Monday, June 30, 2008

Labeling America

Rising from the ashes of the tumultuous 1960's, the neo-conservative movement was born out of the backlash against the free wheeling counter culture era. Banding together out of a common hatred of Lyndon Johnson's social policies, they set out to take over the Republican Party in order to return the United States toward the path they believed she was destined for, imperial rule over the world.

Almost overnight in the 1970's, many disaffected Democrats had switched parties to join the 'Reagan Revolution', thinking they were doing the right thing in steering the course of Americans back to the foreign policy arena. Called 'neo' conservatives, or 'new' conservatives, they jumped into the political fray with a zeal not seen in many years in Washington, promising change and stability in an America dealing with gas lines, the rise of a new sexually transmitted disease that killed it's victims, and what was seen as the humiliation of the U.S. during the Iranian hostage crisis.

Reagan's 'revolution' however, began a deep cultural and philosophical divide that is still ongoing today. Another President who got away with all manner of shenanigans, Reagan, the neo-con grandfather, began the gutting of American social programs starting almost immediately after taking the oath of office. Using the term 'liberal' as a political tool, his Administration was responsible for the epithet like tags tossed around that painted 'liberals' as weak, or wishing harm to our country.

But if we examine the differences between true liberals and true neo-conservatives, we see a dark underbelly to the entire label game that has been foisted on us by people with no regard whatsoever for their fellow citizens and who believe it to be the right of rich Americans to further corporate global ambitions on the backs of ordinary tax paying Americans.

As stated before, the idea of neo-conservatism was to steer America to what was believed to be her rightful place as THE world power. A power to be obeyed, a power that used it's foreign aid as a weapon of coercion, a power that would strike out at any who dared to stand up to her. And strike out we did. At drug dealing dictators who we propped up in the first place. At revolutionary movements the world over who sought freedom for their people because it could be detrimental to the corporate bottom line, and then, the blunder of blunders we all try to forget, we funded al-Queda and Osama Bin Laden against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and look who's having to fight there now.

What was propagandized to Americans as a bold new direction, turned out to be nothing more than a criminal enterprise that continues on today. Scandal after scandal, the country quickly grew weary of this new brand name, and so enter Bill Clinton, still fondly remembered by many leftists as a president who did right by the country. But Clinton was no liberal. He was but another neo-con in masquerade. It was under his Administration that the entire NAFTA (Shaft us) debacle took place, and it was under Clinton that the complete destruction of social programs began. He balanced the budget alright, but he did it on the backs of working men and women. Included in this entire nefarious plot was the plan to dumb down Americans, placate them with toys and therefore distract them from the crimes of elected officials.

So if even those who claim to be liberals aren't, then what are we left with? So far, we have the Bush neo-conservatives who have fashioned themselves into some sort of criminal fascist enterprise. And we have the Clinton type of 'liberal'. Liberals who also could care less about their fellow citizens, as long as they and their corporate friends get theirs. Today's Democrats refuse to impeach a criminal regime out of a fear that it might somehow hurt their eletion chances, and as Ms. Pelosi says, "That's the more important issue." Winning elections is more important than correcting injustice. How very liberal. No. Conservative. Hmmm, which can it be?

But true liberals believe in freedom. They believe that as society progresses, so should society's social safety net programs to make sure that none are left behind. Liberals don't believe in giving away the store to the military/industrial complex, but do believe in a strong defense and the use of force as a last resort. No established religion. Housing and medical care for all. The non-discrimination against anyone for any reason. Taking care of the environment so our children may live in a clean world. What is so hard to figure out about being liberal? True conservatives believe in the exact same ideals, they just don't want liberals giving away the store as they better everyone's lives. Conservatives want the same exact things, have the same ideals, and if that's true, this entire political system has been hijacked by liars and criminals.

Because no matter where you travel in this country, the consensus is nearly unanimous amongst the regular working man and woman. They want a better life for all. Everyone wishes everyone to have health care, and food, and a place to live. But therein lies the paradox of the great divide that has been thrust upon us. How to convince someone that neither political party in this country represents any of these values? That they will speak platitudes to us about wishing these things to come to pass, and that the lies and the promises made by either side are nothing more than hollow words, and that none of this will ever come into being?

The very heart of America is good and kind, and full of love and compassion. It is inside all of us to one extent or another. But yet, we squabble and quibble over semantics while the politicians sit back and plot on ways to further divide and conquer. How to get your vote. No lie is too big nor is any deception too small. Professional liars who use personal make up artists, tailors, consulting firms, pollsters, electrolysis, and a never wavering smile to convince you that they hold your values. Our values. When the truth is the furthest thing from their minds.

