America from the Outside

                                       Eagles+Birds+Wallpapers_

This report was written ten years ago but may as well have been written today – a $750 million dollar embassy in Baghdad with intelligence officers, last year missed the rise of Islamic State – there is still a lack of co-operation between agencies and one questions if counter terrorism, intelligence gathering & or analysis would not be best partially or fully outsourced to the private sector. If not being outsourced then an independent audit and review carried out. http://www.foia.cia.gov/document/0001229684-0

The Congress as with the Westminster system of government is going to have the occasional polarization over certain issues. Congress has been on a trajectory of polarization which is not going to reverse anytime soon and impedes the legislative process and undermines confidence. Polarization has been the norm in Congress throughout most of America’s history but what about some form of reform. Maybe a forum…”If the dominant metaphors for politics in America are the market and the arena, both holding vigorous competition central to how we think politicians and citizens should behave, perhaps we should find room for an alternative venue: the forum.” http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/dking/Extreme_Politics.pdf

What implications are there for domestic and foreign policy with this current system. Health Care & Social Security are two major challenges that have been around for more than ten years and so has the fiscal cliff and yet we keep seeing the same old battered can being kicked down the road. Maybe the House of Representatives could reassert itself somehow and be a conduit for law making…I am not an expert on US legislative process and it is outside of my area of expertise. 2017 is critical mass for the Dept. Social Security where money out will be more than money in – http://www.socialsecurity.gov/oact/solvency/THarkin_20130318.pdf

Economic Flaws – Systemic risks within the economy are real and not perceived based on and not limited to – algorithms, derivatives, collateral debt obligations, lack of a truly free market and more. The 401K is directly linked to the stock market – other countries have a broad spread in the superannuation portfolio which minimizes the risk of devaluation as occurred in circa 2008. The Federal Reserve Bank needs some form of review of its mandate/s. The head of the Fed from Allan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen have all failed to address underlying problems in monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank is a private company and the owners and board are an interesting read. Fiscal flaws are the responsibility of the government.

The establishment of Fannie May & Freedie Mac by government and regulated by government for the mortgage market (they basically dictated the interest rate for mortgages with around 50% of the marketplace in which they operated) and even as of 2005 Greenspan was waxing eloquently about how wonderful they were –  “Critical to the success of this innovation has been the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in promoting mortgage securitization–the key to the development of secondary mortgage markets in the United States. Their efforts spawned the vast asset-backed securities market that, along with credit derivatives, has contributed to the transfer of credit risk from highly leveraged originators of credit–especially banks and thrifts–to less-leveraged insurance companies and pension and mutual funds, among other investors.http://www.federalreserve.gov/boarddocs/speeches/2005/20050519/default.htm

The speech found in the link above, is a wonderful read and full of praise for two G.S.E.s that directly contributed to the G.F.C.
How can the marketplace be free with this type of activity occurring and who was at fault, legislators or regulators or both ? Impunity seems to run hand in hand with government along the yellow brick road. Now going back to the Federal Reserve Bank and specifically the NY Fed, why were Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC established – to take billions of dollars of toxic debt out of the marketplace – http://newyorkfed.org/markets/maidenlane.html#tabs-1

Look at the relationship with J.P. Morgan Chase and the loan where the NY Fed earns profits. Oh but this is all justifiable because it is a free and open market. Has anyone questioned greed, corruption and or dishonesty within the system and apology in advance for my skepticism here, but that would not be politically correct in our modern world and far to cynical. There is nothing wrong with democracy or a free marketplace capitalism…I believe that both of these have benefits and are better than the alternatives. The debt ceiling level and the process of dealing with it is flawed because the answer is not lifting it, time and time again and printing money…it does not address the structural reforms that are required to control it.

What is wrong with Operation Twist http://useconomy.about.com/od/Fed/g/Operation-Twist.htm
I refuse to be drawn into any Zionist debate or argument regarding the Federal Reserve Bank or any conspiracy theories about the same. Facts and figures can do the talking…but I personally believe that the underlying premise of a government monopoly on the money supply is detrimental to the economy and ultimately limits people’s freedom as it promotes the expansion and control of the state is wrong in that it is most flawed. I will cite Australia as an example with twenty two years of successive growth as a combination of the resources boom and well managed monetary and fiscal policy from the Australian Federal Reserve Bank & the government.

Foreign Policy Flaws – Lost opportunities to build and establish strong working relationships post Cold War. Underestimating or over estimating the capacity, strengths and weakness of either US capabilities or the country and culture of intervention/operation. Failure to meet objectives and counterproductive operations in various regional conflicts.  Nicaragua, Vietnam, Iraq Gulf War, Iraq War, Afghanistan, Libya and others. With Nicaragua –  The Republic of Nicaragua v. The United States of America – the International Court of Justice ruled that the U.S. had violated international law by supporting the Contras.
http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?sum=367&p1=3&p2=3&case=70&p3=5
http://www.alternativeinsight.com/Foreign_Policy_Failures.html
The reader can search for other countries and current flaws in foreign policy.

