Posts Tagged ‘obama’

OTHER MEN DIE

August 22, 2016
Victory is a state of mind.

Victory is a state of mind.

OTHER MEN DIE

And the old vet was up in his studio bedroom in Mom’s attic

Painting magic eyeballs on his fingertips

To go with the mystic spirals on the backs of his hands

And he told us about seagulls in the early dawn

Of feeding them barehanded

Palms stretched to the skies

Lying upon his back on the wet sand

Observing the feathered feeding frenzy

Of the messy, greedy birds

That pecked his fingers and palms and wrists

Opening red puncture wounds

And he loved it

Because it brought him

So close to life.

And I saw that vet by another name

Sitting cross-legged in swim briefs

In wind-tossed dune reed grass

In cold wind whistling off a Winter Pacific

And I asked

“Why do you sit in the freezing cold, Shane?”

And he replied

“Because, at least I know I’m alive.”

And so it goes

jl/PDX/1-13

A Decent World

WAGING WAR FROM A BURNING HOUSE

No More Troops to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, so forth, so on

Dear President Obama,

Stop sending troops to Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, so forth, so on.

I am a Vietnam Era veteran.  We stood nearly twenty years while our military-industrial complex ruined Vietnam.  Our prolonged stay, and side invasions of Cambodia and Laos, generationally disrupted and destabilized Southeast Asia, distorted America’s rule of law, and led directly to the present Reagan-Bush corporatist neo-conservative miasma.

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

These are politically motivated corporatist wars, fought to extremes because of ill-informed egos and profit.  These bloody-handed murderers-by-proxy began their plunder of the American nation by taking the Peace Dividend away from us after the Berlin Wall fell.  They shifted to terrorism as the object of their monolithic war machine, and plunged the whole world into wrack and ruin.  Bush’s indefensible “give war a chance” was disgusting; so is Obama’s continued pursuit of it.

End the war now, no matter how wimpy it looks to arrested-adolescent bullyboys, or corporatist oil barons and banksters.  We’ve got a lot of positive work to do, and one dollar spent on peace really is worth ten wasted in war!

laststroke

AND WHAT ABOUT THESE MERCENARY BANDITS YOU HIRED?

Quit outsourcing government jobs to private contractors.  The People can get the job done better for less cost and for the community’s and not just a few individuals’ profit.

The performance of mission critical security functions by profit-driven contractors is counterproductive and often immoral and criminal.

It’s bad for the morale of our real American troops to see these overpaid and pampered bought-and-sold mercenaries.  I know because I have nephews and nieces who have served in our military in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Talk to real American troops to hear it.

Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s list of inherently governmental functions that these mercenaries must not perform should include: guard services, convoy security services, pass and identification services, plant protection services, the operation of prison or detention facilities, and any security operations that might reasonably require the use of deadly force; and, from support of intelligence activities (including covert operations), interrogation, military and police training, and repair and maintenance of weapon systems.

Machiavelli famously wrote that mercenaries might be trusted for only two things: to demand more money; and to run out when the chips are down.  Don’t buy champagne for mercenaries, use our money wisely to equip and protect our real American troops.

Finally, have you given any thought as to what is to happen if these mercenaries decide they’ve got a better business proposition from our archenemies?  Or, face unemployment?  In Europe unemployed mercenaries set off the Hundred Years’ War, which might properly be called the “Rape, Murder and Plunder Crusade.”  The “Holy Crusades” were invented by the Pope as a safety vent to send these murder mavens packing out of town to do their dirty deeds. We prefer killing “heathens” to our own to this very day. But that can change.

STOP - SAVE

Don’t forget to click on the images for MORE information, or a larger image. Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon. We’re in this together. All the best! j

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2013 in review

December 31, 2013

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

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

LAST AMERICANS reprise

June 29, 2011

Straight Shooting:

A few ideas: 10 Ways to Dump the Corporatist State; and 10 Ways to Screw Over the Corporate Jackals Who’ve Been Screwing You:

OLDER NEWS WORTH RECALLING: (more…)

HOW TO FIGHT REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS

December 8, 2010

Palintler

HOW TO FIGHT REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS:

Blood Sacrifice

ABSTRACT:

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat

By Sara Robinson, Campaign for America’s Future
http://www.alternet.org/story/141929/

Writing about fascism for Americans is a fraught business.  A third of the readers dismiss the topic (and the blogger’s sanity); they’ve got their own definition, or anyone who invokes the F-word is a de facto alarmist of questionable credibility.

