Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This 4th of July...

you can do few things better for yourself than to read this essay by Chris Hedges. In it he writes:
Native Americans’ resistance to the westward expansion of Europeans took two forms. One was violence. The other was accommodation. Neither worked. Their land was stolen, their communities were decimated, their women and children were gunned down and the environment was ravaged. There was no legal recourse. There was no justice. There never is for the oppressed. And as we face similar forces of predatory, unchecked corporate power intent on ruthless exploitation and stripping us of legal and physical protection, we must confront how we will respond.
The ideologues of rapacious capitalism, like members of a primitive cult, chant the false mantra that natural resources and expansion are infinite. They dismiss calls for equitable distribution as unnecessary. They say that all will soon share in the “expanding” wealth, which in fact is swiftly diminishing. And as the whole demented project unravels, the elites flee like roaches to their sanctuaries. At the very end, it all will come down like a house of cards.
I am somewhat perplexed at the apparently widespread blindness to the rapidly approaching catastrophe...is "Shop Until Everything Drops" the new national motto?

The legend of Cassandra is undeniably replete with truth as we look at the behavior of most humans and at the state of the planet.

I'm of a cohort that is likely to dead by the time the bulk of the impact of planetary desolation and despoliation crashes home. I fear terribly that death is going to look like a picnic compared to what is coming.

I'm fully in accord with Mr. Hedges when he writes:
And while I do not advocate violence, indeed will seek every way to avoid it, I have no intention of accommodating corporate power whether it hides behind the mask of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that resistance may ultimately be in vain. Yet to resist is to say something about us as human beings. It keeps alive the possibility of hope, even as all empirical evidence points to inevitable destruction. It makes victory, however remote, possible. And it makes life a little more difficult for the ruling class, which satisfies the very human emotion of vengeance..
It may be in vein...but honoring what the 4th of July is supposed to mean...means making things as difficult as possible for those in charge. And it also means...even when resistance is futile...to continue to resist because it nourishes hope...because it means not abandoning ourselves or our fellow animals or our planet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recent images that spoke clearly....

I'm puzzled.
This first image reminded me that over the past few years...the police in this country have slowly become more and more militarized. It is also alarming to me that often they appear with their faces covered. We're well on our way to looking like an occupied country. Why? What is going on?

This next image struck me as being about as telling and truthful as it is possible to be in just a few words.

Also brief and true.

Last one.
 My fear is that is precisely what we are going to do...if we haven't done it already.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Birthday!!

To Mr. Cesar Chavez, born March 31, 1927. A true hero for all living beings...especially those with little power. He is an example for us all. Thank you Mr. Chavez and Happy Birthday.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Some recently encountered images...

that contain some truth and/or humor...
Someone understood Anarchy.
This "holiday" should be Native American Day.

"Too much" truth.

These three are quite well done I think.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Abridging the freedom of speech....

The Supreme Court has declined to review the SHAC 7 case. In other words, people were imprisoned for what they said and the highest court has agreed by default that this is ok. This is the same court that just recently said laws against protests at funerals are "unconstitutional" because they abridge the freedom of speech.

Uh, speech ok in one instance, not ok in another instance. What's the deal? Well, it is fairly apparent that the winds that have blown in one direction for 500 plus years are continuing to gust in the same direction. Essentially that if money is involved, if profit is involved...that trumps any hypothetical individual "freedoms".

This country started out as a criminal foray (for profit and gain) against the original human inhabitants (Native Americans) and convenient and self-serving fictions aside...has continued on that track since then and these "decisions" simply serve to affirm that.

Waving a meaningless affirmation of "free speech" such as that associated with the funeral protests is merely providing a passing salute (acceptable, because it doesn't involve money) to the general populace's delusion of "freedom".  The SHAC 7 and Rod Coronado cases are the important ones, because they do involve some sort of opposition to "profit".

What is really deplorable is that when a jury is involved (both the SHAC 7 and Coronado cases were jury trials), folks that theoretically know better (i.e., regular joe blow citizens) have the opportunity to derail the profit train and uphold their right to free speech. They didn't (the jury was hung in Coronado's case) in either case. They went along with the injustices and agreed that money is more important than any such silliness as "free speech". If the citizens don't want "free speech"....?

I will be curious to see if connections are made between these contradicting events...free speech ok if no money involved, not ok if money might be lost.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

New resources...

