Friday, December 28, 2007

Dictator Remains in Control of Nuclear Power

A concerned world watches in horror as a religious fundamentalist who seized power in a judicial coup 8 years ago remains in control of the largest store of WMDs on the planet. It has been reported that he believes that God talks to him, and tells him to smite his enemies. He is already responsible for the deaths of over one million people and seems determined to kill more.

"It is concerning that a dictator who seems to have no effective opposition in his country could have nuclear weapons at his disposal" states an unnamed diplomat from an undisclosed coutry. "There are no checks and balances to make sure that if he desires to bring about Armageddon, as is written in his religious book, that he won't use the thousands of nuclear weapons that his country has stockpiled to bring about an end to life on this planet. This kind of unlimited power should not be allowed."

The dictator's subjects seem paralyzed by indecision on how best to confront his rule. Early in his reign, iconic buildings in the country were exploded, with many dying, and the pro-government media blanketed the airwaves with announcements that the junta in charge at the time of the attack were the only ones able to prevent further attacks. Opposition media is small,ineffective and easily intimidated by those in power.

The dictator's consolidation of power was opposed at first by a few individuals in the weak legislature, but they were stopped by a biological weapon attack. A newspaper was also targeted in this attack. A convienent plane crash took the life of another opposition figure, and the legislature soon rubber-stamped all moves by the dictator to oppress his subjects and attack other countries.

Occasionally the citizens protest in an orderly fashion, hemmed in by police in riot gear, and unreported by the media. There are lawyers who have protested by filing lawsuits against the widespread imprisonment and torture of people swept up in dragnets and thrown into the gulag of prisons maintained by the empire around the world, but the verdicts of the courts are ignored by the junta.

Most of the citizens of the nuclear armed country believe that the only way to change the direction of the country is to participate in a quadrennial ritual in which they line up and push a button for one of two people who have been presented to them to choose. That person is then placed in charge of an enormous nuclear arsenal and everyone hopes that they are sane.

Responsible nations of the world must stand opposed to this rogue nation! Sanctions should be imposed until there is regime change. An unstable nuclear country should not be allowed to run rampant across the globe. The Security Council must stand up and take action.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Conversation with a new recruit

My young co-worker has joined the Army, because they are giving him $30,000 and promising him that they will send him to nursing school for 2 years.

The workplace is divided between those who wave the flag and tell him how proud they are and those who are concerned that he will be killed in Iraq. (No one but he thinks that he is going to nursing school instead of Iraq).

I thought that if I explained that he was going to be used as a storm trooper for imperialism, he would reconsider. He's a very sweet boy, but not too bright, so the co-workers on my side didn't think he would understand the concept. Here's how it went.

Me: "Do you realize that you live in an Empire? And life is sweet, because you are here. Do you know that Americans are 5% of the world's population and use 25% of the world's resources?"

Recruit: "So? You live here too".

Me: "But what if some people don't want to give us their resources?"

Recruit: "Then we kill them."

Me: "Yes. And that's what they want you to do".

Recruit: "That's OK. If you don't like it, then go move to another country."

My friend, who was listening to the exchange, looked at me and said, "I guess he does understand".
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Monday, December 24, 2007

We Know How This Movie Turned Out

Is this some sort of test? Are they experimenting with how much propaganda we can swallow without summoning up from the memory hole a sense of cognitive dissonance?

The corporate media is hawking the new movie "Charlie Wilson's War". I have seen print and TV reviews. They have gone back in time - to the days when the "Islamo-Fascists" were the "Afghan Freedom Fighters"! Don't they realize that we all know now how it all turned out?

Sure, Americans don't care that when the Afghan muhjadeen and their Arab supporters won the war, the progressive Afghan government that had been trying to modernize Afghanistan,( including improving the lives of its women), fell to warlords and fundamentalist Muslims that took Afghanistan back to the 16th century.

Sure, Americans don't care that when the USSR collapsed, its people's lives became poor and miserable, their life expectancy dropped, infant mortality soared, orphans multiplied, homelessness increased, women and girls were sold into sex slavery, and their natural resources and industry were sold off cheap. Americans have been conditioned to cheer that "we won" the cold war, and to celebrate the misfortune of the people we spent 50 years being conditioned to fear and hate. Never mind that as it turned out, they never did a thing to harm us. We still dance the victory celebration in the rubble of their lives.

But, come on, for six years now, Americans have been told that the Afghan government that emerged protected the Arab "freedom fighters" that turned against the USA. The propaganda has switched from fear of communists to fear of Muslims. How dare they go back to a time when the US was spending millions to support and arm the muhjadeen and present it as a wonderful thing! How stupid do they think we are? It is amazing to me that they would even try this.

That's why I think this may be a test. They are trying to see how stupid we are and how deep the memory hole is. The corporate media must be in on the test, because I haven't yet seen one review bring up the fact that Charlie Wilson's boys are the ones we are now being taught to hate and fear.

As Lily Tomlin said, "No matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up".
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gore Vidal on Kucinich

Gore Vidal has weighed on the Kucinich dissing, much more eloquently than I could, so I'm linking to it (on Truthdig.com)
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas blessings

This is the one time of the year that Americans are allowed to wish for peace on earth, goodwill to all men - without being called a communist. In the interests of peace and goodwill, let me suggest the following.

