Archive for May, 2011

TO THOSE WHO SERVE

May 27, 2011

MEMORIAL DAY 2011

TO ALL THE MEMBERS LIVING AND DEAD WHO HAVE SERVED TO PROTECT THIS GREAT FREEDOM-LOVING COUNTRY:  THANK YOU.

Victory is a state of mind.

I Remember

I’ve always been embarrassed that I didn’t go “in-country” in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, or anywhere else that Johnson – and later Nixon – sent people to die when I served in the United States Navy 1966-72. Go figure.

As it was, I got to call myself a Vietnam Veteran, and not a Vietnam Era Veteran, because my unit directly supported troops in active combat. We did it at a distance, but we learned too much about the killing fields anyhow.

Joining the Navy was a careful decision. At the time I got my draft notice – order to appear for physical examination, I was older than the norm – largely teenage boys 17 to 19. I was 21 and college educated. I had a brand-new degree while most of my mates sufficed with high school diplomas, maybe a GED, or nothing. Because of the draft there were a lot of guys like me snatched up because they didn’t have enough college credits to avoid the call; or no wife and children; or a rich daddy like George Herbert Walker Bush to buy us into the Texas Air National Guard; or a “critical” behind-the-lines position exempted for a “vital” job; or, were not clever, credible, or courageous enough to claim conscientious objector status.

After my service, I celebrated the 7-year end of the Statute of Limitations on Felony Draft Avoidance with a friend who refused induction and worked for the World Without War Council as a draft counselor for high school students. He told the whole truth, including the right to appeal, obtaining conscientious objector status, and what to do if running was their choice, so the Military enlistment personnel hated seeing him walk into the high school auditorium on Career Counseling Day.

Another friend ran to Canada and was eventually pardoned by Jimmy Carter. The FBI used to send agents to hide in the bushes to watch his mother’s house on Thanksgiving and Christmas, just in case the homesick sentimental draft dodger came home for the holidays. I guess they had to cover all the bases in their thorough-thorough way, but the mind boggles at the expenditure of tax dollars – particularly when multiplied by all the other refusals and dodgers at the time, multiplied by all the really important serious crime that might have been investigated instead.

The ratio of will to won’t go was 6-4 in Bay Area San Francisco then. With 40% refusal, the feds only prosecuted celebrity dodgers like Joan Baez’ husband David, whom they sent to some Country Club prison in southern California. Not a bad gig, but he was Baez’ husband and thus too high profile to treat roughly? We didn’t do “Extraordinary Rendition” then; we got beat to crap the “regular” way – behind the scenes, without witnesses by professional peace officers who knew they were breaking the law and every imaginable moral imprimatur, and didn’t give a shit.

One friend received a deferment so that he could create experimental concrete products for the Navy. One creation was an equipment pad able to withstand several “thousand” fathoms pressure on the bottom of the ocean. My friend designed the perfect pad, but the Navy had no equipment advanced enough to place upon it. If they ever do, they’ve got a pad down there, waiting.

Another friend received a deferment to assist a marine biologist in placing transistorized heat sensors inside seal vaginas in order to study changes of body temperature as the animal slid from land into water, and vice versa. His job was to sneak up on sleeping  female seals from behind and…  It beat a foxhole.

Another friend went conscientious objector and was assigned to hospital cleanup for two years. He emptied bedpans and did any other job considered too lowly for higher hospital staff. The feds called it “Alternative Service,” but they looked down on it, like punishment, prison, or just like lifers in the military looked down on draftees.

Draftees bleed like everyone else, but they were only doing so (the lifers reasoned?) because they were forced to do so, and not (I reasoned) because they were boneheaded enough to make a voluntary career choice of it. With all the respect I truly have for the volunteer regular military, I never figured out how anybody could feel superior because of that.  That is the dichotomy in supporting the troops – they are killing people, yet they are heroes for doing so and we owe them our deepest support and respect. However, I voluntarily enlisted to avoid the “draftee” stigma. Being in the service was tough enough.

I also enlisted to choose my service. I chose the Navy. Army folks were up to their asses in the mud and blood; I think the survival expectation for a grunt touching down in a hot landing zone was eleven minutes. Their helicopter pilots – their only open officer program at the time – were being shot down one a week. It was a shockingly quick waste of a four-year college degree.

The Marines was a no-brainer, don’t go there. A high school chum who went off to war with them two years previously had come home whacked out. He wanted to get an M-16 and “go on up to Colored Town and clean out all the niggers. We’re gonna have to do it sooner or later. Better up there than down here.” (It’s always best to go someplace else to kill people than it is to do it in one’s own home. Think of the carpets). His eyes clearly showed how scared and hurt he was. He made me sad.

The Air Force was a prime option. They appeared to do most of their fighting two miles above the ground and then went home to the officer’s club on a nice protected base hundreds of miles from any danger, but it wasn’t recruiting at the time. Everybody wanted to be in the Air Force. Even G.W. Bush had to get Dad to pull big-time strings just to get into the lowly Texas Air Guard (and then the ratty little twerp went AWOL! – What a disgusting man, good at avoiding and starting war; “Georgie Porgie ran away”. I don’t think any president should have sole power to declare war – under any circumstances – especially one who has never fought one).

