Archive for the ‘Politics & Action’ Category

On SUFFICIENCY in Surveillance-Land

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Out-of-control SPYING is needed in a world by those whose false values and processes are destructive and dangerous to the vast majority, and produce natural self-defensive opposition by those simply seeking to live a decent life.

Among the most blind-sided values venerated by run-amok profiteers, is EFFICIENCY. So much of our world has bowed down before that deity.

“SUFFICIENCY,” on the other hand, is about getting what we NEED, not necessarily whatever we CAN. This has been clearly shown in a metaphor by the brilliant author and analyst Jeremy Rifkin. My wife, he said, is looking for her husband to be there for her in many ways, not merely as an efficient man. Efficiency is quite a different beast from sufficiency. With an enormously different outcome. It can be, and often is, totally divorced from both quality and desirability.

EFFICIENCY — getting the MOST, for the LEAST effort — very often completely misjudges Reality and Costs, though it pretends to be the best way to act. It often is a highly misused and distorted concept, twisted to justify the desires of some at the expense of others. It can be “efficient” to have and control cheap workers. It is not efficient to BE one.

Yes. Our Economic Wizards, our god-like self-declared “Masters of Profit and Loss” RARELY understand the most basic of notions … COST! Funny, isn’t it?

They IGNORE, or often don’t even SEE, any of the SOCIAL COSTS — those costs produced by their profit-making processes which are left for the surrounding society to pay. Like cleaning up runoff poisons dumped as “waste by-products” into our water supply. These are the costs of … Cleaning Up Their Messes. These may well be the result of their manufacturing (for their profits) — but they let the Public pay for it! Social costs.

How could they miss such a Basic Element while calculating their “bottom-lines”?
• Is it gross economic incompetence?
• Perhaps, they just like it that way, or,
• They might prefer it as simply cheaper — even though it is neither correct nor fair, or
• maybe, … they just don’t care.

That might make some of them liars, socio-paths, thieves, or worse.

How about the incredible health costs incurred by so many folks ingesting highly-promoted, and lowly-nutritious junk food lining our supermarket shelves?

NOTE: Dismissing the REAL Costs of Social Costs is not unlike dismissing Collateral Damage of drones. This is a Symptom of literally Delusional, Self-Righteous, Morally Bankrupt elements in a society.

“Let someone else pay,” they say. “Let them eat cake.”

Going forward, we should seek SUFFICIENCY — for a truly sane, solid, and sustainable world.

Syria: Once again, the attack is upon us, as well.

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Words are what have gotten Obama into a difficult dilemma according to an article by Prof. Adil Shamoo, Forget Red Lines: Obama Should Eat His Words on Syria (in Foreign Policy in Focus via CommonDreams ). He should never have toyed with the “RedLine” metaphor and created the challenge to his credibility. That’s wrong, I’m afraid. That analysis is too personal about Obama, and almost forgiving. This is much bigger than one man, and one narrow focus on an incident.

credibility-msg-kid-dunesThis ain’t about words, Prof. Shamoo. Not directly. Not the words being said. Though it DOES concern a considerable LACK of, and misuse of, words. Far too much remains unspoken, unknowable to an anxious world, and specifically to a nation expected to foot the bills and suffer the consequences of this latest iteration of World Moral Police Syndrome.

The U.S. desire and willingness to go and engage militarily in Syria has its own impetus which is simply not being stated. The wordly debate and Congressional charade is ONLY about FINDING the verbal justifications/excuses that will satisfy enough Americans’ anxieties to “get away with” moving forward — strong enough to mask the real intentions, whatever they may be (proximity to Iran, most likely). It smacks of the period of WMD’s and mushroom clouds which preceded the invasion of Iraq.

Face it. Rather than poorly chosen words, this is all about hypocrisy and lies, and masking the true faces and motivations of the decision-makers, and decision-making institutions. It’s all just behind the Blue Curtain. Our fate in the hands of a closed Mystery Inquisitorial Collective, shaping the destinies of peoples, and the destinations of resources. Any wonder why they are SO concerned with secrecy? The U.S. has quite a long history of using, storing, selling and delivering varieties of chemical weapons used in at least Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. THAT’S the Hypocrisy and lies part missing from the sweet-sounding public words. Oh such false indignation in Kerry’s words. Has he no shame? As to WHO ELSE is behind this, and WHY (and I don’t mean the elected officials who may end up backing it, but rather the faceless ones who are twisting their arms or lining their pockets), THAT is the real reason they are putting whistleblowers in jails, while giving preemptive pardons to war criminals.

Death, pain and destruction in a foreign land, silence in your own. Here we go, making new friends again. Is this not enough to shame the moral patina from the pretenses coming out of the mouths of our so-called leaders. Why aren’t the churches admonishing the war-makers? Clearly, Death and Destruction is fine if done THEIR way, but telling the public about it or filming it and publishing details online can put one in jail.

Newspeak — words, not as meaningful concepts, but as flimsy shields to deflect unwanted criticism and complications from exposing often vicious plans.

That our supposedly law-abiding officials who swore an oath to a Constitution they repeatedly ignore and dilute, feel neither the need for national consensus to do something that further destroys our domestic economy and breaks international treaties which we have signed into law, and, in fact, may violate the current national consensus, is a worrisome large-scale departure from the rule of law and democratic principles. Only wisdom and knowledge is required to find solutions, not ego-posturing and macho brinksmanship. This is as embarrassing as it is dangerous.

Let My People Vote! … but don’t let them hear WHAT their voting for …

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

 

Sara Silverman takes on Voter ID laws which make it harder for likely Democratic voters to get to cast their ballots in November (on CommonDreams). Sounds good, right? Her spiel is cute and hip, as well. Check it out.
 JUST ONE THING, however … if you’re gonna get emotionally involved in her appeal, then you should be aware of these OTHER things, as well. Please be patient, however, and read through my comments, which follow. The Title of her original piece was “Let My People Vote.”
How about THIS, Sarah: “Let All People Be Fully Informed, … then Allowed to Vote — Fairly” Can you wrap your head, and skit, around THAT?  Cuteness Does Not Make Right (at least not yet).

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MY Comment to her piece on CommonDreams:

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Oh, so very CUTE … and informative. Thanks Sarah! Whodathunkit: that Republicans would try to use “legal-sounding” tricks to “profile” who gets an obstacle to voting!! SHAMEFUL.

Democrats — you’re being abused again to lessen your share of the Power. Democrats wouldn’t use their influence to stop people from participating in the election process — WOULD they?

Well, ok, ONLY if the ideas were coming from some insignificant “Third Party” whose notions on sustainable development, free and fair education, free and fair elections, punishing Banksters, and stopping illegal drone bombing and wars would upset the Corporate Apple Cart.

Historically, it seems the Democrats have done whatever was necessary to prevent smaller (and of course poorer) parties like the Green Party from gathering signatures and getting on the ballot. Surprised? They used ridiculously high numbers of signatures and interminable challenges to those signatures by well-paid lawyers. Dems have tried to stop Ballot Initiatives that would reform election practices, such as Clean Elections (publicly-funded), and Instant Runoff Voting which guarantees that only a Majority (50+) can win. Also, they have collaborated with their supposed adversaries, the Republicans, to prevent Greens and others from participating in Nationally Televised Debates, where topics off the Corporate Agenda might get brought up before the Public Eye: Items like our War Budget, the XL Pipeline, BP’s actions in the Gulf, Wall Street’s sweet deals, etc.

YES. Cry Foul, Sarah. Democrats might even agree enough to do something about those bad “laws” and make Voting FAIR again, right? But wait!? Weren’t the 2000 and 2004 elections STOLEN via dirty tricks in Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere? And didn’t Dems not even complain back then? Hmmm …

Here we are, in the good ‘ol USA, given a choice to select between the ideas and programs of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

But WHAT if you wished to show your OPPOSITION to BOTH their plans, like their Aggressive & Illegal foreign policies for our nation, or their joint opposition to a REAL National not-for-profit Healthcare Plan (like Single-Payer) for everyone??

… Oh, … just CAN it, right, Sarah? Save it for some OTHER election — just be overjoyed you got to cast a ballot at all!!

As for actually getting to VOTE for the IDEAS you truly believe in, well … some other time, maybe.

For all your efforts, Sarah, You deserve a medal from the Lesser-of-Two-Evils Society. Maybe even a statue.

Severe distortion over “patriotism.”

Monday, December 26th, 2011

“Severe” is actually mild. Those that overuse the term, like to define it for the rest of us. It is past time for the 99% to re-appropriate our own vocabulary, and use it as we  see fit to describe a world of living beings, not just of things and territories.

