Korea

Korea is back into the news as a possible “new” war. For those who are sketchy on the details- here’s a brief summary. Similarly after the war in Europe, Korea was occupied by the Soviets and Americans after being “liberated” from Japan. The partition divided Korea on the 38th parallel. On June 30, 1950 North Korea overran South Korea resulting in American and South Korea forces occupying a small tract of land on the tip.
Much like the illegal trading prior to 9/11, “Someone had dumped large amounts of soybeans on the Chicago market to force the price down, while holding bigger amounts in soybean futures. The speculation began in mid-June and was targeted specifically for big selloffs at the end of the week before that fateful Sunday, June 25, 1950. The Commodity Exchange Authority later said that by June 30, fifty-six Chinese held nearly half of all open contracts for July soybean futures—all “on the long side,” meaning they were playing for a rise in price.” according to I. F. Stone’s “The Hidden History of the Korean War: 1950-1951.”
Bruce Cumings in the preface asserts “I. F. Stone at the time correctly named T. L. Soong, brother of fabulously wealthy T. V. Soong, and brother-in-law of Chiang Kai-shek. Furthermore, according to several sources, Senator Joe McCarthy profited from the soybean corner. Drew Pearson wrote in his diary, “McCarthy was buying soybeans” at the time when “the Chinese Nationalists did just about corner the market before Korea”; Stone said McCarthy had “a successful flier in soybeans” later on in 1950.”
Note that all of these futures bought were in advance of North Korea’s attack on South Korea, which the United States publicly stated were a surprise.

WWII: Desert Air War

World War II fascinates many folks as it probably was the last war where there was some justification for so many lives lost, so many civilians killed, and so much destruction in a cause that united a world against total aggression.
Unique among WWII books is the “Desert Air War” by Richard Townshend Bickers. Most war books are a droll recounting of battles in the air, sea and land without any sort of relevance of background. Bickers gives us, at least from a British point of view, a brief history of the Middle East from ancient times to the WWII era. This is important for many reasons as history is not a blank slate, but rather a series of events that affects the future in ways that shape how we understand and digest key moments.
Some background should always be the focus of any author, however brief and tidy. Today it is hard to understand and get perspective on what our ancestors lived through. The one thing we must note is how easy it is to advance warfare technology but even harder to actually bring about social justice.
One anecdote that Bickers cites concerns the background of the air commodore chosen to head British operations in Egypt.
Raymond “Collishaw, a burly and rumbustious extrovert, was not without his idiosyncrasies. As a young squadron commander in Flanders during the First World War he had delighted in a ruinous game played when dining in another squadron’s mess: swinging on the cross beams of the wooden hut and collapsing the roof. In 1917 he had survived a mishap that would have been fatal ninety-nine times out of a hundred. In combat at 16,000ft with three German Albatros fighters, he had made a manoeuvre so violent that his safety strap broke and he fell out of the cockpit of his Sopwith Triplane. He grabbed the two centre struts and hung, with his legs trailing in the slipstream, as the “Tripe” dived with full power until it suddenly nosed up, stalled and began to spin. Managing to get one leg into the cockpit, he hooked the stick back with his foot and, as the aircraft began a sudden climb, he fell back into his seat.”

folks

Lot’s of folks have the attitude that protests, voting, calling your representatives and all the activities that a democracy entails don’t work. They could be right but consider that even if they don’t work, they elevate consciousness, they elevate the collective conscience, they bring publicity, they force people to confront their lackadaisical attitudes. The more that participate the more likely that a revolution will sweep across nations. Revolutions gain momentum one person at a time until it becomes a momentum, an unstoppable force- history proves that human rights have improved over the years…

I’m currently binge watching Hill Street Blues on Hulu and am enjoying it immensely. In light of the current state of our police in general, the producers- even if Hollywood- give a view of police and community relations that may well be lacking these days. The Hill Street cops don’t go in with guns blazing at every traffic stop or hostage situation even if the perpetrator is armed- they try to negotiate and if they fail feel remorse. Since I have mostly lived in the country since 1975, rural cops don’t face the pressures that big city cops face- but that is no excuse to be the thugs that many seem to be. Back to the Hill Street series, it is funny without a laugh track (extra bonus for me), dramatic with a bit of schmaltz, often poignant and very well thought out for a weekly series. As an added bonus many of the guests went on to their own series or had parts in others. All in all, it’s worth viewing even if you have seen it before or even more so if you have never seen it. It ranks right up there with Barney Miller, LA Law and numerous other series that ran for more than 5 years. And without commercials it is a real joy. Each episode is 48 minutes, although early TV had 52 minutes, with today’s TV 42 minutes or less for an hour show.

