Fight the Corporatacracy!

How Popular Movements Can Confront Corporate Power and Win.

This is a good article by By Michael Marx and Marjorie Kelly, YES! Magazine. Posted August 29, 2007.

To sum it up it talks about the pervasive nature of corporate power, why its bad, and what can be done about it, and how.

"Dig beneath the surface of any major problem we face and you'll find unchecked corporate power.

Corporate power lies behind nearly every major problem we face--from stagnant wages and unaffordable health care to overconsumption and global warming. In some cases, it is the cause of the problem; in other cases, corporate power is a barrier to system-wide solutions. This dominance of corporate power is so pervasive, it has come to seem inevitable. We take it so much for granted, we fail to see it. Yet it is preventing solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time."
Another good article to look at:

Winning the Class War.


Dictatorship in America?

After doing a lot of thinking about our current government, politics, and the overall SNAFU state of affairs, I've come to a very disturbing question. Whats to stop Bush from becoming a dictator? Or far that matter, any president?

Hear me out on this one. The Bush administration, and particularly Bush, has undermined the Constitution in so many ways its not even funny. The cabinet of officials he has surrounded himself with have garnished so much executive power for themselves that they could feasibly just take it for good. Why not? What do we have in place to stop it? The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, Congress, the Senate? Not likely. The power of the branches of government are dwindling under the pressure of the Bush administration, and those who still have some power are right in step with old Georgie Boy. When it comes right down to it, the Constitution and other important [coinciding] documents that were designed to prevent such a power take over are really just a piece of paper. Bush has already proven that. Heck, if he wanted to he could just set fire to the damn thing and be done with it. Loose ends could easily be tied up by his cronies in the Supreme Court, and everyone else could be controlled by acts he has already written into practice, such as the Patriot Act, Marshal Law, and the blatant disregard of the right to due process (fifth amendment). Bush has also sought out to destroy the Constitutional principle of keeping the powers separate. From "The constitution" by David Cole (an essay):

"The single constitutional principle most under attack, however, is the separation of powers. Time and time again, administration officials have sought to elevate the president above the law, arguing that, as commander in chief, he may choose to "engage the enemy" however he pleases, without regard to what the other branches of government have said. This notion first surfaced in an August 2002 Justice Department memo written by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo for the White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez. Yoo argued that the president could not be precluded from ordering the torture of enemy combatants merely because the United States had ratified an international treaty prohibiting torture under all circumstances, or because Congress had made torture a federal crime. "The president enjoys complete discretion in the exercise of his Commander-in-Chief authority and in conducting operations against hostile forces," Yoo wrote. "Congress can no more interfere with the president's conduct of the interrogation of enemy combatants than it can dictate strategic or tactical decisions on the battlefield." If the president decided to "engage the enemy" by ordering that the enemy be tortured, that was his prerogative, and literally nobody could stop him. [...]"

So I ask again, whats to stop him from taking complete power? Think about this, Hitler was able to rise to power, and have a massive following of people who did whatever he ordered them to do. Most, if not all of his ideas were completely insane, they were atrocities, yet the public went along willingly until it was too late to stop him. By the time folks tarted figuring it out, he had the military power and force to quell uprisings fairly quickly. In fact it took darn near teh entire world to bring him down. Even then, he had supporters in other countries too.

If a man can convince a nation that genocide is good, and torture is OK, or that torture wasn't really occurring, or that the people in the "work camps" weren't really experiencing torture (sound familiar?) why can't Bush, or one of his more eloquent cronies? He already had people believing there were WMD's as a justification for a war. He has people believing that enemy combatants being held without due process aren't really experiencing "torture". After all, they only pretended they were going to electrocute the prisoners...and parading them around in the nude, sexual abusive acts, and water boarding aren't really all that bad...right? Gee, I mean, it could be worse.....[/sarcasm].

When all is said and done, when push comes to shove, no matter if Bush takes over or has simply set the stage for someone even worse to take control of this nation, he has created a power vacuum that allows the opportunity for a dictator to take control.

What will we do then? How much does it take for a nation to wake up and smell the fascism? Will we be like Nazi Germany, and wait until its too late before we try and fight back?

If it comes down to that, we can call it "The American Revolution, episode II". And pray to whatever god you pray to that we can start fresh.

Stupid doesn't begin to explan it.

I've been keeping tabs on one of those pro-war pro-Bush groups that have their panties in a twist because the nation is screaming for peace and impeachment. I just can't stand it anymore. The mindset ranges from scary brainwashed Hitler's youth SS soldiers to just plain stooopid. If you know what I mean.

The rational behind their actions and words and justifications make no sense at all. Its clear that they have little knowledge of history outside of the US, or perhaps just an extremely limited historical and political viewpoint because no one bothered to teach them anything that might make America sound like a bad place, at any point in time. Or perhaps, much like the far right wing fundamentalist religious groups, they've got some wires loose somewhere and are incapable of understanding anything they haven't already been force fed by people of a like mind.

Whatever their problem is, its a problem. There is a difference in my opinion between supporting the current administration, the war, or whatever political view point one has - and quite another to go on a witch hunt for anyone who disagrees with you so you can have a "moonbat bashing party".

