Archive for the ‘Politics (mostly)’ Category

Climate Change Decimating Life, Worse to Come

March 31, 2014

UN Report: Climate Change Already Decimating Life, Worse to Come

Much-anticipated IPCC report release highlights risk of climate change related disasters to food and human security

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Drought-stricken maize in Tanzania. (Photo: CIMMYT/ Creative Commons/ Flickr)

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” was the message of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a voluminous new report published Monday.

The statement was made by Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, speaking at a press conference in Yokohama, Japan on the release of Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability by Working Group II of the IPCC.

The objective of the report, the second in a series of three, is to “consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation,” according to report authors.

The effects of climate change are already among us from melting sea ice to droughts and severe storms. However, the authors note, with imminent threat to global food stocks and human security, the worst is yet to come.

“The findings make an increasingly detailed picture of how climate change – in tandem with existing fault lines such as poverty and inequality – poses a much more direct threat to life and livelihood,” according to the Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg, writing about the report. The report highlights how already visible impacts of climate change—such as killer heat waves in Europe, wildfires in Australia, and deadly floods in Pakistan—will lead increasingly to humanitarian crises around the world.

Further, Goldenberg reports, the report “struck out on relatively new ground by drawing a clear line connecting climate change to food scarcity, and conflict.”

According to the report, climate change has already had an impact on global food supply with global crop yields, particularly wheat, in decline. The future, Goldenberg writes, “looks even more grim,” with dramatic estimated drops in corn production as well.

Couched in the vernacular of risk and risk management, the report concludes that responding to the changing climate is a matter of “making choices about risks in a changing world.”

“We live in an era of man-made climate change,” said Vicente Barros, Co-Chair of Working Group II. “In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.”

In a more direct warning to world leaders—who have been slow to make any significant changes despite the growing threat of climate change—Pachauri added, “The one message that comes out of this is the world has to adapt and the world has to mitigate.”

A three-year joint effort by more than 300 scientists, the much-anticipated release is considered the definitive account on the state of climate science. Nearly 500 experts and world leaders signed off on the wording of 2,600-page report.

_____________________

POLAR BEAR IS US

March 24, 2014

The Polar Bear Is Us

by Abby Zimet

Artwork in Berlin by Isaac Cordal titled “Electoral Campaign.” Seen posted elsewhere as “Politicians Discussing Climate Change.”

The leaked news from this week’s gathering in Japan of top climate scientists on the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is even worse than all the other climate change news that’s come before that somehow – oh foolish arrogant species – has yet to effect the kind of significant change it warrants: The dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human, likely prompting hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war, and we are not prepared for any of it. The report uses one word over 5,000 times: risk.

“It’s not far-off in the future and it’s not exotic creatures – it’s us and now.” – Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, who worked on earlier reports.

SCARED YET?

HER VOCABULARY WAS AS BAD AS, LIKE, WHATEVER

January 30, 2014
extinction2
ON A “HAPPIER” NOTE (If one ignores the apparent deterioration of human intelligence in general):
Who says our teenagers aren’t creative?
Actual Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays
· Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had two other sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
· His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
· He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a Guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the danger of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
· She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
· She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
· Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
· He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
· The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
· The little boat drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
· McBride fell twelve stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
· From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
· Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.
· Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m., traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
· They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
· John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
· The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
· He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a landmine or something.
We must do something about education. Catch ya later, j
http://www.redbubble.com/people/johnlegry/works/10584411-good-luck-graduates
"For Pete's sake, just say, NO! NO! NO!"

“For Pete’s sake, just say, NO! NO! NO!”

TRINITY TRIPTYCH reprise

November 23, 2013
TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

TRINITY TRIPTYCH. Art Liberation Project, c. JLegry 2012a

A monk-warrior in the Kingdom of Heaven says:

“By the word ‘religion,’ I’ve seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called the will of god. I’ve seen too much religion in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is your head and your heart, by what you decide every day, you will be a good man [or woman], or not.”

There are those who will say that if there is not a personified God, humankind will perish. However, God (if present) is universal and not capable of personification, denomination, or ritualization. God is the human concept of a Perfect Platonic Being: One and all, hen kai pan. God is life, not dogma. God is curiosity and learning, not brainwashing and stagnation. God is an ideal, an example for emulation, an aspiration, a romance, an invitation to speculation, not a non-profit corporation, theme park, or big black carpet-draped rock.  Émile Zola wrote, “Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

ohmmmm

We Move to Amend.We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 298,363 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

RED LACE (BUDDHA Series variation)

RED LACE (BUDDHA Series Var.)

“Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.”

At his death, BUDDHA Siddhartha Gautama is famously believed to have told his disciples to follow no leader. “All composite things (Saṅkhāra) are perishable,” he said. “Strive for your own liberation with diligence.”

“If you want the best idea of how the world was created, don’t pick the best mythology, consult the best science.” – His holiness the 14th DALI LAMA.

Layered Composition, 2012a, JLegry.

