Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How Sean Hannity Destroyed Christmas

As a life long atheist, I never minded people wishing me a "Merry Christmas". I would even return the pleasantery, although I never initiated it.

But I went to Rural King the other day and the cashier wished me a merry christmas, and I was instantly suspicious. Was this just a friendly person? Or an aggressive christian pushing her religion on me? Was this a premptive assault by a right-wing christian who thinks that she is under attack by militant atheists? And if so, should I return fire by sneering at her assumption that I was a christian, or would that justify her paranoia? Was this a store policy, instituted in response to the campaign by right wing talk show hosts against stores that tried to be more inclusive of American diversity by saying "Happy Holidays" instead of the sectarian "Merry Christmas"?

How sad that a time of year that used to be festive and friendly, the one time of the year that christians at least paid lip service to the ideals of peace on earth and good will to all, has been turned into another battlefield. How delightful it used to be for me, as a peace loving humanist, to have one month when the rest of the country pretended to believe in peace and good will.

That's gone now. They have spread division and hostility among us. Divide and conquer. Argue over words and forget the decency once extolled.

So in order not to further division, I muttered "You too". And moved on.
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Health Care in America

Obama has pledged more for computers to "modernize" the health care industry than to pay for poor people's health care.

The plan is to have a nationwide computer network with every American's private medical information in it. What could be the downside to that?

Newsweek has an article about the whistleblower who tried to warn America that the Bush administration was spying on their every electronic word. (As an aside, the way they spin it is disgraceful. Quoting "both sides" means giving equal weight to the spying lying deceivers, who hide their misdeeds under "national security" and those who realize that you cannot have a free country in which the government has secrets while the people have none).

In this case, the government spied and then Congress, to their utmost disgrace, changed the law to make it retroactively legal.

But the groundwork had been set when the telecommunications sector consolidated and the means to spy on everyone was physically made possible. Remember the old days, when a "bug" on a telephone had to be physically placed there? When technology made it possible to spy on everyone, everyone became spied upon.

I work in the medical industry. Patient confidentiality was always a rule. Heck, patients couldn't look at their own charts! It was always unethical to reveal confidential material.

But now we have the HIPAA law, ostensibly to "protect" patient privacy, but not really. Like so many of recent laws, this is a misnomer, a subterfuge, a back door to open patient records to people who didn't have that right before. Check it out, especially the part about "national security or intelligence purposes" (page 13) and "proper exectution of a military mission" (page 8). Now we have a stupid situation where we can't tell a patient's grandma that he's there, but we can tell the cops and the military!

But here's the thing - there is no national computer network of medical information for the spies to tap into. In this case, we have the law making it legal to spy, but no physical means to do so. This is what Obama wants to change.

For those who are opposed to governmental spying, and not only because they don't want groups of spy grunts giggling over their phone sex recordings, having a national network of medical information is not a good idea for privacy! Remember that Nixon had to have burgulars physically break into Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office for his records. What they want is for the NSA to be able to read everyone's private medical information without leaving Maryland.

Obama selling this as a money saver is ludicrous, on a par with the threat that Saddam Hussein could drop a mushroom cloud on Chicago!

My not being able to access medical records in Oregon, or vice versa, has nothing to do with the price of medical care. It is absurd to claim such a thing.

Mainstream media won't point out the obvious - this is being sold to us on false pretenses and will make us pay billions, again, for our own oppression.

Are we going to wait for the whistleblower from the future to point out the abuses of this system or are we going to stop it now? Oppose the national computerized medical data system!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Health in America

This is titled Health in America instead of Health Care in America, because they are two different things. When I went to Obama's website to give my opinion on healthcare, most of the people were talking about providing health insurance for all, as if that would make Americans healthy. The argument was over single payer vs forced insurance company payments.

I pointed out that our system breeds unhealthy people. Although I am for a single payer system, we need to provide for American's health in other ways, coincidentally saving tax money in other ways than in paying insurance companies to cover payment for injury and sickness care, (what we in America think of as health care).

The car centered lifestyle that Americans are pushed into by public policy needs to change. Stop the subsidies to the auto industry, and I don't mean the direct bailout of corporations. Billions of dollars for decades have gone to build roads and highways, instead of rail. Zoning laws encourage suburban sprawl, with taxpayer subsidies to the developers to put in roads, sewers, water, electricity, and other public utilities, so that people live miles from where they work, and have no public way to get to their jobs. Their children grow up in isolation and unable to walk or take public transportation to school, play or entertainment. Thus, we have "soccer moms", a term invented for the private chauffeurs that each child needs to go to their programmed exercise. The rest of the time they play video games, because it is unsafe to play outside, due to speeding cars.

Much of military spending goes to secure and defend oil supplies, costing billions more to pay for the military, and costing billions more in health care for injured and disabled veterans.

We spend billions of dollars on police to enforce (ha) traffic laws, and paramedics to scrape people off the roads and pull their mangled bodies out of cars. Over 40,000 people a year are killed in car crashes, with hundreds of thousands more crippled and injured, including head injuries and spinal cord injuries, which cost billions for rehab. We spend billions on ERs to receive the wounded and pass them on to surgery or ICUs.

Cars are the number one cause of death in America until age 44. After that, it's heart disease, caused by the obesity and lack of exercise that dependence on the automobile causes.

Parents are terrified of kidnapping and murder, but if a stranger kills your child, the odds are that it will be with a car. If you kill your own child, it will probably be with a car. Two children a week are literally run over by their own parents, and hundreds more die in car crashes.

Then there are the corn subsidies. In 1973, Earl Butz changed Depression era policies of farm and price supports. Instead of the government trying to keep prices even by paying for fallow land during high prices and buying excess grain to store during low prices, the federal government began subsidizing corn production. The resulting glut of corn led to cheap feed for animals, leading to the cruel factory farming and industrial slaughter that billions of animals now suffer. The cheap feed also makes it cheap for fast food chains to sell the dead animals, chopped, shaped and deep fried in corn oil. It led to the bankruptcies of family farmers and the consolidation of agribusiness. It led to farms that are miles wide, with giant machines and the chemicals it takes to poison the land of native plants in order to plant miles of corn. And it has led to the obesity epidemic in the USA, which grew at the same pace that agribusiness did. I recommend the film "King Corn" which interviews an unrepentant Earl Butz. Seeing mountains of corn that 1970s silos are unable to hold, he sees abundance and celebrates the ease in which agrifarmers are able to grow it, unlike the backbreaking work that farming was in his childhood. (And you can see his point).

But. Obesity causes health care costs to skyrocket. There are people so obese in this country that they are unable to walk. Diabetes is skyrocketing, even in children. And, of course, the number one killer of Americans over age 44 is heart disease.

We could save money by stopping perpetual roadbuilding, cutting military spending, stopping the agribusiness subsidies and switching to single payer health care, instead of having 30% of all "health care" dollars go to insurance companies.

So, that's what I wrote on Obama's website. His answer? He announced that he will use Federal tax dollars to force states to build more roads, bridges and schools (by which he means building schools outside of town, and busing kids to them). If the states refuse to spend the money this way, they don't get it.

I conclude that it was a waste of my time to participate in this illusion of democracy. There are vested interests that want to keep their subsidies coming, and Obama was selected to keep the money flowing from the poor to the rich.
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Factory Takeover

The Republic Window and Door factory tried to shutter its doors last Friday, but the workers refused to leave. They are still there. They are demanding to be paid their vacation time and severance pay. The corporation is blaming the closing on Bank of America, and the workers seem to be falling for that line. But a corporation that has to borrow money for payroll is not a viable business. Could it be that they simply have other plans?

Obama has come out in favor of paying the workers the time owed them. For this he is hailed as a pro-worker hell-raiser.
Jesse Jackson speaks and compares the workers to MLK and Rosa Parks, you know, because sitting at lunch counters and on buses is also sitting down. Others remember the sit down occupations of GM in the 30s, when workers were demanding unionization.

How about mentioning other history? What about workers taking over and operating factories cooperatively, in Seattle, France, Spain, Portugal and Argentina - to mention a few?

This is America, where public land giveaways and tax breaks are sold to the public as "creating jobs". Where a prison or a military base can never be closed, because jobs might be lost. But when a corporation wants to close a factory, there is never a word raised against it. There may be frowny faces on the talking heads of the corporate media, showing concern for the devastated workers, but never a hint that there may be a different solution.

The Republic Window and Door corporation recieved tax breaks from the public. That means that the public has an investment in that factory.

The company owes pay to the workers. That means that the workers are its creditors. The factory is an asset that should be turned over to its creditors - the workers. And they should be able to operate it as a cooperative, with profits shared among them, instead of turned over to the bankrupt (as claimed) owners.

Addendum: The sleight of hand worked. Successfully blaming the Bank of America for the shutdown of the factory,instead of the factory owners (who just bought another factory in Iowa), led to a deal struck where each worker recieves that which, by law, they should have gotten anyway. And it is hailed as a massive victory for workers. They are still unemployed, but they got their vacation time. Wow! Solidarity Forever!
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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One World Government

Right wingers are terrified of the coming one world government, which they imagine as UN troops in America, and different money. Left wingers tend to be more complacent. They picture a world of harmony, with the UN as a cooperative family of nations solving problems without war.

