Ignorance in America

Ya, you morans! Such as..Reposted from Puppetgov and Global Research

By Prof. John Kozy~Global Research

Ignorance is pervasive in America; it affects the rich as well as the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the famous as well as the obscure. It’s prevalent in the suites of our nation’s CEOs, the Congress, the military, and even our universities. It defines this nation.

Christiane Amanpour, one of CNN’s stellar correspondents, presented a special in August 2008 titled God’s Muslim Warriors. It mentioned Syyid Qutb’s 1964 book, Milestones, which, she claims, “advocated violent jihad, even against Muslim governments” and inspired generations of Muslim radicals and the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood. She describes Milestones as “a moral indictment of America.”

Qutb, she says, “came to America in 1948 to study. But American culture shocked the scholarly Muslim poet and critic.” She appears to quote (the transcript doesn’t make this clear) Syed Qutb asking, “This great America, what is it worth in the scale of human values? I wish I could find somebody to talk with about human affairs, morality and spirit, not just dollars, movie stars and cars.” She quotes a person named Azzam saying, “He [Qutb] used to express in some of his letters about his feelings that the American society is losing its soul because of its materialism. He said that’s all they think about.” She says, “Qutb wrote that Islamic values are the cure for spiritual emptiness. He urged Muslims to purge the world of Western influence, if necessary, by force.”

She interviewed Fawaz Gerges, a Lebanese born Christian, who holds the Christian A. Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College, who says, “Qutb resented the deep philosophical secular roots of American society. He resented the way women and men interact in society. He resented the obsessive nature of America materialism. He believed that America lacks ritualism.” He describes Qutb as “a man who found the country to be a spiritual wasteland,” and says Qutb‘s “views of America are terrifying . . . because they’re narrow. They present America in very simplistic dichotomies.”

But Ms Amanpour makes it appear as though Qutb wrote a book that contained merely two sentences: “America and the Western world have a moral problem because they look at the human being only from a materialistic point of view”—a statement that many Americans would agree with—and “Islamic values are the cure for spiritual emptiness.” How those two sentences could have inspired a jihadist movement and the emergence of the Muslim Brotherhood is difficult to discern. Ms Amanpour tells us what happened because of the publication of Milestones but by reducing the book’s content to two sound-bite sentences, she leaves us completely ignorant of why happened. Such cavalier treatment of Milestones is a symptom of the value placed on books by Americans, and I recently realized just how curious the status of books in American society is.

Having passed the midpoint in my seventieth year of life, my wife and I decided that it was time to downsize, so we started looking at smaller houses. Over those seventy plus years, I had accumulated an extensive library—more than two, perhaps more than three, thousand volumes. So as we looked at houses, my eye always looked for places where books could be shelved. But not one house we were shown had been designed to accommodate the shelving of books. Apparently American architects, developers, and builders do not consider books to be something they need to make accommodations for in American homes. Their houses have kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, family rooms, entertainment and game rooms, but no book rooms, making it clear that books are not an integral part of American culture.

Books, however, are repositories of knowledge. People become educated by reading books. If homes lack books, the means to education are lacking. If a child finds that books are not valued in his home, why would he value them in school? If reading is not encouraged at home, how can teachers convince students of the usefulness of reading? If his family believes that what they learn from watching television is enough, why would any child believe differently? And the nation’s dropout rate provides strong anecdotal evidence that learning is not important to many Americans.

America has never been very good at educating its people. (Athletes receive scholarships; scholars do not.) Of yes, America has its marvelous, prestigious universities, but they don’t produce highly educated Americans. Most advanced degrees awarded by U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics go to foreign nationals.

Our controversial reliance on H1B visas is well known. America takes credit for building the atomic bomb, but much of the science was developed in Europe and many of the scientists involved were Europeans who were educated there. The president, in his “Yes, we can!” oratory says “We put a man on the moon in ten years.” Yes, we did, but not without help from German scientists and engineers who many believe should have been tried as war criminals in Nuremburg at the end of World War II. The English built the first modern computer (secretly) and invented radar. A German designed the first operational turbojet engine. American colleges and universities do not graduate enough schoolteachers, nurses, or primary care physicians (many of which we now import from that intellectual giant named India). Even our nation’s financiers relied on a Chinese mathematician’s theorem to evaluate risk. (I have never heard anyone say that we lack enough MBAs.) When the nation’s financiers decided to use David X. Li’s Gaussian copula function to access risk, they led the world down a road to perdition. Li himself said of his own model: “The most dangerous part is when people believe everything coming out of it.” Such belief results from mathematical ignorance.

