Should We Let The Tail Continue To Wag The Dog?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They say that nothing is free and in America that is certainly true as regards freedom of religious beliefs.

If you are a Christian, that is.

If you are a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Sikh, or a Buddhist, or even an atheist, the constitutional protections of your civil rights will be upheld and fought for by all and sundry. Silly looking people will hold up even sillier looking signs supporting your point of view.

silly protest sign

If you are a Christian, however, you will find you only have the freedom to do what minority groups dictate, not what conforms to your religious beliefs.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, the owners of a mom and pop bakery they call ‘Sweet Cakes By Melissa’, found that out a while ago when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in 2013. They have been ordered by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI-cks for short) to pay $135,000 in damages to the two lesbians for “emotional suffering.”

It makes me wonder if Donald Trump will launch a similar suit against Macy’s for the “emotional suffering” he has been caused by Macy’s refusing to sell his merchandise? I would imagine for a man with that kind of ego the “emotional suffering” would be substantial, at least a billion dollar’s worth, I reckon.

Apparently in Oregon, and probably in other states, it is now illegal for a business to refuse to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Most probably the same applies if you are of a particular race, color, or religion. However, there is no equivalent law to protect the religious beliefs of business owners.

sweet cakes_closed_sign

Now I could care less whether you are a lesbian or a Presbyterian, that’s not the issue here. The issue is that you can’t have a law that protects one sector of the community at the expense of another. More to the point you can’t have a ridiculous legal system that is both unfair and illogical.

But you do.

And it’s getting worse.

Just as the Freedom Act took away more freedoms than it gave, the government is stealthily and overtly eroding the individual citizen’s right to live their lives as they want to and as their beliefs dictate.

Sure you have to have rules, like don’t murder people, drive on the correct side of the road, and that kind of thing otherwise there would be chaos. But trying to control and micro-manage every thought and action of the people, which is what the government is now about, is both unnecessary and unwanted.

Big Brother control room
Big Brother control room

I’m now wondering what happens if you come into my gun shop and I don’t like the look of you and refuse to sell you a gun or other weapon. Am I within my rights? Or can you sue me for the “emotional suffering” of not being able to kill your family or hold up a bank?

Or can I sue you if you own the gayest cake shop in America but refuse to serve me because I am a Christian? That would be an interesting one in the light of the Oregon decision.

What happens if you are a Christian lesbian? What sort of “emotional suffering” does that cause? And can you sue yourself for damages? I’m sure there’s a judge somewhere stupid enough to grant you a big payout, but of course you would have to pay it to yourself, unless the state would step in because of your sexual orientation and cough up the cash for you.

You see where this is going?

deliberate dumbing down of America
deliberate dumbing down of America

Just as they wrecked the education system in many western countries by teaching the brightest people in the school at the same pace as the dumbest, thereby lowering the level of education of everyone and churning out a multitude of idiots who can barely read, or write, or count, now we have to pander to every minority no matter how few people they represent and no matter how much their minority beliefs offend our own.

Minority rights don’t really matter to the government because they don’t make up enough of the population. If and when the need arises minorities can be brought to heel. The majority is a different matter though and what has been discussed in this blog post is all part of the dumbing down of society and instilling fear in anyone from the majority community who dares to stand up and challenge authority. The threat of a  six figure fine, or worse, ensures compliance in most people.

My old late lamented friend George Carlin summed it up so well when he said, “Governments don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. That is against their interests. They want obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept it.”

Protection of minority rights in a society is one thing – and a good thing – and should be defended at all costs. But it should be done for the right reasons AND it should be in addition to the rights of the majority, never at their expense.

Otherwise you might as well throw out the “all men are created equal” bit of the constitution and just let the tail continue to wag the dog.

dog-tail

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The Entertainer Continues

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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donald trump thumbs up

If Donald Trump has done nothing else, apart from entertaining us, he has raised some uncomfortable truths for Americans to face.

