Friday, February 28, 2014

Maybe it's time to leave the Ukraine to the Ukrainians


International manipulation underway by Russia, the United States and the European Union to control the fate and future of the Ukraine might be the way we like to play the game of foreign policy but recent events raise serious questions as to the validity of such an approach.

Sometimes it just seems like the big boys, those so called more civilized Western nations don't know when to leave well enough alone.  I think most countries like to give lip service to respecting the will of the people indigenous to a region like the Ukraine, but darn if we can really keep our word when it comes to actions.
Perhaps we forget little historical facts like the Ukraine has been settled by members of the homo genus since 43,000-45,000 BC when they were first called Neanderthals and discovered in the Molodova archaeological sites.  And Gravettian settlements were unearthed dating to 32,000 BC in the Buran-Kaya cave site of the Crimean Mountains.
It was part of the Khazar kingdom when time changed from BC to AD, the time of the birth and life of Jesus, and by 800 AD became Jewish.  Prior to that the Roman Emperor Constantine, a non-Christian, was convinced by his mother Helena to first issue the Edict of Milan in 313 AD granting religious tolerance to all religions.
Twelve years later there was the first ecumenical council, the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, when he ordered the adoption of the Nicene Creed which evolved into the universal creed of Christendom.  Thus Constantine embraced Christianity and became the first Holy Roman (Christian) emperor.  From that time on Christianity was also evolving in the Ukraine.
However, it took until the Great Moravia empire under the Grand Duke Vladimir the Great before the Ukraine formally embraced Christianity in 988 AD.  Like Emperor Constantine earlier Vladimir was influenced by a strong Christian female in the family, his grandmother, Princess Olga.
The Ukraine, like every country or kingdom in the world, was beset by war after war throughout the centuries, the rather odd consequence of the evolution of civilization in the western world.
So commonplace were wars that The New York Times reported in 2003 that in the prior 3,400 years humans have been entirely at peace for just 268 years, or just 8 percent of recorded history.  You can throw in the last 11 years since The New York Times article because wars continued (Iraq & Afghanistan).
In Europe alone which includes the Ukraine there have been 550 wars recorded throughout history.  Ironically during the most recent 20th century a staggering 76 wars were recorded, the most of any century in history.  Included were the largest, most expensive and most devastating wars ever including World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam wars, though neither Korea nor Vietnam count in the European total.
So nations like the Ukraine and most of Europe have been buried in a deluge of wars since recorded history began and as mankind matured and became more civilized the pace and terror of war increased proportionately.  What in the world does that tell you about the nature of mankind?
The Ukraine took the first step in actual independence, something they really haven't had since the Neanderthal age some 45,000 years ago.  They revolted and threw out the President Viktor Yanukovych accusing him of murdering civilians during the recent demonstrations and stealing billions of dollars from the nation.
In the meantime in Crimea thugs seized government buildings and today two airports and raised Russian flags.  Crimea has been pro-Russia ever since the Soviet Union quashed a Ukrainian revolt and brought on the great famine of 1921, leaving 1.5 million Ukrainians dead.
From then on the Soviets under Josef Stalin tried to liquidate opposition and to repopulate the country with Russians.  With the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1991 independence seemed to return to the nation but economic difficulties, foreign interference and competitive manipulation by Russia, the European Union and United States made it impossible.
The people of the Ukraine and Crimea have been forced together for so long and manipulated by so many that the Crimea favors strong ties to Russia and the Ukraine to Europe.  Perhaps in the end the two must become separate countries so they can align with the nations they desire.
My plea is for all competitors to stop this game of international chess and for the first time in about 45,000 years let the people of the Ukraine and Crimea decide for themselves how to structure and align their nation.
Hasn't our brand of western civilization ruined enough lives and nations over the centuries?  The people of the Ukraine and Crimea know what is best, what kind of government they want, and what kind of relationships they want with the rest of the world.  Give them the few billions of dollars of foreign aid they need and step back and let it happen.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

North America for Americans - Hear the People's Cry for Help!


The United States, Mexico and Canada
500 Years of Shared History

Over six years ago I wrote an article calling for a North American for Americans that outlined a program to unify the United States, Canada and Mexico through a comprehensive treaty to share and protect each other in the areas of energy independence, human rights, economic collaboration, agriculture production and safety and justice for our citizens.

