Posts Tagged ‘America’

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!

laststroke

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

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2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. 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.

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

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

Last bits:

NO BAILOUT FOR EARTH

November 27, 2010

Bull Run Watershed

ABSTRACT – There Won’t Be a Bailout for the Earth by Johann Hari November 26, 2010 by The Independent/UK.

Why [did] the world’s governments bother to jet to Cancun to discuss what to do now about global warming? The vogue has passed. The fad has faded. Global warming is yesterday’s apocalypse. Didn’t somebody leak an email that showed it was all made up?

Alas, the biosphere doesn’t know that global warming is so 2007. All it knows are three facts:. 2010 is globally the hottest year since records began; 2010 is the year rapid increase in catastrophic weather events caused by humanity’s emissions of planet-warming gases reached its highest level ever; and exactly as climate scientists predicted, we are seeing rapid increase in catastrophic weather events, from the choking of Moscow by gigantic unprecedented forest fires to the drowning of one quarter of Pakistan.

Before the Great Crash of 2008, people who warned about the injection of huge destabilizing risk into our financial system seemed like arcane, anal bores. Now we all sit in the rubble and wish we had listened. The great ecological crash will be far worse, because nature doesn’t do bailouts.

That’s what Cancun should be about – surveying the startling scientific evidence, and developing an urgent plan to change course. The Antarctic – which locks 90 percent of the world’s ice – has now seen eight of its ice shelves fully or partially collapse. The world’s most distinguished climate scientists, after recording this, say we face a three to six feet rise in sea level this century. That means the drowning of London, Bangkok, Venice, Cairo and Shanghai, and entire countries like Bangladesh and the Maldives.

And that’s just one effect of the way we are altering the atmosphere. Perhaps the most startling news story of the year passed almost unnoticed. Plant plankton are tiny creatures that live in the oceans and carry out a job you and I depend on to stay alive. They produce half the world’s oxygen, and suck up planet-warming carbon dioxide. This year, one of the world’s most distinguished scientific journals, Nature, revealed that 40 per cent have been killed by the warming oceans since 1950. Professor Boris Worm, study co-authore, said in shock: “I’ve been trying to think of a biological change that’s bigger than this and I can’t think of one.” That’s the result of less than one degree of warming. Now we are on course for at least three degrees this century. What will happen?

The scientific debate is not between deniers and affirmers. Every major scientific academy in the world, and all the peer-reviewed literature, says global warming denialism is a pseudo-science, on a par with Intelligent Design, homeopathy, or the claim that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS. The scientific debate now is between those who say the damage is a disaster, and those who say it is a catastrophe.

Yet the world’s governments gather in Cancun with no momentum and very little pressure from their own populations to stop the ecological vandalism. The Copenhagen conference last year collapsed after the most powerful people in the world turned up to flush their own scientists’ advice down a very clean Danish toilet. These leaders are sometimes described as “doing nothing about global warming.” No doubt that will be the report from Cancun too. But it’s false. They’re not “doing nothing” – they are allowing their countries’ emissions of climate-trashing gases to massively increase. That’s not failure to act. It’s deciding to act in an incredibly destructive way.

The Copenhagen collapse did not shock people into action; it numbed them into passivity. Last year, we were talking about a legally binding cap on carbon emissions, because scientists say this is the only thing that can preserve the climate that sustains human civilization. What are we talking about this year? Almost nothing.

They will talk about how to help the world’s poor “adapt” to the fact we are drying out much of their land and drowning the rest, but back off from one of the few concrete Copenhagen agreements: to give the worst-affected countries $100bn. Privately, they say this isn’t the time – they can come back for it, presumably, when they are on rafts. Oh, and they will talk about how to preserve the rainforests. But Greenpeace reveals that the last big deal to save the rainforests – with Indonesia – was a scam. The country plans to demolish most of its rainforest to plant commercial crops, and claim it has been “saved.”

Karl Rove – George W. Bush’s chief spin-doctor – boasts: “Climate is gone.” He means off the political agenda, but he is more accurate and more cursed than he realizes.

In this context a new, deeply pessimistic framework for understanding the earth’s ecology – and our place in it – has emerged. Many know the warm, fuzzy Gaia hypothesis that claims Planet Earth functions as a single living organism called Gaia. (Eiwa in James Cameron’s Avatar). It regulates its own temperature and chemistry to create a steady state that can sustain life. This process expands outwards. Life protects life.

