Posts Tagged ‘America’

FIGHTING GREEDY TYRANTS

September 30, 2010

World War I Recruiting Poster

Ralph Nader to OCAW Union Convention in Denver in 1994. ABSTRACT:

“As large corporations try to control the ideology of the public through their mass media conglomerates and their political action committee domination in Congress and their ability to decide what research is done and not done in our universities, they can no longer say that people are getting better in terms of their income.”

“The second thing they can’t lay claim to any more is even pseudo patriotism.  Their principal business strategy is quitting America.”

“They have often claimed that they were upstanding members of the community.  They belonged to the Red Cross; they were on the boards of churches, Community Chest, [so forth].  They are now the biggest purveyors of pornography in the world.  They are moving with strategic marketing plans to raise our children from what they eat to who takes care of them to how they’re entertained to what they look at as their future. KinderCare raises the kids, McDonald’s feeds them, FOX, Time-Warner entertains them. Then the addictive industries come in, at about pre-teen age.  What they’re telling these children is that violence is a solution to life’s problems.  That they can get further in life by eating junk food and resisting nutrition and that it’s better to watch a screen thirty hours a week than to read or think or spend time with their siblings and family or on their schoolwork.

“Did you ever wonder why important issues in American life aren’t researched, and how to create a new cream whip or dessert is worked on by food technologists at universities?

“Are those the priorities when you think of all the things that should be worked on? What they’re doing is turning our universities into their business agents, and the graduate students are working for the professors, who are consulting or moonlighting several days a month for the corporations.

“Then you wonder what these students are getting in the classroom.  They learn economics, the way Exxon and the Federal Reserve wrote it.  They don’t learn about the history of the populist or progressive movements, from farmer to trade union.  They don’t learn about how to reorganize our economy so that we take all the abundance we have and give people an opportunity to do a lot of other things with their lives except worrying every week how they’re going to make ends meet and whether they’re going to keep their jobs. There are trillions of dollars of capital in this country, owned by a few or owned by the workers but controlled by the few. No country has achieved the level of wealth that we have and managed to concentrate either its ownership or its control in so few hands. $3 trillion of worker pension funds could control corporate America through the Stock Exchange, but it is controlled by corporate America through a few banks and insurance companies, not the workers who own it.

“The law tells us we own the public airwaves. So what are we getting that’s of any substance, that connects citizens with citizens, that rebuilds our neighborhoods, that alerts us to problems coming on the horizon? Television and radio are 90% entertainment and most of that pretty low grade. The rest is redundant news. Yet we own the airwaves. So, how come there isn’t a cable labor channel? Why isn’t there a twenty-four hour channel devoted to working people’s achievements and problems and history?

“There’s no consumer channel. There’s no citizen action channel, so that people in all parts of the country can connect.

“What’s amazing is that we don’t have a piece of the mass media, radio and TV, since we technically and legally own the airwaves. We’re the landlords; the radio and TV stations are the tenants. But we never think about it because we grow up corporate.

“We don’t even make a political issue out of what we own but don’t control. We own one third of America, the public lands where all minerals are, and the mining companies pretty much control it through their friends in Washington. We own the airwaves, we don’t control them. We own $1.5 trillion in mutual insurance money, Prudential, Metropolitan – we’re talking legally now; we’re the legal owners, [but] we don’t have a snip of the corporation’s control.

“When you grow up corporate, you don’t even make it an issue.  You don’t even think about it. You think that’s by accident? We must root our history and culture in a broader framework and insulate this constant hammering and curtailment of the people’s horizons by the corporate commercial standards. In the last twenty years these corporatists and their think tanks have been re-writing history. They have been saying that trade unions ruined our competitiveness in the world. “Competitiveness” means, Hurry up, America, you haven’t reached the level of Malaysia yet. It means Pull down your standards of living. Take away your right to jury trials and injury cases. Freeze your minimum wage and have it eroded by inflation. Bust up the unions. Intimidate the workers who want to form them. Build more gambling casinos, more entertainment palaces, the roman circus. Feed it to them. It’ll numb them from what’s happening, which is, the global corporate world order is to pull down higher standard of living countries like ours. That’s what meeting global competition means to corporatists. And it’s happening. It’s not a prediction.”

“There is also a global corporate strategy to lay an autocratic bureaucracy that’s secretive over our modest democracy [World Trade Organization (WTO), which adjudicates international trade disputes through corporate lawyers, without press, citizens, union allowed] and expose our laws to declarations by secret tribunals that they’re invalid, and we either obey or pay. This is the ultimate grand design for the Global Corporate Order. If the people of this country knew what the WTO is all about, they would knock it down.

“[If our leaders] don’t drop their fatalism and resignation and constant saying, ‘There’s no way to stop it, why try?’ then I submit that it’s time for about 15,000 people to surround [each leader] in a demonstration. Thank you very much.” – Ralph Nader.

International Workers of the World

ONE NATION WORKING TOGETHER by Peter Rothberg Tuesday, September 21, 2010 by The Nation

The sobering new data on poverty has given new impetus to the One Nation Working Together movement, a coalition of union members, community activists, students, entertainers, civil and human rights leaders and progressive politicians coming together on October 2 to demand jobs, justice and education.

The figures recently released by the US Census Bureau show that one in seven Americans – that’s 45.6 million people – lives in poverty in the United States. This is the third consecutive year of increases. African-Americans saw an increase from 24.7 percent to 25.8 percent, while poor Hispanics jumped from 23.2 percent to 25.3 percent. Shockingly, the number of Americans living fifty percent below poverty level is at an all-time high of 6.3 percent of the country. That’s a total of 19 million people trying to get by on $10,977 annual income for a family of four.

Organizers are hoping the events on October 2 will herald the emergence of a new political force that can fill the void in representing the growing needs of larger and larger segments of the populace and wrest the fake populist mantle away from the Tea Partiers and Glenn Beck.

These words from Campus Progress’ Sara Haile-Mariam eloquently explain what the October 2 march represents.

VIDEO: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/21-10

And this video with AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker lucidly details the goals of the new movement.

VIDEO: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/21-10

Initiated largely by the AFL-CIO and the NAACP, One Nation has scores of sponsoring organizations

[O]rganizers have laid out some concrete policy goals including extension of the federal unemployment program, COBRA, mortgage assistance, and other targeted initiatives to those currently unemployed; legislation to ensure that all workers earn a living family wage; the expansion of anti-discrimination law; the reform of bankruptcy laws to the benefit of families, working people, seniors, and students; the completion of the promise of universal healthcare, and increased federal support to institutions of higher education that provide opportunities for underserved communities, including community colleges and Historically Black Colleges.

The DC march is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of Americans from across the country, who will gather at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC at the same time as hundreds of smaller, local events are staged coast to coast.

Find out more info about the DC march, including how you can arrange a trip, volunteer and spread the word, or check out what local events are taking place near you.

If you can’t make it to an [event]…, you can still watch the proceedings live on Free Speech TV (FSTV) with hosts Thom Hartmann and Laura Flanders. The TV broadcast will feature main stage speeches, interviews with organizers and analysts and reporting from the crowd. The special program will air nationally from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time on DISH Network channel 9415, DIRECTV channel 348 and numerous cable stations across the country. — Peter Rothberg writes the ActNow column for the The Nation. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09/21-10

Faith, Hope, charity, Fidelity

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CRUSHING AMERICA

September 18, 2010

"Play it again, Sam!"