The upcoming elections make a difference only because we will have a choice as to how quickly we wish the destruction of our country to continue. Elect one, and we'll have never ending war, more abject poverty, more of the disappearance of the middle class. Elect the other, and we'll slow it somewhat, but nothing will change. The corporate lobbyists that pretend to be Senators and House Representatives will never allow it. And so, after eight years of a Democratic Presidency, (come on, we all know McCain can't possibly win), the People will be angry again, demanding change, and Mitt Romney will step up and say, "See?" The cycle continues and the wheel will turn, and the decline of our standard of living will further erode.

Because if we ever wish to hope to grasp this snake and throttle it, we are going to first understand that when it comes to the working Joes and Janes, the everyday American, there are no Republicans and there are no Democrats. There are no conservatives, nor any liberal. You have been suckered into painting yourself into a corner and that's what I've been trying to point out here. How people can be hoodwinked into believing and voting for things they know in their heart of hearts is a lie. All because snake oil sales people who wish to further an agenda that has nothing to do with you, save to get more of your hard earned money, sucker you time and time again with labels. Liberals are spineless. Conservatives are monsters.

When the real truth is that on both sides, liberal and conservative, there are sociopaths who will do and say anything to gain power, including marginalizing any third party candidate. Candidates that don't make the news. What is needed is a coalition type of representative government. One that reflects the views of all Americans, and not this insane system we have been fostering and succoring forever. One Party with two branches. Good cop, bad cop and we are all guilty.

Want to drive the politicians absolutely bonkers this year? Write in a vote for either Keith Olberman, the 'rights' favorite liberal. Or vote for Ann Coulter, the 'lefts' much beloved neo-con.

Imagine the fear such a protest vote would strike into the hearts of those who seek to control our every move, and who treat the Constitution as though it were toilet paper. Let us all toss off the chains of this bondage they have placed us in by rejecting out of hand their attempts to smear either liberal or conservative, (it's ok to smear a neo anything) because the truth is that Americans have a little of both in them, and our patience is wearing thin.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Million Discarded Children

Having the distinct dishonor of being the only industrialized nation in the world to have a homeless population wherein 40% now consists of families with children, the United States also ranks among the top when it comes to the amount of children left homeless, at last count 1.2 million of them.

While not quite as bad as our neighbor to the south, Mexico, where a full 3 million kids are either homeless or resort to begging and theft in order to maintain a home, we are quickly catching up to them as the extremists do a fast track on the decimation of programs designed to prevent this from happening. Knowing that a backlash is coming from concerned Americans over the policy disasters of the past three decades, the 'let the poor die' crowd is pushing for the destruction of more and more programs by the day it seems.

Using the tired old lines of yesterday, such as "It's not the government's job to help the poor". Or " The poor are just lazy." And " The poor should just get a job", the fanatics intentionally do not inform the rest of the country that their policies are shoving an ever growing amount of children onto America's streets.

You've seen them. You pass them on the street every day. With shelters filled to capacity, homeless families are living in cars, in doorways, in abandoned buildings, tents, rooftops, or in parks. Those lucky enough to be able to tempoarily afford a motel as a home usually end up evicted for lack of rent. most times, when that eveiction from a motel occurs, the family loses all of their possesions to boot. Older kids live in packs, and forage for what they need in whatever way they can. We call them 'street kids', and by labeling them as such, we make believe that someone is helping them, or that they are doing just fine on their own. But are they really?

So called 'street kids' are at a much higher risk of developing chronic illnesses due to a lack of available medical care. Illnesses such as HIV, respiratory infections, and other infectious diseases. They are exposed to having to scavenge for food in garbage cans, or by begging for money. But most people don't even see these kids, and their outstretched hands are often met with a cold reception. In desperation, some will turn to crime, others will find their way to prostitution, and most will end up addicted to some form of drug in order to ease the mind numbing pain of being left behind by society.

Sure, there are many organizations that do great work in trying to help as many of these children of the night that they can. But the simple truth is that they do not have enough funding, and the money they were receiving has been cut and cut and cut, making it virtually impossible to attempt to reverse this ever growing blight on our nation.

The organizations that try to help give us the alarming figures on these children, but no one heeds them. Figures that tell us about the fact that even if a homeless child attends school, it is 50% more likely that kid will drop out. Or that street kids will have a much greater chance of developing a mental illness, but will have almost no chance of receiving treatment. Or the sickening fact that in this country that we claim is the light of freedom, children actually die from malnutrition.

We listen to the preachers of fiscal responsibility tell us that there is no money to be spared in order to save these 1,000,000 plus children, but the same speakers of lies will then award multi-billion dollar no bid contracts to corporations that build bigger and better guns. Food for children? Sorry, no can do. Homes for kids and families? Hahaha. Halliburton and KBR? Billions and billions of wasted dollars. Dollars that buy literally nothing at times. At what cost do we fight a never ending war OF terror? The fact is that in Osama Bin Laden's wildest dreams, he never could have thought to destroy the American Dream for America's children in the way that the fanatics that terrorize us daily have.

Imagine being a child on the streets. You find a temporary place to live, like an abandoned building. You join up with a group of other homeless street kids in order to feel a sense of belonging. You're surviving on almost nothing, and all of a sudden, the police kick you out of where you were living. Back to the nomadic wanderings, you find perhaps a subway platform to sleep. But with no protection from either the elements or the predators among us, you are either abducted and sold, murdered, or thrown in jail. What sort of individual does one suppose will enter adulthood, assuming they have survived? Do you think they'd be well adjusted, educated, and ready to take on the world? Or will an angry, mentally damaged person emerge to wreak more havoc, cause more crime, swell the ranks of the chronically homeless, and the never ending revolving door of the Prison Industry?

The United States ranks dead last of industrialized nations in the care and treatment of the poor and the homeless. But it wasn't always such. It has only been the last three decades that has seen the rise of sociopaths to positions of power. Men and women who could care less about their fellow citizens, but care only about the corporate bottom line. So what can we do to avert yet more children from entering the ranks of the 'street kids'?

First, we must, with all urgency, stop the bleeding of funds from domestic programs designed to help the poor. To those who cry about budget deficits, we must tell them they don't need bigger and better bombs, the ones they already bankrupted us with kill people very nicely.

Second, we must change the way we perceive the poor and the homeless. They are not all lazy, they are not all just looking for a free ride, and we must stop this 'me first' mentality that allows us to walk right past someone in need and never even see them. It is not too late. This country can once again be the shining beacon of compassion and hope that it used to be. All it will take is a conscious effort by all of us to throw off the chains that have been locked around us by the sociopaths these past three decades. Toss them and their twisted ideology to the wayside and start caring whether or not your neighbor has enough food, or a place to sleep.

Keep that figure in your head today as you go about your business. One million plus discarded children. That's six zeros after a one, and if we don't do something to stop this slide into a third world country frame of mind, the next street kid could be yours.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

James Dobson, The Pharisee And anti-Christ Cultist

Just when Americans began to believe that the political waters were finally free of the attack sharks pretending to be the only ones alive to know the will of God, James Dobson, a man with absolutely no graduate degree in biblical or theological studies rears his hypocritical head.

Ripping off yet another of his much publicized political attacks on Barak Obama this time, this Pharisee and false prophet reveals once again his Stalinist view of the Bible. Another in a long line of Bible hucksters, Dobson spews political extremist views while claiming tax exempt status for his Focus On The Family group. Espousing the virtues of allowing the poor to fend for themselves, being for the death penalty, attacking Iran, and using a supposed Christian ministry to lead the fight against the Hate Crimes Bill should have been enough to expose this hypocrite for what he truly is, an anti- Christ.

It would seem almost comical were it not for the fact that this man is every bit as dangerous to the United States as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell used to be. Every charlatan that has ever used a tent to raise money for himself knows Dobson for what he is, mainly a purveyor of falsehoods and a wolf leading the flock astray. The proof in the pudding of Dobson's selective use of the Bible for his own political purposes is in his denunciation of Obama's quoting from Leviticus. But yet, Dobson himself has used Leviticus in his tirades against homosexuals, even though Leviticus says nothing to the matter. Were we to interpret Dobson's literal use of Leviticus, would that not mean that we could not wear clothing made from two different types of stitching?

But let us once and for all put an end to the claims by Dobson and other extremists that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. President John Adams, a Founding Father, signed 'The Treaty of Tripoli' and it was ratified by the Senate in 1797, saying "The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

James Madison warned that religious sects who devolve into political organizations could lead to the leaders of those factions causing disharmony and exciting and inflaming the passions of their followers to the detriment of the rest of the country. The Framers knew of the dangers and the tyranny of forced religion of any denomination, and knowing such, wrote Article 6 into the Constitution: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

But Dobson will meet with Republican leaders in the halls of our Capitol, using outright threats of holding back voter support to gain what he wants. This is known as a cult, and not a legitimate church, or any followers of the teachings of Jesus. As law enforcement invades a compound in west Texas under false pretenses and abducts hundreds of children in clear violation of the law and the civil rights of those involved, that same government kneels before James Dobson's cult and worships the falsehoods that vomit forth from his mouth.

Dobson's many appearances on extremist radio talk shows, particularly Limbaugh's Funny Time Show, gives us an insight as to the thinking that's behind the mess this nation is in. Dobson has never disavowed the statements made by Limbaugh and therefore we must assume that he agrees with them. Limbaugh said " "Sometimes you have to rise above your principles." He was speaking about creating a group to counter the 'liberals' while he added, " "It would be the Americans for Creative Reality. We'd just make it up, make up our own reality, counter the libs and deal with them on that level."

So it's ok for 'Christians' to lie in order to obtain what they want. As long as they pretend that they're doing it in the name of Jesus. What hubris. What outright gall. Who is this man Dobson, and what makes him think that he can pretend to be some sort of divine personality that God has chosen him, and him alone to speak the Word to the masses? How dare this anti-Christ spew the garbage of extremism and hate and that capitalism is the only path to God? Does he not realize that Jesus Himself was a socialist when He walked the earth? Does Dobson conveniently forget that he was told to sell all he has and give it to the poor?

It's not as though Dobson does not know how to read and memorize Scripture, it's just that he could care less about the parts that deal with love and compassion, unless it's his own brand of it. Seeking power under the guise of being a religious leader is what the pharisees practiced and so do every one of these right wing 'saints'. Self aggrandizing slaves to the flesh, Dobson, his cult followers and all of those who continue this attempt to shove theocracy down the throats of our people are every bit as bad and should be lumped in with groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church. Because even though their tactics may be slightly different, the goal is always the same. Anti-gay, anti-abortion, anti-poor, anti-anti. Hate for the sake of hating, and of course the ever present pleas for more and more of your money.

The anti-Christ. Is it just one person, or would he not send disciples such as Dobson and Robertson to set the stage for his arrival? To lead the people down the wrong path of intolerance, anger, and the stepping over the rotting corpses of the poor instead of preaching the truth of love, compassion, and the willingness to give up your coat to someone in need. There is nothing whatsoever in the words of Jesus that speak of homosexuality, although it was rampant all around Him. Nothing about 'fruitcake' politicians, a thinly veiled code word used to describe gays. Nothing about turning your back on those who refuse to believe the words of the devil, and make no mistake there James, the words you spew out are nothing short of blasphemy and come from no Holy Source.

If Dobson wants to make a big splash on the political scene and we all know that he does, then shouldn't his Focus On The family political organization have their tax exempt status pulled? Have an audit done by someone at IRS other than a Bushie? Can someone simply not sit this evil dictator down and ask him politely to shut the hell up? That we Americans are sick and tired of the hatred of others lines, the intolerance and the money grubbing hands that tell us the only way to Heavan is to give to a cause that in turn refuses to help the poor. Tell Dobson that we are all Americans, all 300 million of us, not just his 7 million and declining listener ship. All of us includes white, black, yellow, brown, amber, and even those with spiked green hair. Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and all other faiths. Democrat, Republican, Green Party, Independent, Socialist, Communist, Libertarian, and on and on. All Americans. Not just James Dobson and his merry little cult of wannabe dictators.

Go away Dobson. Be glad that people such as yourself have prevented many cures for diseases from being discovered with your opposition to stem cell research. You're right. we don't want the cloning of people to take place, because then we could end up with another you. Go and reflect on the warning given to you by your Lord: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee...."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

America's Free Speech Prisons

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

These words, seared forever into the minds of citizens of the United States, and emulated by those around the world who seek freedom for over two centuries, are once again coming under attack by both the Democratic and Republican parties of our country. The First Amendment to the Constitution does not allow for the peaceable assembly of the people who seek to protest and petition elected officials for redress of grievances to be penned into out of sight, out of earshot razor wire topped fenced in areas.