Of course, as time moves forward, and more and more people become discontented with the president, the administration, the war and everything in between, the more these right wing conservatives for violence feel the need to resort to typical ad hominem abusives to try and cripple the voices of the rest of the country. This tactic is not a new one, and was written about quite skillfully by Jack Hitt in an essay called "The Marketplace of Ideas"

"The one tactic that has yielded the best results though, is to enfeeble entire arguments by destroying the reputation of the most prominent person making them. The fallacy of the ad hominem argument has been around since before classical rhetoricians named it, but this administration has made it a mainstay of contemporary politics. Al Gore is now commonly known to have boasted that he "invented the internet," even though those words were artfully put in his mouth. By the exact same tactic, John Kerry went from Vietnam hero to wartime opportunist, while Howard Dean was branded mentally unbalanced on teh basis of a single phoneme. After Paul O'Neill published his tell-all book, allegations of treason began to float, claiming that documents he took with him were classified (they weren't). John Murtha is being described as "dotty." When Bill O'Reilly hears an argument he can't answer, he calls the person "kooky" and then announces he will not engage the position precisely because the speaker is nuts. [essay cont's...]"
These arguments are precisely what bother me so much when I read the message board forums and articles, and particularly the blog pages of those involved with these groups. It bothers me, but it also makes me laugh. The idea that they can't come up with anything better than a tired old "commie" insult, or some machismo war cry similar to a gorilla in heat tickles me to no end.

On the other hand, this is how hate groups are started. The sheer paranoia that oozes from these people about the "evil lefties" (those being anyone who doesn't agree lock-step with their positions). The comical rants about communism, socialism, anarchy and the group that really gets their goat, the black bloc, are made even funnier because the person ranting on about it is such an alarmist that they've gotten themselves all confused about who's who and what's what.

With confusion like that, no wonder they support a president like Bush. They have the same mentality. And I don't mean in a political sense.

Also, it should be noted that most (not all) of the members in said group have some sort of connection with a hard-line Christian church. They are conservative to a fault, intolerant to the extreme, and scared out of their minds. They don't like Gays, Liberals, Democrats, Pagans, Muslims, foreigners...basically anyone.

These are the type of people that would travel to a foreign country (OK, I'm pushing it here, I don't think many of them would actually want to travel outside of their blessed United States) and refuse to even try to speak the native language. Why? Because American is better. So everyone should speak American English. Thats is to say, even the type of English spoken abroad (you know, people with the "funny accents") isn't good enough. You gotta speak English! The way we do it here in America y'all!

Then there is the pro war aspect that bothers me. It isn't laughable, not even for a moment. I'm neither pro-war nor anti-war on general terms. I'm anti-this war. But generally speaking I can see that there is a time and place for war. I'm definitely not a "peacenik" by any stretch of the imagination. But I'm also not gung ho about war, should we get into one (that is justifiable).

Its not a football game, we're not standing in a stadium with beer and pretzels rooting for the home team to bomb the shit out of the other team. People are dying, on both sides. People who have nothing to do with the war in the first place. Civilians who get caught in the middle of some horrific war zone...

I certainly don't start rooting for another war before the first one is even done with yet, as some of the pro-war folks are doing. Its eerily Orwellian. Bin Laden is the enemy. Al Quieda is the enemy. Hussein is the enemy. Iraq is the enemy. Iran is the enemy.

I'm sorry, who are we fighting again, and whats the reason this time?

Back to the groups of people who disturb me...The other part that I simply don't get is these people hook up with law enforcement act like goody two shoes, but as soon as the police tur their back, they're assaulting people. And usually women, young girls, or old ladies.

Oh wait, how dumb am I? That makes perfect sense. Law enforcement has enough inherent problems that teaming up with groups like this seems so natural. Like perfectly matched dance partners. I'd wager a bet that these folks could get on with their assault right in front of the police, and the anti-war protester would be the one to get arrested for it anyway.

The blind nationalistic pride that tows he party line so well is abundant in these groups - so abundant in fact that it makes one wonder if they aren't being urged on quietly by our government, if not outright supported by it. All while the other groups are being hit with fines on a daily basis for organizing rallies.

“When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” Sinclair Lewis - corrected because I royally messed up the quote.

Sure sounds like the current administration and its ardent followers to me.


Fair prices are stupid

Well, OK thats not really how I feel about it. That is how I perceive how others feel about it though. For example, there are numerous grocery stores in my area. Having all of these stores around means competitive business, which should mean fair prices. Of course, thats not how it works. Most of the stores charge the same amount, save for a few items or offered discounts and raise their prices simultaneously when the market calls for it (or when the company decides they need a higher profit margin). Instead of one or more stores keeping prices low to keep all of them low and reasonable, they figure hey...if they can charge that much so can we.

Enter in the discount grocer. We had one open up a few months back. The prices aren't just a little bit less than the other stores, they're drastically less. I'm talking about a weekly grocery bill that has gone from $150-$250 to $50-$90. Thats massive. Of course, you don't get bags, unless you pay for them (3 cents a whack, oh my!) , and you might have to buy an off brand for certain items. Other than that though, they're pretty much the same as any grocer minus the meat and bakery departments.

So back to my point which is, if this store can make a profit selling items for sometimes less than half or more than it competitors, what does that say about the competitors? They're ripping you off, thats what. The line of bull that overhead is simply costing so much they must continuously increase their prices to magnanimous amounts is just that, a line of bull.

