OTHER MEN DIE

August 22, 2016
Victory is a state of mind.

Victory is a state of mind.

OTHER MEN DIE

And the old vet was up in his studio bedroom in Mom’s attic

Painting magic eyeballs on his fingertips

To go with the mystic spirals on the backs of his hands

And he told us about seagulls in the early dawn

Of feeding them barehanded

Palms stretched to the skies

Lying upon his back on the wet sand

Observing the feathered feeding frenzy

Of the messy, greedy birds

That pecked his fingers and palms and wrists

Opening red puncture wounds

And he loved it

Because it brought him

So close to life.

And I saw that vet by another name

Sitting cross-legged in swim briefs

In wind-tossed dune reed grass

In cold wind whistling off a Winter Pacific

And I asked

“Why do you sit in the freezing cold, Shane?”

And he replied

“Because, at least I know I’m alive.”

And so it goes

jl/PDX/1-13

A Decent World

WAGING WAR FROM A BURNING HOUSE

No More Troops to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, so forth, so on

Dear President Obama,

Stop sending troops to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, so forth, so on.

I am a Vietnam Era veteran.  We stood nearly twenty years while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the present Reagan-Bush corporatist neo-conservative miasma.

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

These are politically motivated corporatist wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  These bloody-handed murderers-by-proxy began their plunder of the American nation by taking the Peace Dividend away from us after the Berlin Wall fell.  They shifted to terrorism as the object of their monolithic war machine, and plunged the whole world into wrack and ruin.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s continued pursuit of it.

End the war now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys, or corporatist oil barons and banksters.  We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

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AND WHAT ABOUT THESE MERCENARY BANDITS YOU HIRED?

Quit outsourcing government jobs to private contractors.  The People can get the job done better for less cost and for the community’s and not just a few individuals’ profit.

The performance of mission critical security functions by profit-driven contractors is counterproductive and often immoral and criminal.

It’s bad for the morale of our real American troops to see these overpaid and pampered bought-and-sold mercenaries.  I know because I have nephews and nieces who have served in our military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Talk to real American troops to hear it.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s list of inherently governmental functions that these mercenaries must not perform should include: guard services, convoy security services, pass and identification services, plant protection services, the operation of prison or detention facilities, and any security operations that might reasonably require the use of deadly force; and, from support of intelligence activities (including covert operations), interrogation, military and police training, and repair and maintenance of weapon systems.

Machiavelli famously wrote that mercenaries might be trusted for only two things: to demand more money; and to run out when the chips are down.  Don’t buy champagne for mercenaries, use our money wisely to equip and protect our real American troops.

Finally, have you given any thought as to what is to happen if these mercenaries decide they’ve got a better business proposition from our archenemies?  Or, face unemployment?  In Europe unemployed mercenaries set off the Hundred Years’ War, which might properly be called the “Rape, Murder and Plunder Crusade.”  The “Holy Crusades” were invented by the Pope as a safety vent to send these murder mavens packing out of town to do their dirty deeds. We prefer killing “heathens” to our own to this very day. But that can change.

STOP - SAVE

Don’t forget to click on the images for MORE information, or a larger image. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon. We’re in this together. All the best! j

CORRUPTING ELECTION 2014 and BEYOND

July 11, 2016

facistamerikka2

Dirty oil thieves who hide their evil deeds.

While Charles and David Koch remain largely unknown figures to the majority of the American public, with 52 percent recently reporting they have never heard of them, the reality is that the brothers are arguably the most powerful and influential people in Washington — and they’ve never even been elected to office. The public is largely unaware that the Koch brothers are doing everything they can to suppress voter rights, re-segregate public schools, weaken Environmental Protection Agency regulations and privatize Social Security. They are basically fascists – Mussolini’s original definition of ‘fascism’ is ‘corporate merger with the state.’ Say hello to the new masters. Or vote against all their sleazy corrupted candidates and fight for our democratic constitution and a free republic.