As legal experts in both St. Paul, Minnesota and Denver, Colorado argue cases before appellate judges, it seems that this issue would have been settled already. The Supreme Court has already held in Perry Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983) that states do not have any right to regulate political disagreements with the enforcement of free speech zones on public property, and especially when the event being protested is of a political nature. States can however, limit protests to designated areas when the entity is a private concern, and the protest is to be held on private property.

The Democratic National Convention, to be held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, is already seeking to restrict access to the parade route by protesters. They are refusing to release the route in which the parade leading up to the convention itself will march. They are arguing that they have the right to set up fenced in areas in a huge parking area across the street from the Pepsi Center, an area that will not be seen by delegates to the convention, nor will they be within ear shot of the protester's voices.

Even worse, in St. Paul, lawyers for the RNC and the city itself are in court arguing that the specter of terrorism is just cause for a denial of a permit for 100,000 people who wish to march on the Xcel Energy Center in the downtown area of the city. Claiming the possibility of a 'chemical, biological, or suicide bomber attack', as well as 'lone gunmen, riots, and the blockading of the city', they inject and play the fear card in an attempt to trample the right of the People to peaceably assemble. But the simple fact is that the Republican Party does not want the world to see an anti-war protest.

How did this come about? Where in the Constitution does it state that if politicos do not wish to hear the voices of dissent from the people, they may be denied a permit to protest, (a PERMIT to protest, or in others words, permission), or be locked into cages topped with razor wire to prevent them from escaping and expressing their views? And why do the People allow for this destruction of one of the most fundamental rights we are supposed to enjoy?

It has become so much the norm for Americans to accept that if they were to gather on a public thoroughfare to protest an action by their government, that they would be arrested for doing so, that the fear of speaking out has become the rule and not the exception. We delude ourselves into believing that we have freedom, but when one has to go to court to exercise a guarantee and a right bestowed by the rolling over in their graves Framers, then what sort of freedom do we truly have? The answer is that we don't. What we have is a never ending battle against a tyrannical system and the two Party system that holds absolute sway over everyone's lives.

Try it. Gather just ten of your friends together. Go and stand in front of the City hall of your town and denounce the Mayor, the City Council, or the dog catcher. Watch how quickly you find yourselves sitting in a cell for disturbing the peace, causing a public spectacle, public endangerment, or whatever other charge they can dream up.

This trend of stopping the voices of dissent is anathema to the very foundation of our country and must be resisted at all costs. We all remember the free speech zones that were set up in underground garages. Next, they'll be issuing permits to protest outside of the city limits only. After that comes the natural progression of stopping any demonstration under color of the threat of 'terrorism'. People must be allowed to have delegates, elected officials, or just other citizens hear their voices and their views, regardless of how it plays to the television cameras.

Because make no mistake. This is not an issue of right, left, or center. This is not an issue of crowd control or terrorism. This is an attack on our very freedom and it comes not from a cave overseas, but right here from our very own people. Completely ignoring Supreme Court rulings by claiming they apply only to petitions against the Federal Government, those who seek to trample on the rights of the People don't want you to examine cases such as Hague v. CIO. A case that explicitly stops local officials from impeding in any way the right of the People to peaceably assemble. Chief Justice Hughes, speaking for the majority spelled it out pretty clearly. he stated the rights of citizens of the United States to use streets and parks to express views, especially those of national concern, must not, under guise of regulation, be abridged or denied.

Therefore, the entire notion of penning people into makeshift prisons for having the audacity to speak out is clearly Unconstitutional, a a violation of the law. The streets and highways are not owned by the government, nor corporate concerns. They are the property of the People, and as such, can be used by the People to say whatever they want, about whom they want, whenever they want, without fear of arrest or reprisal by said government or it's agents. Being an issue the Framers strove to guard vigorously against, these so called freedom of speech zones are illegal, unwarranted, and a transparent attempt to stifle opposing view points.

How far, do you think, they will push the People? How long, might one suppose, that the People will accept tyranny in any form before they decide that enough is enough? How many politicians can we count on to back the rights of the People, and the Constitution of the United States over illegal attempts by the government to deny the People the full extent of the protections provided for? Many questions with very few answers save one. The First Amendment is very clear on the subject of imprisoning, (even in a makeshift fenced in holding cell,) the People who seek to protest against one group or another. And it is up to the People to make sure that these rights are not taken lightly by the very persons elected to uphold our sacred pact. Do nothing at your own peril, and the peril of the complete destruction of our way of life.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Mob Rules

The Boston Celtics Victory in the NBA Finals was yet another notch in the collective belt for New England sports fans. Over twenty years in the making, congratulations are due to both the team and the entire Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Northern Connecticut, and Vermont corridor, because any team from Boston really represents all of those states.