Next best? The Navy rode around in great big ships some two miles off shore and occasionally threw boxcar sized shells at the North Vietnamese, or steamed around making a show of military might and presence and fathering mixed foreign bastard babies. Navy chow was also rumored to be great, even better than Air Force grub. I didn’t know enough about sea duty to worry about it, yet. And I’d never heard of Mekong Delta Patrol. Of such stuff are great personal decisions made. What was it Rummy (Donald Rumsfeld) said? “There are the known-knowns that we know, and the known-unknowns that we know we don’t know; and then there are the unknown-unknowns that we don’t know at all.” And those are the little beauties that get you every time.

[Click images for added info, comment].

End of the Tunnel

A SIDELONG VIEW OF THE VIET NAM WAR

I was stationed on Guam, during the war,

A territory of the U. S. of A.,

From which the B-52s took off,

With their burden of bombs,

For old Hanoi and Uncle Ho,

Crewed by men in cowboy and other funny hats,

With box lunches,

For they’d be home for supper,

And a drink at the air-conditioned bar,

After the fall of the bombs on Nam,

And the lunch-box debris drop,

On the Russian trawler,

Bobbing at the three-mile limit,

Listening to our radio on the island shore.

I saw the B-52 Commuter War,

From beginning to end,

Up for the 7:30 a.m. launch,

Home for the 5 o’clock p.m. whistle,

And, in between,

The men in the cowboy and other funny hats

Never heard the sound,

As they rode high,

Twenty minutes from lunch,

And, two miles above the killing ground.

LET’S CELEBRATE LIBERTY:

We are brave Amerricuns,

With big fat guts,

Suckin’ beer and wavin’ flags,

And kickin’ faggot butts!

We hate useless sentiments,

Or to be reminded of our fears,

We just like tons of cornchips

And good cold cans of beer.

We like fundamental religion,

Satellite rock-roll t.v.,

Women with tight zippers,

And the death penalty.

We like Ronald Reagan,

Nooclear devices by the score,

Death to Arab nationalists,

And oh, so much more!

So light the dollar-sized button,

Illuminate the statue bold and brass,

Bring on those tall ships sailin’,

Kill all who give us sass.

For we are brave Amerricuns,

Standin’ on freedom’ shore,

Got here in our rowboats,

Drove the red bastards from our door.

Yes, we are brave Amerricuns,

You can tell we’re that, you commy,

Because we got us guns and god,

Pickup trucks, baseball caps and Ronny!

Fill 'er Up!

One Nation Indivisible.
Graduation Parade
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OBAMA is CORPORATIST reprise

May 25, 2011
[FOR “FUNNY STUDENT QUOTES” SCROLL TO END OF POST].
“Play it again, Sam!”

TRUTH WILL OUT

So, it’s pretty clear.  Obama is not Progressive.  He’s not a moderate either, but a corporatist similar to Bill Clinton.  Obama favors corporatist policy in every significant decision.  Three recent examples illustrate the point:

A Bomber Jacket Doesn’t Cover the Blood by Norman Solomon

President Obama has taken a further plunge into the kind of war abyss that consumed predecessors named Johnson, Nixon and Bush.  READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/29

Obama Puts Pesticide Pusher in Charge of Agricultural Trade Relations the Center for Biological Diversity

WASHINGTON- Sidestepping a stalled Senate confirmation vote, yesterday President Obama recess-appointed Islam Siddiqui to be chief agricultural negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative. Dr. Siddiqui’s nomination was held up in the Senate and was opposed by the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 80 other environmental, small-farm, and consumer groups. More than 90,000 concerned citizens contacted the White House and Senate to oppose the nomination. Siddiqui is a former pesticide lobbyist and is currently vice president of science and regulatory affairs at CropLife America, a biotech and pesticide trade group that lobbies to weaken environmental laws. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/29-0

Obama Packs Debt Commission with Social Security Looters

 Obama has filled his new ‘debt commission’ with Wall Street insiders determined to gut Social Security.

The most generous bank bailout in history has amplified Wall Street’s considerable political influence, and the economic implications of this democratic calamity go well beyond bloated bonuses. Over the past year, the financial propaganda machine has set its sights on Social Security, launching a massive assault on one of the nation’s most important economic programs. But rather than push back against the flawed economic assumptions of the nation’s financial elite, President Barack Obama appears to be advancing their arguments, and is now poised to repeat George W. Bush’s politically perilous efforts to gut Social Security.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/economy/146183/obama_packs_debt_commission_with_social_security_looters

MY TWO-BITS

Obama’s pretty much off on the wrong course.  He appears to sprinkle “public goodies” up to and including the health care insurance act, which achieve limited but not system change, while shoving our government ever more firmly into corporatist pockets.  He listens to Robert Rubin, Ben Bernowski, and Timothy Geithner, the corporate tools who crafted and executed the big rip-off that plunged our country into near-receivership for Bush Jr..  Obama is using the same old tools to craft and execute a brand new disaster.

No special foresight or vision is necessary to see the probable outcome of Obama’s already failed – before even implemented, in some cases – policies and programs.  Perhaps our asses will be held up a short while longer to get Obama safely through his presidency and out of office, before we fall on them.  His actions are, however, without future, and there is no posterity in them.  He plays for the moment, walking with increasing stiffness.  He doesn’t bend much any more and turns his whole body and not just his head.  Perhaps the candidate of change has been replaced by a corporate android, and the real Obama is locked up in the Whitehouse basement.  Perhaps.