SIGN PETITION – OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED – WIN THE UNITED STATES BACK FOR WE, THE PEOPLE.

https://movetoamend.org/petition

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ABOUT WAR: While You Were Away…

May 30, 2016

uncle-sam-lost

Impression of Alexander the Great addressing his men when they refused to go on:

“Men, I don’t know why the gods set us on this great course, and what may be incomprehensible to me, must be doubly so for you.  And that’s why we have to go on, land after land, obstacle after obstacle, killing everyone who stands in our way, until the gods finally reveal their very great purpose to us.”

His men thought:

1:  Here we have one more useless heroic gesture from the parapet.

2:  It’s done to boost confidence/morale: cast admiring glances, swell with pride, rush/thrill with excitement, ache for the bittersweet glory of battle.

3.  Battle sucks, he’s a putz; and I hope they shoot his ass off before they get mine.

For some reason, his guys bought it; or maybe it was the execution of all the chief dissenters that encouraged the survivors’ understanding and will to carry on.

The troops who march off to war singing generally return silently if they return at all.  There is no sport in war, no winners, everybody loses, and the end result is disaster for some, and lifetime wounds for the rest – invisible, or not, we’re all disabled, dehumanized, and diminished by it, even non-combatants.  Even so, there are always those who yearn for Armageddon, who work for and revel in it, a giant I-told-you-so and a thumb in the eye for all the rest of us who must be made to suffer for ignoring them, I suppose.

The foolish gestures of war; the real heroism clichéd and trite, so prosaic, so real, is desperate stuff – what we console ourselves with as we face or lie dying, contemplate the dead, justify the holocaust. Innocence, forever startled. There is no glory, no promise, and no hope in warfare. Just blood.

 

fillup

“FILL ‘ER UP!”

©JLegry.

funny-Senator-Bernie-Sanders-war-veterans1

BERNIE SANDERS for President

OPEN LTR TO HILLARY SUPPORTING SON

May 21, 2016

whoownswhom

As a veteran observer and participant in the ’60s, Bernie’s activist style is transparent to me. I have no problem with stridency. Watched people being washed down the stairs of the SF courthouse with fire hoses, among other things. We should talk sometime. Noticed as a citizen involvement type that sedate, law-abiding, mainstream people generally react badly to loud, passionate, earnest voices and clenched fists. Lots of misunderstandings possible. American politics has always been loud, bombastic, pretty much corrupted – look at Boss Tweed. We are in another phase of the on-going clash between have and have-not, only we have sectionalized it even more. Inclusion is a hard and often seemingly impossible condition. “Be civil,” “be polite.” That didn’t work in the French Revolution either, as I recall. Bernie’s point, IMO is:

“The Democratic Party has a choice. It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change – people who are willing to take on Wall Street, corporate greed and a fossil fuel industry which is destroying this planet. Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy.”

Believe Hillary will lose the general to Trump – not a contest of skills and abilities – celebrity contest – he knows how to play it, she is drab as mud. In this consumer-based inconsequential reality show, Trump trumps. We need Bernie. He will have many trustworthy and far-sighted helpers. We need to change and the time is now. If we stay the same, or struggle to do so (always ridiculous – shoveling shit against on-coming tide stuff) we will go down. IMO, Bernie can beat Trump. He sees the vulnerabilities and has excited the base. It can happen. Still plan on going to the convention with Bernie. Lincoln won the narrowest of margins in 1860 – that may be the light at the end of this impending civil war tunnel too.

When all said and done though, in the general election: VOTE BLUE.

voteblustackflagAsm

DENIAL AIN’T A RIVER IN AFRICA

June 23, 2015

Riverside Morning in Amarna – Egyptian Nile

 DENIAL AIN’T A RIVER IN AFRICA

10 Ways Mother Earth Will Strike Back If We Don’t Stop Our Wanton Destruction of the Environment By Scott Thill, Alternet, March 20, 2010.

Thanks to perfectly timed, premeditated reality assassinations like so-called ClimateGate, nearly half of Americans may now believe that the various threats of climate change are exaggerated. But there is good news: They’re on the wrong side of history and science, and Earth will still get the last laugh on all of them, and us for that matter.