With the Keystone Pipeline pressing the agenda along with the need to address drug trafficking and Immigration reform, both the Obama Administration and the two political parties once again are talking about the subject and once again are failing to take stock of the wonderful opportunity we have to correct many wrongs and recognize the many good things a real North American partnership would bring.

Toward that end the following is the article I wrote first in mid-2008 calling for a North America for Americans program.  I then updated the article in 2010, 2012 and 2013 waiting for the US government to wake up and act.  We are closer today than ever and all citizens of these three great nations should demand their politicians embrace such a program that serves the greater good of the people.

Since our discovery 520 years ago the three North neighbors have grown up and evolved in ways that will forever keep us tied together culturally, economically, politically and from a national security standpoint.

We have thousands of miles of common borders and millions of people have moved back and forth between these three nations. In spite of our differences, there is much that binds us together. Yet these closest and most consistent of allies have never embraced a policy that can serve the benefit of all three neighbors.

Our problems are common from economic stability to natural resource management, from national security to energy independence. If we shared resources there are numerous ways the three could benefit from the relationship.

Even our national priorities are similar. We all seek energy independence, security for our citizens, quality health care, better education, improved human rights, freedom to achieve success without financial or cultural discrimination, and the ability to pursue an American Dream.

We complement each other in ways we seldom appreciate. Canada has excess oil and we have excess natural gas. Mexico has oil but needs better health care, education and economic development. All three have abundant natural resources and the ability to share those resources and make all of us independent in a variety of ways.

Our problems are often ignored by politicians but obvious to compassionate citizens. Since I wrote the article nearly 45,000 innocent Mexican citizens have been brutally murdered in drug wars along the border with the USA. They were caught in the crossfire of criminal elements intent on controlling the huge illegal drug trade in the United States.

For some odd reason the number of Mexican deaths seems to have been ignored by the American media and politicians. So let us put it in perspective. Our total military deaths in Iraq, 1,887, and Afghanistan, 4,484, is 6,341 over the past decade. In less than half that time SEVEN TIMES as many Mexicans, 45,000, have been killed in a war for control of our southern border. Included are men, women and children, not soldiers.

We should be ashamed of such a travesty taking place under our very noses. Of course there is corruption in Mexico, just like on Wall Street and in Washington, DC. America is founded on the principle that crime does not pay and criminals should be hunted down and locked up. Why do we turn a deaf ear to the American crime that has settled just across the border to avoid the reach of our laws?

Immigration, or illegal immigration is another common problem between neighbors. If we helped Mexico develop an economic development program that provided fair wages and benefits to Mexican workers, there would be no need for them to cross the border illegally to seek a better life in America.

Much of the economic pressure on America comes from foreign dependence on oil and the price manipulation of crude oil and gas in world commodity markets. While we have reduced oil dependence to about 50%, largely because of the reduced use of gasoline in America due to the recession and economic instability, we still import 50% too much.

If congress and the president had the guts we could be energy independent already as the combined oil and natural gas resources of the US, Canada and Mexico are more than sufficient to meet all our energy needs for now and the future.

Obama blocked off shore drilling, has not supported natural gas development, and rejected the Keystone pipeline from Canada, three ill-advised moves that have undermined the hopes for US energy independence. It is time to get real. Our economy and our high standard of living, the envy of most nations, depends on abundant energy at reasonable prices. We have neither.

Our first economic concern should be energy independence from foreign control and manipulation. There must be an American strategy that includes our neighbors to the north and south, Canada and Mexico. Between the three (USA, Canada and Mexico) we have more than enough reserves of oil, natural gas and alternative energy capacity to meet our needs forever.

Between the three we have the technical skills, exploration capacity, financial resources and the spirit of freedom needed to create our own cartel to meet our future needs, to control inflation which is now driven by oil prices, to offset problems in one area (hurricanes) with increased production in another area (Canadian shale reserves), and to finally gain independence from foreign manipulation.

There should be no more Dubai's financed with the blood money from American consumers. In the future the horrendous transfer of wealth from the Americas to Arab and other nations including hostile energy producing nations, must stop, keep the massive wealth in America.

If the United States, Mexico and Canada decided our shared interests were far more important than our differences, that our heritages are bound together through generations, that our borders touch and that if the citizens of all three countries had good homes, good health and good jobs, there would be no need for illegal immigration, then we could all live in peace and harmony.