[Click image for MORE]

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS:

PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS:
Speaking about the Repuglicon “fear” factor, why don’t they cooperate, et al?  The neocon bottom line is outrageous: they really wish the United States to fail.
Their GOAL is to preserve, protect and defend special privilege from the democratic rule of law and the American nation.
Over half a century ago, in the early 1950’s, what I call a CTPPD (a Consensus To Preserve Plausible Deniability), including oil and energy millionaires, bankers, big-ticket real estate developers, medical insurance providers, investment firms, wholesale raw materials providers, and so forth, began a concerted and integrated campaign in part coordinated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to discredit, loot and crush the American government. It included inserting “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance, blatantly breaking the separation of church and state, and their first effort through President Eisenhower to drag Social Security and the Tennessee Valley Power Authority into private ownership.  They also passed a two-term limit on the office of president.  My father called it, “Stomping on Franklin Roosevelt’s Grave.”

I was told by Congressman Barbur Conable (R I-forget) in ’73 that compulsory public education was unconstitutional and undemocratic and vouchers and home schooling would be introduced forthwith – it would be “most helpful in educating children with the right understanding for when they become adults.”  Keep the little nippers clear of all that subversive democratic crap and real history.  The John Birch Society injunction to its members in the early 1960’s was, “Join your local PTA, and take it over!”

I stood witness to the shenanigans surrounding local government’s share in the Savings and Loan Scandal (watched Orrin Hatch and the Mormons spirit Jake Gaarn, Mormon hero astronaut-senator who led the S&L thieves on the Senate side, away to Salt Lake City and out of the public eye before the “s” hit the fan, while the Congressman sponsor on the House side took the fall – I think this was their rehearsal for George W. Bush’s Great American Mortgage Collapse – it has the same modus operandi.  We should never elect Mitt Romney to anything).

Reagan assaulted government itself – “The ten most dreaded words…’I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” Reagan went after the Air Traffic Controllers and made the first significant breach in federal protection for unions. The list goes on, as if subject to a consistent and integrated general game plan worthy of the best hostile takeover experts.  Clue.

The people’s government is the one force that is able to withstand and force these self-interested robbers to change. Therefore, the people’s representatives had to be bought, or as many as necessary, depending upon the moment’s tactical need, to shill for and protect corporate interests. The Republican Party (as the easiest – smallest, most uniform, least principled – simplest to corrupt and manipulate had to become ascendant for a short time to gain control of the government appointment process and “fix” institutional areas that were most intrusive on the corporatist ability to do pretty much as pleased, including “enslave” people (wage-wise), or “waterboard” them (use any pressure or torture to force compliance and contribution to the corporate will).  They had a lot of practice at it in Chile and Peru, Argentina and Nicaragua, and simply needed to apply it to us.

They stole the people’s treasury – carried it out under the glad hand of their born-again rich president Geo. W. Bush.  If we’re broke we can’t afford to fight them, right? Dick Cheney is not an accident, but a premier product and instrument of a rapacious piratical, and practically pathological, corporate elite: profit before honor.  These are generationally all pretty much the same guys playing the same ugly way, administration after administration.  They are a scary bunch and they are not American patriots.

The neocon corporatist tactic is to wave the weak hand – the Republican Party cum Tea Party – to obfuscate, delay and confuse, while the real work goes on with the anti-change Rubin clones and lobbyists surrounding Obama and the Congress. It is a real mistake to think that we can continue by reconstructing the past – our environmental jeopardy and social crisis require innovations and new directions that cannot include corporate capitalism – but while we must develop lower economic expectations, we don’t have to give up on a compassionate civilization.

The continued private dismantling, bankrupting and removal of America’s manufacturing capabilities to foreign climes is still in hemorrhage. Leading the list of outsourcers are well-known American companies, including the Xerox Corporation, the Oracle Corporation, The Hewlett-Packard Company, Accenture Limited, International Business Machines Corporation and Perot Systems (old Ross warned against NAFTA that there would be “a great sucking sound as business went south.” His firm went with them).

The neocon corporatists are not trying to fix the broken Republican Party – it is in the game plan to eventually destroy the two-party system and run with one party: “cheaper, more efficient, less wasteful” (ha!). Steele, Limbaugh, Beck, Cantor, Boehner, all the rest, are handy decoys, making a lot of noise all around the edges so that public attention is diverted from the corruption still proceeding.  Corporatists like the wingnut Tea Bag Republicans because they are obediently silly followers – ignorant and superstitious; the Big-Tent Democrats are apparently programmed to self-destruct, which would leave us with a permanently dysfunctional and therefore easier to manage wingnut government?  Garbage in, garbage out.  The dog-eat-dog social consequences are devastating to consider.  The cynicism is appalling.

The Republican circus masks the real working level where the boodle bags are still being packed. They are not working with us, because the neocon corporatists are still using and stealing from us. They don’t expect any retribution or punishment for it; it is the culture. They are so highly placed that they expect to tiptoe through the tulips while the rest of us fry in the ozone hole. They believe the “highest and best use” of any piece of land is how much money you can make off it, not the future it may provide if unmolested for all life as we know it.  They seemingly don’t care about life at all.  Chaos and disorder are the diversions necessary for on-going thievery and murder.

In 1991, a senior assistant from President Bush Sr.’s office met National Association of Counties (NACo) President Michael Stewart (R – Salt Lake Co.) at a cocktail party at the Annual Conference in Salt Lake City. I overheard them discussing the “best” form of government, ever. They agreed that it was Medieval England. Its benefits?

  •  The king is the sole authority, secures obedience, neutralizes all possible challengers; gains the monopoly of force; and, maintains law and order.
  • Patriotism is focused on the nation, not on the localities that comprise it, transferring identity from the local to the national level, putting it at the disposal of the king.
  • The state dominates or controls the religious life of society, or at least allies itself with the representatives of a single authoritarian religion to more easily manage the mob to the king’s totalitarian advantage.
  • The state exerts control over economic life to facilitate circulation and exchange of goods, and to grasp as much as possible of the national wealth for the king and his allies.

In the medieval model stability is created through divine hierarchy. The king rules all, the church prays for the soul and calms the mass, the military fights to protect the bodies and property of the “community”, and the peasants work to feed everybody. It’s a simple model, which allowed it to last for several hundred incredibly stultifying and repressive years in which the majority of humankind subsisted on the level of cattle, or swine, and wars were fought at personal whim of a vainglorious, and occasionally religiously demented elite. Does this ring bells, or what?

The important men at the 1991 cocktail party didn’t intend to install a king or a single church in America, but in variation, updated and recycled form, they favored state identification and alliance with a majority religion and a CEO working with a board of directors (perhaps preserving a faint hint of representative government – old habits, even bad ones such as participative management, die hard). Call king and court president and cabinet, or rose and garden, they envisioned a tyrant working with an oligarchy of the privileged elite that they believe is, of course, best suited to govern, operating above government and for the privileged elite.  They think they’re nobility.

They were deadly serious and not at all amused when I asked if they had ever heard of Robin Hood or the Magna Carta.  They looked at me as if I’d pooped their shoes, then ignored me.

“Americans deserve the government they elect,” my father used to say, but we didn’t elect Bush. Kings, as I recall, are divinely chosen – in our case, by fat cats and the Supreme Court. Kings and aristocracy represent the elite status quo, which presently resides in Wall Street. Wall Street wants to govern everything by itself, without any interference from the rest of us.  Father knows best.  [The ultra rightwing Koch Brothers are Pappies Nr. 1 and 2 – PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2 ].

In Conclusion, there’s a Fuse on All this

Our species probably won’t be around long enough to figure out how to change from consumerist overpopulating inattentive polluters into minimalist birth-controlling aware conservationists.  We’ll overgraze our range soon.  One can see our rapidly escalating devastation of the planet.  Corporatists and their idiotic and/or greedy followers accelerate it even more; they “rationalize” irrational actions with fantastic myths to justify unreasonable behaviors.  They lie like freaking rugs. There are only a few values in their make-believe world that are any good, and they are, of course, common and obvious to all humankind: love, mercy, truth, honor, and justice – those sorts of universal things, echoed by every other life philosophy ever conceived, that is, invented by man; hypocritically enshrined by corporatist Republican and Tea Bag spin meisters who speak of, but don’t live up to them.