Actually, we already have one world government. It's just more like the Ottoman Empire than Nazi Germany.

The corporations rule the world, but kind of loosely. As long as they get their tributes, they let many of their subjects live their lives relatively undisturbed.

Of course, the WTO does make life miserable for those who won't or can't pay their tributes. And the unfortunate beings who live in the way of "progress" lose their land, their livelihoods or their lives. But who pays attention to them? Note the media spotlight on India last weekend when the rich were attacked. The poor of India have been under attack for decades. Corporate media doesn't report on what one world corporate government, or "globalization", does to poor people.

What happens with organized resistance? The hit team is used. The US, global death squad for corporatism, comes in and kills for money. (Killing for money, of course, is widely accepted in the US. It's only news when someone is killed for an inadequate amount. "Cab driver killed for $3.00". That is clucked at. Imagine. Only three dollars! Outrageous!)

So here's the new Obama team. Outraged progressives are pointing out that Obama is picking prowar colleagues. Well, duh. Isn't that what Nader and McKinney said would happen? Obama is saying clearly that the US military will still be used to further US interests, which, of course, are corporate interests, not the interests of the American people. He's on board with the US military as hit squad for capitalism, as General Smedley Butler pointed out so many years ago.

I would call this Team B, but it's really Team A, since the neocons literally picked the label B for themselves in the 80s.

Naked imperialism is considered gauche by the sophisticated members of Team A. The problem with Bush and his gang is that their greed and viciousness was out in the open.

Team A prefers to use the rhetoric of human rights. This is a very important propaganda vehicle which many liberals fall for. Many Democrats, to this day, defend the attack on Yugoslavia, for example, as an example of the US stopping genocide. But what the US did was to use "human rights" as a way of illegally breaching national soverignity. This is a breach of international law. The US was ignoring national borders and invading militarily the way the corporations invade economically. Yugoslavia was resisting corporate invasion, so the US went in and fomented division and then literally invaded when Serbia remained defiant. I recommend Noam Chomsky's "The New Military Humanism", Michael Mandel's "How America Gets Away With Murder", and Jean Bricmont's "Humanitarian Imperialism:Using HumanRights to Sell War" by for a fuller explanation of this very important subject. Or start with this link.

Richard Holbrooke, Obama's pick to be "special envoy" to Southeast Asia, has been talking human rights for years, while he supported Marcos in the Phillipines, helped Indonesia kill hundreds of thousand of East Timorese, and helped to destroy Yugoslavia by sabotaging peace efforts.

Rwanda is often used by apologists for humanitarian intervention. The lie is that the US "failed" to stop the genocide. No. The US suceeded in stopping the UN from stopping the genocide. The chutzpah of Team A in stopping UN intervention and then using the following genocide as reason to invade other countries is amazing.

Get ready for Obama and Team A to use humanitarian intervention as excuses for US imperialism. Interestingly enough, the Rwanda situation led to the Congo Civil War, ignored by the corporate media for all these years, while we heard constantly about the Darfur situation. Why is this? The Rwanda government was supported by the US in its interference in the Congo. And the Congo riches were available to American corporations.

Note that we are now hearing about the misery of the Congolese people. Why the sudden concern? Is the US ready to move in and take a more active role in extracting Congo resources? What is the purpose of the Africa Command? Something fishy is going on here!

Contrary to the beliefs of right wingers, the UN is not the vehicle for one world government. The UN charter upholds national sovereignty and international law forbids military aggression. The one world government being forced into place by corporations, and by US and NATO military aggression is happening while the right wing uses the UN as a mass distraction.
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Living in Fantasyland

When we were kids, my sister and I used to wish we could hide on Tom Sawyer's Island and live in Disneyland. That never happened, but now I feel like I'm living in Disneyland. Not in Adventureland, but in Fantasyland. I am being urged to believe six impossible things before breakfast, just like the Red Queen.

The two year election is over, and there is great joy around the country - for we have elected Tweedle-Dum, who will bring peace, prosperity and joy, unlike that rotten Tweedle-Dee, who so clearly was a worse evil.

But now the media steps up to the task of tamping expectations, for the true rulers of Fantasyland see no profit in peace and generalized prosperity. Luckily, they have honed the art of manipulating public opinion, and are up to the task. We are told that war brings peace, that ignorance is the wisdom of the common person, and that black and white combined make black. We are told that we are the greatest country in the world and that the whole world looks up to us as a shining city, and that it's our role to bring democracy to all, or at least to the survivors of our attacks. Other countries have national health care, but not us, because we are free. Other countries have maternity leave, and vacation time, but that's for wimps.

In fairy tales, magic spells are placed and they can't be broken, except by special deeds or people. Now we are being told, with great solemnity, that Bush can make royal decrees that can't be undone by Obama. What? I don't believe it. But I'm apparently the only one who doesn't. Left wing media, right wing media - they all accept that this is true. Think about this. What kind of magic does Bush have that can't be undone by Obama? Why can Obama reverse the stem cell spell, but not the environmental protection spell? He can close Guantanamo, but not save polar bears? What kind of law is this?

The law has always been used by the rich against the poor. There are laws that seem universal, but really only will be broken by the poor. "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread". –Anatole France, Le Lys rouge ch. vii (1894).

There are laws which cover small crimes and ignore big crimes. At the same time that Congress was giving $700 billion to Wall Street bankers, two guys robbed a local bank in my town. Guess which got more news coverage?
Biased laws have been around for a while. Remember the poem protesting the enclosure laws in England, when peasants lost the right to use the commons.
"The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose."

But to me it seems even worse now. The FISA law, which said that people who broke the law were retroactively not guilty. What? The prisoner in Guantanamo, convicted of breaking a law which wasn't written until he'd been in prison for two years. What? Not only are we being told that Bush can make royal decrees that can't be undone, we are being told that he can premptively pardon his co-conspirators for crimes for which they have not yet been indicted. What? The media is saying with great assurance that the rich and powerful are not subject to the law. Not because the law is written to protect them, but because they have the power to alter the laws, to retroactively and to premptively create innocence where there is clearly guilt.

No. I protest.
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A Certain Kind of Man

Yesterday, my ER treated a man who was cutting a tree down when a limb fell on him. He was a typical good 'ol boy, big and beefy and dressed in hunting camoflauge. His family was gathered around his bed.

His face was swollen and he had two black eyes. Jokingly, I said, "Looks like you fought a tree, and the tree won", which is a reference to a song that most of us know.

Apparently I insulted his redneck manhood, because he fired back, "I won. That tree is dead and I'm still alive!"

His male family members chipped in to defend him. "Yeah, that tree is dead. And it's in little pieces. It's not going to do anything to him anymore".

I could not believe these people. We were talking about a tree! And they were boasting about besting it!

Good thing I didn't bring up the occupations.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freedom isn't Free?

I decided to reprint my last year's Armistice Day offering, because we are still living in a militaristic society. Obama genuflects to the military like every other corporate candidate. I am updating the end because we have a new example of the hypocrisy toward the heroes this year - the Iraq vets arrested and trampled under horse hooves at the last debate.

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.
Posted by Greener Than Thou at 4:44pm

Here's a link to Democracy Now reporting on the trials of the victims of police brutality at the debate.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Looking on the Bright Side

In honor of Nader Enthusiast I will try to look on the bright side. Here goes.

Those of us who pay attention have been a little freaked out about the KBR contract to build concentration camps. We have been so sure that we are a threat to the Man that we will be rounded up and shipped off in the very near future.

Ha! This election sure fooled us! Turns out we are absolutely no threat to the powers that be. Millions of people who long for peace and believe in preserving the environment and want all the little children of the world to be fed were easily persuaded to vote for a man who promises to enlarge the military, and invade more countries and talks about clean coal and nuclear power and votes for subsidies to the grain producers who dump grain onto third world countries in order to wipe out their small farmers and push GMO seeds onto the rest. They paid absolutely no attention to those of us who pointed out reality.

In the book "They Thought They Were Free", Milton Mayer talks about a preacher in a small town in Germany who gave a rip-roaring sermon against Hitler every Sunday all through the entire Third Reich. Nothing ever happened to him. His sermons were ineffectual and he was allowed to continue.

So, we don't have to worry about the concentration camps! Oh, happy day.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wall Street Kicks Main Street's Ass, Courtesy of Madison Avenue

Last month, Americans were furious that Congress was handing Wall Street $700 billion of future American earnings.

Yesterday, a record turnout of Americans voted for one of the two candidates that had voted for the bailout. 99% of all votes went to Barack Obama or John McCain.

Unbelievable. How did this happen? Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney combined didn't add up to a million voters. How can so many people be so deluded? More people voted for an American theocracy than voted for the Green Party's key values of peace, justice, grassroots democracy and enviromental wisdom.

I canvassed for the Green Party, but not as much as I should have. Although, what's the point? Every Obama voter I talked to seemed to believe that he was for peace and the common man. And I live in Illinois! Clearly, people are not paying attention! Don't confuse Americans with the facts, man, they prefer to believe that Barack Obama will bring peace, prosperity, lollipops and roses.

Naomi Klein talks about advanced capitalism and its promotion of brands. No need for facts or logic or persuasion . Just flash the brand and people bond with it. A slogan "Change you can believe in" that 52% of the country placed their hopes and dreams in and 48% their fears. Less than 1% of us were skeptical enough to point out that the phrase was meaningless, a blank slate that consumers, er, voters, could fill out as these pleased. And then there is "Yes, we can". Am I the only one who remembers those Mobil advertisements - "Do people care? Yes, people do!" (The things that people "cared about" rotated, but they were always worthwhile, much like the things inspiring the "Yes, we can" chanting).

The packaging of this candidate was flawless. We are so far along the road of mindless stimulus/response to empty phrases that 99% of our voting population falls for it. And there were fewer abstainers this election than usual.

So we have people swooning in Grant Park, certain that we have opened the door to a better life. I'm listening to community radio, and the DJs are celebrating the victory as if peace is just around the corner. This for the candidate that promises to send more troops to Afghanistan, where the troops already there just attacked yet another wedding party, killing 90 people. The candidate whose running mate openly called for ethnic cleansing in Iraq, to divide it into three parts. Both candidates threaten Russia.

I'm depressed.
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Monday, November 3, 2008

Never Mind

The other day, I predicted that if the Republicans stole the election this time, we would have "investigative journalism" rectifying the matter.

Today, on Democracy Now, Mark Crispin Miller reported that Mike Connell is testifying today in Ohio about the stolen election of 2004.

Bob Fritrakis reported on Mike Connell earlier this year. He is a longtime Republican operative, with connections to the Bush family and many other right-wingers. The election returns from Ohio were routed through Tennessee, where Mike Connell had servers.

So if Mike Connell is tied up in court, will the computers record the votes as cast? We won't need investigative journalists if the election isn't stolen. Can one man determine the outcome of a Presidential election? I guess so, if it's Antonio Scalia, or Mike Connell.

Check out the Fritrakis link for the info on the House firewalls that Connell set up. The Judicial, Intelligence, Ways and Means, Financial services and Administration committees had their websites set up by Connell. Does this explain why impeachment is off the table? Why no investigation of executive branch crimes are being done? If Connell has access to House members emails, I guess he knows things that they don't want made public. Information is power.

And, we, the American people, are kept in the dark and fed bullshit. It will be much easier to stop the election theft than work to expose it. Keeping the puppetmaster otherwise occupied will apparently suffice.
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Just a Thought

I read a great book called "They Thought They Were Free". Part of it has been quoted widely in the last few years. (With good reason).

But there was a sentiment expressed by one man that made me think. Of course, I was brought up, like every other American, with great scorn for the "good German", the German who didn't protest, the one who said that they didn't know what was going on. Milton Mayer asked one man why he didn't notice that the jews were disappearing, and he said that he thought they moved.

That made me think. I live in a town which has a substantial percentage of African Americans. I think it's about 1/3. They live all over, but there is one part of town that is almost completely black. Like the jews in Germany, they have their own churches, although we all use the same stores. (Except I won't go to WalMart). If they started disappearing, would I notice? Would I think that something diabolical was going on? Or would I think, if I noticed, that they had just moved?

After Katrina, I really wondered. A whole stadium of poor people, starved for three days, willing and eager to get on those buses out of town. And then the Astrodome, emptied in days. How would we know if they really all went to trailer parks? Just asking this question sets you up for ridicule, believe me. I have no reason to suspect foul play, other than a deep suspicion of the Bush administration, but just asking people the question upsets them. Now I can totally believe that any German who had suspicions would keep it to themselves.

There was a great Far Side cartoon, where a shocked looking cow says "I just found out how they make hamburger!" and the other cows say "Conspiracy theorist!"

Yesterday, I went canvassing in the projects near where my children's old junior high school was. The school has been torn down now, and rebuilt outside of town. They have plans to build a giant police station on the vacant lot. (This for a town of 26,000 people).

Anyway, the projects used to be full of people. I haven't been over there since my kids left junior high. They were almost empty! Where did everyone go? It wasn't obvious until we went up to each door which were empty and which still had people in them. If you just drove by, you'd still see black folks outside, but not nearly as many as before.

Just wondering.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

If You Have a Hammer, Everything Must Be a Nail

Chinese media is discussing a Rand Report which calls for another, bigger, better war to stave off the impending recession according to the Alex Jones radio show. Apparently, the Chinese feel they may be targets. I have felt the same thing for a while. Here we are, totally dependent on China for our trinkets and other, more necessary commodities, not to mention that their loans keep us financially afloat, and we're trash talking them like a pro wrestler before a match. That makes absolutely no sense, unless the US plans to pay back the loans with cruise missiles - delivered by air.

Or,maybe the potential target is Russia. The attack by Georgia on Russian peacekeeping troops in South Ossetia was a major provocation by any rational (that is, non-corporate media) standards. Russia made the connection, difficult as it was for American media, between US troops training Georgian troops in the use of American weapons in the months before the invasion, and the actual invasion.

Russian warships were then sent to Venezuela, home of Bush's arch-enemy, Hugo Chavez. What would President Diablo (as Hugo and I refer to Bush) do?

OIl prices have now dropped to new lows. They are spinning it as a reaction to the coming recession, but is that it? Russia AND Venezuela are dependent on oil for their balance of payments. Low oil prices in the 80s helped bring the USSR to an end. Could it bring down two of the Sulfur-Smelling One's enemies now?

The economic attack on Russia, plus the physical threats, the missiles on the borders, the addition of Soviet Bloc countries into NATO, the continual propaganda against Russia put out by the corporate media (supplied by the Pentagon?), all add up to serious provocation. Why?

Is it possible that the solution to hopeless debt and looming recession in the USA will be war? Well, 60 years of increasing militarization of our previously isolationist population, trillions of dollars spent on weapons of mass destruction, years of bellicose foreign policy and saber rattling, rather predispose us to killing our way out of problems.

Add to this Biden warning big money contributors to Obama that they will not like what Obama will do once in office, and I'd place a bet that the US is getting ready to blow up big chunks of our planet to avoid paying its debts.

But I don't personally bet. That is done for me by the Congress.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Coming Soon? Watergate Redux

Those of us who have paid attention know that elections have been stolen since 2000, but there has been a corporate media blackout. Suddenly, the mainstream media has discovered that there is fraud, fraud! in our elections. What's going on?

In 1973-74, the East Coast media and the Congress went after Richard Nixon, who had won a landslide election the year before. Those of us who hated Tricky Dick were thrilled at the justice of it all. We were told that "the system worked", and that crimes of state would be punished, and that media was an alert watchdog keeping an eye on those in power. And for a while, I believed.

Now I believe that that scenario was a bunch of hooey. I think that Tricky Dick was right and "they" were after him. I don't know what he did, but he royally pissed off part of the ruling class, and they got rid of him. He had Spiro Agnew as his impeachment insurance, but that insurance was as good as flood insurance in New Orleans, when it was decided to dump him.
Sprio Agnew was gone in weeks, and Establishment favorite, Gerald Ford was placed in waiting.

Then I watched the media play up the hostages in Iran in 1979. Day after day, we were treated to updates and countdowns. There have never been, before or since, such important hostages. And so, bye-bye, Jimmy. Hello Ronald Reagan, the man the media tell us us to this day that "we" all loved. (Which sends me into sputtering fury whenever I am so informed.)

How will this election play out? It seems very clear to me that Obama is their man. But, apparently, there are rogue elements in the Republican Party apparatus who seem determined to steal another election, even though the ruling class wants to play Team B this time. The repubs are using the same dirty tricks that they used the last few times. Caging, voter suppression, voting machine tampering, etc.

Well. They weren't supposed to do that this time. So, here's my guess. If they manage to "elect" McCain, we will see a massive media "expose'" of voting fraud. All that has been ignored for the last 6 years will suddenly be discovered and uncovered. There will be Pulitizer Prize winning reporters who will be lauded for years to come, like Woodward. (But those reporters won't be the ones that have been on this story, like Bob Fritrakis, Brad Freeman and Bev Harris, of course.)
60 Minutes will be on it. It will even be on your local network station.

And the most disgusting part? The part where they congratulate the system for working!
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Monday, October 6, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let A Judge Set the Bail, Not the Congress

  Congress continues to debate how to bail out the speculators on Wall Street.   What's the problem?  Usually the judge sets the bail, and the family raises the money.  Why are we, the American people, involved?

  There are goat herders and taxi drivers who have been sitting in Guantanamo Bay for over seven years, with no bail set yet, let alone a trial date.  And surely not a one of them has caused as much destruction as the Masters of Wall Street, so far.   The only one at Guantanamo who did get a trial was tried on a crime that was made illegal two years after he'd been imprisoned. (This is a variation on the theme of this Congress, who made George W. Bush's felony of spying on the American people legal-seven years later).   Surely, if they can't come up with a crime that these titans have committed, they can retroactively make one that fits.

