Tag Archives: military

A Sad Day For The World

Posted on by 0 comment

In the US, supposed leader of democracy worldwide, a contentious piece of legislation has finally passed and is now law.

Barack Obama has abandoned any sign of Hope and Change and has instead given in to Fear and Paranoia as he allowed the National Defense Authorization Act to go through.

This Act will allow the American military to arrest any American citizen without cause and without warrant if there’s even the most remote whiff of ‘terrorist’ smell to them.

Once arrested, people can be detained indefinitely.

These are basic principles that were fought against in the American War of Independence.

And now they’re gone.

And if they’re gone in the US – the birthplace of modern democracy – don’t expect better treatment elsewhere.

It won’t be long folks.  Arbitrary and multiple arrests will be coming.

Remembering Peace

Posted on by 1 comment

When was the last time Canada truly enjoyed peace or, better yet, pursued peace?

Was it during the 70s when Trudeau bucked the demands of the US to enter Vietnam?

We’ve been in Afghanistan for more than a decade and before that, we helped bombed Kosovo and were active with the forces in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I’m sure our military has been active in all kinds of other locations around the planet.

On this day, I told my son that a lot of people died so that we could enjoy peace.  More importantly, I told him that his role is to remember ways to find peaceful solutions to the world’s problems.

But why is it that we tell our kids that fighting is not the answer, but as adults, we kick the crap out of anyone at any opportunity?

Libya certainly experienced this recently and Iran is right around the corner.

When are we going to abolish warfare in honour of those that fought against tyranny?  When are we going to stop projecting this new-found sense of tyranny?

On this Remembrance Day and any other day, consider supporting any of these organizations:

What’s your favourite organization committed to peace?  Please list it below for everyone to share.

Harper: “Don’t Shoot, We Surrender”

Posted on by 0 comment

Stephen Harper has surrendered Canadian sovereignty to the Americans.

What’s that?  Where was all the fanfare and declarations about it?

That’s right … there were none.

A couple of weeks ago, the “Harper Government” has surrendered Canada’s sovereignty in the event of civil emergencies.  In essence, Steve has bought himself a back-up plan for when Canadians get really pissed off and decide to get rid of ‘the Harper Government’.  All he has to do is click a button and American troops (and likely a lot of Blackwater goons) come storming across the border to save his butt.

Feedback from the Council of Canadians sums it up nicely:

“It’s kind of a trend when it comes to issues of Canada-U.S. relations and contentious issues like military integration. We see that this government is reluctant to disclose information to Canadians that is readily available on American and Mexican websites,” said Stuart Trew, a researcher with the Council of Canadians.

Trew said there is potential for the agreement to militarize civilian responses to emergency incidents. He noted that work is also underway for the two nations to put in place a joint plan to protect common infrastructure such as roadways and oil pipelines.

“Are we going to see (U.S.) troops on our soil for minor potential threats to a pipeline or a road?” he asked.

Trew also noted the U.S. military does not allow its soldiers to operate under foreign command so there are questions about who controls American forces if they are requested for service in Canada. “We don’t know the answers because the government doesn’t want to even announce the plan,” he said.

Why is our government silent on this huge step in relations between the US and Mexico?

When Stephen Harper always talks tough about sovereignty against those pesky Ruskies way up north, why are American troops or mercenaries on Canadian soil not a concern?

Was Egypt’s Gentle Coup an American Takeover?

Posted on by 0 comment

Gee … I can’t imagine what life under a dictator would be like (maybe Canada could do with a little regime change?), but I know this:  life under the military will likely be harder for Egyptians.

The “Walk Like an Egyptian” campaign staged by hundreds of thousands of people seems to be subsiding, but let’s repeat who’s in charge now:  The military.

In most circles, a transition of power from the leader (regardless of how he or she got there) is called a coup d’etat.  As defined by Wikipedia:

A coup d’etat is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military — to replace the deposed government with another body; either civil or military. A coup d’état succeeds if the usurpers establish their dominance when the seated government fails to disallow their consolidation of power.

In the case of Egypt, I would call it a gentle coup.  The military waited and they seemed to get what they wanted.  Not to sound cold, but few people died in the transition and right now, it actually seems like a responsible host of military leaders will help Egypt emerge from dictatorship.

Or will they?

In Egypt, we need to know to whom the military is beholden.  Are they representatives of Egyptians or an extension of the American military?

Don’t forget that Egypt is America’s second largest recipient of financial and military support – after Israel.  That kind of funding has to generate some kind of internal connections.

Did the turnover in Egypt occur because Hosni Mubarak wasn’t buying billions in new hardware?  In December, Wikileaks showed that the US made repeated attempts to encourage Mubarak’s regime to upgrade their military.  Substantial investments didn’t occur, resulting in Council of Foreign Relations expert Steven Cook to say this:

The cables reveal a military deeply reluctant to take part in regional counterterrorism efforts, and the focus on weapons necessary for desert battle is a reflection of that.  The Egyptian military is not good at or interested in, quite frankly, projecting power. It is there to ensure the survival of the regime and protect the country’s borders.