They have created and are attempting to retain dominance in an amoral, or consciously immoral world of corruption, thievery, and violence, instead of trying to eliminate or improve conditions that would remedy or heal it.  They are in fact, the enemy of humankind and non-human creation, and clear-thinking people who treasure compassion and cooperation must vigorously oppose them.  If a beast is contrary to the health and safety of the world, it should be contained and defanged.

The world is a dangerous place.  The fact that so many choose – even, hysterically – to resist change, do so at their peril, and endanger the rest of us.  Keeping silent about abuse, perversion, injustice, greed, vandalism, or prejudice is self-defeating, irresponsible, and destructive.  Self-willed ignorance is a socially and spiritually criminal act.  Pericles was right (in democratic ancient Athens, or the U.S.), “People who say they have no business here with government have no business here at all.”

Final words:  Keep on keepin’ on. We, the people, need each other.  We can win this fight against the self-styled elite.  We outnumber them.  Vote Progressive as if your life depended upon it – it very well may, and cliché or not, every election is truly the most important election since our Constitution was ratified.  Best regards to us all,  j

Just Say, "Yes!"

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

September 4, 2010

The United States used to build things.

You must help to preserve it.

"Play it again, Sam!"

Republican Plutocrats Create Bank Failures.

True Progressives

Unite at the Ballot box.

Impeach the Supreme Court Five.

“We have it in our power to make the world over again!” – Thomas Paine, American author-patriot-founder.

Lest we forget:

INDEPENDENCE DAY

GULF DISASTER Breaking News

BECK’S CROCODILE TEARS

FOX NEWS, HOLY LAND, SUPERMAN

September 3, 2010

Canon Fodder

“Canon Fodder”

FOX NEWS IS PORNOGRAPHIC:

We don’t have to take pornographic mail, why should we have to take FOX?  I don’t want to pay for pornography.  All that phony-baloney religious programming and shopping channels are offensive, too.  I want the freedom to choose.  Why do I have to watch commercials when I pay for the satellite/cable?  I don’t want to pay to watch ads.  Give me “a la carte” television.    Let me pay only for the shows I want.  Why are television shows sold like blood diamonds?  They use the same scam DeBeers Diamonds invented – “take the crappy diamonds to get the one good one – no exceptions – this is a monopoly.”  I want a la carte television.   A useless boatload of shows will disappear from public notice if they aren’t packaged with the Top Ten and have to stand on their own merits – no more slopover prosyletizing, or monopoly broadcasting.  I want some person of legislative importance and influence to reform the broadcast rules and reinforce the fairness doctrine.  I want to turn off Fox Noise.

NOTHING IS HOLY IN THE “HOLY” LAND:

Any claim to “holiness” in ownership of the “Holy” Land, by any constituent of any side, is preposterous.  People of every persuasion have been killing each other over this crap hunk of real estate for thousands of years, to no apparent resolution, pretty much to malign purpose, and to the point of certifiable mental disease.

Their feuds are mindlessly generational, and they routinely dishonor their prophets and messiahsPeace is an illusion, reason is a poor orphan; “right” is confused with “rite;” and “hope” is just a word.

The people of the “Holy” Land are primarily useful to International Capitalists as trade route and pipeline handlers – since ancient times.  Their demographic division is a matter of greed supported by superstition.  Their migratory waves have pushed each other back and forth from Baghdad to Cairo for six thousand years.  Don’t let ‘em kid you, the protagonists have been a blood thirsty bunch for a mighty long time – no foolin’.  The “Holy” Land has always been incredibly harsh and savage; and its peoples have never been any different.  This is a piece of earth that people kill and die over repeatedly.

In practice, “god” – whatever Her, His, or Its name is – is a “get out of jail free” card for murder, and a justification for crimes against humanity and the planet.  Most cultures condone and/or pardon violence done to the “Alien Other.”  Fathers teach sons, who teach sons, who teach sons how to hate.  In that sense, the peoples of the “Holy” Land are not unique – just amazingly obsessive about that little crap hunk of real estate.

Who’d be so damned stupid as to stick his big old idiot foot into that “holy muck?”  Perhaps, a megalomaniac, a psychopath, a sectarian nut, or a greedy sucking oil baron.  In the “holy” land, believers sing about morality, peace and love in mind-numbing chorus.  In the Sixties, the Beatles sang, “Give peace a chance.”  In the Seventies, John Lennon added, “All you need is love.”  Of course, nobody listened to any of those do-gooders, and we now sing, “Waist deep in the Big Muddy, and the Big Fool says to Push On!”

It’s very hard to believe that any respectable or self-respecting god might have any interest and/or want to claim any responsibility for the disastrous generational holocaust in the so-called “Holy” Land.  Self-deception is, indeed, the fundamental core value of the human race.  It enables us to do so many terrible ungodly self-interested things that a conscience and compassion might prevent.

“RIGHTEOUS” SWORD?

“Some Christians pretend that Christianity was not established by the sword; but of what period of time do they speak?  It was impossible that twelve men could begin with the sword; they had not the power; but no sooner were the professors of Christianity sufficiently powerful to employ the sword, than they did so, and the stake and fagot, too; and Mahomet could not do it sooner.  By the same spirit that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant (if the story be true), he would have cut off his head, and the head of his master, had he been able.  Besides this, Christianity grounds itself originally on the Bible, and the Bible was established altogether by the sword, and that in the worst use of it – not to terrify, but to extirpate.  The Jews made no converts; they butchered all.  The Bible is the sire of the Testament, and both are called the word of God.  The Christians read both books; the ministers preach from both books; and this thing called Christianity is made up of both.  It is then false to say that Christianity was not established by the sword.” – Thomas Paine, Age of Reason, p180

PEOPLE LIKE GOD LIKE SUPERMAN:

People like god for the same reason they like Superman.  They’re looking for a he-man hero savior who will kill all the bad guys and make the world safe for puny mortals.  People like a quick fix and noble selfless gods and superheroes can, at least imaginatively, give them one.

A child may dream, “If I was god/superman, oh, the changes I would make!”  An adult knows this will never happen, and if it did, they probably couldn’t handle it.  However, adults can and do choose to believe in an all-powerful, all-knowing god/superhero who will (eventually) “make everything better.”  The child says, “Close your eyes real tight and make believe with all your might.”  Adults pray for deliverance.

Many people apparently don’t want to work for deliverance.  They want it delivered; in fact, expect to receive it by hand from their imagined, and of course invisible, giant god/superhero in the sky (by and by).  It requires determined ignorance and dogged superstition to resist reason and responsibilityScience has to be suppressed and rejected so that it won’t threaten the house of cards.  Regular, preferably daily instruction in ignorance and superstition is mandatory; indoctrinate the youth early – always a good ideological strategy.

One may wean from Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to embrace an even grander imaginary friend and benefactor with whom one may never share a single real word or thought, either.  Too many accept the secondhand word of a person declaring him/herself to be expert in a book of largely anonymous secondhand anecdotes written by largely superstitious ignorant men.  The book was gathered from a multitude of completely unverified sources over several thousand years of political, social and philosophic revolution, weeded, edited, and reissued as a certified collection of largely anonymous secondhand anecdotes now purported to be directly inspired by an imagined invisible cloud being, god, superhero by a secular monarch who wanted to use it for political control of his polyglot fractious empire. Believe it, or not.  Constantine’s Sword: The Church and the Jews — A History by James Carroll

Ignorance and superstition are encouraged by the bland, if fanatic, reassurance that “all’s right in god’s world, or will be made so” (sometime).  The self-interested and often greedy people who deliver this message may actually believe the claptrap that they preach.  However, they cannot deny their venal interest in resisting any and all freethinking, diversity, or dissent.

