Taoist mythology, Lanna history, mythology, the nature of time and other considered ramblings

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Location: Chiangrai, Chiangrai, Thailand

Author of many self-published books, including several about Thailand and Chiang Rai, Joel Barlow lived in Bangkok 1964-65, attending 6th grade with the International School of Bangkok's only Thai teacher. He first visited ChiangRai in 1988, and moved there in 1998.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The State We’re In

It’d be quite interesting to know the percentage of the over $700 billion US “defense” (wars for special interest reasons) spending which goes to private companies. In today’s “capitalism,” an amazing amount of taxpayers’ earnings go to private firms via governments prepared to commit any crime in order to maximize profits (for a few). For those who haven’t recognized it yet, the motivation for US military aggression in Afghanistan is natural gas under Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan – gas to be piped south, but to what port no-one yet knows. As Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, reports on, reports, the consultant who arranged with then Texas governor George W. Bush agreements to give Enron rights to Uzbekistan’s and Turkmenistan’s natural gas deposits, and Unocal a contract to make a trans-Afghanistan pipeline, was “president” of Afghanistan Karzai, whose only support comes from the US (and a few opium farmers).
Which might at least be good news for investors, but that the current administration will clearly continue to fail to restore the Glass-Steagall Act (officially known as the Banking Act of 1933, Public Law 66-73, or H.R. 5661), one of the most important pieces of financial legislation ever passed in the USA. Glass-Steagall mandated that banks shall not engage “in the issue, flotation, underwriting, public sale, or distribution at wholesale or retail or through syndicate participation of stocks, bonds, debentures, notes, or other securities.” In other words, they are not to gamble recklessly with depositors funds, as, almost calamitously, or recent. In other words, although we may get some natural gas to replace dwindling petroleum, not only investing, but saving in banks, will remain less than risky.
And meanwhile, “It Takes a Village” Clinton continues to give that phrase a new meaning, letting Monsanto Corp take subsistence villagers into wage-slavery (and worse). Not only have weeds and insects become resistant to Monsanto's Roundup herbicide and to the toxins produced by their GM corn, but pesticide use on GM planted acres has gone up, not down, while yields have become lower than that of their conventional counterparts. But you won’t read about these matters in the New York Times, nor, certainly, encounter them mentioned in even more conservative “news sources”…
There has been none of the “change” Obama promised, until, and I apologize for repeating myself, we start:
1st: Halting production of genetically modified foods – it’s an experiment that has backfired. Those who can’t admit to limitations certainly can’t overcome them.
2nd: Ending corporate “personhood” – being simultaneously a person and property is wrong. We KNOW this.
3rd: Ending the wars we are engaging in, including the “Drug War” and all forms of armed interventionism. Justice is never the result of force.
4th: Turn “alternative” energy sources into essential ones, reducing our petrochemical addiction, pollution, global warming, economic globalization and sloth.
5th: Improving education, so that people can see the necessity of the above for survival and ethical self-respect.
6th: Reducing not population expansion, but the population, and also consumption, greed, the polluted mess we’ve made of our planet, economic disparity, injustice and exploitation.
7th: Reinvigorating ecological diversity, acknowledging the importance of all forms of diversity, and decentralizing power without giving reign to petty dictators.

Strangely, the Wall Street Journal revealed a cover up by the nation’s largest banks (including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup), which have been engaging in potentially-criminal accounting activities, to conceal the extent of their debts. The businessman’s paper of choice reported, "Major banks have masked their risk levels in the past five quarters by temporarily lowering their debt just before reporting it to the public, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A group of 18 banks....understated the debt levels used to fund securities trades by lowering them an average of 42 per cent at the end of each of the past five quarterly periods, the data show. The banks, which publicly release debt data each quarter, then boosted the debt levels in the middle of successive quarters." ("Big Banks Mask Risk Levels", Kate Kelly, Tom McGinty, Dan Fitzpatrick, Wall Street Journal, 9 April, 2010).
Seems we’re now living in a world without any accountability for those at or above a certain social and economic level.



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