I have added F.A.I.R (acronym for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) to the blog list as well as including the FAIR website on that listing.  These folks do a good job and I recommend you visit their writing and resources often. In case you missed it, the corporate and big money folks are mounting a sustained and serious attack on the power of labor unions and FAIR has some excellent coverage of it.

I have also added a link to Media Lens, a group located in England that include in their "About Us" section of the website this bit of loveliness:
We accept the Buddhist contention that while greed, hatred and ignorance distort reason; compassion empowers it. Our aim is to increase rational awareness, critical thought and compassion.

Our goal is not at all to attack, insult or anger individual journalists, but to highlight significant examples of systemic media distortion that are the cause of immense suffering. For example: the failure to communicate the true death toll of the war in Iraq; the hypocrisy and destructiveness of media reporting on climate change; the failure to expose the real consequences of corporate psychopathology for modern society, sanity and culture.
I am currently reading Burning All Illusions by David Edwards, one of the contributors/founders of Media Lens and am really enjoying it...especially that he recognizes Erich Fromm as one of the most significant thinkers and writers of the Psychology/Psychoanalytic folks.

Fromm is woefully unknown...especially here in the U.S. and the significance of his writing in furtherance of understanding human behavior can't be overstated. If you haven't read Edwards book, do so...it is well worth your time.

Fromm enjoyed a brief moment of popularity during the 1960's (go figure) but primarily in a superfical way...especially here...mainly because of a little book he wrote titled: The Art of Loving. My own cynical take on the popularity of the book is that Americans likely thought it was a how-to sex manual (it isn't).

If you haven't read Fromm, you have a gap in your fund of information and should remedy it as soon as you can. I would suggest you ground yourself in his thinking by first reading Escape From Freedom and The Sane Society. Those two books will go a long way toward getting you up to speed with apprehending the richness contained in the Edwards book...as well as maybe giving you a new take on the influence of society on your perceptions and thinking.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

America, land of the ?...part 2

We're number 1...in prisoners by count and per capita according to Nationmaster.com. You might enjoy poking around on the website. The number of prisoners by country for the top 7:
# 1 United States: 2,019,234 prisoners
# 2 China: 1,549,000 prisoners
# 3 Russia: 846,967 prisoners
# 4 India: 313,635 prisoners
# 5 Brazil: 308,304 prisoners
# 6 Thailand: 213,815 prisoners
# 7 Ukraine: 198,386 prisoners
If you look at the data on a per capita basis:

# 1 United States: 715 per 100,000 people
# 2 Russia: 584 per 100,000 people
# 3 Belarus: 554 per 100,000 people
# 4 Palau: 523 per 100,000 people
# 5 Belize: 459 per 100,000 people
# 6 Suriname: 437 per 100,000 people
# 7 Dominica: 420 per 100,000 people
Ah, makes you feel safe, secure and free doesn't it?

Thanks to The Liberty Underground and Nationmaster for inspiration and data.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Next time you want to fly somewhere......

Consider the situation you may encounter....take 10 minutes or so and watch this video first.

"Safety" often serves as the excuse for the arbitrary exercise of petty tyranny. Thanks to Mark Crispin Miller for alerting us to the video.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Ronnie Raygun "revolution".......

When Reagan won the presidential election I remember thinking that things were going to get worse. I was amazed that some people (a majority of voters apparently) were willing to anoint such a dismal example of humanity as their "leader".

Thirty years later, there is no doubt that this country has been in a downward spiral. A very interesting article appears to confirm this....using graphs. Worth a read if you don't mind getting spooked and disheartened. What is even more astonishing to me is that things have become so bizarre that Reagan now looks like a moderate compared to the yahoos ending up in elected positions.

Those of old enough to remember the "credibility gap"  are now treated to instances of lies treated as examples of knowledge that "everybody knows" on a routine and ongoing basis.

One of the things I overheard the other day from some college students was that social security would be non-existent for them by the time they reached retirement age. This is simply a lie and rather easily refuted (thanks to Old Feminist and Wild-Eyed Liberal). I am always astonished also when this particular stupidity is voiced that the person(s) saying it seem to be oblivious to the fact that whether social security is extant or not is up to the citizens. Rather this canard is repeated as if such a thing was a law of nature or something rather than a situation entirely under the control of the voters of this country.

