Hour 1 - 3
2014-07-11 Hour 1 Tony Vays (Video Archive):
Tone attended the Hong Kong Bitcoin Conference recently and will provide a summary of the conference. Also, comments on the recent Bitcoin thefts...
The Disaster and Triumph of Stolen Bitcoins
My perspective on Bitcoin is one of personal freedom and accountability. This new currency and payment method is a tool for individual liberty. The peer-to-peer transactions allow for decentralized networks to flourish. It encourages and sustains the transfer of currency from person to person.
As a single mom with 5 kiddos to love and support, the option of using bitcoin is appealing.
I bought a few when they were still pretty low and have been adding to my collection as funds allow me to. I kept my wallet on Coinbase and was in the process of transferring the majority to a paper wallet.
Understanding how it all works has been a challenge for me, as I know it is for many people who hold Bitcoin. Before putting most of my usable Bitcoins into a paper wallet, I wanted to make sure that I understood how to access them. Not fully understanding, I had not completed the process.
For anyone whose bitcoins are not secure yet, please let my delay and misfortune be an encouragement to you: get your bitcoins secured!
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2014-07-11 Hour 2 Professor Peter Mathews (Video Archive):
Professor Peter Mathews
With Liberty and Justice for Some;
How to Reclaim the American Dream for All
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON NOW:
Many questions torment America in the dark night of its soul, but its seems Corporate CEO pay emerges as one of this year's hottest trending issues. At the midway point to the next election, this and other hotly contested issues are shackled and tackled in Professor Peter Mathews' must-read new book Dollar Democracy: with Liberty and Justice for Some; How to Reclaim the American Dream for All.
Read this book about Corporations and their pampered and pandering political offspring. Act Accordingly. Our country is in the midst of an uncivil war between the alarmingly powerful, determined to destroy the middle class and the intentionally left behind. Professor Peter Mathews' book serves as a counterpoint to those who luxuriate in denying the reality of America's rapidly changing social landscape. We are dangerously close to cementing a permanent American catastrophe. Mathews boldly and unapologetically asks questions and gives solutions that the media/propaganda machine purposefully ignore. He closes the tome with a checklist of high crimes and misdemeanors and an urgent call to conscience and about what needs to be done next.
Determining our actions today can move us towards either a stronger, more positive future, or a future shrouded in fear, poverty, war. This book is written as a primer for people of all ages and all classes who want answers.
Professor Mathews speaks in a voice that resounds with clarity and conviction as he examines the direct and intentional outcome of separate policies that were advocated, starting with the Reagan administration, to intentionally deceive and destroy the middle class. In a full frontal attack by the corporate manipulators Mathews details how the middle class has become superfluous to the very rich and why various policies were deliberately created to eliminate them. Their defining characteristic is dirty, scorched-earth partisanship carried out regardless of cost. Conservatives are anxious again to finish first – with the big prize- monopoly control of the American government, and the power to turn their ideology into the law of the land. Quite a bargain at any price. People want answers, but our compromised leaders can't provide them because bold actions carry too much political risk. Meanwhile the corporations are booming and running roughshod over us. They are operating in their own time and space continuum that is increasingly supranational – disconnected from local concerns and their home markets.
Mathews reveals that there are fat corporate balance sheets ready to create jobs and prosperity – just not in America. While corporations feign heartfelt pledges of allegiance to the U.S., they still must depend on the government to protect intellectual property and keep waterways safe so they can deliver their made-in-China supplies to us. This formidable book brings to light of day important new information regarding how the Corporate manipulators are destroying our country.
Dollar Democracy is a riveting read, the text, defiantly disturbing. Mathews' writing style passionately grounded in integrity and reality. The conclusions of his detective work fit together like sword and scabbard. He gives his reader so much juicy information, a veritable tsunami of corporate skullduggery. He doesn't mince words and he doesn't hold back when identifying the cauldrons of chaos they have created. He exposes these and others among the secret corporate power elite as the coolly vicious orchestrators of wars and grand-scale theft. Mathews also details the mind-boggling sums of money their CEO's reap from the proceeds of their crony capitalism. And what's interesting is that the fortunes of corporations are totally delinked from the fortunes of the rest of the world. The 2008 financial crisis devastated hundreds of millions of people, but the following year , a historic high, thanks in large part to the massive injection of public money they received. Average wages in developed countries have dropped since the crisis, but the A CEO now makes about 357 times more than the average worker's salary in the U.S., up from 181 times in 2009 and 40 times in 1980. The divide between the have-nots and have-yachts is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent capture about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.
But the problem isn't that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.
