On an autumn day in 1963, one of Dylan’s friends was visiting him at his apartment, read the lyrics and asked Dylan: “What is this shit, man?”, to which Dylan responded, “Well, you know, it seems to be what the people like to hear”. This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads … “The Times They Are a-Changin.”

Over the past few months, in accordance with my anticipation, I have been progressively realizing that ‘We the People’ are not interested in embracing the truth and accepting reality. Denial is good in small doses as it can protect us from unbearable pain and shock. As such, our body has defence mechanisms which protects us.

Well my friends, I have come to the crossroads. I do appreciate the fact that some people in my life and strangers have shown signs of appreciation and interest. However, I must face the fact that bearers of truth and the well-intended are rarely compensated in any way shape or form. Not only in a social or political sense, but also in our personal and professional lives. Seems as if no matter how close one gets to another, the more we use what we disguised behind clever terms such as being politically correct, corporate, classy and so on. These terms enable us to look at ourselves in the mirror and find comfort in thinking that we are a good people.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to change people or the way society is structured. Although on more than one occasion in my life, I have spoken the truth to various people, in different stages of their lives and mine, and trust me, it has always backfired. I honestly think that people find comfort in illusion and lies. There are predetermined answers, idioms, sayings and proverbs for everything we go through in life. But we fail to acknowledged that the opposite statements are always available, when needed. Once again, to deter us from reality and also for others to find comfort in us. For instance: “Opposites attract” one minute and “Birds of a feather flock together” the other. Or even “Slow and steady wins the race” which is opposite to “Time waits for no one”.

The sayings that always seem to turn my stomach, which I admit to have also used in the past would be: “It is going to be okay.”; “What goes around comes around.” and of course “Everything happens for a reason.”

We blame politicians all the time but if it weren’t for them sheltering us from the truth, we wouldn’t be able to go on another day.

As Jack Nicholson said it best to Tom Cruise in a Few Good Man: “You can’t handle the truth.”

And my friends, We the People cannot.

I have come to feel as Dylan often did throughout his career. Shortly after JFK’s assassination, Dylan supposedly said: “What it means is that they are trying to tell you ‘Don’t even hope to change things’.” He later wrote: “it is useless to recall the day once more.” In another, he repeatedly wrote: “there is no right or left there is only up and down.”

Maybe Dylan was discouraged and depressed, or maybe he was just spending too much time with Johnny Cash. That’s what you get for spending too much time with the man in black, as he will show you the truth. If you won’t see it, he was the type of man to make you feel it.

Not sure which road I will choose but I am facing the reality that writing about how fat Jessica Simpson or Aishwarya Rai has become after giving birth; commenting on how fake Kim Kardashian relationships always have been; or even who has gotten good and bad plastic surgery in Hollywood, is what We the People want and somewhat need. We complain all the time that there is no quality and/or educational entertainment but the few that are still surviving in the media have the poorest ratings.

In the meantime, there is only up and down.

“Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.”

The times will eventually change but not here and definitely not now. When it will be too late to change, just remember People, you are always given what you wish for, until you don’t wish it anymore.

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!

Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, on May 24, 1941.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

“I’m Chiquita banana and I’ve come to say
Bananas have to ripen in a certain way
When they are fleck’d with brown and have a golden hue
Bananas taste the best and are best for you
You can put them in a salad
You can put them in a pie-aye
Any way you want to eat them – It’s impossible to beat them
But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator
So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator.”

- Words and Music by Montgomery, Mackenzie, and Wirges.

We should never put bananas in … the hands of Congress and White House Officials either.

Chiquita Brands International Inc, an American producer and distributor of mainly bananas, was founded in 1871. In 1998, the Cincinnati Enquirer published Chiquita Secrets Revealed, which accused the company of exploitation of workers on plantations, pollution, drug trafficking, bribing, land grabbing and other misdeeds.

Chiquita denied all the allegations, and sued after it was revealed that one of the reporters had repeatedly hacked into Chiquita’s voice-mail system. Therefore, an apology was published and the company was paid a mulch-million-dollar settlement. Let’s not jump to conclusion and automatically assume that the big bad multinational wolf must have done it all and successfully cashed out of court, as most of them do.

Right after, a Fair Trade movement counterattacked, by forming an alliance of social activists targeting the banana industry, specifically Chiquita. Down with corporations! Encourage small farmers!

As a result of this pressure, Chiquita partnered with the Rainforest Alliance, an environmental group dedicated to preserving the rainforest, and made major reforms in the way they plant and protect their bananas, especially in the use of pesticides.

It is results like these that keep us hoping and trying to make things right. Although 1998 doesn’t seem that far ago, times have changed more than we think. Corporations, not governments, are holding our fates in their hands for the sake of wealth and power.

Monsanto, created 30 years after Chiquita, perhaps abides by the same code of conduct as Chiquita. Even their Websites are incredibly similar not only in design but also in content and style. After exploring their sites, one is left lead to think that they are both advocate of social reform and the welfare of human kind. They are proud of making a difference.

Making a difference they do! In 2007, Chiquita was fined $25 million for having ties to Right-Wing and Left-Wing Colombian paramilitary groups which are all the U.S. State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. World domination is easiest when merging both sides on your payroll.

They paid approximately $2 million to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) which is right-winged, in exchange for protection in Colombia. In addition, brides were also made to the left-winged Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as well as the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Furthermore, that same year, 173 family members of victims of militia filed a lawsuit against Chiquita. If lost, it may put Chiquita out of business. Terry Collingsworth, a lawyer with International Rights Advocates who is involved with the multimillion dollar litigation, said: “This is a landmark case, maybe the biggest terrorism case in history. In terms of casualties, it’s the size of three World Trade Center attacks.”

Justice will prevail right? Not sure…

Photobucket

On a side note, I often reply “Not sure” to my statements for the idealists out there that still believe in Utopia and are quick to associate people with my points of view as overzealous, pessimistic and even extreme. For some reason, saying “not sure” appeases them. It is sweeter to their ears than “No”. “No, children, justice will not prevail!” is too strong of a statement for some fragile minds protected by bubbles.

As you know, I approach all my articles in a very sarcastic but realistic manner. Therefore, I will tell you the following:

Michael Taylor, responsible for introducing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into food supply without appropriate testing, was just appointed by the Obama administration, senior advisor to the commissioner of the FDA. Before that he was one of Monsanto’s attorney, Vice President and chief lobbyist. When questioned, the White House refused to reveal relationships with Monsanto.

Also, in the 2007 case that I was referring to earlier, the defense lawyer for Chiquita Brands international was Eric Holder. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, he has been promoted by the Obama Administration to U.S. Attorney General.

Again, Justice will prevail right? ….

Photobucket

Bananas or not, in the meantime, let the bees do their work and pollinate as they were created to do. If it weren’t bananas, it would have been something else. Something else indeed … such as bees themselves!

Yes, Chiquita is to bananas as Monsanto is to … almost everything. However, for now, let’s just focus on bees. Monsanto’s bio engineered compounds have been killing off bees as they are highly toxic. In an effort to replace them, why not make them better as Monsanto knows how to do best. Hybrid bees have been created and they are bigger, better and work harder. Better for all you might think? Think again, they were designed only to pollinate Monsanto crops.

They are so effective that Monsanto has no time to let their toxins destroy nature. They would benefit by taking the destruction into their own hands. Which they have. Why just settle for the title of creator? Might as well seize the title of destroyer one as well. Once their job is done, what will pollinate your crops, gardens and even flowers?

Only Monsanto-engineered creatures will have the ability to proceed.

Photobucket

Did you know that bees communicate with each other with pheromones? When in danger, they release this compound, which smells exactly like bananas, in order to warn others.

In fact, introducing a ripe banana in their environment will create chaos and terror, such as yelling “terrorist” in an NRA meeting.

Or yelling __________ in a Monsanto-Chiquita White House meeting.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

Lately, the media has been doing very well at cultivating our fear of nuclear warfare. Specifically, the fact that we should worry about certain nations possessing nuclear weapons. This feels like the Cold War all over again.

Not only that, but it is also combined with the fact that we are conditioned to feel as if we should completely disregard nuclear energy as alternative energy. By doing so, we need to find another energy source that will lead us to the promise land: a world without oil dependency. For now, Fukushima pretty much made that decision for us; well for the ones that have forgotten Chernobyl; Fukui Prefecture, Japan; Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania; the Idaho Falls, Idaho; Frenchtown Charter Township, Michigan; and so on.

For centuries, nations have been using everything from swords to drones in order to defeat the enemy. Although biological warfare rarely is publicized, we should not be left under the impression that it has rarely been used in the history of mankind.

Actually, it was even tactically employed before Christ by, for example, pouring fungus into wells to make the enemy delirious, throwing venomous snake-filled clay pots at the enemy, flinging infected corpses over city walls and much more. Sounds like these examples have been taken from an Asterix and Obelix comic book.

