Election Prediction: Trump beats Clinton

dt-trump-1024x712

{{I put this up in March but took it down two weeks later because I was too fed up and disgusted with this never-ending election cycle.  But I’ll leave it up…for now.}}

.

.

.

If you’ve read anything on this site, you know I despise both political parties.  I vowed long ago to never vote for either party in federal or state elections.

However, this doesn’t mean I don’t know to read the tea leaves to see which way things are going.

Now this Donald Trump thing has happened and everyone says the world is falling apart. Early on, I admit I wasn’t paying too much attention to Mr. Trump. I thought he was an egoist on an absurd adventure that couldn’t go anywhere. Among the GOP candidates, I actually thought Jeb probably had the best chance to become POTUS only because I believed him to be the most palatable to the broader public in a general election against any Dem. Especially against Hillary since she can’t use the term “dynasty” or “corrupt” against anyone as they apply too well to her.

As Donald began to rise, I began rooting against him. I vehemently disagree about that wall and travel moratorium and still do…but I really enjoy him talking about corrupt politicians, giving out Lindsey Graham’s phone number (which I definitely called to tell him he sucks at his job – Thanks, Donald!), and now blatantly using Chris Christie like an obedient tool. How can you not enjoy someone treating politicians with the contempt they deserve?

Like many others, I’m ready to make my prediction for November:

Donald Trump will win the election and become President of The Unites States of America.

The  reason is simple: all things considered, the American people will think he is the best candidate and thus will deserve to win.

Donald will not be running against Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, or even 1992’s feel-good Bill Clinton. He is running against the 2016 version of Hillary Clinton.

People get very upset about the various offensive things Donald has said about whatever group. I know I have several times.  Cursed him aloud, wished ill upon his fortunes and mocked his hair. But let’s not be naive. Donald is a salesman and he has been successfully selling a message to a particular audience. Back when no one would take him seriously, he pitched loudly to the more extreme yet largely-shoved-aside portion of the republican base in order to gain some steam. He could have pitched to the same brands of Republicans that Jeb did but there was always a plethora of the same-as-usual GOP candidates doing the same thing. Wasn’t there more than ten to start? By taking his rhetoric to a slightly more extreme than his opponents, he was able to harness the frustration that exists in the large portion of the GOP base that always feels they are being taken for granted by their leaders.

But that’s all he’s done. Sold a message better than his opponents. With more zing and passion, he says what the audience wants to hear. Does anyone actually think Donald Trump is truly a racist? Or that he truly hates immigrants? Look at his lifestyle and history. I believe Donald will say what he needs to win that GOP nomination. I believe Donald would make a profitable deal with anyone, no matter of their race, creed, religion, or sexual orientation. I believe he has essentially one question for everything: “is it good for what I’m doing now?”

Beware when this talented salesman starts selling a broader message with all that zing but to a broader electorate. The anti-establishment sentiment he captured on the right also exists on the left. The left just currently views him as an odious racist and loon. But again, he hasn’t been selling to them…yet.

Soon, the message will shift. He won’t need to make the race-baiting or anti-immigrant statements to get ahead. Or at least he will not need to make them as strongly. We Americans have short memory spans and the rhetoric in the coming months will be very different than what we’ve heard. The large undecided portion of our electorate will make their choice in November based on what they heard in August, September and October of 2016, not 2015.

When I take an objective look at what I think will happen over the next eight months, I must be honest with myself and state that Donald Trump will beat Hillary Clinton. It won’t be a fluke. He will have earned it.

Here’s why:

1) The economy.

In the general election, it’s the economy, stupid. The Clintons know this all too well. While Obama, who kept greasing GWB’s QE debt machine, has seen high stock prices and low gas prices, meaningful jobs is the number one thing people in this country want.

Attacking free trade policies is a winner on both the left and right and Donald knows this. In the general, he will drive this one home over and over again. Hillary on the other hand is weighted down by a terrible legislative record supporting free trade back to its beginning with NAFTA, done by her husband. With her legislative baggage and well-known wealthy corporate backers, she cannot counter this argument. Even Bernie Sanders has used her record against to great effect.

Attacking free trade resonates with Americans and Donald is the only one in the general that gets to support its deconstruction.

2) Foreign policy.

Immigration aside, his foreign policy will be more appealing to a unique yet vast cross section of people.

Donald has said he’d make a deal with anyone if its in America’s interest, including Iran, Assad, Russia, whomever. Does anyone doubt this? The only group he’s said he’d kill is ISIS and everyone is trying to do that already.

Donald said the Iraq war was a mistake and only a moron or liar cannot see this. Meanwhile Hillary voted for the authorization of the use of force in Iraq.  I am 100% certain that before Donald’s rise, Hillary was 100% certain that her Republican opponent would not be able to use Iraq against her.  How unlucky is she!  And no matter what back and forth statements Donald made pre-2003, he was not a public official and did not cast a vote to obliterate an innocent nation and help spawn groups like ISIS…as Hillary did.

 

3) Donald has eschewed all monies from all usual suspects: the lobbies, corporations, rich jerks and special interest groups that always twist our foreign and domestic policies to their desire at the public expense. Donald will continue to state this against Hillary, who is one the most elite-money entrenched candidates in American history.

I have never seen anyone piss off Wall Street, The Kochs, Liberals, and Establishment Media at the same time and succeed at doing it. The more his message of financial independence is spread, the more people will gravitate to him in the general. He gets to appear as the first legitimate anti-establishment candidate in a long time while Hillary appears as THE MOST establishment candidate available. No billionaire could ever be so lucky.

4) Donald does not have Hillary’s baggage. He is a business man and no matter what statements he made in the past, he can always explain them somehow. He has no voting record unlike Hillary and can trot out decades of records from both Hillary and Bill. I bet NAFTA and free trade gets talked about a lot in the coming months. All Hillary can do is complain and say he has no experience in government affairs or mock him.

It is kind of like Obama in 08 – Barack had been around for such a short period that there wasn’t a record to throw against him and the whole “no experience” complaint does not hold water against a charismatic speaker, which both Obama and Trump are.

5)Pro-choice/Pro Gay Rights – I don’t know if Donald has said anything about these issues during this campaign but I don’t care if he has. Donald Trump is not against abortion or gay rights. I would not believe that he has ever cared to be against those positions.

He will be the first GOP candidate that gets to appeal to the broad section of the left for which pro-choice/pro-gays is non-negotiable. The GOP base is not voting for a Clinton so Donald loses nothing with a socially liberal position and gains everything. His socially liberal lifestyle gives him an ability to siphon away alot of voters in the middle or on the left who may like his business background. I know women who like many things about the GOP but would never vote Republican because of their pro-life or anti-gay positions. Trump is not making this mistake and it will undercut a longstanding loyal portion of the Democratic base.

6) Melania Trump. We Americans don’t often base our opinions on real substance after having analyzed both candidates and creating pro/con lists. No, it is more a beauty pageant or popularity contest for many Americans.

One of the most appealing stories about a potential Trump presidency is his wife. They will trot her out as often as possible during the general election. Melania is an immigrant who grew up poor in Soviet-era housing in Eastern Europe. She appears to be sufficiently nice and sweet yet able to defend herself. And she is knock-down beautiful.

The story of a girl going from such humble beginnings to First Lady of White House is pretty darn cool to anyone with an immigrant background. In this country, this is ALOT of people. Inspiring even if its only through marriage and not just inspiring to Americans. It would be inspiring to many people around the world. In a way, her life story and career success along with this enforces a notion that in America, dreams can come true. That we are a nation of built from all kinds of people, that we love all kinds of people, and that any kind of person may one day find themselves in the highest of echelons in America. At least this is what will be sold by Team Trump.

With Hillary, it’s slick Willy Clinton and no matter what message Team Clinton sells, everyone knows or thinks that he will use every free moment to hit on any woman he meets.

The beauty pageant portion of his contest goes hands down to Mr. Trump and his beauty pageant-winning wife with humble immigrant roots.

Team Trump has a lot going for them right now. I am kind of stunned that what I thought impossible just a few months ago appears inevitable.

When I add up all the factors…even subjectively for this socially liberal atheist from a muslim country who is married to a hispanic woman and has many muslims in his family, I think Donald will win.

In November, I believe the perceptions of the electorate will be:

Donald is better than Hillary on the economy.

Donald will make foreign policy deals in America’s interest and Hillary is more of the same foreign policy.

Donald would tell any portion of the establishment to shove it up their ass. Hillary is the establishment.

Hillary has too many scandals.

Donald will not waste time on an abortion/gay culture war so nothing is gained by voting Democrat.

Donald’s wife is much more enjoyable to listen to and look at than Bill Clinton…x 10000

President Trump is coming. Hold on to your britches and get ready.

Advertisements

Candidate X

 

rene_magritte-the_son_of_man_art_painting_hd-wallpaper-984662

Hi, My name is _______ {Fill in a name. Preferably a classic American name that sounds like a guy you’d meet at a BBQ in Iowa. Something like Blaine Christopher.} and I am running for ________.{Fill in federal office – aim for the sky!}  Let me tell you about myself: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ {Make statements about how you love your family and show an endearing picture of the wife and children. If you have no family, show a picture of you helping impoverished kids and them smiling. Relate any personable or motivational stories from your past, discussing/making up obstacles you’ve overcome. If applicable, harp incessantly on prior experience in the military, law enforcement, as a prosecutor or with prior office.}

Campaign Platform Focus:

The focus of my campaign is strengthening our economy and creating meaningful jobs, reining in the wasteful government spending and bailouts ballooning the national debt, education reform and a return to competency, the restoration of civil liberties and reform of police practices, a return to accountability and the prosecution of past crimes, utilizing a sound foreign policy that creates allies rather than strengthens enemies, reform of the NCAA and American sports and protecting the environment.

Contents:

  1. The Economy
  2. Immigration
  3. Education Reform
  4. The War on Terror
  5. The Patriot Act and Civil Liberties
  6. Investigation into and Prosecution of Past Crimes
  7. Decriminilization of Marijuana
  8. NCAA and Sports Reform
  9. The Environment

The long version…

1) The Economy

A) The Deconstruction Of Free Trade

The methodical and tempered deconstruction of free trade with many nations is the only thing that will bring jobs back. Free trade, or rather “labor for the lowest bidder” has been the largest destroyer of American jobs since 1995, and has had a direct impact on immigration.

Acts like NAFTA were sold to the American public as opening up further markets for American workers to sell their products while also creating price competition and product diversity within America, benefitting the American consumer. We were told these acts would help nations like Mexico grow their middle class, in turn creating more buyers for American goods.

But the exact opposite occurred.  Free trade became a mechanism for American corporations to move their workforce to any foreign nation for which the costs of labor, and regulatory costs, were minimal compared to the costs of operating in America.  As more and more nations were given free trade agreements, corporations across various industries had more and more low-cost labor options to choose.

Worse, corporations who may have desired to keep an expensive, skilled American workforce were put at a major disadvantage against the companies that maximized profits by taking their labor costs abroad.  By creating a vehicle by which corporate executives were faced with a choice of maximizing profits dramatically by moving their factory to China or being at a financial disadvantage against competitors who did so, our free trade policies incentivize the erosion of the American workforce.

Free trade has also failed to benefit the nations with which the agreement were made. In the case of Mexico and Central America, it has been met with disastrous effects.  Rather than grow the middle class of these nations or assist in providing political or economic stability, it destroyed their middle classes and wrecked their economies.

Without the regulatory infrastructure or evolution of worker’s rights available in America, they became societies of low-income workers making products that were once made here.  But without the means to demand a wage increase or demand further rights.  And without those means, they are ensured to be a preferable choice to American, or foreign, corporations as a location to place their labor costs rather than within the United States.

American labor should have never been forced to compete to make American products against workers from nations where they are barely more than indentured servants. But don’t blame corporations for this. Blame Congress for continuously passing these legislations.

Free trade also puts small business and newly created businesses at an incredible financial disadvantage against big business. Whereas a large multi-national has the means to transplant their labor costs to a third-world country and ship their product to the US, small and new businesses cannot do the same. They are left having to pay more per person to do effectively the same work, sticking them with much higher marginal costs than their foreign labor competitors.

However, while free trade is harmful to the American workforce, it cannot be dissolved completely nor should it be. In fact, there are many nations for which free trade is wholly appropriate.

I propose that free trade agreements be limited to nations which possess a stable political and legal system, large middle class and sufficient worker protections. Somewhat a free trade union of worker’s rights abiding nations. Nations like Germany, France, Japan, Canada, etc.  Free trade agreements should only be given to those nations for which there are no incentives for domestic corporations for either nation to supplant their labor costs by jumping to other markets. There would be no costs savings or maximizing profit for an American corporation to fire its workforce and move to Munich because the German workers would costs the same if not more.  Further, the German middle class is strong and wealthy enough to buy American products and vice versa. This is where free trade works.  And for these nations, there should be no change in our free trade policies.

But not with nations whose economies and governments have not yet evolved to the point where they have a strong and stable middle class, government, and legal system. Methodically and over a period of many years, the free trade agreements with these nations, particularly Mexico, China, those in Central America, should be deconstructed, piece by piece, industry by industry, with the introduction of targeted tariffs that will protect products in made in America and protect American workers.

We must do this slowly because the introduction of tariffs into business structures would result in near-term increases in prices. Too many tariffs at once or too near in time could have sharply negative results for consumers and the broader economy.

B) The Restoration Of Capitalism And Curtailing Over-Regulations That Serve To Protect Big Business

Although we blame capitalism for many things, the United States has not been a capitalist country for a long time. Capitalism is designed to be a meritocracy predicated on fair competition. In too many areas, we allowed overregulation to limit competition and hinder only small businesses by creating arduous barriers to entry within too many industries. Many regulations designed to provide a sense of safety only turned into extremely costly regulatory compliance with the bureaucracies created to regulate the industries. There are too many layers of burdens upon regular Americans attempting to start a business. Many of these layers, not all, must be rolled back to allow the creation of more small businesses by average Americans.

For example, there was a time where if you wanted to start a Taxi service, you could write the word taxi on the side of a vehicle and start. Whether your company thrived or failed depended on your abilities as a business manager. But this pure capitalism came with pitfalls. Eventually, somewhere, some un-regulated taxi driver committed a crime or negligently caused the death of someone. In response, we created licensing services to ensure that a person was qualified to enter the market place and help prevent these kinds of tragedies.

The intent was right, but along the way, it became more and more costly to obtain a taxi license, or medallion, as subsequent politicians added more layers of regulation. Today, the cost of a medallion authorizing one taxi  in New York City is over $1 Million. In nearly all of America’s major cities, the costs are several hundred thousand. These costs are simply unreachable for average Americans. The only entities who can afford this are large investors and corporations who purchase the medallions and hire drivers as minimum wage employees.

While the driver has a minimum wage job, he has no chance of creating a company within his skill set because he will never be able to afford the medallion.  No matter his skills or adeptness at running a taxi service, we created a system where he can never be more than a common employee.

The over-regulation of many industries serves only to protect those currently with wealth and power because it eliminates competition by never allowing the competition to be created. Throughout American industries, we must examine where our over-burdensome regulatory schemes have worked to prevent competition and either repeal/rollback these regulations or provide exceptions that encourage the creation of small businesses.

We must give small businesses an opportunity to grow and compete on the merits of their product and services and not based on whether they can afford the lawyers to comply with 2000 pages of federal, state, and local regulations. In many cases, simply more freedom will be enough to create more jobs. We must not continue with a mentality that has resulted in police officers stopping children from selling lemonade on the side of the road.

C) An End To Corporate Socialism/Protectionism And An End To Corporate Bailouts

No corporation should ever be deemed too big to fail. The U.S government must stop subsidizing the bad transactions of its largest financial institutions. We disregarded moral hazard by opening the public checkbook to crooks and stifled the spending power of the average American, creating the largest wealth gaps in history.

By bailing out major banks, airlines, or automakers, we incentivize and protect their bad behavior. But worse, particularly in the case of the banks, we ordained them kings of the court forever. Had the major banks failed, there would have indeed been a large negative impact on our economy in the short term. But not the long term. By preventing them from failing, we stopped hundreds of smaller and mid-sized investment firms that had not engaged in these practices from capturing the market share left over. We stopped any who were wiser or more adept at their trade from taking their rightful places at the top.

Instead of allowing capitalism to reward those who do well, we decided to publicly subsidize the ineptitude of their failing competitors, giving them a blank check. Now, it is those small firms who are at a more extreme financial disadvantage. Their large-firm competitors have free money to use and no risk of loss while they must operate by the normal rules of risk and reward. In the investment world, it is the equivalent of making some gods and telling them they get to compete against ants.

Rather, capitalism should be allowed to do its job. When a major corporation engages in terrible business practices and fails, it will be broken up. Its pieces will be sold to its competitors for them to integrate into their structures as they fill the market void left by the failing entity. I stand against publicly subsidizing private corporate losses, against corporate socialism and against corporate protectionism.

D) Miscellaneous

I support maintaining a strong dollar against foreign currencies and against quantitative easing programs.

I support the re-establishment of the Glass-Steagall Act and/or similar restrictions regarding the commingling of commercial and investment banks.

I support legislation requiring high-risk home loan, auto, and credit providers to maintain ownership, or a percentage of ownership, of loans issued beyond certain high rates, thus ensuring the risk of loss, to an extent, remains with the original creditor and thus discouraging predatory lending.

I support repealing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and re-instituting restrictions on cross-ownership of media companies.

I support legislations that restrict or ban high-frequency trading within many exchanges and markets.

I support auditing the Federal Reserve.

I support the repeal of Obamacare and the introduction of a single payer and private insurance system similar to Canada, France, Germany, and many others.

To assist the financial growth of American families, I support increasing the limits on several taxable deductions, including the student loan interest and annual child-care deductions.

 

2) Immigration

We must take a more sensible approach when it comes to immigration.

We must always remember America is nation of immigrants and I continue to support the many lawful immigration entry policies available. All immigrants to America, whether they be unregulated or not, must be afforded appropriate rights and the respect deserving of all humans.

But we cannot deny that the massive unregulated movements of peoples across borders does not have an adverse impact on a nation’s economy, from labor pressures to the increased costs of providing government services to every person within a jurisdiction.

However, walls and increased deportations will never solve America’s unregulated immigration problems. Nor will policies that callously separate parents from their children. These only address the symptoms of illegal immigration and do it in costly and ineffectual ways.

We will not see a substantial decrease in the number of unregulated immigrants until we address the problem at the source. People do not make the perilous journeys across the seas or deserts in rickety transportation, often with a variety of criminal elements preying upon them, because they want to run away from a good situation. They do it because the nation they are leaving cannot provide them or their children with a prosperous future. They do it because they seek security and because that deadly journey and a chance at a life in America is worth the risk.

This dynamic will never change until the source nations of America’s unregulated immigrants are able to stabilize themselves, particularly Mexico and those in Central America.

We must be more direct, yet also more honest, with these nations and ourselves about the causes of the decline in their stability.

One of those causes is the same that has devastated America’s work force: free trade and broader economic policies that allow American capital to place its workforce abroad to avoid labor costs. While free trade stabbed the American worker in the back, it also devastated the economies of many nations from which we now see large waves of unregulated immigration. Their locally owned small business, like ours, and even nationally-owned business were suddenly made to compete against foreign giants. Their political structures became flooded with money representing foreign interests, which almost always wins over the demands of a local population seeking more rights.

More so, free trade created a race to the bottom for many nations. Often, the political and business elites of poorer nations lure foreign capital by advertising that their people lack labor rights and can be employed for minimal amounts. They advertise that foreign capital can be assured the government will never enact any legislations or take any steps to change this dynamic. Neither American workers nor their counterparts in foreign nations should be forced to engage in a race to the bottom when it comes to wages.

Free trade has been devastating on all ends. Its negative consequences to the economies of the poorer nations have only exacerbated America’s problem of unregulated immigration. We must deconstruct free trade to allow the economies of poorer nations to evolve without the unduly interference of foreign capital and the political power it can afford to buy within their societies.

We must be honest about how our broader foreign policy also directly affects immigration. We must ensure that our policy is not to engage in endless meddling to protect private financial interests that are counter to the needs and development of local populations. Just as deconstructing free trade would allow poorer nations to evolve their economies and strengthen their middle classes, we must allow those same nations to evolve politically without US interference, either covert or overt. We must limit ourselves to providing honest guidance and assistance based on a mutual respect and never by engaging in policies that usurp their local interests for the benefit of private money.

Miscellaneous: I support fulfilling the promises of the Dream Act. I support the continued acceptance of war refugees into America pursuant to longstanding UN and US placement programs.

 

3) Education Reform

Our centralized education system is failing America’s youth. I support the termination of federal standardized testing and a restructuring of the Department of Education. While maintaining a reduced supervisory role over curriculum, I support changing the primary function of the Department of Education away from drafting standardized curriculums to providing local jurisdictions with assistance on capital projects and funds on a per-student basis.

We must allow the states and local communities to have more authority and control over the curriculum of America’s children. The centralized system has only helped America’s youth fall behind their foreign competitors. By requiring total commonality and not allowing for any independence of curriculum, we are anchoring our best and brightest to a lowest common denominator rather than allowing them to develop at their own pace with support from their schools.

With every change in the White House, the centralized system shifts to help achieve the political goals of the incoming party. This leaves America with a fractured education system that has only gotten worse over time. For decades, the administering and development of America’s educations programs by DC bureaucrats has been a race to the bottom.

We must allow the States and local jurisdictions to take more control over the education of their youths while also providing the funding assistance needed.

We must provide more trust in local communities to provide education programs designed to uniquely fit their communities and enhance the educational experience of their students.

We must allow local communities to engage in teaching and use their discretion rather than require a nation of kids to memorize pamphlets and standardized test questions.

We must enable schools and communities to devote resources to music programs, art programs, PE, drama programs, etc., rather than devote all resources to complying with an unbending common curriculum.

Allowing each state to develop its own curriculum, as they once did, will also result in a laboratory effect of teaching methods, education practices, and curriculum structures. In time, this will show us which methods are more successful and less successful, enabling struggling jurisdictions to seek out examples of successful structures. We must allow those who can do better than the federal government to do so. We must not hold them back.

With a central system, it is one-size-fails-all. Changing the structure of the Department of Education, terminating the standardized tests and limiting its power over curriculum will help restore America’s education system as a world leader.

Miscellaneous: I do not support zero-tolerance policies. I support teachers and administrators exercising sound judgment in determining whether an act should be reprimanded or merely ignored. I do not support punishing students if they do something otherwise innocuous, like playing cowboys and Indians or shooting someone with an imaginary gun.

Regarding college financing programs, I support limiting the re-sale of debtor notes among private creditors and capping student loan interest rates.

 

4) The War On Terror

While there have been many errors and crimes committed in the execution of the War on Terror, against both American citizens and foreign nationals, time machines do not exist and we must determine how to go forward from the present.

Within the War on Terror, we must win an ideological battle. Not with words espousing a superficial devotion to the rule of law and rights of man but with actual actions and practice in the face of adversity.

Not killing innocent civilians while hunting terrorists, either as a result of collateral damage, erroneous targeting, or callous and loose operating procedures must become a real objective in this conflict. Not violating the human rights of prisoners and treatment of all in accordance with honorable principles must become paramount to our methods of operation.

For every innocent person killed by an American drone or bomb, we create multiple (the amounts of) enemies from their family, friends and communities. For every person imprisoned and tortured within an American facility, or by a government propped up and supported by us, we lend credence to the words of our enemies that we only intend harm. We must defend ourselves while applying our principles and not merely pay lip service to them.

To achieve these objectives, I support greatly restricting and restructuring America’s armed drone program to prevent the deaths of non-combatants.

I support ending American’s extra-judicial assassination programs, closing Guantanamo Bay and America’s many black-site prisons.

I support restructuring our overly-supportive relationships with several nations within the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Qatar, among others.

I support greatly limiting the amount of military aid provided to several regimes throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa, though not its full termination. We cannot achieve our global objectives of peace and stability by funding and arming regimes and governments that routinely violate the human rights of their constituents or those around them.

I support continued negotiations, nuclear agreements with monitoring, and peace with Iran.

 

5) The Patriot Act And Civil Liberties

I support the repeal of the Patriot Act, a total restoration of constitutional rights taken since 9/11 and an end to warrantless surveillance and detentions.

While police reform is generally an issue controlled by the states, there are many ways the federal government can help ensure proper police practices. I support buying body cameras for law enforcement officers or providing jurisdictions with financial incentives for their use. The use of body cameras not only helps prevent bad policing but they also help save administrative and judicial costs. Many cases are dismissed outright or resolved via plea, and without costly trials, solely because of the power of video evidence. This is also true if a civil case evolves from the matter.

I support increased funding and expansion of the Department of Justice to investigate more cases of civil rights violations by police. I support the termination of military training to police jurisdictions where abuses are prevalent and provision of civil rights trainings to all police jurisdictions.

 

6) Investigations Into And Prosecution For Past Crimes Of Government, Business, And Various American Individuals And Foreign Citizens And Entities Within US Jurisdictions

We have seemingly lost any ability to hold many people, whether they be wealthy private citizens or powerful government officials, to any measure of criminal accountability. We cannot rely on or expect partisans to do anything more than grandstand when it comes to applying the law because they themselves must worry about covering their own crimes or the crimes of their allies.

We must find a way to restore accountability to all levels of government and start afresh.  We cannot allow the criminal and hidden baggage of the past to continue to weigh down our future. Yet this is no simple task and the breadth of such an endeavor requires more than recycled promises from elected officials to behave better.

There are too many scandals and crimes for any individual or agency to investigate. And the lack of transparency in government makes it impossible for us to perceive the true scope of crimes committed by powerful people.

I support the creation of an open Truth and Reconciliation Commission. While broader in scope and power, this commission would be similar to the mechanism used by South Africa after the fall of apartheid and would investigate past crimes, including war crimes, discover victims and identify perpetrators, and establish a method of reconciliation on a morally accepted basis that allows the country to more forward once and for all.

To protect as best as possible from conflicts of interests, I support empaneling such a commission with elected members of the citizenry but excepting any person who has held or holds elected office (or their spouses), any lobbyist (current or former or their spouses), and current members of government, either federal or state (or their spouses). I support empowering this commission with the full subpoena, investigatory and charging authority of the federal government.

The creation of such a commission or investigative body, free from the leveraged interests of Congress and big business, is the only method by which people will be held accountable for past crimes. It is the only method by which the American public can restore accountability to Washington and the elite…or for Americans to know what is being and has been done in their name while finding a way forward. Otherwise, we are left to the empty promises of corrupt partisans or the law enforcement officials under their thumbs.

 

7) Decriminalization Of Marijuana

We know the economic and health benefits associated with the legalization of marijuana. But further, criminalizing it comes with unbearable societal costs that we aren’t measuring. Every time a youth, most often a minority, is arrested and convicted of a marijuana charge, we stifle the progress of their lives. This does not take into account the actual financial costs to government regarding the amounts spent on arresting, processing, jailing, adjudicating, paroling, and monitoring non-violent marijuana users.

Beyond those measurable costs, the long-term societal costs may be worse. Arrests and criminal records make obtaining a college education or job more difficult, sometimes impossible. By criminalizing marijuana, the state is sandbagging the futures of too many Americans, making it more likely that they will end up a part of the growing welfare state. Along with the front-end costs of policing marijuana, we are swelling our budgets on the back end as well.

We should not be placing unnecessary barriers on the progress of the lives of so many Americans. Especially when a system of regulation and taxation has been shown to work in several jurisdictions throughout the world and USA. I support the federal decriminalization of marijuana.

 

8) NCAA Reform And The Expansion Of Professional Sports

It is time that Congress addresses the gross inequities that pervade within the economies of sports. We generally avoid thinking about the structures of American sports because we view them as mere games. But these sports have developed into billion dollar industries that affect a lot of lives, especially America’s youth.

A) NCAA Reform

The NCAA, in many regards, has created a system of lawful generational theft. They own a monopoly on the path to professional sports and use it to profit in every way possible from young Americans. Doing so while exercising draconian rules against their behavior, holding their career hopes hostage. I do not believe that major universities give scholarships to athletes because they care about providing an education to them. Or that these athletic programs are truly done to enhance the educational experience of college. They are profit making schemes.

We cannot pretend that handing a kid a scholarship and a dorm room is equitable compensation for what the athlete brings to the school. For a university, a scholarship or simply not charging a student is cheap currency. For the athlete, he must take an uncompensated gamble on his future while at the same time actively doing an activity that is generating millions in profits. Yet by rule, they are prevented from demanding any further compensation. Or rather nothing more than the cheap currency of a scholarship, often coupled with a cookie major that cannot prepare them for the future but allows plenty of time to practice. I do not believe being a student athlete means you must yield all economic rights to administrators. We must stop treating young Americans, often minorities, as profitable athletic fodder for old men.

I believe in individual rights and protecting those who have the least bargaining power, like Americas young athletes, from unjust exploitation.  I support allowing negotiated compensation to students athletes when engaged in profit-making activities, including allowing them the full use and control of their likeness for individual profit. We must not let fears of individual cases of financial malfeasance justify an oppressive system that harms tens of thousands of normal Americans each year.

B) Expansion of Professional Sports

Not only should NCAA be reformed, the federal government should not protect the monopolies of America’s professional sports leagues. Congress should remove all anti-trust exemptions given to professional sports leagues and pass legislation empowering the FTC to ensure that new entrants are permitted based on an objective standard and identifiable criteria.

There is no modern justifiable reason that leagues like the NFL or NBA should enjoy a monopoly and be permitted to prevent new businesses from joining the competition, even if the new business seeks entry within an already saturated market. The closed-system leagues must not be allowed to construct subjective and shifting barriers to entry into a marketplace. And fandom alone should never trump the public benefits of economic competition.

If an investment group or an individual desires to start a sports team, and can meet a pre-determine standard with reasonable threshold requirements for capital funding, business structure, etc, then they should not be required to seek the permission of already established entities to compete. The leagues can adjust their structures accordingly to their desire to meet an influx of new entrants.

Every team created, like any business, means jobs and tax income based off of those jobs. As an example, the NBA has thirty teams, thirty administrative staffs, thirty coaching staffs and player rosters. In total, a few thousand people involved in the sport, deriving incomes they spend in their communities and taxable to local, state, and federal authorities. Along with the direct employees, many thousands more rely on the income the sport create,s including support staff, stadium vendors, merchandise manufacturers, hotels workers, security staffs, local law enforcement agencies and so forth.

With an open system allowing competition, there would not be only 30 professional teams across each sport. The amount would be determined by how many teams the American sports market could handle. It would not be limited to protect billionaires from facing increased competition. For many cities or states like Iowa or West Virginia, such a system is only the method by which they ever likely to have a pro-sports team.

Accordingly, there would be multiple the amount of executives, managers, trainers, vendors, manufacturers and athletes. While deconstructing free trade would take many years, if not a decade or more, the expansion of professional sports may be the largest short-term job creation vehicle available to our nation. Job creation that would also benefit the many minority groups that represent a large percentage of the labor within the sports industry. And unlike other industries and despite our current free trade policies, these jobs cannot be exported.

Creating objective standards to entry and enforcing capitalistic principles of fair competition would also eliminate long-standing concerns regarding minority ownership of sports franchises. In order to compete and start a franchise, minority-controlled ownership groups would no longer need permission from rich men hoping to maintain their monopoly.

Beyond job creation or concerns regarding minority ownership , ending this system of corporate protectionism would end the game of exploitation teams routinely play with local governments when asking for handouts to build new stadiums. We allow these leagues to limit the number of entrants and their individual teams are able to hold towns hostage with the threat of departure. As there can only be so many teams in the leagues, the threat of a team leaving leaves local populations with the tough choice of coughing up millions or saying goodbye to professional sports with little hope of its return.

This scheme of public exploitation would not exist if these protected businesses knew that a new entrant could immediately fill the market they left. Cities and towns would not feel as compelled to hand over money, often previously allocated to schools and social services, to a private business. Rather than be able to dangle the threat that a town would be permanently left without a sports franchise, the towns would know that if their market can support a franchise, another ownership group will come along.

