Saturday, March 2, 2013

Truth Ver.0.6

What if you were being told a version of the truth?
    Just the part someone wanted you to know...
Michel Foucault
Reality” is created by those who have power. One of postmodernism's key theorist Michel Foucault argues that whoever dominates or controls the “official” use of language in a society holds the key to social and political power.
Like when the Soviet Union was the ‘red menace’ or the ‘evil empire’; that’s what our leadership told us about it. The CCCP actually was all those things, of course; at least at the leadership level it was. Interestingly, their citizens were told similar things about us. Those were similarly true. The power play and posturing of nations was in the hands of the few.

The citizens of the Soviet Union were just people, though. Just like us, we discovered after the wall came down; just exactly like us in hopes for peace and prosperity and in desires for their children’s future. They and we were fed the lies of power players; it’s called propaganda. It works; both we and they were fed the fodder that keeps sheep happy and cooperative, and we ate it.  We did so without the proverbial 'grain of salt' that suggests we inquire a bit before blindly accepting.

In the 60’s, I remember an emerging alternative. It was volatile, radical, fractured, and demanding. The response of my government was violent and intolerant. It denied the claims made against it, that the war in Vietnam was immoral and based on lies, that the military/industrial interests were driving the nation down the wrong path. It took fifty years to put to rest that in basic substance, the radicals were correct. We were lied to in extraordinary depth and breadth. Our nation had become un-American.

We found that the Chinese were building nuclear weapons, perhaps 400, in order to take over the world; lies. America had at the time more than 10,000 and was improving their targeting precision; the Chinese were nervous, understandably.

Colin Powell holding a model vial
of anthrax while giving a presentation
to the United Nations Security Council
Down the road, we found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq; false, it later turned out. Our intelligence organization found massed troops on the Saudi border; also false.  Not mistakes, but selected reasons justifying a war already in the plan.  We traced chemical weapons; also false.

Radical, militant Islam isn't universal. Some of what we see is a response to a perceived American sponsored reshaping of the world. We've attacked them, or so it appears to them.  And we've not attempted to correct their thinking.  After all, they're irrational fanatics that cannot be intelligent or diplomatic; more misrepresentation.

Congressional studies over the last twenty years have been published; they show that America is distrusted around the world now. Folks are nervous about the nice folks that used to be their friends, and who now look like they are in fact conquering the world. The world admires our historic principles and uniformly distrusts our behavior. From their viewpoint, we do not live by the principles we advertise. Truth, justice, freedom, and democracy, all are in question if judged by our behavior outside our own borders; and inside too, sometimes.
President George W. Bush addresses the
nation from the Oval Office, March 19,
2003, to announce the beginning of
Operation Iraqi Freedom, "The people of
the United States and our friends and allies
will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime
that threatens the peace with weapons of
mass murder." The Senate committee found
that many of the administration's pre-war 
statements about Iraqi WMD were not
supported by the underlying intelligence.
(understatement, understandable but troubling)

In recent decades, regulatory changes gave us imaginary money and derivatives as a means to generate wealth apart from the legitimate marketplace. Things to buy and sell that extract monetary value from the legitimate marketplace. These aren't investments in food or machines or services; they're just bets on which way the wind will blow. Imaginary stuff and not connected to the real world.  That imaginary money, pumped from the legitimate marketplace, exceeds the GDP of the world several times over.  That means ...

Most of the money in the world is not tied to value any more; it used to be, but now it's tied directly to derivatives; that is most of the money in the world.  (Derivatives were gambling in the U.S. until Wall Street persuaded the government to change the law.)

And most financial transactions (15 X GDP) are just foreign currency exchanges.  Use dollars to buy francs or whatever.  The financial industry spends little time on goods and services and most time on extracting wealth from the marketplace where the rest of us live.

Your money used to represent value.  X dollars = an ounce of silver.  Or more X dollars = and ounce of gold.  It crossed over to mean a bag of potatoes = nn dollars = a day's work = a ticket to Birmingham = a small bag of processed corn meal.  Goods and services; things of value.  Now it's also a wager; worth millions or nothing; all imaginary and completely disconnected from 99% of the people in the world.  Well, actually, it's a drain-line connected directly to their artery, pumping life blood.  Out.

So what have we done to the world? We had the chance to be community participants, to work together for good. Have we done well?  Are we well received?  Or is the world approaching the occupy/tipover point where such thinking is deadly.

We've been here before, of course; a tipover point, I mean.  There's still time to pick your side.

Speaking of choosing a side ...

"You're probably right, a man should have an opinion ... but those mountains have been there for 600 million years.  Long after we're gone, they'll still be right there.  Talking about who owns them is like two fleas arguing over which one owns the dog."  ~ Crocodile Dundee