Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

CRUSHING AMERICA

September 18, 2010

"Play it again, Sam!"

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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!"

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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!

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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IT AIN’T OVER

December 16, 2009

Citizen Paine

VIDEO: Howard Dean Tells Dems to Kill Senate Health-Care Bill by AlterNet Staff, AlterNet.

With no public option and no Medicare buy-in, the Senate bill is not worth voting for, the former DNC chairman tells “Countdown.” Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean would rather see no health-care bill than a bad one. So he tells MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet.

A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such demoralization happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further? What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population? Can anything be done to turn this around?

Yes. It is called the “abuse syndrome.” Abusive pimps, spouses, bosses, corporations, and governments stay in control [by shoving] lies, emotional and physical abuses, and injustices in their victims’ faces, and when victims are afraid to exit from these relationships, they get weaker.

Does knowing the truth of their abuse set people free [from] abuse syndromes?

No. The truth of their passive submission to humiliating oppression is more than embarrassing; it can feel shameful — and there is nothing more painful. It is not likely that the truth of humiliating oppression [will] energize constructive actions.

Has such demoralization happened in the U.S.?

In the United States, 47 million people are without health insurance, many millions more are underinsured or a job layoff away from losing coverage. Despite the sellout by their elected officials to the insurance industry, there is no outpouring of millions of U.S. citizens protesting this betrayal.  And, the majority of Americans oppose U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, yet only a handful has protested.

[In] the 2000 U.S. presidential election the Florida Supreme Court’s order for a recount of the disputed Florida vote was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a politicized 5-4 decision.  Justice John Paul Stevens remarked: “…the identity of the [loser] of this year’s presidential election…is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.” Even this provoked few demonstrators.

When people become broken, they cannot act on truths of injustice. Furthermore, …truths about how they have been victimized can lead to shame about [allowing] it, …[and make them] even more psychologically broken.

U.S. citizens do not actively protest obvious injustices [because]…they feel helpless to effect change. The more we don’t act, the weaker we get [and]… move to shut-down mode and escape strategies such as depression, substance abuse, …which further keep us from acting. This is the vicious cycle of all abuse syndromes.

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

Maybe.

Shortly before the 2000 U.S. presidential election, George W. Bush [joked] to a wealthy group, “What a crowd tonight: the haves and the haves-more. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base.” Yet, …citizens who had come to despise Bush and his arrogance remained passive in the face of the 2000 non-democratic presidential elections.  Perhaps the “political genius” of the Bush-Cheney regime was in their full realization that Americans were so broken that the regime could get away with damn near anything… [Even slamming] a boot on their faces.

What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population?

The U.S. government-corporate partnership has used its share of guns and terror to break Native Americans, labor union organizers, and other dissidents and activists. But today, most U.S. citizens are broken by financial fears.

The U.S. population is increasingly broken by the social isolation created by corporate-governmental policies. A 2006 American Sociological Review study (“Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades”) reported that, in 2004, 25 percent of Americans did not have a single confidant. Social connectedness is disappearing in virtually every aspect of U.S. life. There has been a significant decrease in face-to-face contact with neighbors and friends due to suburbanization, commuting, electronic entertainment, time and money pressures and other variables created by governmental-corporate policies. Union and other ways that people support each other to resist oppression also decreased.

We are also broken by a corporate-government partnership that has [taken] control [of] basic necessities of life, including our food supply. We are broken by socializing institutions that alienate us from our basic humanity. A few examples:

Schools and Universities: Do most schools teach young people to be action-oriented — or to be passive? Do most schools teach young people that they can affect their surroundings — or not to bother? Do schools provide examples of democratic institutions — or examples of authoritarian ones?  School is nothing less than a miniature society: what young people experience in schools is the chief means of creating our future society. Kids learn to comply with authorities for which they often have no respect, and to regurgitate material they often find meaningless. These are great ways of breaking someone.

Mental Health Institutions: Aldous Huxley predicted today’s pharmaceutical society “[I]t seems to me perfectly in the cards,” he said, “that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude.”  Today, increasing numbers of people in the U.S. who do not comply with authority are being diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric drugs that make them less pained about their boredom, resentments, and other negative emotions, thus rendering them more compliant and manageable.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers [who] “often actively defy or refuse to comply with adult requests or rules,” and “often argue with adults.” A more common reaction to oppressive authorities is passive defiance – e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Virtually all children diagnosed with ADHD will pay attention to activities that they actually enjoy or have chosen. The “disease” goes away when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control.

When human beings feel too terrified and broken, they may stage a “passive-aggressive revolution” by getting depressed, staying drunk, and not doing anything — one reason why the Soviet empire crumbled. But, diseasing or medicalizing rebellion and drug “treatments” even weaken this power.