Here's the kicker though. Americans don't like saving a buck when it comes to corporately owned businesses. People who shop at said discount grocery stores are looked at like lepers. As if paying a reasonable amount of money for something we actually need (food) is indicative of an unhealthy lifestyle. Or that we're just too gosh darn poor to be able to shop at "real" grocery stores. Poor us, I just saved over $100 on items that will literally be gone before the end of the week. I must be an idiot! Why would I want to pay $14 for toilet paper when I can get the same thing for $1.99?

I'm literally flushing the product down the toilet.

But again, when it comes to products we need, and if its a corporation, Americans just look down on people who want fair, reasonable prices. They'll nickel and dime their neighbors at a yard sale for a $.25 mug...or haggle the local shop owner to get a discount on an already fairly priced item. A fair price is absolutely necessary when they are buying items they don't need (and can't afford anyway). But god forbid should they step foot into a discount grocery store. They would rather pay top dollar for items that will eventually be flushed down a toilet, shat out, or thrown away.

But thats just our country isn't it? Corporate is God, local business people and private citizens go to hell! We're shooting ourselves in the foot. We're creating corporate owned wage slaves. And for no reason at all.

I want to see this movie.

And it is opening in a theater near me very soon indeed.


The Fountain of Youth

For centuries upon centuries the lore of magical fountains, chalices and other devices meant for immortality or the the deceleration of the aging process have passed from generation to generation. The ideals of immortality have been sought after, fought over, challenged and coveted for about the same amount of time. Do you think we have ceased searching for the Fountain of Youth?

Think again.

We have continued the exhausting epic, no longer through tales, myths and magical means, but rather via the pursuit of sound, logical theories widely accepted by society. Its called scientific advancement, or more precisely, medical advancement. The shallow illusion of Eternal Youth is widely accepted as "plastic surgery" (as well as other non invasive or over the counter products claiming to have tapped the ever elusive Fountain). The search for immortality is now simply called called the Medical Practice. Everything from emergency treatment, routine care, medicines, and life saving or rather life sustaining surgery.

Think I'm exaggerating? What other purpose then, is that of the medical community? What has this advancement been designed for if not the forestalling of eventual death? There are of course benefits to all of this advancement. These benefits, while selfish in nature can and do prevent heartache, pain and grief. To save a life is to (hopefully) preserve the possibility of a valuable contribution to society. Of course, there's always the money end of it too.

The decrease in mortality rates of older generations, that is to say the preservation of vitality that leads to longer life spans has tapped, and strained our economy. This is where the downside of all this life saving comes into play. For every generation that survives well into or past their octogenarian years, we must have the an equal amount, or preferably greater amount of people coming up in the future generations to financially sustain the former. Also preferably, these people must be alive and in good health.

What does this all mean you ask? Over population. Its not a myth. While constant generation growths make for good current economies, it has a long term downfall that can, and will cost us all a great deal. We only have so much space in which we can live, work, rest and throw away our refuse. We have a finite amount (or a very slow renewal) of natural resources, and a finite amount of governmental financial resources to aid citizens. There are only so many jobs as well. When vast amounts of people begin living and thriving in a world that can realistically only sustain so many living creatures in all, we have a problem. It means clear cutting of forests not only for space, but also for wood to build the homes or offices that will be built there. There is no hope of replenishing the trees that will be cut down in those areas, in that area. Soon enough there won't be enough space to replenish trees or plants in the numbers that are required to maintain a natural balance in any area. Losing forests doesn't just affect wood as a natural resource, or the balance of chemicals in the air (namely oxygen, that gas that trees and plants emit that we kinda need to survive) but it also makes the soil nutrient poor, and in some cases can cause the loss of top soil altogether. (Meaning nothing can be planted or replenished there).

The increase of population will also affect things like social security (in America at least), but also health care, insurance and governmental aids like Medicare. It will certainly affect the employment market only not in a way that most imagine. Fresh water will only become more polluted by the factories that will need (and indeed some already are) to be built in order to handle the demand of whatever product they make. Utilities will be through the roof, as the natural resources used to make the power that we use everyday diminish. Prices for that will rise. Just this past year (August to August) our utilities companies have hiked their rates three times. We aren't even in a total all out no-holds-barred energy crisis yet.

Do I even need to mention the fact that so many people will inevitably change the face of the planet in such a way that the current global warming/climate crisis will seem like a bedtime story? I didn't think so.

And here we are, faced with people...everyday folks like you and I who are worried because people aren't having enough children. The quiverfull folks or just plain old devout (fundie) Christians who regularly lash out at anyone in a marriage who do not plan on having any children, or those of us who do not see child rearing as the mainstay of a good, solid marriage. They want to ban birth control , reproductive rights, and everything in between.

So much for reproductive responsibility. I actually heard one person ( a man of course) state that having as many children as you can is what everyone should do, regardless of health risks (to the mother), quality of life for the children, and the ability to afford so many children. He advocated going on welfare just so you can keep having kids. Wow.

Mother nature however, will have the last laugh. She always does. Because no matter how hard we try to stay alive, death will come. No matter how hard we try to stave off old age, it comes. If and when we become a big enough blight on this Earth, it will cure itself of the diseases. One way or another, nature always wins out.