Not to defend Mubarak, but shouldn’t that be the priority of any government?

We also see that Israel was worried about Egypt’s commitments in the Middle East:

Meanwhile, Israel remains worried about Egypt’s current appetite for weapons. A July 2009 cable from Tel Aviv paraphrased political military chief Amos Gilad as saying “the Egyptian military led by Defense Minister [Mohamed] Tantawi continues to train and exercise as if ‘Israel was its only enemy.’ He added that … [Egypt’s] peace with Israel ‘is too thin, too superficial.’ ”

Looking at this information, one can’t help but wonder what was behind the activities for the last three weeks.  Was it a a pissed off Egyptian populace or an even more irate US industrial-military machine that was no longer getting support in Egypt’s upper echelons?  If bills weren’t being paid and hardware wasn’t being upgraded, could this have provided enough of a spark to overthrow Mubarak?

Other issues are at stake here, particularly the Suez Canal and the Gaza Strip.  The Suez is the most important oil asset to Europe and Gaza represents some of the most important real estate for Israel.  What happens next with these two locations will also reveal clues to why things happened the way they did in Egypt.

To sum up, as the military takes control, who they report to – the US or Egypt – will tell the full story.  Big, gluttonous upgrades and changes in real estate ownership will be the first sign to everyone that this had nothing to do with the will of the people.

The United Stale Economy

Posted on by 2 comments

Back in Feb 2009, I wrote ‘Why Can’t We Just Spend Our Way out of the Depression‘, knowing full well that the American and US economy was being supported by smoke and mirrors and little else.

At the core of this article was the rationale that we’re facing a seismic shock in spending, not because of what people’s attitudes are about the economy, but because of a totally different economic issue:  life-cycle planning.

Boomers have always influenced our economic fortunes or issues.  Bananas, oil shocks, market gyrations and soon, market collapse.

Nearly a year later, I followed up with this piece on the US housing crisis.

It finally seems like the mainstream is catching on to this idea.

Wall Street Journal:  Another Threat to the Economy: Boomers Cutting Back

This piece has an excellent chart in it:

Boomers-Cutting-back

For those brilliant no-minds that just dumped billions into the auto industry:  your (and ours) investment will likely be cut in half within the next couple of years because boomers have cut their demand in half.  This makes sense because we’re seeing the steep rise in empty nesters that don’t need two or three SUVs sitting in their lot.  Instead, they’re buying one convertible or Honda Accord (for those that lost their shirts on one of the many manias in the last 30 years).

Any recovery that we’re seeing with car companies will be short-lived.  GM will have to design a marketing strategy other than giving cars away.  Chrysler will have to end ’employee’ pricing.

A lot of change will happen in the next 10 years and it won’t be pretty.  Pensions will go bust and pensioners will have to take up part-time work at dumps like Wal-Mart of Costco.

The notable increases are with health insurance and drugs.  These companies will likely be one of the only profitable sectors over the next decade, despite the cries of communism coming in the wake of Obama-care.

To pay for everything, all savings will be liquidated and converted to Viagra, Lipitor and a moderately decent nursing home.  Don’t be surprised if the best-selling horror stories are those related to retirement home abuse (or STDs).

US Is Bankrupt …

This one comes to us from Bloomberg.

The US is incapable of paying its bills and there’s suggestion that the situation will be worse than Greece within a few years.

Gerald Calente Video

Believe it or not, Gerald Calente is not the source of my predictions.  One of the people that captured some of these ideas best was David Foot, who wrote Boom Bust Echo a while ago.

Next Steps?

The US administrators will continue to try to bail out industry over the next decade.

Every time they do, they will face an economic wall.  Bailouts require that they print money, printed money = inflation, inflation = dollar deflation, falling dollar = rising commodity prices, rising commodity prices = economic collapse.

This cycle was best recently described by Jeremy Rifkin as an Economic Endgame.

What To Do?

Realistically, there are three things we can do:

  1. Stop spending, particularly on stupid wastes like car companies, prisons and military;
  2. Start taxing the rich and taxing consumption;
  3. Start slashing what corporations can deduct from their taxes.

People like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are smart because they’re getting old and they saw it coming a while ago.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other efforts are great ways to say ‘I’ve made all of this money and I’m going to protect it before the government comes and takes it away’.

Fine … we’ll tax the charities too, especially the religious ones.

As people like me get older, we won’t have the luxury of avoiding the wealthiest in our effort to feed our parents and kids at the same time.

We’re going to lift every rock to find money and we’re going to start at the top.