Monday, January 11, 2016

Food vs Naionalism

Last week was a hopeful and light blog. This week's is also (hopeful if not light), but with some dry and serious words in getting there. Next week I'll try to lighten up again. Please just know that I am hopeful things will get better as long as we look around and act not like the ostrich burying its head in the sand. I wish not to be paranoid as I see so much of in American conservatives and right wing Republican politics, candidates and politicians. But to be as knowledgeable and mature in thought as is possible.

We have got to see what is really going on and we have to act accordingly.

UNRELATED UPDATE: I would just like to say I am very sad to have heard that David Bowie has died from cancer that he has been fighting for the past year and a half. He will be missed. Here is a tribute from Rick Wakeman previously of the band Yes.

On Fareed Zakaria's show GPS Sunday January 10, 2015, Garry Kasparov was a guest hawking his new book, Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped and talked about the state of Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

From his own page: "Garry Kasparov is a Russian pro-democracy leader, global human-rights activist, business speaker and author, and former world chess champion."

As for Putin, let's not forget his past as one's origin definitely has an impact on one's career and future. Vladimir Putin as you know went into the KGB in 1975. That was coincidentally the same year I entered the US Air Force as a Law Enforcement specialist. Some years later, after having held a Secret security clearance for nuclear weapons, I exited the service for university work just after being vetted and accepted into the OSI (Office of Special Investigations), the Air Force's FBI. You know I actually used to read "FBI" magazine in their offices and yes, there is (or was anyway) actually a magazine titled, "FBI".

Regarding President Putin, as Wikipedia puts it:

"Putin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation, and underwent a year's training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta, Leningrad. Putin was reportedly evaluated by KGB superiors as "flawed", unsocial and with a "lowered sense of danger." Which means, he was brave to the point of being dangerous. Not exactly who I would want in control of sending people into harm's way.

Getting back to the GPS show, Kasparov had some interesting things to say to Fareed about Putin and Russia. Things that resonated with me about America and even the world over today.

For one thing, in cutting to the chase, he said that "Every day Putin stays in power, any delay in confronting him will simply raise the price."

I'm seeing this here in America about our own Conservatives, the Republican party and our crazy element. We are seeing so called right wing "militias" types, delusional in their own self importance and spurred on by capitalistic nonsense from conservative radio and news shows like Rush Limbaugh and the sadly but sometimes laughable Fox News pundits. Fox News it is no secret, acts as a kind of disconnect branch of the Republican Party here.

We need to stop these nuts in our country from taking up news cycles, from holding America hostage and from wasting our time and money. When really we need to be addressing serious issues. Even world wide issues. But certainly issues here at home that are  important to every citizen in every home in America.

Just as they are in Russia and elsewhere.

On the show Kasparov spoke of his mother who was alive during the Soviet Stalin years. Back then he said, Stalin was professing many of the things that Putin now says, with one remarkable exception.

Stalin spoke of friends they have around the world, and of hope.

Where Putin now does much in the same, it is a far more pessimistic message he is sending out, seemingly with little hope in those messages. Something we hear frightfully little of in our own American conservatives who are running for president. And let me tell you, a scary bunch of people they are, too.

Russians, Kasparov said, love hearing these messages from Putin, apparently not noticing the overly pessimistic slant to them or worse their total lack of hope. Then when they go to their fridge for food, there is little there. We are hearing something similar here from candidates like Donald Trump and others in his party. And when we go to the fridge, we too find little there. Or even if we have much there, we have little money for anything else.

Just what then does this nationalism really get us? How and who is going to fill our larders with food and start putting money back into our pockets when most of our social programs are being cut and the money those need goes instead to the military? Both in Russia, and in America. We are more alike than we think.

Oddly enough, even as we in America hear the same message from our own conservatives, the UK is hearing similar messages there, as is France, and others.

This doesn't seem to be only the province of President Putin but more and more, of conservatives and nationalists the world over. It is a dangerous and destructive thing they are doing. Dangerous to the citizens of these countries who buy into it. And to those who do not buy into it and yet, do nothing even though they see what is happening. Not to mention the rest of the world who are on the receiving end of these nation's military endeavors.

Do we really need this? Does the average citizen of these countries really need to sacrifice their food and pay for national military efforts again and again?