As you string lights to celebrate the season, remember that in Iraq, electrical grids were targeted by American bombs during the invasion, and still are not completely repaired.

As you tuck your children into bed at night, be thankful that you do not have to worry about armed gunmen kicking in your door in the middle of the night, terrifying your children and possibly hauling you away to prison for unspecified crimes.

Be thankful that you still have your children, and they have you, unlike countless (because not deemed worthy of counting) children in Iraq who are orphans, and countless parents who have lost their children.

Be thankful that you still have a house to live in, unlike an estimated 3,000,000 Iraqis who are now refuges, both inside the country and in nearby countries, such as Syria.

As you give your dollar to St Jude's to help sick American children who need medical care, remember that in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, children are being maimed by mines, and leukemia and birth defects have skyrocketed since America dropped tons of depleted uranium on those countries. Doctors in Iraq have fled the violence, and those remaining struggle without proper supplies or facilities.

As you complain about the traffic to the mall, be thankful that you don't have to deal with roadblocks manned by armed military who don't speak your language, but demand your compliance anyway. Be glad that you don't have mercenaries allowed to careen through your streets shooting at will, without sanctions to compel them to obey the laws.

Celebrate your good fortune at being born in America, God's favorite country. Your are blessed above all the other 5 1/2 billion people on this planet and God wants you to kill any of the rest who interfere with your lifestyle. And God wants all other beings on this planet to exist simply to serve your needs and supply you with goods and services. It is written in the Bible. Ask Pat Robertson.

Amen. Merry Christmas.
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Update on Gore's commitment to global warming

Last week I complained about Gore's solution to global warming. Faced with disastrous climate change, he proposes a tax.

His role in the Kyoto talks has gone down the memory hole, but Common Dreams printed an article by an Englishman that brings it back. Check it out.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stolen Elections x 2 - Hidden News

The Ohio Secretary of State has determined that the voting machines in Ohio were easily hackable and the 2004 vote in Ohio could have gone to Kerry. Remember that the exit polls in Ohio showed Kerry was leading Bush by a comfortable margin. We were shown people waiting in line in the rain for up to nine hours to vote as if it were a triumph of democracy! I don't think they were waiting to vote for Bush.

To add insult to injury, just two weeks later the US taxpayers spent millions to overthrow the election results in the Ukraine-because the exit polls showed a discrepancy! The corporate media reported this without ever mentioning that the US election two weeks before had equal exit polling discrepancy.

And the spineless Democrats refuse to this day to talk about the stolen election. It was the Greens and the Libertarians who paid for the (limited) recount in Ohio. And since the evidence in Ohio has been destroyed we will never be able to get an accurate accounting of how citizens in Ohio voted.

It was admitted in 2000 that Gore won the popular vote, but lost the more important Supreme Court vote. Defenders of Bush claim that he won Florida, but that was debunked. Unfortunately, it was deemed unpatriotic after 9-11 to criticize the fake President, since he did so well at speaking into a bullhorn 2 days after the attacks (after hiding in a cave the actual day), and we were told that we were comforted by his ability with a bullhorn, and it bought us together, and made us feel safe, blah, blah, blah. I'm sure you remember the propaganda, because it's still being repeated, unlike the truth of the Florida election, which was published under false headlines, and then dropped.

So we have been ruled for seven years by an illegitimate junta. 2000 was a coup, and 2004 was a deceptive farce. And still Americans do not pay attention, because the media tells us that Bush is the President, and that we believe that he keeps us safe. Interesting that the "free press" did print (once, in some papers) that the 2000 was stolen, and now that the 2004 election was probably stolen. And it was printed that Bush ignored warnings of 9-11.

It doesn't matter that the truth is printed once. It is drowned by the corporate media chorus that tells us that "we" believe that Bush is tough on terrorism, that "we" admire his "strength", and that he is a legitimate president.

What a incredible system. You can't really complain that there is no free press, because the occasional truth is printed by the occasional newspaper. One truth will be printed by the New York Times, one by the Wall Street Journal, one by the Washington Post. In the meantime, the propaganda is spewed by all media; newspapers, magazines, the 24 hour news channels and the radio.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Gravel kept from debate also


Yesterday, I talked about how Kucinich was blocked from participating in the charade that was the Democratic primary debates.

It turns out that Mike Gravel was also barred. Charade or no charade, having straight talkers participate in a nationally televised program apparently cannot be allowed. This is why they try to ban Ron Paul from the Republican versions.

I called the Des Moines Register to register my outrage at Kucinich's banishment, but it had zero effect. I didn't talk about Gravel, but he speaks for himself in the above video.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kucinich Barred from Debate

I have some cognitive dissonance going on here.

I believe that there is no democracy in America, if you believe that democracy entails people governing themselves, whether through elected officials or directly.

We are told that voting is the only way that Americans can participate in the running of our country. But it has been shown that our elected officials do not do what we expected them to do when we voted for them. And now that the voting machines are in, there is no way of even knowing if the politician the most people voted for will be pronounced the winner.

