standing with our hands over our hearts, heads up, singing our national anthem before football games or baseball games and other events, isn’t a meaningless display of “rhetoric” – that we believe in freedom sometimes for some people in some places under some conditions. That isn’t right.
“With Liberty and Justice For All” doesn’t mean nothing. In the hands and decisions of our legislators and past presidents, it may have meant nothing, but they were wrong. They were just plain wrong when they thought that and acted on it that way.
I understand that we live in a world of contrasts, of conflicting ideologies and disparate perspectives. I get that. But, when choices are made about how our nation uses our resources that we have individually given into a pool to serve our common good, we didn’t send those resources to Washington for other nations to use as a bank account.
“The Statue of Liberty isn’t called that by virtue of political rhetoric”
It is said that when you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. I think that needs to be expanded a bit to include this, “when the principles that you stand for aren’t applied properly, the results will indicate it. They won’t match up.”
When money is given to Israel and Egypt, (among others) and then used to brutalize people, it does not match up with the principles of democracy, liberty, freedom, human rights, civil rights, inalienable rights, universal human rights, dignity, value for human life, responsibility, equality, and America’s tenets of every single document underwriting our laws and beliefs.
Further, when that money is being used to sponsor brutality and the elite hoarding of resources in these nations, it is also not doing the things elsewhere that do underwrite our values. It is not making a level playing field in free market economies, it is not supporting our own economic foundations either, it is not ensuring our own domestic strengths, it is not being used to benefit our own people and nor is it supporting our own national interests.
It doesn’t match up.
Online, I can go and see the vast sums of money that is being appropriated, has been appropriated, has been sent, spent or just plain went wherever it went. I can go in person and find the vast reams of paper that have printed text, charts, graphs, logs of what the money did and what it was supposed to do, reports, final reports, declassified “secret” documents, and various other physical documentation of how our money was used. I can, (as anyone can), follow a trail to see whose hand appropriated it, argued for it and eventually, find out why that was done in that way by that person or the group who were backing them.
We have people and resources that can do that and are doing that all the time, even before having the internet widely available. There have been some legislators and even Presidential administration members that have found themselves in just as much trouble as many business leaders for the “insider trading” of our dollars and resources among the world’s nations and industries.
But, at its heart is the very thing I started talking about in this post and the post I made yesterday, (about Egypt and the money that has and is going to their ruling dictator and his cronies to brutalize their citizens and profit at their and our expense along with their Washington lobbyists paid to help them do it). The heart of why America’s leaders have in complicity made the wrong choices about what to do with our money and our resources is exactly the things that we’ve all heard them say. They have believed that those words in our Constitution, Bill of Rights, Pledge of Allegiance and other oaths to our nation, in our laws, in our founding principles, are just rhetoric – something to be used in a speech to get the job or to get the seat in Congress or to have the opportunities to be elected or in the case of businesses, to have expanded business profits and “sweet deals.” And to them, these tenets of America are just something to sound good when speaking before the cameras in a televised snippet on the news or in a speech somewhere around the world, or somewhere in the US, because it sounds good and people want to believe that these things matter.
The truth is, these things are being used as “rhetoric” by speechmakers because they know people have, or will, hire elected officials to stand up for these things, not because they are rhetoric but because applying these principles upon which our nation is founded means something to us.
That old saying about following the money and you can see what is important and who is behind it (and why), holds true. What will we find this time as we all see across the entire populations and leaders of the world, what America has done with our money for the last thirty years? What does it prove was important to our leadership who made those decisions and the parties who backed them?
What does it say about our business and corporate leaders? What does it say about our nation and our political leaders and those decision-makers who made these choices? And, what does it say has been done in our name, as the American people who are the bedrock and foundation of our nation?
Did the Washington, London and Geneva groups of decision-makers really believe they were buying “stability” with our resources? As they wined and dined themselves at our expense, and people were being beaten to death all across the world as a direct result of the power those financial and military resources gave, did those decision-makers really believe sponsoring police brutality, denial of human rights, destruction of families and communities, keeping vast multitudes of people in poverty, abuse of people throughout the world (and throughout the US, for that matter) was the “right thing to do”?
Is that right? That’s what they believed . . .?
That’s what they did.
That is what they did with our money and resources.
That is what they did with their decisions and their office of power.
That is what they did at our expense with our name and the money from our pockets.
That is what they chose.
That is what they wanted.
That is what they thought was right.
And, now I’m asking –
Why could that even have appeared to be right?