A venal leadership inevitably yields vengeance and oppression.  Throughout history, such leaders have been the instigators of hatred, prejudice, bigotry and violence on a worldwide scale.  As for dead, dead’s dead – even a dog knows it when it sees it – and you can’t get much more empirical than that.

Thomas Paine taught us that reason, no matter how resisted or reviled, is the only path to truth.

RINGADINGDING:

Okay, I don’t like Star Wars.  I can’t accept George Lucas as my personal lord and savior, and parts I-III, and V-VI suck.  Retitle the series: Cliché Bores.  I do like Lord of the Rings, Tolkein didn’t pretend to wisdom.  However, I take issue with Peter Jackson’s film version: it didn’t matter in the books, but on gigantic screen, the military ineptness of all the principals is strikingly awful.  Consider:

  •  No moats, and obviously no drawbridges, on any of the castle-fortressesAttackers walk right up to the walls and the front door without effort.
  • The major fortresses back against cliffs, inviting attack from above.  The attackers display their ineptitude by not discovering and using such major weakness; the defenders by not noticing when they built the stupid joints.
  • No gauntlet or enfilade towers.  Attackers rush to the front door, bust it open and they’re in.  Very stupid.  Even primitive motte and bailey castle approaches were through narrow gate passages with arrow loops to shoot invaders in them, and flanked by towers to fire at enemies from all sides.
  • No horse or anti-personnel traps in the perimeter, not even sharpened stakes or concealed pits with spikes in the bottom.  The whole horde is on your doorstep at once.  “Oh, god, we only have stew for five!”
  • No ship obstacles or defense nets in the harborslanding parties always welcome, bring your own beverages.
  • No dock defenses, not even a guy with a hammer; just hop off the boat and waltz right in, without so much as a teamster organizer in your way.
  • No battle formations!  The armies line up in impressive scowling mobs and then run at one another, crashing into an every man-woman-thing for him-her-itself melee.  Subtlety, thy other name is idiot chaos.
  • No security screens, no spies out gathering information of any kind – not even, “How’s the weather down there, Gimli?” when Gimli the Dwarf complains of not being able to see the enemy; he should be so special?
  • No guerilla sorties – no harassment tactics.  No attacks on supply lines.  No need for supplies?   Orcs carry everything needed for one big overwhelming it’s a done deal battle?  That’s self-confidence, or more evidence of how militarily (at least) dumb they are; echoes of George W. Bush, Halliburton and the Republicans in Iraq.
  • No boiling oil/water/Greek fire.  I’ll give them the Greek fire since Middle Earth is theoretically before that, but it’s clear to see why M.E. didn’t survive long enough to benefit from Greek inventiveness.  No one exercises much imagination in stopping the bad guys, not even starting an avalanche when the baddies are walking at the bottom of a big honking mountain talus slope that’s ready to slide at a wisp of wind or the touch of a hairy little Hobbit foot.

Well, I could think of more, but this appeared the most obvious, so there it is.  A friend once said, “If the communist menace [so-called] was as monolithic and efficient as described by our leaders, we’d be dead; fortunately they turned out to be as screwed up as we are.”  So, root for Frodo, and pray his fellowship survives its own ineptitude.  Given the collapse of communism and Bush’s record in Iraq, I guess it’s realistic after all. – 6-22-05 Off the banks of Goldman Sachs.

   

Off the Banks of Goldman Sachs.

LAST WORDS: 

Whenever we come to the Book of Revelations we must always ask the same question, “Who wrote this crap?”

Resurrection Machines

HALF-ASSED IS HALF-HEARTED

August 11, 2010
 

Variation on the Meaning of Life

Gibbs Gurns

You Wretched, Irrelevant, Drug-Addled Ingrates,You

A remarkable tantrum from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in which he blasts “the Professional Left” for criticizing Obama policies – a.k.a. being a bunch of stoned, unrealistic, un-American losers who want to reform health care, eliminate the Pentagon and elect President Kucinich, not to mention save jobs, curb Wall Street, end two pointless wars, honor habeas corpus and do other “crazy” things. Glenn Greenwald, fuming, responds.

“Perhaps one day the White House can work itself up to express this sort of sputtering rage against the Right, or the Wall Street thieves who destroyed the American economy, or the permanent factions that control Washington.” – Greenwald.

Keith Kicks

KEITH OLBERMANN’S SPECIAL COMMENT: The ‘Professional Right’ Goes Unchallenged by ‘Amateur Left’ in the White House Wednesday, August 11, 2010 by Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann. In a Special Comment, Countdown’s Keith Olbermann explains to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs that while his frustration is understandable, it is more appropriately directed at the “professional right” and at the Obama administration itself for throwing out so many principles in an effort to compromise with an unwilling partner. VIDEO: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/08/11-0

GEOGRAPHY OF A RECESSION:

See unemployment bloom across the country in this animated, county by county map. Scary. Updated Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 9:15 pm. Click here for YouTube version.

END OF THE INTERNET? Google-Verizon Pact: It Gets Worse by Craig Aaron Tuesday, August 10, 2010 CommonDreams.org

So Google and Verizon went public Monday with their “policy framework” — better known as the pact to end the Internet as we know it.

News of this deal broke this week, sparking a public outcry that’s seen hundreds of thousands of Internet users calling on Google to live up to its “Don’t Be Evil” pledge.

This deal is even worse than advertised.

The proposal is one massive loophole setting the stage for corporate takeover of the Internet.

Real Net Neutrality means that Internet service providers can’t discriminate between different kinds of online content and applications. It guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies. It’s what makes sure the next Google, out there in a garage somewhere, has just as good a chance as any giant corporate behemoth to find its audience and thrive online.

What Google and Verizon propose is fake Net Neutrality. Read their framework here or go here to see Google twist itself in knots on this “thorny issue,” but here are the basics:

1.  Permits no Net Neutrality on wireless networks — anything goes, from blocking websites and applications to pay-for-priority treatment.

2.  Creates such a weak “non-discrimination” standard for wired networks that blocking of sites would be allowed.

3.  Allows ISPs like Verizon — instead of Internet users like you – to decide which applications deserve the best quality of service. The Internet has never worked that way, and the corporations threaten to close the door on tomorrow’s innovative applications.

4.  Allows ISPs to split the Internet into “two pipes” — one for “managed services,” a pay-for-play platform for content and applications (the proverbial toll road on the information superhighway).  The select are in the fast lane, the rest are on a dirt road.

5. Turns the Federal Communications Commission into a toothless watchdog, left fruitlessly chasing consumer complaints but unable to make rules of its own. Leaves up to unaccountable (and almost surely industry-controlled) third parties to decide what the rules should be.

If there’s a silver lining, it isn’t up to Google and Verizon to write the rules. That’s why we have Congress and the FCC. Certainly by now we should have learned – from AIG, Massey Energy, BP – what happens when big companies regulate themselves and don’t do the right thing. We need the FCC — with the backing of Congress and President Obama — to step up to the hard work of governing. That means restoring the FCC’s authority to protect Internet users and safeguarding real Net Neutrality once and for all.

Such a move will not be popular on Wall Street, but it’s the kind of leadership the American people need right now.

TELL THE FCC WHY WE NEED Net Neutrality, please do it now.

Craig Aaron is the managing director of Free Press, the national, nonpartisan, nonprofit media reform group, where he leads all program, public advocacy and communications work, including the SavetheInternet.com and SaveTheNews.org campaigns.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/08/10-2

bloodoilkoch

WAR and PEACE reprise

August 6, 2010

Older Letters to elected Officials and speculations on and about the subjects of war and recession, with links to today’s realities.  Not much has changed, except for some of the faces of the players.  Some issues are career opportunities for foot-dragging, do-nothing profiteers and cowardly politicians.  It is plain that the People must lead. 

ARAB-ISRAELI LOVE-FEST:

Ltr to Ron Wyden, Senator, OR. – January 8, 2009

The ancient Arab-Israeli confrontation is not worthy of support on either side.  Only some radical change of policy will break this savage inhumane cycle.  The Senate‘s recent unequivocal support of Israel is disgraceful.  Why do we support violence from anybody toward anybody?  Why not give peace a chance?  It has never been done, and we seem instead incapable of overcoming our religious, ethnic, and other generational prejudices.  We support people who coach their children to kill their enemies’ children.  This is madness.  It is insupportable.  The morass of the middle east does not reveal a champion for the United States to support, and Israel cannot claim the Holocaust as refuge or excuse for a holocaust of its own making that it refuses to stop.  Hamas‘ despicable actions are not an excuse for Israelis to murder, and the dead children they describe as collateral damage are not an acceptable cost for their security.

Murder and violence are what they are, not the stuff of virtue, right, or decent national policy – Israel’s, Palestine‘s, or the United States’. I urge you to re-think this issue outside of its historic insanity – and the personal blindness of culture and peer pressure.  Help devise an alternative approach to international murder and mayhem.  Help, too, to take the United States off its century-long war status.

Yours in sorrow and regret.   j

EXIT STRATEGY:

I am a veteran and senior citizen.

Ltr to Representative Earl Blumenauer, OR –  July 26, 2005   10:32 AM 

Subject: Please support House Joint Resolution 55, toward ending the Iraq occupation.

The war in Iraq has been a personal project for George Bush using American lives and treasure.  I believe he is ruining the world’s finest military.  For what?  He fights like the boneheaded English general Kitchener at Gallipoli, who observing the troops running uphill against Turkish guns said, “Stout fellows these Englishmen, they always run for the thickest part of the fence.”

Added to which, Bush’s war toys don’t work?  They do if they’re just designed to fill the pockets of his war-profiteering cronies; that’s what they accomplish.

I was glad to see that Rep. Jones is leading a bipartisan effort to press President Bush to create an exit strategy and timetable for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.  Being an occupying force with no end in sight only fuels insurgency there.

I ask you to join the thirty other members of Congress already cosponsoring the resolution, and to support it by voting for it.  Thank you for your consideration.

IRAQ DEBATE:

Personal historical view – February 14, 2007; 3-1-08 rev.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COST OF DOING WAR WITH YOU: – 3/21/08

Ltr to Rep Blumenauer; Recession and the War

The recession will force states to cut back their budgets.  Most likely, the cuts are going to affect the services that working families need to survive.

The Iraq war costs Americans more than $338 million a day.  We borrow $343 million every day to finance it.  Gas prices are close to double what they were before the war.  Oil hovers around $100 barrel [sic].

That money could help people who are hurting.  For less than we spend on the war, we could pay for affordable housing, healthcare, or education scholarships for hundreds of thousands.

Our skyrocketing debt is a growing drag on the economy, slowing recovery and robbing generations of a secure future.  Iraq sucks up the resources we need to make our economy work again.  MoveOn writes, “The tradeoffs are stark: bombs or unemployment insurance, billions for Halliburton and Blackwater, or help for people on the verge of losing their homes because of the sub prime meltdown?”

Economic forecasts will be grim as long as we continue to dump billions into a reckless war that has no end in sight.  The excessive and increasing degradation of our domestic economy is an attack on the nation.  Thank you for continuing to oppose this excessive, costly and ultimately criminal war.

LAST WORDS:

A secret reformation helped to create the United States of America; it eradicated many of the weeds of prejudice; a spirit of freedom and moderation was diffused.  The liberty of conscience was declared a common benefit, an inalienable right; the free government introduced the practice of toleration; and the narrow allowance of the laws was enlarged by the prudence and humanity of the times.  In the exercise, the mind understood the limits of its powers, and the words and shadows that might amuse the child can no longer satisfy adult reason. – Paraphrase – Gibbon, p1937.

Maybe human civilization has progressed; it depends upon what you’re measuring.  Human progress and perfectibility are two man-made ideals without much moral evidence to support them.

“One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name.” – Travis at the Alamo quoting Thomas Osbert Mordaunt, Verses Written During  the War, 1756-63.

“Sin sangre, y sin lagrimas, hay no es gloria.” – Santa Ana (“without blood, and without tears, there is no glory”).

“The urgent consideration of the public safety may undoubtedly authorize the violation of every positive law.  How far that or any other consideration may operate to dissolve the natural obligations of humanity and justice is terrible to contemplate.” – Gibbon, p830.

Politician 1:  “Why do politicians treat everyone else like idiots?”  Politician 2:  “Probably, because they voted for us in the first place.”  — Poirot, “The Incredible Theft,” BBC, David Suchet.

INTERESTING LINKS:
An American Hell: Don’t Turn the Page on History.  Facing the American world We Created, by Tom Engelhardt, www.TomDispatch.com. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/24

San Francisco Dems Tell Pelosi to Support McGovern ‘Afghan Exit’ Bill, by Tom Gallager, www.commondreams.orghttp://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/24-3

Can America Prevail on Afghanistan/Pakistan Front? No! It’s Obama’s war now, and a Vietnam-like quagmire is dead ahead.  by Helen Thomas, www.Minneapolis/St.PaulStarTribune  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/23-13

Blackwater Seeks Gag Order, by Jeremy Scahill.  www.thenation  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/07/23-2

Biden: Afghan War is ‘Worth the Effort’.  www.bbcnews  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/23-0

RADICAL and NOT RIGHT:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/23-2  Christian Right Aims to Change History Lessons in Texas Schools.  State’s education board to consider adding Christianity’s role in American history to curriculum [and dump all reference to labor unions among other exclusions; the larger issue is that Texas textbook decisions affect every state in the union; textbook monopoly ONLY consults Texas education board!], by Chris McGreal in Washington, The Guardian/UK
End of the World!

IS IT SAFE TO COME OUT, YET?

July 30, 2010

OUR SHAME

Oil Leases Cancelled in Gulf, Atlantic
The Center for Biological Diversity applauded this Wednesday when the Obama administration cancelled two offshore oil and gas lease sales: one in the Atlantic, off Virginia, and one in the western Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic lease sale was in a controversial area approved by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for expanded offshore oil development after the Bush administration lifted the Atlantic drilling moratorium. The lease sale in the Gulf was scheduled to take place next month. In cancelling the sales, the government admitted it needs more time to improve the safety of offshore oil and gas development and provide greater environmental protection to  substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic events like another massive oil spill.
“President Obama’s decision to cancel these lease sales recognizes that risky offshore drilling needs reform,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “In light of the BP oil spill, the president should pull back from the entire plan to expand offshore drilling and instead pursue clean energy.”

Check out our press release and learn the latest on the Gulf disaster. Then take action to tell the administration to end all dangerous offshore drilling.

LIFE INSURANCE FOR THE PLANET:

There is no life insurance policy for planet earth.  The fate of our planet is painful to think about.  It is decades since we first became concerned about pollution, water scarcity, wastes, pesticides, overpopulation and erosion.  Under Ronald Reagan the country turned away from such problems, but today they are the problems we fear most.  They are global and potentially irreversible.  They include the build-up of greenhouse gases, the thinning of the ozone layer, destruction of rain forests and accelerating extinctions of other species.  Some would say they are impossible to stop.  The world’s economy is built into them.

Yet, as Jonathan Weiner writes in The Next One Hundred Years, the changes trouble even those who try to ignore them and worry only about whether the old garage is sagging or the mortgage is due.  A question mark curls above our roofs and makes a mockery of our hopes.  If the earth is falling apart, there go the plans for summer vacation.

As we locally chop down trees and cover arable earth with concrete, we should bear in mind the ecological limits of what we do.  The same is true of the industry we attract and of the population we propose to support in our regional environment.  In Multnomah County, Oregon, they plan to add more hundreds of thousands of people by deliberate design, less an act of planning than of whistling while walking through the graveyard.