The current system places all the negotiating leverage with private businesses and they use their leverage to extort local politicians. Requiring objective standards to entry within the sports marketplace would switch the dynamic and place the leverage with public officials and save billions for cities and towns across America.

The potential benefits of reforming the economies of sport would be far reaching for many Americans. Unfortunately, the potential economic impact and benefit to us all through direct or indirect employment, tax revenues, or public finances, is prevented to preserve the status quo of current monopolies and billionaires. I support reforming the economies and structures of American sports, both collegiate and professional.

 

9) The Environment

I support strengthening our environmental protections regarding the release of harmful pollutants and metals by heavy industry. Including, by example, in the case of the BP oil spill, levying criminal charges for dangerous, reckless or negligent business practices.

I support further funding and regulation to ensure clean sources of a freshwater for future generations, including further anti-fracking regulations.

I support further protections and conservation of wetlands, forests and natural habitats from unregulated development.

I support expanding the National Parks system to conserve more land for its natural purpose.

I do not support global warming alarmism. I do not support carbon taxes on greenhouse gases. For over twenty years, too much federal funding and too many resources have been devoted to promoting and advertising global warming as tomorrow’s disaster. This alarmism has been largely based on movie-like hysteria, consistently failing weather models or shifting standards.

This devotion has come with a large opportunity cost in that the billions spent promoting these fears could have been spent on more legitimate environmental causes. Rather than continue to devote federal funding in its current amount to global warming initiatives, I support re-directing much of that funding to more traditional environmental issues, such as those mentioned above, or scientific research, including NASA.

I support more vigorous regulation and oversight of the American nuclear industry. Nuclear power is vital to our nation’s infrastructure. But ensuring against negative events within our nuclear industry is an activity for which we must be proactive and not reactive. Nuclear power is relatively young and in its short life, we have seen two catastrophes occur in Chernobyl and Fukushima. We must be certain that even in the case of an unexpected weather event, we are protected from such a calamity occurring on American soil. We must be certain that America’s nuclear power plants do not operate with sub-standard protocols and that violators are brought into compliance. Including, if necessary, the federal takeover of facilities and accompanying civil or criminal liability to violators.

Further, as nuclear disasters affect the global environment and oceans, we must be proactive, independently and in coordination with the IAEA, to ensure that all nuclear nations implement and utilize adequate safety protocols in the construction and operation of their facilities.

 

Conclusion

Thank you for your time. I’d like you to know ________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

{Explain your reasons for running in selfless terms so it is inferred that personal gain and success are not motivations. Employ overdone political slogans such as “we need to clean up Washington”, “I’ll fight for you”, and “I stand against big business.” Provide a final description of yourself using positive resume words like ‘trustworthy’ or ‘hardworking’ as often as possible. Never forget to harp incessantly on prior experience in the military, law enforcement, as a prosecutor or with prior office. Repeat the last sentence. At the very end, no matter what is your opinion of religion, state “God Bless The United States of America.” Good luck.}

 

Qatar 2022 – The Whiny and Hypocritical US Sports Media Is Driving Me Crazy

A quick(er) rant.

The amount of contrived indignation on this topic is incredible. Since the announcement of Qatar 2022 (and Russia 2018) was made, the U.S. sports media has produced a non-stop barrage of articles complaining about every aspect of the decision. Other than the initial disappointment of having to wait longer for a World Cup in the US, I absolutely do not care that FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar or Russia. Rather, I’m sick of reading whiny articles about it. For both but particularly Qatar 2022.

Some of the complaints we read about Qatar daily:

1) The bribes and shady dealings.

I don’t like bribes or shady deals. Anywhere. But I’m not going to pretend bribes aren’t the way FIFA, the Olympics, UEFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, AFC and CAF (and U.S. Congress) have always been doing things. Nor would I dare pretend that taking the World Cup from Qatar (or Russia) would accomplish anything. We Americans behave in the same way. Remember the Salt Lake Olympics? The investigations around it also implicated Atlanta 1996. Remember Chuck Blazer? He was made in America and was instrumental in arranging USA 1994. He and his co-horts didn’t get FIFA to bring the World Cup to a country without a soccer league because of their charm. They struck back-room deals like everyone else. Then they set themselves up to profit off the World Cup as much as possible. Sometimes these crooks get busted by authorities (see recent developments or Italian football history) but most often they don’t.

And from what many gather, the United States Soccer Federation, Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer, their commingled shell corps and a select few people are behaving in a very similar manner. I would be delighted if our media would spend just a moment looking at those within our own house with the same vigor. There has been too much bold moral positioning against far away foreigners by a domestic sports media engaging in ostrich-like behavior on a lot of topics.

2) Qatar’s slave labor.

There are those who’ve written we should boycott the World Cup because of this. Boycott the World Cup??? This is an absurd idea. Only hurtful to American soccer and for nothing more than irrational and hypocritical grandstanding. To be clear, I don’t support slave labor but if anyone has noticed, Qatar is a U.S. ally. These labor practices have been going on for a long time not just in Qatar but in a lot of countries that are U.S. allies or regimes put in place/kept in place by our government. A lot of the goods you probably used today were built by a labor force who has minimal to no rights.

US Central Command has a base in Qatar. The same labor probably built the some of the buildings our own military is using. So if you care about improving the lives of slave labor in Qatar or anywhere, start with calling our own elected officials and complaining to them. Don’t complain to FIFA about it. This is non-sense that ignores the real causes of these dynamics.

To pretend that the US Men’s National Team or American soccer fans should carry this baggage without any real-world context is ridiculous. Seemingly blind, our sports media is talking about stadiums being built by people who’ve been suffering for decades in a close ally with US approval. And since we are unlikely to stop being allies with Qatar (and their oil) for a long time, these people will likely continue to suffer long after 2022. Everyone of these articles should be addressed to the U.S. government, not FIFA or even Qatar. Or rather, they should be addressed to the apathetic American people who continuously elect the same brands of politicians who continuously behave in the same way with regard to our foreign policy throughout the world. This one, the slave labor complaint, is nothing more than a bunch of self-righteous U.S. media pots calling a kettle black. And it’s an American maintained, armed and protected kettle.

So no, I do not expect FIFA to give a hoot about how Qatar builds those stadiums like I didn’t expect IOC to give a hoot about how China built its stadiums for the Beijing Olympics. I expect FIFA to organize a soccer tournament in a stable nation with hotels and move on to the next one. In fact, I hope FIFA gives that very next one, the 2026 World Cup, to a country with an awful human rights record and which has been in continuous war since 1941: The United States of America. (If only Gulati and our self-righteous media would shut their pious mouths)

3) Winter World Cup:  I don’t care that pompous Europeans or whomever will have to adjust their league schedule for two months for the first time ever. There are a lot of countries which due to weather play Spring to Fall. Finally, for once, these countries will not have to adjust their schedule as they have been doing every four years since their leagues’ creation. Basically, one group has always been asked to adjust and does so happily and now another group is being asked to adjust ONE TIME and they are acting apocalyptic about it. Good grief, what a bunch of selfish jerks. Once in 100 years is not that big a deal. Get over it. Stop acting like the world is falling apart.

And for all those people whining about the World Cup competing with NFL/NBA/NCAA, Qatar is far away. In November, the time difference will be 8 hours, meaning the games will be on in the morning or noon-ish. They will not be on at the same time as any marquee US sports. The noon NCAA games are mediocre and the NFL reserves marquee games for 4pm and primetime. When Qatar 2022 happens, it will likely be the only time in our lives where we will get to wake up, watch amazing World Cup soccer and then immediately watch a full slate of great American pro and college sports . We are talking quintuple and sixtuple-headers of great soccer, basketball and football.

Qatar 2022…CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!

Russia too!

Top 5 Moments in African World Cup History

0

In continuation of our series about international soccer, we present our top 5 most memorable moments in African World Cup history.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has often reasserted his belief that Africa should be given more qualifying spots at the  World Cup. However, there was a time when FIFA and the World Cup was not so inclusive or welcoming for members of the world’s three largest continents. In fact, Asian, African, and North American teams were afforded only fractional qualification requiring inter-continental playoffs prior to 1970. Considering UEFA always had at least eight dedicated qualifying spots, critics rightfully complained of a continental bias within FIFA’s “World” Cup.

As a result of this dispute, African teams boycotted the 1966 World Cup when only one place was afforded for Asia and Africa combined, demanding each continent be afforded at least a direct qualifying spot. When FIFA acquiesced in 1970, Morocco was Africa’s first participant.

However, after two defeats and dead rubber draw against Bulgaria, some argued FIFA should revert to fractional qualification for Africa and Asia (AFC member Israel managed two draws and a defeat). The debate continued throughout the qualification period for the 1974 World Cup, pitting the members of CAF, AFC, and CONCACAF against UEFA and CONEMBOL for qualifying spots at the big event.

And so begins our list.

5.  Zaire 1974 – Some memories are so bad they can never be forgotten.

It was under this context Zaire qualified for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. CAF members were hoping for a good performance to bolster their arguments about qualification spots. Instead, Zaire delivered one of the all-time worst performances by any team in World Cup history. Prior or since. It was a cruel joke against CAF.

After a respectable 2-0 defeat to Scotland, Zairian players learned they would not be paid as agreed by their FA. Dejected by this reality and in semi-protest, they were humiliated 9-0 in their second game by a mediocre Yugoslavia team. It was 6-0 at halftime with the victors seemingly scoring without trying. No one who watched this game felt the Africans deserved to be on the pitch.

In their third game, Zaire faced perennial power Brazil. While Zaire managed to improve their play, Brazil still cruised to a 2-0 lead when, late in the game, Brazil was awarded a free kick outside just outside the Zairian box. As Brazil lined up for the kick, this happened…..

One of the most baffling things ever seen in a soccer match. Was he confused? Does he know the rules? Why is this team playing in the World Cup? ‘Silly Africans’ is what the footballing world thought as Zaire was ridiculed.

However, the truth is much more depressing. Unfortunately, Zairian defender Muepu Ilunga knew exactly what he was doing and made what he felt was the most logical choice in a desperate situation. As you may or may not know, Zaire’s president was a wonderful man named Joseph Mobutu. And by wonderful, I mean a murderous, unhinged, thieving, totalitarian dictator with a penchant for atrocities. After the debacle against Yugoslavia, Mobutu advised his team there would be dire consequences if they lost more than 3-0 to Brazil. And when Mobutu said dire consequences, the players did not need further clarification.

Losing 2-0 in the 78th minutes, Ilunga booted the ball solely to delay the game as much as possible. He and his team were desperate to not run afoul of Mobutu. While Brazil did score on the ensuing free-kick, the game ended 3-0 and Ilunga lived to tell his story. However, Mobutu stopped funding the national side and banned most players from leaving the country to play elsewhere. Many of the Zairian players from this team lived out the rest of the lives forgotten and in poverty, although a few managed to emigrate elsewhere. So yeah, this memory was not so good.

4. Algeria 1982 – Who’s laughing now!…..oh wait, it’s still not us.

While Tunisia managed to snag Africa’s first World Cup group stage win in 1978 with a 3-1 win over a weak Mexican side, African soccer was nevertheless still regarded as weak and inferior. When Algeria qualified for the 1982 World Cup in Spain, the Fennecs were not given much a chance by prognosticators. Their first game would be against reigning European Champions and tournament favorites West Germany. This West German team included legends Paul Breitner and Heinz Rummenigge and was expected to cruise through a group which also included Austria and Chile.

From the comments and predictions before the game, we know the West German players had full confidence they would embarrass their Algerian opponents. West German players openly predicted a 10-0 victory. One was quoted as saying “We will dedicate our seventh goal to our wives, and the eighth to our dogs,” with another boasting he would play the match with a cigar in his mouth. Even the German coach, Jupp Derwall, could not help but join in the orgy of arrogance, stating his team would hop the first train back to Munich if they lost.

Then they played the match. Bolstered by reigning African Footballer of the Year Lakhdar Belloumi and a young future Porto legend named Rabah Madjer, Algeria held off the West German attack and struck first via a Madjer volley in the 54th minute, stunning the Germans and the crowd. West Germany responded with intense pressure, allowing Rumminigge to equalize in the 67th minute. At this point, most rational observers fully expected the German onslaught to continue and the plucky Algerians would eventually cede more goals and lose to the mighty European champions. However, after the kickoff, the next time a West German player touched the ball was when he picked it out of his own net.

Algeria’s response to the West German equalizer proved enough to secure the biggest upset in World Cup history at the time and Africa’s first over a European squad. The footballing world was absolutely dumbfounded. The West Germans were in disbelief and Derwall was made to look a fool when reminded of the local train times.

But the joy quickly turned to anger. Algeria finished the campaign with a loss to Austria and a victory over Chile, looking poised to be the first African team to reach the second round. However, the last match between West Germany and Austria was not scheduled until a day after Algeria’s final match against Chile. Realizing a 1-0 West German victory would send both the West Germans and Austrians through at Algeria’s expense, this is exactly what occurred. After a quick goal by West Germany, the two teams spent the next 80 minutes passing back and forth in one of the most shameful matches ever played in a World Cup. Both FIFA and Algeria were outraged. Fans whistled and waved money in the air to signify their belief the final match was rigged to produce the only result which would benefit Germany and Austria. One disgusted German fan burned his nation’s flag during the second half. Even the German television commentator quipped

“What’s happening here is disgraceful and has nothing to do with football. You can say what you want, but not every end justifies the means.”

equipe8207qpqr7

Alas, not much could be done and the results stood. The Algerians who surprised the world were eliminated and West Germany eventually went to the final, losing to Italy 3-1. It was not all for naught as FIFA adjusted the tournament starting in 1986 so that the final group stage games were always played simultaneously, preventing another 1982-like debacle from occurring again.

While little solace for the Algerians, there always remains the memory of making the West Germans eat their words and, for a moment, captivating the sporting world.

3. Senegal 2002 – Henri Camara strikes again…

It is hard to properly credit Senegal’s accomplishments at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan, the only time West Africans have ever qualified for the event. You have to know where it began to understand just how far they went. It is not that Senegal barely qualified for the World Cup, it is that they barely qualified for the last round of African qualifying, which included twenty teams seeking five spots.

To even get to the final round, they barely beat Benin 2-1 on aggregate in a home and away. Many people have never heard of Benin and trust me if you have not, they are not exactly a soccer power. If Benin played the USA in a friendly, USA would probably win 5-0 playing with an experimental squad. Benin would never play a team like Brazil or Argentina because this would be cruel.

Once Senegal managed to squeak past the mighty Beninese, they were placed in a group with reigning AFCON winners Egypt, continental powers Morocco and Algeria, and were picked to finish last with Namibia. After three draws found them about where everyone expected, Senegal went on an unexplainable tear. They won four of their final five, scoring 14 goals in those victories, and edged out Morocco on goal differential on the final match day with a 5-0 drubbing of Namibia.

El Hadji Diouf of Senegal

At the World Cup, the debutants were drawn against France, Denmark, and Uruguay, and were definitely not expected to survive this group. Most assumed they would just be happy to be there. They were wrong.

The first game saw them play their former colonial occupiers in France in the Cup’s opening match. While Zidane was out due to injury, this was a French team with Henri, Trezeguet, Vieira, and essentially all the same players who won the 1998 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2000 UEFA Championship. Again, little respect was given to the African side. French commenters referred to Senegal as the French “B” team since they argued any Senegalese players of worth would be playing with France. Indeed, almost the entirety of the Senegalese team played in Ligue 1 and many carried French citizenship.

However, when the game was played, the French attack was unable to produce a goal despite rattling the woodwork twice. And the French defense found it could not handle the pace and strength of El Hadji Diouf, Henri Camara, and the Lions of Teranga’s attack. A midfield turnover by Djorkaeff provided Senegal the opportunity it needed and Diouf’s ensuing cross was driven home by Papa Bouba Diop, stunning France.

Just like that, the World Cup kicked off with an African debutant beating one of the world’s best teams…again. As remarkable as it was, Senegal was not done. After two draws against Denmark and Uruguay, Senegal qualified for the round 16 where they met Sweden.

Sweden was led by in-form Celtic superstar Henrik Larsson and a young Zlatan Ibrahimavic. After 11 minutes, Larsson headed in a corner to give the favorites the early lead. However, a Henri Camara strike on 37 minutes saw the Senegalese equalize and while both teams created chances going forward, the game went into golden goal extra-time. Near the end a first extra period, a nifty heel pass found Henri Camara streaking through the Swedish defense. Flat-footed, Sweden’s keeper could do nothing but watch the ball ding off the post and into the net to give Senegal its golden goal and golden moment in the land of the rising sun.

As fate would be, it was another golden goal versus Turkey that beat Senegal in the quarterfinals, ending the dream run of the West African first-timers. Although their lackluster play in their final game cost them a chance to be the first African team to reach the semis, Senegal’s run from barely beating minnows like Benin to world’s final eight remains one of Africa’s greatest international soccer memories.

2. Cameroon 1990 – Roger Milla teaches us a new dance

If any African team ever had a chance to hoist the Jules Rimet Trophy, it was Cameroon in 1990. While not expected to go past the first round, the Indomitable Lions would electrify the world.

They were given no favors by the draw, pitted against reigning 1986 World Cup champions Argentina (eventual 1990 runners up), Romania and the Soviet Union. Yet they wasted no time making their presence known, upsetting Maradona and the reigning champions 1-0 in their fist match. Cameroon’s defense proved to be a tough nut to crack for the Argentines and Omam-Biyik soaring header squibbed past Pumpido to give Cameroon the win.

The second game was against co-group leaders Romania and Galatasaray star Gheorghe Hagi, who was supposed to be the star of the match. However by day’s end, the world would become familiar with another name: Roger Milla, an aging Cameroon substitute brought on in the 58th minute. Twenty minutes after coming on, Milla won a loose ball near the Romanian goal, slotted it into the goal and raced to the corner flag to do his now-famous dance. Ten minutes later, a superb Milla strike iced the game and Cameroon qualified for the second round with a game to play.

sl-4_1260_645

But Milla was not done. In the second round, Cameroon would face talented Colombia, led by the wonderful and creative passing of Carlos Valderrama. As the game began, Colombia had the run of play before Cameroon settled down. Milla was brought on just after half time and Cameroon began to take control of the match. However, neither team could score in regulation and the first period of the added time also passed without a goal.

As penalties loomed, Roger Milla had seen enough. After receiving a pass, his quick pivot and burst toward goal split the Colombian defense, allowing him to drive the ball over the keeper. Milla’s second goal was less about skill than it was about the poor judgements of Colombia’s gambling keeper Rene Higuita. Known for dribbling and taking risks (such as gratuitous scorpion kicks off the goal line),

1286798326_rene-higuita-epic-scorpion-kick-save-1995

Higuita was dispossessed by Milla 40 yards from goal. Milla outran the bumbling Higuita to an easy goal and Cameroon would be the first African team to make the quarterfinals. More importantly, it was clear to the casual observer Cameroon had the talent to challenge anyone.

The quarterfinal match between the Indomitable Lions and England’s Three Lions is a classic which could have been won by either team. After England led 1-0 at halftime, Milla was inserted and Cameroon began to press forward more successfully. In the 61st minute, Milla sprinted into the box and was fouled, earning a penalty which was converted by Cameroon. Less than 5 minutes later, Milla was at it again. A soft touch pass from Milla found Eugene Ekeke streaking past the British defense and his chip gave Cameroon a deserved 2-1 lead.

But England would not wilt. This was one of the best England teams of the last 40 years. With stars like 1986 golden boot winner Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne, England were a tournament favorite, having only been ousted from the prior World Cup because of Maradona’s ‘hand of god’ goal and Maradona’s “greatest goal ever scored.” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are not a soccer fan!)

After continuous pressure from England, Gary Lineker earned a penalty and drove it home to equalize. In extra-time, Gazza slotted an exquisite pass through the defense to give Lineker a break away on goal. As Lineker juked the keeper, he was knocked down by a defender and awarded another penalty. Lineker blasted the penalty in the back of the net to give England the hard-fought lead.

Sadly, Cameroon and Milla were out of magic and had no response to Gazza and Lineker’s brilliance. England would go on to win 3-2 after extra time before losing to West Germany on penalties in the semifinal.

As impressive as Cameroon’s accomplishments were, it was Milla’s achievements which are most memorable. The veteran substitute was 38 years old at the start of the tournament, making him one of the oldest participants ever. Always a fixture off the bench for Cameroon, the flashy forward with perfect finishing scored 4 goals and 2 assists during Cameroon’s run and changed the dynamic of every game he entered. In the process, he became a world star and African legend. So much so that when Milla was left off the squad for the 1994 FIFA World Cup (which was expected and reasonable since he was 42 years old), Cameroon’s embattled president forced the coach to include Milla, hoping to obtain some domestic support and distract from other problems the nation faced. Cameroon disappointed in USA 1994 but Milla did score one goal, becoming the oldest goal scorer, and participant, in World Cup history. Largely based on his efforts on Italia 1990, Roger Milla was named by CAF as the best African footballer of the last century and deservedly so.

1. Ghana 2010 – Luis Suarez is the Grinch that stole an entire continent’s Christmas

The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a big deal not just for South Africans but for all Africans. Never before had the continent hosted an Olympics or FIFA World Cup. The anticipation was palpable through the qualification campaign as every nation desperately wanted to qualify for a tournament which would be played so close to home. Heck, Egypt and Algeria almost broke off diplomatic relations over a qualification spot. As highly anticipated as the tournament was for the world, the hopes for African entrants was even higher.