There is no “stability” from it. Those are not even the kinds of decisions that create stability, stable economies, stable nations, or stable societies. Those kinds of things didn’t work historically to create stability when decisions were made to brutalize populations and keep them impoverished, denying opportunities to many for the hoarding of resources by a few. It never worked. It doesn’t work this time, either. And, for the same reasons it didn’t offer stability in historic examples of it, these were known factors for the very results that would be likely by those making the decisions about it.
So, again – I’m asking, “why?”
Was it like the Wall Street bunch who thought they could simply get out before it all went to hell?
Did they think that if they put enough resources into place, that they could quash any rebellions of people rising up demanding their rightful participation in society such that the historic evidence of results could be waylaid?
Were none of the applications of education made to the decisions at hand when they were making them?
Did the decision-makers think it was all just a matter of rhetoric and perception management?
$3.5 million dollars a day for people to be beaten to a bloody pulp, tortured, abused, denied access to make a living, denied employment, denied their fundamental human rights, denied a place in the society to which they were born and to which they belong, and to make money for the rich and the richer and the richest, while keeping vast populations too poor to even have food, shelter, water, education and opportunity.
How dare you use America to do that.
And, don’t even say that I don’t understand.
I’ve already noticed that our business community and political leadership don’t believe in communist societies until it is time to get free labor or nearly free labor or cheap labor or not have to deal with unionized labor –
And, I’ve already noticed that our leaders and decision-makers have been pretty loosey-goosey about what they see as nothing but “rhetoric” when they are feeding caviar to their friends around the world on our dime –
And, it is pretty obvious where they got the money they are using to feed to their rich friends around the world, including in Egypt and Israel and Jordan and every damn where else –
State after State across the US have budget deficits. The Federal government says they cannot do this and cannot do that because cuts have to be made. Party candidates and representatives scream for the nation to be fifty sovereign separate entities and to remove all Federal domestic spending to “balance the budget.” Homeless people across the US in numbers that are staggering have few, if any opportunities. Vast unemployment across the US and inequity of resources has left millions without opportunities or access to make better lives for themselves.
Massive foreclosures on homes, many of which are being demolished now – are razed to the ground by communities given money to buy them but not money to save them for the families that had owned them, have devastated our nation at every level. Vast numbers of businesses, retailers, corporations, and long established companies have gone into bankruptcy, closed their doors or re-organized by closing multiple locations in their organizations.
Resources once in place for factories and businesses to produce things, including the production and factory line equipment have been sold for nearly nothing to countries around the world and now do not exist in our own country to use. It is no longer a matter of re-tooling a factory for production, the equipment, dies, production line, manufacturing robotics, specialty manufacturing processes and equipment would all have to be built or contracted from another country to be built “from scratch,” even to make a startup producing anything.
Patents and intellectual property once in the control and management of the US and for our citizens’ employment opportunities, and for our business profits to be made – have now been stripped from companies that were either sold to other nations or offered in “fire sales” to raise needed money without resulting in saving the companies who did it that way.
Well, I would say –
At the rate of hundreds of billions of dollars going out every single day to the rest of the world from our States coffers and our Federal tax dollars, and with hundreds of billions of dollars a day going also to these same places from everywhere any other resources exist, from the UN, the UK, the EU, from every agency of the US and state governments, from the IMF, and from vast business / industry groups as well –
you have fucked up.
These are lists of retailers which have gone under in the US only in 2008-2009.
A note from a website about arms sales from the US – (and appropriations for it) –
When countries designated by the State Department’s Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003—a full 80%—were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses.
A report from the World Policy Institute released mid-2005 has found that the U.S. is routinely funneling military aid and arms to undemocratic nations. [The figures are from] 2003, for which the most recent data was available at the time, (above).
(also from that page – about US foreign military aid and other funds flowing out of the US coffers to foreign nations)
It has become more difficult to get more recent data, since the FAS stopped presenting their analysis in 2006. Ever since, it is necessary to go to the source data from the US State Department. The State Department is not consistent year-by-year in its data presentation. Entities change, departments change, and file names change. Each year presents a new puzzle, as to how to find the data. (etc.)
One third of ALL US AID
goes to Israel and Egypt.
These 2 countries receive
one-third of the total
aid, the majority of which
pays for armaments.
Yet, neither is a “developing” country.
The British arms manufacturer, BAE was being investigated for bribing Saudi officials to buy fighter planes, but the government intervened in the investigation citing national interests. The Guardian also reported that BAE gave a Saudi prince a £75 airliner ($150m approx) as part of a British arms deal, with the arms firm paying the expenses of flying it. This seemingly large figure is small compared to the overall deal, but very enticing for the deal makers, and it is easy to see how corruption is so possible when large sums are involved.