Well the money we wasted buying inflated oil could have accomplished just that and isn't it about time we used that money to do some good for the Americas? Stop pointing fingers and building walls and work together. Mexico and Canada have incredible oil and natural gas reserves like the United States. We all have a need and desire to help each other grow. And we sure don't need the rest of the world to interfere.

Years ago when we passed NAFTA our biggest mistake was not that it went too far, it didn't go far enough. Oh we moved jobs to Mexico and US manufacturers saved money, but at what cost? We didn't protect the workers down there like we protect them here. We didn't make sure the people of Mexico got a better standard of living, decent homes, food and housing and a better education for their children.

Maybe it is time we stepped back and did it right. Maybe we need an agreement based on a shared interest in creating energy independence for all three nations. One that assures that excess profits are invested in the people, in their standard of living and quality of life. Maybe we should stop glamorizing the excesses like the development of Dubai and start focusing on the real world which is the people living in our three countries in substandard conditions with inferior education and jobs in the wrong place.

Do our politicians acknowledge that gasoline prices have doubled since Obama was elected? Because of that our recession has been exasperated. How about the fact the American public knows what to do and have reduced the use of gas dramatically so they can afford to survive. We have seen the greatest decline in gas usage in history?

Do our politicians know while they spit out ideas like machine gun bullets and fail to take any action on anything, the people have said enough is enough and stopped driving so much, turned down the thermostats, got rid of the gas guzzlers, and reduced the amount of travel and entertainment?

Something is terribly wrong with the system. All the nuclear reactors in the world and all the alternative energy in the world will not overcome corruption in the marketplace, unfair business actions, malicious price manipulation of the futures market, and the evil intentions of oil speculators. Still the price of gasoline continues to rise.

Nuclear reactors, contrary to the vast experience of McCain, are still dangerous. Three Mile Island and Chernobyl were not jokes nor movies, they were real. I was at TMI for the multi-billion dollar clean up of that "harmless" accident. If $5-7 billion is harmless what is the world coming to? As for Chernobyl, I met the kids that were victims of radiation poisoning, the kids that must remain in the hot zone for life because they can contaminate other people. Of course a full life for many of them was about 10-12 years.

Of the radiation that was released by Chernobyl, over 70% fell onto the population of Belarus resulting in 800,000 children in Belarus and 380,000 in the Ukraine being at a high risk of contracting cancer or leukemiaIt will be another 24,000 years before the land is safe and the children no longer suffer.

Since the disaster there has also been an increase of 800% in the incidence of cancers in children living near to the reactor plus there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of babies born with substantial physical disabilities. Babies born limbless, deformed and with severe brain damage.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and other groups in Britain help deprived children living in heavily contaminated areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster (primarily Belarus and Ukraine) by bringing them to the UK for a month-long respite holiday where they benefit from, among other things, clean air, good nutrition, physical safety and an environment free of radioactive contamination. I met the kids in Scotland. Is was estimated the month long holiday extended the lives of the children up to a year.

There is an accident in the Ukraine, in Eastern Europe, and sheep die a thousand miles away in Scotland. Land from nuclear testing over the years is a dead zone for hundreds of years. Nuclear waste at our nuclear plants sit stored at the plants, vulnerable to terrorist attack, because congress cannot get a nuclear disposal facility built. When a nuclear plant wears out, and they do just like everything else, the plant must be decommissioned and that cost is now more than the cost of building the plant in the first place. Nuclear has a role but must be used with great caution.

On the other hand, there are known reserves of oil and gas in North America sufficient to meet the our needs for 300 more years. We are not running out of oil tomorrow. The price manipulation of oil has nothing to do with the supply and demand, the normal supply and demand. Off shore drilling, even the very limited Alaskan drilling, can only help us be more independent. But we need refinery capacity to make the various types of gas and oil we need if we get the crude locally.

Together the three nations should develop and implement a long term North American Energy Independence plan that makes all known and unknown reserves available to the producers including the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific deep water reserves, the limited areas in Alaska that should be developed, and the many other known reserves in the countries.

As new territory is made available for drilling refining capacity must be expanded in the Americas to produce the products we need. There must be substantial incentives for alternative energy efforts but we must not be so foolish as to think alternative energy can meet much of our current and future energy needs.