bankrupt

Bankrupting is the elites way of stripping assets directly into their pockets. Get a loan, default on it and never have to pay it back. It’s like buying a new car and as soon as you drive it off the lot, it’s worth less- that’s the corporate profit taken right off the top…

regress

From your point of view and that simply is the problem- what choice do regressives have? However, we only have ourselves to blame from LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and so on as each one and their congresses have further tightened the noose until we are at the point where presidents are equally abhorrent to each party. And that has gotten worse since Citizens United decision by a conservative court. Conservatives hate the government but don’t recognize that corporations run the government but yet think corporations are their saviors – it’s a joke straight out of 1984. Conservatives have been running this country for almost 40 years and are able to blame all our problems on immigrants, China and the plethora of boogie men when congress gave the tax credits to corporations to move jobs out of the United States, run up the deficits to fight endless wars and give even more subsidies to corporations and regressives are so asleep they applaud- look at your pro-Trump websites- all you see is are posts like “Is Trump doing a good job?” No discussion of what he and the GOP actually advocate and are going to pass in the next four years. So I see the problem is that regressives and HRC supporters are actually proud of their ignorance- I don’t see it changing anytime soon- so yea, good luck buddy enjoy the pollution, enjoy having your retirement taken away, enjoy working for shit wages- you’ve earned it!

genocide

The recent attention being made to the extreme right relies on its acceptance as an ideology. The goal is genocidal anarchy and the right and consent to kill, injure, arrest and destroy property of anyone who doesn’t think like they do, look like they do and adhere to mythical values that only fools describe as “freedom.” That is why it must be shut down before it snowballs into an unstoppable avalanche…

econ

There are three basic economies- 1) Wall Street and the use of government subsidies for the elites; 2) the lower economy that is self contained in the poor where limited money circulates; 3) The overlapping economy where the rich prey on the poor with big box stores, big oil and power companies and the use of local governments to extract taxes and user fees. Anyone with half a brain needs to understand that the more money that circulates- even if it is in the hands of the poor for seconds- the better the lifestyle of the lower classes. What we have seen is that at any one time the money supply is finite and concentrated in the hands of the elite bubble and never sees the light of day to the lower classes. Wall Street uses their control to extract even more money in fees on pension funds, bank accounts and insurance. The rest of the economy is limited by the infinitesimal amounts of money circulating at any given time which percentages are extracted by the elites daily. This is simply the libertarian model where profits are privatized and risks passed to the government and the people. This is not capitalism by any stretch of the imagination.

Clapton

“Clapton is God” was written all over the world on buildings reflecting the guitarist’s influence on rock, rhythm and blues and other genres of modern music. It’s ironic when each album was released, Clapton wasn’t necessarily recognized as a seminal force or a technical master. Even with the release of Layla- the greatest rock and roll record ever made- didn’t bring the adulation that his contemporaries enjoyed. Part of that had to do with the aspects of Clapton’s low keyed sensibilities as a human being first and a musician who just wanted to play guitar.
The documentary below gives a good hearing to the guitar virtuoso and his influence on the rock world.

nazis

What’s always important is to see just what our society promotes. I looked at many definitions of Nazi in multiple dictionaries- about the worst I saw was “inflexible.” There was nothing about an aggressive mindset .to destroy perceived enemies of which war is the most insidious as the Nazis also added planned genocide to the mix. The WWII era Nazis invaded numerous countries by Blitzkrieg in which they destroyed everything military or civilian in their path. Behind their war machine they had special units of the SS who either killed, rounded up civilians for their slave factories or sent the remainder- the aged, women and children to concentration camps. Is this the kind of mentality that we want to promote for freedom of speech, the right to bear arms in the United States?