A note from an earlier blog post about – “innovating in America”
In fact, imagine what happens when I want to create a business. As an example – There is a need that I see for a person to be able to go into any store and buy something which would show up at another store in another state or another location across town. I know their computers are tied together and they are part of the same corporate entity. But, I also know that they are sometimes franchise stores, that their inventory systems are not necessarily the same in every state and that their financial systems do not integrate from store to store. I think this could be fixed with a bit of software which could be designed and then sold to the store’s corporate headquarters to do this job for them. It would serve their customers. It would serve my needs and my family’s needs when we want to buy groceries or formula for for a daughter or son or grandbaby or friend or someone somewhere in some other state. It would allow us to purchase a fan or heater or air conditioner here where we live that they could go to their local store and simply pick up to have it right now on the same day. We could buy tires for their car when the tires are so bald that they aren’t safe anymore and pay for them to be picked up near the college where they are living or in the state where they decided to runoff to in order to have some freedom from us.
It is true, that between what I know and what other people who can do programming know, that we could create the software to do this. That is a fact. It is a good innovation. That is also a fact. I can even write a business plan to show how it would make money and project revenues for it with something less than a lie and fairly close to the reality of what costs it would have and sales it could make. However, then what happens?
And, the text from that blog entry goes on to explain some of what happens and the insurmountable obstacles which have been placed in the way of anyone in America creating their own business –
But what happens if it is the King of Saudi Arabia, or Mr. Netanyahu, or Mr. Mubarak and his goon squads – Hmmm……. Let’s see. Despite the fact that they can both personally, and economically from their own nation’s resources start up such a business, or provide the capital for it to be accomplished – they call America and get the money that I couldn’t even access one millionths of one tenth thousandths of a micro-fraction of one percent of – in order to do it, when in fact, for the price of the caviar they throw away from their tables alone, just about all of Georgia’s state budget could be provided for our entire population to prosper for several years.
Well, what do I want to do about this?
Let me think.
Yes, I’ve thought of some things –
One, of course – is to do nothing and let America fall to its indentured servitude in slavery to its Mid-Eastern and Asian masters. The leaders we’ve had and their viewpoints and decisions sold us to them and now here we are . . .
Two, would be to bring a class-action suit against the appropriations members who have decided to consistently give our money away to ruthless and already well-funded dictators against every known law and principle our nation has. That is certainly a possibility that would hold them individually and collectively responsible for what they’ve done. It would have to reach back at least thirty years and include the advisors and their political backers who told them to do it that way in antithesis of everything our nation stands for. And maybe add “collusion” with those dictators and corporate interests involved, in the charges.
Yes, that would be good.
At the very least, the world would see that the American people do not agree with things being done that way and let the people around the world know that we do stand up for what is right. I doubt that it would fix anything, though.
Third, I could start a business somewhere else rather than in the US, especially since this is so typical of life in the US during the last thirty years of my adult lifetime, and I have no way to change it –
Rubenstein said Louima is a victim of perhaps one of the worst examples of police brutality in the history of this country.
Louima’s case led to a major shakeup of the New York Police Department. Charges against him were later dropped. ( . . . )
After Louima’s arrest in 1997 for a scuffle outside a nightclub, Volpe assaulted him in the patrol car and later sodomized him with a broomstick handle inside the 70th Precinct station house. Louima suffered severe internal injuries.
(and this one – )
Houston’s mayor and police department were on the defensive Friday, two days after graphic video came out showing several police repeatedly kicking and beating a 15-year-old burglary suspect as he lay on the ground.
(There is actually video of this one along with many, many others like it from across the US – )http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-05/justice/texas.police.beating_1_police-officers-police-car-police-department?_s=PM:CRIME
Fourth, we could all get together as Americans and demonstrate as they are doing in Egypt –
It is certainly possible, but it looks like to me that multitudes have been protesting these kinds of things for years upon years at every occasion and it has yet to yield even one modicum of difference in it.
Fifth, ahhh – even better –
There could be a class action styled suit brought to the international courts for breach and defiance of international laws by decisions and financial appropriations made by our previous leadership including the Senators and Congressmen who made those choices. Many of those laws were insisted upon and written by the United States leadership for the rest of the world to follow, so they obviously knew them when they made those decisions.
Again, at the very least, the rest of the world would know that America’s citizens did not agree with doing things that way, nor did we agree with brutal dictatorships that they were sponsoring with our financial resources.