I’d first like to make clear these thoughts on the Manning “case” that Prof. Cohn writes about:

What MORE could you do FOR your country than expose the lies and deceit meted out by usurping power brokers at the top.

ALL the talk about the Founding Fathers, freedom, the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so on which functioned as a socio-political “glue” and Narrative for over 2 centuries, is personified by the selfless acts of Bradley Manning, a man to be respected, admired, emulated — and FREED.

common_dreams-logo

Published on Sunday, December 25, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Bradley Manning: A Hero, Not a Traitor

by Marjorie Cohn

The end of U.S. military involvement in Iraq coincided with Bradley Manning’s military hearing to determine whether he will face court-martial for exposing U.S. war crimes by leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified documents to Wikileaks. In fact, there is a connection between the leaks and U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

When he announced that the last U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year’s end, President Barack Obama declared the nine-year war a “success” and “an extraordinary achievement.” He failed to mention why he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning. He didn’t say that it was built on lies about mushroom clouds and non-existent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Obama didn’t cite the Bush administration’s “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq,” drawn up months before 9/11, about which Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill reported that actual plans “were already being discussed to take over Iraq and occupy it – complete with disposition of oil fields, peacekeeping forces, and war crimes tribunals – carrying forward an unspoken doctrine of preemptive war.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also defended the war in Iraq, making the preposterous claim that, “As difficult as [the Iraq war] was,” including the loss of American and Iraqi lives, “I think the price has been worth it, to establish a stable government in a very important region of the world.”

The price that Panetta claims is worth it includes the deaths of nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. It includes untold numbers wounded – with Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – and suicides, as well as nearly $1 trillion that could have prevented the economic disaster at home.

The price of the Iraq war also includes thousands of men who have been subjected to torture and abuse in places like Abu Ghraib prison. It includes the 2005 Haditha Massacre, in which U.S. Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians execution-style. It includes the Fallujah Massacre, in which U.S. forces killed 736 people, at least 60% of them women and children. It includes other war crimes committed by American troops in Qaim, Taal Al Jal, Mukaradeeb, Mahmudiya, Hamdaniyah, Samarra, Salahuddin, and Ishaqi.

The price of that war includes two men killed by the Army’s Lethal Warriors in Al Doura, Iraq, with no evidence that they were insurgents or posed a threat. One man’s brains were removed from his head and another man’s face was skinned after he was killed by Lethal Warriors. U.S. Army Ranger John Needham, who was awarded two purple hearts and three medals for heroism, wrote to military authorities in 2007 reporting war crimes that he witnessed being committed by his own command and fellow Lethal Warriors in Al Doura. His charges were supported by atrocity photos which have been released by Pulse TV and Maverick Media in the new video by Cindy Piester, “On the Dark Side in Al Doura – A Soldier in the Shadows.” [http://vimeo.com/33755968]. CBS reported obtaining an Army document from the Criminal Investigation Command suggestive of an investigation into these war crimes allegations. The Army’s conclusion was that the “offense of War Crimes did not occur.”

One of the things Manning is alleged to have leaked is the “Collateral Murder” video which depicts U.S. forces in an Apache helicopter killing 12 unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists, and wounding two children. People trying to rescue the wounded were also fired upon and killed. A U.S. tank drove over one body, cutting the man in half.

The actions of American soldiers shown in that video amount to war crimes under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit targeting civilians, preventing the rescue of the wounded, and defacing dead bodies.

Obama proudly took credit for ending U.S. military involvement in Iraq. But he had tried for months to extend it beyond the December 31, 2011 deadline his predecessor negotiated with the Iraqi government. Negotiations between Obama and the Iraqi government broke down when Iraq refused to grant criminal and civil immunity to U.S. troops.

It was after seeing evidence of war crimes such as those depicted in “Collateral Murder” and the “Iraq War Logs,” also allegedly leaked by Manning, that the Iraqis refused to immunize U.S. forces from prosecution for their future crimes. When I spoke with Tariq Aqrawi, Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations, at a recent international human rights film festival in Vienna, he told me that if they granted immunity to Americans, they would have to do the same for other countries as well.

Manning faces more than 30 charges, including “aiding the enemy” and violations of the Espionage Act, which carry the death penalty. After a seven day hearing, during which the prosecution presented evidence that Manning leaked cables and documents, there was no evidence that leaked information imperiled national security or that Manning intended to aid the enemy with his actions.

On the contrary, in an online chat attributed to Manning, he wrote, “If you had free reign over classified networks… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

He went on to say, “God knows what happens now.  Hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms… I want people to see the truth… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.“

Manning has been held for 19 months in military custody. During the first nine months, he was kept in solitary confinement, which is considered torture as it can lead to hallucinations, catatonia and suicide. He was humiliated by being stripped naked and paraded before other inmates.

The U.S. government considers Manning one of America’s most dangerous traitors. Months ago, Obama spoke of Manning as if he had been proved guilty, saying, “he broke the law.” But Manning has not been tried, and is presumed innocent in the eyes of the law. If Manning had committed war crimes instead of exposing them, he would be a free man today. If he had murdered civilians and skinned them alive, he would not be facing the death penalty.

Besides helping to end the Iraq war, the leaked cables helped spark the Arab Spring. When people in Tunisia read cables revealing corruption by the ruling family there, they took to the streets.

If Manning did what he is accused of doing, he should not be tried as a criminal. He should be hailed as a national hero, much like Daniel Ellsberg, whose release of the Pentagon Papers helped to expose the government’s lies and end the Vietnam War.

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and past President of the National Lawyers Guild, is the deputy secretary general for external communications of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. She is the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd). Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, is now available. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.comArticle printed from www.CommonDreams.org

Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/25

Thanks for the Warning, Paul

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

On Friday, November 4, 2011, Paul Krugman published in the New York Times an article entitled, “Oligarchy, American Style” which pointed to the increasing concentration of wealth and power in the US. We definitely need more critical thought in our media. While Krugman is not the only “liberal” economist or columnist to recently come out swinging about the crisis in which the US, and frankly the world, finds itself, I was prompted to write this response, which might easily have been addressed to other commentators who are now increasingly concerned with the nation’s economic and political health and welfare, and disturbed by seeming inaction in Washington.


Well, it’s “awful nice” when someone with a reputation comes out and says the truth. Thank you, Paul.

In terms of the Reality of this situation, however, this seems to be a case of Too Little Too Late.

Why this late warning? The situation has become DIRE. It has been growing dire for … decades. What here was not calculable, predictable, visible long ago?

Why DIRE?

… because “Decision-Making” in America has become largely a question of Commerce and arm-twisting (when not neck-twisting — to the snapping point). People — many people — actually DIE due to this oligarchic little secret about who gets to decide nearlyeverything (food, water & air quality, medical treatment, what flows in our bloodstreams, who goes to jail, who can get into school, who gets a job or a house, should we go to war, etc.). Lobbyist-driven, rubber-stamping Congress Folk put on a spectacle, but who gets truly represented in this show? I don’t think it’s you or me.

So, what are we supposed to DO now if we want to save this “Democracy-Thingy” you say is now threatened?

During, lo, these decades of growing political encroachment on our lives and successive governments by the one-tenth-percent, exactly which of our political institutions even mentioned the danger to the Public, or suggested Resistance, or offered a Remedy? The Democratic Party — in which you and so many others seem to rely for “fairness” or something — not only did NOT point out to America that this derailment was taking place, but instead, chose to cover up the situation — PLUS they silenced or attacked anyone who dared bring up this uncomfortable topic of lost freedoms and usurped decision-making. To complicate this compromise, the “lesser-of-two-evils” party never saw a War-Machine Handout Benefit they didn’t just love, bless their patriotic souls. Trying, ever soooo hard, apparently, to keep America safe.

Anyone who commented on this sorry situation AS it was actually occurring over the decades, was ignored, called a kook or worse. Much worse. Witness Ralph Nader, Noam Chompsky, Howard Zinn, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich and others. So, now that the house is ON fire, we get liberals suggesting maybe it’s time we switch to lighter clothing because the heat is getting a bit intense. Thanks.

So. WHAT Democracy is it, Mr. Krugman, that is in danger of being lost, hmmmm? Are we talking abut the same thing here? The one I know about, the one outlined in our Constitution, has been absent a LONG time…

More smoke and mirrors — time to learn to see straight.

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The Debt Ceiling “dilemma” is just the latest red herring served the American consumer public. More brutal, but just one more.

 

We have suffered decades, nay generations, from the fallout of the McCarthy Era which destroyed the thinking and analysis which could have created alternative organizing and ways of thinking to prevent where we are now.

 

Hate to disappoint so, my loyalist friends, but the role of the Democratic Party from its duplicitous dealings with labor unions and the working class to its abandonment of ERA, to its waffling on abortion, to its support of unbridled aggression, its unwillingness to clean up or punish real polluters, or treasury thefts for all that matter, its cutting deals with banking, pharmaceutical, agribusiness, insurance, telecoms, and arms giants, its embrace, or acceptance of, executive crimes, violations of the Constitution and torture — ALL of this, and more (if this weren’t enough) — is what has made this current “debt crisis” scenario possible. They have crippled all attempts at denouncing, much less stopping, the real culprits, refusing to identify our very real homegrown enemies. In this guise, they simply will NOT encourage any opposition, much less resistance. “Holding out hands to the ‘other side’,” they tell us, is a good thing. For WHOM, we must wonder. THAT is what has led us to this sad juncture.

 

All the while, Republican-leaning ideologues and corporate globalists painted their pictures, wrote their narratives, and cheered all along the way, using the media conglomerates at their disposal.

 

Dem leaders, on the other hand, swept their own paths clear of any folks aware enough or ready enough to speak out and actually DO something about our situation (Dennis Kucinich, Michael Moore, David Swanson, etc.). No sir, none of them “troublemakers” to interfere with an orderly process (of WHAT, we must ask).

 

This brought us, full of fireless, useless “hope,” to this deadly crossroads; and even today are afraid to say WHO is the real enemy of Democracy. It’s not determined by the rank ‘n’ file, but many of them still march loyally in lock-step, opening the way for Leaders who long ago sold out.

 

Without the heritage of those silenced by McCarthy & friends to help them “see” the world and its machinations, today’s Dems think they understand “loyalty”, but know nothing of History or its consequences.

 

We need to hear from new voices NOW and/or become them ourselves to find lasting solutions.

There IS no healthcare in the US — and not so much health, either!

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

There IS no healthcare system in the US.

Now before you get all hot under the collar about what may seem to be hyperbole here, think a moment about the second part of that term: CARE.

What we DO have is Pharmaceutical Care and Insurance Care.

I take “care” here to mean genuine, heartfelt concern, and more than a desire, but a systematic effort to achieve a positive outcome, no matter the obstacles. That is what’s missing in our “healthcare.”

Taken THAT way, we can see the systematic care that actually does abound is to assure and ensure successful diagnoses and treatments for investments and bottom lines. So, THAT’s where the “care” is focused. In our “system.” The rest is secondary.

In a country where the pervasive conservative thinking loves to mock what is considered the “liberal” syndrome of “throwing money at a problem,” it is ironic to see how the tables are reversed when it comes to the Health Biz.  Free-marketeers constantly justify huge profits in medicine, somehow connecting personal wealth generated by for-profit health enterprises as necessary to provide the funding and motivation for applying medical treatment to the population. Mess with the profits, it is plaited by the titans of MegaGlobalHealthCorp, Inc., and no one can expect (or afford, they claim) good care.

The double irony of course is that, even WITH very healthy bottom-lines in the associated health businesses, the level of care given and received in the US by ordinary citizens falls far below that of other industrialized nations, and frankly, far below the expectation of individual patients and their families. The only things the US health “system” has over the other industrialized nations, in fact, are … the soaring cost to the users — and the soaring profits to the owners/operators!

Well, I suppose if you want full disclosure, you should add the soaring numbers of deaths related to non-treatment …

Copious documentation shows a startling lack of treatment, inadequate treatment, treatment denied even in the face of documented symptoms and needs. Why? Because — and this is central here — the “needs” of the providers are first in line in the order of importance. The “caring” is with assuring profit. Healthcare as an all-out effort to achieve wellness and recuperation from illness and ailments, is the industrialized product that is “delivered” to consumer/patients — when warranted or authorized for the “health” of the delivery companies.

As purely business, it’s simple, even brilliant: more patients, more procedures and treatments = more profit. Health Services — Voila: the perfect product! Ya’ never run out, and you can charge whatever the market will bear.

A corollary we should be aware of: This Windfall Machine automatically perceives that any general improvement in the environment, or in decreasing risks and pollutants, or in promoting healthier diets, is bad for the bottom-line! Even if this is only perceived subliminally, it destroys any human-centered model of Health Care, because such a “system” does not benefit when people are well. The premise is upside-down, counter-productive, and… deadly. It’s time, like other societies have done, that we wake up to this terrible flaw in thinking.

Anything which puts a space, hesitation, or barrier, even, between a recognized illness and seeking a solution for it, carves away pieces of Care, and renders it unworthy of the term.

My father ended up in an adult living facility upon undergoing diagnosis for an inoperable brain tumor. His greatest frustration was an inability to express himself verbally, though he tried very hard to do so. This was in the early period of so-called HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organizations), so he was assigned what they called a “primary care physician.”  When, at a visit to that doctor in charge of my father’s care, I asked if he could receive some speech therapy to help his anguished state and to allow him better to communicate his needs, I was told, “If I were to recommend that therapy, the insurance company would accuse me of ‘being too much on the side of the patient’!!”

That this physician felt at all that he was somehow advocating between two poles of judgment and behavior (“for his patients” or “for his employer”)  illustrates a kind of brainwashing performed by the insurance industry on their “hired hands,” the doctors, a fact seminal in the breakdown of  the health system in our nation.

That we have allowed this to happen would be pitiful enough as a society. However, we have not even “allowed” it in the traditional sense. What we have done is permitted and empowered those corporate interests profiting from the health industries, to set the terms, themselves. We have sat by mutely while abdicating our democratic and constitutional rights to be informed fully and to participate in the making of legislation to regulate our society in the form that WE, the citizens, see fit.

Without adequate access to news and information, we as citizens cannot perform this role even if we would be prepared to do so. Elections, the near-sacred process used in democracies to chose our representatives who are charged to legislate for the betterment of our society as WE see it, has become one more ground for investment for those institutions that see “healthcare” as a windfall business with an ever-growing captive market.

Again: More patients, more procedures and treatments = more profit. Legislators that would upset the balance by reducing toxic environments or curtail questionable residues in our food and water may well be whom the majority of Americans want to see in office, but clearly are not the kind of legislators the Health Business would like to see. Therefore a good part of their well-thought-out Business Plan includes “investing” in elections, supporting “friendly” candidates, while funding veritable armies of lobbyists. The recent Supreme Court decision of Citizens United vs. the FEC has now opened the floodgates for corporate-controlled elections for the foreseeable future. Essentially: R.I.P., USA (1776 – 2010).

Unless Americans do something drastic like head to the streets like Egyptians*, we stand little chance to influence, much less participate meaningfully in ANY conversations that define how or whether the US will ever have a true SYSTEM of Health Care that adequately diagnoses and treats all its citizens.

Restoring the right to determine our Health Future to the Citizens must be seen as central to the process of having real national security and a truly functional democracy. The very health of the nation is at stake.

* Note: this was written prior to the appearance and spreading of the Occupy movements.

USA to World: There’s No Place Anymore for Participation…

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

No need for Participation–just ‘Cooperation’: On Your Knees!

Put on a uniform. Harden yourself to kill the enemies of democracy for the Homeland — just don’t expect to find much democracy when you come home. Not any more.

After one single person determined the outcome of the 2000 election in the United States (upholding a 537 vote margin for W), now the Supreme (sic) Court drops the other shoe: whatever was left of ‘the People’s Voice’ will in the future drown in a sea of corporate speech — again, by one vote.

Corporations deserve to be heard; it’s only fair, right? You can hardly hear what corporations want to say, what with all those public service messages and townhall meetings filling our airwaves. Right?

We send thousands to fight, kill, and perhaps die in foreign lands, and spend untold billions — to the detriment of our own peoples’ health, welfare, housing, education and economic future — ostensibly to bring to those abroad ‘the benefits of democracy.’ Even when joining that fight is voluntary (though via a socially skewed recruitment policy), thousands sign up to fight whomever they are told is amassing threats against the U.S.

Funny — why go to all that bother over there when it only takes apparently just one person to topple the democratic structure here…and no one even seems to notice!

Do we willingly stand by and give one person all that power, and simply obey their decision, even if it costs us all our voices? Have we given them such power? Or have they taken it? Do we simply accept passively that kind of abuse? Corporate America is chuckling … and sharpening their knives. Land of the Brave … or of the damned Foolish?

“The Take”(2004) workers respond to IMF in Argentina

Monday, April 6th, 2009

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The ‘Bailout’ & the Crisis of Democracy

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

I am no economist, but it seems to me that this “financial emergency” is fundamentally a CRISIS OF DEMOCRACY. There is nothing in this “bailout” scenario that has not been predicted and avoidable for decades. People with experience and offering sane and healthy analyses, who spoke and wrote of the dangers being incurred were ignored, ridiculed or scorned. Certainly not given airtime nor column space in major media to explain their concerns nor to connect the dots.

There is absolutely NO intention of this “government” — and the corporate lobbyists that fund and write the legislation for them, who influence and buy legislators, and who “regulate” their own ventures — to allow the People to have either:

1. first-hand, un”regulated” or uncensored knowledge of what actually goes on, or what/how/by whom decisions are made.

2. a free press that engages the public and discusses and questions situations as well as alternatives.

3. a free electoral system that requires a majority to win or allows such a simple notion as alternative views and political organization (i.e. other parties) with both the right and “permission” to speak freely and in the open, with actual access to the public’s airwaves.

Forget Public Funding of Elections.

The “Free Marketeers” who have so brazenly lied to us, lo these decades (centuries?), about how their ideology and intentions lead to freedom, admit no Free Market of Ideas, eliminating candidates from National Debates, allowing no television time for smaller candidacies (even though nations such as Brazil and Mexico somehow manage to do so), preventing any real dialogue, exchange of ideas IN MUCH THE SAME WAY AS their Phony “Free Market” Rules and rigged games they play, that ALWAYS end up with us, the taxpayers, bailing out their failed “plans” (schemes?) AFTER the usually unpunished perpetrators have taken out and stashed away their private profits. It’s time to realize: this is a wholesale Criminal Enterprise masquerading as a government, while bad-mouthing (when not physically attacking) ANYTHING representing truly democratic or representative ideas from and by the governed.

No, our most common enemies of democracy are not conspiring to smash aircraft into our symbols of power. They have no need for that. They are circulating freely in the corridors of power in our Agencies, Capitol and White House. They sit behind microphones and in front of cameras that blanket the nation with innuendo, false images of humanity and science, disinformation, vitriol and hatred. They take what they want, prey on the weak, and plot to silence those who might object. They cover their actions and trails with “patriotic” emotional rhetoric spread by giant media networks with whom they share power. This is not democracy in ANY sense of the word. It is a Cosmetic Democracy at best.

Let us not forget, too, folks like Nancy Pelosi and her duplicitous and effectively traitorous gang of enablers who use the romantic and nostalgic falsehoods of a supposed Democratic Party “legacy” (that of supporting working people) to quietly shut up, shut down and neutralize the efforts of exactly those elements in our society (anti-war movement, veterans, women’s groups, labor, impeachment advocates, etc.) who actually WOULD stand up to defend our REAL democratic principles.

We must also question the sense of all those people of good will, still IN the Democratic Party (or so self-identifying), who have willingly allowed themselves to be used and fooled time and time again, accepting “lesser-of-two-evilism” as the Norm and Rule, having demanded NOTHING of the duplicitous neo-liberal usurped “leadership” of that political party, and having lowered both their expectations and their pants to that “leadership”, without getting a single meaningful concession in their favor that supports the American People or our Constitution.

This has gone on for decades now.

Those of you who have tolerated and even supported this should be ashamed and embarrassed. You have willingly allowed the oligarchy of this nation to use the artifice of a “second flavor” of Capital, the Democratic Party, to fool, use and abuse both you AND this nation, wasting your time and our democratic potentiality.

If you truly are progressive, it is time to take up the real and active defense of Democracy, insist on Impeachment (there is still time), restore the Constitution (there may be still time), and BAIL OUT of that phony Party to build a new one with its feet firmly planted in Democracy.

This may hurt some to realize, but…it is too late for the Democratic Party — they have already effectively betrayed the nation. They have stood by and watched (when not aiding and abetting) the worst elements of our society rape and pillage our nation and ravage others across the globe — and done … nothing — other than shout down those who begged them to act on behalf of the people.

There IS NO legacy worth saving.

This whole supposed “government,” propped up by officials of both “Official Parties” is really an illegal occupation of Governmental Positions and Roles by people who hate government because when it works, it represents ordinary people. They work hard to see representative government destroyed and replaced by an oligarchic-corporate fiat in the guise of government, touting “freedom” and “democracy” as no more than brand names and slogans.