Significant savings can be generated by energy conservation programs. For example, energy savings of 50% or more can be made in our older housing stock. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand homes and a real dent in energy demand can be realized.

A meaningful partnership is needed between the three bordering nations, the energy companies in those nations, the conservation and alternative fuel companies in those nations, and the building code enforcement authorities in those nations. Such a partnership will protect and create jobs, stop foreign trade deficits, stop the transfer of wealth to Arab nations, and stop the out of control oil and gas prices.

Beyond that an economic partnership can raise the living standard in Mexico, end illegal immigration to the USA, ensure long term economic development in Canada, and provide the citizens of all three countries with better education, food, housing and security. Such a partnership can also end the senseless killing of tens of thousands of innocent Mexicans caught in the crossfire of America's drug war.

Isn't it worth the effort to make this happen? Won't this prove to the world that America is not only our brother's keeper but partner as well. Don't you think our closest neighbors and long term partners who helped build America should share in the goodness and glory of America? Together we have a chance to change history.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ross Perot - Prairie Prophet & Presidential King Maker

Exactly 22 years ago George Bush, Sr.,  was running for re-election as president of the United States and being challenged by a young, upstart Democrat and Governor of Arkansas named Bill Clinton.  And then there was that shrill talking, billionaire from Texas named Ross Perot who was trying to launch the first successful third party campaign since Teddy Roosevelt just after the turn of the last century.

For historians let me set the record straight.  Yes Teddy was elected vice president in 1900 and became president when President William McKinley was shot September 6 and died September 14 of 1901, his first year in office.  Teddy was then elected by a landslide in 1904.
In 1908 he supported his secretary of war, William Howard Taft for president and Taft won.  By the end of Taft's first term Roosevelt felt Taft no longer served the people and when he failed to beat Taft at the GOP convention he started a third party, the Bull Moose (progressive) party to oppose the president.
This is where the parallels between Ross Perot and Teddy Roosevelt become intertwined as if history was simply repeating itself about 100 years later.
In the election of 1912 Republican President Taft got 23% of the vote, Independent Roosevelt got 27% of the vote, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson became president with just 42% of the vote.  Thus Roosevelt blocked Taft from being re-elected and made Wilson President.
After his first term in office in 1992 President Bush was running for re-election riding the popularity of Desert Storm when Ross Perot, a former Republican like Teddy Roosevelt, came out of nowhere with his Independent campaign.
In the election of 1992 Republican President Bush got 38% of the vote, Independent Ross Perot got 19% of the vote, and Democrat Bill Clinton became president with just 43% of the vote.  Thus Perot blocked Bush from being re-elected and made Clinton President.
During Clinton's first term Ross Perot sought to influence the national agenda focusing on three issues, the NAFTA economic treaty, Health Care Reform and rebuilding our educational system.
He opposed NAFTA, an issue Clinton co-opted from the GOP because he was in danger of losing his re-election campaign.  Perot warned passage of NAFTA would lead to the destruction of our manufacturing industries and we would lose millions of jobs to Mexico and other countries.  Clinton got it passed and the final nail was driven into the coffin of America's once dominate manufacturing base.
On health care Perot warned the lack of cost controls would bankrupt America, and any government entitlement programs regarding health care like Medicare and Medicaid would drive the American deficit beyond our capacity to pay.  In 1996 the US national debt was $107.4 billion under Clinton and by 1998 would become a surplus through Bush in 2001.
Today the National debt stands at a record $17 trillion, thanks in large part to runaway entitlement costs as predicted by Perot.  In fact America spends more per capita than any other nation on health care yet ranks just 37th in the world in terms of quality of health care.
Finally, Perot was so disgusted with the deficiencies in our education system that he started his own high school in Dallas and was to set records for educational achievement and college attendance by urban youth.  Today our educational system continues to spend more per pupil than any other nation and we still are failing in terms of the quality of educational care.
Sooo, Ross Perot, the caricature from Texas who dared challenge the American two-party system was a figment of historical déjà vu showing up 100 years after Teddy Roosevelt played the same role for America.
Both were prophets in terms of warning of the dangers faced by America and both greatly influenced the national agenda and debate.  A couple of obscure Democrats owe their fortune and fame (Wilson and Clinton) to these political rebels.  At the same time, the failure of our government to heed the warnings of these two left us floundering in the winds of indecision as our judicial system seemed to collapse, our health care costs spiraled out of control, our manufacturing base vanished away, our educational system continued to flounder and our national debt reached epic proportions.

