Archive for December, 2010

TEN GOOD THINGS in DYSTOPIA

December 28, 2010

GOP Plan to Sink U.S.

Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann. The GOP War on Government: Gutting Public Employee Unions, Public Services, and Cutting Taxes for Wealthy. VIDEO LINK: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/12/28-0

 

Dick Cheney’s $250-Million ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card by John Nichols, December 28, 2010 by The Nation What’s the going rate for getting a former vice president off the hook in a major criminal case that involves charges of government corruption and raises concerns about violent wrongdoing and even murder?

If you’re Dick Cheney, it’s roughly $250 million. That’s the amount that Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR Inc. are reported, by Nigerian officials and international observers, to have paid to get the government of the African country to drop bribery charges against the former corporate CEO and other Halliburton employees and operatives.

Top Nigerian lawyers and newspapers are objecting, and rightly so. The charges against Cheney and his colleagues go far beyond the usual corporate corruption.

Nigeria's Agony - The Deepwater Horizon disaster caused headlines around the world, yet the people who live in the Niger delta have had to live with environmental catastrophes for decades.

READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/28-1

 

Daydreams and Power.

 

ABSTRACT: 2011: A Brave New Dystopia by Chris Hedges December 27, 2010 by TruthDig.com

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Orwell [saw us] dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control. Huxley envisioned us entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology brave new dystopia, brave new world, 1984, and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression. Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

We have been gradually disempowered by a totalitarian corporate state that, as Huxley foresaw, seduced and manipulated us through sensual gratification, cheap mass-produced goods, boundless credit, political theater and amusement. While we were entertained, the regulations that once kept predatory corporate power in check were dismantled, the laws that once protected us were rewritten and we were impoverished. Now that credit is drying up, good jobs for the working class are gone forever and mass-produced goods are unaffordable, we find ourselves transported from “Brave New World” to “1984.” The state, crippled by massive deficits, endless war and corporate malfeasance, is sliding toward bankruptcy. It is time for Big Brother to take over from Huxley’s feelies, the orgy-porgy and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. We are moving from a society where we are skillfully manipulated by lies and illusions to one where we are overtly controlled. 

Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would corporatist totalitarian noose tightening on americans, american democracy smashed by corporatist elite, be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse.

The noose is tightening. The era of amusement is being replaced by the era of repression. Tens of millions of citizens have had their e-mails and phone records turned over to the government. We are the most monitored and spied-on citizenry in human history. Many of us have our daily routine caught on dozens of security cameras. Our proclivities and habits are recorded on the Internet. Our profiles are electronically generated. Our bodies are patted down at airports and filmed by scanners. And public security state service announcements, car inspection stickers, and public transportation posters constantly urge us to report suspicious activity. The enemy is everywhere.

Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves.

“Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating?” Orwell wrote. “It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself.” Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/27-1

 

Julian Assange

 

 More Than Ten Good Things to Celebrate in a Bad Year by Medea Benjamin

This year was marked by turmoil at home and abroad, including a deepening financial crisis that continues to leave millions jobless and homeless, as well as ongoing and expanding wars. But despite the setbacks and disappointments, here is a list of victories to be thankful for..

It’s an important reminder, as we go into what will be a very difficult new year, that people on all continents continue to struggle for a more peaceful, just, sustainable world. And as long as people keep organizing and mobilizing, there will be victories to celebrate. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/12/28-2

 

Cheers!

 

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NET NEUTRALITY TO END

December 21, 2010

 

 

BREAKING: The FCC passed new rules — written by corporations — that will end Net Neutrality.

For the first time in history, the U.S. government approved corporate censorship of the Internet, putting the future of online free speech at risk. Unbelievably, the person leading the charge was Obama appointee Julius Genachowski.

This violates President Obama’s campaign promise to protect Net Neutrality, but some media are reporting the corporate spin that this is a “Net Neutrality compromise.” It’s not — there’s no such thing as half a First Amendment. We need to set the record straight.

If you’re on Twitter, please click to share this: NEWS: @FCC breaks Obama promise, allows corporate censorship – no Net Neutrality rules. 3 things to know: no such thing as half a first amendment, bit.ly/eVKyWH @ceciliakang

If you’re on Facebook, click here to spread the word.

By sharing, you can help us spread the top 3 reasons the rules passed today are a giveaway to big corporations and break Obama’s promise:

  1. They enshrine different rules for wired and wireless Internet — allowing big corporations to censor on your mobile phone
  2. They allow corporations to set up tollbooths online, stifling new innovators like the next YouTube who can’t pay the fees the old, crusty corporations can pay
  3. For the first time, they embrace a “public Internet” for regular people vs. a “private Internet” with all the new innovations for corporations who pay more — ending the Internet as we know it.

A more detailed explanation is here. Please pass this email to your friends so they know not to believe the corporate spin.

And click here to share on Twitter and here to share on Facebook.

Thanks for being a bold progressive, Jason Rosenbaum, Adam Green, Stephanie Taylor, and the PCCC team.  The Progressive Change Campaign Committee PAC (www.BoldProgressives.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Contributions to the PCCC are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

SOME SORT OF GLITCH – MOVE CURSOR OVER TEXT TO FIND HOTLINKS. THANKS.

CHRIST ALL MIGHTY

 Holy Holy Holy, Along With Many Gift Shops and Twice-Daily Crucifixions

 

Feeling Christmasy? What better place to celebrate than Orlando’s Holy Land Experience, a 15-acre theme park adorned with “HE IS RISEN” shrubs where you can sing Christian karaoke in the Theater of Life, buy 1st-century gimcracks in the Old Scroll Shop, get automated tours through the Bible in the Scriptorium, walk on water with Jesus, share the Last Supper with Jesus, and, twice a day, watch a bloody Jesus get dragged through the streets, and crucified. Yes. On Christmas

 

too. –Abby Zimet

 BUSHIES MOVE TO COVER THEIR ASSES

 Assange and Rove and the Swedish Connection

Master and Turd Blossom

 Speculation is growing that Karl Rove is a key player behind the move to prosecute Julian Assange in Sweden, where Rove is a longtime friend of and adviser to the conservative Prime Minister. More here.

Twice Daily - No Standing

 

HOW TO FIGHT REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS

December 8, 2010

Palintler

HOW TO FIGHT REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS:

Blood Sacrifice

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/

One nation indivisible.