Posted February, 2013 This site was created over ten years ago with the goal of presenting the general concept of Tychiformation as a possible approach to addressing global affairs. The definition of the conceptand its potential application are expressed in the left column of this Home Page. The content of the site morphed over the years to address issues in more detail, in parallel with the development of my thoughts as documented in the two books that I authored after the inception of the site. Both books are featured on the right column of this page. The books reflectan articulated progressive position. In this context I wish to add that to my mind “progressive” is synonymous with “rational”; i.e. in my view, ‘not influenced by inflexible religious, ethnic, political, or nationalistic preconceptions and prejudice’. Thus, the mission of the site evolved into airing progressive views regarding both global, as well as domestic US conditions and developments. Numerous progressive entities sprang up on TV and on the internet since the inception of this site. Many have succeeded in raising funds to continue their endeavors and are now rigorously active in promoting the progressive cause. I support these entities, and wish them all the best in continuing their efforts. As far as this site is concerned, it has been basically a one man show; of course, assisted by many young men and women who occasionally contribute to its realization. Being active in professional practice as an architect/planner, I have limited time to dedicate to the site. Accordingly, the site does not meet the expectations of potential visitors to find articles of interest posted in a regular manner. I will try to do better. At any rate, I promise to continue to maintain the site, and to address critical issues when they arise as best as I can. Also, the recently established blogging section of the site has not attracted meaningful activity. Therefore, it will be deleted. As always, visitors are encouraged to peruse the views expressed in my published books. Until I return, hopefully soon, Ismail Rifaat
October 27, 2012
Most of you who will visit this site between now and Election Day are likely to have either already voted, or have made up their minds about how to vote. Following are some suggestions that might help those who are undecided to settle on which way to go.
If you have the wherewithal to buy, and the time to read the 62 pages of “Shaping the Future, etc.” featured to the right, it will help you make up your mind, since the book lists the most critical issues that are plaguing us, and reveals who caused our problems. Otherwise, I will advise on the most crucial of issues that you may wish to consider before casting your vote. I propose that you be wary of, and refrain from electing:
- Candidates who aver to boost our military power by augmenting military spending: we are already the most powerful nation on earth by a long shot; those who promote increasing spending on the military in any shape or form have ulterior motives. We should cut military spending and redirect saved resources to badly needed domestic causes such as building infrastructure, and hiring teachers for example, thus, reducing unemployment.
- Candidates who insist on balancing the budget: while balancing the budget is a worthy cause, this is not the appropriate time to do so under the present economic conditions that are plaguing a great majority of citizens. Many reputable economists have made the case for that.
- Candidates who resist increasing the taxes of corporations and the wealthiest Americans: many reputable economists have made the case that they should be increased.
- Candidates who focus on religious issues: they are trying to distract you from considering critical issues such as those cited above.
I confess that I hold progressive views. I wish that the Presidential candidate of the Justice Party Rocky Anderson had a fighting chance, I would have definitely voted for him. Alas, this is not the case.
I did cast my vote, and urge you to vote as you see fit.
During the past decade, this site attracted at least 2,000 hits every month; on certain occasions more than 3,000 hits in a single day. In August this year it attracted over 7,000 hits and in one day early in September over 1,200 hits. I have the following message to those who visit the site between now and Election Day.
Whether you are a conservative, libertarian, Republican, Democrat, progressive, or independent, and whether you feel that you are ‘in the know’ or not, I advise you to read my last book “Shaping the Future, for the People by the People, What to do now”. It addresses current critical economic and social problems in a comprehensive but concise manner compared with the writing of others, and presents a powerful argument that clarifies issues often blurred or altogether missed in current discussions.
The book is roughly 60 small pages that one could read in an hour. You can get the e-version for $5, or the paperback for the grand sum of $9 + shipping -roughly $13. Both versions are featured on the right column of this page.
The dissemination of the views expressed in “Shaping the Future, for the People by the People, What to do now” would positively impact the results of the upcoming elections to the benefit of all US citizens irrespective of political affiliation or sentiment. In particular, undecided voters could benefit from reading the book to make up their minds about what is best for the country.
Therefore, if you sympathize with the views expressed in the book, spread the word. Also, if you have the wherewithal to distribute the paperback, you can get it in packages of 40 or more at near cost; for less if you order 1,500 copies or more. Entities with large numbers of followers could take advantage of this offer to raise funds for their respective organizations. If interested contact irifaat-at-hotmail.com.
I urge you to act as you see fit before the bell rings in November. Otherwise you will miss a chance to make a difference; a chance that is not going to come about again anytime soon.