We recently went through two facades of democracy in my small community. One was when they wanted to put in a new WalMart. The community mobilized against it. There were public meetings, and the mayor solemnly considered the public input, and everyone got their say. And the WalMart is almost finished now.

The second was closer to home. A few years ago, against the neighbors wishes, the city spent millions of dollars to widen this small country road. They said it was to reduce traffic, which was absurd, because there is very little traffic on this road. And I wondered at the time why they put sewers, driveways and fire hydrants in the soybean fields along the road.

It all came clear three weeks ago, when the owner of the soybean fields went to the planning commission and the city council for a change in the zoning of his fields to residential, so he could put in some housing projects. The planning commission voted 7-0 against it, because it is in a flood plain.

My neighbors came by to ask me to sign a petition against it, which I did, and to ask me to come to the city hall meeting to speak against it. I had to work, so couldn't go, but I did point out that the fix was clearly in, and the meeting was a sham and a fraud, designed to make the citizens feel as if their voice was heard. She looked at me as if I had said I loved to eat babies. Imagine doubting the power of the people in our democracy!

The zoning change passed and they will pave over the fields.

So what's the cognitive dissonance? Although I believe that the entire election spectacle is a fraud and a sham, when they openly refuse to follow the forms of democracy, when they announce that they are just going to kowtow to the powerful without caring about the appearance, I go from cynical to outraged.

How dare they tell Dennis Kucinich that he cannot debate with the others because he doesn't have the backing of powerful interests? They should pretend that all voices must be heard. They must go through the motions of pretending that the people have a choice. Just dispensing with the charade is too blatant, even for cynical me.

I was just as outraged when Nader wasn't allowed to debate Gore and Bush, and when Rich Whitney wasn't allowed to debate Blagojevich and Topinka in the Illinois governor election. I was outraged when Halliburton got no-bid contracts in the Iraq invasion. Don't they care about the appearance of conflict-of-interest any more?

No, apparently they don't. The looting of the Treasury by insiders continues openly and shamelessly. The dissing of non-corporate-sponsored candidates continues without even the pretense that we will follow the forms of democracy we learned about in civics class (which they dispensed with so long ago that many younger people don't have a clue what has been lost).

And I swing from cynical disgust to outraged disbelief.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Unbelievable Solution

So Al Gore gets the Nobel Peace Prize for his movie, An Inconvient Truth, and he gets up in Stockholm and talks about global warming and the house is on fire, and we need to mobilize for war against global warming, and then he comes to his solution- carbon tax credits. WHAT?!!

The arctic is melting, the polar bears are drowning, and so did New Orleans and Indonesia, the fires are burning in Australia and California, and he wants to pass a tax? This is every bit as bizarre as the neocon solution-deny there is global warming and then say, oh yeah, we guess there is. But it's China's fault and we need to build more nuclear power plants with taxpayers money.

America uses more energy and dumps more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country. But our lives aren't better than those in Europe or Japan who use much less energy.

The ruling class is trying to convince Americans that environmentalists want us to freeze in the dark. That is bullshit, spoonfed to the ignorant masses like pablum. We can use much less energy with efficient appliances, cars and houses. That can be done without changing anyone's "lifestyle". And taxpayers can quit funding urban sprawl. Who do you think pays for the infrastructure on those McMansions that are springing up all over our farmland? That would be the taxpayers; subsidizing developers who otherwise would have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to put in power lines, waterlines, telepone and cable lines, and sewers, sidewalks and streets.

Suburbs are created farther and farther into the countryside, drawing commuters who have to drive to work, since roads are built by taxpayers, not trolley or rail lines. The average American spends hours a week commuting. This is time spent very non-productively, unless you count the production of carbon dioxide as they idle in traffic.

The reality makers tell us that it is too expensive and unrealistic to conserve energy. Caulk your house and put up awnings over your south and west windows? Outrageous! What kind of crazy talk is that? So what if it is possible to supply our electricity needs by wind generators and concentrated solar collectors. Do you realize how much that would cost? Unaffordable!

Instead, we'll spend billions to create coal burning plants with hundreds of miles of pipeline to pump the carbon dioxide under the ground. That's much more feasible and cost effective. Yum, enjoy the tasty bullshit, ignorant masses.

Or build 30 new nuclear power plants, at a cost of billions. We already have much nuclear waste we can't dispose of. How many depleted uranium bombs can we drop on other countries? Sooner or later, they're going to complain. How much more nuclear waste will 30 new plants produce? And what about the terrorists that we have to give up our rights for? Here we are, lining up to show our IDs to Big Brother because of the scary terrorists, and we're going to build more nuclear plants? Am I the only one who finds this extremely suspicious?

I demand that my tax dollars go to fund alternative energy and smart design. I no longer wish to have my country drop depleted uranium on other countries in order to get their oil so that SUV drivers can commute 50 miles to work each day. This is immoral and unsustainable.

And Al Gore should have the cojones to say so.
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Monday, December 10, 2007

The effect of post war immigration on America

I am reading a book on the history of the CIA. It reminds me of something I've noticed before. After WW11, (you know, the good war, fought against the evil Hitler), the USA helped Nazis back into power in Europe, supported Nazi collaborators in Eastern Europe and, together with the Vatican and other Nazi sympathizers, set up a ratline to funnel war criminals to safety in Latin America, and to America.

