Friday, December 23, 2011

10 Things we need to accomplish in 2012:

1]        If we can’t end our involvement in armed conflicts, let’s not get involved in             any more.
2]        From the looks of things, the GOP simply isn’t coming up with anybody         
            that meets, or exceeds, our National needs for now and the foreseeable           
            future. So, let’s stick with President Obama for another four years, and give             the man a chance to do what knows in his heart needs to be accomplished.

3]        Right from the start of the Year, let’s make it absolutely illegal to restrict an            American Citizen’s right to vote.

4]        Let’s put to rest all the arguments against a woman’s right of self-     
           determination when it comes her body and her biology, period.

5]        A lot of folks are up for re-election this Year. They may just have opponents            who are willing to our bidding for a change. Let’s take a serious look at anyone
           who fits that mold irrespective of their Party affiliation. Let’s keep the ones
           who actually do our bidding. Believe it, or not, there are some.

6]        Let’s get our Government to realize that not everybody likes us and not      
            everybody can adapt to our idea of democracy. If we encourage anything,       
            let it simply be self-determination.

7]        For God’s sake, let the Palestinians have their own Nation. At the very least,
            let’s not stand in their way.

8]        Let’s see if we can bring an end to racism, hatred, and bigotry in this            

9]        Perhaps it’s time to break up the banking system. It has “morphed” into a very
            ugly monster, and needs to returned to its past self.

10]      Maybe we can agree that corporations really aren’t people.

Are these the only things we need to accomplish in 2012? No, but this is a good place to start. Suggestions, anyone?

Don’t vote!

I’ve been reconsidering my call for a National Strike, and I believe I have come up with something that is in the realm of the doable.
In a General Election Year, about 58-60% of all eligible voters in this Country actually show up at the polls and cast their votes.

I decided to do a little digging:

Voter suppression
Main article: voter suppression
In some countries voter turnout is low because citizens are prevented from voting. Prevention could be due to legal, racial, or political reasons. In many cases suppression is done to ensure the people in power remain in power. In other states, supporters of candidates who are unable to either get nominated or have their nominated candidature listed on the ballot paper often self-suppress in protest.

This suppression can be in the form of unfair tests or requirements to vote. For example, In the southern United States before and during the civil rights movement, white southerners used many methods to prevent minorities from voting. These included literacy tests, a poll tax, and if all else failed intimidation by threats of violence. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 put a stop to literacy tests and any other methods of preventing people from voting.[47] Excluding convicted from voting and re-including them only on case-by-case decisions by State Governors, as is the case in numereous U.S. states, can lead to voter suppression and can induce biaised voting, as there can be a class biais in the state's decision.,_2008

The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365 electoral votes, and McCain 173. The popular vote was 69,456,897 to 59,934,814, respectively.
A grand total of: 129,391,711

The graph below: vertical=50%-90%; horizontal=1960-2008; U.S. in red, India in blue, Japan in green, UK in dark brown, Germany in light brown.
Trends of decreasing turnout
Change in voter turnout over time for five selected countries
Over the last 40 years, voter turnout has been steadily declining in the established democracies.[1] This trend has been significant in the United States, Western Europe, Japan and Latin America. It has been a matter of concern and controversy among political scientists for several decades. During this same period, other forms of political participation have also declined, such as voluntary participation in political parties and the attendance of observers at town meetings. The decline in voting has also accompanied a general decline in civic participation, such as church attendance, membership in professional, fraternal, and student societies, youth groups, and parent-teacher associations.[54] At the same time, some forms of participation have increased. People have become far more likely to participate in boycotts, demonstrations, and to donate to political campaigns.[55]

[1]    Niemi and Weisberg p. 31
[33]  Powell. p. 13
[34]  U.S. Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1982–83, Table no.804, p.492
[54]   Robert D. Putnam "Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America." in 
          Controversies in Voting Behavior p. 40
[55]  Niemi and Weisberg. p. 30

Ø  Boycotting the election process would not hurt anyone financially, as a National Strike would.
Ø  No one would have to shutter their businesses for days, or a whole week, thus losing valuable income. This Nation might have to be a lot worse off than we are now for that to happen.
Ø  By eliminating the popular vote, the Electoral College would be thrown into complete disarray.
Ø  You, therefore, eliminate the political power brokers from deciding the election.  
Ø  Once the power brokers are effectively out of the loop, big money has no power over the governmental process.
Ø  Once the money is out of politics, we can reenter the realm of a true democracy.

In the end, this hurts no one except those seeking to extend their grasp on our future. It would drive career politicians out of Washington, D.C. and return this Nation to government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

So, in the spirit of true bi-partisan civil disobedience, let’s throw an election, and have nobody show up.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dear Mr. Koehler,

- Posted as a response to the article. My comments and observations are “bulleted” for contrast to the body of the article.
 Dear Mr. Koehler,
I wanted to address your article on a slightly personal level, as you and I share much in our view of the Nation, and, perhaps the world. I wasn’t sure if I needed to re-copy this article, but I didn’t want to get in trouble with the copy-write police, or plagiarism, in general. I offer my thoughts and observations as one who is very passionate about this subject. I appreciate your writing on this topic.