Television: In Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978), Jerry Mander compiled a list of the “Eight Ideal Conditions for the Flowering of Autocracy,” claiming that television helps create all eight conditions for breaking a population.

(1)   Occupies people so that they don’t know themselves — and what a human being is;

(2)   Separates people from one another;

(3)   Creates sensory deprivation;

(4)   Occupies the mind and fills the brain with prearranged experience and thought;

(5)   Encourages drug use to dampen dissatisfaction (while TV itself produces a drug-like effect, this was compounded in 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxing the rules of prescription-drug advertising);

(6)   Centralizes knowledge and information;

(7)   Eliminates or “museumize” other cultures to eliminate comparisons; and

(8)   Redefines happiness and the meaning of life.

Commercialism of Damn Near Everything: Gross commercialization of spirituality, music, and cinema deadens their capacity to energize rebellion. So now, damn near everything – not just religion – is an “opiate of the masses.”

The primary societal role of U.S. citizens is no longer “citizen” but “consumer.” Citizens know that buying and selling within community strengthens that community and that this strengthens democracy, consumers care only about the best deal. Citizens understand that dependency on an impersonal creditor is a kind of slavery, consumers get excited with credit cards with a temporarily low APR.

Consumerism breaks people by devaluing human connectedness, socializing self-absorption, obliterating self-reliance, alienating people from normal human emotional reactions, and by selling the idea that purchased products — not themselves and their community — are their salvation.

Can anything be done to turn this around?

When people get caught up in humiliating abuse syndromes, more truths about their oppressive humiliations don’t set them free. What sets them free is morale.

What gives people morale? Encouragement. Small victories. Models of courageous behaviors. Anything that helps them break the vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over immobilization, more pain, and more shut down.

The last people to turn to are mental health professionals. Specifically required talents are a fearlessness around image, spontaneity, and definitely anti-authoritarianism, which are not traits medical or graduate schools encourage.

If you want to feel hopeless, there are a lot of things you could feel hopeless about. If you act on that assumption, then you’re guaranteeing that’ll happen. If you act on the assumption that things can change, maybe they will. The only rational choice, given those alternatives, is to forget pessimism.

A major component of the craft of maintaining morale is not taking the advertised reality too seriously.

An elitist assumption is that people don’t change because they are either ignorant of their problems or ignorant of solutions. An elitist who has never been broken by his or her circumstances does not know that people who have become demoralized do not need analyses and pontifications. They need a shot of morale.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144529/are_americans_a_broken_people_why_we%27ve_stopped_fighting_back_against_the_forces_of_oppression

SPECIAL BONUS: A Global Philosophy for Successful Living in Eight Aphorisms.

From the BUDDHA: Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.

From JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Follow your bliss.

From CHRISTIAN TRADITION: Practice the Golden Rule.

From GHANDI: Act. “Without action there is no result. You may not see the result in your lifetime, but if you do not act, there will be no result at all.”

From JACQUES COUSTEAU: Hope for the best. “I hope for the best, although I can’t say why.”

From TOM PAINE: Use Common Sense. “Reason is the most reliable path to the truth.”

From his holiness the 14th DALI LAMA: “If you want the best idea of how the world was created, don’t pick the best mythology, consult the best science.”

—————————
From FatLemon: “Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the man in the moon.”

LAST THOUGHT:  Don’t get mad, get even.  Fight harder.  Take back the Democratic Party and elect Progressives to all offices in the land.  Continue to fight the oppressive fascist powers.  Bill Hart stood for courtesy, courage, and justice.

LEGISLATORS FOR SALE!

August 5, 2009
Sly hard sells Louie.

Sly hard sells Louie.

WOW!

Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann

LEGISLATORS FOR SALE by Keith Olbermann – VIDEO:

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2009/08/04

Thank you, Mr. Olbermann.

Thank you, CommonDreams.org

http://www.commondreams.org/

CommonDreams.org is a national nonprofit, progressive, nonpartisan citizens’ organization founded in 1997 by political activists Craig Brown and his late wife, Lina Newhouser.  They are a powerful online voice for change in America.  With millions of monthly readers, they have become one of the top progressive websites.  Check it out.  Here’s a sample of their fare.

LOCALIZED MAYHEM:

Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by The Nation

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder by Jeremy Scahill.  A former Blackwater employee and an ex-Marine who worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia.  “The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company.  the former employee also alleges that Prince ‘views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destructionof Iraqi life.'”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/04-9

THE GREEN GREEN HILLS ARE BLACK:

Published on Monday, August 3, 2009 by Canada.com

Carbon Credits: ‘Cure Worse Than the Disease’ by Kevin Dougherty.  QuebecCarbon credits – to package and trade offsets to greenhouse gas emissions – won’t work, says McGill University economist Christopher Green, “rejecting the argument of Premier Jean Charest who wants the Montreal Exchange to be the carbon market for all of Canada.”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/03-6

Published on Monday, August 3, 2009 by Inter Press Service

The Biggest Shift from North to South: ‘Time to De-Grow’ – Q&A: Claudia Ciobanu interviews economist Serge Latouche.  BUCHAREST –  He calls for “abandoning the objective of growth for growth’s sake, an insane objective, with disastrous consequences for the environment.”  The need for a de-growth society stems from the certainty that the earth’s resources and natural cycles cannot sustain the economic growth that is the essence of capitalism and modernity.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/03-2

Published on Monday, August 3, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Will a Warmer World Make Us Sicker? by Roberta Kwok.  Scientists are piecing together how climate impacts disease, strange patterns are emerging: mosquito outbreaks can follow drought, shorter migrations can make butterflies sick, and more birds (not fewer) can ward off West Nile virus.  From Conservation magazine, part of the Guardian Environment Network.  In the late 1990s, a set of alarming maps created a stir in the scientific community. “Based on predictions by a team of Dutch and Australian researchers and initially published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the maps charted how global warming could increase the risk of malaria in seemingly unlikely locales: northern countries such as Poland, the Netherlands, and Russia.”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/03-3

Published on Monday, August 3, 2009 by The Independent/UK

Warning: Oil Supplies Are Running Out Fast by Steve ConnorCatastrophic shortfalls threaten economic recovery, says world’s top energy economist.  “The world is heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery because most of the major oil fields in the world have passed their peak production, a leading energy economist has warned.”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/03

Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Modified Corn Seeds Sow Doubts by Martin MittelstaedtNext spring, farmers in Canada will be able to sow one of the most complicated genetically engineered plants ever designed, a futuristic type of corn containing eight foreign genes.  “But a controversy has arisen over the new seeds, which were approved for use last month by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency: Health Canada hasn’t assessed their safety.”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/04-5

Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Crackdown Against ‘Environmental Criminals’ Follows Greenpeace Report by Damian Carrington and Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro.  Shoe Brands Get Tough on Leather Suppliers to Save Amazon Rainforest.  Some of the world’s top footwear brands, including Clarks, Adidas, Nike and Timberland, have demanded an immediate moratorium on destruction of the Amazon rainforest from their leather suppliers in Brazil.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/04-1

Published on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Obama’s Green Credentials Tested by Battle Against Mountaintop Mining by Suzanne Goldenberg.  James Hansen and Darryl Hannah among those opposing open-cast coal extraction that destroys mountains and forests.  “Like other opponents of mountaintop removal, [they] had been counting on Obama, with his election promises of a clean energy economy, to shift the power balance away from coal. But those hopes evaporated in May when the EPA signed 42 permits for mountaintop removal while turning down only six — a higher ratio even than during the latter part of the George Bush presidency. Some 170 more permits are pending, according to the Sierra Club.”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/08/04-2

Koi Pond

AVAAZ – “VOICES”

July 16, 2009

This is a very interesting group.  They’re doing a lot of good and significant things for the right reasons, using positive methods. 

ABOUT AVAAZ Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva.

Dear friends,

Here’s a quick report back on recent campaigning at Avaaz. Our community has grown like wildfire and is becoming really extraordinary — the pace and impact of our advocacy is intense. In just the last 8 weeks, we’ve run 9 major national and global campaigns on issues ranging from climate change to Iran to Guantanamo. Much more remains to be done on all these issues — but together we’re contributing in powerful ways. Here are some highlights from the last 8 weeks:

Brazilian rainforest – Brazilian Avaaz members made 14000 phone calls and sent 30,000 online messages to President Lula’s office in two days(!) and in the 11th hour successfully reversed a law that would hand over much of the Amazon rainforest to agrobusiness for exploitation – this was a major victory on climate change since the Amazon consumes enormous amounts of the greenhouse gasses that are warming the earth.

G8 Summit – last week 130,000 Avaaz members signed a petition in 48 hours calling for the G8 industrial countries to limit global warming to 2 degrees celsius – focusing on shaming 3 countries who were blocking progress. The petition was delivered at the summit to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown (see image at right), along with giant personalized postcards.

Outside the summit, Avaaz members stripped down to green underwear in a humorous theatrical delivery of the campaign’s message that generated substantial media coverage (pictured at right). As Avaaz and partners built pressure in Italy and around the world, the blocking countries relented, and the G8 leaders agreed to the 2 degree goal! However, they failed to agree on specific actions to make the goal a reality — our challenge now is to make sure leaders live up to their rhetorical commitments with a binding global treaty at the UN summit in Copenhagen this December.

Iran Protests – our community rapidly responded to the election crisis in Iran with an opinion poll to gauge the views of ordinary Iranians, a petition to world leaders to withhold recognition of the new President until the crackdown on protests ceased, and a fundraiser to support technology that would allow Iranians to freely access the internet. The rapidly deteriorating security situation has made it difficult to conduct the poll (final word on that coming this week), but the technology fundraiser has raised over a hundred thousand dollars to support the best tools for Iranians to access the internet and communicate freely. The situation in Iran remains uncertain, and we will continue to both support freedom of expression and oppose those who would exploit this crisis to justify military action against Iran.

Japan climate targets – In Japan, we raised the alarm as the Prime Minister Taro Aso was about to choose a damagingly weak climate targets. Funded by small online donations, Avaaz ran a national opinion poll that showed that 63% of Japanese people wanted strong targets, publicized it in the press, in a full page ad in the country’s largest business newspaper, and one in the Aso’s favourite comic book (see right). Internationally, Avaaz ran a front page ad in the Financial Times, and Avaaz members demonstrated and met with Japanese climate negotiators at summits in Paris and Bonn.

At last, the Prime Minister announced a target stronger than polluting industries had urged — but far from strong enough to stop catastrophic climate change. So we redoubled the pressure with a widely-covered international press conference dubbing the Japanese leader “George W. Aso” — comparing him to Bush for holding back progress on climate change.


Free Burma’s political prisoners
– Over 400,000 of us signed a major petition to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon asking him to make the release of Nobel prize winning political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners his top priority. The petition was delivered in an extended meeting with Moon’s office and in a press conference at the UN in New York. The UN chief issued a strong statement backing the release of Suu Kyi and traveled to Burma to attempt to meet with her, but was rebuffed by Burma’s military junta. International pressure did cause the junta to delay a new show trial to extend Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison sentence, but it will take much more pressure to secure her release.

United States and Torture – A global fundraiser and petition on stopping torture and closing Guantanamo prison allowed Avaaz to secure a giant, 9 story billboard just blocks from the White House in the heart of Washington DC to deliver our message — but at the last minute the company selling the ad space refused, despite members of the US congress offering to help unveil the billboard in a press conference. Avaaz has now secured an alternative option for delivering our edgy message that will have Washington DC buzzing with our call for justice.

UN Climate Summit – At a major summit on climate change in Bonn, Avaaz recruited among members in Germany to help our partners organize a massive 500 person aerial photo spelling out ‘Yes You Can’ as a message to leaders discussing climate targets (see right). It helped raise the profile and urgency of these faltering but urgent talks. Avaaz also sent a 16-person lobbying/activist team to the summit negotiations and members in 10 key countries joined “negotiator tracking teams” that are following and responding to urgent needs to press individual country negotiators at these summits.

Peru – Avaaz arranged with local indigenous and top political allies to deliver a global petition against new laws that would cause massive devastation to the Peruvian rainforest and its people, taking out an ad in the national newspaper (at right). The ad and campaign generated much attention, and the domestic and international pressure worked, for now — the Peruvian congress has revoked the controversial laws!

Israel – As Prime Minister Netanyahu prepared to make a speech responding to Obama’s historic Cairo address and demand that Israel stop illegal settlements of Palestinian land, Avaaz took out a front page ad in a major newspaper – Haaretz – delivering a joint petition from global and Israeli Avaaz members edgily asking Netanyahu to ‘be more like Obama’ and stop the settlements. Netanyahu has so far refused, but we’re helping to build an unprecedented wave of Israeli and global pressure and attention on this issue.

The petitions, fundraisers, rallies, and lobbying campaigns our community is doing are having an incredible impact. Avaaz has grown by 50,000 people a week and is now almost 3.6 million engaged citizens in every country of the world — and we’re truly global – operating in 14 languages our community has 25,000 members in Singapore, 35,000 in South Africa, 130,000 in Italy, 50,000 in Mexico… There hasn’t really been a community like ours before, able to rapidly and effectively mobilize people power all over the world to the greatest needs and concerns of all human beings — it’s a reason for hope.

It’s also an exciting journey — looking forward to taking on the next 8 weeks, and 8 months, and 8 years together!

With hope,
Ricken, Alice, Pascal, Ben, Veronique, Paul, Graziela, Brett, Raluca, Luis, Raj, Milena, Paula, Iain, Taren, Margaret and the whole Avaaz team.

PS – To see some of the highlights of Avaaz campaigning in 2007 and 2008 and leave a comment, click here:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2/

And to check out other recent Avaaz campaigning highlights like our climate victory in Germany, our messages to Obama wall in DC, the delivery of our Swine Flu petition to the WHO, our Green Recovery march at G20 Summit in London, or our support to Tibetan organizations to break the blackout on their communications — visit the Avaaz blog: http://www.avaaz.org/blog/en/.

Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns.

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter!