Xenophobia, An Incurable Disease?

Lately I have been mulling over a few comments made, usually in passing about my picture. It sparked the need to reexamine xenophobia and racism in modern day America, and why it won't seem to go away.

When the country wasn't even a country it was the Native Americans that caught our hatred of all things different. Then it was ever increasing minority groups, typically immigrants or slaves, coming here for opportunities (or because they were the opportunity). African Americans, Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Japanese...they all took their turn at the whipping post. So too, did homosexuals, and Pagans and Communists or Socialists.

Today, however, it's Muslims, or anyone who even looks like they might be from the Middle East really, who are being regularly whipped.

Think about this, look at my photo, and ask yourself what you see. Many people haven't said a word about it because to them, it probably doesn't matter. To some, I have been told that I look like a ninja, and as a joke at that. Others understand this is typical protest gear for a person of my political persuasion. Or that it is a social statement. The average person who doesn't know, but isn't a racist simply asks what it is, or what it means.

There have been a handful of people however, that immediately think "terrorist". This bothers me for a number of reasons, the fact that I'm not a terrorist is the least of all to boot. (I know what I am and what I stand for, thats not why it bothers me so). Part of it is that the association of terrorist is also typically paired with some derogatory epithet, such as "camel turd, camel jockey, towel head or sand n****r" and so on. So the association isn't one that is based only on appearance, but mainly on bias. I have been wracking my brain trying to come up with a viable explanation as to why this thought process is inherently racist, and what needs to be done about this. Because apparently, there are a great deal of folks out there who don't seem to understand that it is, in fact, racist. Tell me what you think about this for an explanation;

What you see - a covered face
What you know - some Muslims cover their face
What you're told - the majority of terrorists are Muslim

What you assume - a covered face means a Muslim person, and terrorists are Muslim therefore, you are a terrorist.

Why this is racist;

Not all Muslims cover their face, and not all covered faces are done so for cultural or religious reasons.

You're told that most terrorists are Muslims, not that most Muslims are terrorists. Yet, that connection is made anyway.

Therefore, you assume that a covered face means a person is Muslim, and therefore they must be a terrorist. Which positions all Muslims as terrorists, and starts the racist propaganda machine.

This, at least to me, is a major problem because it is perpetuating the "red scare" all over again, but this time aimed at a group of people who can be identified by ethnicity alone. Not to mention the fact that the red scare is still alive and well, at least in some folk's minds. It is doubly scary because otherwise intelligent people are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

Do we really need another group of people to hate? Furthermore, is hatred really that hard for people to see that it requires an explanation?


One For The Road

American foreign policy is the gift that keeps on giving.

Like herpes.

Just one more for the road...

Tonight a judge had to inform two police officers that uniformed, on duty officers were not allowed to solicit prostitutes while in their police cruisers.

Mental note to officers: ditch the cruiser before soliciting a prostitute.

They're wives must be so proud.


World Without Money

Lets take a look now, at the final possible outcome of my little doomsday theory.

If our country has not planned some sort of economic restructuring via dubious means, and is earnestly trying to keep our economy afloat with listless stimulus packages and bloated defense budgets - all unsustainable wealth, with no potential for real growth - what will happen if we tank, regardless of our efforts?

There could be some amount of global scrambling, causing a disorganized type of international outsourcing program that results in a global Feudalism of sorts, the kind that I have already mentioned only not as well planned. Or, the problems could rise up to be the worst-case-scenario situation we are all dreading.

The global alliances are already shifting into uneasy patterns, foreign relations have become strained, like spandex on an elephant. Threats of nuclear weapon charged wars have already been made. Just how little provocation would it take to nudge the tipping point?

Since other financial powerhouse countries did not decouple, as was debated some time ago, if the US economy falters badly enough - so too, will theirs. The debt and deficit and borrowing and lending practices have become so entwined, and overwhelmingly unpaid on a global scale that it is worrisome, because the wealth has been built on nothing sturdier than a house of cards. One good sneeze, and it will come tumbling down. Even if the Euro is stronger than the dollar.

While countries may scramble to resuscitate what is left of the economy eventually it will simply have to come to pass that poverty will be a fact of life. When poverty, particularly poverty in countries accustomed to a certain quality of life, hits home and hard, infighting begins. People will want more help from the government, and the government won't have it. Then, like a loan shark out to get their due, countries will turn on each other, each expecting the payout they deserve to save their country. With interest, of course.

At which point alliances will be broken, new ones will be made, and war will ensue. Countries will turn on each other like panicked rats on a sinking ship.

Most of us are expecting a world war by now, this isn't anything shocking. However it is the economic fallout that we should be looking at now. After World War II, countries were able to rebuild themselves mainly with the help of loans from other countries. In this scenario, other countries won't have the money to loan, and therein lies the real problem.

What will happen after the war?

Related posts:

Part One
Part Two


Ramifications of International Market Upheaval.

As I have been having a back-and-forth with fellow blogger Jim over at An Average American Patriot, it dawned on me to start thinking about economic forecasts and possible fallouts of an all out depression/recession. What would happen? How would it work? How we would recover, and why the "stimulus Package" is about as stimulating as watching flies reproduce.

If you look back into history and really examine the cause of the Great Depression, what you might notice, are similarities. Starting with disproportionate wealth, or a widening gap between the wealthy, and the not-so-wealthy, as well as the imbalance of supply, versus demand.

You might also notice that a shot of good fortune and economic growth raises the bar of expectation for investors and shareholders, and consequently the brokers who buy and sell on their behalf.

The excessive speculation in the late 1920's kept the stock market artificially high, but eventually lead to large market crashes. These market crashes, combined with the maldistribution of wealth, caused the American economy to capsize. [...] While the wealthy too purchased consumer goods, a family earning $100,000 could not be expected to eat 40 times more than a family that only earned $2,500 a year, or buy 40 cars, 40 radios, or 40 houses.

Through such a period of imbalance, the U.S. came to rely upon two things in order for the economy to remain on an even keel: credit sales, and luxury spending and investment from the rich.

Does this sound familiar? Now skip on over to John C Bogle's book, "The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism", and what he is saying is that investors and shareholders are only getting a fraction of the reward (regardless of taking all of the risk), because the capitalistic system has changed from "owners capitalism" to "managers capitalism". Brokers, as well as heads of company CEOs are taking larger and larger chunks of the profit, when it is the shareholders who are putting in the real capital. (Don't forget, CEO's shares are paid for by the company as a benefit - they put up no risk or capital yet can gain upwards of 70 million dollars per annual share increase, and/or liquidation of stock options). The only difference now is that instead of charging enormous interest rates (although they are still high after the Fed cut them) many brokers went straight for the throat and simply took a bigger cut.

Investors' craze over the proposition of profits like this drove the market to absurdly high levels. By mid 1929 the total of outstanding brokers' loans was over $7 billion41; in the next three months that number would reach $8.5 billion42. Interest rates for brokers loans were reaching the sky, going as high as 20% in March 192943. The speculative boom in the stock market was based upon confidence. In the same way, the huge market crashes of 1929 were based on fear.

This is a problem for two reasons. One, it narrows the distribution of wealth into just a few concentrated places instead of spreading it out among shareholders and investments. Two, there is a sense of artificial inflation of stock prices, thus elevating the investor's expectations of return - and furthermore, of return in short order. The new stock market game has become a smash-and-grab buffet of fast trading. This weakens the market, artificially strengthens confidence, and does little to promote real capital investment for actual company growth and productivity.

Which leads me to outsourcing. Yes that old standby evil as anything outsourcing. If companies are unable to sell as many products as they need to sell at the right price or they can't price the items high enough to cover their overhead, then they either must charge the customer more, get more backers willing to take a risk, downsize, close up shop, or ship their company overseas for every department that can actually be shipped elsewhere. As business practices go, sometimes this is what must be done. Of course, the country they leave loses jobs, thus wealth, thus their target market will have a harder time purchasing the goods from the very same company to keep it afloat...

Right now, it seems alright. Right now, people still have jobs. The inevitable backlash however is that companies can only offer so many jobs, and only so many people can fill upper management jobs. We can only have so many professional jobs too, only so many doctors, lawyers, and accountants etc... The rest will be relegated to service industry jobs (brick and mortar retail jobs, waitressing, janitorial, maintenance etc). As everyone knows, these jobs often don't pay enough to cover the basic cost of living.

What then?

I've come to a cross roads of sorts, unable to decide on the most likely scenario. After reading up on outsourcing trends, I've come to the realization that one scenario - which I will delve into later - is already coming to pass in more than one way. Many companies are finding out that outsourcing, particularly in customer service areas, isn't paying off. Companies such as New Balance pays ten to twelve times more in overhead costs, but they say that the cost is more than made up for in the hassle and delays that outsourcing can cause a company. Other companies have outsourced to places like India, only to find that India turns and outsources part of that contract to another country (typically Mexico), and even sometimes back to the US.

What does this have to do with a recession or potential Depression?

Everything. The idea of global networking and contracting wasn't around for the first Depression. The only international lending going on was between governments, not commerce in the way we understand it today (leaving room, of course, to consider import/export trades and possible deficits accrued as the precursor for standard outsourcing practices today). The Great Depression still affected the rest of the world . When our stock market crashed in 1929, it was felt all over the globe, regardless of our isolationist practices. The repercussions of a Depression today would be dramatically worse.

Of course, I have come up with a few possible outcomes to a Depression. With the help of passionate discussions both on and off Blogger, I am delving into the world of economic models, solutions, or simple "endgame" plans.

Want to know more? Read On

Related Links:
The Second Great Depression
Longest Bull Run in 80 Years
Mediocrity Postured As Success is a Loss of Failure
Fight the Corporatocracy!
A Word or Three About Economy

resource links:


New World Order, Or Same Old Feudalism?

From the last post, I began writing about the greater consequences of outsourcing, economic recessions, and making the same mistakes that led to the Great Depression. You're now, undoubtedly either asking yourself "So what are the possible outcomes?" or you are preparing to read this full well knowing your own opinion about it, and are willing to agree, or rip my theory to shreds. In any case, I welcome it.

So what happens if the US sinks into a massive recession to the point of Depression, and what are the great Global Ramifications?

First and foremost, I think it is understood that while our dollar is slipping below the currency surface, a recession will only exasperate the problem. The question isn't focused on what will happen to the dollar, but rather will the dollar value become so low to the extent that the unimaginable would happen?

I have two main theories, with three possible outcomes here. The first deals with outsourcing directly, and also notes the contribution outsourcing has made towards an inevitable collapse. When US companies began seriously outsourcing to countries such as India, the companies made more money, and the country they outsourced to made more money. After 2002 India's GDP rose to 8.5%, which was the influx of wealth India needed to help stabilize its economy, and begin creating a true middle class. This all sounds very good, a win-win-win situation. And so it was, and has been, in the short term. But since 2002, India has begun outsourcing - outsourcing, an innovative idea for an up and coming country. What that means however, is that the situation is no longer an actual win-win-win situation. It was only a matter of time before the inundation of US companies filled with fiscal power and prowess turned the tables and helped the economic growth of the country it outsourced to. Thus turning "cheap labor" into "not-so-cheap labor".

This has helped, in its own way, create part of the economic problems we face today. In a short six years, outsourced labor has become a hot button issue for both employees and top level employers. Top level employers, also known as CEO's with exorbitant salaries who are routinely rewarded for such business savvy moves as outsourcing, fight for outsourcing for obvious reasons. Then they try to convince us, the laid off employees with no job, and a field of expertise that has been all but completely removed from the country, that it is for our own good. The employees, or "us" oppose it for equally obvious reasons. We want our damn jobs.

That said, outsourcing has its pro's too, it does, to a small extent, keep product prices lower. Of course, it also means lower quality in many cases, and the prices need to be low, otherwise we couldn't afford it. If the companies stayed at home, paid their CEOs less, and hired more employees with what's left over from the whopping new capital gained, not only could we afford better quality products at slightly higher prices, our economy wouldn't be dying at all. (Remember the distribution matters when trying to prevent recessions and Depressions!).

What does this mean? Well, for one, it could very well mean that the US dollar will become so weak that other countries, with stronger economies will begin outsourcing here, and we will become the new "Cheap Labor". If the recession or Depression is bad enough our compensation expectations will drop with the dollar, throwing average earnings back several decades. "But, but, but...won't that mean jobs will come back to the US?" You're asking. Yes, but not the way you might think it would. Remember, India is already re-outsourcing US contracts back to the US. US companies won't abandon contracts and factories overseas just because the labor here is automatically cheaper. They will continue with their own contracts, which will be sent back to the US, for even less pay. We will be working for the very same companies we were before, based in the US, for a fraction of the salary.

The corporations will have taken our jobs and sold them back to us for twice the price and all for the sake of a greasy buck.

In which case, my first scenario encompasses the international crossing of outsourced companies, with the top earners based in their home country, and everyone else seen as the new wage slaves. Creating our very own Aristocracy 2.0, just in for the new millennium!

The second possible outcome, of course, is that our employment options become so dreary, and so bleak that the US corporations can come galloping in on their White Horse, in Shining Armour, gallantly saving the day. At a reduced wage, of course. By that point as long as the wages are better than what we've got, Americans will take it. We'll be right back where we started from, only with a weaker dollar. The reason I bring this possibility up, is because of the recent complaints about outsourcing from companies. Issues such as poor customer service ratings, below standard product quality, and hassles trying to get the products back into America, and on the shelves so the consumerist can gobble them up at a not-all-that-reduced price. Companies want back in, but they don't want to pay the going rate. Therefore, they must force the issue.

That could be the plan of the government as well, who undoubtedly is more concerned with big business, than "We the People". Or, the government could really, honestly be that blinded by the optimistic hope of America's power being so thorough it can weather any financial crisis. With Bush at the helm, any outrageous idea is possible. (Rational ideas, policies, and theories have no place in this government.)

If this is the case, and the stimulus package is the best the government has to offer, and it continues to repeat mistakes from nearly a century ago, we can count on a "World Without Money". Which will become unmistakably, assuredly, and ever so certainly desolate.

Which brings me to a conclusion tonight. Watch out for "World Without Money" coming up next...

{Note, all sources have been previously referenced in the first post, Ramifications of International Market Upheaval}


Enough Complaining, What's the Solution?

The last four or more posts on my page has consisted mainly of addressing and assessing the problems, but very little has been said about a solution. In fact, that seems to be an inescapable trend lately. Partially, I'm sure because we just don't know what a probable solution might entail. I would love to boil it down to "First, a revolution, then rebuild" but not only is that overly simplistic, as things stand even thinking it could get me on a domestic terrorist list somewhere in someone's basement office. So lets forget I even mentioned it.

We have the superb problems of "Iraq quagmires", "economic quagmires", "health-care quagmires
", "World War three SNAFU quagmires"....honestly, the list goes on. First and foremost it should be mentioned that the new president, whether elected or selected isn't going to change much, we will have to do it ourselves.

Thats a tall order, but I think we can do it. Well, some of it anyway. We will, of course be required to convince otherwise unwilling politicians to go along with our scheme. Maybe we could first convince someone with a lot of money to get on board, and then bribe them. Alright, thats a long shot, but a shot worth three seconds of your time, no?

Let's talk about the economic problems for a moment, because I fully believe it is the one issue we really can affect on our own level. First, unionizing workers would be a great start. Now I know what some of you are thinking, unions will damage "free trade" and all that, but would it really? What if we could unionize in a way that brought back real, sustainable wealth to this country? What if we could do it in a manner that brought back production in tangible terms? As it stands, unions are scattered, and have to constantly fight to get anywhere. Union leaders have to trudge through bureaucratic battlegrounds to make any kind of progress. Unionizing has been the bane of corporate moguls throughout our history, and the folks at the top intend to squash it every which way they can.

If we were all unionized, they would have no other option than to go along with it, and create real progress, and sustainable wealth, with actual upward mobility, and fewer class divisions. Of course, this requires quite a bit of work. We would have to beat the pavement and really create a support system, and convince people that this will work. We'll have to change perceptions, one at a time, until we can gain some real momentum . Many of us are already trying to do this, but collectively, and after a serious recession, I think people will be more apt to listen.

Another aspect of changing the scene of the economy is to change our spending habits. This is something we can do right now. The first thing we need to do is jump of the conformity train. Why? What does conformity require other than conforming? It requires that we, the consumers, keep purchasing items we don't need, didn't realize that we wanted, and will throw away as soon as the new conformity guru decides it's time to change. It's "keeping up with the Jones'" and it's killing us. It requires that we buy items from huge corporate entities that barely employ citizens of this country, doesn't give much back economically, and often engage in less than ethical practices anyway.

Buying locally however, gives small businesses (ie, your neighbors) a chance to thrive in a business world now designed to ensure they fail. It also allows unknown creative entrepreneurs a chance to shine. Not only will we get a chance to save our economies locally, keep our neighbors in business, but we can all finally look different or find new, unusual items that we actually want to buy.

We also need to ween ourselves from our credit cards. Easy money and instant gratification has created a rather huge economic gap that is part in parcel with the failure of our country. If you read Bogle's "Battle for the Soul of Capitalism" what you will see is that not only is the change from a product driven market to a finance market caused a major problems with modern day economy, you'll also understand that trade, in and of itself has become the staple, yet the very poison that is causing our problems. It's a good book, go get it.

OK, so thats economic solution, the abridged version.

Now on to health care. First and foremost we must unload the word socialist. We have to make people understand that the cold war propaganda was geared towards maintaining the capitalistic caste system we now live in - so long as ultimate power is kept in check, socialistic programs are not going to kill our children, control our minds, or poison our water. It's OK, and moreover, it works superbly because everyone gets health care! Ask one person who complains bitterly about the notion of it why it isn't a good idea, ask them to make a case against it. They can't without admitting that they have either fallen prey to stereotypes, rhetoric, or really are so cold hearted that they want people to be sick, or lack the ability to get health care. Use it against them, it's alright. You won't hurt anything but their pride. We also have to start refusing over medication. Thats right, we have to stop taking all these meds. Medicine is a great tool when you really need it. Medicine that does nothing but cover up symptoms, with no offer of a cure, will create a dependent state, thus a load of profit for everyone but the patient - that must stop. Not only will be be walking around like zombies, but zombies with empty pockets as insurance rates skyrocket. Insurance companies are estimating the cost of all these life long drug treatments, and it really adds up, therefore, we pay more all around. Until of course, companies will simply stop insuring us altogether.

Now, what we have here is a start to economic change. Once economic change takes place, the political sphere will change with it. It should bend to the will of the people, and if the people have the economic mess under control, and in fact control more of the economy, it must change. Which is how we work our way into changing the Big Politics that need so much of our time.

That however, is in the next post...


Global Conflict, The New American Dream

As we are looking forward to electing a new president to lead our country further down the rabbit hole, world events are spinning at evolutionary speeds. Most disturbing as of late is the term "nuclear weapon" being tossed about so recklessly. Bush is using it, Putin is using it, Iran wants nuclear power and the world seems to be taking sides.

First, lets take a look at the souring relationship between the US and Russia. While Putin and Bush maintain that their international friendship is healthy and cooperative, there are tell tale signs that this marriage is about to have an annulment. While the US is spanking Russia for poor treatment of protesters and a rigged election, Putin is slapping back with accusations that the West was trying to interfere with those elections, as well as accusing the US of aggression with regards to the new missile defense system set to be built in the Czech Republic, or Poland. Putin describes the U.S.'s strategic move as being similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis, at least on technical terms. He questions US intentions about placement, and states that he fears it would neutralize Russia, and do very little in the way of preventing an attack from Iran. In the 43rd Munich Conference on Security policy this past February, Putin lashed out at the US, stating that the monopolar world created after the fall of the Soviet Union has done far more damage to the world, creating more armed conflict and casualties than it did to promote aid and peace.

Putin also seems to be worried that the US and NATO westward expansion is provocative at best. Although Russia has joined with NATO, the relationship there seems to be waining.

Lets take a closer look however, at the meaning behind all of this. Putin may be a many things, but one thing he is not, is foolish. Having been the head of the KGB, he has had ample time to work with, and understand the workings of, the CIA. Even after private talks with Bush, treaties, conferences, and international policy and peace talks, Putin is backing away from the US, suspicious of US intentions. In an article from North County Times Putin calls his critics "foreign funded jackals" while accusing the West of interfering with Russian politics in the same breath. If anyone has read Confessions of an Economic Hitman the word "jackal" sends up red flags immediately, and I doubt that the word was something merely lost in translation.

Meanwhile, Russia has sent in it's fifth shipment of fuel to Iran, in the newly constructed nuclear plant. According to China Daily, these deliveries have been a point of contention between Russia and the US. Some have even stated that the US sanctions and threats against Iran had slowed down payment, thus construction of the plant, which angered Russia.

Russia has close economic ties with Iran, as does China. Both countries have come out in favor of Iran, and against the US, and even the UN, wielding great veto power in the counsel meetings.

What does it all mean? It would seem to me, the casual observer, that a very keen Putin is playing a carefully considered chess game, while Bush in the US is darting around a checkers board, leapfrogging over as many barriers as possible, all just so he can say "king me!". As the world watches this particular drama unfold, the threats of nuclear weapons, World War Three seems eminent. The more the US goes after Iran, and perceptively speaking, Russia, the more countries start taking sides.

Gorbachev was quoted supporting Putin's sentiments about the monopolar problem the world now has, with Russia's once heavy influence fizzling under the US economic and energy dependent pressure weighing down on them.

It would seem to me that provoking Russia now would be akin to poking a hibernating bear. Or, to put it in terms Bush can understand, a bad idea, Joe. If China were to get in the mix, I think we would be in very serious trouble.

Unfortunately for us, even a new president won't be able to stop a Russian backlash if Bush gets his way, and makes permanent changes to our country, or our international standing.

{Links you should visit, if you would like to see US policy statements with regards to Russia, please let me know in the comment section, I will provide either the text or the link!:













Neo-con's Words Betray Their Intentions

It occurred to me yesterday when I was listening to Laura Ingraham (yes, you heard that right) that it is painfully obvious that Neo-cons do not want peace in this world. This might sound out of bounds, off the cuff, or just plain out there. It isn't, and it isn't an attack on political positions based only on position.

Think about this, Bin Laden's son wants to be a peace ambassador between the world and al-Quaida. This is news, at least in my not-so-humble opinion, this is important news. We have a man, willing to break free from his father's organization, in search of peace and cooperation. His wife is right, he may be the only man remotely capable of being a liaison between his father, and the rest of the world. Children have a way of doing that.

So during the radio show, this topic came up. I was expecting her to bash him, state it was impossible, state that he was a liar, something. I was expecting at least a critique of some sort to the proposition of peace talks with a terrorist organization. However, if the tone of the pundits is a clue to the direction their favorite party is going, we are in serious trouble. What was her response to this news? She said:

"If he wants to be a peace ambassador, he needs to cut his hair, he looks dirty". Then repeated the sentiment that she hated his hair.

His hair.

Not exactly at the top of my list of comments to make about the situation. But there you have it, when an offer of peace talk comes up, pundits discuss their disappointment with appearance.

Good Gracious.


Red, White and Bruised, America Behaving Badly

Over the last few days I have been looking into the US - Russian relations, and the strain is more than evident. Before getting into that however, it would be prudent to address the fact that there are many issues, so many issues right now that are affecting the world globally, and the US domestically that history should be looked at. If for nothing more than trying to initiate a "lesson learned" philosophy. The US's actions, policies, and subsequent global aggression has triggered world wide events, alliances and domestic outcries that can no longer be ignored.

Instead of ignoring, the US has decided to forcefully quiet the masses, using subtle techniques of fear and spying, the same as they did in the 1950s. In a related post a keen observer in the comment section noted that HR 1955/S 1959 was the spawn of HUAC, a committee abolished in 1975. The HUAC, or House Un-American Activities Counsel, was in charge of first researching, then ferreting out, and eventually fully prosecute Communists in the US, as they were deemed "A clear, present and continuing danger to National Security"[1] It should be noted here, that much like the HR 1955 and S 1959 act currently on the table, the HUAC was in charge, prior to the Communist Control Act of 1954, of studying the Communist Party and its members to determine the danger they pose, if any. (Ahem what is the "commission's" duties with regards to HR 1955?).

In the 1940's and 50's Senator McCarthy frantically hunted down Communists, and insisted that the government do the same. Many Americans, and members of the government felt that he went too far, and didn't support his actions, at first. After the "Red Tide" came sweeping through the world, and countries were taking on not only Communist governments, but uprisings, strikes, and protests world wide were occurring with a very anti-capitalistic tone (at the very least) that made the US worry about her own survival. Even in the US Communist and Socialist tendencies, organizations, and sympathizers were gaining support after the Great Depression. Citizens began to understand the inherent flaws of capitalism, and wanted something a little more secure for their children.

Enter in the Internal Securities Act of 1950, an act that brought about the HUAC, and forced Communist and Communist leaning businesses, fronts or organizations to register with the government. In 1954 came the Communist Control Act, and the hunting began in earnest. HUAC detained, questioned and held citizens in contempt if they choose not to answer their questions, or were hesitant in answering. Pamphlets were passed out nation wide explaining to the regular population why they should be anti-Communist, who Communists were, and where they could be hiding. People were expected to turn other citizens in.

The propaganda machine was running at full tilt, explaining that Communists were dangerous, violent, and spying on the government in efforts to overthrow it and turn America into the destitute tyranny of Communist oppression. Two individuals, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, were detained, and subjected to a tainted trial, and eventually executed by the electric chair. Even after Global appeals were made on their behalf, the US pulled the lever. It was, as Howard Zinn put it "a demonstration to the people of the country, though very few could identify with the Rosenbergs, of what lay at the end of the line for those the government decided were traitors." [2]

So it was.

Other categories and organizations that fell victim to the anti-Communist hysteria included; Ku Klux Klan, The Chopin Cultural Center, the Cervantes Fraternal Society, the Committee for the Negro in the Arts, the Committee for the Protection of the Bill of Rights, the League of American Writers, the Nature Friends of America, People's Drama, the Washington Bookshop Association, and the Yugoslavia Seaman's Club. [3]

Is this beginning to sound familiar?

This, at a time when the president did not suspend Habeas Corpus, this at a time when "terrorism" wasn't a household word with groups dedicated for the sole purpose of studying it, it's effects, and causes in order to prevent further attacks. This, at a time when our constitution still had at least a few teeth.

What does this have to do with our laws today?

Quite frankly, everything. The proposal shortly coming to the Senate for review and voting will create the same propaganda driven hysteria that the "Red Scare" did in the 50's. Only this time it will be the "Red and Black, Islamic, Arabic, and Single Issue Scare". This time, the net that will be cast to catch citizens who are "Un-American" will be much greater in size and strength. Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Muslims, followers of Islam, and any other "fringe" groups are already being painted as a dangerous threat to National Security.

Only this time around, instead of having some modicum of protection or oversight, we have this blanket term "terrorism" which has become the broadly used code word for "anything goes".

Our country has done it before.

They will do it again.

In the next installment I will be focusing, not on the Thought Crime Bill, but rather on world politics, and steadily growing alliances, all of which are serious cause for concern. It does tie into all of this however, as everything in life is inherently linked. If our cries are silenced, our voices not heard, our wills imprisoned, we will be powerless to stop what lays ahead.

{Unlinked sources:

[1] Civil Liberties and the Constitution, Cases and Commentaries Barker, Lucius and Barker Jr., Twiley W. 1970, Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J. chapter 4, pg. 195

[2] A People's History of the United States, 1492 - Present Zinn, Howard 2003 HarperCollins Publishers, N.Y., New York. chapter 16, pg. 435

[3] A People's History of the United States, 1492 - Present Zinn, Howard 2003 HarperCollins Publishers, N.Y., New York. chapter 16, pg 432. }


If You Think The Candidates Are Bad...

Have you taken the time to check out their supporters? It's a political cat-fight out there, and no one seems to have a water gun. Just to post something on the lighter side of politics, I have been lurking about on political forums, newspaper and MSM blogs, and so forth, just to see what supporters have to say about their candidate's progress.

What I have noticed thus far is that the most vocal of supporters are posting wildly with claws out and teeth bared. This can't possibly be a fair representation of the average American citizen, but it certainly is a reflection of the marketing prowess of our current presidential wannabes. The screaming rhetoric is drowning out any possibility of reason being heard.

If this is where our country is headed, if the people who are buying and reselling the sub-par products laid out on the table and postured as the real deal, it's no wonder we are in the mess we're in.


Do As You're Sold, The Mindless Mantra Of America

In previous posts I have addressed both the issues of a poorly functioning democracy, as well as the distraction of the American Dream, the essential ingredient for said democracy to maintain power, without too much objection from its constituents. In modern day America the American Dream permeates every aspect of our daily lives. It affects where we live, how we live, what we eat, what we wear, watch, who we vote for....

It is all so subtle, yet forceful. It is called marketing, and everything today is marketed, tagged, and sold to us in bulk. We look to celebrities for fashion, T.V. for lifestyles, the internet for anything, and "experts" for politics. Nothing we see has transparency, and everything has fine print. Particularly politics. Take a look at the current primary running rampant throughout our country. Marketing 101 says that if you want your candidate to win, make the name a household name, don't get caught slandering the opponent (but do make sure they look bad), and in primary debates, always leave yourself enough wiggle room for a 'swing vote' addendum. Then we let the media control debates, interviews, and all manner of coverage to create the aura of unbiased expertise in all things political, very gently guiding the voters to view only the "most important candidates" when they are most polished. The seemingly open and lively debate has been successfully contained to lull the voter into their confidence. Then, at primary's end, the party's pet candidate strikes it rich in the electoral gold rush.

People are told that only thus and such candidate is likely to do well, and so they ought not waste their vote on someone less worthy. A president is born. Somehow, amazingly, we still believe that it was all our own choice.

Is it?

Americans are also sold on the idea that the changing of the guard means a changing of the times. In some cases this is true to an extent. When a president inherits a poor economy, and turns it around, this is a beneficial change for Americans. Others take a turn for the worse. Over a period of time, we are supposed to break even, but if you really crunch the numbers, our economy hasn't actually changed that much. It only seems different because of all the toys we buy that we are told we must have. We have more, but own less. We own less, and owe a great deal more. Enough about economics, and onward towards presidential policy making.

The American Dream of a non materialistic nature consists of the faith we have in our system. Presidents are limited to two terms, thus ensuring that we can consistently implement change when we need to, he provision that keeps our country from becoming a stagnant dictatorship. The fine print however, that one needs a magnifying glass to read is that a president's legacy can and does survive long after his term is up. There is a permanency to the acts, bills, and legislation passed under the watchful eye of a person destined to leave his mark on the free world. From Supreme Court Judges, to foreign policy, to constitutional amendments, the old president forces the new president to work in a hostile environment of policies they can't undo. This creates a backlash that forces would-be presidents of real change into presidents of "business as usual". Those who promised to usher in innovative policies find that those ideas are ushered out faster than a bum in a five star restaurant.

The moral of the story is that electing a new president, a party darling that has been inspected, boxed and shipped post haste directly into our living rooms, is about as reliable at initiating anything new as a product from "as seen on TV" commercials.

They simply can't deliver.

At this point in the game, between lack of choice, electoral college disingenuously electing presidents for us, and prepackaged deals that this new president must handle - we are being sold a non-salable, nonreturnable nightmare.

At least we have reality TV, half-hour sitcoms, and sports to keep us preoccupied while the Whitehouse is being occupied by the next available tenant, who is no better than the last tenant. What more could we expect from a country obsessed with consumerism?


H.R. 1955 and The Generalization of Terrorism

Yesterday I wrote a rather dismal bit about our country's downward spiral into regulated actions and thoughts and an overwhelming Orwellian State. I also said I would comment on the actual bill that inspired the doomsday post, and so, I am delivering.

According to Thomas H.R. 1955, and its related bill, S. 1959 outlines the problems of "homegrown terrorism, and radical violence". There are, and have been serious discussions among us "lefty" and even not-so-lefty bloggers and ordinary citizens. There has been an amazing amount of silence about the subject from our government, and mainstream media sources.

I touched on this bill, by reposting someone else's post about it after the bill passed the house. I want to remind everyone, that the house passed the bill, without debate on it, 404-6 with only 22 not voting. No debate! At that time, the discussion was mainly about who the bill would affect. The argument is that it only addresses violent acts , thus peaceful protesters, conscientious objectors, and ordinary bloggers like you and me would be perfectly exempt from anything having to do with the piece of crap legislation. But I would like for everyone to stop for a moment, and take a closer look at the bill. Last time, I posted someone else's words. This time, it is my own, with careful consideration, research, and of course - the overtone of my Anarchist sensibilities. I'm trying to keep this light hearted, if you can tell, because every time I read this bill, I get a little nauseous.

Let us take a look at what the government defines as "Violent Radicalization";

`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.

Ok, so it consists of people using "ideological based violence" to promote their agenda. Got it. But wait! What is ideological based violence? Well, it goes on to say;

`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.

Aha! Herein lies a great deal of the vague language that has caused such a brouhaha amongst us "lefties". "Planned use" what exactly does planning entail? How deep into planning would something have to be, in order for it to go from thought, to an act of Violent Radical Behavior? Would they need maps, weapons, and well trained militia style radicals at the ready? Or would it simply entail people gathered together to discuss what kind of actions they might want to take before actually committing to anything? And how would one prove that they have, or haven't committed to any such action? Would that thinking it through qualify as "planning" or "threatening"? Or would it fall under the category of common sense, that says you can't be guilty of a crime if you only thought about it, but never committed it?

It doesn't just address the use of violence, though. It also says "force". Who defines force? Would peaceful protesters who happen to be blocking a building or sidewalk or who refuse to vacate be considered "forceful"?

Many would say yes - and in a way, I agree that they are. However, and here is the real problem, how does a group of other wise ordinary citizens exercising their first amendment rights - albeit in a civil disobedient manner - go from protester, to terrorist?

Haven't we begun to throw "terrorist" around a little too much lately? If you listen to right-wing pundits, you might believe that anyone who opposes (a sort of "ideological force" if you will) the government on any base, is a terrorist at home. From the Department of Homeland Security's "National Strategy for Homeland Security", addresses violent radicalization, if only briefly as;

The terrorist threat to the Homeland is not restricted to violent Islamic extremist groups. We also confront an ongoing threat posed by domestic terrorists based and operating strictly within the United States. Often referred to as “single-issue” groups, they include white supremacist groups, animal rights extremists, and eco-terrorist groups, among others.

Now, I think we all agree that white supremacists are a bad lot, the antics of hard hitting animal rights groups such as PETA flirt with the line between legal and illegal actions...and...eco-terrorists? What is an eco-terrorist? From Wikipedia;

For example, a bill proposed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Texas called the "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act", begins with the description, "An act relating to criminal offenses involving acts against certain activities involving animals or involving natural resources and to civil consequences arising from convictions of those offenses." The bill defines an "animal rights or ecological terrorist organization" as "two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from participating in an activity involving animals or an activity involving natural resources."[5]

If the state of Texas can define terrorist actions on behalf of the environment or animals as "two or more persons organized for the purpose of supporting any politically motivated activity intended to obstruct or deter any person from participating in an activity involving [...]"

Any activity? There is no standard there for violence... Legally protected protests, sit ins, and otherwise peaceful forms of civil disobedience are activities by two or more people intended to deter (any) people from engaging in certain acts. Boycotts are a time tested form of financial obstruction or determent - aimed at companies (legally considered individual citizens) who engage in or support actions that we often oppose. Furthermore, it takes far more than two people to make it successful.

Are we to now understand that these forms of redress - a consistent form of grievance airing, social motivation, and change initiation - are acts of terrorism?!

If Texas can make it a law, our government can do the same. That legislation sets the precedent for labeling time honored traditions as acts of terrorism.

I seriously recommend that anyone concerned about our loss of rights take a look - not just at the bill on the senate's plate - but also the Homeland Security documents, and start looking into laws and bills that have the kind of language that support "ideological warfare" on "Ideological, home grown, or radical terrorists".

The language is vague enough to allow room for further restrictions, some of what I have read is downright scary in the sense that it already eradicates the need for actual violence to occur, or even for "planned violence" to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The worst part about all of this is the end game. If person has been labeled a "terrorist", American citizen or otherwise, they can be locked up indefinitely because their right to Habeas Corpus no longer exists. In fact, if I am not mistaken, our country is prepared to take away all constitutional rights for suspected terrorists. Suspected terrorists.

Still yet, if our country were to initiate Martial Law because of some disaster, then this bill, H.R. 1955/S. 1959 would only be strengthened - and our country to lock up anybody who starts gathering in groups, for any purpose if they so decide.

Make no mistake, the Homeland Security department has this bill now, is reviewing it, revising it, and it will probably end up with some different language in it when it finally gets back to the senate. I wouldn't be surprised if it was more inclusive, like the bill from Texas. Many people will still say "It could never happen here." or "They would never..." or proclaim that they trust the government to act in an appropriate manner with this sort of power. I am revisiting this issue because it is of the utmost importance that we not ignore the potential here. Take a look around, there has been no country, no citizen throughout history who hasn't be deceived, enslaved, or outright betrayed by their government in the cruelest manner. Governments have a nasty habit of turning on it's people.

Humans have not progressed to the point of eradicating this type of power hungry behavior - look at world events, it is still occurring today! Are we so naive to think that it would never happen to us? The only way to prevent it from happening here, is to actively fight to prevent it. To blindly trust in a government with our freedoms, liberties and personal safety is to make a grave mistake. Isn't it time we learned to see the slippery slope before we are pushed down it?

Think I am an alarmist? Read it for yourselves, then take a look through your history books, and pay close attention to other countries who have gone through a similar metamorphosis. Read the end of their chapter, to see what our future could hold.

{For your consideration: The links provided to the Thomas page will ask you to resubmit your query. It is time sensitive, so search for the bill by it's number H.R. 1955 and reference it with (110th) to make sure you have the right bill. Or you can just google it. The Department of Homeland security link is a PDF for those of you who hate PDF's, this is your warning! The Wikipedia link is for eco-terrorism, but the texts are sourced on that page.}

You can also view this post at Truthnews.us


Changing our way of Life

Tonight I have been revisiting the H.R. 1955/S.1959 bill and something occurred to me. Something very, very worrisome and saddening occurred to me. I am about to post something that many may not notice, think about, agree with or even expect coming from someone from the likes of myself.

I want you to think back to the words spoken by Bush, after the September 11th attacks. And I want you to really think about them for one second.

"The terrorists hate our freedoms [.....] they want to change our way of life"

The government, as well as many Americans have repeated the notion that the terrorists want to take this country down from the inside.

I have been looking over paperwork, releases, bills, acts, and motions, court cases, documents and all manner of issues that most of us "lefty bloggers" have been talking about. I want to address some of the bills, but not in this post. Suffice it to say that most of what our government, paired with Homeland Security has done and acts, bills and other legislation passed by Congress - has been to increase our security, by decreasing our freedoms.

Does anyone see where this is going?

Is anybody even listening?

Real ID, Thought Crime, Disarmament, Martial Law, Emergency Rule, color coded Security warnings.....

"They hate our freedoms [...] they want to change our way of life"

Recession, ill health because of no health care, can't afford oil for heating, production, or transportation....

"They hate our freedoms [...] they want to change our way of life"

Is anyone familiar with reverse psychology? As parents, we use it to get our children to do what we want them to do. We make them believe that they have thought of the idea all on their own. As adults, it is a form of manipulation used to subtly coerce other adults to act in manners they would otherwise disagree with, or outright refuse. It makes people do things. It forces people to act before considering, or in spite of, the consequences it may bring.

Do you see where this is going now?

Our government reacted immediately to the terrorist acts, and further threats of terror by reigning in the very freedoms they were trying to protect.

The government has done exactly what the terrorists said they would do.

I don't know if it was intentional, I don't know if this was masterminded, however our government - the inside of our country - has;

Taken away our freedoms [...] and changed our way of life

It seems to me, that the terrorists are winning this war, and they haven't lifted a finger.

My Letter to MSNBC

In light of television companies deciding for its viewers who ought to be heard from, who is important, and who will ultimately become the party nominee (instead of letting voters decide that) I wrote a nasty-gram to MSNBC. I suggest you do the same. You can e-mail it to: letters@msnbc.com

Here is what I had to say:

I am writing to let MSNBC know that as a voter who wishes to be best informed I am extraordinarily disappointed that the television company/network has taken it upon itself to tell the voters who they would like to hear from during a presidential primary debate.

As long as a candidate is still in the running his or her opinion and political platform should be heard. Not only is that the candidates first amendment right, but the voters have the right to hear from every man or woman running for the presidential slot.

Preventing candidates from participating in debates, an integral part of informing voters about whom they are voting for, inhibits the voting process. You have overtly endorsed the candidates you would like to see, while ultimately telling the voters that the candidates you endorse are the only candidates worth hearing from.

While your company has the right to show what ever programs you deem appropriate, your decision to prevent voters from hearing all of the candidates speak is a disservice to your audience, the country, and the candidates. It is also unpatriotic, and unconstitutional.

I will no longer rely on MSNBC for unbiased news.

Anok, a political junky who is incredibly disappointed.

Not that I think it will change anything, but hey - let 'em read some nasty grams for a while anyway.


The Codependency of The State, Continued

"I arrived in America thinking the streets were paved with gold. I learned 3 things: 1. The streets were not paved with gold, 2. The streets were not paved at all, and 3. I was expected to pave them." - Unknown Italian Immigrant

America, the land of the free, the land of opportunity, the land of liberty. When Europeans first set foot on the Northern East Coast of what we now call America the landscape offered little but frigid temperatures, disease, and harsh conditions with very little in the way of food, shelter or comfort. A great deal of the settlers died during the first winter. The natives who wandered the vast stretches of lands, plains, and forests were adapted and well skilled in the art of survival on the so called undiscovered continent. Not so, for the weary travelers. In time, the settlers came to forge a way of life here, although sometimes through dubious and even violent means towards the natives who were here long before them. They pressed on, and developed what they could. Into the 18th century America was steadily growing and feeling all of the pains associated with such enormous yet sporadic growth.

When we won our independence, America quickly progressed towards a prosperous community filled with lands, opportunity, development and freedom. In time, the Americans formed what we call "The American Dream". The American Dream just the sound of it conjures up images of shuttered three bedroom houses, with children frolicking happily around the pristine yard, safe and secure behind a white picket fence. Mom and dad are lazily sipping after fives and nibbling on creme puffs seemingly oblivious of the perils of marriage, parenting or anything outside of their nuclear family. They are dazzled by all they have accomplished here, in America. Safe, secure, prosperous, with a car in every garage, a T.V. in every living room, and a chicken in every pot.

It didn't start out that way, but what a grand dream it was anyway! Forged with the notions that equality was abundant (unless you were a woman, child or African American), fortunes were to be made at every turn, and life would soon become everything it could never have been under Britain's rule. The newly formed Democratic Republic was hard at work creating all of the necessary stepping stones to achieve what all mens' hearts most desired.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.

Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

The United States had no intention, at first, to disarm its citizens for the very principle is that they were all freedom fighters, all expected to protect democracy, and should be at the ready to heed the call of a Patriot. There is another way to disarm a person however. That is the art of distraction, and hope. While our forefathers consistently urged the citizens to work hard and educate themselves for the betterment of the country, we, the people let these standards slide away over the centuries. Hard work and a solid education was an issue that our founding fathers took very seriously. As was virtue, patience, and moderation. It was the key to keeping a solid government that worked in accordance with the citizens, ensuring an unshakable foundation, with which future generations could build upon.

Aristocracy had been in America before the revolution, ensuring that there remained an elite group of people, merchants, and business men after the revolution. Capitalism was a concept already understood by the savvy men who financially dominated the landscape. Aristocratic capitalism however, had to take on a new life with the birth of upward mobility. Even those who heralded the new government ushering in a new society ideal understood that humans, are human. Those who were at the top had every intention of staying there, and if too many people found their way up to the playing field of the upper echelon, the elite would no longer be the Elite. I don't know when it started, or how it started, and I doubt that anything other than conceptual discussions could be found about it, what I do know is that somewhere down the line, the American dream was born into a form of capitalism that offered limited upward mobility, thus securing the position of the wealthy.

It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth — and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

A dream is also an aspiration. Aspirations are often the spark that compel people to act, to struggle, to achieve and to produce. It is the promise that if one works hard, endures much, and asks for little in the way of entitlement, they will be adequately rewarded. When the dream offers a tangible reward, and the dreamer not only envisions success, but achieves success, it becomes a powerful tool facilitating some of the greatest progresses of our time.

But what if the dream is never truly attainable? In capitalism, the dream is readily available, and even a few have worked the system so that the dream is attainable, but the mainstay of capitalism is the inherent inequality of unshared burdens thus unshared rewards. The person who risks the capital is the person who basks in the financial success earning more capital, or fails miserably. Though it shouldn't need to be said, one needs capital before one can risk it. Hence the invariable disproportion of social position and financial disbursement among the whole of the nation.

The dream of increased capital gains and consistently replenished income masks the real dream - security. Money is invaluable to us in society, but the truth is that money has only the value assigned to it by us. It is valueless, worthless. The innate value of money is rooted in securing and ensuring one's own survival. It buys shelter, food, and clothing. The use of money also secures future gain, stored away for surety.

Everyone wants to be secure in their life. In fact the dream of becoming secure, self reliant, and certain can be, and often is all consuming to the person who has none. Ergo, the distraction of the American Dream. The distraction is powerful enough to instill a obsession that will allow the person to become lost in his own hope. This is how the potential for an American downfall came to pass without so much as a nod to its existence.

Every single person who comprises the bottom ninety-five percent of wealth is more than distracted by the need for security, and disillusioned into believing that not only can they attain the financial security they believe they need, and that once they do, all their problems will be easily solved. The American Dream will have been achieved, and they too, can sit lazily on their porch on the cul-de-sac without a care in the world.

If the American Dream was easily achieved by anyone, it wouldn't be called the American Dream, it would be called the American Achievement.

More on the correlation on the disillusionment of the American Dream and the inherent downfall of democracy in teh next installment.

Protests and Government

I woke up in the middle of the night last night - bolt upright - upon the realization that the government should be wholly terrified of its people. Instead, we are scared of the government.

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.

Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787

Our forefathers knew it, the rest of the world understands the concept - it's nothing new at all. There are more of us, than them! Yet I have heard, countless times, about how "aggressive" our protests have become. About how oh-so-violent we have become and whining, yes whining, about some of the acts that have transpired during protests - which have somehow contributed to the further restrictions of our freedom to redress the government of our grievances. "Oh, they spray painted the steps!" "Look at the oil on the wall!"

Our government is lucky it resides in America, and not say, Kenya, or the slums of Paris, Pakistan, or Venezuela - or revolutionary France. Our government and the complainers are lucky that spray painting is the worst thing that's happened.

When the votes (for Bush) were contested in Florida, we protested and demanded a recount. When it happened in Kenya they rioted and killed every man, woman, and child they could get their hands on.

When our government passes legislation, half of our population doesn't even know about it, when they put it to public votes we stand outside with signs, or have "talks" before the election to help gain support for our side. In Venezuela they have protests that result in deadly shootouts.

When our country supports police who exercise brutality and profiling, we stand with signs that say "Stop brutality". In the poorest parts of Paris, they protest police brutality and negligence by lobbing bricks, molotov cocktails, and shooting rifles at the police they object to.

People keep complaining about the "Violence of the Black Bloc" here in the states. The kids here barely do anything other than stand around with their home made shields, completely devoid of anything that could be construed as a weapon since everyone is disarmed before entering their free speech cage. In Germany the members of Black Bloc set fires to cars, over turn buses, and throw bricks and molotov cocktails at authority figures.

In America we protest nice and easy - yet people complain about things so simple as "spray painting" of steps. Oh! The horror! They're lucky they don't have to dodge home made bombs and bricks. The people in this country are furious with the way our government is running things - yet we sit in our free speech cages, sometimes engaging in civil disobedience, but nothing more serious than that.

If this were France during the revolution, half of the government would have already met with the guillotine by now.


"This is what a police state looks like"

Hat tip, Misanthropic Tendencies

This is What A Police State Looks Like

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The Codependency of The State.

The American war is over; but this far from being the case with the American revolution. On the contrary, nothing but the first act of the drama is closed. It remains yet to establish and perfect our new forms of government, and to prepare the principles, morals, and manners of our citizens for these forms of government after they are established and brought to perfection.

Benjamin Rush, letter to Price, May 25, 1786

Our founding fathers possessed just a little bit of wisdom between the members of the group. When the United States became the United States it was done so as a revolutionary act against tyranny and oppression. The newly formed government was designed to remove the constraining and domineering ties of the Monarchy. Liberty, freedom, and most important of all, representation were the key words of the infant country. Democracy was nothing new. The Greeks upheld highly moral and liberating ideals which we have modeled our own government on. Democracy had a tempestuous ride throughout history, coming and going like an idea that comes to one in the middle of the night. It was, in most cases, fleeting. Constantly being replaced by Feudalism, or Monarchy, or barbarianism and Tyranny. It was in the newly formed United States, however - that the notion was solidified. The democracy here has outlasted all but the strongest of her predecessors.

The question however, is one of great import. Is our form of democracy now obsolete? Like many before, democracy has fallen to the wills of dictators and slave makers. The economic growth, upward mobility, and active participation in the government has been the stalwart mark of a democratic society, and the reason for it's success. No democracy however, has withstood the economic growth, upward mobility, and the boundless growth of population that we experience today, including our own which has evolved into the most current form of corruption and negligence.

The argument that needs to be addressed is the ideology of an antiquated government. Politics, or politic made its first appearance in the thoughts and concerns of Plato, poli being of a civic or citizen nature, the whole of it being a diplomatic way of handling civic concerns and necessities. The root origin implies that the governance of civil rights, liberties or concerns should be done so with the utmost of dignity and civility. So too, did the emergence of politics in the new American government.

If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation.

Samuel Adams, letter to Elbridge Gerry, November 27, 1780

In the years to follow the revolution the founders of this new government saw fit to adapt certain laws, regulations and rights almost wholly concerned with those governing rather than those being governed. They simply did not posses the foresight however, to envision the country that we have become. Therein lies the whole of the problem. When first brought to light, in foreign history and in America the design of democracy worked fairly well because communities were much smaller, the world much larger, and the country itself operated on an incredibly smaller scale. Citizens, (with respect to the understanding that not all civil liberties were, at that point, granted to all individuals) were able to speak to their representatives, as the representatives lived in the very communities they represented. As a matter of fact, there were communities in general, which is not so in the same context today.

Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.

George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 14, 177

Truer words have not rung in the hearts of modern politicians for far too long a period. The new strand of politics has disintegrated into the meaningless, wasteful, yet all encompassing chess game that inevitably determines the outcome of the human condition. Our representatives no longer reside among the communities they supposedly represent. They no longer struggle for betterment as their constituents do. They live like the aristocracy of old, securing their power and wealth through vast elite networks ripe with corruption. They have become "Career Politicians" a relatively new breed of democratic leadership that ensure they will never return to their humble upbringings, if they have ever experienced such a life in the first place. They will retire when they feel like it, with enough wealth and political prowess to keep them at arms length from the everyday endeavors of the unsavory strain of social strata. The caste of citizens who are affected most will be invisible to their eyes, non-existent in their world. They will never know life without health care, money, or proper education. They will not return to crime ridden urban areas to join in the fight for the liberation and mobility of our poorest citizens.

In this sense, politicians - and certainly our government - have removed themselves and nearly the entirety of the process from the outstretched arms of the very people they are charged to represent. Democracy has slid into aristocracy, liberty into daisy covered chains of dependency. For at one time the governing body of our country depended on the people it represented as much, if not more, than the people depended on the government. Now the people depend on the government, and the government acts of its own accord, separately indeed almost in disdain for the people. It is for this reason that democracy no longer functions as a democracy.

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

Codependency of State? Daisy covered chains of dependance? When the disillusionment of a society sinks in to make it reality with no sign of a viable alternative, our freedoms, our choices, our rights have become ensnared in a web of false promises. This state of being comes, usually willingly, at the cost of freedom and liberty. Society can and will adhere to a government that is separated from the populace, so long as they feel secure and comfortable. Security and comfort come by way of laws and legislation.

When a society allows a government to dictate mores beyond the very basic tenants of human rights, it begins a slow downward spiral into dependancy on the state for moral validation, based on the premise of safety. As with many things in life, the more we allow an outside force to influence our thoughts and opinions, and thus presumably control us over time, the less we seem to be able to work out societal issues on our own. On a federal level our government was set up to help aid the state governments, but not much else. The regulations, laws, dictates, etceteras were for the most part set up to regulate the government, not the citizens. It outlined what the government could do, and what the rights of the citizens were, rather than what the citizens couldn't do. The individual states focused on that aspect, seeing as the states knew better what the needs and requirements of their constituents were.

As our government decided to begin mandating laws on a federal level, presumably when our country began to grow at enormous rates, we began to give away our freedoms. Laws tell citizens what they cannot legally do, but do little to guide citizens as to what they are legally allowed to do. Therefore, when individuals interpret laws they inevitably come to the conclusion that if there isn't a law against an action, it must be alright to do. Of course, we all know that just because one can do something, it doesn't mean one should. Thus the need for more laws, more legislation, and more restrictions on freedom. The increase of laws also increase the thought process that if it isn't illegal, it's acceptable. And so on and so forth until we eventually find ourselves in a totalitarian state of being, where nothing can be done without the approval of the State.

Citizens can and do become dependent, to the point of being codependent on the rulings of its government, rather than their own common sense and moral judgment. The longer this proceeds, the worse it gets. At which point, and I believe that we are almost there, the general population becomes morally, ethically, and intellectually lazy. Henceforth the passage into a slavery of sorts. This is the reason in my opinion, that the founding fathers sought to control the government, and not its people.

The elite also become dependent on this style of governance. If they could not enforce or keep it this way, they could not maintain their social positions.

How have we come this far and not realized the potential for an American downfall?

I will answer that question in a future installment of the posts that are fast becoming the premise for a book.

Fantastic Op-Ed

From the Washington Post

Why I Believe Bush Must Go
Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.

By George McGovern
Sunday, January 6, 2008; Page B01
As we enter the eighth year of the Bush-Cheney administration, I have belatedly and painfully concluded that the only honorable course for me is to urge the impeachment of the president and the vice president.

After the 1972 presidential election, I stood clear of calls to impeach President Richard M. Nixon for his misconduct during the campaign. I thought that my joining the impeachment effort would be seen as an expression of personal vengeance toward the president who had defeated me.

Today I have made a different choice.

Of course, there seems to be little bipartisan support for impeachment. The political scene is marked by narrow and sometimes superficial partisanship, especially among Republicans, and a lack of courage and statesmanship on the part of too many Democratic politicians. So the chances of a bipartisan impeachment and conviction are not promising.

But what are the facts?

Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?

How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?

It happened in part because the Bush-Cheney team repeatedly deceived Congress, the press and the public into believing that Saddam Hussein had nuclear arms and other horrifying banned weapons that were an "imminent threat" to the United States. The administration also led the public to believe that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks -- another blatant falsehood. Many times in recent years, I have recalled Jefferson's observation: "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

The basic strategy of the administration has been to encourage a climate of fear, letting it exploit the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks not only to justify the invasion of Iraq but also to excuse such dangerous misbehavior as the illegal tapping of our telephones by government agents. The same fear-mongering has led government spokesmen and cooperative members of the press to imply that we are at war with the entire Arab and Muslim world -- more than a billion people.

Another shocking perversion has been the shipping of prisoners scooped off the streets of Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other countries without benefit of our time-tested laws of habeas corpus.

Although the president was advised by the intelligence agencies last August that Iran had no program to develop nuclear weapons, he continued to lie to the country and the world. This is the same strategy of deception that brought us into war in the Arabian Desert and could lead us into an unjustified invasion of Iran. I can say with some professional knowledge and experience that if Bush invades yet another Muslim oil state, it would mark the end of U.S. influence in the crucial Middle East for decades.

Ironically, while Bush and Cheney made counterterrorism the battle cry of their administration, their policies -- especially the war in Iraq -- have increased the terrorist threat and reduced the security of the United States. Consider the difference between the policies of the first President Bush and those of his son. When the Iraqi army marched into Kuwait in August 1990, President George H.W. Bush gathered the support of the entire world, including the United Nations, the European Union and most of the Arab League, to quickly expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait. The Saudis and Japanese paid most of the cost. Instead of getting bogged down in a costly occupation, the administration established a policy of containing the Baathist regime with international arms inspectors, no-fly zones and economic sanctions. Iraq was left as a stable country with little or no capacity to threaten others.

Today, after five years of clumsy, mistaken policies and U.S. military occupation, Iraq has become a breeding ground of terrorism and bloody civil strife. It is no secret that former president Bush, his secretary of state, James A. Baker III, and his national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, all opposed the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In addition to the shocking breakdown of presidential legal and moral responsibility, there is the scandalous neglect and mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe. The veteran CNN commentator Jack Cafferty condenses it to a sentence: "I have never ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans." Any impeachment proceeding must include a careful and critical look at the collapse of presidential leadership in response to perhaps the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

Impeachment is unlikely, of course. But we must still urge Congress to act. Impeachment, quite simply, is the procedure written into the Constitution to deal with presidents who violate the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is also a way to signal to the American people and the world that some of us feel strongly enough about the present drift of our country to support the impeachment of the false prophets who have led us astray. This, I believe, is the rightful course for an American patriot.

As former representative Elizabeth Holtzman, who played a key role in the Nixon impeachment proceedings, wrote two years ago, "it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) -- and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws -- that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate. . . . A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law -- and repeatedly violates the law -- thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors."

I believe we have a chance to heal the wounds the nation has suffered in the opening decade of the 21st century. This recovery may take a generation and will depend on the election of a series of rational presidents and Congresses. At age 85, I won't be around to witness the completion of the difficult rebuilding of our sorely damaged country, but I'd like to hold on long enough to see the healing begin.

There has never been a day in my adult life when I would not have sacrificed that life to save the United States from genuine danger, such as the ones we faced when I served as a bomber pilot in World War II. We must be a great nation because from time to time, we make gigantic blunders, but so far, we have survived and recovered.



Are you Happy?

According to 20/20, Denmark is the happiest place on Earth. It's social programs, government, sense of community, lack of consumerism, practical transportation (riding bikes when they could have cars or use public transportation), choices in employment, lack of classism etc...made it the happiest place on Earth!

The US ranks 23rd (Iceland - my favorite! ranks 4th!). North Carolina was estimated to be the happiest place in America. The environment, and sense of community make it so.

In spite of harsh laws in Singapore, the high salary of government officials creates a security and trust in the government, the city is clean, safe and secure, they rate very high on the happiness list.

Places like Italy and France rate much, much lower - lower even than the impoverished countries such as India, and war-torn countries such as Iraq. The amount of corruption, lack of trust in government, neighbors, and lack of community plus overt consumerism makes places like Italy, one of the unhappiest places on Earth.

Straying From "The Norm"

Tonight I would like to stray from my normal topic of politics and delve into the topic of abortion. I'm a pretty passionate gal when it comes to children, parenting, and reproductive rights. Right off the bat I will tell you my mantra about abortion - I am pro-choice. However, I wouldn't advise anyone to actually get an abortion unless the situation was dire. So, I promote the ability to choose it, but I don't recommend it.

That said, my rant tonight is about the screaming pro-lifers that get under my skin. I'm not talking about the average Joe or Jody who disagrees with abortion - but the real screamy, whiney pro-lifers who seek to take viable reproductive rights away from women for "The chiiiilldrennn".

Let me start by stating that people cry and whine, scream, kick and bite to fight for the life of a child while in utero - but don't do squat to help children once they're out of the womb. The people who stand outside clinics or write scathing letters online about the horrible women who kill their babies - who say nothing when a parent neglects, abuses, or murders their child. In that case its just "Oh, they were bad parents" or "They should have had counseling", or "It should be left up to the police". But had that parent chose to abort the same child they were going to kill or maim, then "They are going to burn in hell!"

The problem really however, is that no one seems to want to look at the real problem. All the time and energy wasted on shunning abortion could be spent on a solution to the real problem.

The real problem is unwanted pregnancies, not abortion. Abortion is the symptom. In order to honestly stop abortions from occurring, one must stop unwanted pregnancies from occurring. If all pregnancies were wanted you would not only drastically lower the number of abortions (some non elective abortions due to medical problems will still occur), but you would also probably decrease the amount of child abuse and neglect too. (Not all, because some people really are just sick - and no matter how badly they wanted that baby, they would probably hurt it).

So all this whining, and no solution in sight. I'll tell you what you need to do to solve the problem.

A) Better education. Sexual education, regular education. The higher the education of an individual is the less likely that the person will engage in high-risk behaviors. Furthermore, they will be educated and smart about pregnancy and disease prevention, so when they finally do want to engage in sex, they'll do it the smart way. Real education about family planning, child rearing, and parenting should start in high school. No mambsy-pambsy crap either. The real deal, dirty diapers - all nighters with a colicky baby, fights about the budget, baby care or housework with a spouse, meal planning, dealing with nasty utility companies and inlaws! You can't forget the inlaws.

B) Viable parent-child programs designed to actually help parents become good parents. Starting before pregnancy, during he family planning stage. Many women simply fear that they will be beyond bad mothers, or that they will kill the baby or act the way their own dysfunctional parents did, or that their current lifestyle will harm the baby and feel that they have no way out of the situation. Programs that are either free or very low cost so it is accessible, shun-free, and productive will ease these fears, and give women real answers to real fears and real solutions to real problems.

C) Proper counseling for scared mothers-to-be. Counseling sessions designed to outline tangible solutions for the scared reluctant mother-to-be. People willing to show her that adoption programs are working and viable, or that there are programs and help centers should she decide to keep the baby. Feasible solutions.

D) Better economy. I'm sure this is on everyone's wish-list. 'Nuff said.

E) Better childcare solutions for mothers who want/need to return to work. I'm sure there are a great many women out there who simply don't feel they have access to the kinds of programs that would allow them to properly care for their children, and earn an income.

I really could go on - but I think that one of the most important aspects of a solution to the real problem is that people need to Stop Shunning Women who have found themselves in the precarious position of an unwanted pregnancy.

Stop focusing on abortion, and start focusing on women.
Stop whining, and do something about it!


And thats what I have to say about that.

Three Things to Ponder

I received this in a bulletin just a moment or two ago, and it made me laugh - so enjoy.

Three Things to Ponder:

1. Cows
2. The Constitution
3. The Ten Commandments


Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad
cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada
almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state
of Washington ? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they
are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our
country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow.


They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq . Why don't
we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it
has worked for over 200 years, and we're not using it anymore.

T H E 1 0 C O M A N D M E N T S

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments posted in a
courthouse is this: You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou
Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full
of lawyers, judges and politicians...It creates a hostile work