Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some thoughts about Capital

I am currently reading the autobiography of Fidel Castro, pub. 2005. Castro amazingly predicted a worldwide financial collapse based on the way the USA just kept printing up more and more money. Fidel keeps referring to the USA as the "empire." And regarding brutality, the hypocrisy of our nation taking the moral high ground while promoting terrorist attacks against Cuba for 55 years, is appalling. Castro's viewpoint, based on ethical values and honor, has really opened my eyes about who the terrorist really is, and what is Capital.

Castro says that capital is the product of your labor. In other words, capital is the food that farmers grow, and the land that produces food. Capital are the sweaters made in Irish villages, and embroideries made by Hmong grandmothers. Capital is what we produce by our labor, which is equal to wealth.  Does that make every knitter a capitalist? What is a Capitalist, anyway?
cap·i·tal·ist   [kap-i-tl-ist]
1. a person who has capital,  especially extensive capital,  invested in business enterprises.
2. an advocate of capitalism.
3. a very wealthy person.

So, I’m right.  #1 says anyone with capital.  So it would include a whole cottage industry of women that knit sweaters, right?  Is their stock if knitted sweaters, and their storehouses of yarn, and their sheep and their meadows, the means of production of all those sweaters, are all capital?  If so, then are those Irish village knitters capitalists? 
According to this dictionary meaning, the answer would be YES. 

Let’s see what the dictionary defines as capital. 
cap·i·tal     [kap-i-tl] Show IPA
4. the wealth, whether in money or property, owned or employed in business by an individual, firm, corporation, etc.
5. an accumulated stock of such wealth.

So number 4 requires that the cottage industry knitters must be in the business of making sweaters.  In other words, they intend to sell the sweaters, or use them as barter. 

The reason I am pondering these facets of meaning, is that we usually think of capital as something had by only rich people living in mansions. 

But the concept of capital being the products of my own labor personalizes it and gives me a sense of control of my own capital. 

Suddenly I see the classical capitalists as climbing on the backs of the workers who they depend upon to produce capital for the benefit of the few. 
I realize that no one can be truly poor if they can produce capital as the fruit of their own labor.  Even if you live in a rammed earth home with a flimsy thatch roof, if you can produce spinning tops or handspun fabric or woven baskets or rubber tire sandals, you have wealth and capital. 

So now, what is Capitalism?
Here’s the same online dictionary again:
cap·i·tal·ism   [kap-i-tl-iz-uhm] Show IPA
an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
Origin: 1850–55; capital1  + -ism

Note:  public service and co-ops are excluded from this meaning of Capitalism even though state owned businesses and co-ops may produce capital commodities.  As such, then capitalism is dedicated to the greedy enrichment of the one at the expense of the many. 

The Capitalists hate the Communists, right?  Here is how our information is whitewashed.
As seen in this dictionary passage, the word “capitalism” originated in the mid 1850’s.  Please give credit where credit is due.  It was Karl Marx who coined the word in his book, The Communist Manifesto in 1848. 

Marx defined Capitalism as an economic system in which subjective moral value is separate from objective economic value. Subsequently, economics became divorced from ethics.  I’ve noticed that in many investor friends; it seems like perfectly moral and upstanding citizens of the community can invest in the most toxic and destructive industries and never have a flicker of a qualm about how they made their profits. 

So in Capitalism, the capitalist is the one who buys up all the land where the sheep graze, take ownership of the livestock, and provide wool for the knitters who work for a pittance to provide the capitalist with sweaters to export.  The capitalist figured out that he could get more money if he bought a million Irish sweaters, and sent them in a packing container to Boston, rather than selling them locally where the market was already saturated with home knitted sweaters. 

Before the capitalist arrived, all the village knitters labored together for the benefit of the whole village.  Once the capitalist takes possession of the means of production, knitters work for the capitalist and the capital wealth is transferred out of the village into the coffers of the capitalist.  Oh yeah, Ayn Rand; I bet it makes you HOT just to think about transferring all that wealth from the worthless peons who let it happen.  I think I’m starting to understand what Marx and Castro were talking about. 

Which begs the question of how did the capitalist wrest the means of production away from the villagers in the first place? 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Unarmed, non-violent Truth tellers are a threat to the Tea Party

For nearly a year, I had been attending the monthly meetings of the Ukiah Valley Patriots, our local Tea Party.  My original intention was to forge a coalition between activists who want to bring about a more representative government, and Tea Party activists.  Since both myself, and the Tea Party, hold the Constitution in high regard, I thought we had a lot in common. 

At first, I was appalled at what I heard and saw there, and wrote letters to the editor about it.  But then, the UVP leader, Duane, asked me to stop writing bad things about them in the newspaper.  I explained that I only write the truth the way I see it, and Duane couldn’t disagree that what I wrote wasn’t true.  He was mainly concerned with the UVPs being portrayed badly in public, and so I stopped writing anything about them while continuing to silently attend the meetings, observe, and take copious notes. 

Granted, we may be on different sides of many issues, but in a free republic, we can disagree with our neighbors and still be friends.  I continued to be appalled at the reactionary propaganda fed to the attendees, and the militant language they used to face every issue, but admired the very organized grass-roots techniques they were using.  Without even hearing what I believe in, Duane stated that we have nothing in common.  He threatened that if I didn’t stop coming to the UVP meetings that they would have to make it a members-only event.  Considering that many members of the UVP are licensed to carry concealed weapons, and pack heat at all times, I'm lucky they didn't shoot me. 

Well, the steering committee of the Ukiah Valley Patriots met and changed their bylaws to make it a member-only group, and presented their proposal to the general membership in January, which approved the change.  They passed around a mission statement, and an allegiance form.  20 attendees signed the allegiance form; I, and another courageous man, didn’t sign, and we were promptly asked to leave the meeting.  The reason was to not “discuss tactical actions with the enemy.”  When they say “enemy,” they mean me. 

The UVP state they organized in order to preserve the Constitution, and their core values, which include fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.  They write that the architects of the Constitution stated that the Creator endowed us with the right to own property along with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Oops!  I guess I missed the part about the Creator giving us the right to own property.  Ask a Native American if the Creator gave us the right to own property. 

I am totally impressed that an unarmed, non-violent little old lady like me, dedicated to the Truth, and motivated to listen to what others believe in, trying to find commonalities, could be such a powerful “enemy” that a group would have to change their bylaws to get rid of the threat I pose to their membership just by my presence.  Although I avoid pride and don’t seek power, that still makes me feel very powerful.  I observe the feeling of power, and let it go into the stream of phenomena. 

Friday, March 02, 2012

Some thoughts about Fidel Castro

I have been listening to the audiobook autobiography of Fidel Castro.  It was in the form of an interview in 2005 between foreign journalist Ignacio Ramonet, and Fidel himself.  The transcript had to be approved by Castro first before publication, and was translated into English, and performed by 2 actors for my enjoyment.  I borrowed it from the Public Library. 

One major theme throughout the tale was ethics.  Fidel explained that there is subjective and objective ethics.  Subjective ethics are about honor, protecting the innocent, being able to sleep at night.  Subjective ethics are about seeing international corporations coming into a nation and exploiting the human and natural resources to depletion for their own profit, and seeing the indigenous people being robbed of their capital legacy. 

Another shocking realization that has lifted the wool from my eyes is that the USA, the land I was raised to think had the moral high ground, has been sponsoring terrorism on the sovereign nation of Cuba for 55 years starting with our beloved JFK.  The fact that the microscopic nation of Cuba has persisted this long in spite of the acts of aggression from its giant nearby neighbor only attests to the validity of Castro’s assertions. 

And why should giant USA be threatened by the tiny little Caribbean nation of Cuba?  Why not be friends and trading partners like we are with Communist China?  The obvious reason is that the validity of Castro’s philosophy of ethics is so infectious, that it threatens the corporate oligarchy, which has been in control of our government for longer than we think. 

Castro actually admired JFK for withdrawing from the 1961 Bay of Pigs and admitting defeat.  He understood that Kennedy had inherited the plot from Eisenhower.  Castro’s forces had taken 1200 prisoners of war, which they ethically exchanged in 1962 with lawyer James Donovan for $53 of private medical supplies.  On the other hand, the non-violent Cuban 5 in the USA unethically all got life sentences, and Luis Posada Carriles, a convicted terrorist, lives free in luxury in Miami. 

Once again, our media portray Fidel Castro and Che Guevara as dangerous maniac armed revolutionaries.  But when you read their writing, they were totally rational and ethical.  They both saw the corporate machine robbing every resource possible if not stopped by persons with ethics.  They heroically stood up to the plate, but corporate censorship and spin have rewritten history to make the corporate oligarchy the good and moral side, and Castro and Guevara were on the bad and destructive militant revolutionary side. 