Crony politicians have made decisions that led to outsourcing good middle class jobs, dismantling our public education system kindergarten through college and university; deteriorating health care that leaves Americans in danger, sick and broke; the destroying of our environment and lives; the polluting of our food through deregulation of big agribusiness, pesticide use and the proliferation of Genetically Modified (GMO) foods; the crash of Wall Street and the Great Recession from which the bottom 99% of Americans have not yet recovered; while the super wealthy are doing better than ever.
Mind-blowing from the beginning, Mathews' book takes an even more astounding contemporary turn when he declares their efforts over the past thirty years have succeeded. The middle class democracy that made America great is in seemingly irreversible decline. Mathews clearly shows how the Corporations and their crony politicians have hoodwinked America by separating speech and thought.
But wait, Mathew is a political pugilist, ready to lob a whole arsenal of answers on how we can reverse these trends and return middle-class democracy. He proposes comprehensive, bold, visionary solutions to restore America's formidable democracy and make this country great again.
Can the truth change the course of history? If the truth can heal, then this book is a prescription for accountability. It is a must-read for anyone who believes that following our constitution must be mandatory for the pursuit of good government and that our once vibrant and powerful democracy is not for sale to the highest bidder and the too-clever-for-word machinations of the Corporate Pollution Politics.
Dollar Democracy is really a blueprint for Americans that have had enough. And that means 99% of us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Peter Mathews has spent 30 years as a College and University Professor. Peter is a full-time Professor of Political Science at Cypress College, and an adjunct Professor of Sociology at Long Beach City College. He has taught at California State University, Fullerton, and is currently a Featured Political Analyst and Contributing Partner on the "Head-On" Radio Show on KEIB AM 1150 in Los Angeles, California. On July 3, 2014 Peter served as guest Host on KPFK radio 90.7 FM and KPFK.ORG from 3 PM to 4PM of Special Programming, calling it, "Standing up for Social and Economic Justice." During 2012 and 2013, Peter served as a Political Analyst on KTLK Progressive Talk Radio's popular "The David Cruz Show" in Los Angeles. Peter has served as a political analyst on KNBC-TV, KCBS-TV, KTLA-TV, CNN radio, KPFA radio and guest on KPFK radio, KPCC radio, and as a commentator on KNX News Radio and other venues. He is a contributing columnist for the Long Beach Register, and on-line Orange County Register. He has been a guest op-ed writer in the Long Beach Press Telegram, and other publications.
Having lived, traveled, taught, and conducted research in 27 countries including Brazil, Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Nicaragua, and elsewhere, Peter Mathews has gained firsthand knowledge of public policy issues such as healthcare, education, economic development, international relations, and environmental sustainability in these and other societies.
Peter Mathews was the Democratic Party Nominee for the U.S. Congress in 1998 and ran a close race in the Long Beach, California based district, while refusing money from corporate donors.
Peter Mathews moved to Los Angeles in 1979 and has been a resident of Long Beach for 23 years, where he lives with his wife Toya Baker-Mathews and daughter Page.
Available on Amazon.com
or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Available in Paperback and on Kindle
For more information, go to:
2014-07-11 Hour 3 Sheldon Richman
TGIF: The Middle East Harvests Bitter Imperialist Fruit
The wall-to-wall coverage of the disintegration of Iraq ought to carry this credit: This bloodshed was made possible by the generosity of British and French imperialists.
The stomach-wrenching violence in Iraq — not to mention the horrendous civil war in Syria, the chronic unrest in Palestine/Israel, and problems elsewhere in the Middle East — are direct consequences of the imperialist acts of the British and French governments at the end of World War I, the history-altering catastrophe that began 100 years ago this August 4.
The story has been told many times. The government of Great Britain wanted to disrupt the Ottoman Empire's ability to help Germany and the Austro-Hungarian empire in the Great War. So the British dispatched personnel, most famously T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), to persuade the Arab leaders to revolt against the Turks, in return for which they would gain their independence in (roughly) the Levant (what today is Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Syria), Mesopotamia (Iraq), and the Arabian Peninsula. The Arab leadership agreed and proceeded to obstruct the Turks' war efforts.
In the 1915–16 correspondence between the British High Commissioner in Cairo, Sir Henry McMahon, and Arab leader Hussein bin Ali, McMahon acknowledged Hussein's demand for independence in most of the Levant (Palestine included) and the Arabian peninsula:
Subject to the above modifications, Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca [Hussein].
McMahon did not give a blanket guarantee; he excluded western parts of the Levant (Lebanon) in favor of French interests and declared that
With regard to … Bagdad [sic] and Basra [in Iraq], the Arabs will recognise that the established position and interests of Great Britain necessitate special administrative arrangements in order to secure these territories from foreign aggression, to promote the welfare of the local populations and to safeguard our mutual economic interests.
Nevertheless, the British led the Arabs to believe — and the Arabs indeed did believe — that they would gain independence in most of their lands not only from the Turks but also from Britain and France as well if the Allied powers prevailed.