  The massive speculation that has been going on for the last few years has all kinds of names that I don't understand, like credit derivatives and such, but I can certainly understand what has happened.  It's a Ponzi scheme, gone wild.  And I can understand that Ponzi schemes are illegal and doomed to collapse.   (Follow the link I provided to get the official US government SEC statement on that).

   But the last ones to invest in a Ponzi scheme are the ones who are ripped off the most.  And that's why Henry Paulson is threatening Congress.  He wants the American people to be left holding the bag.

  And here's the thing.  Congress is going along with it!   Democrats posture by claiming to put restrictions on it.  Like limiting the salaries of the crooks to $73 million a year!  Are they joking?  Sadly, no.

  Some are sternly demanding "shares" for our money that we've invested.   "Shares" are pretty pieces of paper that corporations used to give out when people invested in them.  My mom showed me some that her father had bought.

  This shouldn't be that hard to understand.   Now they're working a shell game on us to get us to invest in the Ponzi scheme.

   Follow the pea.   This speculation was all based on MORTGAGE-BACKED securities.  These MORTGAGE-BACKED securities were repackaged and sold, again and again until the amount they were being sold for had absolutely no bearing on the value of the actual MORTGAGES that were supposedly BACKING them.  That's how AIG got involved.  Remember the insurance company that we bailed out last week?   They were insuring the worthless MORTGAGE BACKED securities. 

   These are the same MORTGAGES that are now coming due, and that Henry Paulson says are worthless, so the families that have been paying into them should be thrown out onto the street.    

    So the MORTGAGES that are so worthless that families deserve to become homeless are the same MORTGAGES that the American people are being forced into buying, (marked up trillions of dollars) from the investment speculators, because they are too big to fail.  

     No, they're not.  Some of them have already failed.   Some have already written off billions of dollars.   Henry Paulson is trying to save his old employer, Goldman Sachs, by putting one more layer of suckers into the scheme.   And he's probably got a back-up place on an island somewhere for when the American dollar fails.

     Lehman Brothers sold its mortgages for pennies on the dollar when it went under.   Let the others fail.  That's what a "free market" is.  But sell the mortgages back to the homeowners at reduced prices as part of the restructuring deal, whether a solvent bank or the government takes them over.

      That way people can stay in their homes.   Whoever buys the mortgages will have them paid off.   We won't have to deal with millions of homeless and hundreds of thousands of vacant houses in America.

     And we can throw the bums in jail and let their families bail them out!


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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Why Save Capitalism?

Most Americans are surprised at the collapse of capitalism.   I'm surprised it took so long.

I was brought up with 19th century beliefs, and Depression era values.   My parents suffered greatly as children in the Depression.   They expected another depression at any time, and passed that along to us children.

I was taught that capitalism couldn't work, because it relied on profits to continue, and that there would always come a time when profits would decrease, since the workers weren't paid the full value of their labor, and so were unable to buy enough back to keep profits coming to the capitalists.   

But the genius of capitalism that we keep hearing about has kept it going for a century more than expected by 19th century dreamers.   Two world wars and the great depression destroyed a lot of productive capacity, and the rebuilding after those disasters made it seem as if capitalism was booming.  All you have to do is disregard the human misery caused by these tragedies, and it appears that all was well.

The military-industrial complex created much "value" that didn't have to be bought back by the producers and brought foreign dollars eager to buy the weapons of mass destruction that Americans produced.  And the cheap labor and materials that America's military power provided the homeland made US worker's wages go farther.

Cheap foreign labor and endless credit seemed to work.  Even though people have been warning that this can't last, it certainly seemed to go on long past the time it should have collapsed.   Here's a warning from TWO years ago that it was all about to blow!

Now we're being told that the whole problem is greedy Americans who wanted to buy houses they couldn't afford.   No, that's not the problem.  

The problem is that Americans were given loans that were then packaged and resold again and again.   Obviously, a loan for, say, $500,000, which is resold to speculators until it is "worth" $5,000,000 isn't really worth $5,000,000, because even if the loan resets at a higher rate, the homeowner can't pay that much money.  Especially because half of working Americans make less than $40,000 a year.  But the world economy has been propped up by this creation of "wealth" for the last 8 years, at least.

Back to basics.  How can a people who make less than $40,000/year support the world's economy?  No matter how little the Chinese workers make, at some point America can't buy their products.

And how can Americans who can't pay their mortgages pay enough taxes to buy out AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc, etc, etc?   The personal debt of Americans used to equal to the public debt (until last week).   

These government buyouts are pretending that people who can't pay their credit card bills or their mortgages can now pay all that, plus interest and million dollar salaries to the CEOs, to boot.

So will capitalism finally collapse?   And what will replace it?

I vote for cooperative sustainable peaceful relations among the people of this planet.  I vote for production for use, not profit and a system that lives lightly on earth, instead of exploiting and polluting it.  Our home planet, our only planet.

The alternative is mass misery, possible accompanied by war and/or famine, and a continued destruction of our ecosystem.

It seems like an easy choice.   Oh, wait.  There's no election that let's us decide.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nobody Ever Went Broke Underestimating the Stupidity of the American People

The American people are now underwriting the bad debts of the gamblers that control our country.  That's bad, but to add insult to injury, they are spinning it as our self interest.  How long can people be fooled?  As even Bush said,  Shame on you. We won't be fooled again.  

The US is the only industrialized country without a national health care system.  We are told that private is best.  So we pay middlemen upwards of 30% of our healthcare dollars to deny us healthcare.  It's great to be free!

In the 80s and 90s, corporations shed their pension plans to save them money.  Workers now had to provide for their own retirement.  It was sold as, yes, again, freedom.  You were free to put money into the mutual fund set up by your corporation in lieu of them taking responsiblity.

Then they tried to go after Social Security.  There was some pushback on this.  I think it failed because Congress needed those billions of dollars in our trust fund to balance the budget, so they refused to turn it over to Wall Street.   So they still owe us that money.

But now they're bailing out Wall Street, and they're doing it in the name of we, the people.  Yes, we must save Wall Street because our private pension funds were being gambled, along with the exorbitant profits they had been making.  

So, now we must finance our retirement, like our health care, by paying outrageous sums to middlemen to give us back that which we have invested.

Thanks a lot, Uncle Sam.   

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The wages of sin is death, but the profits on sin are fantastic

When did home prices rising yearly become a good thing?  In the 70s, it was recognized that housing inflation led to inability for regular people to buy houses.  This was considered a bad thing.  Rising home prices were bad even for people who owned their homes, because property taxes rose with property value, even if the wages or Social Security income of the owners did not go up.   It is absurd to tax people on their homes, instead of their income, but in a system that is dependent on property taxes, rising home prices with stagnant income is obviously a bad thing.  Why are real estate speculators and home "flippers" admired instead of condemned?

But in an economy which depends on speculation and debt to function, there are fewer people speaking out against housing inflation than speak out against apple pie or the flag.   Now we get talking heads announcing that bailing out Fannie Mae would lead to a rising housing market!  Yay!  

Gas prices rising, on the other hand, makes the talking heads use frowny faces.  Why?  Why are high home prices good and high gas prices bad?    Not everyone has a car, but everyone needs a place to live.  And there are people who have cars they can't afford because they can't afford to live close to where they work. TV news goes to the gas stations and listens to the sob stories of people filling their SUVs.  Why not go to people who are living 2 or 3 families per house, and listen to their stories?  

Usury and gambling used to be sins, and illegal to boot.  Now we have payday check cashing on every corner, and the government uses the tax code to enforce legalized gambling with our retirement money.  I even got a note from my employer stating that the Federal government was telling them to increase my "contribution" to my 401K (which I think is a farce), unless I gave them written notice not to.  Now how many people are going to get around to turning in that notice? (I haven't yet.  Procrastination works for them).

In the 18th century, drugs were legal and Coca Cola had cocaine in it.  But they had debtors prison for those who couldn't pay their debts.   It seems that fashions in sin change as much as hemlines.

America has over 2,000,000 people in prison now, and over half are there for the victimless crime of drug use.  Can you imagine the explosion in the prison population if we started jailing debtors?   I probably shouldn't suggest it, or CCA will start lobbying for it.

In the 1970s, increasing the supply of money led to inflation, and the Federal Reserve tried to stimulate the economy without increasing inflation.  In the late 70s four things happened. (OK, lots more than that, but to make this point, say 4). Saving and loans were deregulated, computers became much more common, the dollar went from being backed by gold to being backed by oil and the ruling class decided to break the deal with the working class made after WW2 where they shared more of the wealth produced with the actual producers.   Wages have dropped since then, the manufacturing base has been moved elsewhere, and the bottom 80% of the American population has gotten poorer.   How have they maintained their standard of living?  Like the guy in the commercial says, "I'm in debt up to my eyeballs".