 

JUST SAY NO TO KOCH FIENDS

November 4, 2013

buddies

Inflammatory Oratory

“Inflammatory oratory and a radical catchall program, important as they were for a fledgling party out to attract attention and recruit mass support, were not enough, and Hitler turned his attention to providing more… What the masses needed, he thought, were not only ideas – a few simple ideas, that is, that he could ceaselessly hammer through their skulls – but symbols that would win their faith, pageantry and color that would arouse them, and acts of violence and terror, which if successful, would attract adherents (were not most Germans drawn to the strong?) and give them a sense of power over the weak.

“In Vienna, …he was intrigued by what he called the ‘infamous spiritual and physical terror’ which he thought was employed by the Social Democrats against their opponents. Now he turned it to good purpose in his own anti-Socialist party, …Hitler organized a bunch of roughneck war veterans into ‘strong-arm’ squads…These uniformed rowdies… soon took to breaking up [meetings] of other parties. Hitler boasted to police, ‘We got what we wanted. Ballerstedt did not speak.’ As Hitler told an audience some months before, ‘The National Socialist Movement will in the future ruthlessly prevent – if necessary by force – all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow countrymen.’”

- William L. Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Denial Route

It’s not so much denial, as willful avoidance. We are aware of the truth, feel helpless against it in some wise, and are therefore disposed to take care of other matters as if the horror did not exist. Is there a single word for that? If it is not denial than what it is it? Oblivious perhaps. No, we don’t know a thing about what’s happening if we are oblivious. We know that this is happening but we choose to ignore it. We don’t pretend that the horrors do not exist; we merely elect to look the other way. We don’t want to see the freight train hurtling toward us, nor do we want to get off the tracks out of its way!

Belief

People want to believe, and when they do, they stop thinking.

Koch Fiends – three good sources – synopsis and links.

The Koch brothers’ radical rightwing Republican-Tea Party effort to stigmatize hard-working honest working people and the middle class is nothing short of treason. They are evil, stupid people trying to destroy liberty, equality and fraternity, arch enemies of our democratic republic and its Constitution. They are truly un-American and must be resisted by all clear-minded people everywhere. Down with the Republican-Tea Party stooges! Down with the Koch brothers!

Public Enemies – Charles and David

To join the resistance, go to www.freespeechforpeople.org. READ MORE: .http://www.jimhightower.com/node/7369

The Billionaire Brothers Who Make Us Sick

What makes the Koch Brothers particularly scary, though, is not that they reflexively oppose any change that might hurt their own bottom line. That doesn’t make them all that different from Massey Energy or Chevron or lots of other big polluters (Koch Industries was ranked in the top ten of air polluters in the U.S. by a University of Massachusetts study). What’s different about the Kochs is that they subscribe to a radical libertarian philosophy that opposes any governmental safeguards to protect people or the environment. It’s a grim vision of our country that few Americans would ever subscribe to if they could see it plainly, and yet — thanks to the brothers’ enormous wealth — it’s had an out-sized effect on both our government and our public discourse. It’s like a hidden riptide that keeps pulling you out to sea no matter how hard you strike toward the shore.

But what makes riptides most dangerous is that people don’t even know what they’re fighting against. This week the Sierra Club will put a spotlight on the Koch brothers’ agenda. I encourage you to join our Facebook campaign to help get the word out. Because when people can see their democracy being hijacked, they refuse to tolerate it.

Let me end on a positive note. We’ve trounced the Koch brothers before. Remember Prop 23 — the California initiative to roll back efforts to fight climate change? The Koch brothers were one of the proposition’s largest bankrollers, but California voters overwhelmingly rejected their vision. Now it’s time for all Americans to stand up to the Koch brothers’ dangerous efforts to keep us tied to the dirty energy sources which making people sick and destroy our nation’s economic health. It’s time this billionaire’s good old boy’s club got out of the way of the innovative new energy sources that are producing jobs and prosperity for the rest of us. READ MORE: http://sierraclub.typepad.com/michaelbrune/2011/01/the-billionaire-brothers-who-make-us-sick-.html

The Plutocrat’s Coup d’Etat, Their Republican Allies and Their Democratic Enablers by John Atcheson February 25, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

For thirty years, Republicans have been yammering about small government, deficits, the glories of the free market, and the incompetence and wastefulness of government.

It’s all been a big lie, part of a well funded and cleverly executed coup d’etat, designed to enable the ultra rich and corporations to literally take power out of the hands of government and money out of the pockets of individual citizens.

Democrats have either actively participated in the coup or watched in near silence. The press has been passively playing the part of a mute stenographer. The basis of this coup is simple – money has become the lingua franca of political power, eclipsing the vote.

They’ve just about pulled it off.

What Can We Do? Citizens, we have a choice. We can confront this Plutocratic coup, or we can draft an apology to our founders, beg the forgiveness of the brave men and women who fought valiantly over the last two centuries to defend the ideals of this country, and then kiss those ideals goodbye. At the end of the day, we have the three things that can trump money: truth, the vote and market power. If we insist on candid, transparent discussions on the issues of the day; refuse to vote for dirty-money or mealy-mouthed candidates; and punish Plutocrats like Murdoch and Koch and Rove who intentionally distort the truth in the one place where it hurts – the market place – we can win this country back. It will take commitment, organization, a willingness to endure some hardship, and a passion for justice and fairness– the kind of things that animated exploited workers back when facts mattered, but it can be done. The pieces of a resistance to the Plutocratic coup are coming together.