What Fidel & Che began to fight is upon us all with spades now, worldwide.  We are drowning in the toxic wastes of the for profit corporate depletion of our natural and human resources.  We are fed up with governments that serve corporate interests over the interests of the electorate, and enable our nation to descend into a banana republic.  Let We the People unite to non-violently create a “wall of separation between corporation and state” by amending the Constitution to define a person under the law as a human being, and money is not speech.   And with another amendment to mandate public funding of political campaigns with an eight-week campaign limit. 

We can solve the issue non-violently with a constitutional amendment

The new fire in the growth of Liberty and Democracy initiated by the Arab Spring and OWS has accelerated the process of our sovereign People taking back control of our government from the corporate oligarchy. We will non-violently take back our government from within the system set up by our Founding Fathers by amending the Constitution.

The Supreme Court never actually ruled in their Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad 1887 that corporations are persons under the Constitution. The justices actually REFUSED to rule on that issue in this decision. Yet, the court reporter, a schill for the railroad barons, wrote it into his headnote, and as such, a century of court decisions have been based on this false precedent.  This is a 115 year-old corporate farce! 

In 1976, the Supreme Court ruled in Buckley v. Valeo that political money is speech and is protected under the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court made their worst decision to date, even worse than the Dred Scott decision. In Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court legislated from the bench that if corporations are persons under the Constitution (1887), and money is speech (1976), then corporations and trade unions have the right to free speech under the First Amendment and can spend unlimited amounts of undisclosed money to influence elections. This decision overturned a century of campaign finance reform, and was certainly the most anti-democratic decision in history. 

The Citizens United decision opened the floodgates for international corporations to buy our elections. It drove the final nail into the coffin of Democracy, which is now dead. We no longer live in a Republic with government by the People. Our elected representatives are beholding to the special interests that financed their election campaigns, and not to the electorate. The whole system is seriously, seriously flawed. 

We need to take our government back. The Declaration of Independence 1776 says, “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Short of an armed revolution, many people have concluded that we may be able to solve the issue non-violently with a constitutional amendment. A sudden rash of amendments have been proposed to Congress in both Houses. Most of them concern campaign finance reform. A couple of the proposed amendments go right to the crux of the issue. They propose that only human beings are persons under the law, and money is not speech.

The Sovereignty of my Body and Fukushima generated cesium-137

On 20 February, 2012, Jon Letman wrote in Thruthout: Radioactive or Not, Tsunami Debris Could Seriously Impact US's, Canada's West Coasts.  The author assured us that the tsunami debris washing up on our shores was released before it became contaminated with radiation. 
The following are some thoughts I had about Letman's article. 

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, I monitored radiation levels around the nation.  Without regard to alpha, beta, or gamma designations, but rather simply by counting Geiger counter beats/minute, the highest (nearly critical) amount of radiation hit, not the western shores, but rather the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. 

A significant level of radiation landed on California, Oregon and Washington, and contaminated the grasslands of the western states so as to contaminate the milk supply.  So I stopped drinking mammal milk for about 4 months, and bought iodine pills to have in stock in case a nuclear disaster was announced here in the USA.  Iodine-131 has a half-life of only 8 days, so there was nothing to worry about there.  But cesium-137 has a half-life of over 30 years.

Of course, we can't expect our government to announce a radiation disaster unless there is profit to be made.  Otherwise, our government will cover it up in order to keep people pacified and continue shopping for consumer luxuries.  Anyway, it would damage big Agra-business if folks found out their food supply was contaminated with cesium-137. 

After entering the body, cesium concentrates in muscle tissue. The biological half-life of cesium hydroxide is only about 70 days.  Accidental ingestion of cesium-137 can be treated with Prussian blue, which binds to it chemically and reduces the biological half-life to 30 days.

That brings up the issues of private property and sovereignty of my own body.  Like with Monsanto patented pollen, if the radiation falls on the grassland of an organic dairy or organic grass-fed beef or bison farm, the meat/milk is no longer organic, and the farmer's business is destroyed for 30 years.  And as has been recently proven in court, the industrial polluter will win the case and the organic farmer loses. 

And if I am sovereign over my own body, and I choose to live far away from industrial pollution so that the air I breathe is cleaner, and then I am forced to inhale radioactive iodine and cesium because an industrialist far away made choices that I oppose and ended up contaminating me exactly as I had anticipated, what recourse do I have to uphold the sovereignty of my body?  NONE! 

That's why we have entered a new Dark Age.  And it will become much darker when the US & Israel invade Iran and begin a nuclear winter.