I'm no economist, but it seems to me that part of the way that they are able to keep increasing the money supply without causing the runaway inflation you saw in Weimar Germany is that they used computers instead of printing presses.   It's all pretend, but if we just believe in it, the system works.  The increase in money supply is done virtually, and we don't actually get the cash and then hand it over, we use cards and computers.  We go to work and they give us a paycheck, which we can exchange for food, clothing,  shelter and trinkets.  As long as every pretends that it works, it does.  The farmers produce the food, the carpenters build the homes, and the workers in China produce the clothing and the trinkets.

And the rest of the money, the money that the capitalist class siphons off of the rest of us, is gambled away.  They gamble in the stock market, the money market and other markets that are way above our heads to understand.   The important thing is that the money gambled is not real money, so it doesn't matter to us.

Until it does.   Apparently,  capitalists in other countries are tired of playing the American dollar game, and want to call a halt to it.  Uh, oh, we're in trouble now.  So the US government steps in and takes over Freddie and Fannie and announces that the full backing of the US government is now behind them and we will create as much pretend money as is needed to protect the investments.    Will it work?  Maybe, because it is to everyone's benefit to continue pretending and not bring the world economy down around all our heads.

I keep pointing out that if we can take care of our needs with pretend money, we can do it without it.   We can produce food for each other, and housing, clothing and trinkets, and exchange them between ourselves without the whole siphoning off and gambling part.  We can do it without invading Iraq or Georgia to keep control of the oil, and we can do it without having homeless people while others have 7 or 8 houses.  

We can use the productive forces of our society for good instead of evil, to use George's frame. 

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Monday, September 8, 2008

McCain/Palin - the Alan Keyes of 2008

Calm down, Democrats. Let me tell you a story from Illinois.

In 2004, Barack Obama was chosen to run for the US Senate on the Democratic ticket. Opposing him was a good looking, fairly moderate Republican, Jack Ryan. He was an opponent who could have beaten Obama.

Then, there was a scandal! A sex scandal! And Jack Ryan was forced to make his divorce records public. I thought that was weird at the time, but I didn't understand the plan. Although he and his ex-wife, Jeri Ryan (of Star Trek and Boston Public fame) didn't want to release the documents, they were forced to, in the interests of public knowledge. (Yeah, unbelievable, I know, after years of governmental secrecy on important matters, we needed to know someone's sex life).

So, here's the sex scandal. He wanted his wife to participate in public sex. With him. Huh? Don't Republican sex scandals usually involve some guy caught snorting meth off the belly of a teenaged boy prostitute? How is a marital disagreement (that the wife won) grounds for disqualification for running for office? But before you could say Spiro Agnew, Jack Ryan was gone.

The Republicans replaced him with a crazy right wing Christian African American from Maryland! Talk about a ringer. There was no way that Alan Keyes could have won that election. Obama won by 70%. (Proving once again, that 30% of Americans are nuts. Those are probably the same ones that still think Bush is doing a good job).

So now, here we are in the 2008 election. Who have the Republicans put up this time? A man who the right-wingers hate. A man who isn't even ELIGIBLE to be President. The Constitution says that a President must be age 35 and born in the United States of America. McCain clearly is old enough, but he wasn't born in the US. He can't be President.

And now they've nominated a woman who abused power as the mayor of a town of 7,000. It's pretty bad when you know your neighbors and you still fire the librarian because she wouldn't ban the books you told her to. She also ran the town into debt. For Republicans, that should be a deal breaker. They're all about balanced budgets, or so they say. Will it really be enough for the base that she's a crazy right wing Christian who thinks that God wants the US to attack Iraq and to build a natural gas pipeline?

The media can play her up as a gutsy beauty queen all they want. I don't think many people will fall for this ticket. About 30%, I'd guess.

It doesn't really matter how people really vote. The voting machines are probably already set at a predetermined rate. I'm guessing 49% Obama, 48% McCain, just to make people think we're more closely divided than we actually are.

We are getting the close polls and the endless drama to keep our minds off the economy and the wars. It's all bread and circus, all the time.
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Wide Gulf Between Democrats and Republicans

Many have pointed out that while Americans can choose between dozens of brands of cereal or detergent, we are sternly restricted to two choices for President. Americans who refuse to pick one of the two are excoriated roundly by their fellow citizens, who accuse them of being responsible for every bad thing that happens in the administration of whoever won.

The differences between the two official parties were made crystal clear, though, in the recent convention proceedings. Truly, this is a choice we can believe in!

When Obama talked about offshore drilling and the need for clean coal and nuclear power, the Democrats didn't clap. But when Palin and McCain talked about offshore drilling, and the need for coal and nuclear power the Republicans did clap. This is a clear difference.

Of course, when Obama talked about the need for solar, wind and biofuel energy, the Democrats did clap. But so did the Republicans, when Palin talked about the need for solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative energy sources. So, that's a draw.

Both parties are for education! And both cheer when their candidates saber rattled - Obama against Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia, McCain against Iraq, Iran and Russia. Both, of course, against alQuaida, wherever they may be.

And, for some reason, both parties speak of individual embattled Americans by name, both to point out their misfortune and to announce that life should really be better for these people.

No major media covered the Green Party Convention, and only C-Span showed Cynthia McKinney's acceptance speech. But Cynthia McKinney didn't call for offshore drilling, or more coal, or more nuclear power plants. She didn't call for attacking Iran, or Pakistan, or for sending more troops to Afghanistan. She didn't make promises to go get Osama "in the cave where he lives". She is also for education, but not in a "laid off workers should educated themselves" kind of way. She calls for free education for all, including college education for qualified applicants. She sure isn't mainstream enough for Americans to vote for! We have to have bluster, and empty promises, or the candidate is not considered viable.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chelsea is a Dog. Bristol is Off-Limits

My mom reminded me that the Republicans in the 90s, including Republican Presidential candidate, John McCain, amused their bullying fans by ridiculing Chelsea Clinton's looks. Rush Limbaugh and the other grown-up frat boy jocks were cruel enough to try to attack their political opponent by demolishing his daughter's teenaged self-esteem.

Everyone should know how fragile a teenagers ego is. It is truly beneath contempt for an adult to belittle someone's child for entertainment or political gain.

But the media which allowed without comment the pile-up on Chelsea, is sternly announcing that commenting on Bristol is off-limits. Now we're going to have some sensitivity, when it's a Republican teenager. And, of course, no one was attacking Bristol, just her mother's politics and religion, as illustrated by the results.

My mom told me that the Republicans did the same thing to Margaret Truman in the 1940s, as they did to Chelsea in the 90s. What is it with Republicans? Do you have to be a jerk to join the Party?

And what kind of a mother would hug and praise the monster that attacked her child so cruelly? Hillary betrayed her only child when she kissed up to McCain. And for what? She got dumped for Brzezinski's buddy Barack, and mothers throughout Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Russia will be crying for their children when those boys are through.

Although, really, insulting someone's child is nothing compared to kidnapping and holding hostage pre-teen children to force their father to comply.
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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Personal is Political

High-minded progressives are supposed to ignore Palin's 17 y.o. knocked-up daughter, and the implications for the country and the world of Palin's politics. How polite.

Sorry. It may be rude, but I consider it important to point out that if a crazy right-wing fundamentalist Christian can't convince her daughter to keep her legs closed, no one can. As witnessed by the other right-wingers at the GOP convention, preaching abstinence only to your children frequently leads to teen-aged pregnancies. The biggest reaction to the news that the kid is pregnant is - yeah, we had that happen also!

Then they announce that their daughter will marry the father. Hello, the shotgun marriage is supposed to take effect soon enough to fake that the baby is premature! Calling the baby's daddy "my fiance" until the child is in kindergarten is a hallmark of the lumpen proletariat. Surely a future President shouldn't allow such conduct in her family, since she's holding it up as a model of ideal family values.

I couldn't care less how many babies they pump out, or who does the pumping. I care about the rest of us having the choice of whether or not to reproduce, and if we choose to reproduce, how many. I care about the poor in America and around the world having the same choices as the rich. I care about children being taught about sex in a scientific, not Christian moralizing, way. I want children to have information and access to birth control and abortion.

This is why the pregnancy of Sarah Palin's teenager should be on the table for discussion. Her personal problem is a political problem for us all.

And I loved this comment.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Obama/Biden "We Will Bring Change" (In the Targets we Saber Rattle Against)

Biden gave a revealing speech last night. The excerpts I watched on Democracy Now today made me nauseous. I was cursing the TV as if it was Bush himself speaking idiocy, instead of the Vice agent of "hope and change".

It's not just that he mouthed the mandatory mantra about the "War on Terror". I didn't expect either of the corporate candidates to challenge that nonsense. It is forbidden speech to question how the largest military machine in the history of the planet can wage war on a noun. And putting more cops on the street? Did he see the streets of Denver? How can more cops fit on the streets?

And Obama has already threatened to attack Pakistan and called for more troops to Afghanistan, so that is expected.

But the saber rattling against China, India, and special guest villain, Russia, was outrageous. He claimed, and I quote, "Russia challenging the very freedom of a new democratic country of Georgia". And " we will hold Russia accountable for its action and we will help Georgia rebuild". And the crowd went wild! Are they nuts? Biden wants to send a billion dollars to help support the US puppet dictator, Sakashvilli, maintain his hold over the people of Georgia. The US is playing a very dangerous game with Russia, building bases all around it, placing missiles on its borders, supporting a government that actually killed Russian soldiers!

Sane people are appalled by these actions. But the Democrats waved their placards and cheered.

Biden claims to know that al-qaida is regrouping in Afghanistan and is planning more attacks. Really? If our bloated national security spy system knows that, why can't they stop it? It's sure not for lack of torture. What do our billions of dollars pay for? Or is this a trailer of coming attractions? 9-11 worked to bring the country in line for Bush. They couldn't have another attack under Bush (not counting the anthrax, which was an admitted inside job). But they sure can have another under a Democrat.

Not mentioned in the speech - Joe Biden supported the US attack on Yugoslavia, get this, to stop Serbia from preventing a breakaway province from seceding. Ironic? I think so. Shameless? Republican quality shamelessness.

Joe Biden announced that the government of Sudan attacking its own citizens made it lose its right to sovereignty! But not the government of Georgia.

Joe Biden supported the US attack on Iraq. And he arrogantly calls for breaking Iraq into 3 separate countries, which calls for massive ethnic cleansing (now being completed by the Bush team). (See Yugoslavia, above).

The Obama/Biden team pretend that the US is still able to bend the world to its will. Reality has no more hold upon their grand plans than it does on Bush's.
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Monday, August 25, 2008

They Fired the Dreamers

I was watching an old Henry Fonda movie from 1942, or so. The plot is that he is a professor who announces that he is going to quote Vanzetti, of Sacco and Vanzetti fame. There is a great uproar, because the university is under pressure by the trustees to get rid of communists, or they won't get a new football stadium.

It ends that Fonda gives the lecture to a crowded auditorium, speaks out for academic freedom, university independence and freedom of speech, then reads the quote. He wins over everyone with his Enlightenment ideals, even the football players and the right wing trustee, and there is a parade with him hoisted onto the football players shoulders. And his wife comes back.

Oh, don't the commies who obviously wrote that script wish it were so. How'd that work out for them 10 years later, trying to explain the Bill of Rights to the House on Un-American Activities?

Ironically, later that day I watched a 9-11 truth video, with a besieged truther, standing on a corner in New York, trying to explain the difference between patriotism and blind nationalism to a group of foul-mouthed New Yorkers, who clearly were as amenable to learning as Joe McCarthy was.

And the quote from Vanzetti?

"If it had not been for this thing, I might have lived out my life, talking at street corners to scorning men."

I think he nailed it.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Yes, Dear

Have you ever been talking with your spouse and realize that they're not listening? So you start making stuff up? Like, "Hey, why don't we burn down the house and join the circus? And travel by camel across Brazil? Do you mind if I empty the savings account to pay for my boy toy?" And they nod assent and continue what they're doing.

That's the American public. The ruling class has gotten more and more brazen as they've realized that people just aren't paying attention.

Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The surge is going well. We all loved Ronald Reagan. Putting a massive weapon system in Poland is self defense against Iran. The Russians are paranoid for questioning our pure motives. We are all Georgians now. If the President does it, it's not illegal.

And the people that do pay attention are powerless, so the ruling class no longer feels that it needs to keep up appearances. There are millions of us who are sputteringly furious at the open corruption, the brazen lies, the shameless siphoning off of the public treasury, the criminal selling of public lands and resources, the depraved profit making off other people's misery and death. We are mad as hell, and we don't want to take it anymore.

As Cheney would say, "So?"
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jedi Mind Control

The whole world watched in 2002 as Bush tried different ways to justify an attack on Iraq. Remember how he kept demanding that Saddam Hussein submit to inspections? And how Saddam would stall until the last minute and then comply? Remember?

Cause if you do, you're resisting the revisionist history. A few months after the Iraqi invasion, the US ruling class started asserting that the reason the US invaded Iraq was that Hussein refused to allow inspections! I was amazed at the gall of those who believed that they could impudently reverse the truth that so many had witnessed!

But this week has been even more amazing. Georgia's attack on South Ossetia, killing thousands of civilians and Russian soldiers, and the Russian response was turned in 2 days into an unprovoked attack by Russia on Georgia.

And I watched it happen on CNN. Saturday morning I turned the TV on to see what was happening. There was a reporter talking with the US puppet Saakashvili. Saakashvili, like a focused, if buffoonish, Jedi master, simply repeated to every question, "Russia attacked my country, Georgia." The reporter tried to get him to admit that Georgia had attacked South Ossetia first, but Saakashvili stuck to his talking point. And it worked. The first reporter fell away, and the next reporter seamlessly fell into the approved line "Russia attacked Georgia". And the entire US corporate media has stayed on message since.

The Jedi could only control one being at a time. Our masters can control the minds of millions! And the truth can be reversed in 2 days.

Some on the left are sternly poxing both houses. "Why didn't Russia go to the Security Council?" they say.

How can something one week ago already be down the memory hole? Russia did go to the Security Council, early Friday morning. The US and Georgia refused to agree to a ceasefire, prefering to issue statements to the press calling for peace to actually pursuing it.

Bush, Rice and McCain have all denounced the invasion of a soverign country as unacceptable in the 21st century, while intelligent people gasp at the brazenness of imperial invaders pointing fingers at others. They have no shame.

Well, I have enough shame for them all. I am ashamed of the power of the corporate media and the evil ends for which it is used. I am ashamed of my country and what it is doing to destroy the possibilities for peace and justice on this planet. I am ashamed of the misery and death that we are bringing to so many people and animals. I am ashamed of the lies that are told and the hypocrisy that reigns supreme.
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Thursday, August 7, 2008

How Will the American Empire End?

Americans brag that we fought a war to end slavery. Well, some of us did. Some of us fought a war to preserve slavery. Anyway, what's the big deal about that? Other countries simply outlawed slavery, no war necessary.

Americans are self-righteous about other country's mistreatment of minorities. South Africa's apartheid, Israel's oppression of Palestinians, Russia's problem with Chechyna. My, they treat the original inhabitants badly! The US doesn't have that problem. The survivors of the original peoples of this continent are few, isolated, and not mentioned when pointing fingers at other countries.

Other countries have lost their empires. Rome, Spain, Turkey, Russia, England. They adjusted. What will the US do?

I have a bad feeling about this.

The only country to use the atomic bomb, the country that has killed millions of people since WW2 for the crime of wanting a better life, the country with the biggest military in history - are we just going to give up and let the next empire rise? Or are we going to try to take the world down with us?

Monday Aug. 11 Addendum:That didn't take long! Georgia, on Russia's border, and part of it for 200 years, with a US backed government, flush with American and Israeli weapons and training, attacked a province of Russians which seceded from Georgia years ago. Russia invaded to protect it's people and interests. Now the US corporate media is screaming that Russia invaded Georgia!

Apparently, the US is going to take the world down with us.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Unitarians and Rush Limbaugh

To be a Unitarian is to hold 19th century beliefs of the possibilities of humanity. Back in the day, people were inspired by the progress of humans and sure that we would only march onward and upward.

The wonders of machinery promised a future of leisure, with the robber barons overthrown and the products of labor shared equally. The evidence of evolution promised an improving bloodstock. Universal education would lead to a refined and educated populace, interested in art, drama and music and kind to each other and their children.

Our hymnal is full of songs promising a beautiful future;

"As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead go crying, through our singing, their ancient song of bread! Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew: yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too! As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days: the rising of the women means the rising of the race. No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes, but a sharing of life's glories-bread and roses, bread and roses!"

"These things shall be: a loftier race than e'er the world hath known shall rise, with flame of freedom in their souls, and light of science in their eyes. Nation with nation, land with land, unarmed shall live as comrades free: in every mind and heart shall throb the pulse of one humanity. New arts shall bloom of loftier mold, and mightier music thrill the skies, and every life a song shall be when all the earth is paradise".

What happened to the dream? Unitarians dream on, but the rest of the country has moved toward the nightmare of unrestrained capitalism.

As a wise person pointed out: "You are living in the future, not your own, but someone else's. You are an interloper, trespassing on another person's revery, usurping their promised land. You are NOT what they had in mind".

My Dad, a Unitarian and a socialist, is a believer in the dream. A coal miner's son, he went to college after WW2, when the US government was trying to improve the stock of Americans. You know how everyone says that "Father Knows Best" wasn't true to their life? Not me. Robert Young looked like my Dad, and had the same name, and my Dad did his best to raise us in a kind and non-repressive way, much to my Mom's embarrassment, since the neighbors thought it was weird. I think that Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver shows were meant to model improved parental behavior.

So what happened? The 60s. Children who were treated with respect grew up and went to college and got all uppity. This was unacceptable to the ruling class.

Bye-bye, cheap education for American kids. It's cheaper to let other countries pay for their kids to be educated and then import the finished product here. Hello, James Dobson, and "beat your child for Jesus". Behold the uprising of "real" TV parents, screaming at and threatening their children. I didn't watch Bill Cosby's show much, but I remember the incessant repetition of one line from that show, which played constantly, at all hours, to "advertise" the show. (Or, to advertise new values!). "I brought you into this world and I can take you out!" Yes, the new model for parenting was to threaten to kill your child.

The attack on workers, and the worsening of our living standards and lowering of our wages, was also accompanied by millions of dollars pumped into hate machines. Flush with cash from overflowing profits, fascist capitalists poured money into right wing think tanks and media.

So where are we now? Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter spew their hatred over all forms of media. Liberals, still in the Enlightenment, believe that all views must be heard, and the truth will prevail, as Thomas Jefferson predicted. We believe in "free speech".

But all views aren't heard. You don't hear radical voices in the media. You don't hear people calling for equality and freedom and sharing of the wealth on TV or radio or the newspapers.

And it isn't free speech to have violent hatred playing 24 hours a day. Free speech is "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press". How is having 5 corporations, controlling 90% of all media, paying hate mongers millions to spew their poison, free speech?

The human race is not elevated, as our ancestors so hoped. We still have lumpen proletariat. And they are easily swayed by demagogues. That's the point of corporate media losing money to present the fascist point of view. There is no direct profit in it, but to take the anger of the unemployed American and turn it from the rich, against the well-meaning? Priceless.

Americans are well armed and used to the Good Life. When the capitalists attacked the Good Life, they made sure that the arms would be used against the innocent.

The man who attacked the Unitarians blamed them for his unemployment! This is illogical! A Unitarian mind is unable to compute! We believe in rationality. And we believe in full employment. The man was misguided!

Damn right! And that's the point. The very wealthy, living in well guarded communities, traveling on private planes, having goods and services delivered, never see us and we never see them. Remember that George Bush 41 didn't know what a supermarket scanner was. He was derided for that, but that's not the point. He doesn't have to know.

And while working Americans scrape up money for food, and vent anger at the person ahead of them in line, paying with food stamps, the caviar-eating ruling class can laugh at us, while we fight over scraps.

The only thing standing between us and the murderous chaos fostered in Yugoslavia and Iraq, is to hold on to the dreams of our ancestors. We must move towards a better world, or perish in hatred and bloodshed.

We know the dreams of the ruling class. We can hear them on the radio and see them in Iraq. Our dreams are different. Hold on to your humanity and work for peace and justice.
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Collapsing Economy

Reactions to the collapse of the US economy range from "It's not happening. It's just that Americans have bad attitudes" to "The bankers are deliberately destroying our economy because they hate us and want us to die", with multiple other theories in between.

The ruling class likes to blame the whole thing on those greedy Americans who wanted a house of their own, and so signed a contract without reading the fine print on page 48. The billion bailout of the mortgage companies by Congress includes a few million dollars to give lessons in money management to the newly homeless. Chutzpah doesn't seem a strong enough word to cover the absolute disgrace of Congress, already responsible for borrowing trillions of dollars to pay for tax cuts for the rich and their dirty little war, voting to bailout out bankers by BORROWING more money that future generations will have to pay back, and then lecturing ordinary Americans about fiscal responsibility!

At least Americans who put themselves into debt intended to pay it off themselves, deluded though that may have been. They didn't sell their children into indentured servitude to benefit themselves. No. That's what Congress did, with our children.

Face it. This economy would have collapsed years ago, if some Americans hadn't been persuaded to spend beyond their means, and the Congress hadn't spent beyond our means. Common sense tells you that if we had all only spent what we made, it would have stopped years ago. And it's only rational behavior, if you accept the limits of the system. Everyone wants to live well as long as possible. If you were in a submerged car that was filling up with water, wouldn't you breathe the air left as long as you could? Even knowing that the end is in sight? That's why the ruling class kept it going as long as it could, not to kill us all, but to have the luxurious life as long as they could. But it had to crash. That's what capitalism does. Call it a panic, a crash, a depression, a recession, a downturn, a correction - it doesn't matter. It's always done it. Then, after years of misery for the poor, and reorganization among the rich, things pick up again.

The thing is, if capitalism is able to supply goods and services as long as there's money, no matter if it's fake money or credit, why does it stop when the money does? In other words, if we are capable of producing food and consumer goods in some years, why not others? Why can't we just keep providing for ourselves and others?

Why? Because if there's no profit in it, the capitalists put a stop to it. If you don't have money for food, you starve, even if there's plenty of food for all. Factories that can't sell washers or stoves to people with no money shut down, leaving their workers unable to buy washers or stoves. Or food. The whole thing collapses, artificially, because there are still people willing to work, there are still factories and fields capable of producing and there are still people in need. But if the middleman can't make a profit, tough luck for everyone else.

This is a crazy system. And tinkering with it by creating more money, or starting wars to destroy excess products and loot other people, or allowing the whole thing to take it's natural course and create widespread misery, is wrong.

We need to produce for use, not profit. Let's decide what we need to live decent, sustainable lives and produce it, using all available labor. If everyone that could work, did work, we would all have shorter workweeks and decent lives. (See the quote at the side of my blog. People had this figured out 2 centuries ago!)

This system, to quote William Greider, is like a machine that's out of control. "As it goes, the machine throws off enormous mows of wealth and bounty while it leaves behind great furrows of wreckage".

There is no reason to keep a system so destructive of Earth and its people. Let's change to a sustainable, responsible way of life that brings enough food, a modest house and a way of life that brings joy to all, because we will live in peace and harmony with Earth and our fellow humans, instead of exploiting them for personal gain.
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Friday, July 18, 2008

Lou Dobbs Is Afraid of Al Gore

Lou Dobbs has a radio show. Yesterday he starting bragging on Americans and their fearlessness, now being subverted by the not-lou dobbs-media.

He announced that we shouldn't be afraid of terrorists. We shouldn't be afraid of losing our jobs or our houses. We should stand up in courage, like real Americans.

Except for one thing we should be very very afraid of. Then he played a clip of Al Gore saying that we should switch to renewable energy, to thunderous applause from fearless Americans.

This upset Lou greatly. We should cower in fear at the thought of sustainable, renewable energy. We should be incensed that some Americans agree that we must quit, as Al Gore says - "Borrowing money from China to pay the Persian Gulf to buy oil, which causes harm to our environment when we burn it. All of this must change".

And people agree with this!

Scary!! Lou Dobbs is under his bed, sucking his thumb and whimpering, right now.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let's Ask the Kids about Mortgaging Their Future

The state of Illinois is embroiled in a dispute about how to pay for "capitol improvements", basically, more roads and new schools. The goal is NEVER questioned - only the means.

But we should ask the kids what they think about it. They're the ones affected, and they will be paying for it for years to come.

More roads, kids? Why, in this rural area, do we need 6 lane highways? Why, cause that's how the pork has always been allocated, and the construction companies have the equipment to build them. Thousands in campaign donations ensure millions in public funds for more roads.

Does it matter that fewer and fewer people can afford to drive the cars that roads serve? The trolleys that were ripped out (to make way for the roads) served many more people, because there are always those too young, too old, too poor or not able to drive.

Hey, kids. If we had trolleys, you wouldn't be dependent on Mommy to drive you around. Kids in cities roam freely as young as 7 or 8, but with car based transportation, up to 16, you're stuck with Mom and Dad. And then, you have to get a job and spend 2 or 3 weeks of a month working to pay for your car transportation.

And new schools? These are the same yuppies mortgaged to the hilt in McMansions who look at a leaky roof, or moldy ceiling tiles and announce that the entire school must be torn down and replaced! Why not just fix the roof! If you need more classrooms, put up a trailer in the parking lot. That's what we did in the old days.

Look at Carbondale if you want to see what this school replacement does. Moving a school from the middle of town to the outskirts and turning it into a lockdown facility, to train the students for future careers in the prison industry, whether as guards or inmates. It doesn't really matter to the ruling class.

Now we spend property tax money on diesel for the buses to transport the kids, instead of teacher salaries, or more for perks like art and music, or field trips. Hey kids, you'll be expected to pay off the bonds with your future wages. Already a third of the US budget goes to pay off the interest on old loans.

See how much we love you, kids? We're willing to doom you to perpetual servitude so that you can be shipped in a bus to a school in a fancy building, searched by armed guards, and trained to take tests. We're willing to spend money to doom you to perpetual oil based transportation, while we burn every last drop of oil, leaving you with none for other essentials. And, of course, the climate dislocation that oil burning causes will mostly affect you, although we are already bearing more storms and floods here, with drought and fires in the West.

Best of luck, kids.
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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Addington is (another) Big Fat Liar

On Thursday, David Addington and John Yoo testified before Congress. Well, they sat in front of Congress and lied and denied. And they defended torture without admitting that they were legally responsible for the recent American torture we have seen reported.