For too many years people in America have had the luxury of sitting on the fence, avoiding taking stands on moral issues, or issues affecting minority groups in their country.

They’re frightened.

Frightened of looking like cranks.

Frightened of pseudo-intellectuals (who really know very little) mocking them.

Frightened of not being part of the herd.

Frightened of not appearing ‘nice’.

Lower that Confederate flag and raise a white one, quick!

Dear help us.

Confederate battle flag flies in South Carolina
Confederate flag comes down at South Carolina Capitol after half century

People, and not only in America, have been conditioned to act the same, buy the same gadgets, watch the same TV shows and even dress the same. If it continues they’ll all be dressed in similar suits like China in the days of Chairman Mao, only with little red smartphones instead of little red books.

More importantly than all these, the people are being conditioned to ‘think’ the same. ‘Sheeple’ are easier to control than ‘free thinking people’ and as we know it is all about control.

When I said they’re ‘frightened’, I meant Americans have been conditioned into being afraid to stick their own heads above the parapet.

But when occasionally someone does it for them then they secretly cheer – but not too loud mind you in case someone hears.

That’s why Trump enjoyed a surge in the polls after his remarks about illegal immigrants and how they are not all perfect human beings. Everybody knew it but were afraid to say it.

The political elites, most of them anyway, would never be caught saying what they really think – in public. Admittedly Trump said it in his own brash and loud style, but at least he said it.

You don’t have to agree with him – far from it – but you do have to acknowledge that he said what many thousands of ordinary Americans were thinking yet were afraid to say.

Many of these ordinary Americans are probably living in areas where there have been massive influxes of immigrants. They know how it has affected them. In these areas English has become a second language. Social problems have increased and crime has gone up. And everyone is afraid to say why.

More to the point, they know from first-hand experience that this new ethnic diversity has failed to provide the benefits that the liberal political elites promised it would.

Facts are facts are facts.

the-american-dream

Many people have come to America to live the ‘dream’ and better themselves. But many others have come to take advantage of what they regard as a soft target for crime.

Many of Trump’s critics are just as guilty of trying to get publicity for themselves as perhaps Trump is making the remarks in the first place.

But the critics exhibit a sadly familiar and predictable pattern. They see an empty talking head on TV, think it’s smart, and then say the same things or a slight variation thereof. That makes them think they look smart too, except of course it doesn’t, because the talking head on TV was empty, not smart at all.

Many of these detractors have gone so far as to say that Trump’s remarks are not “presidential”.

The big question, that unfortunately is not being asked in blazing headlines in the media, is why in America today is it not ‘presidential’ to tell the truth, or to give a true expression of what you believe?

If that is now really the case then it is a sad reflection of American society and not something to be proud of.

You have another choice though.

If you want a liar in the White House there’s always Hillary.

hillary clinton liar

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Wonder When They’ll get Round To Making Blogging Illegal?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Dennis_Hastert

While he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the former Speaker, Dennis Hastert, used his political power and connections to enrich himself. No shocks there. He is just one among many politicians who routinely do likewise.

But unlike most of the others, Hastert was charged by the Feds with five felonies, each of them carrying a minimum of five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

But, before you get the wrong idea and start to cheer, Hastert’s use of political leverage for personal gain has nothing to do with the charges against him.

What he did when in office was merely corruption and we live in a corrupt political system that those in charge like to call ‘democracy’.

No, Hastert has apparently committed a far worse crime than political graft. And it wasn’t anything to do with the leaks doing the rounds that he had been paying off a high school student for alleged sexual abuse decades ago. He hasn’t been charged with anything related to that either.

Instead, he has been pursued and indicted for the heinous crime of

…wait for it…

“structuring” cash withdrawals from his bank accounts so as to avoid federal bank reporting requirements, and lying to the FBI about what he was doing with his money.

handcuffs dollar

Now, I could care less what they do to a corrupt politician like Hastert. There is a certain irony that he has been caught by a law that he probably helped to create.