We could stave off some of the more egregious probabilities of extinction, if we acted now to limit global warming’s inexorable rise to 2 degrees. But that means a determined destruction of the status quo, and that’s always messy for those who like things just the way they are. But they’ll still get theirs. Here’s how: 

1. Envirogees: Climate refugees (envirogees, as I call them) could hit 50 million this year and explode to 150 million over the next 50. Hordes will be turned out of their environmentally sensitive homes in China, India, the United States and elsewhere and set to roam (migrate). They will end in the backyards of disgruntled citizens who scream about things in their backyards. If you think immigration is a problem now, just wait until Mother Earth starts cleaning house.

2. Dead Zones: Hypoxic oceans and lakes, known as dead zones are increasing in frequency, making climate change worse, no matter the prime cause, as if there could ever be such a thing. From shrinking the sex organs of our planet’s fish to fucking up its food chain and escalating the ocean’s nitrous oxide emissions, dead zones are deep threats More nitrous oxide, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, means more ozone depletion, which means more cancer, crop depletion and much worse. 

3. Rising Tides: Those who live near oceans will be busy fleeing the rising tide.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report prophesied that global warming would increase sea levels by 190-580 millimeters by 2100. More recent research has doubled the bar to an upper limit of two meters. Which probably means that in another few years, the already catastrophic limit will be raised again, perhaps by another 100 percent, at which point there won’t be much point in measuring anything at all. Coastal metropoles like Los Angeles, Miami, London, Sydney and others will literally be drowning in data.

4. Fart Apocalypse! Methane, like nitrous oxide, is a killer greenhouse gas. It smells like the worst crap. Now imagine being choked by it as it belches from the oceans in a toxic feedback loop and dominates the atmosphere. It happened in a Triassic extinction event, scarily known as the Great Dying. It could be happening again, as permafrost melts and farts methane into sea and sky. Whether it’s factory beef farming or melting permafrost, the threat remains the same. Earth has serious gas and methane may stink up the future.

5. Droughts and Desertification:

Drought and desertification are surely the least glamorous ravages of global warming, but they are immediate. Parched rivers and declining precipitation, especially in once-fertile regions in America, India, China, Africa and elsewhere, are fueling everything from crop failure to gender inequality and “famine marriages.” If you think climate change is going to bring more water your way instead of less, I’ve got a subprime condo in Australia I’d like to sell you. It’s hot!

6. Ice Age Cometh? It’s hard for deniers tiny brains to comprehend that catastrophic climate change could simultaneously feature both deep freezes and ferocious firestorms. (They just can’t figure out why snow won’t make the words “global warming” go away.) The first decade of this still-new century was the hottest on record, yet our recent winter was wetter and colder than average. That dynamic flux is central to global warming, at least for now, as changing atmospheric flows remake the environmental map of the world. What we end up with could be another ice age, at least for some parts of the. It happened after the Medieval Warm Period, and it can happen again. 

7. Deforest Dystopia: What’s as bad as global carbon dioxide emissions from planes, trains and automobiles? Deforestation, accounting for 20 percent of the CO2, currently at an all-time high, belched into the air every year. Cutting down forests, which are carbon sinks, in order to build wood and paper crap like the Wall Street Journal is an unclassifiable kind of dumb. Yet we do it every year. At best, we may kill off our great forests, as well as our way of life. At worst, climate change turns trees from carbon sinks to emitters. And then deniers truly won’t be able to see the forests for the trees, because there won’t be any left. RELATED: MARIJUANA PAPERS – industrial hemp produces four times the yield on the same acre as pulp forest at less cost, and is a far better carbon sink, NOT a polluter.  Get the facts.

8. Magnetic Mourning: Earth’s protective magnetic field is 250 million years older than previously thought. Now a ripe age of 3.5 billion years, our magnetic field could be weakening, and that could turn us into Mars, or even lead to the type of geomagnetic reversal that terrorizes audiences in Roland Emmerich’s disaster porn movie, 2012. What’s this got to do with global warming? Some scientists believe that an already weakening magnetic field is causing global warming, but it’s probably only a matter of time before that is flipped: What does screwing with a planet’s stable temperature and atmospheric flows do to the Earth’s core? Who wants to find out? 

9. Give Us Demographics or Give Us Death! Demographics are against the deniers as well. The median age of network and cable viewers grows older, as those outlets avoid covering global warming or, like Fox News, glorify the deniers. Denier campaigns are led by global warming’s future losers, who eventually must bow to reality. Last year, ad revenue for newspapers and networks continued to decline, while it increased online, where the diversity of opinion and information on matters of great importance like global warming is much greater. Only Fox News survived the old media bloodbath, but its viewers are continually dumber than everyone else. The trend is clear: as global warming wears on, more evidence piles up, and more aging and irrelevant skeptics fall by the wayside. Now that climate-change believers in the White House are teaming up with Hollywood to spread the word, you can practically hear the skeptics aging by the minute. 

10. Cosmological Constant: Science-minded world citizens share one major commonality with deniers: the planet will outlive us, no matter what happens.  Now we must evolve enough to realize that no intelligent design can save us, that we’re lucky to be spinning on a green and blue rock through the void of space.

It’s just a question of time, which is ridiculous if you think about it: We wouldn’t even understand time were it not for the gravitational ballet of our solar system. But here we are, at the dawn of the 21st century, trying to avoid the revelation that we are not God’s lucky children, but Earth’s lucky children, and we should be taking much better care of our sandbox. Or else.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/environment/146080/10_ways_mother_earth_will_strike_back_if_we_don%27t_stop_our_wanton_destruction_of_the_environment?page=3

 

The Wages of Walmart.

BORDER BADDIES

“Mexican criminals are just following the money and there’s a whole lot of money to be made selling drugs to American addicts who will pay anything for a “fix”. The war on drugs is killing a lot of Mexicans and it’s obviously not stopping drug addiction in the U.S. judging by the number of prisoners convicted of drug related crimes. There’s not a wall gonna stop the vendors when the demand is so voracious. Drug related crimes have created an entire industry, which includes our prison system. Seems like we could be sending our kids to college instead of to prison — If drugs were legalized in the U.S., the drug cartels would have to go back to selling Chicklets on the street.” – Tana C. Williams

“THERE WILL BE A RECKONING”

February 25, 2015

‘There Will Be A Reckoning’
by Jon Queally, Common Dreams, February 25, 2015
Environmental visionary Lester Brown delivers stark warning over dust bowl conditions spreading over Africa and Asia.
dust_storm
A satellite captured a 2001 dust storm swirling over China. The storm eventually crossed the Pacific and reached the United States. (Photo: NASA)

On the verge of retirement, noted environmentalist and celebrated systems analyst Lester Brown has a dire warning for the world he has spent more than half a century advising on issues of food and energy policy: there is no end in sight for the interrelated scourge of climate change, global poverty and hunger.

In fact, according to Brown, in several vulnerable areas around the world, the situation may be about to go from very bad to much worse.

“We are pushing against the limits of land that can be plowed and the land available for grazing and there are two areas of the world in which we are in serious trouble now,” said Brown, who founded both the Worldwatch Institute and the Earth Policy Institute, in an interview with the Guardian’s environment correspondent Suzanne Goldenberg.

“One is the Sahel region of Africa, from Senegal to Somalia,” explained Brown. “There is a huge dust bowl forming now that is actually stretching right across the continent and that dust bowl is removing a lot of top soil, so eventually they will be in serious trouble.”

At some point soon, he added, “there will be a reckoning” in those regions.

According to this NPR report from November, based on the work of the Earth Policy Institute, the dust bowl conditions forming in northern Africa and across central Asia are already having dire consequences:

In China, dust storms have become almost an annual occurrence since 1990, compared to every 31 years on average historically. In northern China and Mongolia, two large deserts — the Badain Jaran and the Tengger — are expanding and merging, often swirling together in massive sand storms when strong winds blow through each spring. The Gobi desert is also growing, inching ever-closer to Beijing as the grasslands at its edges deteriorate.

Meanwhile, in the Sahel region of Africa, millions of acres are turning to desert each year in countries including Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Dust from Chad’s Bodele Depression been traveling the globe for many centuries — in fact, scientists think it helped make the Amazon fertile. But the amount of dust blowing out of West Africa has increased in the last 40 years. Dust clouds from the Sahara can affect air quality as far away as Houston, and may even harm Caribbean coral reefs.

According to Brown, as the situation worsens in these areas, the impacts will likely be much worse than they were in the United States during the 1930s. “Our dust bowl was serious,” Brown explained to Goldenberg, “but it was confined and within a matter of years we had it under control … these two areas don’t have that capacity.”

The warning over soil erosion and the unsustainable farming practices that currently dominate large swaths of the planet have been on the mind of ecologists and agricultural experts for decades. As the threat of global warming has entered the public debate, the stakes have only intensified. Brown was among the first and most thorough minds to set attention on the threat of planetary climate change, devoting an entire series of books—collectively titled Plan B—which assess and put forth solutions to the approaching crisis. The most recent edition is Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

However, in a statement last month, Brown announced that he would officially retire later this year and wind down the Earth Policy Institute following the publication of his next book, The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy.

“After careful consideration of my life at 80 years,” announced Brown in the statment, “and with profound appreciation to my staff, collaborators and supporters, I have decided to step down as president of the Earth Policy Institute and end its work as of July 1, 2015.”

Brown continued, “I believe the Earth Policy Institute has accomplished what we set out to do when we began in 2001, and now it is time for me to make a shift and no longer carry the responsibility of managing an organization. I plan to continue to research and write on issues that I believe I can add to in some meaningful way.”

Speaking with Goldenberg, Danielle Nierenberg, who joined Worldwatch in 2001 and went on to co-found her own institute, Food Tank, said the world owes much to Brown for his decades of work and unique vision.

“He’s the godfather of merging environmental and food issues,” said Nierenberg. “If you are talking about food and the environment, everybody looks to Lester Brown.”

As the world continues to grapple with the catastrophes spurred by our own human development, Brown wrote this in the introduction to Plan B 4.0: “The question we face is not what we need to do, because that seems rather clear to those who are analyzing the global situation. The challenge is how to do it in the time available. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much times remains. Nature is the timekeeper but we cannot see the clock.

He continued, “The thinking that got us into this mess it not likely to get us out. We need a new mindset.”

The last question society should ask, he concluded, is whether or not what needs to be done is considered possible.

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DON IN IOWA

January 28, 2015
Mousetrump - nesting in the greenery.

Mousetrump – nesting in the greenery.

Trump: The Ultimate Know-Nothing
Jim Moore, Washington, D.C.-based writer, editor, and photojournalist

Donald Trump descended on Iowa this past weekend, dropping from the skies to deliver words of wisdom to the masses of Hawkeye Christian Republicans starving for enlightenment at the feet of The Donald. To no one’s surprise — no one outside the GOP at any rate — Trump’s inchoate jawboning once again revealed a vacuous puffball incapable of organizing the basic parts of speech into coherent, declarative, and compelling sentences. And the subsequent interviews with the media further exposed a character completely unsuited for public office. When he told ABC’s Jon Karl that he would be willing to spend half-a-billion dollars or more in a 2016 White House bid (“I’d be willing to spend that kind of money. I’d spend whatever it took,”), it wasn’t so much about his aspiration to achieve a great and responsible office as it was about his desire to buy something new and big.

Maybe it’s me, but I’ve never gotten Trump, never felt the least bit comfortable with his utterances and his maze-like thought processes. I believe most Americans take the measure of a person not by his or her bank accounts, but by his or her accountability. With Trump, there is always a fog that accompanies his pronouncements — a smokescreen of obscuring rhetoric designed to cloak him in pseudo facts and vaguely damning suggestions of impropriety. His visit to Iowa showcased his directionless approach to real-world issues.

Consider this Trumpism, a 54-worder on the Republicans’ chances of recapturing a Senate majority, as quoted by NBC’s Kasie Hunt:
“Well I think you have six or seven states – I won’t mention the states ’cause I don’t want to put pressure on anybody, but I think you have six or seven states where you could really have in a couple of cases upsets, really, and you could have some good victories for the Republicans.”

When pressed for specific candidates, Trump passed, which is to say he doesn’t have a clue.

READ MORE:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jimmoore/donald-trump-iowa_b_3741408.html

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Please sign petition:

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 380,00+ and counting . . .to 500,000

PETITION LINK: http://movetoamend.nationbuilder.com/petition

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AMERICA LOSES HER WAY

January 27, 2015

[Don’t forget to CLICK the IMAGES for extra information]

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 (2016 is gonna be a bitch, according to Thom Hartmann).  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 (or the Koch brothers).  “What a low pinnacle,” my wife says.  “Bush gives new meaning to the American concept that anybody can become president.”  They don’t even have to be elected.  Bush 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 a corrupted Supreme Court – buttressed by legal arguments so weak that even first year law students would blush to use them.

VOTE PROGRESSIVE:

Be well advised, in the next election, 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.

© J. Legry

RELATED:

Please sign petition:
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 380,00+ and counting . . .to 500,000
CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/ 
PETITION LINK: http://movetoamend.nationbuilder.com/petition
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THOMAS PAINE: “The World is My Country.”

January 11, 2015
Thomas Paine - Author-Patriot, 1737-1809.

“The world is my country. To do good is my religion.”

THOMAS PAINE, author-patriot, 1737-1809
On January 29th people around the world working for reform and free thought will celebrate Thomas Paine’s birthday. This under-sung founding father well represents all those who forged the American nation and brought modern popular democracy into the world. He deserves to be nationally honored post-911 as a great American who fought for freedom, equality, direct democracy, and human rights.

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 over 230 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.

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, which led 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 – among the most famous words in the American revolutionary liturgy – to talk the starving, freezing army out of deserting the cause. General Washington personally read them to his men.

“These are the times that try men’s souls. 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 helped save 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 by buying a desperately needed ship and cargo of muskets, powder and shot (since congress wouldn’t pay for them), saving the army and the nascent nation a second time, literally by himself.

After our Revolution, Paine was made an honorary citizen of France so that 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 the rich West Indies rum, molasses and slave trade. Tom wrote a bitter letter: Washington was a monarch – who ignored honor to friends and allies who helped set America free; and aided the filthy barbarians who had enslaved her instead – solely 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). Paine’s liberal friend Thomas Jefferson finally welcomed Tom home after fifteen years, but trouble was waiting.

While in exile, Paine wrote The Age of Reason to “avoid politics and controversy,” and rejected religion in it. We can just stare at a tree, he says, 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 by the state legislature 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 it “Louisiana,” for it honors a king, insulting the republic just won by the people’s blood.

He tried to vote for his friend 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 secretly dug up Tom’s bones, 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, New Rochelle belatedly admitted his full American citizenship 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 that try men’s [and women’s] souls.”

Citizen Paine was the essence of our great democratic republican experiment: we are rebels as well as patriots. On January 29th, or July 4th, when-, or wherever freedom loving people are gathered, lift your cup and toast a great American, friend to all the world, and champion of nature and humanity. Sing out: “Hurrah!” for Tom Paine.                             – © J. Legry ‘08

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

SIGN THE PETITION BELOW TO HELP UNDO THE DEMOCRATICALLY DISASTROUS Citizens United DECISION:

The Republicans are bought into the craziness at a very deep level. They will not get better. They will explode or fizzle out, but they will not get “well.” These sick puppies prefer revolution and the overthrow of the United States government to honest political dialog and debate. We really need to put these crazies into the booby hatch. At very least, we must stop giving them political credibility.

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 379,547 and counting . . .to 500,000

CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/ 

PETITION LINK: http://movetoamend.nationbuilder.com/petition

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2014 in review

December 29, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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