Constitutional Flaws – the ten questions asked by Professor Sanford Levinson from The School of Law at The University of Texas at Austin are worthy of reading and the very least, serious consideration…the two links at the end of the page are also worthy of  perusal. http://www.utexas.edu/law/news/2006/100906_che.html

The writer is not anti-American. What American men and women do every single minute of every single day in the pursuit of freedom and liberty I am most appreciative of and applaud their courage and commitment to upholding the idea of democracy and global stability. These people are from a range of government and non-government groups and place their lives on the line. If the United States of America can lead by example, then it would be think globally acting locally first.

To conclude, this is one view that does not matter if it is correct or incorrect and I hope it stimulates thought regarding any real or perceived flaws in North America, Europe or the world. Globally we are facing serious challenges that require effective solutions to be found as a united world.The hegemonic behemoth that is struggling to retain global stability has become a basket case in international politics. If America can not or will not perform triage on itself and undertake radical surgery, the multi-polar world will rapidly correct this and place it in a hospice.

John Coffey, retired Foreign Affairs Officer at the US State Department points out about Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power by Zbigniew Brzezinski:  Brzezinski highlights greater significance to the nation’s domestic problems such as a crushing national debt; a financial system driven by self-destructive greed; widening inequality; decaying infrastructure; a citizenry ignorant of the world; and a gridlocked political system.

May the captains of industry and global governors guide, protect and direct towards a sustainable future with…

  Truth, Trust & Transparency.

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Human History Horribilis

THE REVENGE OF GEOGRAPHY

WHAT THE MAP TELLS US ABOUT COMING CONFLICTS AND THE BATTLE AGAINST FATE

 

To quote Robert D. Kaplan “In order to understand today’s current events—religious conflict, war, and political instability—one need look no further than a map.”  Cartography is an interesting and most fascinating subject, especially if one wants to study history and can we understand more about our present world by studying maps. There are many different and diverse subjects that are related to maps such as, and not limited to the following: Toponymy, Hydronymy, Demonym, Ethnonym (polito-ethnonym and topo-ethnonym), Diaspora, Exonym, Endonym, Onomastics, Critical Cartography, Geoinformatics, Historical and Thematic Maps.

Here are several maps worth considering when looking at the current geopolitical tension and conflict in the Middle East.

UN_Palestine_Partition_Versions_1947

Mandate_for_Palestine_(legal_instrument).svg

640px-MPK1-426_Sykes_Picot_Agreement_Map_signed_8_May_1916

If one looks at the maps (ancient and modern) and this post will only briefly look at 2oth Century maps, one can obtain a clearer understanding of where we are at today regarding some of the conflict in the Middle East. The Chester Concession approved by the congress of the newly founded Republic of Turkey on April 10, 1923, allowed United States development of oil and railways. It was an award of the significant importance and marked the introduction of U.S. capital for the first time on a large scale into the Near East. The same type of agreement (Baghdad Railway) was a major cause of the anxiety which led the Ottoman Empire to World War IGermany had obtained concessions from Ottoman Empire which allowed German companies to construct railways. (Wikipedia)

OttomanEmpireIn1683

The Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent, in 1683

Some view the Twentieth Century as ‘One Hundred Years of War’ and the first quarter of that century was riddled with conflict that saw changes and a shift in the balance of power. One poses the question here are there any parallels here between the first quarter of last century and the Twenty First Century. Whatever the answer to the question may just be found in our history and if history can teach us anything, may it be the wisdom to not make the same mistakes again this century.

The last Caliphate was The Ottoman Caliphate which ended with the abolition when the National Assembly that had been newly created and declared Turkey as a republic 1923 circa. After almost seven hundred years the empire ceased to exist and with this new government a sweeping set of changes occurred under Atatürk and one such reform was that the National Assembly abolished the Caliphate on March 3, 1924. The caliphate was the core leader concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries.

There have been calls by groups such as the Mujahideen, al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, Jemaah Islamiyah and now the newest call by what was ISIS and now has been altered in name to Islamic State, for a new Caliphate. To understand better this current situation in the Middle East, one has to have a better understanding of the differences between the current Shia-led Iraqi Government  ( eighteen provinces in Iraq) and the religious groups within the country and the sectarian violence between Iraq’s religious groups.

The Shia majority in Iraq have some groups that support the Assad regime in Syria, which many Sunni factions stand against and now there has been an galvanizing effect between the two countries with this newest stand by the Islamic State aka ISIS. The map below shows the June military situation with who controls what geographically.