But the problem is that many of us could be similarly indicted simply because most of us don’t even know we are committing a crime in the first place.

Stupid bureaucrats have enacted so many laws in recent years, using misleading cover titles such as ‘money laundering’, ‘terrorist threats’, or ‘national security’, that they have turned millions of law-abiding people into de facto criminals, without them even knowing it.

The piece of invasive and unnecessary legislation that Hastert has been caught breaking is the ‘Bank Secrecy Act of 1970’, which makes it compulsory for U.S. banks to file a “currency transaction report” for deposits or withdrawals of more than $10,000 in currency. Banks suspicious of specific transactions are further required to file a “suspicious activity report.”

If the banks don’t capitulate to this government nonsense then they face penalties. This means that the banks comply, over-zealously so as not to ever infringe the regulations – which many of them don’t even understand. Now as a matter of routine they report ALL large cash transactions as suspicious, whether they really are or not.

Hastert didn’t intend or commit any money laundering, fraud or tax evasion. But the authorities don’t care about that. He had a legal and legitimate agreement in place with another individual and he withdrew his money in smaller amounts because he didn’t want this private arrangement to become public knowledge. The Justice Department even admits as much. But the authorities don’t care about that either.

So why have they charged Hastert when they know he really did nothing wrong apart from infringe on a stupid law that was never intended to catch the likes of him?

They did it to terrorize the rest of us.

Soviet control

What most western governments are about nowadays is control. The type of control that used to pervade communist states in the Soviet era. They want to criminalize ordinary people by making trivial and harmless acts into major felonies.

Woe betide you now if you want to spend you own money or transfer it to someone else. It’s your money, you earned it, you saved it up, but touch it in a way not specified by the government and you’re in Federal Court, you criminal bad person you!

All these spurious and unnecessary laws give government law enforcement agencies the ability to punish anyone at any time because there are so many regulations that everyone is in breach of something.

Wonder when they’ll get round to making blogging illegal?

Think I’m joking???

Blogging illegal? Close up of wooden gavel at the computer keyboard

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Corruptocracy!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A Sunday Sermon

It’s been a while since I did a Sunday Sermon. It’s an occasional, rather than a regular, feature here at the fasab blog. It just happens when I’m in the mood to have a bit of a rant about a subject that I consider to be serious.

If you have read much of my blog you will know that two of my favorite targets are the banksters and politicians. When they act alone they are dangerous, when they combine their forces they are lethal.

Today I’m taking aim at both of them.

Strap yourselves in, here we go….

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corruptocracy

In the wake of the financial catastrophe that the greedy banksters inflicted on the world there has been a lot of talk (but very little real action) about bringing these thieves under some kind of control.

Naturally the banks are fighting tooth and nail against any kind of financial reform and they have the contacts and the financial resources to do it.

They have, for example, dragged their heels at every opportunity, used our money (kindly donated by a stupid government) to lobby friendly and unprincipled politicians in Congress to repeal aspects of Dodd-Frank, sent armies of lawyers to frustrate regulators and make any new rules as weak as possible and threatened a plethora of legal challenges and lawsuits.

It has been a ‘David and Goliath’ battle but this time the richer and more powerful Goliath seems to be winning.

David and Goliath

Unsurprisingly the banks’ biggest political allies in opposing the much needed financial reforms have been Democrats, such as the Robert E. Rubin wing of the Democratic Party, which has opposed moves to break up the big banks after the 2008 global crisis.

I say ‘unsurprisingly’ because the whole mess was caused by the Democrat regime of Bill Clinton who got rid of the Glass-Steagall separation of commercial and investment banking. Small wonder that they are railing against its reinstatement.