Obama’s corporatist allegiance is more significant now because of the time in our history.  We are experiencing massive change that we cannot control, but only modify and ameliorate, if possible.  In the midst of crisis, he is throwing buckets of gasoline onto the fire.  If he capitulates to the worst corporatist thieves every time, we’re screwed blue and tattooed.  We might as well give up, but “I hope for the best,” as Jacques Cousteau once said, “although I can’t say why.”

What must be done?  Three signs are in my office: “Persevere;” taped to a nearby bookshelf;  the phrase “Eschew Surplusage,” Mark Twain’s advice for successful writing – also life as it turns out; and, “Plan your work; work your plan,” self-explanatory: choose a direction and go there.

All sorts of suck-swampwater things need immediate attention.  How should we grapple with them?  First we list them, then we figure out what to do about them.  We will call this our Progressive Agenda.  Let’s tell everybody what we’re all about.  Let’s come together on a Platform statement that really means something, then develop the legalese and workplans needed to implement it.  We must also raise a Progressive Party the likes of which cannot be stopped by the tricked voting machines of the corporatist economic elite who would be our new aristocracy.  They may be surprised to know this, but there are a lot of us who despise and will actively resist the Corporate State of America.

Our people must really galvanize, recruit and organize.  We are fighting a desperate struggle for our republic.  It has been battered, watered down, sullied and insulted, corrupted and trashed, but it is ours and we must do what we can to save it and make it whole and free again.  What is a higher long-term priority?

No short-term priority is higher than freeing our airwaves and stopping the rightwing blitz on our democratic debate.  The rightist S.O.B.s are moving faster now, spinning ever closer to violence.   This is a tricky patch for the republic and the corporatists and tea partiers.  According to the old Nazi play book, the rightists need to kill someone to stir the base to an eruption of righteous rage and revenge.  Once the magic wall is breached, more blood can and will be shed.  The Economic Elite assume they can control this mob.  They assume they can control Sarah Palin – she is stupid and probably insane, but they don’t weigh her radical religious zealotry.  This bunch of elitists is no wiser about such things than the corporatists who appointed Adolph Hitler Chancellor of Germany seventy-seven years ago.  There is an old Chinese saying: “Once every two hundred years, an irate mob shows up on the steps of the Forbidden City.”

That whole Nazi thing?  The military-industrial complex of the “Greatest Generation” brought it back home with them after the Second World War; it has been festering and spreading throughout America’s system ever since.  Robert Woodward’s book Veil about the CIA clearly shows the progression of “ends justify means” thinking.

Which brings back Obama’s unfortunate corporatism.  The corporatist agenda does not favor human survival any more than it does the rest of creation.  It is by its very nature “consuming,” and once having consumed without having sufficiently conserved or reserved, it will eat itself out of house and home, and starve to death in the wasteland.  End of species.  We’ve also changed the planet so much that the scientists are going to declare a new geological epoch; we shall pass from the Holocene to the Anthropocene, an epoch in which human activity is a major factor in changing the planet’s climate and geology.  Humanity as a terrestrial disease is about to climax like a great festering boil on the face of the earth, yet the president appoints a leading pesticide lobbyist and opponent of environmental regulation to chief agriculture negotiator in the office of the U.S. trade representative.

Not to worry, we’ve got the problem in the new Toyota fixed.  Bio-diesel too.

Climate change is accelerating.  The outlook is grim.  Oh, look who’s on the Kardashians!  Pass the Muscatel.

A “HAPPIER” NOTE:

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 bother-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

Empire Building and Trust-Busting

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #5

May 18, 2011
Gene Kelley danced past Joe's in "Singing in the Rain."
Gene Kelley danced past Joe’s in “Singing in the Rain.”

OLD BLACK MAGIC:

“Separateness is a useful illusion.”  – The Big Kahuna.

Separateness is a youthful illusion.  Jl.

“God, the original Tony Soprano.” – church sign, Simpsons.

The ancient Sumerians had no concept of guilt or sin.  Later, the Renaissance considered a life unencumbered by revealed religionReligionists study “The Book” in preference to studying themselves; they put enormous energy into it, which if applied to the exploration of self, might produce a more fulfilling result.

Monotheism is the flip side of intolerance.” – TV Travel Channel on sacred sites, explaining Amarna, Egypt.

Note: In the typical Christian, Moslem, Jewish life, Life is a pain.  One must suffer and hopefully endure until the bitter pill of death is administered.  Within that pain is the typically human drive to pursue happiness.  Happiness is fleeting, of course, but its pursuit keeps us busy, which alleviates the pain, and the fear we have of death.  Pursuing happiness is an attempt to overcome and/or keep the pain at bay as long as humanly possible; but it is just a pastime after all, not a destination.

“[When I die] all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.” – Rutger Hauer, Bladerunner.

INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS:

“What is it like to feel a stranger?” – – PBS question.  Senator Craig?

I wrote: “Ryan’s wagon was parked by the curb with its tailgate down.”  Spell check gave me: “The curb with its tailgate down parked Ryan’s wagon.”  Typed: “Ryan’s tailgate was parked with its wagon down at the curb.”  Speel check not trubled.  Glow figger.

Monte Markham as the voice of Plutarch.” – credit, Cleopatra, A&E Classroom. Get central casting!  He doesn’t even sound like Plutarch.

She boasted she could shoot and manage a horse as well as a man.  (Duck, guys!).

“There’s never been ANYTHING like it.” – Shaq, for Icy Hot.

We have different views of art.  He draws a stick.  I struggle for “stickness.”  8/97

Creative people routinely demonstrate how to get from here to there.  10/97

Q: “Just when are you coming down to earth, young man?”  A: “When it’s all over, I hope.” – Fred Astaire, The Sky’s the Limit.

“No doesn’t mean no.  It means you gotta cut a corner, work harder, and beat the system.”  – Baloo, Disney’s Tailspin, 1/94.  Walt Disney, always a powerful force for strong evangelistic coporatist morality.

“We want to talk about reducing nuclear weapons, particularly the kind that kill people.” – Casper Weinberger, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, CBS News.

Mr. Begin has offered to let each member of the PLO to leave Lebanon carrying an arm.”  Dianne Sawyer, 6/30/82.  But leave the other arm and both legs behind.

“On a farm with no watch dog, the fox rules the roost.” – Ancient Sumerian proverb.

“NEVAH GO THIRSTY AGAIN!”

“Don’t drink alone, Scarlet.  People always find out, and it ruins the reputation.” – Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), Gone With the Wind.

DAMN LIBERAL CONSERVATIVES:

Against “tax and spend bleeding heart liberal socialist democrats,” place “rob, rape, and ruin selfish warmongering radical conservative republicans.”

Said of the Congress:  “They have to find a way to institutionalize the existing situation, so they don’t have to fix it.”

“It’s the lie you tell yourself that matters.” – Inspector Morse, ’95.

“No sensible man would allow himself to be sent to war to defend a politician.” – Minister, The Dreyfus Affair.

Q:  Why do we serve the systemA:  Because it’s comforting in its routines and, like any abused child, we’d rather keep the horror we’ve got than deal with fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of change.

Our national debate has become timid.  The Neville Brothers sing, “You can tell the truth, as long as you don’t tell too much.” So what can one do about it?  Here’s a starter list:

  • Stick up for your rights – your own integrity matters more than loyalty to a negative cause.
  • Stimulate sympathy – there are social and political reasons for what we do. The social reasons create the greatest measure of self-identification and response.
  • Speak only from factlisten, especially when you don’t agree.
  • Use a variety of sources of information; try to understand the other view.
  • Act. Do something positive everyday.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves.”

LAST COMMENT:

Pain is an itch we can’t scratch.  All life is pain in the Buddhistic sense.  Its temporal fleeting nature is a constant bitter sweetness, forever a tear on the edge of beauty, a sigh on the cusp of grief.  We only get it for a moment, and sitting in silence, alone, we can feel its presence somewhere, always within, always informing, if we will it so.

Peace and Love,  brothers and sisters.  Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon!

JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER:

Published on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Human Activity Is Driving Earth’s ‘Sixth Great Extinction Event’.  Population growth, pollution, and invasive species are having a disastrous effect on species in the southern hemisphere, a major review by conservationists warns, by Ian Sample.  Earth is experiencing its “sixth great extinction event” with disease and human activity taking a devastating toll on vulnerable species, according to a major review by conservationists.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/28-11

Stonewall

HOW TO FIGHT CORPORATISTS

May 14, 2011
Mr. Pugger at the T.V.

Repeata por favor: WHY?

Word is that jobs – employment – and the economy are the priority.  Global warming and climate change must take a back seat.  However, one isn’t exclusive of the other.  The two are compatible and complementary.

For example, make every roof in the United States white.  Spend bailout money for labor and materials to Re-roof the Nation, changing every single dark-roofed structure in the country, using ONLY U.S. manufactured materials and union family-wage labor.  This simple action will significantly lower the planetary temperature, and start the nation moving on the rehabilatation and restoration of our environment.

Get real.  Quit subsidizing the poisonous consumer culture.  Why do we support a consumption-based capitalist system?  Why are there no options to lifetime indenture to a corporate behemoth?  Why are we dutifully trudging forward on a downward path to oblivion?  Why are we giving up, surrendering individuality, self-sufficiency, and independent living for a voluntary enslavement to a destructive ethos that is killing the planet?

Why are our leaders so clueless?  The facts are plain, the evidence overwhelming, and the results self-evident before our very eyes.  We’ve flunked any “stewardship of the earth” test in favor of an “eat everything in sight” survival panic.  We have overgrazed our range.  Starvation may finally depopulate our habitat.  Climate change may cleanse it via our extinction.  Hopefully, tenacious life will find a new way with a new shepherd who truly minds the flock, instead of one whose only thought is to fleece and eat it.  JL/12-09

Here are some good ways to fight back and unplug from the corporatist state.  

10 Ways to Stop Corporate Dominance of Politics** (Adapted abstract from Fran Korten, YES! Magazine – Link below).

The Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in politics is outrageous.  What can be done?  10 ideas:

1.   Amend U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings.

Congresswoman Donna Edwards and constitutional law professor Jamie Raskin speak out against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and call for a mass movement of people to support a constitutional amendment. Visit FreeSpeechforPeople.org to learn more and get involved! READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/rights/145361/a_constitutional_amendment_to_wrench_control_away_from_the_corporations/

2.   Require shareholders to approve political spending by their corporations. Britain has required shareholder approval since 2000.