Although we have educated a few very well, we have not made education an integral part of our society. Not only have we taken to importing the products we sell, we have for decades imported the brains we use. Now we have even been reduced to having to import our own money. We have almost become an entirely dependent nation.

The American educational system won’t be improved by producing more teachers, building more classrooms to reduce class size, or creating programs such as head start and no child left behind. It can only be improved by a fundamental change in our cultural values.

Imagine what American athletics would be like if bats and balls of all types and the broadcast of athletic events were as rare in American homes as books. Americans need to recognize that no nation was ever made great by its entertainers, athletes, and shopkeepers; yet a nation of entertainers, athletes, and shopkeepers is what America has become. None of these is an intellectual pursuit.

America’s ruling oligarchs may believe that the public can be kept ignorant while they and their children can be learned, but they’re wrong. Ignorance is pervasive; it affects the rich as well as the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the famous as well as the obscure. It’s prevalent in the suites of our nation’s CEOs, the Congress, the military, and even our universities. It defines this nation.

How anyone can believe that America can continue to prosper in this state of ignorant dependency is a conundrum of Gordian-knot proportions. I believe it was Dean Baker (sorry, I lost the reference) who wrote, “We need to remember what happened to the British Empire. Having originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the 17th century, by 1922, it held sway over one-quarter of the world’s population on whom ‘the sun never set.’ Yet by 1914 it had become a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ which could not then nor again in 1939 defend itself against much smaller Continental powers.” Those in power in America are ignorant of history, too.

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who blogs on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.


FactsNews – Obama’s Healthcare Plan – A total sham!

images456It has been known for quite some time that Republicans are agaisnt pretty much anything a Democrat has to offer. This is bogus left-right bickering, however I agree with Republicans/Conservatives on this Healthcare Issue. The bill is another complete legislative disaster written by a few lobbyists that takes control away from the people and gives it to Big Brother.

If you visit http://www.yahoo.com this morning, you will find the headline “Obama wrangles with own party over Healthcare“. Why is that important? This means that BOTH parties, Democrats and Republicans are agaisnt Obama’s disasterous Healthcare expansion/reduction bill. How is our democratically elected leader trying to get away with passing a huge healthcare bill that will affect ALL Americans living here and abroad, without the support of EITHER PARTY? At least Bush had the Republicons supporting his tyrranical expansion of surveliance and suppression of rights.

Obama has 0 support for this bill (that we & Congress barely had a chance to read), and it sounds like he is going to get his way… Why doesn’t Obama just abolish Congress and become dictator already, geez. He is already making signing statements that once again his own party disagrees with in regards to foreign aid. Change, meaning “I can do whatever the hell I want cause I got the vote”. Bush cheated in the 2000 & 2004 elections, there is no guarantee that Obama didn’t.

Real concentration camps USA: Our immigrant-detention system is spiraling out of control

By David Neiwert~Crooks and Liars

See Video Here (At Puppetgov)

Jackie Mahendra points out an Associated Press story describing some of the most recent information about how we’re detaining illegal immigrants — and it’s profoundly disturbing:

The U.S. detention system for immigrants has mushroomed in the past decade, creating a costly building boom in an effort to sweep up criminals and ensure that illegal immigrants are quickly deported.

However, an Associated Press computer analysis of the entire detention population on a Sunday night in January found that most did not have a criminal record and many were not about to leave the country soon — voluntarily or through deportation.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, showed a U.S. detainee population of exactly 32,000 on the evening of Jan. 25.

Of those, 18,690 immigrants did not have a criminal conviction, including for illegal entry or low-level crimes such as trespassing. More than 400 of those with no criminal record had been incarcerated for at least a year. A dozen had been held for three years or more; one man from China had been locked up for more than five years.

Almost 10,000 had been in custody longer than 31 days, the average detention stay.

For an up-close look at what’s going on at these detention centers, check out Breakthrough Media’s incredibly informative site, Homeland Guantanamos, which describes the detention system we’ve created in response to right-wing agitation about illegal immigration. You know, the same right-wingers who are now stewing over non-existent FEMA concentration camps.

The video below also explores the subject in some depth, focusing on the situation in Illinois.

Delusions of a failed democracy

Posted from http://northcountrypublicradio.org/

One of the things I admire most about America’s conservative movement is its longstanding commitment to democratic action.

Many progressives complain about the last two decades of Republican dominance — in Washington, in many state capitals, and in the media.

But those center-right gains came in large part thanks to grassroots activism, relentless organizing, and devout commitment to some core ideas.