Now there is a radically different theory gaining adherents, ominously named the Medea hypothesis. The paleontologist Professor Peter Ward, expert in the great extinctions in earth’s past, believes there is a common thread between them. With the exception of the meteor strike that happened 65 million years ago, every extinction  hypothesis, successful species destroy their own habitats, was caused by living creatures becoming incredibly successful – and then destroying their own habitats. So, for example, 2.3 billion years ago, plant life spread incredibly rapidly, and inhaled huge amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide. This caused a rapid plunge in temperature that froze the planet and triggered a mass extinction.

Ward believes nature isn’t a nurturing mother like Gaia. It is Medea, the figure from Greek mythology who murdered her own children. In this theory, life doesn’t preserve itself. It serially destroys itself. It is a looping doomsday machine. This theory adds a postscript to Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. There is survival of the fittest, until the fittest trash their own habitat, and do not survive at all.

But the plants 2.3 billion years ago weren’t smart enough to figure out what they were doing. We supposedly are. We can see that if we release enough warming gases we will trigger an irreversible change and make our own survival much harder. Ward argues that it is not inevitable we will destroy ourselves – because human beings are the first and only species that can consciously develop a Gaian approach. Just as Richard Dawkins famously said we are the first species to be able to rebel against our selfish genes and choose to be kind, we are the first species that can rebel against the Medean rhythm of life. We can choose to preserve the habitat on which we depend. We can choose life.

At Cancun, the real question will be carefully ignored to preserve big business as usual. Do we want to ramp up global warming with filthy fossil fuels, or make the leap to a clean planet fuelled by the sun, the wind and the waves? Right now we are making the wrong choice. But we could change the end of this story, if we act decisively. Long after our own little stories are forgotten, this choice we make now will still be visible – in the composition of the atmosphere, the swelling of the seas, and the crack and creak of the great Antarctic ice. Do we want to be Gaia, or Medea? – Johann Hari is a columnist for the London Independent. His journalism has appeared in publications all over the world. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/26

 

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 by John Vidal, environment editor Sunday, May 30, 2010 by The Observer/UK

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INFINITY STOPS HERE

A NEW ANKLE

November 9, 2010

Not in Kansas

No posts for bit – having a total ankle replacement.  The pain meds make for poor compositional whatevers – really.  Thanks for checking in – look at some of the archives and top posts.  Also check out ThePen.org spooky stuff, but my own observations and career experiences are much the same.  j cousteau said ” I hope for the best, but I can’t say why.”  this alert declares a crisis need to shift to a loud progressive party movement – I say sooner rather than later.  pls share with  those you think should see it.  best, j 

—– Original Message —–
From: The Pen
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 2010 4:04 PM
Subject: Dead Political Party Walking

The first shipment of beautiful embroidered caps for the full length feature movie we are producing on indicting Cheney for torture, entitled “The Last War Crime”, are in the first class mail, and if you have already requested one it should arrive any day. Call it a fantasy film if you like, but sometimes life imitates art. If you would like to read the first part of the script, or request your own cap to support the production, here is the page for that.

The Last War Crime movie caps: http://www.peaceteam.net/last_war_crime.php

And now, tonight’s alert.

Of all the commentary we have heard in the aftermath of this week’s election debacle, we have heard not one pundit yet who actually has a clue about what is really going on. So you will have to hear it from us. Of course, if you have been on our list any length of time you already have, but maybe you did not believe us the first time.

We must respectfully remind you that we told you that all this is exactly what would happen unless we took stronger action to demand a REAL health care reform bill in particular, instead of that groaning load of corporate special interest dictated and favoring rubbish we ended up with. And by the way, if we were official prophets you would owe us a new pair of sandals right about now.

It was March of earlier this year and the title of our alert was “The Democratic Party’s Plan To Throw The Next Couple Elections”. Look it up, the text was published on OpEdNews.com and is still there.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Democratic-Party-s-Pla-by-thepen-100307-583.html

For those with short attention spans (from corporate media conditioning) who think our alerts are too long, we suggest you knuckle down and actually read our words this time and see if they start to make sense to you. And please take particular note we said “The Next Couple Elections” PLURAL. Because this is just round one of the dynamic we foretold.

As we predicted then, in round two the Republicans will use their electoral gains to push to repeal the almost universally despised health care bill, despised by the right because it does anything even cosmetically good, and despised by the left because it was fundamentally just a total sell out.