Another third dismiss it because America has been fascist since (choose one:) 1) 9/11; 2) Reagan; 3) McCarthy; 4) the Civil War; 5) July 4, 1776.  For them, careful analysis and worried warnings are dangerously naive.

The final third engage in thoughtful discussion, including what must be done.

The most insidious part of fascism is that when it’s obvious to everyone that these people are dangerously out of control, it’s too late to do anything about it.  Early warnings are the business of futurists.  We can still change our minds, and spend our future elsewhere, but we are now actively choosing, whether aware of it or not.  Things are happening now that set a course we may be unable to alter.

How do we turn back? A few basic principles:

First: Teabaggers must not win.  When a bully learns that intimidation and threats work, he does more of it.  The longer he goes without penalty, the worse he gets and the harder it is to stop him.  Do nothing, and he takes over.

It only takes a handful of thugs to terrorize people into giving up civil rights, abandoning democracy and doing what they’re told.  The main imperative becomes staying off the goons’ radar.  All enforcers need do is make a horrific example out of “troublemakers” now and then to keep everybody else in line.

With a colossal conservative investment in organizing and directing teabaggers, we’d be stupid to believe that this will go away when Congress returns in September.  Having had a taste of power and publicity, these newly empowered mobs are likely to stick around and see what else they can muck up.

Our choice is stark: knock them back while they’re new, small and not yet entrenched; or later when they have real power to fight, and the cost is higher.

Second: Think nationally, fight locally.  Conservatives run this fight as a national campaign, but the terror that fuels fascism is always intensely, intimately local.  Fascist goon squads recruit from the neighborhood, built on people we know.  Since that’s where they start, that’s where they have to be stopped.  This is why all the best tactics involve community-level action.  Anybody who sits this one out because they assume that folks in D.C. will handle it shouldn’t be surprised when they get “special treatment” from longtime neighbors, or discover their car vandalized.

That’s the next baby step from where we are now; and in some places, it’s already happening.  Winning means getting out and defending community standards and boundaries while they’re still there to be defended.

Third: Use nonviolent resistance — leave heavy lifting and rough enforcement to police.  The only way to stop a bully is to stand up to them, but that doesn’t involve eye-for-an-eye.  If we meet thuggery with thuggery, we lose, because they’re better at, and enjoy it.  The right wing is looking hard to make a case that they’re innocent victims of the “left”.  The Nazis used this kind of victim-blaming to tremendous effect as they built up their party.  We must not give our proto-brownshirts any basis to make the same kind of argument.

It’s about the moral high ground.  Our choices must be consistent with our values.  Standing up for health care reform is important; but before that, we need to stand up for civil discourse and free speech.  We’re defending the rule of law; our best tactic is to use the law.  When people from either side cross the line, it’s time for police and prosecutors to assert that bullying people in a public meeting (or anywhere else) is illegal and will not be tolerated.

Fourth: Make sure media gets the story right.  Teabaggers run out of power if the media turns off their cameras, but this nefariously incited drama is a real ratings-booster.  Left alone, the media (local news in particular) turn these hate and fear mongers into cultural heroes.  The best cure for bad speech is good speech: documented, on YouTube, blogged, spread widely; a coordinated rapid-response letterwriting to local papers; and keeping local reporters well-fed with news of concerned nonpartisan citizens working to keep control of democratic discourse in the face of organized thugs trying to suppress it.  Since the media are watching, make sure they see it all.

Fifth: Support legislators who don’t show fear. The Democratic leadership knows that these noisy, scary people don’t represent the 73 percent of Americans who support health care reform.  The GOP runs the risk of being marginalized as the Party of No, and the Party of Moonbat Crazy.  If you’ve never attended a public meeting, August 2009 is the month to start.  Your congressperson’s Web site probably lists his or her schedule, or a number to call to inquire.

That’s a first step.  Do more.  Write.  Call.  Find out where your local congressional office is, and drop by.  Tell staff how you feel about health care reform, teabaggers, your legislator’s courage.  If they’re stressed, encourage them.  A constituent in the office counts.  One visit or call is good.  More is better.  Contact your representatives at least once a week to support their public service.

Sixth: Shut down the hate talkers.  Teabaggers come straight out of right-wing talk-radio audiences, mainlining raw emotion and toxic misinformation: “death panels!” “kill your granny!” “Join the “resistance!”  Cut off this endless torrent of lies and fearmongering to power down the whole movement.  Basic recipe:

  • Record their shows.
  • Note anything intimidating, threatening, or aimed at inciting violence against a named target.
  • Note every advertiser.
  • Write a polite letter to the CEOs of sponsors, toss in choice quotes and ask if they want their product identified with them.  This works extremely well — and quickly — at local and national levels.

Finally: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.  Conservatives invest a lot of money and effort to build a mass movement aimed at destroying democratic government — and they’re not going to let up as long as Democrats are in control.  This is our new reality — and it comes straight out of Chapter 6 of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  They intend to keep the outrage junkies high with never-ending, made-up reasons to act out.  Which means that even if we win this round, we must push back against the bullies, over and over, for the next three to seven years.

There are only two outcomes: get very good at spotting and stopping these attempts at a brownshirt takeover the minute they crop up; or they get very good at public intimidation and keep ratcheting it up toward violence and goon rule.

That’s how it’s going to be for the rest of this administration.  The sooner we resign ourselves to the zero-sum nature of this fight, the sooner we can get on with getting good at it.

Sara Robinson is a fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and a consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle. One of the few trained social futurists in North America, she has blogged on authoritarian and extremist movements at Orcinus since 2006, and is a founding member of Group News Blog.

Read the full story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/141929/

One nation indivisible.

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!"

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!

RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH

June 17, 2010

Respect My Authoritah: Jon Stewart Skewers Obama’s Hypocrisy

BP Is a Corporate Criminal by Jim Hightower

Gosh, how quickly things turn. One day, you’re a strutting peacock — the next day, you’re just another gasping, oil-covered bird.

From the time it was known as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and set out to grab and control the rich petroleum reserves owned by what is now Iran, BP has been a recidivist global criminal. In the past three decades, it grew huge by swallowing such competitors as Standard Oil of Ohio, Amoco and Arco. Along the way, it has been implicated in bribery, overthrowing governments, plunder and money laundering, plus having established one of the worst safety and environmental records in an industry that is notoriously reckless on both counts.

And now, its rap sheet grows almost daily. In fact, the Center for Public Integrity has revealed that the oil giant’s current catastrophic mess should come as no surprise, for it has a long and sorry record of causing calamities. In the last three years, the center says, an astonishing “97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the refining industry by government safety inspectors” came at BP facilities. These included 760 violations rated as “egregious” and “willful.” In contrast, the oil company with the second-worst record had only eight such citations.

“It wasn’t our accident,” CEO Tony Hayward declared, as oil was spreading. They own the well and their decisions to cut corners led directly to the catastrophe.

Eleven oil workers are dead, thousands of Gulf Coast people have had their livelihoods devastated and unfathomable damage is being done to the gulf ecology. Imagine how the authorities would be treating the offender if BP were a person. It would’ve been put behind bars long ago — if not on death row.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/06/16-2.

MY TWO-BITS

The BP Oil disaster in the Gulf is a final wake up call, if it isn’t the exponential cause of total global environmental disaster. 

There is a scientific postulate that asserts that the Earth will renew itself – having suffered the depredations of miners, loggers, or nuclear waste makers – given enough time (eons).  The Earth will right itself, and all the damage done by humankind will be undone.  This postulate is known as the Gaea Effect, after the Earth Goddess Gaea, the ‘deep-breasted,’ whose ‘soil nourishes all that exists and by whose benevolence men are blessed with fair children and all the pleasant fruits of the earth.’  Her majesty was once acknowledged ‘not only by men but by the gods themselves.’ Whenever conservation is mentioned in America, however, many men look as if the devil had propositioned them.  Women pointedly mention a husband, father, boyfriend, brother, or hanger-on of male importance, who is gainfully employed as: a well-digger in the oil fields; a logger on a pristine mountain top; a strip miner in the fecund valleys; or, in charge of the nuclear reactors at Three Mile Island.

Freemarket Man thinks of himself as the lord of creation, husband of the universe.  How utterly absurd that is.  He believes he can rape his bride at will, without conscience, and survive to an unburdened old age.  Like any abused wife, the good, old natural continuum will quietly stab Man in the back some dark night.  Or, set his bed on fire! The variable is the rate of decay caused by our assault on the biosphere.  As our environment disintegrates, we open our amniotic fluid to the outside vacuum – the eternal void of space.  We chip the shell from our fragile egg and leave the poorly formed embryo to fry in the empty silence.  Word on the street is that the world is ending.  We’ve run our course as a species and the forest-destroying masses, the poor and the starving billions, are at last about to bring down Cargill Grain and the International Oil Cartel, not just BP.

The time for bold, visionary leadership for a clean energy future is now. We must develop a plan to move our nation beyond oil in the next 20 years, or perish.

Saturday is Worldwide BP Protest Day, with actions planned in over 50 cities on five continents. Details on Facebook hereDiscuss…

Related article: CORPORATIONS + PARALLEL UNIVERSES

A BIG LOAD OF CRAP

There is so much pure crap going on these days that it is hard to pick a simple few to concentrate on.  Here’s a small sample from recent alarms:

8.2 MILLION JOBLESS AT RISK  TAXING BILLIIONAIRES July 21, 2008 by CommonDreams.org

Of course, the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010  will provide the GOP with an opportunity to lash out at deficit-creating Democratic “tax and spend” policies-even with taxes specifically targeted at billionaires,

Moreover, Republican indifference to the plight of the jobless running out of benefits-exemplified by Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) infamous “I don’t give a sh*t” response-is already evident. With the mid-term elections less than five months away, more cynical Republicans may calculate that a denial of benefits will cause some of the unemployed to lose faith in Democrats, vote Republican-or refrain from voting altogether.

But clearly, the need for more job-creation efforts and help for the jobless is growing more acute by the day. Jobless workers are losing benefits, and mega-banks are simply drawing interest from the Federal Reserve rather than lending out money to fuel the recovery. May actually set a record for home foreclosures. The American economy has increasingly been characterized by minimal job growth, at best.

In this dire context, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka  thundered to Congress, “If you’re not for this bill, you’re not for jobs. Period. And please, no more excuses about budget deficits unless you’re willing to make Wall Street pay its fair share to bring it down.”  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/06/11-3

STATE-OF-THE-ART

The monopoly corporations have subverted American democracy.  The Obama administration is playing kissy-kissy with them.  Congress is bending over and presenting to them.  The Supreme Court is a terrible farce, no longer dealing in justice, but privilege and power.  BP’s sick as hell managers and stockholders, Dick Cheney and the whole ugly Republican and religious fundamentalist elitist mess is a disaster for the country.  Nothing short of full-fledged major systemic reform will root out these cancers on the body politic.  Let’s start by impeaching the Supreme Court Five, bringing BP to criminal justice, and putting Dick Cheney and his Halliburton gangsters into jail where they really belong.

DON’T FORGET

Amend U.S. Constitution to declare that corporations are not persons and do not have the rights of human beings. Congresswoman Donna Edwards and constitutional law professor Jamie Raskin speak out against the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and call for a mass movement of people to support a constitutional amendment.

We Move to Amend.

We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.  
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.  

Signed by 82,906 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

War Criminal Waves to Suckers.

Late Breaking News:  Center in Court to Stop Attack on Offshore-drilling Ban

NOTHING HOLY in HOLY LAND

June 9, 2010

Last Sun

Living By the Sword

Helen Thomas

Amidst all the outrage about veteran journalist Helen Thomas intemperately saying what so many on the left, including many Jews, feel but more politely say – “The Jews should get the hell out of Palestine” – some are defending her for what she likely meant, adding meaningful context to the trap of sound bites. Three activist Jews speak out here, and Al Jazeera offers thoughtful analysis here on the sea change in public opinion that Thomas represents.

–Abby Zimet
Discuss…http://www.commondreams.org/further/2010/06/09-1

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 psychopathsectarian nut, or an oilman.  In the “holy” land, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed sang 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 things that a conscience and compassion might prevent.

“The Israel of the Bible was established altogether by the sword,” Thomas Paine American founding father wrote, “and that in the worst use of it – not to terrify, but to extirpate.  The Jews made no converts; they butchered all.”  What are they doing differently today?

Related article:  MY STORY BEGINS  Religion is Bunk.

What George W. Bush and Ramses the Great Have in Common.

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.  Therefore, fifty percent of 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 with his tail between his legs (or maybe it was just his kilt).  He nearly got himself killed at Kadesh and almost lost the whole Egyptian army due to his egotistical rash decisions and actions as an inexperienced military leader (he was the Decider), but he declared near defeat as victory, and covered up the fact that he almost lost the farm – not just for himself, but for the entire 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.”  – 11/04.

Related article:  ALICE and YUYA  Moses the Egyptian.

WAR and RUMORS of WAR

Not since Watergate and Nixon has so much been said about the bald lies and active criminality of our rulers.  There’s no hero or other path to save us.  We were already in a twilight phase of our greatness when befuddled Ronald Reagan declared “morning in America.”  Twenty years later, the “boy emperor” George W. Bush, took us fully into the Dark Ages, pursuing shortsighted goals accelerating our decline.  We see signs of the West after Rome’s fall: religion triumphant over reason; education and critical thinking decayed; religion, state, and the apparatus of torture integrated – the central horror of the pre-Enlightenment; and our culture politically and economically marginalized.  It’s a process no society can undergo and still remain free.  Yet the capitalists, Republicans, and neoconservative fundamentalist Christian American population are aggressively proud of it.

Bush believed he was on a mission from god, and faith trumps fact.  Yet, if a nation can’t see reality correctly and persists in acting upon faith-based delusions, its ability to hold its own in the world is pretty much foreclosed.  We survey a cultural death valley: secondary schools with teachers afraid to teach evolution to un-evolved students; pervasive hostility toward science from benighted legislators; religion used to explain terror as a cosmic conflict between good and evil rather than in terms of political process.  In a New York Times poll, 59% of Americans believe that the faithful will be taken up into heaven in the ‘Rapture’ (perhaps, in blue jackets and tennis shoes?  I propose straitjackets).

Fundamentalism and democracy are foes.  The opposite of Enlightenment is tribalism, groupthink, and blind obedience.  Detention without trial, denial of attorneys, years of interrogation in isolation are now standard American practice, and many Americans don’t care.  The Bush administration discussed canceling the 2004 presidential election citing possible terrorist attack!  Since it wasn’t done, it was obviously safer and easier (for them) to rig electronic voting (see John Conyers’ D-Ohio report).  In the 2003 University of Connecticut “State of the First Amendment Survey,” 34% of Americans said the amendment went “too far;” 46% thought there was too much press freedom; 28% felt newspapers shouldn’t publish without government approval; 31% wanted public protest of war outlawed during war; and 50% thought government should infringe the freedom of “certain religious groups” in the name of the war on terror.

Advertisers and politicians assure us we’re the richest, most envied people on earth and that’s why rag-tag bombers want to blow us up.  We’re not actually people in the eyes of national ownership; we’re unreliable consumers comprising an overworked, underpaid work force not in the best of health (we’re 37th behind Saudi Arabia, the former Texas Whitehouse’s Best Friend).  Despite Halliburton’s boom profits, Bush’s wars of aggression made us broke.  We borrow $4 billion per day to keep afloat.  Who finally pays this massive debt?

How eager we are to be slaves.  Bush said he was a “wartime president,” but there’s no war, despite all his murder and destruction, “terror” is an abstract noun like “liar”.  Bush’s illegal unilateral ravaging of Iraq isn’t moral or legal because he appeared to be elected twice.  He’s done things we’d impeach him for under the old republic, but corrupt Republicans at all levels of government, including the judiciary, protect him by not doing their duty to impeach him, let’s say, for his incompetence in Louisiana.  “Nice job, Brownie,” my ass.

Our founders thought two-year terms for congress was as much democracy as we’d need, so they didn’t provide recall legislation in the event a president wasn’t up to the job and lost the people’s confidence between elections.  Thus, since “all things come to pass,” as Ecclesiastes has it, we had to wait until most of our citizens were hurt before he left office to go hide in his second Eden in Crawford.  We’re paying interest on his awful debts, and the troops not killed or maimed have to settle for just being alive and in one piece.  Or, would, if Obama wasn’t now abusing them.

Related article:  WAR and TOXIC TEXAS TEXTBOOKS  Waging War from a Burning House.

BLAST FROM THE PAST:

“Inflammatory oratory and a radical catchall program, important as they were for a fledgling party out to attract attention and recruit mass support, were not enough, and Hitler turned his attention to providing more…  What the masses needed, he thought, were not only ideas – a few simple ideas, that is, that he could ceaselessly hammer through their skulls – but symbols that would win their faith, pageantry and color that would arouse them, and acts of violence and terror, which if successful, would attract adherents (were not most Germans drawn to the strong?) and give them a sense of power over the weak.

“In Vienna, …he was intrigued by what he called the ‘infamous spiritual and physical terror’ which he thought was employed by the Social Democrats against their opponents.  Now he turned it to good purpose in his own anti-Socialist party,  …Hitler organized a bunch of roughneck war veterans into ‘strong-arm’ squads…These uniformed rowdies… soon took to breaking up [meetings] of other parties.  Hitler boasted to police, ‘We got what we wanted.  Ballerstedt did not speak.’  As Hitler told an audience some months before, ‘The National Socialist Movement will in the future ruthlessly prevent – if necessary by force – all meetings or lectures that are likely to distract the minds of our fellow countrymen.’”

– William L. Shirer, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Related article:  REPUBLICAN INSURANCE NAZIS

Last Words:

“I have no friends in the diamond trade.”  – bumpersticker.

Buddha Swirl

BUDDHA at JLegry’s Gallery

“THINK MANCHURIAN CANDIDATES”

January 22, 2010

Frankenstein’s Supreme Monsters:

We cannot sustain the present form of huge international corporate mega-capitalism.  It is an out of control monster: a willful environmental vampire and oppressor of human rights.  Its rulers and masters make sociopathic decisions on a daily basis.  As they control costs both quality and choice disappear from the marketplace.  They tend to baronies, monopolies, and mini-kingdoms serving the pissant egos of self-styled “giants of commerce.”  They are moribund, sucking ghouls, parasites on the planet and body politic.  They are the great corrupters of mankind and despoilers of the earth.  And five traitors on the United States Supreme Court just waved a magic wand and turned these monsters into legal human beings, confounding our founders and destroying the democratic American Constitution. 

Added: The merger of corporations with the state is Mussolini’s original definition of fascism.  Look it up.

IMPEACH THE SUPREME COURT FIVE!

Supreme Court’s “Radical and Destructive” Decision Hands Over Democracy to the Corporations By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. January 21, 2010.

One expert calls the Citizens United decision “the most radical and destructive campaign finance decision in the history of the Supreme Court.”

“The Supreme Court has just predicted the winners of the next November election,” Sen. Chuck Schumer announced this morning. “It won’t be Republicans. It won’t be Democrats. It will be Corporate America.”

Indeed, in a momentous 5 to 4 decision that the New York Times has called a “doctrinal earthquake,” the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an unprecedented ruling today that gives new significance to the phrase “corporate personhood.” In it, the Roberts Court overturned the federal ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns, ruling that forbidding corporations from spending money to support or undermine political candidates amounts to censorship. Corporations, the Court ruled, should enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that the Supreme Court rejects “the argument that political speech of corporations or other associations should be treated differently under the First Amendment simply because such associations are not ‘natural persons.'”

In other words, as Stephen Colbert put it last year, “Corporations are people too.”

On a conference call with reporters following the decision, critics could not overemphasize the enormity of the ruling, whose implications will be visible as early as the upcoming midterm elections. Bob Edgar, head of the watchdog group Common Cause, called it “the SuperBowl of really bad decisions.” Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign called it an “immoral decision” that will make an already untenable mix of money and politics even worse.

“This is the most radical and destructive campaign finance decision in the history of the Supreme Court,” said Fred Wertheimer, President of Democracy 21. “With a stroke of the pen, five justices wiped out a century of American history devoted to preventing corporate corruption of our democracy.” READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/rights/145322/supreme_court%27s_%22radical_and_destructive%22_decision_hands_over_democracy_to_the_corporations

The Bush-Packed Supreme Court Thinks Corporations Are People Too By Scott Klinger, AlterNet. January 22, 2010.

Corporations now have all the privileges of citizenship, without any of the responsibilities.

This week’s Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case removes all limits on large corporations to finance and influence federal elections. In its ruling the court reverses a decades-old ruling barring companies from using their general funds to fund political campaigns, and guts pieces of the popular McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation. In so doing the Court implicitly embraces a 125 year-old precedent in the case of Santa Clara v. Santa Fe, where the Court first developed the legal doctrine of corporate personhood, explicitly granting corporations the same political and civil rights granted to human beings (historian Thom Hartmann discovered that the principle originated with a corrupt court clerk who added it to the case summary, rather than with the court itself).  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/rights/145323/the_bush-packed_supreme_court_thinks_corporations_are_people_too

The Supreme Court Just Handed Anyone, Including bin Laden or the Chinese Govt., Control of Our Democracy By Greg Palast, AlterNet. January 22, 2010.

The Court’s decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations should be treated the same as “natural persons”, i.e. humans. Well, in that case, expect the Supreme Court to next rule that Wal-Mart can run for President.

The ruling, which junks federal laws that now bar corporations from stuffing campaign coffers, will not, as progressives fear, cause an avalanche of corporate cash into politics. Sadly, that’s already happened: we have been snowed under by tens of millions of dollars given through corporate PACs and “bundling” of individual contributions from corporate pay-rollers.

The Court’s decision is far, far more dangerous to U.S. democracy. Think: Manchurian candidates.

I’m losing sleep over the millions — or billions — of dollars that could flood into our elections from ARAMCO, the Saudi Oil corporation’s U.S. unit; or from the maker of “New Order” fashions, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Or from Bin Laden Construction corporation. Or Bin Laden Destruction Corporation.

Right now, corporations can give loads of loot through PACs. While this money stinks (Barack Obama took none of it), anyone can go through a PAC’s federal disclosure filing and see the name of every individual who put money into it. And every contributor must be a citizen of the USA.

But under today’s Supreme Court ruling that corporations can support candidates without limit, there is nothing that stops, say, a Delaware-incorporated handmaiden of the Burmese junta from picking a Congressman or two with a cache of loot masked by a corporate alias.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/politics/145354/the_supreme_court_just_handed_anyone%2C_including_bin_laden_or_the_chinese_govt.%2C_control_of_our_democracy

Grayson: Fight Now or ‘Kiss Your Country Goodbye’ to Exxon, Wal-Mart By Sahil Kapur, Raw Story. January 22, 2010.

Congressman says of recent Supreme Court ruling removing decades of campaign spending limits on corporations “opens the floodgates for the purchases and sale of the law.”

WASHINGTON — Responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday to overturn corporate spending limits in federal elections, progressive firebrand Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) immediately highlighted a series of moves to “avoid the terrible consequences of the decision.”

“If we do nothing then I think you can kiss your country goodbye,” Grayson told Raw Story in an interview just hours after the decision was announced.

“You won’t have any more senators from Kansas or Oregon, you’ll have senators from Cheekies and Exxon. Maybe we’ll have to wear corporate logos like Nascar drivers.”

Grayson said the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling — which removes decades of campaign spending limits on corporations — “opens the floodgates for the purchases and sale of the law.”

“It allows corporations to spend all the money they want to buy and sell elected officials through the campaign process,” he said. “It allows them to reward political sellouts, and it allows them to punish elected officials who actually try to do what’s right for the people.”

Fearing this decision before it became official, Grayson last week filed five campaign finance bills and a sixth one on Thursday. Grayson said the bills are important to securing the people’s “right to clean government.”

The bills have names like the Business Should Mind Its Own Business Act and the Corporate Propaganda Sunshine Act. The first slaps a 500 percent excise tax on corporate spending on elections, and the second mandates businesses to disclose their attempts to influence elections. More details are available on the congressman’s Web site. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/politics/145339/grayson%3A_fight_now_or_%27kiss_your_country_goodbye%27_to_exxon%2C_wal-mart

THANK GOD, A LITTLE GOOD NEWS!

A Constitutional Amendment to Wrench Control Away from the Corporations by Jan Frel, AlterNet January 23, 2010.

Rep. Donna Edwards and Jamie Raskin assail the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC and call for a mass movement of people to support a constitutional amendment.

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

Obama Adopts Volcker’s Solution: If Banks Want Govt. Guarantees, They Have to Close Their Casino Operations By Zach Carter, AlterNet. January 21, 2010.

Obama’s endorsement of Volcker’s plan is truly an extraordinary step forward for economic policy, but there’s a long way to go.

The news that President Barack Obama is finally listening to Paul Volcker is welcome, but the specifics of Obama’s big bank crackdown are not as positive as initial reports had indicated.

For more than a year now, Volcker has been urging policymakers to deliver strong regulatory medicine to revive the weak U.S. financial system. But Obama and other top advisers like Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner have resisted the former Federal Reserve Chairman’s overtures, instead opting for a set of small-bore, technocratic tweaks to a system that is fundamentally broken. (There’s one major exception to this pattern—Obama’s proposal to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency is a dramatic and critical step for salvaging the American economy, and the President has advocated for it over Geithner’s objections.) Volcker has repeatedly suggested that banks that are too-big-to-fail are simply too-big-to-exist, and has consistently and correctly urged that banks be banned from participating in risky, high-flying securities trading. Today, Obama acknowledged these were good ideas. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/workplace/145321/obama_adopts_volcker%27s_solution%3A_if_banks_want_govt._guarantees%2C_they_have_to_close_their_casino_operations

A Rumble with Wall Street … That’s a Fight We Should Welcome Posted by Isaiah J. Poole, Campaign for America’s Future, January 23, 2010.

One of the lessons of Tuesday’s election is that voters don’t want to see their elected leaders capitulating to the very people who brought the economy down. It does not matter whether President Obama’s pronouncement on financial reform this week was prompted by Tuesday’s election disaster in Massachusetts or was a long-building unleashing of his inner populist. What matters is the potential for real White House leadership on changes that must happen if we are to have a stable, growing economy on Main Street. This is the fight for which we have to bandage our wounds and pick ourselves up to win. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/blogs/politics/145349/a_rumble_with_wall_street_…_that%27s_a_fight_we_should_welcome

Remember?

MACHIAVELLI and the BEAST

January 20, 2010
 
Canon Fodder

The Beast Wins.

I must finally admit it.  Religion is necessary.  Machiavelli said it.  Since the majority of the people are ignorant and superstitious, it’s easiest to control and direct them if they share a common value system around which to build action.  Any action taken will look familiar and god will ostensibly attest to its rightness.  It’s a powerful tool for use by the powerful and cynical.

This presupposes that people are ignorant and superstitious and that one cannot do very much about that during the course of a single lifetime.  One can chip away at the edges of the monolithic vacuous ness, possibly erect a structure that others can follow to advance the knowledge project, but finally, one will be defeated by the overwhelming tide of senseless, unreasoning humanity.

The species isn’t really designed to survive; it persists in the complete absorption of its resources to the point of starvation and a fearsome, deadly, entirely avoidable catastrophe.  We are our own worst prophecy; it’s embedded in our bones, wrapped around our DNA and destined to create the wasteland we will all die in.  Have at it cockroaches; it will be your turn soon.

Read Colin Turnbull’s The Mountain People about the Eke tribesman of eastern Africa – of how a whole tribe starved, its members separated into individuals, each clinging shallowly to life, boiling dirt for soup, casting children out at two to fend for themselves when mother’s milk gives out, husbands not helping wives, wives not helping husbands, mothers and fathers and grandparents left to die, each one, separately and alone in the dirt, not even mourned by their own.  Learn how fragile society can be.  Learn how inhuman the majority of humanity actually can be, and often is.

Machiavelli maintains that all human beings are inherently evil.  That’s why we need laws and religion – to keep them in check.  Structure is necessary for peace and prosperity.  Therefore, I must finally admit it: Religion is necessary, but only to control and direct the mob.  It is a tool to control the unreasoning.  Please don’t ask me to believe in it.  – jl.

The Obama Administration seems to concur with me, but apparently translates it into more power, more control.

US Corporations, Private Mercenaries and the IMF Rush in to Profit from Haiti’s Crisis By Benjamin Dangl, Toward Freedom. January 19, 2010.

In the midst of a colossal human disaster, Washington is promoting unpopular economic policies and extending military and economic control over the Haitian people.

US corporations, private mercenaries, Washington and the International Monetary Fund are using the crisis in Haiti to make a profit, promote unpopular neoliberal policies, and extend military and economic control over the Haitian people.

In the aftermath of the earthquake, with much of the infrastructure and government services destroyed, Haitians have relied on each other for the relief efforts, working together to pull their neighbors, friends and loved ones from the rubble. One report from IPS News in Haiti explained, “In the day following the quake, there was no widespread violence. Guns, knives and theft weren’t seen on the streets, lined only with family after family carrying their belongings. They voiced their anger and frustration with sad songs that echoed throughout the night, not their fists.”  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/world/145279/us_corporations%2C_private_mercenaries_and_the_imf_rush_in_to_profit_from_haiti%27s_crisis 

Obama Confidant’s Spine-Chilling Proposal to ‘Cognitively Infiltrate’ Conspiracy Theorist Groups By Glenn Greenwald, Salon. January 20, 2010.

Recent paper by Obama adviser Cass Sunstein proposes bizarre methods to stamp out “false conspiracy theories,” including taxing the people who engage in them.

Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.” In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-“independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the government.  This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/rights/145229/obama_confidant%27s_spine-chilling_proposal_to_%27cognitively_infiltrate%27_conspiracy_theorist_groups

Astonishing Report: We’re Executing Gitmo Prisoners and Calling It Suicide By Andy Worthington, Andy Worthington’s Blog. January 18, 2010.

The three “suicides” in June 2006 were not suicides at all. The men were killed during interrogations in a secret prison block and the murders were disguised to look like suicides.

It’s hard to know where to begin with this profoundly important story by Scott Horton, for next month’s Harper’s Magazine (available on the web here), but let’s try this: The three “suicides” at Guantánamo in June 2006 were not suicides at all. The men in question were killed during interrogations in a secretive block in Guantánamo, conducted by an unknown agency, and the murders were then disguised to look like suicides. Everyone at Guantánamo knew about it. Everyone covered it up. Everyone is still covering it up.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/rights/145257/astonishing_report%3A_we%27re_executing_gitmo_prisoners_and_calling_it_suicide

Patriot's Dream

Jacques Cousteau: “I hope for the best, although I can’t say why.”