Capitalists would do well to remember that. We are not the force that controls everything under the sun, and we never will be.


And there's more....

There is a new law attempting to pass through our "wonderful" system of check's and balances right now, or in the near future that is very bothersome to me.

I'll start by saying this bothers me for several reasons. First, the whole thing is an issue to wag the dog. Its another "side issue" with a purpose of wasting time, resources, and attracting media attention so real issues lose airtime. Second, it is a law that will aid law enforcement in the simultaneous circumvention of our fourth amendment rights, and the stigma of racial profiling. Third, it is simply a further restriction of our rights in general.

What is this law you ask? Georgia is attempting to criminalize the fashion style of baggy, low riding pants. Or, to extend that for a moment, any style of clothing that intentionally (or unintentionally) exposes your undergarments - be they boxers, thongs, bra straps - or even sweat pants worn under jeans and regular underwear. I will now dub this the "War on Saggy Pants". They are trying to legitimize this bill by sliding in as "indecent exposure". Exposure of what? More clothes? Yikes. The penalty for breaking the law of the saggy pants is a $500 fine and possible jail time.

Yes I said jail time.

From what I saw, some areas already have this law "on the books" meaning its enforceable if they want it to be. In videos showing what goes on when someone is stopped for suspicion of saggy pants, I noticed that it was always young, black men. The "search" consisted of lifting up clothing, poking around, and even a light pat down. This is a blatant circumvention of the fourth amendment. No longer do police need reasonable suspicion of a person to search them...they now have the "War on Saggy Pants" on their side, and can stop and search anyone under the pretense that its for public safety against indecent exposure. I'm sure it has nothing to do with racial profiling, and blatant spying on citizens.

Since the folks on the right are so keen on fighting "Islamofascism" and keeping burqas out of the west...perhaps they need to take a closer look at what Georgia is trying to do. They are...well regulating what their constituents can and can't wear, forcing them to "cover up" in the name of decency. Of course these people being criminalized for their sense of fashion aren't in fact being indecent, as no "private parts" are showing. But apparently they aren't being decent enough. They need to cover up more. Isn't that how Americans interpret the enforcement of burqas?

Islamofascism....Doesn't anyone worry about Americanofascism?

The other issue that needs to be addressed here is the side issue of wagging the dog. Yes, this law is a side issue. Yes there are more important things to worry about. But this is important too. Too many people complain about the multitude of less important side issues, but fail to see the significance of them when you put them all together.

Legislating morality, legislating fashion, legislating reproductive rights, legislating marital rights, legislating sexuality, legislating foods, legislating religion....the list goes on. When you put it all together what do you get?

Its OK, you can say it.....fascism.

I agree that we shouldn't miss the forest for the trees, but we do need to realize that the forest is made up exclusively of...well, the trees.

So much to discuss, so little time....

I had taken a break from the internet this week to catch up on my reading, half finished projects, and clean out my veggie garden. As it turns out I was not able to clean out my brain during all of this cleaning and relaxation time. Go figure.

After catching up on some articles from Harper's magazine my brain is spinning like a proverbial top. I also managed to see a PBS special holding the news media accountable for the mass amounts of misinformation circulating around since before "Shock and Awe". Great special.

Sometimes it gets to a point where I don't even know where to begin. Is it just a Corporatocracy that we have to worry about? Certainly this is a major issue, one that needs to be addressed if not for our own sanity, at least for the safety of the rest of the world. Or is there something more?

During all of my "winter nesting" projects this past week I've had the time to reflect on numerous conversations over the years with people, typically women, from many walks of life. The unfortunate similarity that I have found in those conversations (in retrospect) is that they all have the same outlook on life and responsibilities. Or I should say, to be fair, they have a similar outlook. It is rampant throughout Americans. It isn't just consumerism, it isn't just about "Keeping up with the Joneses". It isn't just religion, politics, social status, class and helicopter parenting. It is something more. Much more.

This threat, when paired with national fear mongering, blind nationalistic pride, and a lax education with regards to our own government is much bigger, much scarier, and a far bigger problem than Al Quieda, Taliban, Iraq, Iran, Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan put together.

Irresponsibility and the dollar. How can a nation recover, or thrive in any form of government when its inhabitants cannot take care of themselves? We live in a nation where everyone looks to someone else for blame, responsibility, and care. In an ideal Utopian concept we would all take care of one another, a tribal, village or communal style of living would allow everyone equality because everyone would help in taking care of everyone through various means. This simply cannot happen when the individuals cannot, or will not take care of themselves or will only take care of themselves.

Parents who 's only contribution to their family is the paycheck they bring home plus some "fun time" on the weekends (which is supposed to suffice for parenting and quality time). Young adults still thoroughly living off of their parents when the umbilical cord was clearly cut years ago. Adults who refuse to care for their own family members in times of need or ill health, or simply old age. "I'll pay for a room in a convalescent home, but thats about it." Is what you're likely to hear. People who are shocked to find out that someone like myself (of the fringe element that is) still takes time out for family, and actively participates in the lives of family and friends - no strings attached.