If the Republicans fall short on repeal this time, they will campaign in 2012 on the platform that they need to take over the Senate and the White House so that the bill can be repealed, and they will win in ANOTHER landslide of historic proportions.

Alternatively, if the Democrats set a new Guiness world record in the publicly perceived as wet noodles department, they will all lose their seats anyway so the result will be the same.

Either way, the Democratic party as a viable political power force is finished for at least the next election cycle. Stick a fork in it, it’s done. We see no scenario of possible recovery from this. It’s over. The only reason they did not lose back the Senate in round one is because only a third of the seats were in play. The rest they will lose the next time for sure.

We are skeptical that primary challenges are even a productive option anymore. The Democratic party has so totally betrayed the people who voted for them, who had faith in them, who believed in them, we must confront the real possibility that nobody will believe a word coming out of the mouth of anyone running AS a Democrat ever again.

And the thing that really aggravates us the most about all this are people still whining that the Democrats need to get a spine. Democrats have plenty of spine when they are arresting people calling for single payer and dragging them out of hearing rooms. They have plenty of spine when they are refusing to allow a vote on even the most feeble of public options. They have plenty of spine when they are calling us bleepity-bleep retards.

Rather, Democrats tolerate being PERCEIVED as cowards. Because if people thought for one nanosecond that they were not cowards, then people would have to confront the stark truth that the Democrats are IN ON IT.

They are in on the corporate corruption. They are nothing but enablers, all of them, from top to bottom, front to back, ESPECIALLY the so-called progressives, without exception. They are willingly and knowingly playing the role of Judy in this Punch and Judy show, and NOTHING is going to change about that for them, for ever and ever, end of story, period.

We told you after the final health care vote what needed to be done about it. We told you that we needed to build a massive Independent Voters movement, with greater numbers than either the Democratic or Republican parties. We asked you to go to a Facebook page we created for this purpose and just become a fan, that’s all, just become a fan. Here is that page.

Independent Voters page: http://www.facebook.com/IndependentVoters

Something shy of 7,000 of you did then. Obviously it was not enough. So we ask you again. Go the page above and just become a fan. Talk among yourselves. When we see 100,000 over there we will know there is some chance for real change. Until then, we are fooling nobody but ourselves.

And we close with an exact quote from an even earlier alert, from September of 2009, which again you can still reading in its entirety on OpEdNews.com, where we warned you that the whole health care reform debate was a total fraud and that no “public option” of any kind would survive in the final bill.

http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Obama-s-New-Improved-Lee-by-thepen-090913-493.html

Here is the quote from the conclusion of the alert documented on the page above.

“And THAT is Obama’s REAL plan, the one he won’t talk about in a public speech, to let the weakest possible ‘public option’ hang around for a little while as an illusory sop for the terminally gullible, only to bleed it to death before it can actually go into effect. Yes, THIS is Obama’s new ‘improved’ leech therapy.”

Lord, the hate mail we got about that one. People yelling at us telling us we were full of it. Calling us racists. Read the words again. And now ask yourself in all candor, “Ain’t it the truth?”

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at
http://www.peaceteam.net/in.htm

Corporations are not persons

REPUBLICORP

October 28, 2010

Pure Progress and Bold Hopes

Dear MoveOn members and friends at-large,

RepubliCorp. That’s our new name for the shadowy network of corporate front groups who’re spending millions to sway the election-and the Republican politicians they’re buying.

RepubliCorp prefers to operate in secrecy. So we decided to do a little public relations for them. We created this website, www.RepubliCorp.us, and this spiffy promotional video.   Check ’em out and pass ’em on.  Because the more light we can shed on the corporate interests trying to swing this election, the more we’ll help the republicorp, corporate interest corrupt election, progressives they’re targeting. And because during a dark time, a little humor never hurts.

www.RepubliCorp.us

Thanks for all you do. -Ilyse, Robin, Marika, Duncan, and the rest of the team. PS. Remember-next time you’re talking about all those secretive groups spending millions to buy Congress, they have a name: RepubliCorp.

Want to support our work? We’re entirely funded by our 5 million members-no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

 

VOTE!

October 28, 2010

VOTE!

Tom Paine, author-patriot, 1737-1809

TEABAGGER MEMORIAL

Liberty crowning defiant American democracy.

VOTE!