There are public policy questions that have not been adequately presented and debatedLocal media, elected officials, governmental staff and economic development and business communities have consistently pursued the “cutting edge” of the latest “growth opportunities” without equally weighing the adverse impacts potential in each of these proposed, but too often unrelated developments.  Never has the time for comprehensive and thoroughly cooperative deliberation and action been more urgent.

Common needs for clean air, clean water and a livable future have been subordinated in the rush to insure our immediate economic well being.  While motives may be benign, it is patently obvious to all but the most self deceiving or self serving that we are in the midst of a global crisis which calls for a philosophy which protects, defends and advances the common interest. In the context of a rapidly diminishing resource pool, in the face of rising and conceivably irreversible environmental damage, it is beyond foolishness to persist in an economic expansionism that degrades and erodes the livability of our common home.

All local elected officials should plan from a basis which explores the possibility of sustainability, including revenue sharing to decrease conflict over development opportunities and inappropriate public incentives which pit one community against another.  No jurisdiction should function without regard for its neighbors and friends and our shared earth.

Never in world history has humankind been so powerful in its geophysical impact on the planet.  As hard as the weaning may be, business as usual no longer makes sense.  If we are, as some scientists term us, homo sapiens sapiens, man the doubly wise, let’s prove it before we lose it.

Choices.

LET’S HEAR IT FOR BIOMASS!

“To the massmoss with this wingéd fruitcake!” – The Tyrant, Barbarella.

Hemp biomass for fuel would be cleaner and more economical than any other source.  Corn is the least efficient and most costly.  Hemp is easily grown almost everywhere, and completely renewable.  It is a carbon sink, cleaning the air.  10,000 acres of hemp yields as much paper as 40,000 acres of wood pulp.  It gives a far greater yield per acre, and is better for the overall health of the land.

Sources below will tell you what there is to know in great well-documented detail.  Plus, you get to “meet” Jack Herer – a man the mystics call a “great soul.”

Emperor of Hemp – narrated by Peter Coyote, VHS, DVD, 59 min.  Bill Maher calls it “A triumph for the open-minded.”  The story of Jack Herer, author of:The Emperor Wears No Clothes, best selling book that blows the lid off the anti-hemp conspiracy and explains all there is to know about one miraculous plant.  Available at the web site: www.emperorofhemp.com; Jack Herer’ web site home is athttp://www.jackherer.com/Both are also available through www.Amazon.com

VIDEO: Obama Preserves Inherited Bush Abuses Friday, July 30, 2010 by The Rachel Maddow Show. http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/30-0

PEASANTS and MASTERS

July 21, 2010

Image and Ambition

ORGANIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY

We need to chase the money lenders and other riff-raff from the temple again.  The corruption in Washington resonates through our whole society.  Political corruption is one aspect of a more general immorality. If we want to tackle it, we have to understand how it works.

Sober, personal virtues of honesty, willpower, honor, and high-mindedness have given way to “the most important single factor, the effective personality,” which “commands attention by charm,” and “radiates self-confidence.” George W. Bush is a prime example of the phenomenon; Sarah Palin is another. Personal relations – image, in short – have become part of public relations, a sacrifice of selfhood on a personality market, to the sole end of individual success in the corporate way of life.

In the corporate era, economic relations are impersonal – and executives feel little personal responsibility (witness NAFTA, GATT and the WTO). Within the corporate worlds of business, war making and politics, the private conscience is attenuated and immorality is institutionalized. Many of the problems of white-collar crime and of relaxed public morality, of high-priced vice and fading personal integrity, are problems of this structural immorality. Its acceptance is an essential feature of our mass society.

In economic and political institutions the corporate rich now wield enormous power, but they have never had to win the moral consent of those over whom they hold this power. The general immorality, the general weakening of older values, and the organization of irresponsibility have not involved public crisis; they result from creeping indifference and a silent hollowing out.

The images of the powerful that prevail are of the elite as celebrities. They share it with the frivolous or sultry creatures of the world of celebrity, which is a dazzling blind of their true power.

Two things are needed in a democracy: articulate and knowledgeable publics, and political leaders who, if not men of reason, are at least reasonably responsible to such knowledgeable publics as exist. Such a public and such leaders – either of power or of knowledge – do not now prevail, and knowledge does not now have democratic relevance in America.

The lack of knowledge as an experience among the elite ties in with the malign tendency of the expert, not only as fact but also as legitimization. Our national debate has become timid. The tyranny of experts disguises our true best interest. The trend has been abdication of debate and the collapse of opposition under the easy slogan of bipartisanship. Public relations displace reasoned argument; manipulation and undebated decisions of power replace democratic authority.

Status, no longer rooted in local communities, follows the big hierarchies. Status follows big money, even if it has a touch of the gangster. Status follows power, even if it be without background. Below, in the mass society, old moral and traditional barriers to status break down and Americans look to standards of excellence above them, to model themselves and judge self-esteem.

Those in the higher circles are not truly representative; their high position is not a result of moral virtue. They sit in the seats of the high and the mighty selected and formed by the means of power, the sources of wealth, and the mechanics of celebrity. They are not shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not held in check by a plurality of voluntary associations, which connect debating publics with the pinnacles of decision. Commanders of power unequalled in history, they have succeeded within the American system of organized irresponsibility.

PEASANTS and MASTERS

 University of Wisconsin law professor Joel Rogers says, “Public opinion in the United States is conventionally mapped on a liberal-conservative axis understood to run from government do-gooders without values on one end to free marketeering rich people without hearts at the other end. Most people in America place themselves in the middle. They don’t find either end particularly attractive. Today, the fight isn’t really between liberals and conservatives but between the workers/consumers/citizens who actually want the economy to reflect our values and those who want to keep things the way they are with a few irresponsible corporations running the country for their own benefit. In that fight we can win. It’s our country. Let’s run it for the people.”

We cannot make minor process changes, but must deal with the value system, which powers our economic engine to the divorce of all other concerns. Social Darwinism supposedly died after striking U.S. Steel workers were murdered by union-busting toughs while Andrew Carnegie played golf in Scotland. Carnegie turned a blind eye to what his managers were doing at the Homestead Mines. It seemed good business to lower labor costs. It got out of hand. Carnegie learned that individual action, even when the most rational and best for the individual or stockholders, may be a terrible disaster for other individuals.

The only way to resolve the problem is to:

GO STRAIGHT AT THEM

I reluctantly support the President.  If we want positive change in America, he’s the man we should back.  He comes nearest to my own philosophy and that of people I respect and care about most.  However, I feel he is being “reasonable” with his opposition to the point of timidity, if not self-deception.  What should he do?

  • Go straight at them.
  • Eschew any advice from Wall Street chameleon Robert Rubin and his clones who brought us NAFTA, GATT and WTO, and mentored Clinton, Bush, and now Obama with the same advice that created the present fiscal disaster.  Prosecute Goldman Sachs for their very real thefts and confidence rackets.
  • Speak Keynesian economics again. Emphasize we the people, public issues, community, human rights, common sense, and the common good; not the bottomline for a gaggle of avaricious stockholders.  Practice economics as if PEOPLE mattered.
  • Seek new, innovative solutions – not stock reprises of old routines; that’s the pattern of alcoholics and addicts.
  • Make Corporations pay their fair share to support the system that enabled their success; stop treating them as “individuals” in the legal system; hold executives and stock holders personally accountable for their corporate actions.
  • Protect the planet.  JOB ONE.  Everything else is subordinate in priority. 
  • Educate the children – dump top-heavy, discriminatory Trojan Horse Standards obstacles; eliminate public subsidies (vouchers) for boondoggle separatist, religionist, preferential, and elitist “home” schooling; insist upon a democratic public education, scholarship, and scientific rationalism.
  • Call the generation to service: “Let’s get our hands on these problems and solve them.  We can do it, if we stop procrastinating and move on.”
  • Tell Republicans they can worry about haircuts, dirty words, and hurting people by making money from wage slavery, exploitation, lies and violence.  The rest of us will go to work to end two disastrous wars and fix the nation’s now critical issues: environment, health care, and the economy (thanks to years of flagrant and cynical Republican corporatist neoconservative neglect, abuse, misuse, cynicism, and outright unabashed destruction).