Then the US started intervening in other countries to stop them from going communist. Going communist was defined as having a government which put the interests of its people ahead of the interests of American business.

The people in these countries who were treasonous to their own people and supported American bribery and death squads were rewarded with power and money. Sometimes, though, they were thrown out. And then they were let into the USA.

Two very large groups of people who immigrated to the US are the Cubans and the Vietnamese. Most of both groups are very reactionary. I remember reading about one naturalization ceremony with 1,000 or so Vietnamese, all of whom registered Republican after the ceremony.

Remember that the propaganda is that the Nazis were "appeased" until they attacked Poland. This is not true. They were not appeased. They were supported by top industrialists and financiers in the US and England. Hitler was attacking the communists and that was alright with the top boys in America and England, including George Bush's grandfather, Prescott, whose ties to a German bank continued well past the time that America entered WW11.

The Nazis didn't really lose the war. Hitler may have, but his anti-communist backers remained and were put back in power by the US. And now they have consolidated their power here in the US, and the descendants of those Nazi, Cuban, Vietnamese, and the smaller influx of various dictators, CIA collaborators and death squad members let into this country after WW11 are supporting them.

I work with a Cuban immigrant and a Croatian immigrant. One night they were busily discussing the necessity of torture and war against our "enemies". I was disgusted. But I realize that part of the reason their fathers were let into this country in the 1950s and 1960s was so that they could help turn American to the right. American immigrants before 1924 tended to be more left radical, as befits tired, poor, hungry to be free cheap labor. That's why immigration was tightened up in 1924.

But there was still enough radicalism left to get Americans unemployment insurance, Social Security, and union protection. Later we got environmental protections and some workplace protection. Women, African Americans and gays got some recognition.

All this is anathema to the corporate elite, and it's all under attack. And they imported fascists to help them. And good liberals blather on about the melting pot without realizing that the pot is overseasoned with right-wingers.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cheney loses one on Iran

So what to make of the NIE on Iran? nie-1.png
Let's see. Mainstream media is pushing the "oh, they had a program, but it's all over now" story. More liberal sites are pointing out that the decider-in-chief was told in August that there was news on Iran, but we're supposed to believe that he didn't ask what, and they didn't tell. Well, maybe. It depends on how big an idiot you believe Bush is and if you believe that he is really entrusted with any power, or even important information.
When I googled NIE and Iran, I got many hits from last year, talking about how it was being repressed. But only Amy Goodman on Democracy Now has talked about that, that I saw.
No one is talking about the part where they assert that Iran had a nuclear weapons program until 2003. What? Where did that come from? The IAEA has not said anything like that. I think that the unproved assertion is a bone thrown to Cheney.
It is clear that Cheney and his boys want to attack Iran. But there are powerful figures who think that's crazy. It looks like the release of this document means that the US is not going to attack Iran. Too bad, crazy neocons. Come back in 20 years and try again.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Secret Laws

In last night's Republican debate, Mitt Romney claimed that the USA shouldn't let "terrorists" know what laws we are going to obey, or actually, even what the laws are. This is even worse than President (sic) Bush and his signing statements.
This lawless government is so out of control that would-be rulers think that it's normal to keep laws secret. First they kept their actions secret, then the budget, now it is considered no one's business if the US is following the Geneva Conventions.
Romney, like Bush, alternated between lying ("we don't torture") and claiming the moral right to do so. So Mormons, like other Christians, feel that just being an American makes you so morally superior that you don't have to actually behave in a civilized way. You can loot, torture and kill and it's OK, 'cause you're an American.
And then they turn around and claim that religion is the basis of all morals and should be forced on children in public schools. Maybe the connection between religion and morals is secret also, because I see no evidence of it in my reality-based world.
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Friday, November 23, 2007

The American Way of Life

Many people seem to believe that the American Way of Life is something that we've all enjoyed since the establishment of our country.
The ability to make a comfortable living at decent wages, and for eight hours a day, with weekends and holidays and some protections-this has only been around since about 1947, and mostly for white educated males who went along with the status quo. There was some opening up to women and minorities in the 70's, just in time for some people to establish enough security to weather the backlash against the working class unleashed by Reagan in the 1980s.
Most baby-boomers think of themselves as "middle class", because they were brought up in relative comfort, especially compared to their Depression era parents. But baby-boomers keep their standard of living by having more than one wage earner in the family, coupled with massive debt.
America's ruling class has always been willing to have it's working class dirt poor, ignorant and short-lived. They were pushed back by worker unrest in the 1930s, but they're coming back with a vengeance now. They want to dismantle what is left of the New Deal, the worker and environment protections of the 70s and, just for good measure, the rights established in the eighteenth century by the Bill of Rights.
We working class Americans won't get anywhere if we believe that our good life was bestowed upon us by benevolent bosses. It wasn't. Our ancestors fought for every scrap we have and we betray them by giving it up so easily.
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Making Americans Pay- A Modest Proposal

The Democrats have recalculated the cost of the Iraq invasion and occupation as about a trillion dollars, or $20,000 per American family, so far. We haven't paid it yet, of course. That's for our children and grandchildren.

There are those liberals who call for a resumption of the draft in order to stop the war. This always amazes me. Why would liberals be for what is clearly forced labor, combined with relocation, that is, government slavery? Their reasoning is even more bizarre. Their belief is that not enough Americans are dying to upset the rest of us. Their solution is to reinstate the draft so that enough young people will die to get the rest of us upset enough to stop the war. And these liberals consider themselves more moral than the conservatives who just want other people's children to die for profit. Of course, we all want to think of ourselves as moral, but the liberal chicken-hawks, willing to kill others for their twisted beliefs, don't qualify in my book.

Americans should pay for this war, but with money, not lives. Instead of spending your time trying to get forced conscription brought back, how about a pay-as-you-go war? Everyone knows that interest payments jack up the price of whatever you buy, so quit putting the occupation on a credit card. If everyone owes $20,000, make them pay now. I bet that would get more people against the war than forcing some people's children into the military. Of course, $20,000 is more than many people's annual income. So, let's make those who make more money pay more for the war. And no shelters. You want to occupy another country, you pay for it.

And, just for the hell of it, let's really get Americans' attention. All TV should have to be all-occupation-news, all the time. A big complaint of the troops is that no one in America even realizes a war is going on. The only way to make Americans notice something is to put it on TV. So Just Do It! Oh, and also no commercials.

If anyone complains about the constant war programming just point out that in Iraq, they don't even have electricity. (A version of I was sorry I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet that I'm sure all will appreciate)
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Monday, November 12, 2007

Freedom isn't Free?

It's time again for the ritual genuflection to the veterans that we go through more than annually in this country. So, Armistice Day is now Veteran's Day, Memorial Day is now Veteran's Day and Fourth of July is now Veteran's Day. Not to mention Flag Day. It is a thought crime to refer to anyone in the military, or who has ever been in the military, as less than a "hero". Oh, wait, unless they're now against war. Then they're no longer heroes. How can this be? What kind of alchemy turns someone who "served their country" into a traitor retroactively?

So we see recent "heroes" from Iraq, not just demoted from being heroes, but actually arrested in Boston for wanting to participate in the veteran's parade. It turns out that to be a real veteran you have to support any war that the commander-in-chief feels like starting -- even though our Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the exclusive power to declare war. (Anyone else remember that? That was actually debated in 1964; now it's not even brought up.)

Just having been in the military, or even being in combat apparently isn't enough to make you a "veteran." So doesn't that negate the other propaganda? The propaganda about the military supporting freedom and democracy by killing people in other countries, about freedom not being free, about thanking a veteran for your freedom, yada, yada, yada.

Actually, of course, freedom is free. It is the natural condition of humans, and people lived without oppression for most of human history. Even today, there are tribes left who live without government, taxes, prisons or the military.

It's oppression that is expensive. Having troops in 130 countries, producing and storing weapons of mass destruction, researching endless new ways to kill people, invading other countries, paying for soldiers and their dependents and their health care (uh, sort of) and their retirement -- it's all very expensive.

This whole manufactured idolatry of the military is fabricated by, and functions for, the ruling class. It's amazing that right wing crazies who despise big government and hate taxes, fall right into line when it comes to worshipping the oppressive arm of that government. And left wing peaceniks have been cowed into professing a love for the troops, but not their mission. As a Star Wars fan, I can't imagine scorning the Empire, but supporting the Death Star and the storm troopers.

Come on, people, the ruling class can't rule without oppressive enforcement. Those in the military must resist and refuse. Those against war should only support those who resist. Let the flag wavers idolize the true believers, those willing to kill without thinking.

Better still, let's try to get them, and the reflexive flag wavers, thinking. For a change.

Remember that most people love peace, not war. Armistice Day was originally about the desire for peace. It was proclaimed in 1938 as a day "dedicated to the cause of world peace". What happened? After World War ll, when the USA turned to the permanent war economy, and the Department of War became the Department of Defense, Armistice Day became Veteran's Day, officially in 1954. Around the same time, they added "In God we Trust" to the money and "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. In other words, the more war-like the US became, the more the elite hid behind God and eupehmisms -- which is appropriate, considering that both militarism and institutionalized religion ultimately rest on regimented, authoritarian modes of thought, and are diametrically opposed to Enlightenment and critical thinking.

Here's to a politics driven critical thinking, knowledge and reflection, not knee-jerk obedience and authoritarianism.
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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Collapsing economy

So China has announced that it is dumping the dollar. Maybe they decided that we weren't that great of a market, after all, since we keep returning their toys.

So what happens now? In the last great depression, the majority of people lived on farms, so not many people starved. Now, less than 1% live on farms. Uh, oh, we're in trouble. Plus, the corporations have moved the essential factories to cheaper labor countries. All we make here are weapons and hamburgers.

Maybe that's why Halliburton has been busy building detention camps. I have dismissed speculation that they were going to start rounding us up. Why would they go to the trouble? If there's no mass dissension, there's no point in locking up malcontents. We're harmless to the status quo.

But let people start starving, and they may lose interest in Brittany Spears and start paying attention to the men behind the curtain. Then the military, or Blackwater and DynCorp mercenaries, apply the oppressive tactics learned in less fortunate countries that Americans have ignored for decades. We may learn for ourselves just what is, and what isn't, torture.

Or, we just have the predicted epidemic, no doubt starting in the poorer parts of the country, and not quite reaching the rich. At least, that's my guess.
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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Waterboarding-is that all there is?

It wasn't until I watched the Democrats today on Democracy Now that I realized what is going on with the torture issue. Both the opponents and the proponents of torture are pretending that waterboarding is the only form of torture that the US is engaged in, and if it is stopped, the problem is solved.

This narrowing of the discussion is typical of Democrats in Congress. Watergate became merely "what did the President know and when did he know it?" about the break-in and nothing about the rest of the abuses of power.

Iran-Contra became merely about a single arms shipment, and not about the many abuses and illegalities of the Reagan administration.

Now the Democrats are focusing solely on waterboarding and ignoring the kidnapping, torturing, imprisonment without charges, spying, wiretapping, and all the other illegal activities of the Bush regime. I guess they feel that this is a major response to the Republicans, who focus on quibbling over the meaning of the word torture, which they consider forbidden speech. Their argument focuses on insisting that everyone use their approved phrase, "enhanced interrogation".

So we have an eloquent statement by Edward Kennedy about the Attorney General needing to uphold the law, but in the statement, he restricts his comments to waterboarding.

As Kennedy pointed out:

We are supposed to find comfort in the representation by a nominee to the highest law enforcement office in the country that he will, in fact, enforce the laws that we pass in the future? Can our standards really have sunk so low?

Enforcing the law is the job of the attorney general. It is a prerequisite, not a virtue that enhances the nominee's qualifications. Make no mistake about it: Waterboarding is already illegal under United States law.

Actually, Sen. Kennedy, all torture is illegal under US law, the Constitution, and international law. The US national security apparatus is breaking the law, and they should be prosecuted for war crimes. That's what you should be talking about here, and not merely one particular form of torture.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Make Mukasey Talk!

The spineless Democrats have caved in and agreed to let our Dear Leader have his way with us again. Now we get a third lawless attorney general. And the Spineless Ones have let him get away with refusing to answer questions on torture.

Isn't the answer obvious? Congress asks questions,and he refuses to answer. They need enhanced interrogation methods. Waterboard him-until he gives the intelligence we need to protect Americans from fascism. Not Islamo-fascism in this case. This would be the Cheney version.
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Monday, November 5, 2007

change your clocks, change your battery

Why the campaign to change your smoke alarm batteries every 6 months? Who's paying for this, the Eveready Corporation?
Batteries are toxic and shouldn't be dumped into the landfills, but you know most people do. It's bad enough to have dead batteries as toxic waste, but millions of perfectly good batteries tossed every 6 months? That's just wrong.
Smoke alarms beep when the battery needs changing. Wait for that cue, people.
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How to Destroy a Constitution

I don't understand why President General Musharraf of Pakistan bothered to declare a state of emergency and announce that he's suspending the constitution. It's bound to cause notice. Why doesn't he just do what Cheney/Bush and the Congress did and overthrow the Constitution without announcing it? That way almost no one pays attention, the people that do notice can be called non-patriots, and it goes altogether more swimmingly.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Threats to children

Here it is Halloween, and, once again, the warnings go out about razor blades in apples, and other threats to our children. Yearly, the mass media propagates the fear, even though it has been debunked multiple times. There has never been a child hurt by a razor blade in an apple. It doesn't matter, the drums of fear beat on.

Look out for razor blades in apples!, but ignore the pesticides, heavy metals, and additives you give them everyday, because there are powerful companies profiting from everyday poisoning. Don't eat unwrapped candy, but stuff them with wrapped junk food and fatty fast food.

We tell our children not to get into cars with strangers. Really, we should tell them not to get into cars, period. The number one killer of children, from birth to age 44, is automobiles.

That's right, if a stranger kills your child, it'll be with a car. If you kill your child, it'll be with a car.

If you really love your children, you should be lobbying your town to stop the road building and start sidewalk building. Stop the urban sprawl, and make compact, walkable towns that get the true killers off the streets.
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Monday, October 29, 2007

Biological Warfare

Remember a few years ago, when we were daily warned of the coming "bird flu"? Well, it appears they are still working on it.

WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL: "Flu lab nears completion"

Every year the CDC tries to figure out what this year's flu will be, so they can prepare vaccines. Usually, they guess right, but sometimes they get it wrong. So, if they have trouble forecasting this year's flu, from the strains that are already here, how can they be so sure that a disease of chickens in the far East will mutate and migrate here?

Perhaps because they are busily creating it in laboratories in America, such as this one in Austin, TX: Hybrid flu virus in near-miss escape - bird-flu.

They claim, of course, that this is for "defensive" purposes. Yeah, you dig up a corpse who died from the 1918 flu, and recreate that virus for "defense". How stupid do they think we are? Defense from what? From spontaneous regeneration of that flu from buried corpses?

People who don't believe in evolution are announcing that they know that a virus on the other side of the planet is going to evolve into a lethal virus and spread east to west to attack us. What birds migrate east to west? How do birds sick with a deadly flu manage to fly that far, even if they did migrate west? Anyone who thinks knows that this is ridiculous.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Evacuations in California and New Orleans

500,000 people have been evacuated in California, due to fires threatening to destroy their homes.

Coincidentally, that's the number that evacuated from New Orleans in 2005, due to flooding threatening to destroy their homes.

I saw pictures on the TV of the rich San Diego evacuees, in their stadium. It looked like a party, complete with buffet, set with overwhelming amounts of food. Too bad the poor New Orleans evacuees didn't get buffets. Actually, the Red Cross was told that they couldn't go in and feed the people in that stadium, because then they wouldn't leave. At that time, of course, the idea of totally depopulating a city because of a disaster was unheard of, but after 3 days of hunger, the people in the stadium lined up for the buses out.

Yes, people shouldn't live in a flood zone, and probably New Orleans should be rebuilt on higher ground, not back in the flood plain, but people shouldn't live up in dry mountains, either. Global warming makes hurricanes with floods, and drought with high winds and fire, more likely, and people are going to have to adjust.

But, how much do you want to bet that the rich will be allowed to rebuild in the mountains of California? They always have been. I grew up in LA, and the rich have had fires and mudslides as long as I can remember, and they always rebuilt, with help from the taxpayers. In other words, we poor people who lived down in the smog choked valley paid so the rich could go up into the cleaner air and dry brush of the mountains.

I say ship the rich evacuees of San Diego to a stadium in Houston, and then spread them out around the country, or stick them in trailer parks. Give them a $2,000 credit card, but then prosecute them for using it in 2 years. Fair is fair.
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stealing Social Security

My 401-K holder, Vanguard, sent me a cheery newsletter last week. They had an interview with an "expert" on Social Security. It was a question-answer format.

So, someone asked, what about the money that baby boomers have put into Social Security? Oh, she replied, causally, that is almost $2,000,000,000,000. But it's gone. The government spent it. She had some helpful suggestions for us- 1) Work until we're 70 or 75. 2) Stay healthy, so we don't need medical care. 3) Put lots of money in our 401-Ks. (How self serving is that?)

Two trillion dollars stolen, and we're supposed to say say, oh well? When the evil Reagan was president and started the tax cuts for the rich, coupled with massive deficit spending, that has been carried on and topped by the evil Bush, we baby boomers, then young whippersnappers, were told that there were too many of us, that our children wouldn't be able to pay for us when our time came. Up until then Social Security was paid to each retired generation by the generation then working. No problem. Reagan and Greenspan told us that we were too many to do that, that our generation would have to prepay our retirement. And our generation only.

So, since 1984, we have paid trillions more than was needed for our parents. This was supposed to go into a "trust fund". Then we would use it for our retirement, and when we were gone, it would go back to each generation paying for the previous generation.

Now they tell us that there isn't enough money to last past 2041. So? Most baby boomers will be dead by then. So they tell us that we can't have any of our money because it might run out? That's what it was supposed to do!

And just announcing that it was spent? (i.e. stolen). And that we have no right to it, because it was stolen? What kind of statement is that? If you borrowed a million dollars from a bank, and then when it came time to pay it back, announced that you had spent it, and you suggest that the bank make up for it by staying open on Sundays and holidays, because you didn't have it anymore, what do you think would happen?

Only the working poor pay full Social Security. If you make more than $75,000, you don't pay Social Security on any amount above that. That's ridiculous. Originally, only the rich paid income taxes. Now, the rich pay very little, and only the poor pay full Social Security. And then they want us to take what's left of our paycheck and give it to the stockbrokers who run our 401Ks. Vanguard sends me a letter every year recommending that I give a higher percent of my income to them. They recommend 20% or more. That's worse than churches.

I wonder if anyone actually falls for that. Probably. Won't they be surprised when the economy collapses and their retirement funds are gone. But Vanguard said that it would be a million dollars by the time I retired! You mean they lied? What a shock.
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Sen. Mike Gravel: Hillary, War with Iran is No Laughing Matter - Politics on The Huffington Post

Sen. Mike Gravel: Hillary, War with Iran is No Laughing Matter - Politics on The Huffington Post: "Hillary, I'm glad to see you got a good laugh when I confronted you during last week's debate over your vote calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard"

This is a great video. I am impressed with Mike Gravel and his outrage at the corporate favorite candidate-Hilary. All Democrats should be equally outraged, and unwilling to let the media tell us who our candidates will be in 14 months.

Gravel, Kucinich (and Ron Paul, on the Republican side) are considered "unviable" candidates. Why? The corporate media implies that it is because they don't have corporate backing. What does this mean in our so-called democracy? That even though Americans complain about the corporate domination of our country they must accept it without question? Sickeningly enough, they seem to. I went door to door for Kucinich in 2004, and it was disgusting how many people told me he was their favorite candidate, but they wouldn't vote for him (and this was the primary, not the general election), because he couldn't win, since he didn't have enough money. Where is the cognitive dissonance in this?

Now the Democrats have two truth tellers, and the Republicans have one. This is upsetting to the powers-that-be, and they are busily ignoring, and/or, trashing them. Have you seen accounts of the debates in the mainstream media? The Chicago Tribune had a picture of the Republicans in the last debate, somehow missing Ron Paul. And the news account they printed had no quotes from him. He was "disappeared" from history-the day after!

Perhaps this experience will wake people up to the farce that is American electoral politics. Candidate selection is rigged, media coverage is rigged, and the voting machines are rigged.

God bless our freedom! Let's go kill some poor children somewhere to celebrate democracy!
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Monday, October 1, 2007

bombing Iran

Quit letting the Bushites create reality!! All the talk about bombing Iran or not is letting the Bushits set the agenda.
There are the crazies who insist that Iran's quest for the bomb deserves an attack by the only country that has ever actually used the atomic bomb, because we are morally superior. How twisted is that?
But the opposition insists that we need "diplomatic pressure". This is bullshit again. We go through this every time! The inspectors have announced that there is no evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon. This is ignored by the mainstream anti-war establishment, the self-proclaimed "reality-based community". In real reality, there should be no argument about how to deal with Iran, because there is no threat from Iran. The threats are, in reality, coming from the USA.
And, of course, no one asks the obvious question, why does the USA get to choose who can posess the nuclear bomb? The US has more bombs than any other country, by far, it refuses inspections, it has announced that it will break the treaties it has signed by developing new nuclear weapons, AND, as mentioned, it is the only country that has actually used them. On civilians, yet. Why is it just accepted by "both sides" in the corporate media that the US is in any way qualified to pass judgement on other countries?
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Monday, September 24, 2007

Police state, tasers and iPhones

The recent videos of police tasering a questioner in Florida raise a couple of questions.
Number one is, how should the bystanders have reacted? They were watching someone be brutalized by police for the crime of exercising his right to free speech. I have heard people say that he was rude, so he deserved to be tasered. Those people clearly do not believe in the Bill of Rights, and will be quite happy in the new police state.
But, what can we do if we object to police brutality? No one wants to get involved if they are going to be tasered or arrested. But what if the entire audience had gotten up and peacefully blocked the doorway, so that the police couldn't have dragged him off to jail?
We need to think about this, because there will be more and more oppression as the economy collapses and people protest.
The other thing is, what about the video phones that were used to document this repression?
My son recently bought a iPhone. It has numerous bells and whistles. It is very technologically advanced- but it doesn't have a video camera on it. Why not? My co-workers have chocolate phones. They are spiffy. No video cameras on them either. Why do the new phones not have what the old phones have? Could it be that the ruling class is cracking down on citizens being able to document and report on events? When we are not totally dependent on the corporate media for our news, it's potentially damaging to the powers that be.
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Sunday, September 23, 2007

MTV watching

So I'm watching TV on a Sunday and I watch like 2 weeks of a show "So you think you can dance". It's one of those shows that have dancers competing and getting thrown off one at a time. I actually think that these shows are put on to desensitize viewers to other people's pain and embarrassment while they are being humilated. But that's not my point today.
This one had a number where they danced to a song called "Waiting for the world to get better". And they wore shirts with peace signs on them. And at the end, they flashed a peace sign. I thought, well, that's something you don't see on TV much.
Damn straight. The next show started with mea culpas, and apologies and heartfelt expressions of support for the troops and declarations of respect for our boys in uniform, etc, etc, etc.
We don't need to bother with show trials in America. Americans don't have the attention span for that. Someone clearly called those folks in and tried, judged and sentenced them to recite their patriotic mantras.
One of the judges was British, and he did the whole, "our countries are fighting together" thing. But he expressed a little puzzlement that people could object so strongly to words like, peace, and love, and humility.
Hah! He hasn't been in America long. Expressing desire for peace is a major thought crime, unless it's Christmas time. At Christmas, you can call for a vague peace on earth, but you can't be specific, for pete's sake. Christmas is for worshipping the Prince of Peace, and buying lots of stuff, not actually trying to live in peace , or anything as subversive as that.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Looting large and small

I've decided that the rest of the world, and not just my personal circle, needs the benefit of my opinions. My friend Dave assures me that there are people out there who care. We will see.

My job just sent me a letter telling me that the Federal Government wants them to take away 1% more a paycheck to my 401K. They are doing it automatically, unless I send a written protest, and I have to renew it every year.

Clearly, the government is trying to funnel more money to their stock market contributors. They tried to get ahold of the billions of Social Security funds, and that didn't work out, so they're now going for the higher hanging fruit. No amount is too small for them to siphon away from the working class to the monied class.

And 47,000,000 uninsured Americans? Normal people see this as a problem of health care. Not the insurance companies. They see 47,000,000 people not paying $12,000/year for insurance. That's a lot of money they're not getting. So when voters call for full health care coverage, their "representatives" show who they really answer to, and vote to force everyone to buy insurance by law. So instead of single payer health care, we get criminalization of inability to afford health insurance.

No amount is too big and no amount is too small for the greedy bloodsuckers of the ruling class.
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