KOCHTOPUS

October 28, 2010

“Kochtopus” Matt Taibbi Joins Keith Olbermann, Thursday, October 21, 2010 by Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann

VIDEO:  http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/10/21-0

Koch: Even More Powerful and Well-Connected Than You Thought

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch don’t just underwrite a huge right-wing infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also work with corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber to oil and insurance companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here. –Abby Zimet  More…

MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups. Recently, fronts funded by Charles and his brother David have received scrutiny because they have played a pivotal role in the organizing of the anti-Obama Tea Parties and the promotion of virulent far right lawmakers like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). (David Koch praised DeMint and gave him a “Washington Award” shortly after the senator promised to “break” Obama by making health reform his “Waterloo.”)

KOCH TEASERS

Right-wing brothers Charles and David Koch, each worth over $21 billion, don’t just underwrite a huge conservative infrastructure of front groups, think tanks and political campaigns, reports Think Progress; they also strengthen a “culture of prosperity” through meetings with like-minded corporate “investors” who oppose health, energy, financial and other reforms. Details on their symbiotic relationship with big moneyed interests from Glenn Beck and the Chamber of Commerce to oil, health insurance, Wall Street and real estate companies here; more on those connections from CounterPunch here.

KOCH CONNECTIONS

10 Reasons Not to Tax the Rich. And Why They’re All Bad by Paul Buchheit, Wednesday, October 20, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

We hear them all the time, the reasons for unrestricted capitalism, minimal government, lower taxes for the rich. But the facts reveal good reasons NOT to NOT tax the rich.

(1) The rich deserve what they earn because of hard work and initiative.  They use other people’s money to create assets that don’t exist and then bet on them to fail [in] the murky world of derivatives and credit default swaps. Those who make the most money avoid taxes by calling their income “carried interest” instead.  Others not directly involved in financial chicanery still make out well. The stock market has grown 7 times faster than America’s GDP since 1981, and two-thirds of the country’s stocks are owned by the wealthiest 1% of Americans. That’s not enough for some; many backdate their stock options to a time when the price was higher.

(2) It’s not fair to “soak the rich.” It’s been just the opposite for the past 30 years. In 1980 the richest 1% got one out of every fifteen income dollars. Thanks to tax cuts and deregulation, they now get THREE out of every fifteen dollars. Meanwhile, every U.S. taxpayer contributes about $600 a year to pay for the tax cuts that give $34,000 a year to each of the wealthiest 1% of Americans. And now a trillion dollars of public money is bailing out the failing banking system.

(3) “Spreading the wealth” and “redistribution” are other names for socialism. Not socialism, but social responsibility. Taxes support public infrastructure, including research and development for science and technology. Much of the tax burden disproportionately benefits the rich: laws protect private property and capital investment; trade pacts and national defense policies protect wealth. Bill Gates, Sr. explains, “The government…protects their business activities…that’s what creates capital and enables net worth to increase.”

(4) The great wealth of the rich stimulates the economy. Low-income earners have a higher “Marginal Propensity to Consume,” which means that they spend a greater percentage of their overall income on consumption. High-income earners save more; the very rich buy mansions, yachts, jewels, and art. [T]he Congressional Budget Service ranked 11 strategies to create jobs and stimulate the economy. Cutting taxes for the rich was lowest. The top 500 non-financial companies currently hold $2 trillion in cash that could be used to create jobs and stimulate new business.

(5) Large incomes provide incentive for success. Some hedge fund managers ‘earned’ enough money in one year to pay the salaries of every police officer, firefighter, and public school teacher in Chicago. A system that allows one man to divert the salaries of 50,000 public workers to his own pockets has gone well beyond “incentive-based.”

(6) The very rich pay it back through taxes. They pay less than 23% of their incomes in federal income tax. [T]he lowest-earning half of America pays 24% as much as the richest 1%. The top tax rate has gone from 90% in 1960, to 35% in 2008. But much of billionaires’ earnings is subject to only a 15% tax because of a loophole that allows hedge fund income not to be called income. Furthermore, about 500 people a year renounce their U.S. citizenship and repatriate themselves in Belize, the Cayman Islands, or elsewhere to avoid taxes entirely.

(7) The very rich lost massive parts of their fortunes in the recession. They lost no more money, percentage-wise, than average mid-level earners. Wealth data from the Census Bureau and the Federal Reserve show that the richest households have INCREASED their median incomes relative to other earners since 2006.