Which is why recent trends within the GOP (and conservative groups allied with the GOP) are so troubling.

While many Republicans accept recent Democratic gains for what they are — evidence of their own shortcomings and the natural give-and-take of a healthy democracy — a growing number of conservatives are raising the specter of conspiracy.

– Some Republicans have continued to hint that Barack Obama may not be an American, pointing to discredited claims about the authenticity of his birth certificate. Others continue to suggest that he may be a closeted Muslim.

-Conservatives have continued to suggest that progressive ideas (about the economy and foreign policy) are foreign or “European,” implying that they reflect an external threat to our society.

(This point is ludicrous for two reasons. First, because progressivism has a long history in American politics; second because conservatives rely on foreigners for many of their core ideas.)

-Pundits like Fox’s Glenn Beck continue to talk about “losing” their country and feeling “surrounded” by liberals.

Beck suggested recently that “political correctness” led to the recent shooting rampage in Alabama.

“But as I’m listening to him [the mass-murderer], I’m thinking about the American people who feel disenfrachised right now,” Beck said in an interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

-Similarly, conservatives have staged anti-big government “tea parties,” suggesting that their struggles are akin to those of the American colonists, who suffered taxation “without representation.”

-A growing number of conservatives, including Rep. Ron Paul, have suggested that the Obama administration is part of the “Bilderberger” conspiracy, which aims to subvert American democracy and replace it with a world government.

-Many Republicans have suggested that widespread voter fraud essentially discredits the last two election cycles, pointing to the activism of groups such as ACORN. These claims have been thoroughly debunked.

Yes, voter fraud occurs. No, it does not occur on a scale that tips elections.

-Finally, conservatives insist that their ideas have been discounted wholesale by a biased mainstream media. This claim ignores the existence of Fox News, the conservative dominance of talk radio, and the powerful influence of conservative newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal.

The reality, of course, is that America just held an election, in which the candidates were given an exhaustive hearing by the media and fair treatment at the ballot box.

Americans should be proud of the fact that we are represented by the most stable, durable, and credible democratic systems every created.

(Our political system is far more fair, transparent, and honest that it was even a couple of decades ago.)

That system will eventually produce more conservative leadership. (And, cyclically, those conservative governments will also give way to future progressive governments.)

But the revitalization of the Republican Party won’t be helped or hastened by Chicken Littles, who claim that their failures at the ballot box are the product of secret cabals or shadowy conspiracies.

posted by Brian Mann @ 3/15/2009 10:29:00 AM

Obama administration: Guantanamo detainees have ‘no constitutional rights’

FN- B-b-but, don’t we have to go after Bush for war crimes? Meanwhile, Obama is committing more atrocities than Bush/Cheney can even fantize about…

Joe Byrne
Published: Sunday March 15, 2009

Court documents filed Friday reveal that Obama’s lawyers are arguing that Ex-Guantanamo detainees have no constitutional rights.

The Center for Constitutional Rights(CCR), a non-profit legal advocacy group, is supporting four British citizens – Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal al Harith – in their suit alleging religious mistreatment and torture at Guantanamo Bay. Defendants in the case include Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The four men say that they were “beaten, shackled in painful stress positions, threatened by dogs and subjected to extreme medical care,” according to the Miami Herald. In addition, they reported being forced to shave their beards, being banned from prayer, being denied prayer mats, and watching a copy of the Koran get tossed in the toilet.

Last year, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in D.C. voted unanimously against the 4 ex-detainees. The Appeals Court claimed that the men did not fit the definition of ‘person’ in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because they were foreigners being held outside the United States. Months later, the Supreme Court instructed the Appeals Court to reconsider their decision, based on a Supreme Court ruling that Guantanamo detainees have some rights under the constitution. On Friday, the CCR re-filed their brief in the D.C. Court of Appeal.

Letter Re: Wealth Destruction–Real Wealth or Just On-Paper Wealth?

Conversation Thread taken from my favorite site Survivalblog.com (Author of blog is JWR)

I followed the link in Thursday’s blog to this I followed this news story: 45 percent of world’s wealth destroyed: Blackstone CEO. It stated: “Between 40 and 45 percent of the world’s wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half.” I don’t see how Schwarzman can be right about that. The factories are still there. the farms are still there. The houses are still there. And there are still warehouses full of everything from Machinery and bar stock to Sponge Bob Squarepants toys.So what has been destroyed are just “on paper” profits, not any real wealth. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but what is to stop us from just revaluating things, and getting along with life? Thanks, – F.T.G

JWR Replies: You are mostly right, but partly wrong. You are correct that there has been very little real tangible wealth that has been destroyed, other than inventory that might be discarded for lack of a market, some half-finished commercial and residential building projects that will eventually get bulldozed, and some perishables that have been delayed in transit and that went to waste. You are also correct that most of what still exists tangibly has genuine value. But consider that an under-utilized factory produces fewer goods than a fully-utilized factory. (OBTW, on that note, we can thank President Obama for at least keeping America’s gun, ammunition, and magazine factories working at a fever pitch.)

So let’s step back and look at the big picture…

What has been destroyed:

1.) Asset Values:
This goes without saying. Reader FTG is correct that facilities and capital equipment are physically intact, but their values have been greatly reduced. I expect to see this process continue for several more years.

2.) Wages and Buying Power:
By cutting out overtime, reducing shifts, idling assembly lines, canceling re-stocking orders, reducing pensions, scaling-back benefits, and laying off employees, there has been a great contraction in wage-earning income and hence buying power–even to the point where people are having trouble making their mortgage payments. This leads to a chain collision of missed house payments, foreclosures, and evictions. Worse yet, it means even more houses will be dumped onto a market that is already flooded with “excess inventory.”

3.) Credit, and the Perception of Credit-Worthiness:
As I’ve described before, the economy is presently in a phase characterized by revaluation–as the various market sectors probe for new market prices.(Economists call this “Price Discovery.”) Simultaneously, lenders are are positively petrified to lend to their heretofore “credit worthy” clients. There has been so much debt re-packaging that has gone on, that it is now very difficult to reliably assess any accurate values of assets and to evaluate loan risk

4.) Consumer Confidence
Much of the consumerism that built up in the US for the past 30 years was a Spendthrift mentality, created by the bygone oceans of “Easy Credit”. Both that credit and the resultant spending are now gone. And I do mean gone. In previous recessions, there had been brief declines in consumerism, but I can foresee that this one one will be different. This will be more like the 1930s, where the nation developed an entire generation of penny-pinchers. Don’t get me wrong–I consider this good thing! Saving is admirable. Overspending is foolish. But from the standpoint of economic recovery, this could delay recovery by several year, since a large portion of the economy had built up around the concept of women with 25 pairs of shoes, and men with three sets of golf clubs

5.) For Many, the Hope of Retirement at Age 65:
Millions of American that were nearing retirement have lost any hope of retiring. Aside for the holdings of a few crazy “gold bugs” (like SurvivalBlog readers), their IRAs and 401(k)s have been devastated. There are also some company pension plans that have gone “poof” or that will surely be scaled back considerably. I don’t want to gloat, but those of you that took my advice three years ago and sold their dollar-denominated investments and invested in tangibles have come through the credit market collapse virtually unscathed. Some of you even came out ahead. Meanwhile, those that left their money in stock-heavy 401(k) accounts have been devastated. Losses of 30% to 50% have been the norm. Ouch!

6.) Carefree Mobility:
Before the housing bubble burst, people could easily change jobs, sell their houses (at a profit!) and move from coast to coast without much inconvenience. But to do so now constitutes major trial and tribulation. Up to 40% of people with mortgaged homes now have negative equity–meaning that the remaining principal of their mortgage now exceeds the market value of their house. (This is commonly called being “upside down” in a mortgage.) So now, even for someone that can make their mortgage payments, changing jobs to a new locale beyond commute distance means losing their house and starting over. And if they go with the “jingle mail” method, it means starting over with a ruined credit rating.

7.) The Last Shreds of Job Security:
Following the trend set by Silicon Valley, when the “Dot.Com” bubble burst in 2000, many industries are now getting positively ruthless about cost-cutting. There is now a constant barrage of news of layoffs, reduced benefits, and cutting our perks. Don’t expect “normality” to resume to the corporate workplace in our generation. Any vestiges of “job security” have become a thing of the past.

What Will Likely Continue to Be Destroyed:

1.) Further erosion of asset values.
The price of real estate (both residential and commercial) will likely continue to decline until either A.) The economy starts to recover, or B.) Inflation kicks in. If it is the latter, (which is what I suspect, sooner or later), property prices will start to rise only because general price inflation has grown. But this will be a false recovery in real estate. Real property values will continue to decline, while the currency unit itself is being destroyed. Yes, your house may be worth a several million dollars, but what will a million dollars buy you in such times? The same may happen with stocks. In the presence of inflation, news of a “stock market rally” will be nothing but fiction if the currency. Amidst the “Happy Days are here again” hoopla,real values will still be in the dumpster.