“Nuclear power is meaningless in a world where a virus can kill an entire population and leave its wealth intact.”

- V for Vendetta (written by Andy & Larry Wachowski)

Indeed, why limit ourselves to viruses, fungi and bacteria? Why resort to science when we could use creatures, such as insects?

Entomological Warfare is a type of biological warfare that uses insects to attack the enemy. It exists in three types: infecting insects and then dispersing them, infecting any person or animal they might bite; direct insect attack against crops; use uninfected insects, such as bees, to directly attack the enemy.

Throwing bees into caves to force the enemy out, introducing the Colorado potato beetle into the enemy’s food sources and using plague-infected fleas and flies covered with cholera to infect a population are just a few examples of what seems to be efficient Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Although these kinds of warfare were officially outlawed by the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), who is to say that a specific plague outbreak should be classified as an attack and not just the course of nature or migration? Even if one is convinced of the assault, how can it be proven?

Why resort to insects when we could use nature? Let’s make it rain (in more ways than one).

This aspiration is not a new age narcissistic ambition of ours. In ancient India, rituals and offering were performed to bring rain in drought. Some American Indians like had rituals which they believed could induce rain. The Finnish people were known to be able to control weather. As a result, Vikings refused to invade them.

Owning the Weather without having to pray to Poseidon, Helius, Borea or Zeus has now become relatively possible.

China often creates rain falls in order to battle droughts. Recently, scientists backed by the United Arab Emirates created many artificial rainstorms. These rainstorms were said to have sometimes caused hail, gales and thunderstorms. In addition, man-made storms have been created and seen over California, Arizona and Australia.

This is awesome, until you use it to control the overpopulation of the planet or to wipe out nations in order to ease land grabs. Tsunamis and floods in Southeast Asia, droughts in Africa, landslides in South America, earthquakes a little bit everywhere are reported as usual and unusual weather. But why are they 40% more likely to occur in underprivileged countries?

Let’s leave it at that.

As would think, science is often used for conflict and not for aid. Weather warfare is the new arms race.

The United Nations prohibits the long-term use of weapons to damage weather and climate. The way this law is structured appears to make place for loop holes that almost seems as if it was meant to be use as one’s defense in court, especially in one that would matter in these circumstances: The Hague’s International Criminal Court.

For the ones out there that have absolute faith in the transparency of our governments, the conspiracy theorists out there would point out the fact that environmental manipulation has become big business. Companies do sell weather modification programs and blueprints. If agencies and corporations are popping out all over the world, let’s face it, it is real and proliferating as we speak.

In reality, no matter what proofs or leaks might available, a large percentage of society still refers to these situations as Acts of God or even God’s Vengeance. These poor civilians must not have been praying right or hard enough.

Why recruit and train an army of men to infiltrate a foreign territory, when you can just freeze your opponent’s fleet?

Or better yet, prohibit the enemy’s fleet from even getting near your territory.

Instead of threatening others with embargo, decreased credit rating and sanctions, why not send a flash storm as a friendly reminder to pay a debt, to vote a certain way, to return a political prisoner or to even comply with a specific ludicrous demand. No deposit the following week, here’s frozen rain mixed with winds gushing over 130 km/hour.

Pay up, shut up and lay down …. or your funds might just inadvertently end up “frozen” and you, left out in the “cold”.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

George Lucas, a Science Fiction pioneer, just as Jules Verne was, would agree with the fact that Sci-Fi is anything but figments of our imagination. It is only a precursor of things to come.

Star Wars films depicted various types of drones. The more impressive ones were massive self-piloting star ships controlled by a module. Lucas made us dream and contemplate a world in which Darth Vader would not perpetually rule the universe.

In our world and our time, Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), which were experimentally manufactured in 1916, were first armed in order to attempt to kill Osama bin Laden.

They were and still are proven to be unreliable due to the fact that their target abilities are far from surgical precision, they are unstable when flying in less than perfect weather and they crash very often. In addition, loss of communication with these drones is one of the many technical issues that lead to their sub par performance. After consideration, President Clinton decided to shut down the project.

Later on, Bush reopened the project, refinanced it and made used of these drones 44 times, despite the acknowledgement of the performance reports. The attacks evidently lead to casualties; bodies were often hidden and buried by troops on the ground.

However, for now, most drones aren’t exploited for military purpose. They are mostly used for surveillance, reconnaissance, news reporting, border patrolling, intelligence and inspection.

As such, most industrialized countries such as China, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, India, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Japan and Brazil do “harvest” drones. Some of the super drones have even been baptized. Israel named theirs Heron; the United States upgraded their Predator with the Avenger; and, last but not least, Iran named theirs Karrar, which is Farsi for Striker. President Ahmadinejad infamously nicknamed his Persian Menace: the Ambassador of Death.

Episode X : The Persian Menace

Do not let the Ambassador of Death mislead you into being alarmed. The Ambassador of Death is not Darth Vader’s vehicle of choice. This drone is intended for, and I quote: “Peace and Friendship“. Logically, why should we be nervous over Iran since they have not initiated any attack towards any other country in over 200 years? And yes, the Persian Gulf War has been taken in consideration when making that statement. But no, I chose not to take the Iran hostage crisis in consideration.

That being said, it evidently is not the case when shifting our attention towards the previously mentioned pro-drone countries. Over 239 drone strikes were ordered under the Obama administration. Many of these attacks were carried out against the advice of U.S. Officials and Diplomats. In fact, that tendency has led the Obama Administration of being responsible for at least 85% of drone strikes around the world, particularly in Pakistan.

This is the same Obama that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Even then, his addition seemed unsuited and undeserved, when one remembers past laureates such as Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter. Nevertheless, the Obama devotees might hide behind the ideology that peace cannot exist nor be implemented without war.

As mentioned in a previous article of mine, the five countries (United Kingdom, United States, France, Russia and China) that have secured permanent United Nation seats are also the top global arm dealers. These same countries have been accusing Iran of secretly building nuclear weapons and pressuring them to halt their nuclear program.

The classic allies turning into foes pattern … It is important to understand or remember that the U.S. did not only assist but also coordinated the launch of the Iranian Nuclear Program in the 50s. This program was maintained for decades, until the 1979 revolution.

This support was even symbolized and categorized as the “Atoms for Peace” Program, implemented in 1953 by Eisenhower. Let’s acknowledge that a program would not be complete without an appropriate inaugural speech. And where else but at the United Nation General Assembly can a prestigious one take place? In this case, the cleverly named “Atoms for Peace” speech quickly followed Eisenhower’s “Chance for Peace” speech.

All this backing did result in the inception of Iran’s first nuclear power plant, which was completed and activated thanks to Russian assistance, in 2011.

The irony! The Atoms for Peace Program’s main principle was to reassure the world during the Cold War (between 1945 and 1991). Sarcastically, the Russians presided over its closing ceremony.

As a counter attack, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board, nations and multinational entities officially reprimanded and sanctioned Iran. This judgment was internationally supported by detailed tangible and evidence. The Iranian authorities, or should I say THE Iranian Authority, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Hosseini khamenei, has not yet been successfully coerced by the international pressure. The U.N. inspectors can come and go as often as necessary, it’s all in good faith, from both parties. Remember, it’s all about Peace and Friendship.

“Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane… No, it’s a drone!”

The Empire Will Strike Back. It is just a question of which Empire will strike first.

Guess who’s building nuclear power plants now?

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

Not too long ago, precisely on January 23rd, 2012, I bravely but enthusiastically posted my first article. Hopefully, I did so while honoring the year of the dragon.

I proudly redacted various articles pertaining to music, economy, war, history, sports, fashion, corporate behavior, literature, crime and finance. I must admit that although most of my articles are not meant to be read between television shows, the interested have given me the time of day and the response has been surprisingly encouraging. I have e-companions from all over the world, marching with me from Brazil, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Turkey, United States, Canada, Sri Lanka, Spain, Germany, Slovakia, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines and Norway.

Thank you for the ongoing support. “Qui m’aime me suive*”. Thus, “Follow” me!

Secondly but not least, an honorable mention goes to coffee. I was never much of a coffee drinker. To tell the truth, I wasn’t a coffee drinker at all. Regrettably, I recently feel under the spell of the roasted cocoa bean. At times from Colombia, other times from Jamaica and more often than willing to admit, god knows from where.

I must confess that at times, I do need a cup of “liquid stimulus” in the morning, as it is not always easy to initiate my daily routine after a late night of writing. So might as well try to do the right thing by choosing Fair Trade Coffee. Making a difference!

Wrong.

These small coffee producers have to abide by specific standards such as shorter work hours, no child labor, bringing the maintenance of their farm up to code and be subjected to periodical inspections. Unless we are willing to pay 12$ for a cup of Fair Trade coffee, many farmers will continue to earn less than their “unfair” counterparts.

Alright, let’s attempt to make a bigger difference then. Let’s be more virtuous and buy Organic. Well, think again. These farmers generally make considerably less than the others, including the Fair Trade ones. Is there no balancing this equation? How can you expect them to stay away from growing coca or from having herds of child laborers?

At this point, it might be time to consider drinking more caffeinated herbal tea and less coffee.

Uhmmmm … Okay, what about a glass of fresh berry juice? That should give me some energy to go through my drowsy mornings while keeping me healthy.

Ohhhhhhhh Dammmmnnnn…..

* Reference: « Qui m’aime me suive » was shouted by Philippe VI de Valois, in 1328, as he was about to massacre rebellious subjects in Flanders.

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.

A few weeks ago, I decided to get an early start on my taxes and gathered my documents in order to initiate this excruciating yearly obligation. As I am growing up and maturing, I am starting to not only relate but also to understand why the elders in my life always had such disdain for the taxation system.

It also seems as if the more money one makes, the more money comes out of one’s pockets. However, if you keep it up and continue accumulating wealth to eventually become part of the 1% that runs the world, you will have the luxury of benefiting from all sorts of tax exemptions.

It has come to the point that even the silver spoons have come to realize that they were not subjected to the same sacrifices that us proletarians are subjected to. To add insult to injury, we need to make sure that our books are in order because if we miscalculate, there is no second chance made possible by bailouts.

Warren Buffett, an American business magnate and investor, disclosed that he made almost $63 million last year, yet paid less than $7 million in federal income tax. Mr. Buffett long has urged lawmakers to raise income-tax rates on the wealthiest, arguing that his secretary paid a higher effective rate than he did last year.

How can this be?

Before passing judgment, I decided to investigate. After all, I always pride myself in being a fair and reasonable person.

I decided to knock on the Internal Revenue Service’s door, instead of the usual other way around.

As we all know, the IRS, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, is responsible for collecting taxes and the interpretation and enforcement of its regulations and codes.

Federal income tax was introduced with the Revenue Act of 1861. In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and Congress created the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue and enacted an income tax to pay war expenses. Because it was passed as an emergency and temporary tax, it was repealed, re-adopted, and then held unconstitutional.

The initial rate was 3% on income over $800, which exempted most wage-earners. In 1864, the rate was 5% on income between $600 and $5,000; 7.5% on income $5,000–$10,000; and 10% on income $10,000 and above.

Nowadays, most of the world’s highest tax rates can be found in western European nations. Belgium tops the list, with a marginal tax rate that goes as high as 54%. Finland imposes 46.6%; Germany, 45%; Denmark, 44.4%; Italy, 43%. In addition, France enforces a tax rate on average workers of about 40% (and a top tax on high-income workers of nearly 50%), France is long-known for sacrificing economic growth to social benefits handed out by government. Unsurprisingly, the European country with the lowest marginal tax rate on average income workers are Switzerland, at 20%.

The United States is still relatively tax-friendly, with a marginal tax rate of around 27% on averaged income workers.

Canada is taxed in a manner similar to that of the United States, imposing a 31.2% marginal tax rate on average income workers. When the Canadian federation was formed in 1867, the British North America Act attempted to create a federal government with virtually unlimited revenue gathering abilities…..What?!!?

The federal government was entrusted with the high cost programs of the time, most notably defence and the building of railways.

During WWI, a tax on income was introduced as a temporary measure to fund the war. The income tax has since become a permanent feature of the Canadian tax system. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has been in charge since … eh!?

I have to admit that things could be worse. Nevertheless, things could be so much better!

Some countries are completely exempted from income tax: such as the Bahamas, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Monaco, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

What if one decides to halt its “contribution” to the government? One would wake up one day and shout: “enough is enough”!

Well… in response to that, the IRS would respond:

“Release the Hounds!”

You better believe that the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) will eventually get to you. The government might be slow but never sleeps nor forgets.

The IRS-CI investigates potential criminal violations of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. While other federal agencies also have investigative jurisdiction for money laundering and some bank secrecy act violations, the IRS-CI is the only federal agency that can investigate potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code.

Despite allegations of abuse of power and cover ups, they retain legal authority to enforce liens and seize assets without obtaining judgment in court. They never back down; even the underworld is wary of this agency. One of the most notoriously untouchable mobster, Al Capone, was eventually caught by the IRS and went to jail for tax evasion.

On this note, you can pretty much get away with everything, with good counsel … as long as you pay your taxes.

Pay up, Chumps!! We’ve got Wars to finance!!!

Copyright © 2012 Thus Always To Genius. All Rights Reserved.