Unfortunately they aren’t alone. Most Republicans also oppose effective moves against the banksters. A fact less shocking when you realize that in the last two election cycles, over 60 percent of the bankster’s donations went to Republicans. It seems America’s form of democracy is still more about what the money-men want (and are willing to pay for), rather than what the ordinary people want.

banksters demands

Most disappointing of all, however, has been President Obama. He swept to power promising ‘change’ but he never backed meaningful reforms against the banks. On the contrary, the Obama Administration has repeatedly put forward nominees with Wall Street connections for major oversight roles. It’s a bit like appointing some of the inmates of a prison as the prison guards!

During the debate over the Dodd-Frank Act, Obama’s henchmen even lobbied against an amendment offered by two of his own Democratic senators (Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Ted Kaufman of Delaware) who wanted to cap the size of the banks.

The fact is, that if Obama had taken a stronger position on the much needed financial reform it would have been much stronger and much more effective.

Now they are neither strong nor effective. They won’t work, in other words. It’s just been a bit of window dressing and bluff for the benefit of gullible voters.

gullible voters

And now even more money will be paid to Republicans since they routed the Democrats and swept to power in the US Senate, as well as expanding their majority control in the House of Representatives. That means even less will be done against the banksters.

It is a simple equation. Money buys politicians, buys power and influence.

Some people call it corruption.

Others try to tell us it is democracy.

I know which one I think it is!

In fact let’s use a new word….

Corruptocracy!

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Vlad The Bad?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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“It was the Russians, they’re the ones to blame.”

“It was Putin. He’s the baddie. We can’t let him get way with it!”

 malaysia-airlines-flight-mh17

So go the cries in the US in the aftermath of the shooting down of Air Malaysia Flight MH17 over the Ukraine.

And that was long before any of the facts had been collected and it was known who shot down a plane on a different continent, or why. 

Russia wants (virtual) control of the Ukraine. There isn’t really any doubt about that. For them it is a strategic imperative. Russia’s history has taught it that it needs to be able to control a vast amount of territory, if only to use as a buffer zone against invasion.

The situation is not helped by various US Presidents and Secretaries of State giving Russia assurances that they would not attempt to involve the peripheral former Soviet states in things like NATO – and then trying to do the exact opposite.

It is now widely accepted that the underlying reason for the unrest in the Ukraine and Russia’s reaction is because of US interference in that country, which included helping to overthrow its democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and replace him with someone who was a virtual puppet of the West.

That was just asking for trouble. And they should have known it.

And they will get trouble, probably much more than they bargained for.

Unfortunately that will impact on ordinary people, like us.

 Major_NATO_affiliations_in_Europe

Just as the US has its beady eyes on bringing the Ukraine and other former Soviet states into pro-Western organizations like NATO, it is equally certain that Putin will have his beady eyes on not only bringing the former Soviet states back firmly under Russian control, but in perhaps expanding his relationships with other parts of Europe.

Putin has the energy reserves to do it. Whilst there is very little in the way of direct trade between the US and Russia, particularly in regard to energy supplies, (Russia is just the United States’ 20th largest trading partner), Europe is largely dependent on Russian gas to keep it going. Over 30 percent of the European Union’s energy supplies come from Russia and the EU is Russia’s largest trading partner.

Russia’s counter strategy, therefore, will obviously be to use its considerable economic influence as leverage to try to break up the NATO alliance and to separate the European power house, Germany, from its Anglo-American alliance.

Putin is being helped by the arrogance of America’s government spooks who thought they could spy on their friends and allies, even going so far as tapping the phone of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, without there being consequences.  

consequences

Prompted by leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the fallout from America’s spying debacle continues, people have been arrested, and the German government has even ordered the local CIA station chief to pack his bags and leave the country.

Germany may still place some value on its relationship with the US, but not nearly so much as previously, thanks solely to America’s lack of respect for them.

Putin and his advisors know this, even if Obama and Kerry don’t. They see Germany as ready for change. And they may well be right. The German people are angry at the contempt America has shown for them  – just as Americans would rightly have been if the Germans had done the same to them and their President  –  and they are increasingly frustrated at the burden the European Union has become economically.