That being said however, it should be pointed out that once again, the mob took over the celebrations, and although no one was truly hurt or killed, there were the usual suspects throwing bottles at police, bricks at the Lakers' bus, and generally causing mayhem. Chants of "Yankees suck" were the anthem of the moment, although I'm not sure what the Yankees did to try to aid the Lakers in their endeavor. Thankfully police were prepared and put an end to the breaking of windows and other such hooliganism quickly.

But there are many an occasion where the police aren't on the scene enmasse' before an incident occurs, and things quickly spiral out of control when a mob forms. In those instances the mob takes over, and their targets can be anyone from a perceived criminal to doctors and lawyers, to even the police themselves. Lives are lost, property destroyed, people injured and fear permeates the air. Costs for such violence can run into millions of dollars, and just a sampling of some recent episodes shows just how quickly a mob mentality can take hold.

A popular bar called 'The Wall' in Seattle's White Center was the location recently wherein a man was beaten and stabbed by a mob of strangers for no apparent reason other than he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A group of revelers were leaving the bar when several of them lashed out at the unidentified man for no reason, beating him and stabbing him several times. When a couple of onlookers tried to intercede, they too were beaten back. After 100 stitches, the man now says he just wants to forget the whole thing.

In San Rafael, California, a group of 10 teenage girls lie in wait for another 16 year old girl as she exited a farmer's market. They beat her to the ground, kicking her repeatedly in the face until she was a bloody pulp. The alleged reason for the attack was that the 16 year old had 'ratted' out a 19 year old man who the girl said was having sex with a 13 year old girl. The man was arrested for all sorts of sexual misconduct charges and is awaiting trial, one piece of evidence against him being a MySpace photograph that shows him kissing the 13 year old. Police suspect that it was actually the 13 year old girl in the photo who arranged for the mob beating of the 16 year old.

Detroit police are looking for a mob of up to 30 men who are going around and jumping people for no reason. Their most recent violent act has landed a young man in the Mt. Clemens Medical Center after the mob stood in the street blocking traffic, and when the young man got out of his car to ask what the problem was, they began throwing bricks and rocks at the car, then beat him half to death. In serious condition, his passenger was less seriously hurt, but attacked nonetheless. It was the third such attack in the space of one weekend for this group of riff raff.

Although no one died in the above incidents, it could have been much worse. In Kolkata , India, at the Barrackpore Regional Hospital, several doctors ended up being their own patients following the mob storming of the medical center by what officials say was at least 100 people following the death of a patient there. The mob believed that the doctors were negligent in allowing for the death of the patient and decided to give them a dose of their own medicine.

A gathering of people beat a man to death in Johannesburg after the man stabbed a police officer and another person during an altercation. Using heavy sticks and stones, they first beat the man to the ground, stoning him to death afterwards. Out of the entire mob, only four men were arrested for murder.

In Zimbabwe, the criminal regime of Robert Mugabe has allowed and orchestrated massive incidents of mob violence against his detractors. Seeking to hold on to power in whatever way he can, he has sent goon squads, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, to attack meetings of opposition leaders. The most recent murder and mayhem party took the lives of several Movement For Democratic Change members, one who was beaten to death while his brother hid in a nearby out house listening to the mob crush him with logs. Daring not to make a sound while his brother cried out for mercy, the man had to stay where he was, lest he also suffer the same fate. Later that night, the same mob of about 300 men cut the genitals off of one activist, buried an axe in the head of another, and executed two more with gunshots to the head.

The tables turned on alleged corrupt officials in Moquegua, Peru recently when a mob of up to 20,000 protesters overwhelmed riot police and took 60 police officers, as well as their commanding officer hostage, saying they were not going to be released until a deal was struck that fairly distributed the wealth being obtained from local mining operations. The protesters complain that between the corporations, the public officials, and the pay offs to police, there is nothing left for the workers, who say they sometimes go hungry due to the extremely poor pay. If they get paid at all.