What is it about the neocons that makes them so arrogant? They drip contempt for the little people that pay their salary and the people's representatives who are supposed to make them accountable.

This "I don't recall" shit is got to stop. Sure, Reagan could use it. He was an idiot to start with and he had Alzheimers and was on drugs, so it was kinda believable.

But Addington had the nerve to say to John Conyers that he didn't know what the term "unitary executive" meant. Conyers, staggered by the nerve of someone lying about that which he invented, tried to get him to own up, but Addington wouldn't. I was amazed. He was lying without purpose and without hope of deception, but, to his credit, I'm sure that he knew that he would go unpunished for what, as Hitler called, "a impudent reversal of the truth". These people are the direct heirs to the Nazis, and we are watching as our fascist country (in Mussolini's definition - the marriage of State and capitalism) move towards outright embracing of torture and murder to further their aims.

At the same time the Supreme Court liberalized gun possession. What could be the purpose of this? If the Supreme Court were worried about the Bill of Rights, shouldn't it strike down the Patriot Act? Could it be that they want to foment civil war in the US, since it works so well to excuse a military crackdown?
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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hillary and I are Shocked

I can't believe that Obama won. How can this happen? And, obviously, Hillary can't believe it either. Like Georgie in 2000, she's sitting there smugly waiting for HW to come through. And why shouldn't he? If he could put his embarrassing coke-snorting, alcoholic idiotic son in the White House, why can't he do the same for his dutiful surrogate daughter?

After all, W never did a thing for his father, but Bill and Hillary - that's another story. From turning over land and facilities in Arkansas in the 80s to train contras and run drugs and guns, to pardoning the convicted criminals in 41's administration, to bombing Iraq in retaliation for a purported assassination attempt on 41, (and then on and on the next 8 years just for the hell of it), to supporting NAFTA, and the WTO and other components of HW's beloved New World Order, to hanging with HW in the last few years, from golfing to appearances at disasters; come on, what more could they do?

And then to have Obama waltz up at the last minute, holding hands with Zgyneiw Brezhinsik, and steal the nomination from Hillary? This just ain't right, folks. This must be how dutiful son Jeb feels.

So if Hillary calls for Obama's assassination, who could blame her? She knows HW can come through. And if he doesn't, she's got every right to be indignant.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

American Entitlements

Americans aren't entitled to jobs, food, medical care or housing. If someone is jobless, homeless, sick or hungry, it is considered to be their own fault. The only exceptions are children and their mothers, and veterans. Children and their mothers are entitled to welfare, while the employed scream about the unfairness of paying people to have children. Veterans aren't entitled to a job, or a house, or food, but they are treated with sympathy by the employed and the media, because they sacrificed for our freedom and all that. That is, as long as they're not in your face, demanding spare change.

Americans aren't entitled to clean air or water, or safe food, according to the corporations who have rolled out propaganda campaigns to roll back legislation giving us those rights. Only tree-huggers want such things, we are told. And tree-huggers are bad. They want to protect trees and animals instead of letting people have jobs destroying them.

But, by God, Americans are entitled to some things. They're entitled to cheap gas and SUVs. They're entitled to use as much water, electricity and oil as they can afford. They're entitled to invade other countries at will. They're entitled to tell people around the world how they should live and what their governments should do. They're entitled to cheap commodities that other people make at low wages. And they're entitled to throw everything away, as long as it's in a landfill and not on the street. It looks bad to have trash on the street.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rev Wright and Rev Moon-where's the outrage?

Who is it that orchestrates American opinion? I don't mean the long term mindless flag-waving patriotism, or the continual support of the working class for programs for their own destruction. I've read my Noam Chomsky and realize that the consent is manufactured by a vast apparatus.

No, who orchestrates the daily and weekly themes? Who decides which story will be highlighted and pontificated about? Is it one maestro, or a cabal? I know how they do it. Thom Hartman says that, as a radio host, he gets the "talking points" of each day. Clearly, the White House, Congress and the corporate media get the same talking points. But who decides what those will be?

Imagine the power of that person or cabal. They can get the entire nation in an uproar about Scott Peterson, or the Runaway Bride, and then call it off with a wave of their baton. They can stir up immigration passions, with hundred of thousands participating, and then drop it. They can twist a spectacular national security failure into a triumph for the sitting President, and turn it into an excuse for war and repression. They can whip up national hatred for Osama BinLaden, and then seamlessly morph it into hatred for Saddam Hussein. They can show exploding buildings as unsurpassed tragedy, demanding that the entire world share the pain, or they can show exploding buildings as a military triumph to be joyously celebrated. The power is awesome. But the power didn't corrupt absolutely, it is power used by the already corrupt.

This week we're treated to constant images of pioneer dressed women and their children being herded out into buses. Salacious details of forced marriages and underaged brides are recited with gravitas by the talking heads. Americans heap scorn on such an out of step religion.

Last week we had Rev. Wright, Obama's pastor, and the manufactured outrage over his "misstatements". Apparently, Rev. Wright is insufficiently grateful to America, and the blessings it gives to the Earth. A few months ago, Obama was being criticized for being a Muslim. It then seamlessly morphed into having the wrong Christian pastor.

In the meantime, Bush 41 has raked in millions from the Rev Moon for "speaking fees". Rev Moon owns the Washington Times, UPI, Insight magazine, The Middle East Times, Azmbezi Times, newspapers in Uruguay and Canada, and a textbook publishing company in Russia. (According to Wayne Madsen in Counterpunch).

Sure, that's nothing compared to Rupert Murdoch. But does Murdoch claim to be the Messiah? Does Murdoch hold mass marriages for hundreds of couples? Does Murdoch call for Korean domination of the world, with everyone speaking Korean?
The Rev Moon is the head of the Unification Church, and preaches that he is the true Messiah, and yet, in this "Christian" nation, he gets a free pass with the nominally Christian leaders. He even had connections to the Rev. Falwell. Money talks, and money keeps the press from talking.

So the silence on the connections between Bush and Rev Moon is deafening.

Can you imagine if the Rev Wright were have been found to espouse such ambitions?
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Feasible Energy and Pipe Dream Energy-Who Decides?

My April Country Living magazine, sent by my electric coop, is full of the usual articles and ads. There is the article on rising energy costs, plus the rising costs of building new plants, there is the article on the importance of energy conservation, there is Doug the Caulk King explaining how proper house insulation saves energy, there is an ad for geo-thermal claiming a 70% energy saving just on heating and cooling.

And then there is the usual editorial dismissing all of the conservation efforts as meaningless, and the high costs of energy production as unavoidable. It is very solemnly announced billions must be spent on new transmission systems and power plants. Nuclear power is treated with reverence, as the panacea for all of our problems. Billions of dollars for coal sequestration is treated as a logical solution, instead of being laughed off as a Rube Goldberg contrivance to suck money from taxpayers and energy users.

In our irrational economic system, logic is turned upside down. Black is white, war is peace, and local power production, coupled with conservation and sound building practices is dismissed as impractical, while billion dollar boondoggles are held up as sane investments. And yes, for the profit takers, billion dollar tax supported boondoggles are great investments. But for the average citizen, struggling to make ends meet, paying more of our shrinking dollars to support billionaire energy investors is not such a good deal.

Simply announcing that it is impossible to use less energy doesn't make it so. Every day, as I come into my workplace, I open the door that is human propelled, while 99% of the other workers push the button to make the other door open with electricity. I turn off 2 bathroom lights, one of the 2 utility room lights, and put the copier on energy saving as I walk to my station. The rest of my shift I turn off unnecessary lights. That's in one workplace. I have no control over the thermostat. We freeze in the summer from over air conditioning and sweat in the winter from over heating.

New McMansions are rising everywhere out of cornfields. Invariably, they are unprotected from the sun. No awnings, no roof overhangs, no trees. And we are supposed to believe that it is rational to build like this, and we must then build new power plants to air condition them? Why does Country Living allow the editorializers to aver such propaganda unopposed?

We are told that Americans will not give up any electrical conveniences, so we must cater to them. What about the Americans watching their children gasping for breath from asthma, exacerbated by air pollution? What about the Americans who can't eat fish due to mercury contamination? What about the Americans exposed to acid rain? What about the Americans having their homeland blown up for mountain top removal of coal? What about Americans drowning from hurricanes, floods and tornadoes? How many people in Southern Illinois have been displaced by the recent floods? Which Americans do we cater to? I don't believe that ordinary Americans would let their fellow Americans suffer so that they can waste electricity.

It would be cheaper to build more wisely, conserve energy, use energy efficient appliances and have a solar panel on every house, than it would be to build giant power plants, with miles of transmission lines. We are told that America has enough coal for 100 years, so it's rational to use it. America has enough wind and sun to last a billion years! Why isn't it rational to use that?

Lastly, we have had our rights stolen from us under the guise of anti-terrorism. I am now treated like a potential criminal by the government if I want to travel, or enter a public building. And yet, the same government is pushing building giant terrorist targets, using energy supplied by the people we are told are out to get us. This is the height of irrationality! Either give me my rights back, or stop depending on centralized power plants.
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