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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