The Big Lie Marches On
We must have an honest accounting of the Iraq War.
Published on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by
The war is over, sort of, but the Big Lie marches on: that democracy is flowering in Iraq, that America is stronger and more secure than ever, that doing what’s right is the prime motivator of all our military action.
And the troops will be home for Christmas. Hurrah! Hurrah!
(The men will cheer, the boys will shout, and we’ll all feel gay, except maybe Rick Perry.)
“The war in Iraq will soon belong to history,” President Obama told the troops at Fort Bragg last week. “Your service belongs to the ages. Never forget that you are part of an unbroken line of heroes spanning two centuries — from the colonists who overthrew an empire, to your grandparents and parents who faced down fascism and communism, to you — men and women who fought for the same principles in Fallujah and Kandahar, and delivered justice to those who attacked us on 9/11.” Maybe, as he fulfilled his campaign promise and shut down the Iraq operation after nearly nine years of occupation, slaughter and nation-wrecking, the president had no choice but to extol the glory of our fake values, to pretend — to those who fought it — that this was an honorable war, waged in self-protection and righteous vengeance. 
  •            He is their Commander-in-Chief, their Boss. He has a duty to heap praise on all who wear the uniform. And, they, in return, will fight to the death for what they truly believe this Nation stands for. (I know. I took the very same pledge 43 years ago.) I am in complete agreement with you about the wisdom and virtue of this conflict in Iraq. Perhaps, if we need to wage armed conflict in the future, our government will have the balls to actually “declare” war.
Maybe, even if Barack Obama has a grand plan and does, as so many people believe, intend to change the national direction — to make compassion and honesty our primary governing values — he can only do so incrementally. He still has to, you know, humor the fist-pumpers and American exceptionalists. He still has to lie.

I don’t know  
  •        Ah, but you do know. From whence come all the trillions of dollars to execute one of these useless follies we call war. I know you haven’t forgotten that Tricky Dick Cheney still lives and breathes. I know you haven’t forgotten the military/industrial complex. I also know that you have some idea of the cost to the American Taxpayer to continue our “Diplomatic” mission in Iraq.
I fear that the Big Lie is seductive, because there’s so much power attached to it. On the outside looking in, when you’re just a state senator from Illinois, or whatever, the invasion of Iraq may look like a dumb war. But on the inside of the operation, with so much power at stake, the pragmatic necessities of empire, a.k.a., our national interests — control of oil, dominance in the Middle East, the well-being of defense contractors — morph into patriotic values, and seem, all of a sudden, worth the cost in human lives, environmental devastation and even the well-being of future generations.
  • See! I know you didn’t forget.
If there’s no such thing as a president who can tell the truth about a fraudulently launched, devastatingly counterproductive military adventure, or speak critically about militarism in general — because the truth would, oh, bring down the economy — we have an inadequate system of government, whose fundamental purpose is to resist change and perpetuate itself no matter what.
  • I will tell you that neither you nor I have any real idea as to the size of the world’s population that totally agrees with this last sentence.
This is a problem. There may be no way to change such a system from the inside, which was clearly Barack Obama’s mandate, as well as his promise, when voters swept him into office, and the world cheered, in 2008.
  • I am in total agreement with you, here. Now, how do we do it?
The mistake the Obama constituency made was to believe that we can leave the details of change up to a designated leader. It’s not democracy that’s inadequate, but a system of representative government in which only the enormously wealthy, or those who have indentured themselves to moneyed interests, can cross the threshold into leadership positions. In such a system, those who oppose the interests of war and empire can’t possibly be represented. It is these interests that declare the Iraq war a success and, in so declaring, lay the groundwork for the next war and the continuation of the military-industrial economy, even in the face of the increasing pointlessness of war.
  • The systematic “dumbing” of America that has been carried out over the past thirty, or so, years has ensured that our Nation is headed toward a two-class society. Neo-Feudalism is sneaking in the back door and has caught us all napping.
“Why is war in decline? For one thing, it no longer pays,” declared Steven Pinker and Joshua S. Goldstein in an op-ed in the New York Times last week. “For centuries, wars reallocated huge territories, as empires were agglomerated or dismantled and states wiped off the map. But since shortly after World War II, virtually no borders have changed by force, and no member of the United Nations has disappeared through conquest.”
Their premise is that, despite appearances to the contrary, history is in the process of declaring war obsolete. This is an achingly slow process, with lots of backsliding, but trust us, they say, wealth now emanates more from trade than the control of land, and war only hurts trade. As prosperity increases and central governments grow stronger, War, the Apocalyptic horseman with the human face, rides off into the sunset.
  • Oh, dear God! Someone please send these gentlemen back to school for a “Do-Over”. Pinker and Goldstein should pay more attention to the old saw:”sometimes its better shut your mouth and only appear like an idiot, rather than open it and remove all doubt”.
           “But since shortly after World War II, virtually no borders have changed by force....” Really?
While I agree with their historical assessment, I take issue with their implicit contentment to sit back, enjoy the prosperity, and let large, impersonal social forces do the job of eliminating war. I also disagree that trade itself has no use for war — not when we have a military-industrial economy that is committed to fresh wars against whomever or whatever looms next as a convenient enemy.
  • Seems to me that trade and war have been historical bedfellows for centuries. Its going to be tough to enact a separation, let alone a divorce.
I think we’re caught in a paradoxical moment, when history’s long arc has indeed begun to swing away from the logic of brutal domination, but those in power still depend on it and seek to perpetuate it under cover of the Big Lie.