Unfortunately, 5 of 6 African teams disappointed and failed to qualify for the second round, leaving only Ghana to carry the continent’s banner. And Ghana was well suited to carry those hopes. Playing in their third consecutive World Cup, Ghana had proven themselves worthy competitors on the global stage and consistently among the best in Africa. While they are nicknamed the “Black Stars”, the moniker “Brazil D’Afrique” has also arisen in the last few years as a compliment to their talents and consistency.

After a second place finish in the group stage behind Germany, Ghana faced familiar foes USA in the second round. While USA had just come off a thrilling victory over Algeria and played with great passion, the Ghanians proved to be too strong in the end. Asamoah Gyan muscled off an American defender and struck home a powerful volley in extra time to make Ghana the third African team to take its chances in the quarterfinals.

Ghana v Australia: Group D - 2010 FIFA World Cup

You may have noticed the quarterfinals have been kind of a glass ceiling for African squads. While Asian teams have managed to reach the semifinal, no African squad has ever done so. Cameroon in 1990 may have been the best African team to go the World Cup, but Ghana 2010 had the best chance to shatter this ceiling.

In the quarterfinals, Ghana met resurgent Uruguay. While Uruguay had not achieved much World Cup success over the previous decades, their performance in South Africa 2010 is worthy of its own article. Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez, and Edison Cavani were the most efficient attack at the tournament and made Uruguay a threat to beat any team.

After ending 1-1 at full time, the game proceeded to extra-time. Towards the end of the second period, Ghana began applying more and more pressure on the Uruguayan goal. Seconds away from penalties, Ghana was awarded a free kick in the Uruguayan zone. Now if you have spent the time to read this article, you probably know what happened. If you do not, here is the recap.

As tense as you can imagine….the ball bounces around, gets smashed at goal, gets saved by a defender off the goal line, bounces around again, get smashed at goal again and is saved by Luis Suarez pretending he is the goalie. (and if you noticed, the other Uruguayan defender also tries to save it with his hands but he was not as effective as Suarez). Suarez was deservedly red-carded and Ghana awarded a penalty. But instead converting the penalty and creating a continent-wide party, Gyan smashed his penalty off the cross bar and game proceeded to a penalty round. Almost as if all of this was a scripted tragedy, Ghana would lose in remarkable fashion.

Devastating. The roller coaster of emotions which is African football can be best portrayed in those zany few minutes at the end of this game. Ghana played a great game and performed excellently at the World Cup. They had their opponent on their heels and victory seemed inevitable, both when the scramble was occurring and before the penalty. It seemed certain African soccer would finally break through to the semifinals and would get to do it on home soil.

And be certain, this was poised to be a great victory for all of Africa, not just Ghana. Politically and economically, the vague and amorphous concept called African unity has not faired so well. But when it comes to sport, I have never met an African who does not root for all African teams against any others. It is a beautiful thing on the sporting level. A sense of us against the rest. And Ghana was our “us”.

2202_103364_386591

Luis Suarez was vilified wrongly as a cheater or a disgrace by many in the sports media and will forever be remembered as the single man who shattered the dreams of so many. This is understandable considering the emotion and magnitude of the moment but is nevertheless misplaced.

As time has passed, more have come to understand the brilliance of Suarez’ quick decision and the grudge will eventually fade. He was placed with only two choices and a nanosecond to decide: 1) let the ball go in and be eliminated; or 2) stop the ball at all costs, be red carded, concede a penalty, but give your team a tiny chance. Any rational thinker would do what Suarez did if they were quick enough to do so.

Uruguay turned Suarez’ tiny chance into a historic victory and at the same time, provided Africa with its most heart-breaking, yet also most memorable, moment in World Cup history.

————————

Written prior to the last World Cup

Putin’s Pounds of Flesh

nato-vs-russia-flags-original-graphic-elaboration-file-44228586

Russians play chess. A lot. It is reflected in their foreign policy. On the grand scale, they rarely make an unnecessary move. No pawn is budged solely because it is their turn. And when they make a necessary move it is decisive and quick. Then they hold firm, adapt to the new dynamic and repeat the method.

At least this has been the strategy since Putin has been in charge. We are not talking about Russian domestic policy, day to day foreign manipulations or trade agreements with neighbors. We are talking about the great and slow game Russia plays with NATO. Global hegemony and long term survival. Organic war.

In the past few years there are a couple of conflicts which reflect what we call ‘Putin’s Pounds of Flesh’.

In 2008, there was an irrelevant-to-us kerfuffle occurring in a small autonomous region called South Ossetia. South Ossetia is located within Georgia but had remained autonomous since the fall of the Soviet Union with the assistance of Russia and their counterparts in North Ossetia, located in Russia.

To the ire of Russia, NATO had been cozying up to Georgia for years by providing training and arms to the pro-western government installed via a revolution/coup in 2003. When Georgia brazenly bombed and sent in heavily armed troops to quell unrest in South Ossetia against the wishes of Russia, crap hit the fan fast. For Georgians.

We can only presume NATO and Georgia were confident of success in South Ossetia because Russia had not militarily asserted itself outside of its borders against a NATO-backed operation for twenty years. However, the end result of this campaign was a change in global dynamics to NATO’s detriment and the beginning of further aggressions which continue to escalate.

Supposedly, the plan was the Georgians would occupy South Ossetia without a significant Russian response. Most likely, the West would then use media and friendly regional governments to bolster a supporting narrative to maintain this new status quo, delivering a direct blow to Russia’s ability to exert influence on its borders.  Hopefully, further emboldening nations to attempt similar maneuvers or more loudly assert interests counter to Russia.

We say ‘would’ because this plan never got very far. Instead of accept the bombing of South Ossetia and deaths of Russian peacekeepers, Russia promptly invaded the next morning. Not just South Ossetia but Georgia itself. Even from the perspective of those not privy to superior information, it was clear the Russian army was wiping the floor with their Georgian counterparts. Within five days, Russia effectively conquered Georgia as if it were a movie only stopping 60KM outside of the capital Tbilisi. This was a statement to Georgia and the world that Georgia exists because Russia allows it to exist. And a larger statement that a bear has awoken.

Then attempting to appear magnanimous, Russia pulled back rather than destroy any more of Georgia. Yet they decided to keep South Ossetia and another region, Abkhazia, because really what could Georgia or anyone do about it.

This was the first pound of flesh taken by Putin’s Russia (at least which these simple observers noticed). Somebody messed with them beyond a determined threshhold so they made a quick and decisive move, changing their borders to their benefit before pulling back and allowing themselves and everyone to digest the new status quo. This has been their strategy since and so far without failure.

As an aside, we do wonder about the origins of the 2008 Georgian conflict. A plausible belief is NATO urged Georgia into the conflict at that time because they feared Russia’s long-term ability to re-assert itself after the rise in the price of oil since 2000. Back then, anyone could tell the next fifteen years looked brighter for Russia than the past fifteen years. NATO most likely wanted to maintain a weakened Russia before high commodity prices would allow Russia to strengthen further. In the 1990’s, NATO may have incorrectly assumed Russia would remain broke and indebted to western institutions for the next 30 years, providing ample time to slowly destroy Russia from within by various means.

However, it worked almost too perfectly for Russia. This conflict became the symbol of Russia’s resurgence on the global stage. Could Russia have duped Georgia or NATO into thinking Georgian action would be successful in South Ossetia and Russia would only bluff a response? Then when the bait was taken, Russia could respond swiftly, looking like a dominant military force and counter-weight to NATO and putting the skids on further near-term plans by any neighboring states.

Regardless of the true cause of the Georgian conflict, the result was a clear victory for Moscow. Further, the reasons for the Russian victory were not lost on NATO. A surplus country, Russia was able to re-invest into armed forces as well as re-establish itself as a major economic player. After Georgia, it must have been clear within the Pentagon that Russia’s ability to profit from its natural resource wealth had to be disrupted in order for smaller sovereigns to be able to chip away at the Russian bear.

But since attacking Russia directly and occupying its oil fields and Siberia are not a feasible or sane option, the only way to successfully send Russia back to the poor house is to take away buyers of Russian oil and gas: Eastern and Central Europe. Most of Europe would like independence of Russian energy but do not have a choice. The map of the world is the only map the world. At least for now.

So in examining the map, it is clear one country stands in the way of pipelines from the gulf to eastern and central Europe: Syria.

Forget what is said about chemical weapons or the evil-madman Assad. Forget whatever contrived reason will all-the-sudden become urgent to act upon. What matters is Syria stands in the way of a NATO victory in an organic war. Long a target for regime change, the attempts against Syria began heating up and eventually so began with what we will glibly refer to as Plan A: Syrian Arab spring. Of course, an Arab Spring covertly supported by the West which would topple Assad and place in power a pro-western government. A new and fledgling government which would need assistance and be willing to barter easements for pipelines. But the Syrian Arab Spring did not happen.

So then it was plan B: pay and arm violent opposition groups of any variety under the guise of humanitarian or good-guy rebel resistance against an evil regime. U.S. politicians went all in like fools on this one trying to arm these groups at every opportunity even though many of them were anti-American jihadi-style nutballs. Senator John McCain actually and stupidly went out there to meet a bunch of rag tag idiots masquerading in suits to help craft this image. What a joke. McCain needs a better handler. Plan B failed as well but not totally. The Syrian resistance groups like Al-Nusra sprang up and did manage to take over regions of the country, creating humanitarian nightmares for ordinary people and crippling the Syrian economy and its ability to support Assad in perpetuity. However, without more direct NATO assistance the rebels were losing the war with Assad and it was clear Plan B would never achieve the desired result.

Even if Assad’s forces are limited to western portions of the country indefinitely, they will still be able to indefinitely prevent any pipelines from crossing any portion of the country with their superior air force. Further, since a weakened Assad will always need the support of Russia to survive, it is assured destruction of any pipelines throughout the country will be as paramount an objective to Assad’s regime as holding Damascus. A weakened and diminutive Assad does nothing to further the ultimate objective. He and any threat to a future NATO-backed power within Syria had to go.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. On to Plan C. As it became apparent the rag tag numbskull murderous rebels would not get the job done on their own, NATO looked for way to get directly active in the conflict but needed a nice, juicy and salacious piece of news to go their way. Lo’ and behold as Assad’s forces were finally starting to win the Syrian civil war, Assad’s regime attacked civilians with chemical weapons….because…you know…this is exactly what people do when victory seems close at hand. At least this is what the always-honest American media reported.

Either way, the fortuitously timed reason was provided and every grandstanding politician and news-actor talked about red lines being crossed and the need to do something now. Like an Iraq-redux horror show, the war machine kicked off with lightening bi-partisan speed. Ships and war planes were being maneuvered and it appeared another major war and soulless disaster was upon us.

Now if you understand how much effort NATO is exerting to get rid of Syria, imagine how much Russia values Syria. They are looking at the same maps we are and know more than anyone what happens if Europe were able to ignore Russian gas in favor of NATO-backed Qatari and gulf oil. Syria is for all the marbles. Russia did not give much of a shit when the US attacked Iraq other than the usual diplomatic back and forth. They do not give too much of a shit about the US bombing everyone in East Africa and Central Asia. But Syria they care about.

So when NATO was arming up, Putin did what he believed was necessary to protect Russia’s future sovereignty. Russia literally anchored half its navy off the coast of Syria and declared Syria would give up any weapons. He essentially dared the US to risk a REAL-MOFO war over Assad and over some chemical attack which half of American suspected was done by their own government or the jihadis we sponsor. We did not live during the Cuban missile crisis but this was as nerve racking as we are willing to put up with.

Sadly, we did not worry Russia would dare pull a trigger to start something. We were petrified we would and so were many Americans. This trepidation led to an all out bi-partisan outcry from normal Americans shouting about how no one wanted this war. This was public pressure not experienced before any past American war run-up. Allies dropped like flies saying they would take no part. Putin ran a piece in Time Magazine pitching Americans to stop their leaders. Think about this for a second. At no point did it ever seem possible the president of Russia would appear far more sane to our public than any American leader. Shocking. The U.S. government stood alone in its desire to attack Assad. No one wanted to risk a war with Russia for this and Putin’s gambit worked to perfection.

This was a bold, dangerous and smart gamble. Putin read the psyche of the American people and the allies well. He knew there would be too much static refuting evidence about the chemical attack to garner enough support among the allies or public. And by having all those warships in between NATO and its objective, Russia and Putin showed they were willing to risk starting World War III, even if by accident, to protect their interests. This is the statement to learn: Russia will fight a world war against NATO to protect Syria, which is an important piece to victory and the survival of the power structures on each side.

Welcome to Plan D.  After NATO’s attempt to topple Syria was thwarted by the trump card which is the Black Sea Fleet, the objective became to neutralize the reach and effect of Russia’s navy to prevent a re-occurrence of what happened. There can always be another chemical attack or crossed red line to throw at Assad and restart the war machine on a moment’s notice. Therefore and since direct military action against Russia is not on the table, the Black Sea Fleet must be neutralized without direct action so the next opportunity against Assad can be capitalized upon.

Almost immediately after the flop in Syria, a “natural and grassroots’ uprising manifested in Ukraine. Very conveniently timed to serve NATO’s interest, Russia was left with a dilemma regarding the Crimean Peninsula, which hosted Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

For a brief period, it looked as if NATO would be able to dislodge the Black Sea Fleet from its base, forcing it farther East into the Black Sea. Further, had Ukraine swiftly become a solidified NATO ally, NATO warships could at some future point dock at what would have been the former Russian base at Sevastopol. Had this occurred, it would have been unlikely Putin would be able to position half his navy off the coast of Syria to prevent a future attack. Rather the Black Sea Fleet would be bogged down in the Black Sea concerned about proximity of NATO warships to the Russian heartlands.

This was the plan. Take Ukraine and limit the reach of Russia’s military so the bear cannot thwart the creation of a pipeline from the middle east to Europe. After Georgia and Plan C, NATO understood Russia may always be able to threaten or call the bluff of the West with troops since Western citizenries, no matter how brainwashed, are not keen on potentially nuclear wars over middle eastern or central asian states. Joe Schmoe does not give a shit about organic warfare, only his immediate welfare.

Plan D was ambitious but as Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. The Russian response to the developments in Ukraine was incredibly swift. Putin took another pound of flesh, holding up a middle finger to the world and topping his party off with a Winter Olympics.  And this pound weighed a lot more than an Ossetia and Abkhazia combined. They took the Crimean peninsula immediately. Regardless of statements about future elections, Crimea was Russian territory permanently upon its seizure. The future elections were processing stamps for bureaucrats. (During the opening ceremonies at Sochi, Team Russia walked in playing Tatu’s Not Gonna Get Us. Cheeky.)

It should have been no surprise Russia would not yield control over Crimea or accept the loss of its base at Sevastopol. Doing so would be accepting the neutralization of the Black Sea fleet, accepting the toppling of Syria and creation of a pipeline. And ultimately accepting of the loss of revenues from natural resources and a return to indebtedness a la the days of always-drunk Boris Yeltsin.

Rather, what was surprising was NATO’s tepid non-response to this obvious maneuver. We are not sure if Plan D, similar to Georgia, included merely hoping Russia would go along or if there was a plan to assert some military control over Crimea. Either way, Russia’s swift and decisive action created a new status quo before NATO could change the dynamic. Russia took back the land Kruschev gave to Ukraine and the Black Sea fleet maintained its uninterrupted reign throughout the Black Sea with easy access to the Eastern Mediterranean.

While NATO would love to create a land dilemma along the massive and flat border between these two nations, this consolation prize seems unlikely. In the East, Russia asserts enough influence quietly it can be sure to maintain an appropriate land buffer for some time and would likely invade eastern Ukrainian provinces if they felt it necessary. With the NATO government in Kiev broke and barely able to function, blame for current and future problems are falling at the feet of the newly elected ‘pro-democracy’ leaders. Russia seems quite capable and willing to keep Ukraine a mess for as long as it needs. So far, it appears unlikely NATO can establish a long-term or stable government without Russia’s agreement and involvement, which would negate any benefits to Plan D.

But after Plans A, B, and C, Plan D was not the only plan in action. Making a go at the Black Sea Fleet’s base is not the ultimate goal since direct confrontation is not on the table. A pipeline through Syria is the goal and NATO will seek it regardless of whether it can succesfully limit Russia’s military influence. It will simply adjust tactics and try new strategies.

Plan E is concurrent with Plan D. In fact, to these casual observers, we are not sure which started first. After the failures of Plan B and Plan C, NATO realized they would not be able to topple Assad by providing direct support to abhorrent militant groups. By being allies to such groups, NATO invites public and private opposition and can not generate sufficient support for the broad military assistance/action required to topple Assad’s regime. Especially when backed by Russia. No ally good enough could be created for which Western citizens would be willing to sacrifice.

Unable to find an ally to topple Assad, NATO needed an enemy to be an enemy of Assad. An enemy powerful and fluid enough to get the job done but vile enough Western peoples and leaders would never tolerate such a group running a country like Syria. A group so hideous and evil whom if they did obtain power, NATO would be cheered as heroes for changing the regime even if it meant full scale war. At least this is what Western peoples would be told while pipelines would be built. But who could conveniently do such a job? There is no Saddam to convince to invade neighbors. Al-Nusra and the other groups were allies and could not do it. So who?

Abracadabra ISIS. Again, perfectly timed. A mysteriously powerful and ambitious group spawned in the vast expanse of Western Iraq and Eastern Syria. Armed to the teeth with weapons ‘stolen’ from allied hands, they will do the most evil made-for-tv actions. Mass murder of innocents? Check. Raping women and children? Check. Beheading people and sticking skulls on posts outside of cities like it were the middle ages? Check. Every evil and nightmarish stereotype of the worst humans imaginable? Check. Check. Check.

Yet fortunately for us, they want to topple Assad and sell oil in a conveniently located area. Granted, they want to topple many but we casual observers know who is first on their list. And it does not take a genius to figure out should they be successful, the West will not wait long before fully invading Syria to replace the ISIS regime and control the vacuum thus created. Imagine terrifying and heart-wrenching scenes on the streets of ancient Damascus. Pundits will talk about how the most evilly vile and backwards regime conceivable (literally) is inflicting horrible crimes on the Syrian people who the West will, again, all the sudden give a massive shit about. ISIS is a venomously insidious and useful tool. If they were to take uncontested power in Syria or a major portion thereof, no one could argue against taking them out without sounding like an immoral coward. There could be no letter from Putin urging the American people. ISIS provides the perfect excuse for intervention wherever they go.

Plan E has been viciously productive. Mindless Western masses are eating it up. But it has not been successful or neared ultimate success and Assad remains despite ISIS. Further, Russia has not yet thrown a punch in Plan E. They are unlikely to do so unless Assad is truly threatened with losing power. Russia does not care whether Assad rules from a bunker while all of Syria burns. Russia only cares to assure the current dynamic does not allow the construction of pipelines.

Should ISIS appear close to success against Assad or should the West be close to taking control of Syria either through Assad or through ISIS post-Assad, recent history shows Russia will take quick and decisive action to alter the status quo to their advantage. Then they will hold firm not caring about Western noise or mis-guided sanctions which hurt Western economies more than Russia. Putin will try to take another and probably larger pound of flesh from the West and not look back.

Perhaps it will be a coup in Turkey, a revolution in Greece or war in the Balkans. Perhaps the announcement of a gold-backed Asian currency to combat the dollar or the sudden unannounced arrival of heavily-armed Russian “peace keepers” in Damascus.  From our un-illuminated perspective, this is impossible to predict. But it will come and there will be a new dynamic for which everyone must adapt. Then it will be on to Plan F and G and so on and so forth and yadda yadda yadda.

—————

Stop Blaming Corporations

I am sick of people constantly blaming corporations for everything.

Corporate behavior is highly predictable. A for-profit corporation has only one purpose: to seek profits and use those profits to pay shareholders and/or re-invest to increase share value and seek more profits.

A corporation seeking profits is like water filling cracks. The water by its nature will go wherever it can go. Do not ask it to stop. This is non-sense. It is up to you to seal the crack and prevent the water from going places of which you do not approve.

Too many people are complaining about lost jobs and blaming corporations naively. Now I say lost jobs but they have not been lost. They moved beyond our driving range. Namely to places like China, Mexico and Central America and wherever the costs of labor are mere fractions of American wages. It is painful to watch. Not because they are leaving though. Because we blame corporations and act like we do not know what can be done.

Think about how silly it is to blame corporations for a second. Even assuming a corporation wanted to keep its labor force in the United States, it cannot. Exclude the service industry or professional and medical jobs which cannot be exported. But for everything else such as the manufacturing of: clothing, autos, boats and planes, steel and metals, furniture, medical supplies, electronics and computers, etc….all of it can be produced anywhere on the planet. All a company needs is access to resources, labor, and transportation to deliver the product. Not exactly unique to America.

The current environment dictates American labor be replaced with cheap foreign labor. If a corporation wanted to maintain its American work force, it would forego a simple method of dramatically increasing its profits. It would defy its true purpose of seeking profits by all reasonable means. Corporate executives would be negligent in their fiduciary duties to shareholders by ignoring this reality and so they do not. Shareholders do not care whether Susie loses her job on the line, only whether their portfolio or retirement account rose 4% last quarter.

Further, not moving your labor costs overseas will likely result in the future dissolution of the company because competitors will certainly snap at the opportunity if not already. They will then use their increased profits to increase market share to one day force you into bankruptcy or buy you out and dissolve your company.

I cannot blame a corporation for undertaking natural and logical behavior essential to its survival. It is merely seeking profits by using all reasonable means and this is extremely low-hanging fruit.

So why do we hate them so much? Lots of reasons: People think the world is unfairly tilted in the favor of a powerful few corporations which use friendly (whore-ish) governments to advance their interests to the detriment of the public. People think corporations control Washington, corporate interests are the real reasons for war and corporations sending jobs overseas are killing the American economy.

They are not wrong. But they are blaming the wrong people.

If you were making decisions for a large company like Halliburton and knew a certain piece of legislation or military operation would increase your profits dramatically and hurt your competitors, why on earth would you not seek out such legislation or use every means necessary to lobby for the military intervention?

To accomplish this, why not also grease the campaign coffers of legislators if doing so results in the legislator taking action in your favor? Why would you not pay millions in bribes to obtain billions in contracts? Any sane business executive would because, again, a competitor would and it may eventually cost you your business. Indeed, competition dictates a corporation secure a politician first before another can even try.

Is bribing or sponsoring a politician even against the law anymore? If so, there remain a million ways to do it legally. Call it a campaign contribution. If you need to pay more than campaign laws allow, contribute to a political action committee or special interest group which serves the legislator’s purpose. If the legislator only wants personal wealth, hire some relatives and family members at ludicrous salaries. Or better yet transfer them land under favorable terms to sell it at a massive profit to a buyer you arrange. If you are nervous about authorities catching you (if they are even trying), then repeat your land deals in any foreign nation. I am sure the politician does not mind keeping money abroad. 

This is just the beginning. Have you noticed almost every one of these politicians has a book about their life and the contrived and made-up obstacles they overcame before they turned into a jackass politician? I used to wonder why anyone would read a book written by a member of a congress which has a favorability rating below cockroaches. I have only one guess. If you want to bribe someone legally, buy a product they are selling whether it is tongue depressors from a medical supply company or a book authored by a congressperson-swine. Who cares if Exxon or Raytheon does not intend to read 40,000 copies of Nancy Pelosi’s book or even if it is used as toilet paper? All she cares is they bought it and she will get paid.

With so many legal bribing possibilities it is enough to make a corporate big wig salivate over what he may be able to get passed in his favor. But it is also enough to give him nightmares over what his competitors are trying to get passed in their favor. Always remember this is the sticking point. Bribes have become a cost of doing business in this country and if you do not play the game, you get left behind.

Take a look at free trade. Corporations always knew if they could take their labor costs abroad they would maximize profits. But those pesky tariffs would prevent a corporation from making any profits from goods made in third world countries. So after asking a zillion times they were eventually able to pay enough congressmen to get it done. It is even bi-partisan.

Bye bye tariffs. The single device which effectively protected small companies and American workers from products made by cheap foreign labor for 200 years was gone like it never existed. I cannot remember the last time I heard a politician say the word ‘tariff’.

I do not blame corporations for this and do not tell me corporations own congress. The relationship is more akin to a john and a prostitute. The john pays to receive a benefit and the prostitute degrades herself but no one owns the other party. At least not permanently. It is a filthy but mutually beneficial relationship. So long as the prostitutes are available, the johns will return often to receive a benefit for the cheapest price possible. And since the johns keep coming back, the prostitutes can always use the money to maintain their position and fend off any challenging prostitutes in the next election.

This is the game Congress created: willful whores for a cheap price.

So stop blaming people like the Koch brothers for doing what is obvious and do not expect people like them to stop. There will always be profiteers asking for favorable legislation or asking for war. This will never change. Blame Congress. It is their duty to protect the American interest but they would rather act like prostitutes. Yet instead of degrading themselves for personal gain, they degrade the entire nation.

However, if you truly care, blame yourself. Then blame me and the rest of the American people. The jerks in Washington do not re-elect themselves. They have us to thank for this.

—————

Organic War

Humans have been killing each other for a long time. Forget what they say about prostitution, murder for self-interest is the oldest profession. It predates humanity since cro-magnum men and neanderthals were clobbering the crap out of each other.  Rest assured, it will continue. The universe demands this.

Like Judgment Day in the Terminator movies, some wars cannot be avoided. They can only be delayed or prevented for a time. And as hopeful or delusional as we may be, no war will ever be the last unless it ends all of humanity.

It has nothing to do with the reasons we learn in school. It is not a battle of cultures or religions or economic ideologies. Capitalism versus communism is irrelevant here. It is never about the  fabricated threats spouted by governments to fool their peoples. People are dumb anyways. It is easier to sell a moral lie than explain a horrific reality.

It is not some failure of humanity or human reasoning. Humanity is doing what it is designed to do.

War is organic and natural. Not all wars but certainly the most important. It is survival of the fittest type stuff. An inescapable consequence of the existence of multiple civilizations on the same planet.

I am not advocating we kill anyone. I have never viewed any war in my lifetime as just. Rather, I watch politicians, those self-proclaimed moral leaders, pursue conflicts for disingenuous reasons which are exaggerated to achieve obvious but unstated geo-political objectives.

Nevertheless, I have come to understand direct conflict and war with Russia and China are inevitable at some point in our future. Either war or the total collapse, dissolution, and break up of the United States, or Russia and China, through economic failure without war. Yet considering the lessons of history, it is unlikely there can be an ultimate victory without someone’s total military defeat.

The Soviet economy collapsed and Russia reasserted itself within twenty years. Had NATO invaded Russia in some manner immediately after the collapse, the geo-political map of the world would be drastically different today. It was at only at this juncture such a maneuver could have been executed with minimal carnage. Orwell would be sadly proud of the term ‘minimal carnage’.

NATO would control essentially all oil reserves and routes to the West. It would have the ability to limit Chinese supply to only Iran, IF Iran were even able to survive as a sovereign without the assistance and protection of a sovereign Russia. I bet hawks in Pentagon regret this one. Again, I am not advocating war with anyone. I am just running a hypothetical.

And forget the cat and mouse proxy game of war and sanctions NATO and Russia/China play within the Middle East and around the World. This is merely boxers throwing snow balls at each other before they step in a ring. Just trying to prevent the other guy from warming up too much. Gotta keep him cold.

And this does not have to occur soon. It might or it might be in 100 or 200 years. I do not know when. I only know it cannot be avoided forever. War and someone’s ensuing defeat or someone’s total collapse without a war will happen. Guaranteed.

And no need for it to be an all out nuclear war which destroys the Earth or even dissolves either nation geographically. History shows it often results only in the chaotic collapse of one power structure with the winner absorbing the defeated into their power structure. Only the defeated nation’s ability to rule over itself must be permanently destroyed.

Germany and Japan lost World War II and lived on…albeit under complete political, military, and economic control of the Allies. In terms of personal and national wealth, they were far worse off than if they had won but they still continued as nations even if Germany was split for a time.

World War II provides a great lesson. We remember with great pride how America defeated Germany and saved Europe. But America’s victory over Japan was far more important. The Japanese Empire was the most formidable opponent of the United States since the War of 1812, which we resoundingly lost. Not Germany who also had Britain, France, and Russia to combat among others.

The reasons for the war with Japan show why war is inevitable. In all successful nations, the economy and population grow over time. It does not matter what economic ideology or system of government is present. If it is at all successful, at some juncture the needs of the population and economy will reach and surpass the internal capacity of the region under that nations’ rule. This is similar to animal populations reaching an environment’s carrying capacity.

At this juncture, society has a choice: civil unrest and economic disruption if not outright collapse and political turnover, or;  you find resources from somewhere you haven’t already taken from prior. Since no ruler wants to get bounced from power or worse lose their heads, they will always find a reason to take resources from someone else even if it means fabricating causes to go to war. To those in power, the alternative is much worse. See Marie Antionette and Louis XVI.

So after industrial growth in the 1800’s, Japan became an empire (again), invading China, Korea, and many portions of East Asia and Western Pacific. Same concept as the British Empire, Ottomans, Mongols, Magyars, Romans, and so on. Empire is the only way to go when you hit the big time.

However, as any empire grows and further absorbs new territories into its structure, it will either reach its zenith and inevitably collapse or bump into an entity or other empire which cannot be dislodged so easily. And more so, the other empire may have the same need for growth and space. When this happens, all the righteous and holy jibber jabber, kumbaya circles and peace signs in the world cannot stop a war.

Japan’s empire was no where near its zenith and they were longing for more. But it had grown to the extent its need for resources and oil directly conflicted with the interest of another empire which could not be dislodged easily. Namely the United States of America. Constrained by geography and without the resources to feed its empire, Japan went to war with the United States in hopes of ruling the Pacific and giving their empire room to grow for a generation.

Never forget the United States prodded Japan into war by limiting Japan’s access to oil and the United States knew an attack was coming but did not make serious efforts to prepare for defense. The United States was fine with being able to tell the American people Japan started it by bombing Pearl Harbor. They, like Japan, knew this war was inevitable or rather an organic war. It was a matter of when, not if.

There are only so many resources to go around and while moral or wise leaders are able to prevent inorganic or needless wars, they can only delay organic wars. But depending of the circumstances, delaying an organic war may be to your detriment and contribute to an eventual defeat in the future.

Even if leaders were to adopt a stance of pacifism or neutrality and successfully grow their economy without war, they would eventually face economic contraction, collapse and potential internal chaos when they no longer had the ability to seek out new resources to sustain growth. Or worse, they would face an invasion from a foreign empire which itself had grown large enough to desire the pacifists’ or neutral’s resources. I imagine a bunch of pacifists would be an appetizing target for an resource-needy empire, too.

This is why I never hope to see Utopia. I hope my children or grandkids or even their children and grandchildren will never see it. To get there, every independent and self-serving power structure in the world, whether they be just, unjust, democratic or dictatorial would have to be defeated and destroyed. Many of the well-armed ones would not go so easily. While pleasant, the premise of the song Imagine petrifies me. Getting there would require a lot of warfare, destruction, indiscriminate killing and unimaginable human suffering. No thanks, Mr. Lennon. I’ll pass.

Hopefully, we will not be forced to see the horrors of a Utopia’s birth. But we will see war. And it does not matter who the enemy is or what they have done. What matters is they exist beyond our power structure. Even if the independent sovereign is your ally and will be for another hundred years, they are also an inevitable future enemy should your power structure and theirs survive long enough.

So we must be the direct geo-political enemy of Russia and vice versa…and then China…and if we continue to succeed, eventually probably India…and then whoever may rise in South America…and then probably someone in Europe or some portion thereof again…and then finally whatever independent power is left in the World until there can be only one…Highlander style.

It is survival of the fittest and winner takes all. A battle to create and control a final unified order after many thousands of years of human division. Or at least until the winning power structure’s economy inevitably collapses, society falls apart and the first planetary empire splinters or dissolves into numerous entities and states, each acting in their own interest. Just like before.

Then wash, rinse and repeat. For eternity.

—————