While we here in the United States like to think of ourselves as a 'law and order' type of nation where nothing of this last sort of incident could occur, we delude ourselves with this naive sleep walk mentality. Drill for more oil cries a President who has run the American people ragged with lies, distortions, blame everyone but himself hooliganistic running of the White House. A President who allowed his corporate friends to rape the economies of the United States and Iraq and Afghanistan. We deal with a Congress that gives shelter to criminals and succors them, inflaming the passions of many law abiding citizens. No longer concerned with what the People think or want, only Kucinich and Friedman having the guts to attempt to navigate the ship towards shore, the politicians are blind to the rising anger and the stirrings of discontent. But they should take a look at a few examples of how situations can spiral out of control in an instant, and think not to hide themselves behind threats of force against the population. Because the truth of strength in numbers has been forever evident, and in the end, the mob rules.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

America's Lazy Working Poor

Unknown to the American public at large, most especially those who are too young to remember, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty during his State Of The Union address on January 8th, 1964. His vision and plan for a great new society, one that treated all of the citizens of the United States with a sense of fairness and an opportunity for all to move upward on the economic ladder was swiftly undermined by the up and coming neo-con faction. A faction that has slowly and insidiously worked to destroy America's enjoyment of a better life for all save the wealthy.

The first of the great neo-con Presidents, Richard Nixon, showed his disdain for the poor by placing in charge of the then Office Of Economic Opportunity, none other than disgraced former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld administered the OEO by doing away with many of the programs served under the umbrella department, ultimately helping to lead to the disbanding of the agency altogether. Letting the fox guard the hen house, as it were.

The 'Greatest American Ever', President Ronald Reagan made clear where he stood when it came to issues of poverty and homelessness by decimating social programs literally right after he took the oath of office. Ordering a blanket turn down for every single person that applied for federal S.S.I., it now takes the disabled up to three years to receive benefits to which they are entitled. Also signing the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the legislation was designed to make it harder for states to receive federal tax money to fund their social programs, but this wasn't enough for the Cold Warrior. He and his administration were the ones to come up with using the tax code to redistribute America's wealth from the poor and the middle class to the rich. By using his long debunked 'trickle down economic theory', he could claim that the rich, if they had more money, would help the poor, and therefore there was no longer a need to fund all of these programs designed to help the poor stay alive.

We could also examine Bill Clinton's selling out of the American middle class and the poor with his 1996 'welfare reform'. Nothing more than an election year gimmick, it has since caused at least 2.2 million Americans to end up homeless. Fast forward to the extreme defunding and destruction of social safety net programs by Bush Jr., and the greatest redistribution of wealth in the history of the world becomes the very clear cause of so many more sliding down into abject poverty, and has nothing to do with the poor being lazy, or unwilling to find work.

Right wing extremists will spout the Party line about the poor this and the poor that, but they don't really want anyone to examine the fact that the rich in America are enjoying unheard of wealth. Wealth that they themselves did not earn, but was given to them by a criminal regime that runs the country in much the same way that the mafia used to run Las Vegas. Cooked books, lies, outright theft, tax breaks for the wealthy and various other forms of nefarious conduct are the true factors that are pushing more and ever more Americans into the mire of desperation and destitution.

You never hear about the fact that because of Clinton's sellout, current TANF and Food Stamp levels for a family of three equate to one third of the poverty level, thus providing no relief from despair, but in these times of rising housing costs, actually causing more homelessness. No one really ever considers the battered wife with children who add to the numbers of the homeless, because in order to stay alive, they must depend on women's shelters. The powers that spew the propaganda don't want you to understand that a full 25% of the homeless are mentally ill and have been turned down for benefits due to the Reagan blanket turn down rule that is still in effect today. Or that another one fourth of homeless people are veterans, many of them war time fighters who returned physically disabled, mentally disabled or both, but have gotten the shaft from the very government that ordered them to go fight. Forgotten and discarded, they swell the ranks of the homeless every day.

Drug and alcohol addiction, recognized as a sickness, are also factors in why some are homeless. Slaves to the bottle or whatever substance they use, this does not constitute laziness, because many are very adept at finding ways to feed their need. But yet, this administration has seen fit to slash funding for rehab programs, causing many of this segment of the homeless population to turn to crime. Closed clinics and rehabilitation centers have also been a factor in the rise in AIDS cases, Hepatitis, and various other diseases that wander untreated among the general population. Just not where the rich wander mind you.

Let's also remember the thousands upon thousands of children, affectionately called 'street kids', who gather on the corners of America's cities, and who have had funding for shelters cut. They must be too lazy to get a job, especially after public school funding has been scalped with a surgeon's precision also. Ending up in places like Hollywood and other big cities such as Portland, Oregon, Chicago and new York, they quickly become prey for the deviants who force them into prostitution, but at least they've got jobs right?