These people have refused to take part in the tribal nature of their own family for so long they can no longer even consider it because the money (which is the cause for not taking care of one another) has simply become too important. Never mind what they contribute to their community...how on Earth could they get beyond the basics to participate in a larger grand scale tribal/communal style of government?

I'm getting off topic a bit now...but this is something that really bothers me. It seems like a fruitless effort sometimes to try and talk to people, to get them to understand that a socialistic environment, under the right circumstances is not some Inherent Evil, but rather closer to the way things are supposed to be.

The American way as it is right now is to make money, spend money, and to hell with anyone who gets in the way of that pursuit. Children included.


Education: The Anarchist's overhaul

Education is a hot button issue for me. I think education is important - no - it is beyond important for any social structure. Why? Because the easiest way to control the masses is to keep them uneducated. Illiteracy is a key ingredient for the control of large groups of people. It serves two purposes - it keeps them in the dark (can't read the news, can't read books) and it prevents a person (and consequently groups of people) from making informed decisions and entering into fair contracts.

Basically, they don't know what the rules are, they don't know what the facts are, and they have no way of proving that the facts even exist if and when they change on them unexpectedly.

A lack of knowledge of history and socio-political structure is another way to keep people in line. If you have no idea that your ruling government has been part and party to atrocities, then you're likely to continue your support of said government. There is something to be said for personal experience and word of mouth rebellion...but that is a long and painful process - as history tells us. (Ironically enough).

Glazing over history with the Victor's versions of the accounts is another form of control - although less successful than the first two forms.

Last but not least, keeping people at a remedial level of education - or education geared for one or two job functions only - is the last and least effective form of control. It is control none the less.

This all may sound very alarmist. However, if one were to take a peek at our current educational curriculum, pair it up with the ranking of our schools nationally and globally, there is cause for concern. In my town alone only 17 % of high school students are graduating from the public schools that are more than functionally literate. Let me reiterate that - Eighty-three percent (83%) of our students are just barely functionally literate or illiterate altogether.

Thats a lot of kids coming out of school with only enough knowledge to sign their names or fill out checks (spend spend spend!), and fill out applications, but only for menial paying jobs. (Debt debt debt!).

The math scores are even lower. The drop out rate is phenomenally high (upwards of 43%?) and entrance into colleges is phenomenally low. This of course, is a regional experience - but the numbers around the rest of the country 'aint so hot either.

Is it coincidence that as our educational scores are dropping, our freedoms and rights are disappearing? Not in my eyes.

So what is the Anarchist, Socialist, or Communist supposed to do about this?

Rework the educational system. Thats what. First and foremost, a lesson to all parents and guardians: Take part in your child's education!!!!! They learn from the parents first, so taking an active role really helps. This of course would be made much easier in a socialistic style of government. (Pick your poison). If families had the safeguards in place such as...Oh I don't know...job security, medical care, and handy social programs to help out, free quality education.....they wouldn't have to worry so much about getting all that overtime and promotions at work and could worry about taking care of their kids a little more. (Of course taking away the capitalistic ideal would make this transition even easier without capitalism, greed has very little place in society - ideally speaking of course).

Second, make sure the teachers are educated themselves. I don't want to see another teacher misspell words in the comments section of a child's report card. Or see shoddy schoolwork coming back with A's and A+'s on them. Another issue is that teachers are now taught to teach, and not to teach a subject. That is to say, they know how to confer information (sort of) but they know little or nothing of the particular subjects they are teaching. This is a problem not easily reconciled. How can a teacher possibly confer the correct information if they don't know anything about it themselves?

We also need to shift our educational focus from memorization, to comprehension. I'm not saying we should ditch memorization, but we should be able to understand the significance of the facts we are memorizing. We should understand how it works. That is the key difference between cramming and learning. Take a look at shows such as "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" what this show highlights is the fact that we as a society, are unable to retain information we learned as children. Basic things such as arithmetic, spelling, grammar, history and so on. Our teachers are no longer teaching, but rather they are stuffing our little heads with knowledge as fast as they can so it will stay long enough to pass the national testing standards set forth by our (ever so brilliant) "No Child Left Behind" circus...I mean act. After that? No one seems to care if the kids can remember it, or use it.

Our school systems also teach the glorified historical versions of the "Victors", rather than the whole story. Its media bias at its lowest. This needs to stop, and it needs to stop now. Children (particularly in America) need to understand that all countries, all governmental systems have at one point or another participated in atrocities for political and social advancement. It is imperative that our children learn this so they can make educated decisions with regards to government, policies, contracts, social issues, humanitarian issues and so forth.

Children also need to be taught to question authority, and to never, ever, have blind faith. Or blind nationalism.

I ran into a person from abroad some time ago, and her only real surprise about America was that not everyone was in college. Education...it is the key for personal, social and cultural survival.

Then again, I suppose that if we all keep ourselves occupied with TV and shopping and other sorts of mindless activities, we won't notice when our rights slip away...we will be oh-so-contented.


And so it begins...

The government has begun its quiet and sneaky campaign of removing our rights, right from under our noses. With the addition of the two Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito via Dubya our rights as individuals and citizens are now giving way to the rights of corporations and government. The backsliding began with the addition of these two in 2005 and 2006 respectively, swinging the votes away from individual's constitutional rights towards corporate rights. Issues such as the fourth amendment, first amendment and women's rights have come to the table only to be hacked away at by King George's Supreme Court Goons.