Green-Syrian Opposition  Pink light-Syrian Government Pink dark - Iraqi Government Grey - ISIS Yellow dark - Syrian Kurds Yellow light - Iraqi Kurds

Green-Syrian Opposition
Pink light-Syrian Government
Pink dark – Iraqi Government
Grey – ISIS
Yellow dark – Syrian Kurds
Yellow light – Iraqi Kurds

 

The Hadith, or the translation and or reporting of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad is most controversial and includes Sharia Law. Sunni and Shia hadith collections differ because scholars from the two traditions differ as to the reliability of the narrators and transmitters. Narrators who took the side of Abu Bakr and Umar rather than Ali, in the disputes over leadership that followed the death of Muhammad, are seen as unreliable by the Shia; narrations sourced to Ali and the family of Muhammad, and to their supporters, are preferred. Sunni scholars put trust in narrators, such as Aisha, whom Shia reject. Differences in hadith collections have contributed to differences in worship practices and shari’a law and have hardened the dividing line between the two traditions. (Wikipedia)

So what we have is a most highly complex religion that has become polarised. Shia and Sunni beg to differ on religion. Now one can see where some of the conflict begins as one side claims that their belief is more in line with the Muslim faith. Okay so how did we get to where we are today in the Middle East where brother fights brother and state fights state. The Hadith – Muhammad al Bukhari (810-870 AD) travelled for eighteen years through various Islamic lands and then returned home to Bukhara where he wrote a consequential text (Sahih al-Bukhari) the central collection of Hadith, or “narratives” taken from the life and words of Muhammad.

Other Hadith have been written, but al-Bukhari’s is considered by Sunnis to be second in authority only to the Qur’an (Koran) and gives a guideline covering thousands of activities from birth to death. In the Qur’an (Koran)  the following is of concern regarding tensions in the Middle East because of the relationship between the Jewish State of Israel and the Muslim world. The Qur’an (Koran) is a 114-chapter recitation that Muslims believe God spoke through the Prophet.

In Chapter Five  of the  Qur’an (Koran) (Surah 5 – Al-Ma idah) Section Eight: Relations of Muslims with Their Enemies 51- O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors:* they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily God guides not a people unjust. The * note here states the following footnote: That is, look not to them for help and comfort. They are more likely to combine against you than to help you. And this happened more than once in the lifetime of the Prophet, and in after-ages again and again. He who associates with them and shares their counsels must be counted as of them. The trimmer loses whichever way the wheel of fortune turns.

There is much angst and multi-generational hatred and mistrust that still lingers between various sectarian groups. Between Sunni & Shia there is a complex battle which we are witnessing today in the Middle East. Now, if we are to also add to this the complexity of adding the state of Israel into the situation, it becomes even more complex. Without a doctorate in theology one is left a tad perplexed by the complexities of the various religious groups in the Middle East…Judaism, Alawite, Sunni, Shia for example. So what happened in the middle of last century at the end of the second World War, and did the action have a reaction creating the messy situation today?

At the end of WWII the Middle East was divided into specific sovereign territories. At the end of the Second World War, the region’s states finally obtained independence. But the creation of the State of Israel and the failure of attempts to create Arab unity left the Middle East deeply divided.

The borders were drawn without regard for the wishes of the people living there, or along ethnic, geographic, or religious boundaries – they were truly arbitrary. It is important to note that even today, political borders in the Middle East do not indicate different groups of people. The differences between Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians, etc. were entirely created by the European colonizers as a method of dividing the Arabs against each other.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/119/the-middle-east-conflict-a-brief-background

The trajectory that was set for the last century had roots back to the conflict that was left over from the previous century…and so it goes without saying that the trajectory that we have set for ourselves as a species, was done so in the latter half of last century. As the United States of America is about to celebrate on the 4th of July, maybe every American can make a change by giving some serious thought to making their government responsible and changing foreign policy.

In the 21st century, U.S. influence remains strong but, in relative terms, is declining in terms of economic output compared to rising nations such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, and the newly consolidated European Union. Substantial problems remain, such as climate changenuclear proliferation, and the specter of nuclear terrorism. Foreign policy analysts Hachigian and Sutphen in their book The Next American Century suggest all six powers have similar vested interests in stability and terrorism prevention and trade; if they can find common ground, then the next decades may be marked by peaceful growth and prosperity. (Wikipedia)

If anything is certain regarding the future of the Middle East it is that human history will record more unnecessary conflict and war that is a mixture of economics, politics and religion that the writer terms “Horribilis”.

     

Dystopia – THE GREAT GLOBAL BACKLASH



1984 
Today

Delusion Fields

When Eric Arthur Blair wrote the novel 1984 he cemented himself into the Twentieth Century as one of the great writers.