And, of course, sixth would be –
could be, anyway – to hunker down like the right wing militia types are screaming for us all to do and get enough gold, physical protection and friends who think the same way about it to try and survive it all as it is . . .
but, gold doesn’t buy anything in America for regular Americans trying to get food, or shoes, or pay the utility bills, or get water when it is needed to drink, or just about anything else required – and as much as I believe in guns and the right to have them and to carry them, I’ve never noticed them to be an appropriate nor handy option at the point of needing to defend myself against sure physical assault or danger. Those are really just expensive and stupid toys to most of the people who have them in this day and time. And, friends who think as those right wing people do are part of the reason we are where we are right now in as big a mess as we are in – I don’t think having them any one bit closer to me is what would make my life better or safer.
So, Seventh could be –
Building something that I could sell to those jackasses in the Middle East and elsewhere to get our money back. That is one possibility but it could be that it was part of what they were trying to do when they sold all those military arms to those places in the first place. It looks as though, our national resources were appropriated to go to those countries by the millions of dollars a day, and then some companies, in particular military hardware companies, went over there, sold them those even more dangerous “toys” and as a consequence, funded their companies’ profitability. I suppose, that is what they told themselves they were doing anyway.
And, while I can certainly see how that worked out – still, there are some who are working to do it that way, from Wal-Mart to PepsiCo among others. And, President Obama did say for us to out-innovate them, out-maneuver them and out-do them in typical American fashion as we have been prone to do on multiple occasions in our history. That might work . . .
I could take my little, “order a patent” form and sell it around the world through brokering deals on our patents. They are selling them around the world anyway. Hmmm………
Then, these countries could make the things wherever they sit – oh wait, they are already doing that, from tanks to helicopters, handguns to 50mm rifles, chemical and biological weapons to sodapop and air cleaners . . . No use in brokering licenses at this point, then. And, what can’t be done that way is getting reverse engineered anyway. So, hmmm…… again.
Well, a number Eight choice of what I could do about all this might be –
To at least make sure my children know what matters in America – having cosmetically enhanced big tits and shopping to get designer handbags whether they are homeless or not. And, knowing who to bet on in the Super Bowl, including the commercials. That is the important thing.
I’m guessing they already know how to get drunk and just not worry about it, like most of the rest of America does. And, at least that is considered psychologically healthy in our society. Most of our leaders are running around the world partying to their heart’s content and on any given day, most of America is “wired” or drunk too. At least, they will know how to fit in, and never notice the crap going on around them.
I still think they should at least change the Barney song on kiddie tv to reflect that the only good use of any American child, adult or citizen, generally is to “not be special.” At least it would be honest.
At most, I think there should be a national campaign to let people know that they are not important in America, that there are no freedoms or rights from brutality, and that our Constitutional guarantees of such things simply are no more than rhetoric to those we have charged with positions of leadership in our country over the last thirty years. And, that is why police brutalize us on our own streets and halfway around the world, as well as in countries we have funded with our hard-earned dollars.
Nope, that wouldn’t be right – it would possibly remove hope and that may be the last remaining shred of what people have.
There would have to be a Ninth choice of what I could do –
I could let my imagination run wild a bit and see what it comes up with – like something designed that would literally melt the gun that is in the hands of someone about to use it . . . .
That would be an interesting possibility but it wouldn’t get our money back from those who have it nor would it get the constant flow of our funds to dictators who are brutalizing their people to stop.
It also wouldn’t re-route any of those funds to our national domestic needs and uses. But, it would be nifty to see armed combatants have nothing but ooze in their hands where a gun used to be – before they can even shoot with it at somebody.
It would make me feel better, anyway.
I don’t think that “sensitivity training” would stop any of the police brutality we have on our own streets, or to keep the use of our funding, training and police equipment, (and military equipment) to brutalize and torture people elsewhere from happening. At one time, I had thought that anger management courses being required of all police personnel for their own anger issues would be of help, but then having been reminded of the fact that “absolute power corrupts absolutely” (roughly paraphrased,) it occurred to me that it just wouldn’t be enough to do any good. And, besides – we’ve been taking fairly normal people and training them to be psychotic in the ways they deal with others in order to do police things, and military things and espionage things, and detective things and other things of that nature. (and most of them may not have been real “normal” and respectful of others in the first place, but they certainly wouldn’t have been after the kind of training we’ve been paying for them to have.)
all the heads of state, US and international leaders and every single person involved in giving our money to Egypt to brutalize people were required to spend three months in an Egyptian jail at the hands of those brutal beatings every day by their secret police that our leaders have been funding for thirty years – would it change their minds about whether it matters or not and whether those “human rights things’ are just a matter of rhetoric?
Is it that, in the plush surroundings of mahogany clad rooms with elegant gold gilded furnishings where every mete and measure of their whims, needs and desires are satiated with immediacy from the finest selection of everything available on the planet, the idea of “human rights’ is simply an intellectual discussion for debate to entertain and while away the hours?