(8) “Income mobility” shows that the poor can get rich, and vice versa. This argument relies on a 2007 U.S. Treasury Department report that states “Among those with the very highest incomes in 1996 – the top 1/100 of 1 percent – only 25 percent remained in this group in 2005.” But nearly 9 out of 10 of those in the top 1% remained in the top quintile of earners over those ten years. They may have dropped out of the most elite 1% group, but they remained close. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

(9) The rich support worthwhile causes. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the wealthy “give their biggest donations” to colleges, hospitals, and cultural organizations and “rarely make large gifts to social-service groups, grass-roots organizations, or nonprofit groups that focus on the poor or minorities.” Hundreds of millions of dollars are flooding into congressional and state election races. Especially since the Supreme Court ruled against limits on corporate contributions.

(10) Inequality is necessary to sustain a healthy and productive society. This [is] the worst reason of all. Not only is it unnecessary, but dangerous: Numerous studies correlate inequality with shorter life expectancies, increased disease and health problems, and ever higher crime and murder rates. Rates of illness in an unequal society are higher at all levels of income, even for the very wealthy.

Paul Buchheit is a faculty member in the School for New Learning at DePaul University. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/10/20-1

Say Goodbye!

davidbfraftr

After a two year loan to the United States, Michelangelo’s David is being returned to Italy.

IT ATE ARNOLD

October 7, 2010

Heat Wave

Dear friends,

This Sunday, at more than 6300 events in 187 countries, citizens around the world will shatter a dangerous myth: that the global climate movement has somehow disappeared.  

We’ll show world leaders and the media that we’re bigger, more diverse, and more creative than ever — and that we simply won’t give up until our planet, and those who live on it, are safe.
On Sunday, October 10 — that’s 10/10/10, a date to remember — we will gather in climate “work parties” around the globe to demonstrate our determination and trumpet a call to our governments: “We’re getting to work… what about you?”
The more of us take part, the more unmistakable our message of determination to defeat climate change. And these parties won’t just be vitally important; they’ll be fun, too. Click below to find an event near you and RSVP (or register an event of your own) — it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take action:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl
The timing is critical: in the weeks and months to come, governments will make important decisions about whether to keep striving for a global climate treaty. All year, they’ve been reeling from last December’s Copenhagen summit, where leaders failed to reach a legally binding agreement — or even commit to developing one. Today, if politicians think that the public outcry for climate action has ended, they will succumb to the whispers of the fossil fuel lobby — and simply give up on reaching a real deal.
But even as governments dither, the climate crisis itself is accelerating. 2010 is the hottest year on record. Climate-linked natural disasters, like the floods in Pakistan, have claimed thousands of lives. And scientists say the the picture is only getting worse. Our movement must race ahead more quickly than the crisis itself — and pull the politicians along with us.
By demonstrating our willingness to take action, the Global Work Party issues a challenge to our leaders. Local events include tree plantings in rural Tanzania, solar installation in China, and an international bike-ride from Jordan to Israel — along with much simpler events organized by small groups of friends. Wherever we are and however we get involved, we’re making a point: if we’re driving solutions to climate change within our own communities, our political leaders have no excuse not to get to work nationally and globally.
The more of us join, the more powerful our message. 10/10/10 is just days away, and it’s easy to get involved — click to sign up:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl
Although time is short to confront climate change, the climate movement itself — from the perspective of history — is young. Abolishing the trans-Atlantic slave trade and ending apartheid took decades. But climate change, because of its unique threat to everyone everywhere, has a special power to unite people across all lines and boundaries — if we let ourselves believe that progress is possible.
Last year saw an extraordinary wave of activity, with successive global days of action (21 September, 24 October, and 12/12) that drove heads of government from around the world to personally attend the Copenhagen summit. It was breathtaking, but it wasn’t enough. This weekend, let’s renew our commitment to the fight of six billion lifetimes — and show that we’re not going anywhere as long as we’ve got a planet to save.
With hope and determination,
Ben, Iain, Ben M, Maria Paz, Ricken, David, Graziela, and the whole Avaaz team
P.S: These events are being organized by a vast array of groups and individuals, with support from Avaaz’s friends at 350.org — using web tools that make it easy to locate an event or sign up a new one. Register for an event through these tools, and 350 will send a few helpful messages as the day of action comes close. That link again:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_work_party/?vl

Support the Avaaz community! We’re entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way — donate here.


Avaaz.org is a 5.5-million-person global campaign network that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decision-making. (“Avaaz” means “voice” or “song” in many languages.) Avaaz members live in every nation of the world; our team is spread across 13 countries on 4 continents and operates in 14 languages. Learn about some of Avaaz’s biggest campaigns here, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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