If the US doesn’t catch itself on and behave differently and with respect towards its foreign friends, it may find that there will be changes it did not expect and certainly did not want.

Kerry Putin Obama

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Oh No! Not Again!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon.

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If you have read any of my previous entries in the politics section of this blog you will already be aware of my extremely low opinion of the intelligence of those in America who are in charge of foreign policy.

These idiots blunder about knowing little of history or tradition in other nations and make quick reaction judgments that are short sighted and that have continually come back to bite them on the ass.

Well, not them exactly, but the poor servicemen and women who are sent in to mop up their messes.

So what has got me ranting this time?

Only the fact that the morons in charge are currently negotiating what is being called ‘a groundbreaking agreement’ that will give American nuclear know-how to the country where Osama Bin Laden and the vast majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from.

Yes, Saudi Arabia.

Coat_of_arms_of_Saudi_Arabia

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The short-sighted US strategy is probably to assist an ally (an oil rich one, of course) to make it an unconquerable target for any of the other states in the area who have expansionist plans for the future.

Great – while the Saud family stay in control, or while a sensible member of the Saud family is in charge.

But what happens if, sometime down the road, the ruling dynasty is overthrown? Not an unknown occurrence in the Middle East. Or what happens if one day there is the equivalent of an ‘Osama’ in the Saud family just as there was in the Bin Laden family?

And what happened to all those non proliferation agreements designed to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those incapable of handling them sensibly?

The last thing the Middle East needs is yet another country developing nuclear weapons capability. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

If the consequences were not so potentially tragic, it would be fun watching the political morons in Washington justifying going to war to take nuclear capability away from Iran, which at least holds democratic elections, yet at the same time giving nuclear capability to Saudi Arabia which is an undemocratic dictatorship.

Not even the most devout liberal could spin that one to make it sound good!

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Mushroom-Cloud

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The Herd Shall Not Be Heard!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s time for a Sunday Sermon!

cartoon-illustration-of-a-spy-wearing-a-hat-and-trenchcoat

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Whether we realize it or like it, the advent of the internet has changed all our lives. From power users like myself to just casual users, things are a lot different from how they used to be.

There are, of course, negatives like the increase of spam, fraud, pornography and so forth, but by and large the impact of the internet has been a positive one.

It has made finding information much quicker and easier.

It has given us better and cheaper communication possibilities such as Skype.

It has revolutionized shopping for millions of people.

And it has spawned new social interaction platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and not forgetting blogging sites such as WordPress, allowing people to find groups and individuals all over the world with similar interests to their own.

But perhaps the greatest thing that the internet has achieved is to give freedom for ordinary people to say what they want to say and have that reach a much bigger audience than would have hitherto been possible without having to spend vast sums of money trying to do it.

Unfortunately, however, that freedom is the one thing that governments cannot tolerate. Hell bent on control, they see the freedom that the internet provides as a threat to their power. And slowly but relentlessly they are chipping away at that freedom.

In China there is no pretense or deceit. The government there controls the internet and that’s just how it is.

However in the West, as they always do, governments create smokescreens to hide their real objectives. They read our private emails and listen to our private phone calls in secret, only reluctantly admitting to it when they are exposed by a whistleblower such as Edward Snowden, last seen leaving Hong Kong and heading for Moscow.

edward-snowden

And even when they are exposed they can’t tell the truth about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Invariably the excuse trotted out is “security issues”, in other words, they are doing what we don’t want them to do and invading our privacy, for our own good! 

If governments expect the people to have confidence in them, then they in turn should show confidence in the people. That means doing their job properly and targeting people and groups that are a possible threat without treating everyone as a potential terrorist.

And it means being honest with their people. 

Will that happen?

Not a chance!

As I said earlier the game isn’t about what is good for the people, the game is about control of the people. And a big part of that control is ensuring that the herd shall not be heard – if they have anything important to say that the government doesn’t want us to know!

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