The British officials, however, never intended to honor this promise to let the Arabs go their own way at the war's end. The British (and French) cynically used the Arabs for their own advantage while secretly planning for a postwar Middle East dominated by their countries.
In 1916, after McMahon's correspondence with Hussein, Sir Mark Sykes, a Middle East adviser to the British cabinet, and French diplomat François Georges Picot negotiated the famous secret agreement that bears their names. (It was also signed by czarist Russia's representative.) The Sykes-Picot Agreement presumed to divide up the Middle East among the imperial Allied Powers, even before it had been wrested from the Turks.
Generally, the better developed parts of the Arab lands — Iraq and Greater Syria (including Lebanon) — would be controlled by Britain and France, while the undeveloped peninsula — today's Saudi Arabia and Yemen — would be independent, though divided into British and French spheres of influence. (Its oil potential was yet unknown.) Part of what is today's Turkey would be in Russian hands.
More specifically Britain would control southern Mesopotamia (Iraq), two Mediterranean port cities, and what would become Jordan. France would get Greater Syria, including today's Lebanon, and northern Mesopotamia. Palestine (minus Jordan) would be under international supervision. This is not exactly how things ended up, but it set the stage for the final division of Arab territory between Britain and France after the war.
Obviously the agreement had to be kept secret, or else the Arabs would not have cooperated with the British. Moreover, the Allied powers hoped that President Woodrow Wilson would bring the United States into the war — and Wilson said he opposed territorial gains by the belligerents.
The agreement might have remained secret through the war except that after the Russian Revolution in the fall of 1917, the Bolsheviks discovered it in the files and made it public in order to embarrass the French and British governments.
This did not deter them from going ahead with their plan, in apparent disregard for Wilson's Fourteen Points, issued in January 1918, 10 months before the end of the war. While Wilson is known for insisting on the principle of self-determination, in opposition to colonialism, the closest his Fourteen Points came to endorsing that principle is this:
A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.
Note that the interests of subjugated people are to receive only "equal" consideration with the claims of governments. That hardly sounds like self-determination. At any rate, Wilson, who took sick when the Paris Peace Conference convened, was unable to stop the British and French from carrying out their imperial plans. In the end, his administration acquiesced in return for oil concessions for American companies.
As noted, the actual division of the Middle East did not follow Sykes-Picot precisely, because modifications were made in light of subsequent agreements, conferences (such as the 1920 San Remo conference), and events (such as the Russian Revolution). The language of 19th-century colonialism was dropped in favor of the "mandate" system, which (in theory) authorized Britain and France to oversee newly created Arab states until the Arabs were ready for self-government. The British created the states of Iraq and Transjordan (later Jordan). What was left of Palestine (it had different boundaries at different times) would not be designated a state but would be administered by Britain. France took Syria, out of which it created a separate Lebanon.
The arbitrarily drawn "national" boundaries cut through sectarian, ethnic, and tribal lines, planting the seeds of future conflicts that continue to this day. (The imperialists had done the same thing in Africa.)
Regarding Palestine, in the November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration the British government expressed its approval of "the establishment … of a national home for the Jewish people," and pledged to "use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object." The declaration also stated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." These provisos were little more than boilerplate.
Note that the declaration was issued before the British army conquered Palestine. The government was making promises about land it did not yet control — and this promise to the Zionist movement conflicted with the promises made earlier to the Arabs, again setting the stage for later conflict.
The Balfour Declaration, which created anxiety among Arabs and most Jews, of course paved the way for the creation of the State of Israel some 30 years later.
It is important to understand that throughout this process, the Arabs, Kurds, and other indigenous people were never consulted about the imperialists' disposition of their lands. No wonder: what they wanted — independence from foreign powers — conflicted with the objectives of British and French politicians. But by what authority did they decide the future of the people in the Middle East?
Here's another heartbreaking aspect to this story, When the Paris Peace Conference convened, Arab leaders looked to the United States to frustrate the imperialists' designs, because they associated Wilson with the principle of self-determination. Their hopes, however, were dashed. (For details see Ussama Makdisi's Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S.-Arab Relations, 1820–2001.) Anyone who protested the callous treatment of the Arabs and others was dismissed or ignored as naïve.
Let that sink in: the Arabs — Muslim, Christian, and secular — looked to the United States as a beacon of liberty and independence. (Whether American history justified that attitude is another matter.) They were let down and have suffered as a result ever since.
America may be despised by many people in the Middle East today — but it did not have to be that way.
The French and British proceeded to create states and governments in their new possessions. In the early 1920s, whenever Arabs tried to resist foreign rule, they were brutally suppressed — by the British in Iraq and the French in Syria. (This was reminiscent of the American suppression of the Filipinos, 1899–1902.) The Arab resistance was no match for the Europeans' bombers, artillery, and mechanized vehicles.