Now, the city of Washington DC has begun fining anti war groups for signs they put up about the rally on Sept. 15th. The card being played is "destruction of property". The facts being ignored is that many people and businesses, including political campaigning hopefuls, put up posters and fliers in the same spots without repercussion. Also being ignored is that the so called "damage" and "costly labor" that removing these signs are supposed to cost DC is bogus. The posters were put up with water soluble glue, in accordance to the law. These posters were also put up within the constraints of the law, which were printed out and given to the people distributing the signs.

The point that I'm making here, is that whether or not you support the war, whether or not you plan on attending the march in September, you should NOT support a government that is willing to persue legal means of hush ups and cover ups of its own constituants. The government may not want to hear what we have to say - we all know the truth hurts, and criticisms sting - but thats just too damn bad.

If you would like to see the story of what this is all about, please go to these links:

Click for a short ABC news video about this unprecedented attack on free speech rights.

Click to listen to the WBAI interview with ANSWER's Sarah Sloan about the fines.

To write a letter or call in protest please go to:

Director of Department of Public Works, William O. Howland, Jr. at 202-673-6833, and the Mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty, at 202-724-8876. You can also send a letter or fax by clicking this link.

The article in the Washington Post is:

Anti-War Group Refuses To Back Down on Signs

By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Washington Post picture
D.C. and Park Service officials are protesting signs, such as this one put up by Eugene Puryear, advertising a march. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)

An anti-war coalition yesterday defied the D.C. government and the National Park Service by refusing to take down dozens of signs advertising an upcoming march.

The D.C. Department of Public Works accused the ANSWER Coalition of breaking city rules by putting signs on utility boxes and using a glue that the agency said will make the posters difficult to remove. The Park Service said the signs are defacing federal property.

Coalition members said the adhesive won't create problems and accused the government of a "politically motivated" bid to silence their efforts against the war in Iraq.

The city and Park Service notified the coalition on Monday that it must remove the signs. The city gave ANSWER a 72-hour deadline and warned the group that it faces nearly $10,000 in fines -- $150 for each of the 65 posters. The Park Service set no deadline but told the group that it would have to pay for the cleanup if it did not comply.

ANSWER, which has sponsored numerous protests in Washington, kept the signs in place on utility boxes, lampposts and other objects across the city, including along the Mall and near the White House.

The signs promote an anti-war march set for Sept. 15, the date that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, is to provide a much-anticipated progress report to President Bush and Congress. Organizers are hoping that tens of thousands of people join the march, which is scheduled to begin at the White House and end at the Capitol.

D.C. officials said they identified other problems with the posters, such as more than three signs put up on one side of a single block, signs that did not state the date they were posted, and signs stuck on utility boxes. In addition, D.C. officials said, no one filed copies of the posters with the mayor's office as required, along with the name, address and phone number of the creator of the signs.

ANSWER organizers said they use legal, water-soluble paste to hang the signs and provide all sign-hangers with a copy of D.C. regulations. They argue that no one should have to notify the government of his or her political opinions.

"We don't consider these fines to have any legal basis," said Sarah Sloan, ANSWER's national staff coordinator. "So there is no need to remove the signs or pay the fines."

The group plans to appeal if fines are imposed and is considering legal action against the city, Sloan said.

The Department of Public Works decided to crack down two weeks ago when employees reported seeing large signs glued in improper places that would take 20 to 30 minutes each to remove, said spokeswoman Vera Jackson. The department often fines individuals or organizations that violate city regulations, she said, adding that this was aimed at keeping the city clean and had nothing to do with politics.

"The District hosts marches and protests all the time," Jackson said. "And the DPW never weighs in on the issues."

ANSWER'S attorney, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice, said such a government crackdown on political posters was unprecedented. If officials truly wanted to make the city clean, she said, they would fine politicians.

"During election season, there are thousands and thousands of posters hanging off every single inch of the city," she said.


This is too good to pass up.

Flower delivery: $50
Infidelity and divorce: $500K
Suing the flower company because your wife caught your adulterous ass: Priceless

So this guy cheats on his wife, sends his girlfriend some flowers, and his wife finds out about it. The florist sent a thank you (for doing business with us) card to the man's home. The wife saw it, called for a copy of the receipt and got the proof she needed about her philandering husband.

He says the divorce will cost him too much money, and its all the florists fault. Whats even funnier to me at least, is that if he did get the $1.5 million award he's looking for - his wife still probably have some legal claim to it!

Oi, oi, oi. I'm so glad I'm not that stupid.



Conspiracy, Truth, or just plain Crazy?

I came across this document the other day and I have been looking at quite intently. I can't tell if the document itself is even authentic, never mind if the content is plausible. Tell me what you think. The document is in PDF format, and may have some rights reserved, I'm not entirely sure. So I will only post the link, and let y'all take a gander and make up your own minds.

reynolds-v-saic.pdf (application/pdf Object)

The fact that this document is in existence does not guarantee its authenticity. So first I think I would like to now if any can verify or debunk it. Then, if it is authentic, I'd bee interested to see a discussion on the plausibility of the content.


Is there such a thing as Anarcho-elitism?