Thomas Paine, American patriot and author warned us to watch, guide, and stop the powerful elite if we want humanity in general to succeed.  Paine 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.  READ MORE: https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/2009/07/04/independence-day-2009/

3.    Pass Fair Elections Now Act for federal financing for Congressional elections.

4.    Give qualified candidates equal amounts of free broadcast air time.

We need a reformed public ownership of uncensored airwaves, subject to strong democratic citizen oversight.  Free PBS and the Wilson Center!

5.    Ban political advertising by corporations that receive government money, hire lobbyists, or collect most of their revenue abroad.

6.    Impose a 500 percent excise tax on corporate contributions to political committees and corporate expenditures on political advocacy campaigns.  Representative Alan Grayson (D-Florida) proposes this, calling it “The Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act.”

7.    Prohibit companies from trading their stock on national exchanges if they make political contributions and expenditures.  Another Grayson, which he calls “The Public Company Responsibility Act.”

8.    Require publicly traded companies to disclose in SEC filings money used to influence public opinion.  Grayson calls this “The Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act.”

More details are available on the congressman’s Web site. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/politics/145339/grayson%3A_fight_now_or_%27kiss_your_country_goodbye%27_to_exxon%2C_wal-mart

9.    Require the corporate CEO to appear as sponsor of political commercials that his or her company pays for.  A personal favorite: let’s see these sleezebags shill their own dirty work.

10.  Publicize reform options, inform the public of who is making contributions to whom, and activate the citizenry.  Citizens must act.  Grassroots anger at corporate power is high, and when the public is angry, action is inevitable.

** READ MORE: Fran Korten, YES! Magazine http://www.alternet.org/rights/145441/10_ways_to_stop_corporate_dominance_of_politics

10 Ways to Screw Over the Corporate Jackals Who’ve Been Screwing You By Scott Thill, AlterNet.

Tired of getting pushed around by faceless big business? Here are 10 ways to push back!

Our global culture is rife with users, and we just sit back and take it.  No more.  Drop these bombs.  You’ll get change faster than you can say, “Teabag this!”

1. Mortgage underwater? Just walk away from it. Even academia says it’s OK. Move to the city and rent.  You’ll end up there anyway when your suburb runs out of water and malls.  One can have a good credit rating again — meaning above 660 — within two years after a foreclosure.

2. Unplug your cable. The easiest way to kill the so-called news networks is to cut them off at their enablers.  Pull your cable bill’s plug, or shut down your satellite.  Cable companies balk at offering channels on an a la carte basis and instead raise the price of their mediocre bundled offerings.  You don’t need old-school TV anymore.  In our digital age, you can go online for news and entertainment.  Streaming video sites like YouTube, or torrents, which are the future now, offer most favorites.  The BitTorrent protocol houses the people’s media library, dedicated not just to pimping out the same crap seen on network and cable, but often stunning artistry left for dead by the side of the mainstream.  Murdoch and other media asshats will hate you for unsubscribing, but you won’t miss 80 percent of the shit you watched when it’s gone.

3. Kill your landline. Chances are, your carrier is a privacy sellout you’re already paying double.  If you have a cell account, you don’t need a landline, so they’re just jacking you for money.  Nowadays, there are easier ways to chat up your pals, from Twitter and Facebook to Apple’s iChat, for free, riding the Internet.  Bottom line? Landlines are just ways to chain your wallet to the wall.

4. Reacquire your wealth. The easiest way for the Federal Reserve to pick your pocket is through your accounts and investments, which can be liquidated in the blink of a discount window‘s eye.  Withdraw cash, close accounts, and take it somewhere besides Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase or another bailout addict.  Right now, worry about another economic clusterfuck.  Banks left standing after the financial crashes are fatter than ever, hoarding cash instead of lending it to survive the next crisis they have already priced into the market.  Thanks to Congress, the Fed and the last two administrations, they’ve got your cash sitting in their vaults, whistling while they wait.  Take it out.

5. Pacify your portfolio.  Chances are you still own a retirement or investment portfolio. If you haven’t checked it out recently, chances are it’s poisoned by hyperleveraged funds invested in oil, housing, malls, SUVs or a shady Ponzi scheme.  Get out now, unless you want to be a dick about it.  Commodities like oil and food are hot, but they’re infested by destructive speculators.

The easiest way to make change in capitalism is by manipulating your money.  Make sure your retirement isn’t invested in Exxon or worse.  Put your money in solar stocks, and forward-looking investments, if you must fund anything.  In capitalism, you are what you pay for, not what you say about what you pay for.

6. Take credit. If you have more than two credit cards, you’re simply asking for trouble.  Scoring over $38 billion in corrupt overdraft fees and dragging their well-heeled feet on foreclosure modifications, banks aren’t done squeezing the public out of its last pennies.  Stop them, cut off the money.  No extra credit?  Great, no extra crap.  Pay off the cards you keep by any means necessary, and then pay off monthly.  That pisses off credit card companies no end.

7. Avoid CDs and DVDs: At least, stuff that isn’t in collectible form.  There is still a place for material goods in our mounting environmental chaos, but it is shrinking fast, like natural resources.  Discs are wasteful and obsolete; plastic uses oil, paper uses trees and water.  You can get anything you want these days online.  CDs and DVDs are the easiest fat to axe.