2.) More job losses and further-reduced wage-earning hours

3.) More failed pension programs

4.) The dollar itself as a currency unit. This recent news article was a subtle warning: The Swiss central bank has already fired the first shot in the global currency war. I expect large devaluations–both formal and informal–by many nations in the near future. The bottom line is that the US Dollar is doomed.

What will Remain and Gain:

Tangibles, Tangibles, Tangibles! I’ve been harping on that theme in SurvivalBlog for three years. Again, those of you that took my advice are mostly sitting pretty. Silver and gold have doubled, as have ammunition and many full capacity magazines. Productive farm and ranch land has held most of its value, while at the same time suburban real estate has plummeted. If you have not yet transitioned out of dollar-denominated investments, then do so immediately. (The current stock rally is nothing but a sucker rally in the larger context of secular bear stock market So this is a good opportunity to bail out.)

The present-day wave of deflation will likely be followed by a period of sharp inflation. At some point, all those trillions of “magically created out of thin air” dollars that will needed for the Mother of All Bailouts (MOAB) will inevitably catch up with the Dollar. My closing warning: Be ready for some serious consumer price inflation, most likely starting in 2010.


Switzerland: A parasite feeding on developing world?


June 16, 2009

By Lord Aikins Adusei (Modern Ghana)

For more than half a century the Alpine nation of Switzerland has built a reputation as the world´s centre for tax evasion, fraud accounting, money laundering, racketeering, and above all a staunch ally of corrupt third world leaders and a great beneficiary of third world corruption.

Various categories of persons including Popes, presidents, prime ministers, corrupt dictators, wealthy business men, and drug dealers have all used and benefited from the banking secrecy laws of Switzerland. As a result her economy has been described as an underground economy, a deposit box for dirty money and a “dirt-driven economy”.

Over the last couple of years countries such as United States, Germany and France have argued that they have become victims of Swiss illegal financial activities and as result have stepped up their campaign to get Swiss authorities to cooperate in fighting tax evasion and money laundering. The campaign has even brought a row between the German Finance Minister and members of Swiss parliament. These nations claim they are loosing billions of dollars annually through tax evasion and other illegal financial activities. In 2009 an action by the US Justice Department against the Swiss Banking giant UBS earned the United States close to $1 billion. In 2001, the United States learned that the Swiss had protected the bank that handled finances for Osama Bin Laden. One of them, the Bahrain International Bank, had funds transiting through non-published accounts of Clearstream, which has been qualified as a “bank of banks” and was involved in one of Luxembourg’s major financial scandals.

Western governments have argued that dirty money in many forms welcomed by the Switzerland allows the proceeds of corruption, drug trafficking, racketeering and terrorism to tag alongside and deny the world´s poor the chance to escape poverty. Swiss banks are reputed to be holding an estimated 35% of the world’s private and institutional funds (or 3 trillion Swiss francs)”.

However, of all the victims of Swiss banking secrecy laws and her shady banking practices, developing countries and Africa in particular seem to have suffered the most. The global infrastructure of international financial secrecy with headquarters in Switzerland has helped bleed trillions of dollars in illicitly generated money out of Africa and the rest of the developing world. The activities of Swiss banking institutions and real estate companies have plunged third world nations into debts, poverty, misery, malnutrition, diseases, economic meltdown, infrastructure decay and political instabilities through the help they give to corrupt politicians, civil servants, the business elite and corrupt multinational corporations who collude and connive with the corrupt entities to loot and hide the proceeds of their ill-gotton gains.

Many third world countries especially those in Africa lack the infrastructures needed to run successful economies. They lack schools, hospitals, roads, harbours, rail infrastructure, irrigation facilities, electricity, clean water, telecommunication, sanitation facilities because of the loots. Many children are orphaned and malnourished and many do not have access to education and healthcare because money meant for all that are stolen and are sitting in Swiss banks such UBS, Credit Suisse. There has not been a single corrupt politician or dictator in Africa, Latin America and Asia who has not had dealings with this secretive alpine country. While third world countries continue to struggle to provide the basic necessities of life Swiss economy is washed with money that could save millions from hunger, starvation and diseases.

Every year since the year 2000 developing countries receive about $100-billion in aid annually from rich countries with about $10-billion going to Africa but these rich countries headed by Switzerland receive about $900- billion from these poor countries ($150-billion from Africa) in the form of tax evasion, embezzlement, fraud accounting, debt servicing and corruption. The World Bank´s Stolen Asset Recovery initiative estimates the cross-border flow of proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion at between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion per year, about half of which come from developing and transitional economies.

Full Article