Today I got to wondering, and this is truly a pondering thought process, opinion based on a meandering mind-set, if anarchists and others of an anti-state mind frame can eradicate elitism and hierarchy? I have been exposed to what seems like a slight elitism in the movement, as it were. A so-called "I'm more anarchist or anti-state than you" type of behavior.

Human kind, it would seem has a natural tendency to separate itself into groups, hierarchies, and roles depending on the social structure and cultural influences surrounding it. Individuals with strong personalities (such as someone like myself) have an inherent habit of being louder, pushier, or more authoritative or at least perceived to be that way. Thus, the idea of total equality and collaborative efforts are pushed aside for a very Darwin-istic type of culture. Or are they?

Of course, it should be noted that individual people have individual contributions to any group that can and usually is unique to them and whatever special "gift" they've got. Many tribal societies have sustained themselves for long periods of time through out history for this very reason. Everyone has a role, everyone has a contribution and that helps make the tribe a strong one.

One key difference I see from modern day group or collaborative efforts and historical tribes is that historical tribes often, I dare say almost always made it a point to include every individual and different contribution as equally important to the tribe. Sometimes, in modern day groups, some contributions are seen as "less than" even in groups that try to maintain an equality style tribal cooperative effort.

Have we become so ingrained with modern day elitism that we can no longer separate this flaw from ourselves and our groups? Has the idea of equality transferred from the importance of a contribution for survival to equal meaning conformity?

Just take a look at social struggles in say, the role of a man and woman in marriage and family (family being the tribe). Women say they are not equal in their roles if they don't hold down a job. Many men say the same thing [about women]. Are they not equally important to the survival of their [nuclear] tribe, regardless of the particular role they play?

Can a collaborative group set aside differences, and realize that while some may be better suited for action and activism, others may be able to help out in ways such a literature, organizing, or outreaching? And that all of those are important to for the success of the group?

I think that if we, in general, redefine what it means to be equal we can do just that. And it won't take years upon years for it to happen.

Fruits of Our Labour: Socialism a Loaded Word

Fruits of Our Labour: Socialism a Loaded Word

An excellent post for everyone to read!


A word or three about economy

The economy is something that both fascinates and terrifies me. I love to look at global, national and local trends and play "connect the dots" with the natural ebb and flow of money, economy and everything that goes along with it. Locally however, the economy is going sour - and fast. This is due, in part to the invasion of large corporations and large scaled businesses in our area. Over the past fifteen years we have been told that the addition of such large overpowering, overbearing companies and businesses will be good for our locals. "It will stimulate our economy!" they say. "It'll bring in new blood, new money, more opportunity!" they rally.

Fifteen years and three massive invasions later, the rally cries have turned into whimpers from the vast majority of the people who live here, and have lived here for a long long time. Whimpers I say, because it hurts. The loss of jobs, property (eminent domain anyone?), revenue, contracts for local companies, and stagnate wage base paired with the increase of the cost of living for everyone really really hurts.

Drive through my town and you'll see plenty of for sale and for rent signs - on both residential and commercial properties. Empty lots that had been stolen from locals by large corporations only to sit and become overgrown and unused. Its a bit childlike really, hoarding of the property - not to be used and developed - but just so no one else could use it, or get too close to the 'booming" business that had moved in across the street. I do use the term "booming" loosely here because there have been plenty of layoffs as of late.

You will also see loads of large corporate conglomerates and hitman style businesses such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot and the like. The crux of the situation is that these large businesses (though not Wal-Mart and Home Depot specifically) were supposed to bring in high rollin' executives, and lots of good paying jobs for us. Not only did these companies not hire our local contractors to build their Empires oops, I mean businesses, but they also outsourced the new employee base as well. Most of these people don't even live in our community. Therefore a small percentage of the new and improved revenue isn't even being put into our town and local businesses.

In fact, it is crushing us.

Please note however, that the big bad businesses aren't the only ones to blame for our little situation. Greedy landlords looking to cash in on the newfound opportunity of cash flow readily upped their rents to unprecedented and unreasonable heights. Some businesses cashed in by raising the prices of much needed products. Other locally owned businesses were forced into it by the severe customer theft due to heavy undercutting.

Our local town government is as much to blame for this as anyone. They have made it clear that the local "yokels" who have lived in, stood by, and supported this town for decades are simply not the type of folks they want here. They want the upper echelon of utmost economic elitists to reside here, in our crummy little town.

So far, this has not played out the way they planned it to.

High priced condos and McMansions sit unoccupied save for a few of the more adventurous elite who don't mind rubbing elbows with the rest of us yokels. Businesses are failing, and residents are leaving in droves for nearby towns with lower rents, lower taxes, and better properties.

We the residents however, are also to blame. Every time we purchase something at Wal-Mart instead of a local shop owner, every time we let our local governing body make bad decisions for us, every time we move, sit down or just plain don't fight, we enable our own demise.

I for one, will no longer be taking the abuse doled out.
Furthermore I refuse to be a wage slave for corporate profit any longer.


The vote to nowhere

Here's an idea. For those of you who are displeased with the voting process, with the constant barrage of "lesser evils" for candidates or both, let me explain how you can let the government know how you feel, even if its only on a local level to start.