We can’t let the Republican monarchists kill the real American dream: freedom and a better life for all our people, children, posterity, and not just ourselves.

We’re not in this life for the next quarterly report, we’re here to build a lasting rule of law that we can be proud of again; and that means saving it from the Republican cabal that brought us this fiasco, before it collapses us in an economy of chaos and death, as they smugly profit off our bones.

How’d that be?  I’d like it fine.  And, we need to dump the Bluedog Democrats and give President Barak Obama an overwhelming progressive majority in both houses of congress, too, or we will spend generations suffering from the harm of the Bushies and their corporate neocon masters.

If it will be done, it must be done soon, or I fear it will not be done at all (although the planet will outlive us, barren as the moon, perhaps). 

PRESIDENT PHARAOH

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe). He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined. He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place; thus, half the monuments in the Nile Valley are his. He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight. Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt. He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt. And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe. G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”

 

Site of the First Chrysler Factory

 

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FOOD WINS

WANTED: CORPORATE CONSCIENCE

ATTACK WALL STREET

GOING REALLY ROGUE

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

July 17, 2010

"Play it again, Sam!"

The New Finance Bill: A Mountain of Legislative Paper, a Molehill of Reform by Robert Reich Friday, July 16, 2010 by RobertReich.org

Thursday the President pronounced that “because of this [financial reform] bill the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.”

As if to prove him wrong, Goldman Sachs simultaneously announced it had struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay $550 million to settle federal claims it misled investors – a sum representing a mere 15 days profit for the firm based on its 2009 earnings. Goldman’s share price immediately jumped 4.3 percent, and the Street proclaimed its chair and CEO, Lloyd (“Goldman is doing God’s work”) Blankfein, a winner. Financial analysts rushed to affirm a glowing outlook for Goldman stock.

The American people will continue to have to foot the bill for the mistakes of Wall Street’s biggest banks because the legislation does nothing to diminish the economic and political power of these giants. It does not cap their size. It does not resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act that once separated commercial (normal) banking from investment (casino) banking. It does not even link the pay of their traders and top executives to long-term performance. In other words, it does nothing to change their basic structure. And for this reason, it gives them an implicit federal insurance policy against failure unavailable to smaller banks – thereby adding to their economic and political power in the future.

Make no mistake: As long as there’s no fundamental change in the structure of Wall Street – as long as the big banks stay as big and are allowed to grow bigger, and have every incentive to invent new financial gimmicks with which to bet other peoples’ money – they will remain too big to fail, and too politically powerful to control.

Congress labored mightily to produce a mountain of legislation, but produced a molehill of reform to prevent the wreckage Wall Street wreaked upon the nation.READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/16-3

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His “Marketplace” commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.  Inequality Is the Real Debt Burden by Terry Link Friday, July 16, 2010 by Lansing State Journal (Michigan)

Just say, "Yes!"

Inequality Is the Real Debt Burden by Terry Link Friday, July 16, 2010 by Lansing State Journal (Michigan)

Recent polls indicate that many Americans are as concerned about growing government debt as they are about terrorism. It’s interesting that concern about debt occurs almost rhythmically when conservatives are out of power.

Conservatives supported a $3 trillion war in the Middle East without concern for “growing debt”. Their present claim that debt that supports the unemployed, sick, and education is bad while debt that truly imperils current and future generations is acceptable is dangerous and misguided.

Policies prescribed by Milton Friedman and his followers leave a wake of growing inequality both globally and within nations that is the seed of our current and continuing malaise.  We have unwittingly spent up the interest that nature provided and have been spending the capital for more than a generation. The proof is clear to the scientific world. Those convinced by the sales job of the Milton Friedmans of the world that free markets are some holy grail, ignore the environmental and social costs of doing business.

A recent study, “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger“, two British epidemiologists demonstrate overwhelmingly that the real culprit for our predicament is growing inequality. It’s way past time to start talking about our real debt – the costs of inequality we bear and pass on to our children and theirs.

Terry Link lives in Laingsburg, Michigan.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/16-4

Conservatism’s Death Gusher by George Lakoff Friday, July 16, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

The issue is death – death gushing at ten thousand pounds per square inch from a mile below the sea, tens of thousands of barrels of death a day. Not just death to eleven human beings. Death to sea birds, sea turtles, dolphins, fish, oyster beds, shrimp, beaches; death to the fishing industry, tourism, jobs; and death to a way of life based on the beauty and bounty of the Gulf.

Many, perhaps a majority, of the Gulf residents affected are conservatives, strong right-wing Republicans, following extremist Governors Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour. What those conservatives are not saying, and may be incapable of seeing, is that conservatism itself is largely responsible for what happened, and conservatism is a continuing disaster for conservatives who live along the Gulf.

Conservatism is an ideology of death. It was conservative laissez-faire free market ideology – that maximizing profit comes first – that led to:

  • the corrupt relationship between the oil companies and the Interior Department staff that was supposedly regulating them
  • minimizing cost by not drilling relief wells;
  • the principle that oil companies could be responsible for their own risk assessments on drilling;
  • maximizing profit by outsourcing risk assessment that told them what they wanted to hear: zero risk!;
  • maximizing profit by minimizing cost of materials;
  • maximizing profit by failing to pay cleanup crews and businesses for their losses;
  • focusing only on profit by failing to test the cleanup methods to be used if something went wrong;
  • minimizing cost by sacrificing the health of cleanup crews, refusing to allow them to use respirator masks to protect against toxic fumes.

It is conservative profit-above-all market fundamentalism that has led other oil companies to mount a massive PR campaign to isolate BP as an anomalous “bad actor” and to argue that offshore drilling should be continued by the self-proclaimed “good actors.” Their PR fails to mention that in Congressional hearings it came out that they all outsource risk assessment to the same company that declared that BP had “zero risk.” The PR fails to mention that they all use cost-benefit analysis to maximize profits just as BP did. Cost-benefit analysis only looks at monetary costs versus benefits, case by case, not at the risk of massive death of the kind gushing out of the Gulf at present. Death, in itself, even at that scale, is not a “cost.” Only an outflow of money is a “cost.” This is what follows from conservative laissez-faire market ideology, an ideology that continues to sanction death on a Gulf scale.

Finally, there is what progressive Democrats see as a contradiction: conservative advocates of smaller and weaker government and critics of governmental power trying to pin the Death Gusher Disaster on Obama for not having and using enough government power to prevent or lessen the disaster – even though the government has no capacity to plug oil wells. Those who are not held captive by the conservative worldview recognize the causal role of conservatism in the Death Gusher in the Gulf. Many progressive do, but keep it to themselves.

Progressives have been much too kind to conservatives on this matter. They have largely accepted the Bad Actor Frame, criticizing BP but not the whole industry and its practices. No one should be drilling miles under the sea, where oil comes out at 10,000 pounds per square inch. No matter how much profit is involved.

Conservatism gushes death – and not only in the Gulf of Mexico.

George Lakoff is the author of Moral Politics, Don’t Think of an Elephant!, Whose Freedom?, and Thinking Points (with the Rockridge Institute staff). He is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, and a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute. READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/07/16-5

 
 

War Criminal Waves to Suckers.

Tim Geithner Opposes Nominating Elizabeth Warren to Lead New Consumer Agency by Shahien Nasiripour Friday, July 16, 2010 by The Huffington Post 

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner opposes the possible nomination of Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a source with knowledge of Geithner’s views.

The financial reform bill passed by the Senate on Thursday mandates the creation of a new federal entity charged with protecting consumers from predatory lenders.