Russ Feingold has established a PAC called Progressives United with a mission to reverse the infamous Citizens United Decision and get the money out of politics.

Bill McKibben’s 350.org has announced a campaign called the US Chamber doesn’t speak for me.

Van Jones and progressive groups are creating a movement to restore the American Dream – the notion that government isn’t a punch line – it is a contract between we the people; a vehicle that enables us to come together to accomplish that which must be done together; that which has, in times past, made us a prosperous, just, and noble nation.

If we back these efforts, we can prevail. If we don’t, then the words of Edmund Burke should haunt our conscience as we slide inevitably into a well-deserved Plutocratic dystopia: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men [and women] do nothing.” READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/25-1

LAST SHOT

Why does she make me think of the “Wicked Witch of the West” in Wizard of Oz?

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona

In the wake of funding cuts for organ transplants by Arizona’s GOP Gov. Jan ‘The Grim Reaper’ Brewer, a second person has died after being denied coverage for the treatment. Officials say about 100 people waiting for transplants will not get them, with at least 30 expected to die by what critics are calling “death by budget cuts.”

–Abby Zimet

Related:

GOING REALLY ROGUE

Organized IRRESPONSIBILITY

PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2

REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS

7 WAYS TO FIGHT THE FASCIST THREAT

October 8, 2013

fasckoch

[CLICK IMAGE for more from ROBERT REICH et al]

ABSTRACT:

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America’s Future
http://www.alternet.org/story/141929/

Writing about fascism for Americans is a fraught business.  A third of the readers dismiss the topic (and the blogger’s sanity); they’ve got their own definition, or anyone who invokes the F-word is a de facto alarmist of questionable credibility.

Another third dismiss it because America has been fascist since (choose one:) 1) 9/11; 2) Reagan; 3) McCarthy; 4) the Civil War; 5) July 4, 1776.  For them, careful analysis and worried warnings are dangerously naive.

The final third engage in thoughtful discussion, including what must be done.

The most insidious part of fascism is that when it’s obvious to everyone that these people are dangerously out of control, it’s too late to do anything about it.  Early warnings are the business of futurists.  We can still change our minds, and spend our future elsewhere, but we are now actively choosing, whether aware of it or not.  Things are happening now that set a course we may be unable to alter.

How do we turn back? A few basic principles:

First: Teabaggers must not win.  When a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he does more of it.  The longer he goes without penalty, the worse he gets and the harder it is to stop him.  Do nothing, and he takes over.

It only takes a handful of thugs to terrorize people into giving up civil rights, abandoning democracy and doing what they’re told.  The main imperative becomes staying off the goons’ radar.  All enforcers need do is make a horrific example out of “troublemakers” now and then to keep everybody else in line.

With a colossal conservative investment in organizing and directing teabaggers, we’d be stupid to believe that this will go away when Congress returns in September.  Having had a taste of power and publicity, these newly empowered mobs are likely to stick around and see what else they can muck up.

Our choice is stark: knock them back while they’re new, small and not yet entrenched; or later when they have real power to fight, and the cost is higher.

Second: Think nationally, fight locally.  Conservatives run this fight as a national campaign, but the terror that fuels fascism is always intensely, intimately local.  Fascist goon squads recruit from the neighborhood, built on people we know.  Since that’s where they start, that’s where they have to be stopped.  This is why all the best tactics involve community-level action.  Anybody who sits this one out because they assume that folks in D.C. will handle it shouldn’t be surprised when they get “special treatment” from longtime neighbors, or discover their car vandalized.

That’s the next baby step from where we are now; and in some places, it’s already happening.  Winning means getting out and defending community standards and boundaries while they’re still there to be defended.

Third: Use nonviolent resistance — leave heavy lifting and rough enforcement to police.  The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them, but that doesn’t involve eye-for-an-eye.  If we meet thuggery with thuggery, we lose, because they’re better at, and enjoy it.  The right wing is looking hard to make a case that they’re innocent victims of the “left”.  The Nazis used this kind of victim-blaming to tremendous effect as they built up their party.  We must not give our proto-brownshirts any basis to make the same kind of argument.

It’s about the moral high ground.  Our choices must be consistent with our values.  Standing up for health care reform is important; but before that, we need to stand up for civil discourse and free speech.  We’re defending the rule of law; our best tactic is to use the law.  When people from either side cross the line, it’s time for police and prosecutors to assert that bullying people in a public meeting (or anywhere else) is illegal and will not be tolerated.

Fourth: Make sure media gets the story right.  Teabaggers run out of power if the media turns off their cameras, but this nefariously incited drama is a real ratings-booster.  Left alone, the media (local news in particular) turn these hate and fear mongers into cultural heroes.  The best cure for bad speech is good speech: documented, on YouTube, blogged, spread widely; a coordinated rapid-response letterwriting to local papers; and keeping local reporters well-fed with news of concerned nonpartisan citizens working to keep control of democratic discourse in the face of organized thugs trying to suppress it.  Since the media are watching, make sure they see it all.

Fifth: Support legislators who don’t show fear. The Democratic leadership knows that these noisy, scary people don’t represent the 73 percent of Americans who support health care reform.  The GOP runs the risk of being marginalized as the Party of No, and the Party of Moonbat Crazy.  If you’ve never attended a public meeting, August 2009 is the month to start.  Your congressperson’s Web site probably lists his or her schedule, or a number to call to inquire.

That’s a first step.  Do more.  Write.  Call.  Find out where your local congressional office is, and drop by.  Tell staff how you feel about health care reform, teabaggers, your legislator’s courage.  If they’re stressed, encourage them.  A constituent in the office counts.  One visit or call is good.  More is better.  Contact your representatives at least once a week to support their public service.

Sixth: Shut down the hate talkers.  Teabaggers come straight out of right-wing talk-radio audiences, mainlining raw emotion and toxic misinformation: “death panels!” “kill your granny!” “Join the “resistance!”  Cut off this endless torrent of lies and fearmongering to power down the whole movement.  Basic recipe:

  • Record their shows.
  • Note anything intimidating, threatening, or aimed at inciting violence against a named target.
  • Note every advertiser.
  • Write a polite letter to the CEOs of sponsors, toss in choice quotes and ask if they want their product identified with them.  This works extremely well — and quickly — at local and national levels.

Finally: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.  Conservatives invest a lot of money and effort to build a mass movement aimed at destroying democratic government — and they’re not going to let up as long as Democrats are in control.  This is our new reality — and it comes straight out of Chapter 6 of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  They intend to keep the outrage junkies high with never-ending, made-up reasons to act out.  Which means that even if we win this round, we must push back against the bullies, over and over, for the next three to seven years.

There are only two outcomes: get very good at spotting and stopping these attempts at a brownshirt takeover the minute they crop up; or they get very good at public intimidation and keep ratcheting it up toward violence and goon rule.

That’s how it’s going to be for the rest of this administration.  The sooner we resign ourselves to the zero-sum nature of this fight, the sooner we can get on with getting good at it.

Sara Robinson is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.

Read the full story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/141929/

"FILL 'ER UP!"

“FILL ‘ER UP!”

COMING FOR JUSTICE reprise

August 29, 2013

[Don't forget to CLICK the IMAGES for extra information and "forbidden delights"]

JOE KENNEDY and PRESCOTT BUSH:

I was born in 1943 when America, my father included, was fighting the Nazi fascists from Germany.  There were many Americans who agreed with the fascists, Joseph Kennedy and Prescott Bush included.  Kennedy tried to keep America out of the war.  Bush helped finance the Nazis.  But democratic America, Roosevelt America defeated the fascists in that war – temporarily as it turns out.

The Nazis came home in our baggage.  A former SS colonel named Werner Von Braun developed our space program.  The SS colonel who ran Hitler’s Gestapo taught our nascent CIA about domestic surveillance, interrogation, martial law, and chemical/psychological techniques.  In the meantime, we fought in Korea, keeping the military-industrial complex robust and vitalized (strange word applied to death-dealing), and practiced spying on ourselves – McCarthyism – a fascist witch-hunt for “commies,” undermining our confidence in our nation and its democratic institutions.

We next followed nine years of imperialistic colonial French mis-rule in Indochina to inflict seventeen years of violence on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, destabilizing and radicalizing Southeast Asia more than the Japanese had during World War 2. Then as now, the CIA and FBI further brutalized and contaminated domestic America in defense and furtherance of a generally Republican anti-peace message that was as big as the wallets they were filling from war profits.

AMERICA LOSES HER WAY:

Our practice has consistently been to create more powerful and harsher means to oppress and suppress, maim, or kill opponents.  Might has triumphed over right and reason, but that makes us neither mighty nor bright.  We are damned bullies, forcing our bully will on many victims.  That is what America stands for today: death not life, war not peace, greed not generosity.

The Bush administration, and now beyond to Obama, with their well-practiced agents and provocateurs, served the darkest human motives, not the clean wholesome light of genuine American democracy.  Justice, liberty, and equality aren’t significant words in the Republican vocabulary or principles in Republican governance.  We have been subverted from within, hollowed out by a corrupt corporate power structure to serve its war machine in the interest of corporate profits.  If we want any hope to rise above and beyond it, we must vote for progressives and reclaim this country for the babes who wait in mothers’ arms for fathers to come home from our latest unholy war (s).

The present situation in the United States echoes ancient Rome in important ways:  A successful representative republic, proving wildly successful in war and conquest, grows rich and plunges into conspicuous consumption.  In time the citizen army is converted to a professional military (a professional army owes allegiance to its paymaster, not necessarily to the nation).  Beauty is heavily involved in politics and publicity (experience means less than height).  King-sized constructions attest to individual power and glory.  The poor get to see the lavish spread, but may not partake of it.  The toll of maintaining luxury is its undoing.  The general domestic economy weakens with foreign trade, although the rich stay rich and get richer.  The dispossessed flock into cities and live on a diminishing dole, manipulated by politicians.  The conservative legislature is indifferent to the people’s plight.  The bureaucracy and the military rule all.

How did it happen?  How did it get so bad?  Who is hurting?  The list includes everyone except the top 1% of the nation’s richest and most privileged citizens.  The rich characterize any protest of this imbalance as “class warfare,” although they’ve been waging class warfare on the poor and middle class (the rest of us) since Franklin Roosevelt died.  The Robber Barons have succeeded in unraveling the New Deal, beginning with the 23rd Amendment, which limited presidents to two terms: the “first stomp on FDR’s grave,” my father called it.  Dwight Eisenhower’s administration put “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance (clearly in violation of the constitution), tried to give Social Security away to private insurance companies, and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Authority to private utility owners.

Thirty years ago the conservatives began to advocate for the end of public education on the grounds that it’s undemocratic to mandate school attendance.  No system is pure on this side of the grave; our society considered it essential to educate all the people so that they can intelligently participate in their own democratic governance, and avoid being swindled by demagogues.  The John Birch Society bulletin advised its readers to “join your local P.T.A. and take it over.” Fascists twist democratic institutions and values to gain their selfish ends.  They advocate for state control of women’s bodies; control the body, control the mind (women vote too liberally).  They have besieged health, safety and environmental regulations for over 50 years, but don’t ask them to do a cost-benefit analysis on outrageous and endemic corporate welfare.

END GAMES and WISHFUL THINKING:

The end game for Bush wasn’t a fortuitous crusade against terrorism, but to bankrupt and reduce the United States government to the influence of a third world nation.  Thereafter, the plutocracy will rule.  Bush undid the hard-won social and legal advancements of our free and equal society.  He dismantled the American Dream.  He betrayed the Constitution, reinforcing the United States as a warmongering plutocracy that absolutely corrupts the democratic republic.

Republicans don’t have any kind of mandate for their radical right wing agenda.  They brought us the Second Great Depression.  Republicans are all alarm and greed.  The Big Thieves came into our homes as we slept and threaten to never leave.  We shall be their economic and social slaves, although we will be called “the public,” “the people,” “average Americans,” whatever.  The dream turns into nightmare.

The pinnacle of human achievement can’t be George W. Bush.  “What a low pinnacle,” my wife says.  “He gives new meaning to the American concept that anybody can become president.”  They don’t even have to be elected.  He came to power in interesting fashion: a virtual coup overturning the popular will, based on a very tenuous partisan split vote of 5 to 4 in the Supreme Court – buttressed by legal arguments so weak that even first year law students would blush to use them.

VOTE PROGRESSIVE:

Be well advised, the next election is in November.  Cast your ballot for progressive candidates. Turn your back to the greed and close your wallets to them.  Save the dream.  Defend the republic.  Kick the sick twisted bastards out.

RELATED:

EAT the RICH

INDEPENDENCE DAY reprise 2013

July 3, 2013

Thomas Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

Thomas Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

“The world is my country.  To do good is my religion.” – Thomas Paine, founding father.

On every July 4th, we should honor an under-sung founding father who well represents all those who forged the American nation and brought modern popular democracy into the world.

On January 29th people around the world working for reform and free thought celebrate Tom Paine’s birthday.  He deserves to be nationally honored post-911 as a great American who fought for freedom, equality, direct democracy, and human rights.

The Revolution might have failed without Tom, or perhaps not even started.  He wrote America’s first bestseller Common Sense, taking backroom revolutionary discussion public, and leading directly to the signing of the Declaration of Independence six months later.  He spent two years in the Colonial Army with Washington, including the brutal winter at Valley Forge where he wrote The Crisis to talk the starving, freezing army out of deserting the cause.  “These are the times that try men’s souls,” are among the most famous words in the American revolutionary liturgy.

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of all men and women.”

Paine’s words saved the army and the infant nation.  Sent to France by Congress at his own expense to find aid to save America from bankruptcy, he not only got the aid, but bankrupted himself buying a desperately needed ship and cargo of muskets, powder and shot, quite literally saving the army and the nascent nation a second time.

Paine may be the only true revolutionary in our Revolution.  His ideals bring common people together as a community.  No one is above the law.  Justice and fairness shall prevail.  Everyone gets to vote.  He argued for social security, childcare reform, universal health care, animal cruelty penalties and animal shelters 225 years ago!

He warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed.  He proposed that any bill that enriches a corporation or grants a corporate charter should be enacted in one session of the legislature, and confirmed in a second, after a vote of the people, to stop corporate raids on the public treasury.