8. Stop buying bottled water, factory-farmed beef and new cars, especially hybrids.  The first offense is an oil industry bailout, the second is a climate-change massacre, and the third is a waste of time and money.  Electric cars will be here soon; walk or use public transportation until then.  Have to drive miles to work? Consider how much it costs, and add that to the paycheck you could get closer to home.  Our climate crisis demands that we kill as many emissions as possible to keep the planet from overheating.  A few more degrees and we could be looking at outright extinction of the human race.  Ergo, also decrease the amount of methane farted out by hordes of cows in Cow-schwitzes across America.  If you think carbon dioxide is a killer, it’s nothing compared to methane.  Throw in the heresy of using oil to make plastic bottles to store the same water that’s no more pristine than what’s already in your tap, and you have the hat trick from hell.  If you can do only one thing on this admittedly ambitious list, do these three things for instant impact.

9. Do not watch whiny bitches.  Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and other compromised gossips ranting about everything from Tiger Woods to Barack Hussein Obama are a waste of everyone’s time, except of course the people who pay them to spout their nonsense, and those who watch it to confirm their already mindless prejudices and political objectives.  Spend your time reading and ranting about more important matters.  Like your sex life.

10. Start or join a third party. “You want the puppet on the right or the puppet on the left?”  Our country is run by a single party comprised of political animals assembling on the fence.  They will do whatever they can to stay in power, even if it is madness.

The two-party system you have today is already a three-party system, housing a well-meaning minority, middle-way sellouts and batshit loonies.  Someone needs to babysit all those kids.  Why not you?  Worried about leaving your party?  Don’t be; it already left you.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/workplace/144679/10_ways_to_screw_over_the_corporate_jackals_who%27ve_been_screwing_you?page=entire

TEABAGGER MEMORIAL


SNEAKY PEOPLE

May 11, 2011
The Poet Dines Alone
The Poet Dines Alone

Excerpt: SNEAKY PEOPLE, unpublished novella.

Okay, this is a story about me.  It’s my diary, so I can write about anything I want – even things I wouldn’t tell other people (especially other men).  I’m a sneaky person.  I come from a long line of sneaky people – really sneaky people.  We’re part of the anonymous swarm that comes out like rats – day or night – picking off top or bottom of the midden heap (depending upon status in the pack) – seeking sustenance while awaiting the ever-approaching End of the World.

Which is pretty much occurring every day.  The End of the World is both cumulative and individual specific.  On the upper end of the End of the World Scale is Climate Change, which promises wholesale extinction (and, some bitch winters and summers between now and then); and, on the other is the latest starving Somali, homeless person, or helpless geriatric.  Somebody’s pretty much meeting the End of the World every single second.

I was born in San Francisco a bit before the mid-point of the Twentieth Century.  My parents were apprehensive about the spreading World War of that time and, I believe, my arrival was an oasis of joy for them – odd as that seems to me now.  My birth was an opportunity for them to hold the rest of the insane world temporarily at bay, basking in the momentary glow of life’s continuity.  Like all young people, they huddled secretly under the covers with their arms around each other, whispering about futures and possibilities – hopes.

My presence – miniscule and infantile – was accepted as God’s reassurance that all of us – each one: Dad, Mom, and Jr. – would come out all right.  In the end, the enemy would be defeated and the world brought majestically into the bright, painless peace of Forever After and the New Deal (which sounds like a rock group and if someone cops the name, I’ll sue).

However, my parents honestly felt that they were finishing the “undone business of World War I” – there were still German vermin to exterminate and, unexpectedly, the sudden need to fumigate Italy and delouse Japan.

Shortly after I was born, father was sent to the war by our beleaguered government and mother moved in with his mother – grandma – and three maiden aunts who were all destined to have affairs with transient servicemen who “might be killed in a matter of weeks,” and were.  None of my aunts’ fellahs made it back.  One aunt went bonkers, one married a dull-witted postman, and the third wed a fat automobile dealer and got a divorce from the rest of us.

Anyway, we waited at grandma’s for dad to come home.

He arrived late at night three years later.  He was flown into San Francisco International and taxied seventeen miles to his mother’s Oceanside home – to his wife and growing son.  I looked up at him as he stood over my bed.

“Did you fly home?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said with a pleased laugh.  “Do you remember me?”

“I have your picture,” I replied, pointing to his image on my dresser.

He looked at himself in the photograph for a long time, silent and withdrawn.  The day the photo had been taken, he had been a young soldier, vibrant, self-assured, and alive.  His face now was subtly different from the one in the photograph mounted between fifty-caliber machinegun rounds.  In the picture he was young and proud with new sergeant’s stripes on his Eighth Army Air Force uniform.  Standing there looking at himself, he was weary and grim.  A trace of the young man remained – a hint of optimism, which fired his eyes.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said at last, hardly believing that this would and could be so, that the bombs were left far behind, and gratefully forgetful that half the world’s population was still awakening in a world of ruins – picking hungrily through the rubble, hunting rats for nourishment.

I learned that he’d been in photo reconnaissance.  I liked the sound.  The French word “reconnaissance” had a lean mean underground battlefield resonance.  I was a romantic kid.  (That drove Dad nuts – among other things).  I learned, too, one evening when he was drinking, something he did more and more, that he had helped empty a rocket-hit orphanage one night in downtown London, carrying out its dead and dying children and their bloody parts.

He saw and lived with death as a routine for three years.  His photograph war souvenir album had pictures of massive bombers dumping lethal rain on Dresden, Berlin, German gun emplacements in Normandy, French coastal towns, war ships and hospitals, trains, cars, horses, wagons, canals and villages.  Now, home, he attacked normal civilian life as if it was the new enemy.  He had lost time to make up, things to do, family to feed and a top to possibly find.

In his free time, he watched boxing on the new-fangled television, tense with pleasure waiting for the knockouts, heavy K. O. punches, and T. K. O. s swimming in blood.  He watched the gymnastic exhibitions of professional wrestling until he realized that the mayhem wasn’t real.  He watched John Wayne repeatedly and successfully storm Iwo Jima.  He saw Errol Flynn shoot his way single-handedly through the entire Japanese Army in Burma.  He observed as Jeff Chandler really died of pleurisy while filming a mediocre account of Merrill’s Marauders on location in Imperial Indochina.  Pa’s latent violence had to translate into real life.

He punched Ma.  He punched me.  He drank himself finally and completely to death.  In his scarred wake, he left two sons, one daughter, and his frightened, yet indefatigable wife.  He also left behind the lingering echoes of Henry David Thoreau, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Father was a desperate man.

I’ve thought since that he was born in belief, raised in faith, condemned to hell, pardoned to purgatory, and eventually dispatched to…wherever he went.

Mother always said, “The War changed him.”  This is certainly so – I’ve seen other young men come back from Korea and Viet Nam.  They all have Dad’s eyes.  The men who fought at Salamis probably looked that way too.  Bloody fields and death process slowly.

Because of all this, justifications of violence appall me.  Its price is too high.  Brought home in the eyes of our young men, violence compounds as it seeks its vent.  Within the peacetime marketplace it ripples out on a high, spreading across the schoolyards, streaming into ghetto back alleys, finding its way into the boardroom.  Man against man, clan against clan.  So it goes, as Vonnegut says, and I?  I go on, watching to left and right, mindful of the dangers on the street, wary in my sleep – as restless as I was at the mouth of my cave one million years ago.

The history of mankind is a dry narration of famous battles, famous generals and famous kings, interspersed with profiles of failed political, social, economic and religious systems, which all rose and fell on the profit line.  The chronicle of anything else is incidental, a coffee table book.  Art, music, literature, dance, theater, magic are a sideshow to the main show.  Those things are the province of dreamers, romantics and fools.  For, if anyone is able to live a placid life, outside the maniacal slashing and hacking of whole peoples intent on the obliteration of other whole peoples, then one is, indeed, fortunate.

Life is a series of accidents.  Chance, not choice, governs (although, why we are in one spot at a particular time and not in another may be divinely inspired).  However, I doubt there is a Master Plan.  Master plans and master crimes require cumbersome plotting.  One can, or should be able to see their patterns, but impulse fires most of us.  We deal with consequences afterward, which is when they should properly be dealt with, I guess.

I’d like to do something to help my fellow human beings, but I don’t know what.  Everybody’s fighting and clawing, biting and scratching.  I’m hiding.  Scared to death.  Who wants to attract attention?  The threat to life may be worldwide conflagration, or in the mouth of some filthy city alley, with a knife wielding, coked-up assailant standing over one’s punctured corpse.  “Neither a peacekeeper, nor a lender be.” It’s too painful, too expensive, and too dangerous.  Experience is a great teacher; if we survive the lesson, but we’re still not gonna get out of this alive.

I wish I could stop the clock.  Turn back time until I’m just short of the primordial ooze – watch by degrees the slow progression of life.  See just how long it takes to make a human being out of all that gloop.  Think about just how quickly that complex organism can cancel itself out with a single bullet.

The universe is infinite.  I don’t really understand what that means, and it’s expanding, but into what?  It’s cosmic and vast and when you think about it, without the artificial augmentation of religious zealotry, perhaps meaningless.  Even so, this ship was pilotless before we knew that it had no pilot and continues so and nothing changes that.  Either way, I don’t expect the Creator to wash my dirty laundry or lift my heavy load.  It’s clear I gotta hoe my own corn.

I am alive, well, and living past the immoral end of the Twentieth Century and on the ignorant cusp of the early Twenty-first – unhappily still under threat of the nuclear-bomb, dismayed by Russians and Chinese, the System and the decay of the World, as ever.  “Is it just for the moment we live?”  You betcha.  What’s it all about, Alfie?  The End of the World is only a heartbeat away.  Whether one is one of a half million blown away at Hiroshima, drowning alone in the pool of a cliffside villa in Monterey, or choking in the arms of a lover on a sunny Egyptian Sunday.

Well, Diary, that’s my Summer Vacation.  I’m going home now.  Wonder what I’ll find?  It’s still the End of the World and Sissy Wagner doesn’t love me anymore.  Who’s going to do my laundry?

— JL:PDX, 8-09

Little Brown Bat with White-nose disease.

IMPORTANT LINK: Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform vital ecological roles such as pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds.

Bats are on a clear trajectory toward oblivion.  The Center for Biological Diversity has warned that the bat crisis is dire while calling for more funding to try to determine what, exactly, is killing America’s bats — and how the disease can be stopped.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/bat_crisis_the_white-nose_syndrome/index.html

Little Brown Bat with White-nose disease.