If we, if our leaders, were doing their jobs properly, effectively, why do we keep having wars? When politics fail, war ensues. Yes we are faced with war now, but should this be? What are the roots and how did we get here? How do we not get here the next time? We seem to have war after war after war and so someone, has to be screwing up badly. Otherwise we'd have no war. Perhaps it is our priorities that are confused? Perhaps nationalism isn't working for any of us? Yes, have pride in your country and leaders. Just be sure you are having the right amount, and an accurate view of things.

Surely the world has become a complicated place of late and it has been building into it for years. And yes, the United States has had more than a little to do with it thanks to the American Bush family from Texas, three Bush administrations and after 9/11, an illegitimate war on Iraq that entirely disrupted the Middle East.

Not that believe it or not, America is fully to blame for all that has followed.

Those individuals running Iraq as well as Afghanistan (and Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya and others) also have some responsibility. As do the factions of Islam in their sectarian endeavors aginast one another and anyone else trying to help or guide them out of their religious and more so, tribal nonsense.

But that is getting off point.

In America we are seeing right wing conservative groups pulling stunts like refusing to follow the law, to pay their fair (though they would say, unfair) share for what they have gotten from American citizens, from thee government of their nation they profess to not even believe in. Like children railing against their parents who just may know what's best for them.

We have a conservative right wing political party here in the GOP, the Grand Old Party which I've taken to calling the Gray Old Party in its being run mostly by delusional old, white men; our Republican party, with their evangelical right ultra conservative Christian base, their nutty and incorrectly labeled "Tea Party" who push for things that are further off into the unreal and dysfunctional zones.

We have these people trying to push nationalism and the rich on us. Let's go to war, kick out immigrants they say, stop immigration, treat all Muslims as if they are all radical and dangerous. For us to give even more to the rich, to corporations, to not worry about how much food we have, because... the rich will take care of us if we just turn control over to them and let them do what they want?

Right. And how is that working out for us all so far? How is that working out for Russians so far?

There is a lot of talk here about socialism. In America, it has for many conservatives become the new Communism fear. A fear of children against images in the dark. Even pop star and Canadian Justin Beiber has said that America is evil because people can go bankrupt or even die because of our healthcare cost situation. It is insanity that people should have so  little in a country with so much.

The need here isn't for socialism, but for a reign in on capitalism. Socialism is a thread in that governor, that control. EVERY government has socialism imbedded in it, otherwise it is not a government.

The only functional government is a hybrid of many forms, not a single form. Purity is death in many things and is most functional in theories rather than practice. It has it's place, but apparently it is not in government, or in race for that matter. European monarchs have proven that inbreeding point long ago. And any dog or horse breeder will tell you pure purebred lines are dysfunctional.

We have to ask ourselves, which is more important to us? The feel good impact of our leaders spewing nationalistic nonsense, demonizing those different from us or new to our country? Or real efforts to do the hard work, to apply brilliant minds to see more food and money into the pockets of the citizens?

Who is more important in the end?

The Leaders? The Oligarchs? The Rich? They are self important enough on their own without the help of the majority of citizens who will never see that kind of prosperity and yet, we all deserve to live good lives, with little strife and a degree of happiness and security. Don't we?

Security does not come from war, fear, and pessimism. Control of the people does.

Why is Putin expanding Russia in actions taking over places like Ukraine, destabilizing regions, when his people need food and money? Just as we've seen in America leaders distract us from the real problems with perceived problems.

Just as was described in the 1949 George Orwell book, 1984. Leaders need to have or invent enemies in order to control the people, especially during times of hardship when the answers are difficult or will drain power from the leaders.

What IS the answer then?

In Russia, from what we've seen, from what Russian citizen Kasparov has seen, it is certainly not Putin.

Unless President Putin suddenly changes and starts to actually support his citizens and starts putting more money back into their pockets, to give them a more hopeful message, then maybe, he can be the answer. Are you seeing him do that?

In America, it is certainly not Trump. Certainly not Republicans or the conservative or sad religious ideals being put forth by them. Though I have to say, if I had to choose between Putin and Trump, I might not vote for Trump.