First, let me start by explaining why you should protest the voting process. Most of us know and understand that once a person enters the voting booth they are typically voting for the candidate they detest the least, or the one they feel is less likely to make a bad system even worse. On rare occasions a person actually votes for a candidate they truly want in office, who isn't their friend or neighbor or someone they owe a favor to. This does not denote high voter confidence. This could also explain low voter turn out, and poor choices for candidates.

That said, I have always felt that voters should have the option to actively not vote for the candidates they don't want in office, while being able to caste a positive vote for the candidate they do want, if any. The idea here is that the voter can let candidate(s) know in no uncertain terms that they absolutely refuse to be the particular candidates constituents whatsoever. Perhaps even a spot for commentary as to why they are refusing to vote for the particular candidate(s). It is a deliberate non-vote for a candidate or group of candidates. It would be even better to show the candidates just how many people refused to vote for them. It would serve as massive blow to his or her Ego. Of course, logistically and practically speaking, this doesn't, and would not work out the way its intended to.

Since we can't do that, we are left to either vote for someone we don't really want, or not to vote at all in protest and be seen as apathetic, apolitical, twerps.

Of course, this is not the case at all.

Instead what we need to do is register to vote, get ourselves to the polling place on elections, and get in line. Once we get into that booth or get our ballots, the option to write in a vote is available. At this point the voter in protest should select the appropriate key (or button, circle or lever) for a write in vote, and fill in the portion with "NONE OF THE ABOVE".

By law write in votes have to be looked at. A "NONE OF THE ABOVE" vote won't be considered a valid vote, and therefore not counted, however the polling officials will still be required to read them, they will see the sentiment. If they see enough of them, then a point will start to be made.

This serves two purposes. One, it costs time and money by using their resources. Why should we allow our governing body save money because we are protesting a vote? Two, it creates a paper trail with a very loud and clear statement : We are actively NOT voting for any of the candidates, and are using this as a form of voting protest. If 1000 people come out to vote, and only 500 are direct votes, 100 are absentee, and 50 are considered valid write ins, that leaves 350 votes unaccounted for. After a while, people are going to want to know where those votes are, and who the votes are for. When they (be it the government, the parties, the candidates, the media) see that they are for "NONE OF THE ABOVE" and not for Mickey Mouse or Elvis - the picture will slowly come into focus.

This is a small and quiet form of protest that is perfectly within our rights to do. It will not solve the problem, but it could make a difference. It could certainly make you feel better for doing it too.

As an aside, Did you know that if you caste a provisional ballot, your vote does not count? Provisional ballots are the placebo of polling places. They are given to people whom the polling place cannot allow to vote, will not allow to vote, or to people they simply want to placate and make them think they've voted. Provisional ballots are held for a certain amount of time in case there is some massive problem and every single vote ever cast needs to be counted. Barring an election catastrophe the provisional ballots are typically thrown away after the waiting period - unopened, and uncounted.

Just food for thought.

Take away your Identity and what do you have?

In a word, Freedom.

This is a lesson I learned the hard way. For the very first posting in my brand-spankin'-new blog I thought I'd share the evolution that is my political and social belief structure. Yes, it started with identity theft.

One day many years ago my wallet was stolen from me. My whole life and all of my identifying paperwork was in that wallet. It was rifled through, I'm guessing, and what was unusable for the original thief was scattered to the wind for countless other opportunistic individuals to use and abuse at their discretion. I was at a loss. I had always played by the rules, and had full faith in "The System". As soon as I realized what had happened I did exactly what I had been told to do my whole life - call each company or industry and notify them of the theft along with the police. Then, when charges began appearing on credit cards and dollars began disappearing from my bank account I again did what I had been taught to do. I called them all, explained the situation and expected to receive assistance in the manner in which I had been told I would. "Call the company, they'll always work something out with a good customer." they'd say.


I found out much to my dismay that when you don't have any money and your identity is being used to break the rules, nobody cares. Companies will not "work with you". Debtors will not work out a payment plan. The police won't even bother to save the report you filed because a stolen wallet just isn't important enough to complete a simple task.

And so it began, the theft (which later happened a second time) was the spark to a new me. I uncovered the inadequacies and lies of corporate and consumerist America. I began to understand that what I had been taught to be when I grew up wasn't worth much of anything. I also slowly began to realize that without the pressure of a good credit score hanging over my head, without the constant use (and access) of plastic money, with the inability to use basic purchasing power beyond cold hard cash - I was suddenly free from financial woes. I was free from "keeping up". I was free from defining myself via consumerism. Granted, I was forced into this freedom - but when I learned to embrace it, I loved it. I took it beyond freedom from consumerism.

After many years of reading, experiencing and living life in a way I never expected I learned that there were other freedoms to be had. In a sense, political freedoms. Religious freedoms. Social freedoms. I learned that sometimes, just sometimes by covering your face and standing quietly I had freedom of expression that I could never have achieved before. Even yelling loudly, by removing my own identity my words were louder. My thoughts were louder, my ideals were louder.

I also felt free to explore the ideologies of my family, friends, this country with a critical eye that I had not previously had the stones to explore. I could question freely, I could examine freely, I could agree and disagree freely. Which of course, leads me to a more political outlook on life.

My experiences have left me feeling Anti-State, that is to say, free.