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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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why Save Tibet Now?

We have been treated in the corporate media to non-stop coverage of the struggles of the people of Tibet. You know, because 49 years ago, China took over their country, and now something must be done about it.

I'm not really clear on what the protests are about. Do they want to bring back theocratic feudalism?

If I don't know anything about a subject, I judge by the coverage given it by the corporate media. For instance, I knew nothing about Hugo Chavez until the coup in 2002. I was watching network TV and the newscaster announced that a great thing had happened and a commie dictator got his due. That's when I knew that Hugo Chavez was probably helping his people, and the US was probably behind his coup. As it turned out, that was a good assumption.

So when I see the massive corporate coverage of the Tibetans, I figure that the US ruling class is backing their cause, so I'm probably not. Especially when I grazed through the history of Tibet and saw that the CIA was involved in removing the Dalai Lama in 1959. Hmmm. That's a long involvement.

I was involved in massive protests in January 2003, and September 24, 2005 in Washington, DC. They were ignored or down-played by the media. I was standing next to some people from New York who were on the phone with outraged compatriots who were trying to take Amtrak from New York to Washington,DC, but Amtrak shut down that line. The next day in an article about it, the Times mentioned in about the 15th paragraph, that 100,000 more people than usual had traveled from New York to Washington, DC on public transportation that day.

OK. 100,000 more, just from New York, just on public transportation! And yet, they "estimated" the crowd at about 150,000. Those New Yorkers sure did more than their share, in that case. And yet there were buses from all over the country.

So why ignore anti-war protests and play up anti-Chinese protests? Is it wise to trash people from whom we have borrowed so heavily? Or is that the point? Is it the plan of the criminals that run our country to borrow as much as possible and then default or go to war to keep from paying our debt? There is no honor among thieves.

There is a reason that we are being propagandized. I just don't know what it is yet.
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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Petraeus Tells the Truth by Mistake - The Bounty of Iraq

Yesterday, in Congressional testimony, Petraeus talked about how well the buying off of Sunni insurgents was going. Last year's "Al Quida in Iraq" are this year's "Concerned Citizens". OK, he didn't actually say that. But he did mention a possible motive for the US occupation of Iraq, while talking about those Other people.

He said that the Sunnis were cooperating not just because we were paying them, but because they "want to share in the bounty that is Iraq". Wow! Left unsaid, but very obvious, is who else wants to loot the "bounty that is Iraq".

And today, he was asked about the Iraqi local police forces. First, he talked about Fajullah. I found it interesting. Fajullah is the city that was the victim of extreme American aggression and war crimes. According to Petraus, it is now pacified. He said that it is divided into 10 "gated communities", each with its own police force, backed by Marines. Gated communities? Is that what they are calling concentration camps now? Strategic hamlets didn't work out so well for them?

Anyway, he was asked about corruption in the police forces. First, he called corruption a cultural trait among the Arabs. Boy, I'm glad we have no corruption in the USA, thanks to our large non-Arab population.

Then he said, "Iraq has enormous oil riches and other natural blessings. We have to make sure that the local police force don't succumb to the temptations again to try to get their hands into some of this".

Of course, people who have 150,000 troops in another country and then accuse the neighboring country of "interfering", have no sense of irony or shame, but isn't it also obvious that the US is in Iraq get their hands onto their oil riches and other blessings?
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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

9-11 - empowering the ruling class for 6 years!

Yesterday, I participated in a Common Dreams discussion of an article by David Rovics, who trashed the 9-11 truth movement as not worthy of progressive time. He, and others like him, (people mentioned Chomsky, Cockburn and Rothschild, among others) are too busy mourning the lives of the millions of dead Iraqis and Afghans to worry about who killed 3,000 Americans.

It is true that if you go by the numbers, American deaths pale next to the mass slaughter of those who have the misfortune to live on top of coveted land. However, it is wrong to focus on the immorality of American imperialism, and hope that you will reach the average American citizen. People have tried that before. Abraham Lincoln spoke against the American invasion of Mexico, leading to the theft of 1/2 of the former Mexico. That didn't work. Mark Twain spoke out against the Spanish American War and the slaughter of the Filipino people afterwards. In every case, the propaganda overcame moralism. I found a great synopsis of some of America's wars and the propaganda used for them.

So, those of us who speak out and criticize and ridicule the official conspiracy theory of 9-11 are not wasting our time. A million people have died because the US ruling class uses 9-11 to justify invasion, murder, looting, repression, torture, etc., etc. Most people in the truth movement explicitly connect the use of 9-11 to the furthering of American imperial interests. There are very few documents that fail to point out the PNAC doctrine calling for American full spectrum dominance that candidly states the need for a catastrophic and catalyzing event, a new Pearl Harbor. How many progressives reference the PNAC document, where it is all spelled out?

I don't usually watch C-Span, because it either infuriates or bores me, but today I had company and they had it on. I missed the big 3, but I did watch other pontificating windbags bowing and scraping to Petraeus today. I was outraged at their submissiveness and ass kissing. What is relevant to the 9-11 discussion, however, is that 4 or 5 of the "public servants" used 9-11 to justify the US occupation and looting of Iraq. This is years after it has been officially admitted that Iraq did not play a role in the script that the US officially goes by. It doesn't matter. The yahoos still believe it, and they are the ones that supply the cannon fodder necessary to oppress Iraq. Therefore, it is imperative to answer the official 9-11 story.

By the way, Petraeus made what I consider a major gaffe. In speaking of the Sunni resistance that the US is paying not to attack the troops, he mentioned that the Sunnis wanted to "share in the bounty that is Iraq". Wow!! The General lays it out. Do you think that the corporate media will play that one? I don't think so.

A poster on CommonDreams gave a link that I think is helpful, along with architects and engineers,
scholars,and various and sundry patriots.
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