But if Geithner has his way, the most prominent advocate for creating the agency may not be picked to lead it: Elizabeth Warren, a professor at Harvard Law School, one of the leading reform advocates fighting on behalf of American taxpayers.

Yet while her work on behalf of a federal unit designed solely to protect borrowers from abusive lenders has been embraced by the administration, Warren’s role as a bailout watchdog led to strained relations with the agency her panel has taken to task with brutal reports every month since Obama took office: Geithner’s Treasury Department.

Geithner’s opposition could have political implications for a White House determined to prove it’s gotten tough on Wall Street. Since March, Obama has devoted four of his weekly Saturday addresses to highlight and promote the consumer agency.

In March 2009, in response to a question during a town hall event in Southern California about the bailout for Wall Street firms and whether Obama supported tougher consumer protections on credit cards, Obama promoted Warren’s academic work.

Three months later, the administration released its blueprint for how it wanted to fix the nation’s broken financial system. Warren’s idea for a consumer agency was a heavily-promoted part of it.  Warren, a Treasury Department spokesman and a White House spokesperson all declined to comment for this article.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/16-3

My Two-bits On Elizabeth Warren:

A really dumb student wrote, “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.”

Obama’s pretty much off on the wrong course.  He appears to sprinkle “public goodies” up to and including the health care insurance and financial reform acts, 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.

Geithner needs to go, he’s the lame duck who stepped on a land mine.  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is trying to block President Obama from appointing one of the best consumer watchdogs in the nation to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created by Congress to rein in Wall Street.  Elizabeth Warren challenges him because she doesn’t accept his b.s. and neither should Obama.

 

Bull Run Watershed

Water as Human Right Threatens to Split World Body by Thalif Deen Friday, July 16, 2010 by Inter Press Service

UNITED NATIONS – A long outstanding proposal to recognise the right to water as a basic universal human right is threatening to split the world’s rich and poor nations.

Opposition to the proposal is coming mostly from Western nations, says Maude Barlow, a global water advocate and a founder of the Canada-based Blue Planet Project.

“Canada is the worst. But Australia, the United States and Great Britain are also holding up the process,” she said.

If the draft resolution is eventually adopted by the 192- member U.N. General Assembly, “it would be one of the most important things the United Nations has done since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” she said.

“International and local community groups fighting for water justice have long been calling for leadership from the U.N. in clearly recognizing that water and sanitation are human rights,” said one source. Whether the provision of water and sanitation is carried out by public or private actors is not relevant to the status of water and sanitation as a human right.

Meanwhile, a coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including the Council of Canadians, Food and Water Europe, Corporate Europe Observatory and the Blue Planet Project, has appealed to members of the European Parliament seeking their political support, “in light of the European Union’s recognition of water as a human right, the EU can play a key role in promoting this key resolution at the United Nations.”  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/16-7

RELATED ARTICLES on issues above:

 

 

PUBLIC ENEMIES 1 and 2

LAST WORDS:

If someone takes the time to etch a poem on a plaque, you’d better take it seriously, particularly if it rhymes.”  Muriel, Courage the Dog.

THE END:

No! No! No!

PROGRESSIVE DISILLUSIONMENT

July 10, 2010

True Progressives

VIDEO: Progressives and Obama: From Wall Street to the war, this isn’t what Progressive Democrats voted for, Norman Solomon, July 10, 2010 by The Real News Network

STATE-OF-THE-ART

LINK: http://www.commondreams.org/video/2010/07/10

2nd Great Republican Depression: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression.  Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than ’82-’83 recession. Published on Friday, July 2, 2010 by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Washington, D.C. – As the nation contends with a long and sustained labor market recession, a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the current unemployment rate is higher than the conventional measure shows.

“An unemployment rate that has hovered above 9 percent for several months is striking, but the jobs picture is even worse than it looks,” said report author and CEPR Economist David Rosnick.

The study, “The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs,” adjusts the current unemployment rate to account for demographic differences and finds that the unemployment rate has not fallen below 10.8 percent in the last 12 months. During the worst episode of the recession of the 1980s — the second half of 1982 and the first half of 1983 — unemployment passed 10 percent for 7 months.

The analysis notes that the population is older today than it was in the 1980s, which has the effect of lowering today’s unemployment rate relative to the past. Since they change jobs more frequently and are more likely to move in and out of the labor market, Young people have a higher unemployment rate than older workers. Adjusting for this older workforce shows that the United States is experiencing the weakest labor market since the Great Depression.

The severity of the current unemployment situation suggests that policy makers should consider measures that would slow or reverse this trend. Additional stimulus such as work sharing or the extension of unemployment benefits by Congress would go far in addressing the plight of the millions of unemployed Americans suffering as a result of this downturn.

FULL ANALYSIS can be found here.

READ MORE:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/07/02-5

Wealthy Reap Rewards While Those Who Work Lose

TOTAL RECALL.  Abstract:   15 Awful Things Republicans Would Do If They Had the Chance By Dennis Rahkonen, The Smirking Chimp.

The political instrument of moneyed elites, and a retrograde societal force, the GOP today is more negative than ever. Its agenda, if fully implemented, would prove catastrophic. Here’s what an unfettered Republican Party would do “for” America:

1)  Greatly reduce or entirely eliminate taxes on the rich, forcing working families to make up revenue shortfalls.

2)  Bust labor unions, and prevent collective bargaining for wages and benefits.

3)  Stubbornly deny the climate change while pumping more pollutants into the environment from dirty industries and practices.

4)  Remove regulations on investment banks and credit card companies eroding consumer protections.

5)  Continue to criticize and under fund public education, advocating private schooling instead, to dumb workers down.

6)  Outlaw abortion, under a moral guise, impelling thousands of functioning females to perish because of sexist denials of their basic rights.

7)  Continue to recite a Pledge of Allegiance whose last six words are “with liberty and justice for all,” while harrassing homosexual citizens.

8)  Speak often and loftily of freedom, but engage in neo-McCarthyite witch hunts, Red-baiting name calling, and a host of Patriot Act sins against the U. S. Constitution in the name of “national security.”

9)  Bully the world with US aggressions on foreign soil, kill countless thousands of innocents, waste billions of badly-needed dollars, and make us hated around the planet.

10)  Generally drive down the income levels of America’s working-class majority, as a cost-saving corporate measure, dooming society to economic ruin!

11)  Lie about affordable health care for all, creating a national security threat by fooling some Americans into thinking that public health care is a godless socialist attack on basic American freedoms.

12)  Unleash de facto ethnic cleansing against 12 million immigrant men, women, and children, blaming them for hardships experienced due to capitalist excess.

13)  Shamefully try to lend credence to their avarice and social irresponsibility by revising the Bible to obscure passages that place human need before abject greed as one conservative group is really trying to do!

14)  Support intensely bigoted hatred that has crazed extremists dreaming of literally tearing Barack Obama to pieces and gassing all liberals.

15)  Place the livelihoods and lives of over 300 million Americans in the hands of incompetent ideological “purists” such as Sarah Palin.

While there are certainly Democrats who’ve yet to show spine in furtherance of vital change, let’s be absolutely clear about the unmitigated disaster that would follow if Republicans, in their present ultra-rightist incarnation, ruled our country exactly as they wickedly wished.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/story/143917/15_awful_things_republicans_would_do_if_they_had_the_chance

Leave ‘Em Laughing.  Open ltr to CNN:

FOX regularly pushes distorted stories, and uses them to whip up racial fear.  It is unacceptable for CNN, which positions itself as a credible source of news and analysis, to uncritically echo FOX’s dishonest race-baiting.

What the hell’s the matter with you?  Do you want this country to disintegrate?  Report the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or quit pretending to be journalists.  Call yourselves racist corporatist shills instead.

Sincerely, with rapidly diminishing respect,  j 

READ MORE: