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Scorched Earth

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There comes a point, as the car careens out of control down the icy highway, when we are no longer the driver but just the person holding onto the wheel. We try to do what’s right but the situation changes from instant to instant and it appears that our actions have little effect.

The undercurrents of history, however, may appear to move in unseen channels, but still we can’t escape cause and effect. The film "Charlie Wilson’s War" illustrates the case of a dundering, drunken, back-water Congressman who, through serendipity and right wing Bible thumpers, becomes involved in the Afghan mujahideen, fighting the Soviets.

From a budget of five million dollars a year to five hundred million a year, all to fight for the cause, not the cause of Afghan independence but the cause of putting our thumb into the eye of the Russian bear. Once the last Russian tank had crossed the border, headed north, all aid was withdrawn and Afghanistan dissolved into factional fighting courtesy of the millions of dollars of leftover military hardware. Charlie Wilson was given medals and accolades for basically making the situation worse in the grand scheme of things, but our goal was only to humiliate the Soviets, so, "mission accomplished."

Sometimes it's as if we’ve turned children loose in a boiler room; they turn a knob and suddenly steam is blowing through a pipe seam, so they turn another knob to see what happens next. The Federal Reserve uses its last card, cutting interest rates but forgetting to call "Uno!" The stock market soars as the dollar falls so what did they accomplish? Nothing! Not a damn thing. They fired the last shot in the gun only to remind us that they still had a gun. The seven hundred billion-dollar bailout has accounted for the massive rush by American banks to buy Chinese bank notes. They’ve cut interest rates for the banks and Americans still can’t get credit or a mortgage or a job.

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General Motors cries, save me, save me, don’t you know me, I’m your native son! Yet promises that if they receive their bailout they will enact cost-cutting measures to eliminate American jobs. Already they are planning the expansion of their Mexican manufacturing plants to supply the American market. It would seem that following that business plan that they are asking the wrong government for the money. In 1932 Ford was shut down, as was Chrysler and GM. The Hoover administration offered loans to spur production. but it wasn’t money theyneeded, it was customers. The carmakers had money, Ford was loaning millions to keep the city of Detroit afloat, but their customers, they did not have any and the Hoover administration believed it to be morally wrong to lend money to private individuals.

Like Richard Dreyfuss piling up his mashed potatoes, these things mean something. This road that we are on leads us to the darkest part of the woods. In Greece the riots and protests continue unabated and have spread to new cities. In the German magazine, Der Spiegel, an article entitled "The Revolt of a Disappointed Generation" describes a grim picture.

"Jorgos Barutas, 29, had to struggle to make himself heard. The computer engineer, sporting a five-day beard and steel-rimmed glasses, stood at the foot of the steep rows of seats and shouted up to the audience with a throaty voice. 'We have to hold out until the government steps down.' Applause. 'We have to transform the protests into a political movement.' Applause. 'We have to formulate political objectives,' followed again by thunderous applause. Barutas stepped down from the stage, feeling satisfied, and the students poured out of the hall."

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"It is day five of the intense rioting by young people in Athens. The protests began in the district of Exarchia -- a traditional haunt of artists, anarchists and left-wing intellectuals -- and rapidly spread throughout the entire country. They have also sparked violent unrest in the large cities of Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion -- and in 20 other Greek towns."

American officials scoff as the American media turns a blind eye to what is taking place in Greece. In the 1920’s it was Italy and the 1930’s it was Germany, but the message is always the same, when the needs of the people aren’t being met the arms of the people will be. It is easy to laugh them off just as the Polish government once tried to laugh off Lech Welensa and the American media once laughed off those crazy Germans marching in the streets with those ridiculous brown shirts. Adolph Hitler came to power on just two messages, that Germany was a great nation and traitors had stolen her greatness from her. His second message was only to blame the Jews, but without the acceptance of the first message the second message becomes meaningless, idle ranting.

Economic collapse brings about societal upheaval; failed wars bring about economic collapse. So round and round we go and where she stops nobody knows! I want to support Obama, I want him to be a successful President but his jobs and public works program looks a lot like filling water balloons to fight back panzers. A little here and a little there and little off the top ain’t going to cut it.

The government and the media need to start looking past their own foisted statistics and realize that what is going on here has meaning. Madoff, GM, the SEC, the Federal Reserve, when the people lose faith in the institutions that are supposed to protect them, the government then becomes nothing more than a cardboard cut-out. These institutions are the brick and mortar of government, and when they fail then what is plan B?

There’s battle lines being drawn, those who are aware, who have had the sand of corporatism and globalism kicked in their face are damn angry about it. Then there is the other camp, still trusting and docile and still employed but becoming confused by all the hubbub. The ones most trusting who wake to find out that the GM bonds that they staked their retirements on are now only worth thirty cents on the dollar. And that the Republicans that they voted for are trying to push GM into bankruptcy so that they might not be worth even that much, and so the angry camp grows.

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This whole Blagojevich affair sickens me, but not because of the Governor's actions but by the public’s naiveté. This has always gone on. Do you think Joseph P. Kennedy was the US ambassador to Great Britain because he was a swell guy? Choice postings of US ambassadors always goes to prominent contributors so why should dealing for a US Senate seat be such a stretch of the imagination? This is a preemptive political attack on the new administration as already witnesses are lining up for the impeachment hearings that weaken the federal case against the governor before the federal case can even get off the ground.

This is window dressing for a castration. White Water, Monica, go on and give it a good smell test. Media headlines while Rome burns, as GM sinks and Madoff steals. Colin Powell, who may be the Republican's "One good man," tries to warn his party off from where they are going, but they won’t listen. No man is a prophet in his own hometown, but Powell, as a military man, knows scorched earth when he sees it. To lose at the ballot box and then to try and circumvent that victory by declawing the cat in advance.

Soon, very soon, if those in power and those about to be in power don’t wake up to the pressing economic emergency, they will find themselves spinning out of control on an icy highway, holding on to the wheel, not to steer with but for dear life. The media ignores what is going on in Greece because they don’t want to give you any ideas. In Greece the public has grabbed the attention of the government by the testicles and won’t let go until they are listened to, or the government falls. They are not rioting because they failed the government but because the government has failed them.

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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