One of the strategic moves that I proposed in my last book was the creation of a viable third party; in addition to the established Republican and Democrat parties. More recent developments:
Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City, established the Justice Party and is vying for the presidency
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana reneged his Republican affiliation, and is now also running as an independent for the presidency
Check here to find out about recent developments in this respect.
Also, President Obama, encouraged by his now real prospects for reelection, is expressing the kinds of views that ‘progressive’ Democrats have been yearning for.
I am sorting out these most recent developments in my own mind, and will let you know what I would suggest for future action.
A few weeks ago, I went to the Brazos book store in Houston to buy Michael Moore’s latest book and attend the book signing do. There, I had the great pleasure of meeting Michael face to face.
As I was standing in line waiting for my turn to get Michael’s signature, a young man handed me a copy of “The Occupied Wall Street Journal”.
The last page of the Journal features an article by Nathan Schneider: “Occupation for Dummies”. It recounts an interview of some of the ‘occupiers’. Under the subtitle “What are the demands of the people”, the answer given is: “Ugh, the zillion dollar question.”
I have been following the news about the ‘Occupy’ movement. I ardently encourage the growth and spread of the revolt of the people. On the other hand however, I am quite concerned about the way the movement is developing, and even more about the ultimate results that it might bring about.
I feel that those involved in the ‘Occupy’ movement, as well as many more citizens standing on the side lines could benefit from reading my last book! The book does not only provide an answer to the zillion dollar question by listing five demands that the people could rally around. It presents a rational discussion that leads to the formulation of the people’s demands. The book also proposes steps for action in the short and long term.
To learn more, please read “What to do now” below.
October 22, 2011
Congratulations. Your uprising is beginning to bear fruit and is spreading worldwide. I believe that a majority of the American people appreciates your uprising and is prepared to stand behind you.
This website is one of many that foresaw the continuing deterioration of the people’s conditions leading to our gloomy present dilemma. For many years, I tried on this site to tell those who would care to listen about global problems, their causes, and how one could address them. I expressed my views both on this site as well as in my book “Planning for Survival”. I am sad to admit, to little avail. Your action, like that demonstrated in the Arab Spring, proves to be more effective than ‘talking’ in the way of bringing about ‘change’.
However, those who revolt often express their outrage, without being prepared for expressing their demands, and without conceiving the arguments that are needed to convince others of the legitimacy of their cause.
I completed writing a short book titled: “How to Shape the Future, FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE, What to do now!” It provides information and advice that should be of help in carrying out your mission.
The book is available in eBook format, and kindle. The paperback will be available shortly.
The Table of Contents illustrtes the subject matter:
The Unalienable Rights of the People to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
Securing the Unalienable Right to Life
The Threats to Life from Natural Causes:
Aging and Disease
Catastrophic Natural Hazards
The Threats to Life Relating to Man’s Action:
Deliberate Action / Organized Violence
The Government is allocating substantial resources to causing death and destruction compared with what it spends on saving life. Reallocate resources from military spending to saving life and to other constructive ends.
How is the US continuing to squander evermore resources on causing death while cutting back on social services?
The Military Industrial Complex
Large Construction Companies
The special interest groups that profit from waging war are promoting American Imperial Capitalism. Halt and reverse the imperial capitalistic drive.
How are the rich getting richer while the majority of us are getting poorer?
The Healthcare Industry
Oil, Gas, and Coal Corporations
Corporate America and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
Election Campaign Funding
Many special interest groups contrive to maximize their profits, minimize the wages they pay to their workers, and avoid paying taxes. They achieve their goals by exerting influence on the three branches of government. This led to widening the gap between the rich and the poor. Contain the influence of special interests
How did we allow the current dire conditions to prevail?
The Influence of the Corporate News Media
The MAD Syndrome and the Corporate Media’s contribution to the spread of MADS
Forsaking our Privilege to vote
The corporate news media promote the agenda of special interests. Also, ‘the people’ have been delinquent in exercising their right to vote. Boycott the corporate media and get factual news and information from reliable sources. Register to vote, and make sure to vote.
So what is New?
The Acceleration of the Oligarchs’ Relentless Assault on the People
The Influence of the Internet and the Social Media and the Revolt of the People
Existing constraints continue to prevail, but new opportunities have emerged. Conditions may be ripe for affecting meaningful ‘change’.
What to do next?
Advice to the People
What to do in the Short Term
What to do in the Long Term
A Plea to the Oligarchs
A lot hangs on whom we elect for president.