Paine was made an honorary citizen of France after our Revolution so he could be elected to the French National Convention to help form their new republic.  He wrote much of the first French constitution and his masterwork The Rights of Man, both of which still inform the world.  He was certain that democracy was spreading and would soon free all of humanity from tyranny.  He was jailed, instead, as too moderate (!) and his health was wrecked.  He asked his old friend Washington for help to get home, but George ignored him to protect treaty negotiations with England for access to rich West Indies trade.  Tom wrote a bitter letter: Washington was a monarch who ignored honor to friends, and to allies who helped set America free, instead helping the filthy barbarians who kept her enslaved for the sake of ungodly profit.

Washington’s political party the Federalists was outraged.  Tom languished in prison for Washington’s eight-year presidency, and four more because John Adams carried an old grudge for Paine calling him a would-be king (which he was).  Jefferson finally welcomed Tom home after fifteen years, but trouble was waiting.

Paine wrote The Age of Reason while in exile to “avoid politics and controversy,” but rejected religion in it.  We can just stare at a tree, he said, and believe in God.  Who needs revealed religion?  Religionists branded him an atheist, Federalists recalled his insult to their great hero general president, and both went “a-howl in the newspapers over the drunken, atheist, radical Jefferson has let back into the country.”

Tom couldn’t get a job or a pension.  All he wanted was repayment for money he gave to the Cause – dollar for dollar – without other reward, but he was only given a small farm in New Rochelle, New York as compensation.  He retreated to it in poverty to write letters to the editor and to Jefferson, and articles on controversial topics.  When Louisiana petitioned for statehood with a right to keep slaves, he wrote that admitting slaves to a free and equal society was unthinkable.  “Pennsylvanians” must be sent to teach Louisiana about democracy; and don’t call the state “Louisiana” because it honors a king, which insults the republic just won by the people’s blood!

He tried to vote for his friend Thomas Jefferson in 1804, but the New Rochelle election board wouldn’t allow it: he was a “French citizen” because of the honorary citizenship permitting him to serve in the Convention.  He spent his last days in the courts trying to redress this ultimate indignity, but it was not the final disrespect.

He was refused burial in Quaker ground despite his request because the Quakers feared someone might immodestly raise a monument to him.  He was buried on a remote corner of his New Rochelle farm, and a visiting Englishman later dug his bones up secretly, took them to England, stashed them under his bed, and forgot about them.  Upon rediscovery years later, they were sold and parted out all over England as souvenirs, and the whereabouts of Tom Paine’s bones is today unknown.  It begs the question: How frightened of a man must one be to want to hide his very bones?

After Tom began to grow in popularity and accreditation during the threatened nationally self-conscious democracy of the 1930’s and ‘40’s, his full American citizenship was belatedly admitted in 1945.  In truth, he’s a citizen of the world.  Tom Paine’s fierce principled call for human rights and, yes, loving hearts, still echoes and is still needed, for as much now as then, “These are the times.”

Citizen Tom Paine was the essence of our great democratic republican experiment: we are rebels as well as patriots.  On the fourth of July and on Tom’s birthday January 29th, lift your cup and toast a great American, friend to all the world, and constant champion of humanity.  Sing out:  “Hurrah!” for Tom Paine.                                                             © J. Legry

World War I public morale poster, captioned "Food Will Win the War.  You came here seeking freedom.  You must now help to preserve it."
Them is Us

POLITICAL MEMORABILIA:  www.zazzle.com/theattic

The United Corporations of America.

Agenda of the Economic Elite. The economic elite have made decades of premeditated carefully orchestrated strikes on the New Deal, democracy as a form of government, and the American constitution, supported by neo-conservative, Libertarian and religious fundamentalist allies – the same sort of coalition that supported the growth of national socialism in Germany (for a fact, grandpa Prescott Bush and the Koch brothers father Fred helped finance the Nazis); and no matter how disguised in civic rectitude, the merger of corporations with the state is still Mussolini’s original definition of fascism.Thomas Paine wrote that a tyranny used to meet an emergency, must return to democracy immediately after the crisis, or it becomes a permanent tyranny.  The ends justify the means permits all manner of abomination.  We can really see its manifestation in the lying Congress, corporate media and Republican Party.  They lie shamelessly in total self-interest.  Country, America, truth, democracy, freedom, justice and We the People mean absolutely nothing to them; they are obsessed with money and power.  Yet they are just minions of the super rich.  The following article introduces our real national enemy. Exposing Our Enemy: The Business Roundtable: The Most Powerful Corporate Business Club Most Americans Have Never Heard ofThe Business Roundtable, an organization representing Fortune 500 CEOs, is at the heart of the Economic Elite’s power center.  Editor’s Note: The following is Part III of David DeGraw’s report, “The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA.” AlterNet previously ran Part I and Part II.  DeGraw writes in the introduction to his report: “It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically destroying our way of life. The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax system is now blatantly rigged against us. Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our doorstep. . . and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US middle class.”

REAL HEROES: Click the image for narrative.

A Choice, Not an Echo

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.


AND THEN THERE WERE NONE

June 2, 2013

Earth Rebelled

DEATH BY 1,000 PIN PRICKS

There must be a new approach to public policy development that makes “Earth First” top priority.  “Property” “economy” and “jobs” must serve “Earth First.”

