Posts Tagged ‘republicans’

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #5

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

OLD BLACK MAGIC:

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

Separateness is a youthful illusion.  Jl.

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

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

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

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

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

INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“NEVAH GO THIRSTY AGAIN!”

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

DAMN LIBERAL CONSERVATIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST COMMENT:

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

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

JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER:

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

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

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

Stonewall

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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.

HAPPY LABOR DAY!

September 4, 2010

The United States used to build things.

You must help to preserve it.

"Play it again, Sam!"

Republican Plutocrats Create Bank Failures.

True Progressives

Unite at the Ballot box.

Impeach the Supreme Court Five.

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

Lest we forget:

INDEPENDENCE DAY

GULF DISASTER Breaking News

BECK’S CROCODILE TEARS

FOX NEWS, HOLY LAND, SUPERMAN

September 3, 2010

Canon Fodder

“Canon Fodder”

FOX NEWS IS PORNOGRAPHIC:

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

NOTHING IS HOLY IN THE “HOLY” LAND:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“RIGHTEOUS” SWORD?

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

PEOPLE LIKE GOD LIKE SUPERMAN:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RINGADINGDING:

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

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

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

   

Off the Banks of Goldman Sachs.

LAST WORDS: 

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

Resurrection Machines

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!

LIFTING THE VEIL

March 28, 2010

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Reform by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship March 27, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

That wickedly satirical Ambrose Bierce described politics as “the conduct of public affairs for private advantage.”

Bierce vanished to Mexico nearly a hundred years ago — to the relief of the American political class of his day, one assumes — but in an eerie way he was forecasting America’s political culture today. It seems like most efforts to reform a system that’s gone awry — to clean house and make a fresh start — end up benefiting the very people who wrecked it in the first place.

Which is why Bierce, in his classic little book, The Devil’s Dictionary, defined reform as “a thing that mostly satisfies reformers opposed to reformation.”

Give the victors their due: the bill Obama signed expands coverage to many more people, stops some very ugly and immoral practices by the health insurance industry that should have been stopped long ago, and offers a framework for more change down the road, if there’s any heart or will left to fight for it.

But reformation? Hardly. For all their screaming and gnashing of teeth, the insurance companies still make out like bandits. Millions of new customers, under penalty of law, will be required to buy the companies’ policies, feeding the insatiable greed of their CEO’s and filling the campaign coffers of the politicians they wine and dine. Profits are secure; they don’t have to worry about competition from a public alternative to their cartel, and they can continue to scam us without fear of antitrust action.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/27-0

Earth ‘Entering New Age of Geological Time’ by Murray Wardrop March 27, 2010 by The Telegraph/UK

The Earth has entered a new age of geological time – the epoch of new man, scientists claim.

Humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes on the planet that we may be ushering in a new period of geological history.  It is feared that the damage mankind has inflicted will lead to the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history with thousands of plants and animals being wiped out.

The new epoch, called the Anthropocene – meaning new man – would be the first period of geological time shaped by the action of a single species.  Although the term has been in informal use among scientists for more than a decade, it is now under consideration as an official term.

A new working group of experts has now been established to gather all the evidence which would support recognising it as the successor to the current Holocene epoch. It will consider changes human activities have brought to Earth’s biodiversity and rock structure as well as the impact of factors including pollution and mineral extraction.

It is hoped that within three years, their case will be presented to the International Union of Geological Sciences, which would decide whether the transition to a new epoch has been made. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/27

Celebrating (Mourning) a Culture of Lies by Robert Freeman March 28, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

Tomorrow, March 29th, marks the thirty-seventh anniversary of America’s withdrawal from Vietnam. You won’t hear it celebrated in any mainstream media, though it should be. Or more precisely, it should be mourned. Vietnam is the first war America ever lost.

It should be remembered so that we might learn the lessons of that loss. They are many, they are profound, and they could inform so many of our policy decisions today: that withdrawal from immoral wars doesn’t mean the end of civilization as we know it; that even America’s seemingly limitless resources are, in fact, limited; that masses of engaged, moral individuals can constrain the reckless, destructive folly of renegade elites.

Perhaps the most important lesson of Vietnam is that policies based on lies will ultimately fail, for in an open society it is the consent of the governed that is required to sustain major policy initiatives. A government can either earn that consent, or it must forfeit the essence of its democracy. If lying becomes its essential modus operandi, a nation ceases to be a democracy. Rather, it becomes a criminal conspiracy of self-interested insiders donning the trappings of democracy in order to gull the credulous.