It is now 2014, some thirty years from the date that was the title for this work and one has to ask the question:

Is life imitating art ?

There are some other examples of this frightening world that we live in today, such as Brave New World, Blade Runner and Soylent Green, to name a few. To reflect upon these works specifically Nineteen Eighty Four, one is left with very strong mixed emotions regarding our current situation and where we may be positioned as a species in another thirty years. Our Western culture is one of hedonistic narcissistic overindulgences and self gratification, whereby, through an insatiable appetite for consuming the latest product and or service in pathetic attempts to achieve a satisfactory level of being satiated, in a lifestyle that is shallow, false and unsustainable, we are left highly dependent upon technology and over medicated in a regime of anti-oxidant, multi-vitamin & anti-depressant pills.

The golden utopia of tomorrow is what we are spoon fed via the intravenous drip that is attached to us twenty four seven and is our pager, cell phone, tablet, laptop or flatscreen television. We gossip and discuss the most insignificant details about some individual who has randomly floated to the surface and been portrayed as a unique human, and we do this for five seconds before we dump them for the next person and or gadget. Terms such as retail therapy in our spiritual quest for happiness and the meaning of life we have accepted and made to be our best friend.

Yesterday, BTW we downloaded the latest widget that is available to us for 99 cents so that we can have a more functional easier life 24/7 but let us not get carried away here for we need to keep this post in a KISS format. CCTV for security and peace of mind so that in the event that we are raped, robbed or murdered, the authorities can peruse the footage before it goes viral on Youtube or Instagram or becomes a Tweet and maybe, just maybe goes to trial. What a sad day it is when Blade Runner is a world wide televised court room scene in the Republic of South Africa involving the manslaughter or murder of a young woman.

If we are to look at our world today and describe it in one word what one word would that be ?

LeMagasinDesSuicides

The writers preference here is Hamartia as a description for the whole tragic situation and current state of affairs. The disturbing truth about describing our world today in this one word, is that it is so, through a calculated deliberate set of circumstances and not through some comedy of human errors. The tragedy is that we have become what we have become and we are left to surf this wild steep trajectory of the Twenty First Century with no social backbone of reform and we place our hopes and dreams into the hands of tyrants and technology.

When Nineteen Eighty Four was first published 1949 circa, the Great Depression and World War Two had occurred and we humans set about building a better tomorrow. Somehow we have lost the plot in where we have allowed ourselves to wander and now we are most certainly lost. Aristotle wrote about this Hamartia as a tragic flaw and indeed we humans are flawed and our history proves how vicious, complex and self absorbed we truly are as a species. Brother against brother and state against state as we live in a morally bankrupt modern world and the welfare of man is in a state of eternal conflict.

How then does the world become balanced again and move away from the dystopia that currently exists. If human beings are truly to become evolved, if we are truly to move towards a global self actualisation, then what cathartic exercises do we need to undergo or to religiously follow. The dumbing down of society has been an ongoing well orchestrated highly successful execution of oppression and population control by multi-generational power brokers from both church and state. The proletariat, us mere mortal folk who are the modern serfs, require a long term plan of strategic moves in a R evolution to take back our future and our children’s tomorrow.

 The Great Global Backlash

Nouriel Roubini |

Anaemic economic recovery has given populist parties

an opening to blame foreign trade and foreign workers

“In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, policymakers’ success in preventing the Great Recession from turning into Great Depression II held in check demands for protectionist and inward-looking measures. But now the backlash against globalization—and the freer movement of goods, services, capital, labour, and technology that came with it—has arrived. This new nationalism takes different economic forms: trade barriers, asset protection, reaction against foreign direct investment, policies favouring domestic workers and firms, anti-immigration measures, state capitalism, and resource nationalism. In the political realm, populist, anti-globalization, anti-immigration, and in some cases outright racist and anti-Semitic parties are on the rise. These forces loath the alphabet soup of supra-national governance institutions—EU (European Union), UN (United Nations), WTO (World Trade Organization), and IMF (International Monetary Fund), among others—that globalization requires. Even the Internet, the epitome of globalization for the past two decades, is at risk of being balkanized as more authoritarian countries—including China, Iran, Turkey, and Russia—seek to restrict access to social media and crack down on free expression”.

One does not need to be violent or to wage a war against government and state. If we are truly to move forward towards a better world with equality and sustainability, then we simple ordinary citizens need to unite together as one mob, with one voice to achieve our one objective, in the utopia that we deserve and can truly create. Presently we are a fractured fragile 7,300,000,000 mob of sheep that are just surviving and when we can become a well rehearsed finely tuned and well honed collective, we shall then, not just survive, but, we shall truly live.

Freedom Liberty Egalitarian

Live it love it life…