More on the Prairie Prophet from Texas later as the story of Ross Perot and his unbending care for the nation, commitment to veterans, exceptional patriotism and whose incredible rescue of his employees from the prison of Iran after the failure of President Carter to protect our own embassy in the fall of Iran to the Ayatollah is one of the greatest stories of courage to ever take place in our nation.

US hostages in Iran 1979

Monday, February 24, 2014

Obamaville - February 24, 2014 - What Olympics?


With the President disappearing from the eyes of the press and politicians one can only assume his golf game has drastically improved and private parties at the White House are dominating his agenda.  I mean, how else could White House expenses under our hip hop and bee bop president exceed $1.4 billion a year?

While saying he has done nothing in five years might be a slight exaggeration the fact we spent about $17.5 Trillion in that time seems almost magical.  Where in the world did it go when we are supposed to be cutting back on everything?  By the way, Obama's second $17 TRILLION act was setting new records for the National Debt, which also passed $17 trillion this year.
This will be the first year since Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize five years ago that we will have no troops at war, (although I suspect the American soldiers still in Iraq and Afghanistan might question the claim).
The 2014 budget includes $526.6 billion for the Department of Defense base budget, a figure that does not include war costs or nuclear weapon activities at the Department of Energy.  In other words, about half of the defense spending is not in the defense budget.  Real defense spending averages about $1 trillion a year.
Defense Secretary Hagel says he will cut back $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years.  So according to my math that means we will cut $100 billion a year from our trillion dollar a year spending.  And here I thought we had ended two very expensive wars under the president.  Where are all the savings?  Fuzzy math seems to dominate our nation's capitol.
Of course our hip Obama family spends millions of dollars to bring their favorite musicians and celebrities to lavish White House parties, private parties I might add that we the people can't attend.  You can find Beyonce, Bieber, Swift, Jay Z and who knows who else prowling our White House and giving private performances for the Obama family, at taxpayers expense of course.
But do you think the President, the First Lady and family, or even a single soul from the 2 million civilian employees of the USA including over 3000 appointed by the President could travel to Russia to support our Olympic Team.  Not even smiling Joe Biden or a single cabinet member had time to go support the team.
President Putin of Russia was there a whole lot and so were representatives from over 100 countries competing in the winter Olympics.  As a nation we should be ashamed our first family was too busy to support the Olympic team or send anyone else.
NBC did it's best to trash the Russian Olympics, most likely to help Obama win the world popularity war with Putin.  NBC is the last major media outpost for Obama liberals and the person they helped put in office has collapsed in the polls so it is only logical they would help him.
Unfortunately for both NBC and Obama Putin delivered, the Russian Olympic team delivered, the people of Russia delivered and the nit picking Americans who tried to undermine the Russian production failed miserably.  The Russians did a great job under very difficult circumstances and terrorist threats.
By the way, in the process of staging the Olympics Putin managed to take a seriously deteriorating Stalinist Russian city and transform it into a world class resort on the Black Sea and the people of Sochi will benefit for years to come.
Mid-Term Elections
OMG, after two billion was spent in 2012 on political campaigns, here we are again in the middle of another election year.  I say everyone in America should cancel their television service, local, cable and satellite, and take a year off from the incessant and unintelligible campaign nonsense.
What would you miss?  Certainly nothing of any value to the future of the world.  No more super-hyped weather warnings to force you to race to the store and load up on pre-storm supplies that have been marked up because the advertisers need more sales, the TV stations need more ads, and no one cares about the lonely consumer who is the target of every crook and creep disguised as productive members of society.
As the political parties encourage you, vote early and vote often because it may be the last time you have anything to say about what happens in government.  Long ago our freedoms were hijacked and our rights were trampled.  We are spoon fed lies and falsehoods as if truth no longer counts.
Neither the news media nor political processes makes any effort to force politicians and political parties to tell the truth and the federal regulatory agencies like the Justice Department are hardly able to enforce fairness on politicians when they can't even send Wall Street crooks to jail.