I urge the convening of a truth commission that refuses to sit and wait for history. We must have an honest accounting of this war that may have killed as many as a million Iraqis and helped wreck our economy even as it enriched a few powerful profiteers. A disastrous war may be over, but there’s no cause for cheering until we free our government from the interests that waged it.
  • The pendulum does want to swing away from “man’s inhumanity towards man”. This movement will need an unimaginable gathering of strength from us at the bottom of the hill. The “stone” that is war, greed, injustice, and corruption simply has to be pushed to the summit and booted into the abyss on the other side. This is a task that is incapable of our currently elected officials, and, I’m afraid that some very aggressive populist tactics will be called for. The Revolution will be televised.
© 2011 Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at or visit his website at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Take a look at the map:

Now, you see the problem...From Mosul to Baghdad to Basra is the main oil corridor. The Euphrates River is the main irrigation and hydro-electric corridor. Look at the length of the Iraq/Iran border. Look at the Iraq/Syria border. Hello, Israel!
They don't need Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Jordan. Can you say "Domino Theory"?

If you read anything this week,

If you read anything this week, I strongly suggest you start with an in depth, insightful article by Tim Arango that appears in the Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, edition of the New York Times: “Iraqis Are Now Left With a Land Not Exactly at Peace”. Reading this article first will give you more insight and understanding of the facts and figures I am posting at & 
A senior department official told the congressional Wartime Contracting Commission in June that the department requires “between 6,000 and 7,000 security contractors” in Iraq, up from its current 2,700 armed guards. And that doesn’t even take into account those needed to guard the expanded U.S. civilian presence in Afghanistan.
Mo’ mercs, mo’ money. And mo’ danger: This year, for the first time, U.S. contractor deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeded troop deaths, ProPublica found.
The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad is the largest and most expensive of any embassy in the world. At 0.44 square kilometers it is nearly as large as Vatican City.[1] It also employs 15,000 people and cost $750 million to build. The Embassy opened in January 2009 following a series of construction delays. It replaced the previous embassy, which opened July 1, 2004 in Baghdad's Green Zone in a former Palace of Saddam Hussein.[2],_Baghdad
[2]    "New US embassy opens in Baghdad The compound" BBC News (January 5, 2009)

Major U.S. continuing installations in Iraq:  
1] Baghdad, main U.S. Embassay
2] Irbil, Kurdish Capitol
3] Basra, Persian Gulf Oil Terminal City
4] Mosul, major hydro-electric supplier City
5] Kirkuk, major oil fields area,_Baghdad
Tigris River basin:    major hydro-electric supply
                              major oil pipeline corridor from Kirkuk area oil   

Euphrates River Basin:  major hydro-electric & basic water needs of
                                   Eastern Turkey, Syria, and Western Iraq

 U.S. Embassy, Baghdad, Iraq
total: 17,000 personnel
             650 “diplomats”
        16,350 “civilian” support personnel

plus : 5-7,000 private security personnel throughout  the 
         country at locations needing protection for U.S. civilian
         workers and employees.

follow the bouncing ball, now……

Dick Cheney   
                Haliburton, Corp.                                Xe, Corp. (aka. Blackwater)
                                  SOC, Inc.
…….and up to 60 other smaller “security” and “service” companies

Are you getting the picture, now?

And just how much is all this going to cost the U.S. Taxpayer, the 99%?

$975,000,000.00 – $1,000,000,000.00……….you know that’s just the initial “estimate”. Prices in your area may vary depending on contractural agreements not yet reached. That’s right, 1 Trillion Dollars a year under contract to the U.S. State Department. Did you really thought we were “leaving” Iraq?

The Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Clerics and militia have already announced that it is “open season” to hunt down and kill as many Americans as possible; starting with 5-6 largest U.S. installations in Iraq.*
* New York Times, Friday, December 16,2011, pg.1, col. 6, “Iraqis Are Now Left With a Land Not   Exactly at Peace”, by Tim Arango

To be continued……………