It is time to grow out of our materialistic fetishes and begin cultivating the personal and civic maturity we like to fancy we possess, but which we don’t. It is time to grow up and accept the burdens of mature citizenship, among the most important of which are a capacity and a willingness to tell the truth, letting go the comforting but corrosive lies in the confidence that courage mustered now will yield not only greater self respect today but a more sane, a more decent, and a safer society in the future.

It is important that we commemorate Vietnam, both to mourn the objective horror of what it was, but also to redeem our capacity to tell the truth, to ourselves, about ourselves. Only in that way can we begin to reclaim the country and the people we want to imagine ourselves to be.

Robert Freeman writes on economics, history and education. His earlier piece, “Is Iraq Another Vietnam?” was also published on CommonDreams.  He can reached at robertfreeman10@yahoo.com. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-3

Related:  https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/politics-mostly/organized-irresponsibility/

The Rage Is Not About Health Care by Frank Rich March 28, 2010 by The New York Times

THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television.  On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber – instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too. Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company.  Frank Rich is a regular columnist for The New York Times.  He is the author of many books, including The Great Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28

INTRODUCING WORLD WAR III

Have a Nice World War, Folks by John Pilger March 28, 2010 by CommonDreams.org

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and “bunker-buster” bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of “defence” Robert Gates complains that “the general [European] public and the political class” are so opposed to war they are an “impediment” to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a “war of perception”. Thus, the recent “liberation of the city of Marja” from the Taliban’s “command and control structure” was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a “pre-fascist era”. Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. “Fascism” is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is “more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent.”

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the façade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud “our boys”. The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a “partner”. We should interrupt their fun.

John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism’s highest award, that of “Journalist of the Year,” for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-5 

MEET THE BAD GUYS

March 26, 2010

REPUBLICAN FOLLIES

The Republicans are patently unable to accept either the truth or defeat.  Like hung over alcoholics, they stagger back to commit the same dumb acts over and over.  Persistence in a negative activity signifies mental disturbance.  The picture their intransigence paints is really stupid, mean-spirited and ugly.  Why anyone would want them as political party of choice eludes us.  Observe:

GOP Senator Blocks Jobless-Benefits Extension March 26, 2010 by the Associated Press by Andrew Taylor

Washington – As Congress raced to leave Washington for its Easter recess, a Republican senator blocked a stopgap bill to extend jobless benefits, saying its $9 billion cost should not be added to the national debt.

As a result, some people who have been out of work for more than six months will at least temporarily lose benefits. Newly jobless people won’t be eligible to sign up for generous health insurance subsidies.

At the center of the battle is Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is insisting that the measure be “paid for” so as not to add to the nation’s $12.7 trillion debt.

“What we are doing is stealing future opportunity from our children,” Coburn said Thursday.

The practical effect of the lapse in benefits would be limited if they are awarded retroactively. But labor advocates say it produces bureaucratic nightmares for state labor departments, and that trying to restore the lapsed benefits is easier said than done.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/03/26-5

Hurting defenseless people is unconscionable.  Senator Coburn is obviously no friend of the people, at least the ones who need help.

Meanwhile, the nutsies over at the Tea Party are going dingo.

The Mad Tea Party and the Cloward-Piven Conspiracy Theory March 26, 2010 by The Nation by Richard Kim

Leftists like to say that another world is possible, but I was never quite sure of that until I started reading tea party websites. There, a government of leftists is not only possible, it’s on the cusp of seizing permanent power, having broken American capitalism and replaced it with a socialist state. Down that rabbit hole, Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are communists, and “The Left”–which encompasses everyone from the Democratic Leadership Council to Maoist sectarians–is a disciplined and near omnipotent army marching in lockstep to a decades-old master plan for domination called the “Cloward-Piven strategy” or, as of January 20, 2009, “Cloward-Piven government.”

What is this plot? According to David Horowitz, who apparently coined the expression, Cloward-Piven is “the strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis.” Named after sociologists and antipoverty and voting rights activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who first elucidated it in a May 2, 1966, article for The Nation called “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,” the Cloward-Piven strategy, in Horowitz’s words, “seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.” Like a fun-house-mirror version of Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine theory, the Cloward-Piven strategy dictates that the left will exploit that crisis to push through unpopular, socialist policies in a totalitarian manner.

Perhaps most critical, the Cloward-Piven conspiracy theory pushes the tea party’s kettle closer to a boil. In its obsession with voter fraud and the potential illegitimacy of the 2008 election–and the democratic process itself–the conspiracy suggests a tit-for-tat strategy for victory: if the left is going to cynically manipulate the system to produce tyranny, then so will we. How? To begin, there’s the tried-and-true tactic of suppressing the poor minority vote–which would next place Project Vote in the tea party’s cross hairs. But why stop there? Like every good conspiracy theory, this one too is a call to arms.   © 2010 The Nation.  Richard Kim is a senior editor at The Nation.   READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/26-3

There Will Be Blood Spilled If the Republicans Keep Matching Their Message with Violent Talk Frameshop By Jeffrey Feldman

Rather than recoil at violent language, GOP leadership seems to see it as a chance to turn out votes. The consequences could be deadly.

Words matter–and they matter even more when they are violent words. Apparently, GOP leadership agrees.

Despite the unwillingness of mainstream media to connect the dots, the base and leadership of the GOP are matching their rhetoric to the disturbing rise of violent talk at Tea Party rallies and amongst conservative anti-government groups. The conclusion: rather than recoil at violent language, GOP leadership seems to see it as a chance to turn out votes.

Palin via Twitter told her Republican followers to “reload” and “aim for” Democrats, directing GOP activists to her SarahPac website where they found a map of the country festooned with rifle scope cross-hairs over Congressional districts held by Democrats. Palin’s rifle scope map is the kind of image one might expect to see in an ad for a violent, first-person shooter video game.

RNC, Michael Steele, issued a recent call to Republicans to put Nancy Pelosi on the “firing line” because of the health insurance reform bill.

By using the phrase “firing line,” Steele encourages Republican activists to think of the next election as an execution of the opposition or a violent killing. The language Steele uses is not neutral. “Defeat” is defined as “kill.” “Voting” is linked to “shooting.” Winning the election is couched in an image of bloodletting.

In a similar violent vein, Sarah Palin via Twitter told her Republican followers to “reload” and “aim for” Democrats, directing GOP activists to her SarahPac website where they found a map of the country festooned with rifle scope cross-hairs over Congressional districts held by Democrats.

When Americans threaten to use firearms to enforce their political views, the violent threats carried by that language undermines the system of public debate on which our system depends. Healthy political debate can sustain a great deal of anger and passion, but it cannot sustain repeated threats of violence and calls for violent assault as a form of political engagement.

It is time to for right-wing political violence to stop before passions turn to bloodshed.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/news/146178/there_will_be_blood_spilled_if_the_republicans_keep_matching_their_message_with_violent_talk?page=2

The Republicans are bought into the craziness at a very deep level.  They will not get better.  They will explode or fizzle out, but they will not get “well.”  These sick puppies prefer revolution and the overthrow of the United States government to honest political dialog and debate.  We really need to put these crazies into the booby hatch.

Fox News, Health Care, and the Right-Wing Nervous Breakdown Media Matters for America / By Eric Boehlert

How did health care go so terribly wrong for the Tea Party’s true believers? They made the mistake of believing their own hype — and Fox News.

Watching Fox News personalities recently come unglued as the realization set in that (surprise!) Democrats might actually have the votes to pass health care reform — and noting how extraordinarily loopy and dire both the attacks on the White House, and the proclamations for pending, apocalyptic doom were becoming — I was getting nervous that one of Fox News’ more unhinged hosts might finally just snap and pull a Rev. Jim Jones, beseeching viewers to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Honestly, unless you’ve been monitoring the ticking time bomb that is the far-right media in recent days, you probably don’t appreciate how frighteningly possible that cultish scenario has become, as the GOP Noise Machine, led by Fox News, publicly suffers a nervous breakdown. It’s a mental and emotional collapse that’s been advertised in recent days as cablers, radio talkers, and right-wing bloggers have reached for increasingly hysterical, often blood-curdling rhetoric to describe the irreversible atrocity — an incurable, metastasizing malignancy!! — that’s about to seize and destroy the United States in the form of a bill to expand health care coverage.

Yet last week, as its opposition to reform grew increasingly futile, the GOP Noise Machine dedicated lots of time and energy to mocking and attacking cancer-stricken patients, as well as a motherless 11-year-old boy who had the audacity to speak out in favor of health care reform.

Limbaugh’s immortal words to the boy: “Your mom would have still died, because Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014.”

To me, the attacks indicated a withering of the right-wing media’s shrinking moral compass, not to mention common sense. (Mocking the seriously ill is a winning political strategy?) It was another tell-tale sign of the unfolding, and unstoppable, nervous breakdown.

Because how else do you describe this kind of erratic, disturbed behavior? And it’s worth repeating: This wasn’t coming from minor, fringe players. It’s been coming from the supposed leading lights of the conservative media; leading lights who, blinded by paranoia, have suffered a collective collapse and can no longer make sense of their surroundings. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/media/146176/fox_news%2C_health_care%2C_and_the_right-wing_nervous_breakdown?page=3

Alan Greenspan is back to do us more dirt, not content with having supervised the systematic looting of the United States Treasury and creating the conditions for the collapse of the mortgage and banking sector.  He “apologized” for having done it, said he was wrong, sorry about that.  To show his benign good will to the American people, he now proposes to steal their Social Security for his masters, the Corporatist elite.

Alan Greenspan and the New York Times Are Gunning for Your Social Security AlterNet / By Zach Carter

The battle for Social Security is on — and the Times is fighting for the bad guys.

With health care reform finally signed into law, a new policy battle over Social Security is quietly but unquestionably building momentum. Make no mistake — Wall Street is now doing its best to gut Social Security, and as a front-page article in yesterday’s New York Times makes clear, the media is not ready to challenge them on it.

Like every other major institution in the public and private sectors, Social Security has taken a few licks from the current recession. But the problems are simply not very serious — the entitlement program’s trust fund currently stands at a massive $2.5 trillion — that’s trillion with a “t.” If the federal government makes absolutely no changes to Social Security whatsoever, the program is currently projected to remain fiscally fit through 2037. The effects of the recession are included in that projection — prior to the financial crash of 2008, Social Security was projected to remain solvent through 2041.

But pesky facts like that are not the focus of the story from Times reporter Mary Williams Walsh, who instead highlights a fundamentally meaningless statistic to needlessly frighten her readers:

“This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016.”

That’s a perspective shared by Wall Street billionaires like Peter Peterson, who has pledged a massive fortune to spreading the message: Save the bankers and brokers first — everyone else, including seniors, is expendable. Peterson and Greenspan have allies in the newspaper business and on cable television that are ready and willing to place this agenda at the forefront of the public debate. The Washington Post now even publishes Social Security hit pieces posing as news articles that are funded by Peterson, parading under the banner of the Fiscal Times. As we move into the midterm elections, and Republicans raise the specter of budget deficits and national debt that have increased thanks to their own predatory economic policies, we can expect more of this Social Security fear-mongering. But we shouldn’t take the bait. There is no Social Security crisis. READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/economy/146175/alan_greenspan_and_the_new_york_times_are_gunning_for_your_social_security

It is clear who the bad guys are.  The Republicans are a big part of a criminal mob.  The entire cabal is not only treasonous, it exists through lies and innuendo, smear and violence – threatened and real.  It is no better than any other gangster crew extorting victims for more and more, insensible to law or decency.  The Republicans are aligned with the forces of disorder, chaos and fear.  They aim for the destruction of the society, our nation, the environment and, as a by-product, all living creation.  They have no rationale for their deeds save greed and stupidity.  Hypocrites all, they stand for the worst America has to offer and must be resisted at all cost, if we are to maintain our fair and free United States.

FASCIST AMERICA: ARE WE THERE YET? by Sara Robinson

This is the sign we were waiting for — the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America’s conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country’s legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America’s streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won’t do their political or economic bidding.

This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It’s also our very last chance to stop it.  READ MORE: https://johnlegry.wordpress.com/politics-mostly/republican-insurance-nazis/

Sara Robinson, AlterNet: 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. 

LIBERTY

March 7, 2010

Powerful and emotional vision of the future that looks uncannily like our present. A masterwork. Reproduction of public domain World War I Liberty Bond advertising poster.

OBAMA SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT:

It occurs to me – in a Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment – after a career in public process, facilitating, negotiating and mediating citizen concerns, that Obama is NOT “wimpy” or a “wuss.”  He’s a FACILITATOR, a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. He took us completely through a model facilitation process on health care – in the model, the facilitator has no opinion and remains neutral (like a combination referee, coach), but guides the group toward a collective decision. Without describing a full process, it will:

  • Identify all potential stakeholders;
  • Allow time for getting acquainted;
  • “Storm” – settle personalities and emotions, and vent “noise” that impairs effective communication;
  • “Norm”-  get down to business (discuss and invent) – the process becomes “reality” rather than “ideologically” driven; and
  • Facilitate the decision.  Usually a vote – used when consent is not general – to adopt and implement the solution – majority rules. At this juncture, everyone (theoretically) who has taken ownership of the solution will support it.  Of course, there are always naysayers and a minority report, perhaps Republican, religionist, corporatist, and/or people in funny hats.

Obama hasn’t strayed from the model one jot, and if I’m right, he is one of the greatest facilitators I have ever seen in my life.  Hallelujah.

Tsun Tsu’s Art of War is about the strategy of indirection; one appears where the enemy is not, and so on. The best general is the one whose hand is unseen, who triumphs without a physical battle, who wins without destroying the enemy or the country, but wins the war conclusively.

Obama isn’t just sitting in that Whitehouse.

Per Tsun Tsu, Obama resisted the call for blood revenge on the retreating Republican Party of George W. Bush.  Per Tsun Tsu, he withdrew pressure from the troubled area, and got a breathing space to tackle more pressing matters of national survival.

As clever and worldly as that is, George W. Bush took down every single thing he ever touched: oil company, pro-football team; Texas (he cut taxes for the rich and bankrupted the state); and our national treasury.  He even ruined the Republican Party!  He’s not just a takedown artist, he’s a corporate raider and a sociopath akin to Ted Bundy, with a whole lot more blood on his hands.  Yet, he gets by with that little shuck and jive he does before he runs away.

“Georgie Porgie, puddin’ and pie,

kissed the girls and made them cry,

but when the boys came out to play,

Georgie Porgie ran away!”

Alan Greenspan used to run a lot too.  News clips show him, shoulders hunched, eyes furtive, out-running reporters and ducking into doorways. We must beware of stooped men burrowing into our government.  They know they’re up to mischief, they act guilty; they can also hardly believe we’re letting them do what they are doing, right in front of our eyes, right out in public! 

There oughta be a law, but the nation really needs a reckoning.

CONCLUSION LACKING:

While Obama led us through the process, there is yet to be a conclusion.  What are the results of the exercise?  The Pen – a global literary committee protecting free expression – has an  opinion worth considering.  Our facilitator may have led us to a foregone conclusion; one corporatist insurance CEOs wanted all along.  It happens that ardent faith in a cause makes one more easily manipulated by the unscrupulous.  Here’s an inside look.  Action links are included in the article, which is posted here verbatim:

Democratic Party’s Plan To THROW The Next Couple Elections.

Facing reality is a tough job but somebody’s got to do it. And we foretell for you the events of the future NOT because we want them to happen, but to get you to act to keep them from happening. But to do that you need an action page, so here it is.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1038.php

And now we will explain why this action page is so critical. To understand the current political dynamic, first you must understand that the Democrats are PLANNING on losing the next couple election cycles. UNTIL you understand that, the events to unfold in the next couple years (unless you act to derail them) will make no sense to you.

You don’t have to believe us. Just listen to the way the Democrats themselves are talking. Nancy Pelosi concedes that they will likely suffer substantial losses in the House come November, though she still will not admit that they will lose their majority in the next round. Barack Obama says doesn’t “know” how his ever more determined push of the universally despised Senate health care scam will play politically. He doesn’t know??? Was the loss of the eternally Democratic senate seat in Massachusetts not enough of a wake up call?

Their original plan, which we told you about no later than last September (and we can point you to our published article at the time to prove it), was to lull the liberal/progressive base into thinking a “public option” was some kind of mumbling substitute for a single payer reform system (that would have represented REAL change), with the INTENTION of throwing even that option over the side before final passage. We saw it all coming, and we tried to warn you how important it was to keep speaking out to demand better.

For the corporate special interests controlling the whole legislative process (but only in the absence of your voices of course) this was a heads they win, tails the people lose, proposition. By getting the Democrats to squander their mandate and political capital for actual change, by getting them to meekly abandon their professed principles in favor of a bill that would benefit as a bottom line the insurance corporations only, the people en masse would justifiably conclude that the Democrats had completely betrayed them. And the Republicans, who by the tactic of enfeeblement of government in fact just empower the same ultimate corporate agenda, even as disliked as they are themselves, would be swept back into office in the next election. Net result … reform and change discredited, hopes dashed, defeatism rules, the corporations win again, one grand circular tag team.

That was the MASTER plan. But then it hit a bump in the road in Massachusetts. For you see, Scott Brown was not SUPPOSED to win. What he was supposed to do was to stir the pot of public anger as a prelude to November, to build a record of opposition, to fire a shot across the public bow of the Democrats, but he was not supposed to actually hit anything. It was strategically premature. Because having lost their shaky super majority, depending even as it was on regressive bad cops like Nelson and Lieberman, the Democrats could then no longer just waltz the fatally compromised health care bill through with a unilateral conference committee.

What to do? What were the corporate fascists to do? Now keep in mind that the EXCUSE the Democrats had been giving all along to their own base, as to why not only single payer, but in the end even a feeble public option, had to be taken off the table, was that they could not muster a full 60 votes for that in the Senate, that they could only manage something like 53-56. But now suddenly, the only way to force this destined to be hated bill through was have the Democrats in the House bend over for the worst case Senate bill as it was, and clench their noses long enough to pull some kind of corrective reconciliation shenanigans that would only require 51 votes. Why, the people would ask themselves, can’t we at least have a public option, since we were trying to get Congress to use reconciliation to make THAT happen all along?

And the inescapable answer is … that was not the plan. Suddenly people like Senator Rockefeller, who had PRETENDED to be for a public option before, dramatically reversed their position. Suddenly people like Senator Harkin, who declared himself to be at heart a “single payer guy” live on TV with Ed Shultz just the other day, would in the next breath not even ADMIT that he would support a public option IF a vote for it came up. Suddenly, people who were all for the public option when their vote did NOT count became equivocal, or against it, when they COULD possibly cast the deciding vote.

No, the plan was for the Democrats to pass a bill that would be so despised that they would be swept out of power again, that would cost them even their simple majorities. That was the PLAN. That was the plan of the corporations all along. There has never been any other plan. And that REMAINS the corporate plan with what can only be described as an obstinate and renewed determination.

Now, it would be one thing if Barack Obama and the Democratic party “leadership” were going to the wall for what the PEOPLE want. But they are not. They are bracing to go to the wall for what the corporations want. As perverse as George Bush was, at least he always had his most dedicated and delusional core base on his side when he thumbed his nose at the rest of us. The exact opposite is the case here. Barack Obama is standing in diametric opposition to his own base, and willfully so, displaying all the leadership qualities of a bull in a bull fight.

We can read from the last 25 messages function of our own action pages, just as you can. It breaks our heart to read people talking about how they worked so hard for Obama and now feel so betrayed. It breaks our heart to read independents write that they were willing to give the Democrats a chance, but will never vote for a Democrat again. It breaks our heart to read people declaring that they will never even turn out to vote again, for anyone. Because this is all nothing but surrender talk. But we fight on undeterred, even with our broken heart.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1038.php

And we tell you now, that if this health care bill is rammed through without at least a semblance of a public option in it, the one we were promised at a MINIMUM, there will be massive hemorrhaging at the polls come November. The American people are out there right now asking themselves, “Was Massachusetts not enough … how big a 2×4 will we have to hit these mules in the head with before they finally get it?” The Republicans will not need to talk about any other issue to campaign on. They will get a total pass on a secret agenda that is, if anything, in every respect more hostile to the real public policy interests of the people whose anger they will arouse.

And if the Democrats DON’T lose their majorities in a single election, guess what? Same rallying war cry for 2012, “Got to vote out more Democrats so we can repeal the hated bill, including getting a getting a president who will sign the repeal bill.” Try to tell us you don’t hear it happening already. Even if the Democrats don’t lose their majorities in 2010, they will be so reduced that they will not be able to accomplish anything in the next two years, not that they have been able to accomplish anything with the majorities they had, meaning nothing to run on in 2012 either. Of course the latest promise never meant to be honored is that the Democrats will fight for a public option LATER. But if they can’t muster the votes to do it now, with the majorities they have now, only the most terminally gullible would believe they could do it with fewer votes in the future, even if they actually wanted to, which they do NOT!

And if there is a historic landslide in November and both houses of Congress go Republican, guess what the first bill from the new Congress will be … repeal the health care bill. And guess what happens if Obama tries to veto it, or the Democrats try to filibuster (after passing it on 51 votes in the first place)? In short, Obama becomes an instant lame duck, the people will be hell bent on getting rid of him too, and the entire Democratic party is just a dead man walking. Either way, pushing this bill now avails nothing, since it WILL be repealed before it ever goes into meaningful effect.

And when the repeal bill does become law there will be people celebrating and dancing in the streets, not even realizing that they are just dancing on their own graves. No pack of lemmings have ever hurtled so foolishly to their own demise as this Democratic Congress. No pod of whales have ever beached themselves so senselessly. We are talking about the biggest act of deliberate mass suicide in the history of the animal kingdom.

UNLESS, and we would concede that this is a big unless, we can somehow get enough people to speak out to DEMAND a vote on a public option, and not just the weak public option passed by the House, but instead the proposed Medicare expansion to 55 from December quashed putatively by Lieberman alone, and additionally for an option for ANYONE to buy in to Medicare, for the PURPOSE of calling the Democrats out, to at least demand something better. Democratic members of Congress are under corporate orders (including direct from the White House and being cajoled) to take a dive. The only thing that can countermand that order are your voices speaking out. Your voices … if you will use them while you still can. Please submit the action page now.

Put The Public Option Up For A Vote: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1038.php .

Or folks can just keep lapping up the diminishingly persuasive happy face emails from the Obama never-ending campaign machine with ever more promises of ponies and rainbows, in which case all will transpire just as we have revealed it.

And here is the Facebook links for the action page further above.

[Facebook] Public Option Vote Action: http://apps.facebook.com/fb_voices/action.php?qnum=pnum1038

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

Miss Liberty is blinded. Her arms are bound. She can no longer defend herself.  She is a captive of hate and shame.

America's Princess

WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?

December 31, 2009

What is Democracy?

What is democracy?  In the narrowest definition it is popular self-government.  It is political, it involves many people, and it requires tallying judgments to record popular decisions.  Elections are the crucial element, with the rule that majorities can never eliminate minorities from the electoral process.  However, voting is not enough.  To make political participation effective citizens need information and public associations to give them access to the system, and they need elected officials to respond.

Democracy is not everything all the time anywhere.  It doesn’t favor capitalism, socialism, or any other -ism.  It does not mean two-party politics, constitutions, a vigorous press, or voluntary associations.  Democracy does not contain cures for cruelty or oppression.  It has no exclusive claim to compassion or social responsiveness.  It has affinity with liberty, equality and fairness, but it doesn’t give reliable support for any of these.  Democracy, as Robert Wiebe writes, “reveals our humanity not our salvation.  We may not like it.”

The risks of the modern world make us realize that a collective life defines democratic citizens. Democracy can’t rely on private interests and private rights.  It is about shared purpose, community and public lives and duties.  As we realize limits to growth, we begin to understand that IT must go in SOMEONE’S backyard. “Democracy,” Robert Hiskes writes, “presumes a set of ideas about what it takes to accomplish things together and voluntarily as a matter of faithfulness and engagement – not out of force.”

The way we understand ourselves as a public is our most critical issue today.  There is widespread frustration that money rules, not citizens.  Has our American public become a myth? Our democracy was formed during colonial days when people decided what to do about common problems and acted together to implement their solutions. Citizens are powerful when they act collectively.  While we may despair of the national picture, we still act locally.  When citizens do, they are willing to act at a higher level.

Of course, local interests can be unrelentingly selfish.  Well-intentioned leaders, self-styled as “the public’s agents,” can be very contemptuous of people.  It may be because they see the “big picture” and the public through a lens of idealism, which blinds them to community interests. Yet, no argument for self-rule is as compelling as what people experience and how they cooperate with those who hold different values within local communities.  If we want democracy to flourish, we need to encourage people to grow where they were planted.

“Society in every state is a blessing,” Tom Paine wrote in Common Sense, “but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer…our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”   Functioning as private consumers and private property owners, rather than as public citizens with common or community interests would seem to make his point.  The state or a few of its leaders do not exercise public reason.  It can only occur through deliberative action, and deliberation is a joint social activity.  Thus, in the fullness of its meaning, democracy is we the people, acting together to reform or improve our shared public sphere.  Increasing participation is its indispensable goal.  As Langston Hughes wrote:

“O’ yes,

 I say it plain,

 America never was America to me,

 And yet I swear this oath –

 America will be!”

John Legry, December 28, 2001

Executive Director, (ret.)

Citizen Involvement Committee

Multnomah County, Oregon

RUN YOUR CURSOR OVER TYPE BELOW TO PICK OUT HOTLINKS.

Take Your Money Out of the Hands of the Banking Oligarchs Arianna Huffington, Rob Johnson, Move Your Money

Take Action: How? For starters, you could move your money to a small bank.

Monopoly Capitalism Is the Root of All of America’s Problems Daniela Perdomo, AlterNet

Politics: Monopoly capitalism exemplifies everything that’s gone wrong with American politics, and we need to do something about it — soon.

Burt’s Bees, Tom’s of Maine, Naked Juice: Your Favorite Brands? Take Another Look — They May Not Be What They Seem Andrea Whitfill, AlterNet

Health and Wellness: One of AlterNet’s most popular articles: Confident that you are buying good, socially conscious brands? Find out the real story.

 

Thomas Paine - Author-Patriot, 1737-1809.

"The world is my country. To do good is my religion."

 

IT’S THE BEES, PLEASE!

November 16, 2009

Birdlife

Peaceable Kingdom

Why We Need Bees and More People Becoming Organic Beekeepers By Makenna Goodman, Chelsea Green Publishing.

Bees teach us how to live our life in a way that by taking what we need from the world around us, we leave the world better than we found it.

Beekeeping is rising in popularity — from urban rooftops to backyard hives, the world is abuzz with interest in homemade honey. And who better to comment on the nature of bees than the former president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, Ross Conrad. He’s led bee-related presentations and taught organic beekeeping workshops and classes throughout North America for many years, and Conrad’s small beekeeping business supplies friends, neighbors, and local stores with honey and candles among other bee related products, not to mention provides bees for Vermont apple pollination in spring. I talked to Conrad about organic beekeeping, the state of pollination, and tips for aspiring bee farmers.

Makenna Goodman: Your book, Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture, offers up a program of natural beehive management, and an alternative to conventional chemical-based approaches. So — why organic beekeeping?

Ross Conrad: History has shown us that the industrialized “economy of scale” approach does not work when applied to agriculture because we are dealing with living biological systems, not an inert assembly line food production system where the economy of scale approach can be applied across the board. One of the biggest issues is the large number of chemical contaminants that are being found in beeswax and pollen, often at very high concentrations. Toxic chemical contamination has been implicated in Colony Collapse and the reality is that there is no effective regulation of chemicals in Western society. Let me tell you why: READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/environment/143764/why_we_need_bees_and_more_people_becoming_organic_beekeepers

Sarah Palin Rules the GOP — And She Will Destroy It By Max Blumenthal, Tomdispatch.com.

Palin’s influence on a party largely devoid of leadership is expanding. If she doesn’t become the GOP’s future queen, she may be its future king-maker — and its destroyer.

Sarah Palin’s heavily publicized book tour begins in earnest this Monday, but weeks before, her ghostwritten memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, had already vaulted into the number one position at Amazon. Warming up for a tour that will take her across Middle America in a bus, Palin tested her lines in a November 7th speech before a crowd of 5,000 anti-abortion activists in Wisconsin. She promptly cited an urban legend as a “disturbing trend,” claiming the Treasury Department had moved the phrase “In God We Trust” from presidential dollar coins. (The rumor most likely originated with a 2006 story on the far-right website WorldNetDaily.)

In fact, a suggested alteration in its position on the coin was shot down in 2007 after pressure from Democratic Senator Robert Byrd. Nonetheless, Palin did not hesitate to take up this “controversy,” however false, since it conveniently pits a tyrannical, God-destroying, secular big government against humble God-fearing folk. In doing so, of course, she presented herself as this nation’s leading defender of the faith.

In a Republican Party hoping to rebound in 2010 on the strength of a newly energized and ideologically aroused conservative grassroots, Palin’s influence is now unparalleled. Through her Twitter account, she was the one who pushed the rumor of “death panels” into the national healthcare debate, prompting the White House to issue a series of defensive responses. Unfazed by its absurdity, she repeated the charge in her recent speech in Wisconsin. In a special congressional election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Palin’s endorsement of Doug Hoffman, an unknown far-right third-party candidate, helped force a popular moderate Republican politician, Dede Scozzafava, from the race. In the end, Palin’s ideological purge in upstate New York led to an improbable Democratic victory, the first in that GOP-heavy district in more than 100 years. READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/story/143967/sarah_palin_rules_the_gop_–_and_she_will_destroy_it

America Is One Big Clunker and No Amount of Cash Will Buy Us a New One By James Howard Kunstler, Kunstler.com.

We continue to be childishly delusional about our dark economic and environmental prospects. Unfortunately, reality isn’t amenable to lies and spin.

In The Long Emergency (2005, Atlantic Monthly Press), I said that we ought to expect the federal government to become increasingly impotent and ineffectual — that this would be a hallmark of the times. In fact, I said that any enterprise organized at the colossal scale would function poorly in years ahead, whether it was a government, a state university, a national chain retail company, or a giant midwestern farm. It is characteristic of the compressive contraction our society faces that giant hypercomplex systems will wobble and fail. We should expect this.

It’s tragic that the avatar of hopefulness himself, Barack Obama, stepped into his role at exactly the moment when this set of conditions was getting traction. It is sure to get worse, and there are going to be a lot of disappointed people out there who will be suffering terrible losses and real pain in daily life. Societies don’t do well when the public falls into the broad despair that is the opposite of hope. That’s when the long knives and the tribal animosities come out and things get smashed.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/environment/143969/america_is_one_big_clunker_and_no_amount_of_cash_will_buy_us_a_new_one

Obama’s Strongest Supporters Suffering the Most in Recession, While Elites Thrive By Bob Herbert, The New York Times.

The young, the black and the poor are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over.

President Obama’s strongest supporters during the presidential campaign were the young, the black and the poor — and they are among those who are being hammered unmercifully in this long and cruel economic downturn that the financial elites are telling us is over.

If the elites are correct, if the Great Recession really is over, then these core supporters of the president are being left far, far behind — as are blue-collar workers of every ethnic and political persuasion. Nobody wants to talk seriously about class in America, but the elites are smiling and perusing their stock portfolios while the checklist of Americans locked in depressionlike circumstances just grows and grows: construction and manufacturing workers, young men without college degrees (especially young black and Hispanic men), teenagers, and those who were already poor when the recession began.

The economic environment for all of these groups is an absolute and utter disaster.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/story/143968/obama%27s_strongest_supporters_suffering_the_most_in_recession%2C_while_elites_thrive

Mooses

Sarah comes down from the mountain.