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES Nr. 6

May 3, 2011

YES, it’s the Sixth Edition of ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES!

So, kick back, here are MORE ACTUAL Analogies and Metaphors Found in High School Essays:

  • The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  • The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.
  • The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  • It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  • He was deeply in love.  When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
  • She was as easy as the T.V. Guide crossword.
  • Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
  • She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
  • Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.
  • It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Not to be Outdone, College freshmen contribute the following (misspellings and all):

  • There was Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.  Lower Egypt was actually farther up than Upper Egypt, which was, of course, lower down than the upper part.  This is why we learn geography as a factor in history.
  • Babylon was similar to Egypt because of the differences they had apart from each other.  Egypt, for example, had only Egyptians, but Babylon had Summarians, Acadians and Canadians, to name just a few.
  • Moses was told by Jesus Christ to lead the people out of Egypt into the Sahaira Desert.  The Book of Exodus describes this trip and the amazing things that happened on it, including the Ten Commandments, various special effects, and the building of the Suez Canal.
  • The warmth and friendship of the mystery cults attracted many, who came to feel better through dancing and mutilation.
  • Eventually Christian started the new religion with sayings like, “The mice shall inherit the earth.”  Later Christians fortunately abandoned this idea.
  • The Sophists justified themselves by changing relatives whenever this needed to be done.
  • Roman upperclass men demanded to be known as Patricia.
  • During the Middle Ages everyone was middle aged.
  • In the 1400 hundreds most Englishmen were perpendicular.
  • The plague also helped the emergance of the English language as the national language of England, France and Italy.
  • Man was determined to civilize himself and his brothers, even if heads had to roll!
  • Traditions had become so oppressive they too were crushed in the wake of man’s quest for ressurection above the not-just-social beast he had become.
  • The Popes, of course, were usually Catholic.
  • The German Emperor’s lower passage was blocked by the French for years and years.
  • Russian nobles wore clothes only to humour Peter the Great.
  • Problems were so complexicated that in Paris, out of a city population of one million people, two million able bodies were on the loose.
  • Voting was done by ballad.
  • Richard Strauss, who was violent but methodical like his wife made him, plunged into vicious and perverse plays.
  • At war, people get killed, and then they aren’t people anymore, but friends.
  • According to Fromm, individuation began historically in medieval times.  This is a period of small childhood.  There is increasing experience as adolescence experiences its life development.  The last stage is us.

Gobbledy-Gook Accomplished After High School and College:

  • “They were absent in the past, or not as present as they might have been.”
  • “The British Admiral said the cruiser provided a threat to the fleet, as did Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.”
  • “Mr. Begin has offered to let each member of the PLO to leave Lebanon carrying an arm.”  They had to leave the other one and both legs.
  • “It was a terrible thing when our family lost its absolute sovereignty over the Iranian people.” – Shah of Iran’s wife, Mrs. Pahlavi, 2004, PBS.
  • “When Quanah Parker passed, it was said that his passing was not just his passing, but the passing of the past – as well.”  Pass the peas, please.
  • “We work with predators, uh, creditors nationwide.” – Local T.V. ad.
  • “The gnawing question of the Donner Party is, what would I have done?”

A Little More High Hilarity:  ALEXANDER THE GREAT  by Will Cuppy.

Serious Notes:

Marijuana Papers:

Going on four generations now, propaganda and lies have relentlessly drained taxpayer’s money to build government’s anti-drug machine and the conditions of a police state.  Virtually every state is in the midst of the biggest prison expansion ever in America’s and the world’s history, creating political vultures only concerned for the growth of their prison-related crime-fighting industry and job security.  They demand more prisons and more money to pursue this “law and order” madness against an invented crime.

We can moderate society’s problems and reject the police state by simply legalizing marijuana.  We can clear the jails, and re-employ police, court, prison and rehabilitation staff to deal with real crime and hard drug abuse.  We can put money into our schools and health care without raising anyone’s taxes.  We can also stop lying to ourselves, and end a terrible multi-generational injustice.  READ MORE:  MARIJUANA PAPERS

Honest Abe, Dishonest Republicans:

The contrast between Abraham Lincoln and the modern Republican Party is glaring. Lincoln fought for democracy and union.  Modern Republicans fight for money and self-interest.  Lincoln was (by report) an unassuming and humble man; name one modern Republican who is not awash in arrogance and hubris.  Lincoln built the Transcontinental Railroad and won the Civil War; the present crop created the second Great Republican Recession and mired us in two unwinnable wars.  Lincoln worked for “One Nation Indivisible”, freedom and justice; modern Republicans work to divide, oppress and reject.  Lincoln had hope for our country; the moderns have only fears for, and of it.  This comparison can continue a long way – Think of “Abe-Them” pairs in your own experience.  Disgusting, ain’t it?

The fact that they are uncritical boosters of unscrupulous transnational corporations clearly reveals them as against the people of the United States.  It is better to vote Independent than to cast one more ballot for these reactionary, oppressive, authoritarian Republican control freaks.  “One Nation Indivisible.”  Period.  Support freedom, justice and equality.

READ MORE:

For more political images, TheAttic Gallery: POLITICAL MEMORABILIA

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