The planning frame should be at least 100 years, possibly 1,000, NOT 25.  Environmental change is occurring so fast that small decisions made locally avalanche regionally (e.g. downstream pollution), or even globally (e.g. ozone layer destruction).

The Economic Growth discussion is always the same: “highest and best value” (a misnomer if ever there was one – profits trump survival).

Fat City is over, although many are still trying to milk it for the last bit of cream.  We must do more with less, and the rich must share or move out.  We don’t need more deadhead users and freeloaders.  We must develop a mutually supportive community again.  The business of government is the people’s business; developers step to the rear.  Legislators must renounce corporate campaign contributions as contrary to the public good.

We need to CONTROL land value to discourage speculation, and eliminate or lessen the wide market swings due to nerves or manipulation.  We must impose firm, honest value on land and discourage speculative over-inflation – speculation is not bad per se, but it is one of the easiest activities to exaggerate and corrupt.  We need a National Land Use Comprehensive Plan.

Unlimited growth is the ethos of a cancer cell, says David Suzuki, noted biologist.  Because one cannot personally conceive of an alternative to growth does not mean that one does not exist.  Sustainability is NOT a myth – it is an under-represented, and too-often wrongfully rejected younger child; the one bearing truth to co-dependent addictive parents in deep denial over their multi-generational destruction of the natural environment.

Three well-known fables, or metaphors illustrate our present situation:

  • Chinese fable of death by 1,000 pin pricks.  Stick a mouse one to 500 times and it can still heal unassisted.  Between 500-750 sticks, the mouse needs help in order to survive.  Between 750 and the 1,000th stick, death is certain, regardless of outside intervention.
  • A lily pad grows exponentially, doubling in size every day.  It takes a while for it to cover half the pond, but on the very next day, the entire pond is covered, and everything below it suffocates.
  • Parable of the frog and boiling water.  Put a frog in boiling water and it hops right out.  Put the frog in cold water and slowly heat it to boiling and the frog will adjust until it boils to death.

One more stick with the pin?  Deal with it later?  Turn up the heat?

As a former Chair of an urban Planning Commission and Executive Committee Member of a Regional Planning Council two developers stand out:

One claimed that a miles long unregulated commercial Strip was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen: America’s energy and excitement was laid out plain: the true entrepreneurial spirit – wires, signs, traffic snarls, and pollution, revealed in indifferent sprawl and waste.

A second bermed his auto lot outside the entrance to a National Historical Site at our demand.  He then ran a ramp up so that his trucks would show above the berm, and trimmed his trees to poodle tail puffs so that the branches wouldn’t obscure anything.  He performed the letter, but not the spirit of the law, with no respect for our shared national heritage.  He was a Coney Island developer at Gettysburg National Cemetery.

We are in crisis and we must make fundamental and absolute changes without further delay.  We cannot give “just a little bit more.”  Spoiled children require discipline if they are to live wholesome, productive lives.  Developers, energy barons, other planet-killers and we, must settle for less and work to plan a healthy sustainable community.  We require teamwork to endure what is coming.  We don’t have the luxury to indulge selfish, ignorant behaviors.

JL:PDX-10-09/5-13

Earth’s Life Support Systems Failing by Stephen Leahy.

UXBRIDGE, Canada – The world has failed to slow the accelerating extinction crisis despite 17 years of national and international efforts since the great hopes raised at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The last big promise to act was in 2003, when government ministers from 123 countries committed to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

Experts convening an international meeting in South Africa this week agree that target will not be met next year, which is also the International Year of Biodiversity.

“It is hard to imagine a more important priority than protecting the ecosystem services underpinned by biodiversity,” said Georgina Mace of Imperial College in London, and vice chair of the international DIVERSITAS programme, a broad science-based collaborative.

“We will certainly miss the target for reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010,” said Mace in a statement.

Biodiversity is not just weird-looking animals and pretty birds. It is the diversity of life on Earth that comprises the ecosystems that provide vital services, including climate regulation, food, fibre, clean water and air.

By some estimates, 12,000 species go extinct every year, and the rate is accelerating. Akin to a cataclysmic asteroid, pollution, logging, over-exploitation, consumption, land use changes and engineering projects have produced the planet’s sixth great extinction of species.

Freshwater ecosystems may be the first collapse of one of Earth’s life support systems in 13,000 years. Species that live in lakes and rivers are vanishing four to six times faster than anywhere else on the planet, said Klement Tockner of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Germany.

“There is clear and growing scientific evidence that we are on the verge of a major freshwater biodiversity crisis,” Tockner told IPS.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/10/14-4

Without Drastic CO2 Cuts Immediately, the World Faces a Massive ‘Oh Shit’ Moment By Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation.

A frightening new climate change study says the United States must eliminate its enormous rate of carbon emission within ten years.

Editor’s Note: This is the kickoff to a series of pieces as a Copenhagen Primer about climate change that we will be running in the lead up to the international climate talks in Copenhagen beginning on December 7. Stay tuned.