Or, is it that they are just chasing the party? I had thought about this earlier, that Bautista in Cuba was propped up to keep the party available in America’s playground (although Americans weren’t the only ones partying there), and by party – I mean, the casinos, the drunken orgies, the opportunity to have prostitutes who will engage in whatever twisted perversions businessmen and government leaders desire – in fact, prostitutes of even young ages of both sexes available to them for nearly nothing, the most extreme forms of gambling from full contact lethal sports between people and all types of animals, to other twisted games of chance upon which to bet, opportunities to have “sweet deals” and inside contracts on business dealings, and the kickbacks and bonuses from those things along with the nearly free flow of drugs that they desire from cocaine to smoking hashish (to relax.) Could it be that wherever we, as Americans and as international citizens, have seen leaders and power brokers maintain oppression of the local people, there has gone hand-in-hand, a use of that population to serve the needs, whims and desires of a few in ways that are irresponsible, unconscionable, twisted and perverse, considered by them to be entertaining or satiating in some way, and against what would be considered sane social norms were it done in any other place?
There is a solution to that.
We could return these countries to their local populations to run, stop funding military weapons to them and use that money for ourselves instead as our nation is in dire straits, and create one place appropriate to party where the whole world agrees for them to go and do that. It could be created in such a way that no one under the age of thirteen would be allowed into it ever. And, only those below twenty-five whose parents agreed to sell them for that use could be offered in that environment (since that is what they are doing already). And, all the twisted extreme forms of gambling, lethal sport fighting, and sex could just go on day and night and night and day and then nobody would have to be repressed, obsessed, oppressed, beaten half to death or killed to get it, keep it or have it available.
Or we could make sure all our businessmen are eunuchs before sending them anywhere to make deals or lobby Washington. I don’t know, its just a thought.
Maybe my imagination is not the best places to find choices of solutions. It finds some extremes as options that seem at least nearly as appropriate as what is being done already. But, all the above concept would do, would be to confine to one place, that which is unacceptable to be happening anywhere already, yet is happening in many places around the world to serve the whims and perversions of the rich, of the wealthy business leaders and government officials that are running to those places as it is. It wouldn’t really fix anything or make it better for the nations where it is happening, in the US where it is happening, nor the people who have been forced to endure it.
Maybe there needs to be a tenth option –
Well, we could all just get in there and be criminals, too. This is how some people are doing it and there are many examples of how this is working, sometimes well and sometimes not. I would say that Bernie Madoff showed us how to do it well, he lived well, he enjoyed his life and so did the family he made. The brutal dictators of many foreign countries have done it well, as have the Bush clan and their friends – a little close to the line at times but overall – they’ve gotten away with it.
And, the bankers and Wall Street groups have found ways to make it legal to steal from everybody. We could all just do that, too – in the ways they’ve already shown us. They’ve gotten away with it as well. And, people like them just fine. That, of course is the typical “join ’em” philosophy, which it looks like any number of people in the world have managed to do without consequence, maybe it is the “American way”.
There have, in fact – only been a few instances where that didn’t work out so well. Even during Prohibition, vast sums of money and power were accumulated and until they started shooting each other in the streets every other day, very few people in America even cared.
I don’t much like the tenth option. It is possible and as much as I or anyone else could do it that way, it seems like a lot of trouble to go through without changing much of anything for the better, but maybe I’m wrong. At the very least, those people are in positions of power and people listen to them and do things the way they want them done, including interpreting our Constitution to suit themselves and their own perspectives about what is important.
But, I don’t like it.
I will try one more time to think of something I could do about all this – hopefully, more effective than the things I’ve considered already – there would have to be some other choices –
* I could write about it – did that.
* I could give up and not doing anything about it – tried that.
* I could tell others about it and see if they will do anything about it – yeah, well, it didn’t matter to them either, but maybe I didn’t work with the right people who give a damn about it or know what to do.
* I could build something that would help, which was a choice in the above group of options – have done that.
* I could do any or all of the things on the list above whether I liked them, or thought much of them or not – well, maybe.
* And, I could bring into the world something that would help – I’m working on that.
* Or, I could create a solution or a set of solutions that doesn’t exist already – that would work.
Well, that certainly was fun.
I’m still disgusted by what our previous thirty years of officials, agency members and elected leaders have done with my money and my family’s money and my neighbor’s money and my state’s money and my nation’s money and my children’s money and our opportunities and the opportunities I would have had in my lifetime and that they would’ve had in their lifetimes – [*that sheer and absolute contempt for what they did and how they did it, might just never change.]