Religion has been a big ugly monster these past decades, past hundreds and thousands of years. But I'm not here today to deride religion, just those religious ones, those factions who are evoking dissension, death and destruction. Not within religions themselves, whatever religion you choose to look at, but in how they interact with the world, with innocent people who are dying...for no real good reason, at their hand.

We need realism, hope, help and action. Not war and disinformation, distraction and delusion.

The world needs peace.

Sure, there are places where we need to act in a military manner as against those such as Daesh \ ISIL. But some of that, perhaps most of that is also economically based. People just want to live their lives in peace and prosperity. In regions where oil prices are dropping as in oil producing countries around the world, like Russia, times are hard. And they are only going to get harder.

I remember decades ago, in the 1970s, talking about getting off of oil and my own thoughts about what then in those countries? When they have no more income in a country with oil or opium as their only viable industries. Then what?

Something needs to be done.

No one knew what to do, knew what new industries could save those people and here decades later, still nothing has been done for them. Just more war. Just tribe's infighting. Like children in their hatred and sad beliefs that have been peppered in many cases by outside nations. Including America, and yes, Russia too. Is the answer simply to have war until they no longer exist? People are dying.

We need to start holding our leaders accountable.

We need to start making it clear to conservatives, to nationalists, to nay sayers, to the pessimists, to those who are trying to govern us through fear that we are not going to be cowed any longer, to act like we do not know what is going on. We will no longer be frightened. We are not children and no longer wish to be treated as if we are.

We want real, substantive action. Action that will increase our well being and not just that of those in charge in order to cement their power and money. We need to make it clear that if they do not act appropriately, they are out and will lose their power and money, regardless and anyway

We the people of American, of Russia, even of the Middle Eastern countries and elsewhere, need to make it clear that we are the many and we want change, and hope. We are not stupid. We just act that way at times. We are not sheep and we need to stop acting like it.

We are not the ground upon which the rich and powerful can walk on any longer.

We have hope. Even if they won't give us any.

We all need to know that it still exists, hope does. That it will always exist. We cannot let anyone talk down to us any longer and be so pessimistic that we turn over all our rights for perceived or implied protection. Or to let them fire us up into a frenzy against other citizens of the world who are also being abused.

Life is tough. Do we really need to be the cause of it to be tougher on others? To turn their suffering into filthy lucre for those in charge, in control and who own everything anyway?

We all need to come to understand that we are no longer a world of nations but a world nation, a nation of the world. We have got to start seeing things that way.

Act locally, but consider the entire world. "Think Globally, Act Locally" as the old saying goes. And be not afraid. Do not let them bully you. You do not have to act overtly so that they find you. But act. Do something. Think correctly. Think usefully. A grassroots response after all is strong and controls best.

We need to control our governments, not let them control us any longer. We need to not fear our governments, but they need to, if not fear us, then begin to respect us.

In closing....

"When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

Frequently attributed to American President Thomas Jefferson. However the web site dedicated to him, says this about it:

Comments: One source attributes this quotation to Jefferson in The Federalist.4 The Federalist, however, was the work of Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, not Thomas Jefferson; nor does The Federalist contain the text of this quotation. This quotation is vaguely similar to Jefferson's comment in an 1825 letter to William Short: "Some are whigs, liberals, democrats, call them what you please. Others are tories, serviles, aristocrats, &c. The latter fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society; the former consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent."5 To date, however, the most likely source of this quotation appears to be a series of debates on socialism published in 1914, in which John Basil Barnhill said, "Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty."

Do not believe everything you are told, everything that our leaders have said to us and others, and do not believe everything our leaders say directly to us. Also do not be paranoid. Strive to see the reality between the words. Rational, intelligent, informed, those are the things that supply us  with what actually is going on all around us. 

We are the people, you and I.

Whether in America, UK, France, Russia, Ukraine, Middle East...we have to remember who is the power, even when those above us try to tell us otherwise. Feel empowered and make use of that.

Never ever lose hope.

But hope doesn't come about by accident, or inaction. But through pride, honesty, action and compassion. That is to say, through humanity. Even a thought, or a small act can take the Butterfly Effect and far from us evoke action worthy of the original and initial intent.

Two things will always win out in the end:

Truth. And Humanity. 

All the others are just distractions from our eventual and hopeful destinies. 

No comments:

Post a Comment