List of recommended links
The fourth of July, 2011
The most topical issues in the USA and many other countries in the world today, relate to the quality of life of the common citizens. This is due to prevailing high unemployment, loss of social benefits, and other factors that are negatively affecting the wellbeing of the people; a state of affairs that has been deteriorating with no clear end in sight. Recent demonstrations in the USA, the Arab world, Greece, Spain, France, the UK, and other countries around the world confirm the pervasiveness of these conditions. Some have sacrificed their lives in their strive to achieve a decent living, starting with the young Tunisian martyr who burnt himself, to the martyrs in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. Therefore, I decided to write this article which builds on the results of “Planning for Survival” and focuses on addressing current topical issues regarding the quality of life, especially as they are unfolding in the USA. The article is longer than what is usually expected to be posted on this venue. I beg for your patience to read it to its conclusion.
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America affirms the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This affirmation reflects the intent of the founding fathers to address certain conditions that have historically beleaguered the rights of the people. Starting with the earliest organizations of human society in Egypt, the pharos enslaved their people to build pyramids. Chinese and Japanese Emperors, Indian Maharajah, European kings, Inca potentates and other oligarchs around the world generally used and abused their people to attain their ulterior motives of maintaining power and enriching themselves. As we have recently witnessed, the rulers of many Arab countries were no different; including Ben Ali, Mubarak, Gaddafi, Saleh, Assad, etc. The founding fathers proposed a form of representative democracy to address these conditions. Today, in spite of their efforts, the wealthiest 1% of Americans control 90% of the country’s assets leaving the remaining 10% to be shared by 99% of the population.
The assertions regarding the unalienable rights of the people can be expressed in the goals: to “preserve life”, and to “affect conditions that promote liberty and equal opportunity to pursue happiness”. Considering conditions exclusively from the point of view of preserving life reveals that the Federal Government is allocating roughly 600 billion dollars to military ends which lead to death and destruction, as it is allocating to preserving life through the healthcare services of Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, the “discretionary” outlays of $600 billion or so to military ends do not include hidden costs, such as those involved in taking care of our veterans for life, and the interest that we have to pay on the money we have been borrowing to wage war. Some, who cover these hidden costs, estimate the cost of the Iraq war alone at over three trillion dollars. Thus, the government is spending more of our resources towards death and destruction than on the preservation of life. Furthermore, such computations do not cover the untold suffering of those who are disabled or maimed, and the agony of the families affected by war both here and abroad.
The rational conclusion is obvious: stop the killing and suffering, and instead, reallocate the resources that are being used to affect these heinous conditions to badly needed constructive ends. Saved resources could be used to cover the costs of providing healthcare to the poor, addressing the threats to life from natural hazards –such as the bombardment of earth by comets and meteorits- and the potential degradation of the environment, and to numerous other worthy causes, including education and sundry social programs that would help in providing equal opportunity to the citizens to ‘pursue happiness’.
It must be noted also that the imperial ways of our government that are reflected in our military expenditures have led in recent years to numerous serious impingements on our liberty. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our support of Israel in its abuse of the Palestinian people, and our seedy dealings with the heads of many Arab states have enraged Arabs and Moslems here in the USA and all around the world. These aspects of our foreign policies contributed to the rise of terrorism by Moslem fanatics, and led to conditions whereby we now have to contend with “Home Land Security” measures such as those prescribed in the “Patriot Act”, and having to take off our shoes and getting frisked if we elect to fly. The government spends roughly 40 billion dollars annually towards home land security; funds that could have been otherwise used to constructive ends.
How come then is the US government not using our tax dollars as suggested above? In fact, current efforts to cut the deficit are moving in the direction of cutting back Medicare and Medicaid and other social benefits, and laying off teachers and other social workers, with scant reduction in military expenditures!
The influence of special interests: The answer is that some influential people must have a vested interest in blocking the reallocation of resources from military ends to other constructive ends. For example, those who profit from selling guided missiles at a million dollars apiece, are likely to, and indeed have promoted shocking and awing the poor Iraqi people by dropping a thousand of their missiles within a few days on Baghdad. Besides, those who are affiliated with the largest construction corporations appreciate the destruction that ensues from military action as presenting opportunities for reconstruction business. This is referred to as double dipping! President Eisenhower cautioned us fifty years ago about the influence of the military industrial complex; we did not heed his warning!
Suppose that we leave the -sacred cow- military budget as is, and strive to reduce the cost to the government in covering Medicare and Medicaid. The pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, and the medical profession lobbies in congress vowed that they will not allow this to happen. They refer to the president’s effort to contain the cost of providing healthcare derogatively, as “Obama Care”! Because they all reap billions from the perpetuation of the status co; note for example the hundreds of millions in ‘bonuses’ that some CEO’s in the healthcare business exact every year.
How about applying government resources to the investigation of alternative sources of energy in order to hopefully, avert environmental disasters? Again, those who sell oil, gas, and coal are reaping billions in profit from selling their products. They are not to be expected, and have made it clear that they will not forego these profits without a fight. Their lobbyists at congress are busily active in this respect.
And how about the banks and financial institutions that are reaping billions in profit, and their CEO’s getting billions in ‘bonuses’, while millions of common citizens are losing their homes to foreclosure! The common citizens’ tax dollars were used to ‘bailout’ these institutions, and what did the citizens get in return, zilch. Again, financial corporations have considerable influence in congress and government. They have perpetuated dire financial conditions internationally, and are pulling strings around the world.
Furthermore, the Republican Party is working in congress to suppress any efforts to get corporations and the wealthiest of Americans to pay more taxes. They even insist on extending billions in subsidies to large corporations, and black mail the president and the whole country by threatening to shut down the government if anyone attempts to oppose them. This confirms the extent of the greed of those who insist on amassing more than their fair share of our collective wealth. No wonder, the average income of the common citizens has remained stagnant for over three decades, during which the wealthiest Americans became richer.
Also, by many accounts Israel pushed for the war in Iraq for its own ulterior motives, and was actively pushing the US to attack Iran for its ill conceived potential benefit. We send Israel about 15 billion dollars a year in all sorts of help and assistance. So, what do we Americans get in return from our so called ‘closest ally’ in the Middle East? Israel’s influence on our foreign policies through their apparent control of congress has been consistently detrimental to us. Our having to support their illegal acts through our veto power in the UN did not earn us any friends in the rest of the world, but rather led to us being hated and despised for our collusion with Israel; by far the uncontested champion of international illegal acts. It is said that the president of the USA is the most powerful man in the world. Trust me, he is not. The most powerful entity in the world is the congress of the USA by virtue of the US’s military might. The most powerful man is probably Benjamin Netanyahu. He recently demonstrated that he can muster more control over the congress of the United States of American than the president! This is shameful, but understandable in light of the Israeli lobby’s influence over congress.
Last but not least, how come did we Americans allow such conditions to prevail? The answer is simple. Most of us have been systematically subjected to propaganda and disinformation by politicians and the corporate news media. Remember that the owners of the corporate media, whether national news papers or TV, are members of the wealthiest oligarchic rulers, and that members of the oligarchy indulge in scratching each other’s backs! The corporate media’s influence is evidenced in the reelection of President G. W. Bush who presided over the most grievous excesses of the US oligarchy that negatively impacted common American citizens, as well as millions around the world. His reelection left the Europeans and others baffled about the American people’s awareness of what is happening in their own country and the rest of the globe! The machinations of politicians that are propagated by the corporate media are also witnessed in the case of Mr. Joe the plumber. Although he obviously had little to gain from promoting the republican agenda, he was blatantly thrust by the republicans in the corporate media as one who supported the republican cause! This particular incident illustrates what I will refer to as the “Misinformation and Disinformation Syndrome” (MADS).
I was myself afflicted with the MAD syndrome. When I came to the US in 1970, I landed in a small town in New Jersey that was a solid republican bastion. It boasted the seventh highest average income in the country; the high score surely was not on account of my living there! I rented a house, and by a ‘miracle’ I was able to buy the house next door after only one year from landing as an immigrant in the USA. As my wife and I worked hard to make a living and to raise our two children, we used to sympathize with the republican agenda of cutting income and property taxes. I used to vote a straight Republican ticket. I cannot brag about my financial situation now. At age 75, my present predicament is typical of the American middle class and is not enviable; savings evaporating, home values plummeting, etc. I am certain that millions are even in worse shape than I am. It took me three decades to rid myself of the MADS. I started to suspect that I was afflicted many years ago. The G. W. Bush neo-conservative administration’s actions finally convinced me that I needed to cure myself from this dangerous affliction. Alas, although I feel that I am cured now, I am convinced that millions of Americans are still afflicted with the syndrome; many -like me in the past- have fallen for the propaganda of their abusers and are still suffering from MADS.
It is clear that all kinds of special interest have succeeded in securing the favors of the Congress of the USA, and that a small minority of Americans has contrived and succeeded in controlling developments to ensure the perpetuation of the conditions that take advantage of the rest of us. The founding fathers strived in the first place to counter the influence of the British Monarchy and Empire. They tried to conceive a political structure to guarantee the ‘unalienable rights of the people’. Their experiment led to some gains for ‘the people’. The gains that have ensued from their work are being systematically eroded.
So what is New? From a historical perspective, perhaps little has changed. With very few exceptions, oligarchs continue to pursue their selfish ends around the world as usual! In the USA we still contrive pretexts to wage wars like other oligarchs and empires have done in the past; to the benefit of the top 1% of Americans and the detriment of the rest of us here, as well as the detriment of those that our empire elects to assail.
Systems of government can be gauged on a horizontal bar with Communism on the far left, and Capitalism on the far right. The Europeans, who had more time than us to develop their societies, have found the middle ground of Socialism. For five decades between Roosevelt and Regan, the US’s position on the bar continued to be somewhat to the right of the middle. As a result, American citizens at all levels of society did well during this period. After Regan –and Thatcher- and the demise of the Soviet Union, the US’s position was pushed continuously farther and farther from the center to the point where it now seems to have reached the end position at the far right of the bar; a position from which I fear that any further movement to the right could topple the gauge and lead to uncharted conditions and perhaps chaos!
In the USA, the Republican Party which most ardently supports oligarchic control over the people seems to be approaching a logical climactic conclusion to its assaults on our ‘unalienable’ rights. Thus, their battering of the people is bound to ebb. I thought that they reached this point near the end of G. W. Bush’s presidency, but no, the republicans regained control of congress in a couple of years, and resumed their assault on the people even with more vengeance. It must be stated that the large majority of democrats who are in collusion with the republicans are also culprit. Now, it is high time to consider and affect meaningful ‘change’; the people are reaching the end limits of their tolerance. This is evidenced in the budding of several independent TV news channels, numerous books and articles that promote progressive views, and in continuing peaceful demonstrations around the country, and around the world.
On the positive side, real change in certain conditions has been taking place here and abroad. Electronic communication via the internet and the social media, and whistleblowers such as WikiLeaks are exposing the abuser’s machinations to ever larger numbers of people. These recent developments contributed to the Arab Spring, as well as to other uprisings here in the US and elsewhere.
What to do then? The people’s ultimate goal is to affect democratic rule for their own benefit, and to halt the usurpation of their ‘unalienable’ rights by their oligarchic rulers. The following is recommended towards this end.
A Plea to the Oligarchy: Those in power control developments, and thus are in the strongest position to ‘change’ the course of events. I am convinced that they see the writing on the wall. Moreover, I am further convinced that they know where they could let some rope, and what they could possibly do to avert potential calamity. I will cite a few examples of what they could do in the USA: expeditiously contain military spending, allow G. W. Bush’s tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans to expire, stop subsidies to large corporations, force the banks to renegotiate mortgage interest rates rather than foreclose on people’s homes, and reverse the assault on the social net that allows a minimal existence for the most vulnerable citizens.
To the leaders of Israel who have demonstrated beyond any doubt their influence on both our internal and foreign affairs, I suggest that they take the necessary steps that have been expressed in many quarters to achieve peace in the ME to the benefit of the Israeli, American, and Palestinian people.
Generally, pleas are directed to the oligarchs of the world to show magnanimity from their current position of almost absolute control of developments, by demonstrating some compassion with the needs of the common people.
Advice to the People: The true practice of democracy predicates, in the first place, that you avail yourselves of truthful information about current developments in order for you to be in a position to conceive and express your preferences regarding possible courses for action. Politicians and the corporate media typically provide biased views, and tend to dance around issues thus confusing you about relevant critical problems; thus, leading to the spread of MADS and a dysfunctional ‘democracy’. Therefore, the topmost priority for the electorate is to attempt to obtain factual information about current developments and to overcome the MAD syndrome. It is proposed that the people boycott the corporate media. This is one of the few ways that perhaps could persuade the corporate media to change their ways, because such action would compromise their advertizing revenues. The electorate could seek information from other sources, such as for example from: Democracy Now on Link TV, Laura Flanders and the Thom Hartmann Program on Free Speech TV, and The Huffington Post. Those who are inclined to reading could obtain factual information from the Nation, the Humanist, and other magazines and newspapers that promote the cause of the people. Those sympathetic with my views could pass this article to their family and friends.
Action must be taken to block the torrential flow of funds from special interest to buy the favors of politicians. Obviously, politicians -both Republican and Democrat- will not cut their own life lines voluntarily. Therefore, the people must organize to address campaign funding abuses. The people could insist on campaign funding reform by signing petitions and declarations to the effect that: “We the people shall not support any candidate for any elected position who does not aver to support campaign funding reform.” We can also buy the politicians ourselves through mandatory contributions to a national pool; this should prove to be a worthwhile investment.
Since the existing two parties have been thoroughly infested with special interest exploitation, the people could encourage the formation of a third party, liberal, progressive, or better still social democratic; social democratic parties are prevalent around the globe. Of course those suffering from MADS will shudder at any mention of the word “social”; they have been thoroughly indoctrinated to fear what is obviously meant to be in their best interest. A word of warning though: movements by a third party have to be carefully calculated to avoid splitting the votes of those who promote ‘decency’, which could lead to a Republican victory. This would be the worst possible outcome.
Another course to pursue is to apprise ourselves of rational counter arguments to what the oligarchy is constantly trying to talk us into believing, by revealing the inconsistencies in their statements. Following are some examples:
Republican conservatives -and others- who claim that they respect the sanctity of innocent life, tell us that their unwavering respect is reflected in their opposition to stem cell research, and to abortion. Recently, in the case of Terry Schiavo who was medically pronounced ‘brain dead’ but was being artificially sustained to continue to ‘live’, G. W. Bush and a unanimous Senate voted against the decision of local authorities to disconnect her artificial life support systems in an attempt to preserve her life. These people -or at least a majority amongst them- however, urged and/or supported the invasion of Iraq which led to the demise of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children, as well as more than four thousand of our own American troops. Please try to get such conservatives to explain away the inconsistency in their statements and behavior.
Some might claim that our sacrifices in life and treasure are necessary because we care about democracy and spreading democracy internationally. The British have an interesting expression in answering such a phony claim: “my foot”! I will not honor addressing this claim beyond saying that; especially, since I am engaged in demonstrating how our ‘democracy’ is not functional.
Republicans, and others, express their concern over the deficit and the debt to our children and grandchildren; but guess who got us in this mess to begin with!? Recall the surplus at the end of Clinton’s presidency, and the enormous deficit that G. W. Bush brought about through his so called ‘defense’ spending; which I hope the reader appreciates to whose benefit. No doubt we have a deficit problem that is bound to swell due to demographic conditions, and that this problem has to be addressed as a matter of priority; see reallocation of resources above. The oligarchy, by cutting social services, and refusing to pay a fair share of taxes -like other wealthy people in Europe and elsewhere- are trying to reduce the deficit at our expense, to the detriment of our children and grandchildren, while hording more money for their own children and grandchildren.
Our military adventures that are presumably aimed at securing energy resources seem to aim more at maximizing oil corporations’ profits, rather than to delivering gasoline to the people at the lowest possible price. The recent fluctuations in the price of gas at the pump relate more to the work of speculators and to price fixing by large oil corporation, rather to any other factors.
Generally, our so called ‘free market economy’ -as it has been defined and practiced since Reagan- has led over the past decades to the wealthiest Americans siphoning and hording the juice from the economy, thus leaving ever less of the pie to be shared by the rest of us. This has translated into freedom for the wealthiest to maximize their profits in ways that compromise the chances of the rest of us to make a decent living.
To the people of Israel, I suggest that they join their Arab brothers and sisters in their attempt to restore justice and peace in the ME. After all, they originated from Egypt, and it is perhaps time to heal the rifts that developed over two millennia! In this context I suggest that they note that they have been used by the British Empire in its ploy to divide and conquer Semites; a strategy that the succeeding US Empire inherited from the British and continued to pursue for decades after the demise of the British Empire. Also, if they are concerned about the rise of Islamists, I must remind them that Zionism and the State of Israel itself emanated from extreme religious considerations, which in my modest view should have no place in the future of the world; please heed the wisdom expressed in the statement to “separate state and religion”. The people of Israel have an opportunity to change the rules of the game and to make history! Following my advice would lead to win-win results whereby they could live in peace without the threat from the retaliation of oppressed insurgents, with the added benefit of sharing in the development of the rich resources of the region. Following the strategies of their current leaders would lead to short term land grab gains. However, I am convinced that this strategy is bound to backfire in the foreseeable future, to the detriment of Israel, its neighbors, as well as millions of people around the world.
A final piece of advice to the oppressed people in different areas of the world: avoid threatening your abusers with retribution. They hold the reins, and threatening them could prove to be counterproductive; since threats are likely to strengthen their resolve to hold on to power. Instead, while standing firm on your demands for reform, I suggest that you negotiate practicable terms to remove the culprits from power or otherwise, to find peaceful ways to achieve your goals. This applies particularly to conditions in the Arab countries of the ME.
Conclusion: We have reached conditions in the USA whereby the congress is controlled by all sorts of special interest. The Supreme Court contributed to this state of affairs by allowing special interest groups to buy the favors of our so called ‘representatives’ by allowing corporations and special interest groups to extend unlimited election campaign contributions to the kinds of potential representatives who pledge to serve their interests. The executive branch is included in this scheme through contributions to presidential elections. Checks and balances between the three branches of government are no longer functional. The three branches seem to be working in collusion to serve special interest. This is a predicament that cannot be easily rectified. It is worth noting in this context that, in a recent Email message President Obama indicated that he will not seek contributions from special interest, but rather directly from individuals!
In his epic work “The Last Lost Empire”, Professor Ted Becker -with Michael Briand- explains the historical developments that led to our current predicament. He reminds us that the founding fathers owned slaves, and reveals the back and forth tugs between those who strived to guard the ‘unalienable’ rights of the people, and those who incessantly and doggedly opposed them. Ultimately, he points out that representative ‘democracy’ as practiced at present is not functioning in the best interest of the American people. He proposes ways to address this condition. I urge the reader to visit Ted Becker’s website at: www.last-lost-empire.com, and to read his book. “Planning for Survival” which was published earlier and is featured on this web site yielded similar conclusions. You could also check it out.
Reform of conditions in the USA would have positive worldwide ramifications; the US being -still- a preeminent global power. Failure on the other hand could lead to ominous repercussions. In his book “A Short History of Progress”, the Canadian author Roland Wright considers the emergence and demise of civilizations and empires historically. He makes the case about how civilizations have emerged independently of each other in different regions of the world –such as in Egypt, and south America- and reveals the parallels in the circumstances that led to their emergence, and eventual demise; conditions that are reminiscent of what has been taking place here in the USA. His thesis can be summarized in that the seeds of the demise of ‘empire’ are built into the processes of emergence and maturation of ‘empire’. He concludes his book by pointing out that the present global ‘potentially last empire’, i.e. the USA, if it collapses by virtue of its own action, it could conceivably bring the whole world down with it!
Between now and November of 2012, we the people have time to put our act together. Let each of us do what he can to regain and secure our ‘unalienable rights’.
March 11, 2011
In my update yesterday, I suggested that Egypt could be involved in supporting the Libyan rebellion. I also argued against US intervention. Feedback from Egypt indicates that conditions there preclude Egypt’s involvement. Furthermore, developments on the ground in Libya confirm the urgent need for outside help. Therefore, I am reluctantly obliged to encourage US and international intervention to contain bloodshed in Libya.
I hope though that the US will not conceive its action in Libya with an ultimate goal of returning to ‘conducting business as usual’ in the ME. Current dynamics in the region imply that it would not be wise to do so. Statements by President Obama, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Gates seem to reflect cognizance of this proposition. On the other hand, Libyan’s and other stakeholders in the region are encouraged to carefully calculate their response to American and international overtures to assist them.
March 10, 2011
The events that are unfolding in Libya call for swift action to stop Gaddafi from massacring more Libyans; Libyans that he claims “love him”. The question is: what sort of action, and by whom?
Over the years, the US has demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that its ulterior imperial motives impel its action in the region. Accordingly, one needs to be wary of US overtures to addressing current developments in Libya, and in the ME in general. For example, senators McCain and Lieberman who were first in proposing the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya are known ardent supporters of Israel. They probably received their instructions to promote the no-fly zone after consulting with the Israeli government; they stopped in Israel before flying to visit Egypt. Furthermore, US major construction companies are probably busy promoting the destruction of Libya’s infrastructure assets as required to affecting the no-fly zone in order to create business opportunities to rebuild these assets; they have conspired to affect such action in Iraq and elsewhere in the world! Therefore, US intervention may be encouraged for humanitarian purposes, but must be ruled out beyond that measure.
There is talk now about the US urging the Saudis to airlift military supplies to Benghazi. It is no secret that the Saudi monarchy is not sympathetic with Gaddafi. The Saudis though may or may not oblige the USA. At any rate, the Saudis are closely allied with the US. For this reason alone, one needs to be apprehensive about involving the Saudis in the Libyan conflict.
Well then, who else is in a position to lend assistance to the Libyan people? Certainly, the United Nations is in a position to do so. However, the UN’s action can be expected to be sluggish, as different nations with differing agendas attempt to agree on a course of action. From past experience, the Arab League of Nation, which could also offer help, is likely to be even more sluggish in reaching agreement about taking meaningful action. Therefore, due to the dire need for urgent action in Libya, I am led to entertain the following scenario.
It seems that roughly a million Egyptian workers are still trying to leave Libya. The Egyptian government is doing what it can to help them. The Egyptian army could assume a more proactive role in achieving that by obtaining Libya’s interim government’s approval to send Egyptian forces inside Libya to facilitate the evacuation of Egyptian workers. More importantly, Libyan rebels may welcome the prospect of the Egyptian armed forces lending assistance to their efforts to oust Gaddafi. To my mind, Egyptian military intervention would be the most expeditious way to getting rid of Gaddafi. The relatively formidable Egyptian army is nearby across the border. Furthermore, I suspect that the prospect of the Egyptian army’s potential involvement alone would send Gaddafi and his family fleeing Libya without further bloodshed.
I am a bit baffled about the fact that what seems to me to be an obvious option for action is not being considered by the main parties involved, namely the Libyan and Egyptian people. In the first place, the Libyan people may not be agreeable to involving Egypt in their struggle. Also, the Egyptian revolt is in the process of putting its act together, and conditions in Egypt today may preclude involvement in any venture such as outlined above. Perhaps the US still holds sway over developments in the region, and is blocking the consideration of certain options for action in an effort to claim credit for having saved the Libyan people by its own intervention; certainly, in the way of perpetuating US dominance in the region. Irrespective, current developments seem to me to provide an unprecedented historic opportunity for the Libyan and Egyptian people to cooperate with each other, and to assume a major role in changing the course of events in the ME, and to shake off imperial dominance of the region.
February 28, 2011
To the brave Egyptian people: congratulations on your valiant uprising which toppled ex. President Mubarak; in Arabic: “mabrouk”. I am an Egyptian born American who is particularly proud of your achievement. Also, I wish to pay tribute to the courageous Tunisians who initiated the current movement towards democracy in the Middle East. I am hopeful that the spread of the peaceful uprising of ‘the people’ in the region and elsewhere in the world will materialize without further undue bloodshed. This being said, I wish to offer whatever assistance I can muster to support the peoples’ revolt.
I am neither a political scientist nor a political activist. However, I have been concerned for many years about the plight of common citizens, in particular the plight of many in the USA and the ME. This prompted me to apply certain lessons that I learned from my experience as a professional planner to address global issues and to write “Planning for Survival” which is promoted on this web site. The book addresses issues that are relevant to current developments aiming for democratic rule by the people for the people. The views expressed clarify the causes of problems and present proposals to address them. I also encourage those who visit my web site to use the links above. They guide those interested in the subject to pertinent sources of information and sympathetic analyses. In particular, I recommend visiting Professor Ted Becker’s web site “The Last Lost Empire”; the most recent articles posted there are quite relevant.
In recent years, I have witnessed how those in power in the USA contrived to progressively augment their abuse and usurpation of the rights of common citizens, both in the USA and globally. This is manifested in numerous conditions. For example, the wealthiest 1% of Americans now control over 90% of US assets; similar to what used to be the case with Ben- Ali, Mubarak, and Gaddafi. In addition, the most powerful Americans continue to pursue imperial domination over the rest of the world in order to take advantage of the common citizens of other countries; cases in point, the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. Thus, my work addressed critical issues in the USA, and the conclusions and suggestions for action in my book focus on affecting change in the US in the hope of solving both local issues, and global issues that ensue from American imperialism. Little did I suspect that actual meaningful change in global conditions will be initiated by the action of the people of the Middle East! I cite this in order to alert Egyptian, and other revolutionists that, should they consider the US Constitution as a model to emulate, they are forewarned that the US Constitution does not work in practice to the advantage of the common American citizen. The American Constitution needs to be tweaked to avert many problems that we are experiencing here.
My message to my fellow American citizens is that they seem to me to be on the whole: slumbering; remember, you snooze, you lose! I suggest that they observe the uprising in Egypt, the ME, and elsewhere in the world, and consider whether they can learn any lessons from current developments. As I write this article, the people in Wisconsin seem to have grasped the parallels in the experiences of ‘the people’ in America and elsewhere in the world; they actually made contact with their Egyptian counterparts.
The leaders in Middle Eastern Arab countries got the message loud and clear: they cannot continue to lead as they have led in previous decades; some of the leadrs are gone, and others seem to be on their way out. The leaders in the USA, especially republican politicians and some of their ardent supporters need to take note of the writing on the wall. In my view, they will be shooting themselves in the foot if they continue to think that they can fool all the people all the time; or rather, as many people as necessary for them to stay in power. The leaders of the USA and Israel are beginning to come to grips with the notion that they need to reconsider the games that they have been playing for decades in the Middle East. They are advised to recognize the resilience of the human spirit which does not tolerate relentless incessant abuse.
The moral: new telecommunication technologies, the internet, facebook, tewitter, skype, WikiLeaks, etc. seem to have ushered a new era that is likely to empower ‘the people’ worldwide to better control their collective destiny. The wealthiest of the wealthy -whether individuals or corporations- and the political leaders they sustain, are advised to heed the momentous current developments and to modify their respective strategies in dealing with the common citizens of the world. Prepare for sharing some of your power and wealth with ‘the people’; you can definitely afford to do that if you can muster some control over your greed. Otherwise, you may be risking loosing it all. Last but not least, to Osama Bin Laden, and others who promote sectarian violence and terrorism: cease and desist from conducting such acts. Your action invariably leads to the death of innocent people who have little to do with your cause. Besides, your action provides an excuse for those in power to come down on helpless citizens all over the world. Please note that young people in the Arab world are in the process of demonstrating the effectiveness of an alternative peaceful approach to addressing global problems.