Over at rc3.org I ran across a quote that I tend to mostly agree with:  "We live in times that demand that we rise to the occasion, and yet as a country we are mired in apathy, delusion, and impotent anger. I really wish I could just stand at a distance and laugh."

I think I might be more prone to cry than laugh, at least part of the time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

America, land of the ?...............................

One of the blogs I regularly check is rc3.org. Every once in a while an interesting item turns up. Here is an excerpt from a recent post about the Arizona immigration law:
The law was conceived by lobbyists for the private prison industry. They want to build more prisons and charge the government for housing inmates, and so what they need is more potential prisoners, and illegal immigration is one source of such prisoners. So they worked with the Arizona legislature to make it happen. This is what evil looks like.
The post references an article from NPR that details their investigation into the source(s) of the immigration law.

Create demand for your product...."defense" corporations need wars, "corrections" corporations need prisoners.....and so on. Ah America, land of the ?..............

Monday, October 18, 2010

Social psychosis..............

Quite an interesting post by Douglas LaBier. He argues that delusional thinking predominates in our culture in 4 areas.

1. Personal Values and Conduct.
2. Political/Economic Ideology
3. Public/Social Policy
4. Science/Factual Knowledge

For instance, concerning the delusions in the Science and Factual knowledge areas he writes:
The delusion here is that a society can progress -- or even hold it's own -- by embracing an anti-science position and glorifying ignorance. The delusion consists of the belief that denying scientific evidence or knowledge of facts in general is a good basis for making decisions that affect the public. Whether in the halls of Congress, in the media or on Boards of Education, the delusion of the anti-science/pro-ignorance crowd have increasing influence and impact, as polls indicate. It includes denial of evolution, rejection of the evidence  for human-created rise of carbon emissions that creates ongoing climate change, and a general embrace of ignorance as a virtue; that it trumps the usefulness of empirical facts.
Interesting although I would add that what seems to be mystifying about the area of factual knowledge is not so much the rejection of such knowledge as the overwhelming nature of the sheer volume and detail of such knowledge.  Sources for accurate and trustworthy summarization without distortion could perhaps serve to remedy knowledge rejection......this is as opposed to the "spin" practitioners who pick and choose bits of knowledge to support a position while deliberately ignoring both context and meaning.

I think what I am driving at is that too much information can be as ignorant making and delusion nurturing (in a different way perhaps) as not enough information. There is some sort of Goldilocks principle at work here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oklahoma, Native Americans and Columbus......

In Oklahoma today (10/11/2010) is officially noted as a celebration of Columbus and his "discovery". Only one state, South Dakota, has been enlightened enough to change this day to something honoring the victims of Columbus. In South Dakota, today is Native Americans Day.

Oklahoma, which proudly displays Native America on the state automobile license plate, continues to recognize this day as Columbus day even though, as the author of this article notes:
If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus' reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish.

Question: Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?
Oklahoma insults all Native Americans, and all beings that oppose and detest oppression, theft, murder and slavery by continuing the shameful "honoring" of this disgusting individual.

A further excerpt from the article:
Columbus wasn't a hero. When he set foot on that sandy beach in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovered that the islands were inhabited by friendly, peaceful people called the Lucayans, Taínos and Arawaks. Writing in his diary, Columbus said they were a handsome, smart and kind people. He noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality. "They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no," he said. The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners. They were so kind-hearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo. The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.
Columbus was so impressed with the hard work of these gentle islanders, that he immediately seized their land for Spain and enslaved them to work in his brutal gold mines. Within only two years, 125,000 (half of the population) of the original natives on the island were dead.
Columbus deserves no honor and Oklahoma dishonors itself by continuing this sham "holiday".

As long as we human animals continue to believe lies and misinformation, as long as we confuse historical or current myth with reality......we will continue to be oppressors and torturers and murders of the innocent.......and deniers of our behavior and our crimes.

I oppose and detest oppression, slavery, torture and murder.......no matter what species the victim happens to be.

I deeply and sincerely apologize for this travesty of a holiday to all victims and all the ancestors of the victims of this monstrous being named Columbus. (this entry is crossposted on the veganelder blog)

Friday, October 8, 2010

On the tea party movement..........

The moaning and groaning of the tea party yokels has meant less than nothing since beginning. To take these folks seriously would have required them to have began their "protest" years before when George Bush was trashing the country. To rail against the inheritors of the lunacies of Bush is both grotesque and disingenuous. Matt Taibbi is often worth reading, his recent article on the t.p. movement notes:
Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it's going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I've concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They're full of shit. All of them................
The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about —  ...................
After nearly a year of talking with Tea Party members from Nevada to New Jersey, I can count on one hand the key elements I expect to hear in nearly every interview. One: Every single one of them was that exceptional Republican who did protest the spending in the Bush years, and not one of them is the hypocrite who only took to the streets when a black Democratic president launched an emergency stimulus program. ("Not me — I was protesting!" is a common exclamation.) Two: Each and every one of them is the only person in America who has ever read the Constitution or watched Schoolhouse Rock. (Here they have guidance from Armey, who explains that the problem with "people who do not cherish America the way we do" is that "they did not read the Federalist Papers.") Three: They are all furious at the implication that race is a factor in their political views — despite the fact that they blame the financial crisis on poor black homeowners, spend months on end engrossed by reports about how the New Black Panthers want to kill "cracker babies," support politicians who think the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was an overreach of government power, tried to enact South African-style immigration laws in Arizona and obsess over Charlie Rangel, ACORN and Barack Obama's birth certificate. Four: In fact, some of their best friends are black! (Reporters in Kentucky invented a game called "White Male Liberty Patriot Bingo," checking off a box every time a Tea Partier mentions a black friend.) And five: Everyone who disagrees with them is a radical leftist who hates America.
The serious problems faced by the country are nothing that will be cured by the half-baked notions promoted by these people. The oligarchy likes nothing better than to see this sort of circus occupying center stage. The spotlight there keeps it off of the wealthy and the corporate interests that are cheerfully looting the country.

Over at Harpers, Ken Silverstein is signing off as Washington editor, due to his exhaustion and numbness from dealing with DC politics. He notes:
The current GOP is truly a scary party, but if not for that it would be impossible to care about the midterm elections. When you’re reduced to rooting for soulless hacks like the current Senate majority leader—and he’s typical of today’s Democrats—you’ve lost something fundamental at the core of your humanity.
After watching Clinton dither around and not go after the wealthy and now to watch Obama avoid the same necessary steps needed to begin some sort of reversal from the decline........begun when the buffoonery of Reagan was confused with seriousness.....well, who can blame Silverstein for hanging up his spurs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Some quotes...................

George Saunders has been writing for some time but I just now discovered him.  It is always a delight to run across an author that is sharp and skilled at writing.  I highly recommend his works, I've only read a collection of essays titled: The Braindead Megaphone, which is terrific.  The first essay, named the same as the book does a great job of elaborating why the current pap that passes for "news" exists.  Here is a quote from another essay that knocked me out:

…….Huck and Tom represent two viable models of the American character.  They exist side by side in every american and every american action.  America is, and always has been, undecided about whether it will the the United States of Tom or the United States of Huck.  The United States of Tom looks at misery and says:  Hey, I didn’t do it.  It looks at inequity and says: All my life I have busted my butt to get where I am, so don’t come crying to me.  Tom likes kings, codified nobility, unquestioned privilege.  Huck likes people, fair play, spreading the truck around.  Whereas Tom knows, Huck wonders.  Whereas Huck hopes, Tom presumes.  Whereas Huck cares, Tom denies.  These two parts of the American psyche have been at war since the beginning of the nation, and come to think of it, these two parts of the World Psyche have been at war since the beginning of the world, and the hope of the nation and of the world is to embrace the Huck part and send the Tom part back up the river, where it belongs.

P. 204-205, in The United States of Huck (essay), part of The Braindead Megaphone (collection of essays) by George Saunders
Excellent stuff.  Mr. Saunders is the recipient of one of the "genius" grants from the MacArthur Fellowships.  He deserves it.

A final quote from a different essay in the book:
...The British are, it would appear, allied with us Americans in the “War on Terror.” I found something rousing about this sense of shared purpose --- this sense that they too were fooled by spurious intelligence; they too were, while in a state of fear, too quick to believe what they were told by their leaders; they too are willing to sacrifice civil liberties in the name of an endless war against what is essentially an imprecise noun, a war that is, semantically speaking, analogous to a War on Patriarchy, or the Very Energetic Siege of Narcissism. 

P. 94, A Brief Study of the British (essay), from The Braindead Megaphone (collection of essays) by George Saunders.
 If you haven't read anything by this fellow, get to your library pronto and be prepared for a treat.