Let's now take a step back from the trees and view the forest.
This is a story about arrogant Western imperialists who thought enlightened, civilized Europeans should govern the Arabs (and Kurds) rather than let them determine their own destiny. Often the British and French described their rule in paternalistic terms. The barely disguised colonial system would be for the Arabs' own good, it was said. When they achieved the elevated condition of their overlords, they will have earned the right to be free.
This view was voiced by men representing countries that had just engaged in over four years of savage trench warfare in the "war to end war," not to mention the previous centuries bloodied by Europe's religious and political wars. The paternalistic facade of course concealed narrow economic and political interests. (When Britain and France were unable to continue managing the Middle East after World War II, the United States took over.)
What's happening in the Middle East today may be seen as a violent attempt to undo the Sykes-Picot, San Remo, etc., impositions of the last century. ISIS, for example, has erased the artificial boundary between Syria and Iraq. In this light, further Western intervention looks like a recipe for an even greater disaster.
As we look at the violence today in Iraq, Syria, Palestine/Israel, Egypt, and elsewhere in the region, we should remember that it all might have been avoided had the European powers not launched World War I, or if, in the event of war, the British and French had let the Arabs chart their own course.
Current Articles by Sheldon Richman
Friday, July 11, 2014
If libertarians want to change how nonlibertarians' think about government, they will need to understand how nonlibertarians think about government. By "nonlibertarians," I mean the majority of people who spend little if any time pondering political theory, or what Murray Rothbard called political ethics. They may focus at times on particular government programs and actions, or on proposals for new programs, but rarely about government as an institution.
When year in and year out, for more than six decades, a group of politicians does things that objectively encourage their most violent adversaries and discredit their most conciliatory interlocutors, we are entitled to conclude that this is a calculated policy. Blunders don't persist for 66 years and counting.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Virtually all commentary about the influx of unaccompanied Central American children into the United States, which some say could rise to 90,000 this year, misses the point: no government has the moral authority to capture these kids and send them back to the miserable situations they have escaped.
Sunday, July 06, 2014
You have to admire Israel,
"our" closest friend and ally in the Middle East, the "only
democracy" in the region, for its commitment to due process, not to
mention individual rights. Three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered,
inexcusable crimes. So the Israeli government declared Hamas guilty without
public evidence or trial. (Hamas, which denies responsibility, typically
engages in prisoner exchanges rather than the killing of captives.) Then the IDF
bombed the Gaza Strip, the densely populated open-air prison, killing
innocents, and blew up the family homes of so-called suspects -- collective
punishment. Nothing new here. It's how the Israeli government has acted as a
matter of policy. The demolition Palestinian homes is so prevalent that Israeli
Jews founded an
organization to stop it.
Meanwhile in Jerusalem, a Palestinian teen was beaten and burned to death by Israelis, apparently in reprisal, and his cousin, a resident of Tampa, Fla., was beaten apparently by two masked soldiers in uniform.
Just another day in the lives of the subjugated Palestinians.
The murders of the Israeli teens were atrocities, of course, but they can in no way justify, retroactively or prospectively, the systematic violence perpetrated against Palestinians that the state of Israel constitutes at its core. (For a disturbing report on how religious authorities justify the killing of non-Jews by Jews, see Allan Brownfeld's article "Resistance Is Growing to Zionism's Corruption of American Jewish Life," especially the section headed "The King's Torah."
UPDATE: Israel announced the arrest of six suspects in the murder of the Palestinian teen. No word yet on whether the authorities destroyed their families' homes or bombed Israeli neighborhoods.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
As far as it went, the Supreme Court generally got it right in the Hobby Lobby-Obamacare-contraception case. Unfortunately it didn't go nearly far enough.
The court ruled that "closely held corporations" whose owners have religious convictions against contraceptives cannot be forced to pay for employee coverage for those products.
I wish the court could have said this instead: (1) No one has a natural right to force other people to pay for her (or his) contraception or anything else (with or without the government's help), and by logical extension, (2) everyone has a right to refuse to pay if asked.
For people about to celebrate the Fourth of July, these principles ought to be, well, self-evident.
Friday, June 27, 2014
From 1898 to 1931, Smedley Darlington Butler was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. By the time he retired he had achieved what was then the corps's highest rank, major general, and by the time he died in 1940, at 58, he had more decorations, including two medals of honor, than any other Marine. During his years in the corps he was sent to the Philippines (at the time of the uprising against the American occupation), China, France (during World War I), Mexico, Central America, and Haiti.
"War is a Racket" - by Major Gen. Smedley Butler, USMC (ret.)(Glenn Jacobs' narration)
Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC
1881 - 1940
double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor"I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country's most agile military force--the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to Major General. And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I suspected I was part of a racket all the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession I never had an original thought until I left the service." Smedley D. Butler (1881-1940) [source]