They say that everyone who finally gets it about climate change has an “Oh, shit” moment — an instant when the full scientific implications become clear and they suddenly realize what a horrifically dangerous situation humanity has created for itself. Listening to the speeches, ground-breaking in their way, that President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered September 22 at the UN Summit on Climate Change, I was reminded of my most recent “Oh, shit” moment. It came in July, courtesy of the chief climate adviser to the German government. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chair of an advisory council known by its German acronym, WBGU, is a physicist whose specialty, fittingly enough, is chaos theory. Speaking to an invitation-only conference at New Mexico’s Santa Fe Institute, Schellnhuber divulged the findings of a study so new he had not yet briefed Chancellor Angela Merkel about it. The study, Solving the Climate Dilemma: The Budget Approach, has now been published here. If its conclusions are correct — and Schellnhuber ranks among the world’s half-dozen most eminent climate scientists — it has monumental implications for the pivotal meeting in December in Copenhagen, where world leaders will try to agree on reversing global warming.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/143256/without_drastic_co2_cuts_immediately%2C_the_world_faces_a_massive_%27oh_shit%27_moment

Decline of a Tribe: and Then There Were Five The Independent/UK by Guy Adams.

The last surviving members of an ancient Amazonian tribe are a tragic testament to greed and genocide.

They are the last survivors: all that’s left of a once-vibrant civilisation which created its own religion and language, and gave special names to everything from the creatures of the rainforest to the stars of the night sky.

Just five people represent the entire remaining population of the Akuntsu, an ancient Amazonian tribe which a generation ago boasted several hundred members, but has been destroyed by a tragic mixture of hostility and neglect.

The indigenous community, which spent thousands of years in uncontacted seclusion, recently took an unwelcome step closer to extinction, with the death of its sixth last member, an elderly woman called Ururú.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/10/13-3

Light at the End of the Tunnel.

DO AWAY WITH ARMIES FOR MEMORIAL DAY

May 24, 2013
"FILL 'ER UP!"

“FILL ‘ER UP!”

[CLICK the PICS for more information, LINKS]

EXIT STRATEGY

There are at least three major institutions on earth that have outlived their usefulness and become baldly destructive and should be done away with: corporations, armies and religions. “Armies” will unnerve some, but think of it, without corporations and religions most of the causes of war will evaporate. Plus, wholesale murder is no longer profitable (if it ever was, beyond the obscene success of a very few greedy people) and generally accomplishes nothing (e.g. 50 years after the Korean War the peninsula is still militarized, divided and unstable). The emerging moral is that we should grow up, stop fighting like schoolyard bullies over whose dog is prettiest and who gets all the marbles, and begin to cooperate with one another for the purpose of sharing this shrinking world and its dwindling resources without turning into maddened overcrowded cannibalistic rats in a global-sized cage.

A Decent World

A Decent World

I am a veteran and senior citizen.

The war in Iraq was a personal project for George W. Bush, using American lives and treasure.  He effectively ruined the world’s finest military.  He fought like the boneheaded novice that he is, and like British General Kitchener at Gallipoli, observing allied troops running uphill against heavy Turkish guns at his order, said, “Stout fellows, they always run for the thickest part of the fence.”

Added to which, Bush’s expensive technological war toys often did not work.  They were only designed to fill the pockets of his war-profiteering cronies; that’s what they were meant to accomplish.

Colin Powell said, “Don’t get into war unless it’s absolutely necessary, and when we do, go to win, no half measures,” but it doesn’t apply very much in real life.

As a Vietnam veteran, I know Johnson‘s phony Gulf of Tonkin Incident fished us into war (I was drafted).  He bought into the radical right’s communist containment scare.  The Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars wrote:

“In part, the process of deception has also been unintentional.  Much of the rhetoric and many of the actions that have accompanied our… involvement have been ad hoc responses to situations of stress: a cumulative series of reflex moves and lunges produced by deepening executive anxiety, defensiveness, alarm, desperation, and even a sensed state of siege.  Similarly in rhetoric, our ‘national honor,’ ‘[enemies] with nuclear weapons,’ and the goal of ‘peace with honor’ – all have misled the public.  At the root of executive deception is a vast amount of executive self-deception – or, to put it bluntly, stupidity.”

America blithely ignores offers of friendship and makes enemies as fast as we can throw the first sucker punch.  This is not military sense; it’s a bad case of ideology and invention over reason and fact.  But, Americans don’t run out when the fight’s tough – see: Khe San.  We stood nearly twenty years (dating from Eisenhower putting the first American boots on the ground in the Fifties when the French got tossed out) while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and Nixon’s side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the Bush leadership miasma; and our present dilemma under Obama.

We are now fighting a war for the health and life of the republic. Look at how the radical right Republicans and Tea Party and War Democrats have warped the nation they want us to fight for, die for, and honor! The self-destructive insanity of the radical right way of war makes it looks as if the bad guys have already won.

These are politically motivated wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s current pursuit of it.  End our wars now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys. It is time to grow up. No more useless bloodshed!

We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

EATTHERICH23


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