Or the single working mother, who has no choice but to rely on programs such as Food Stamps, because even working two jobs, she can not afford to feed her children, in this, the land of plenty. We seem to keep forgetting the percentage of the working homeless population. Imagine going to work all day long, leaving there to have to go and find a place to sleep that night. That exact trapped scenario is one of the main preventing factors for many homeless people obtaining employment in the first place. Wake up, go search for food. Spend the rest of the day trying to find a place to shower, garner some clothes, find enough to eat, and a place to rest that night. Not having an address is but another impediment to filling out an application, as is the lack of a phone number.
In a country where they have instituted a mindset that men should never show emotion, they conveniently like to leave out the fact that in most divorce situations amongst lower income families, the man ends up homeless, getting stuck there due to child support and alimony payments. Oh yes, a full 48% of America's homeless population have jobs, only their employment is so low wage, without any benefits whatsoever, that the numbers of those who just can not maintain a household are growing and growing and growing. God help a low income worker who has a family member become ill. That puts an abrupt end to any thoughts of trying to move forward in this society, and generally means financial ruin, and eventual homelessness.

There are, by advocate estimates, about 1% of the homeless population that is just too lazy to work. Ones that would rather live the way they do. But that leaves 99% of the homeless population that wants to have a good life just like everyone else, but can't due to the pushing of an agenda of the survival of the fittest by the meanest, cruelest people in the world. Those who suckered you into believing them that the poor were to blame for everything, and are now ready to ride off into the sunset with who knows how many taxpayer dollars tucked away in Swiss and Cayman Island bank accounts.

People speak of a new day and a new chance for America. One of the first steps must be for all of us to realize that should we allow for the continuation of social program decimation, then we have already lost the chance we seek to grab hold of. The very idea of America is that no one gets left behind, we are our brother's keepers, and we all move forward together. It has only been the last half century that has given rise to the sociopathic movement that suckered everyone into believing the poor are lazy, and to let them fend for themselves and die. It is time to reverse the evil they have perpetrated upon us, and leave them and their monstrous ideology behind. Time to stop labeling all poor people into the lazy category. Time to restore the budget cuts to social spending and time to take the welfare given to rich beyond belief corporations and return that money to it's rightful owners, the People.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fight Against The Democrat's Treason

Before those of you who have left leaning propensities start banging me on my head for slamming the Democratic Party over what is nothing short of treason in their attempt to sell out the American people to the far right once again, you should know that I am one of you. I have a bleeding heart just like you. I believe in socialized medicine, a woman's right to choose, fair taxes for all, the impeachment of this entire administration, and a return to the rule of law in our nation. I call for more help for the poor and middle class on an almost daily basis. I rail against the Republicans and their party of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich. I believe that Bush and his criminal administration should be sitting in jail cells, or at the very least confined to the mental ward at Crawford Ranch where they can do no more harm.

What I do not stand for and will not stand for is yet another attempt by Pelosi, Reid, Stoyer, and Lieberman, among others, to give the telecommunication companies immunity from lawsuits and prosecutions for breaking the law just because an insane neo-fascist oil baron government asked them to.

On a day when former White House Press Secretary McClellen testifies about what he knows of other criminal activity in this run amok corporate controlled entity that passes itself off as a by the people government, the Democrats are siding once again with the law breakers in both the administration and the corporate world and against the interests of the American people.

What does it say when the right wing Supreme Court of the United States beats back attempts by their Party leader to do away with Habeus Corpus, and rebuffs his Military Commissions Act, and the Congress, fearful of their own criminal liability for playing along with the madmen who started this mess, try to disobey the clear will of the people? Is this not treason? If by definition treason means to betray one's own people, then this Congress, both the House and the Senate, have stepped over the line from what was clearly collusion in the crimes that have been done to the People these past few years to outright treason, due to the fact that they are very well aware that most Americans do not want immunity for the telecoms, because that immunity is a de facto immunity for the criminals in this administration and those who allowed the activity to continue unabated.

"Impeachment is off the table." When those words left House Speaker Pelosi's lips, knowing full well that this president was guilty of everything from war crimes to law breaking, to outing a covert CIA agent, the slide of treasonous conduct by the power brokers inside the Democratic party was underway. In a clear rebuke of Bush and his administration during the elections of 2006, the people put the Democrats in a position to hold the nut job in chief at bay until he was out of office, but yet when it comes to matters of grave Constitutional concern, they themselves are turning out to be the biggest charlatans of them all. All this false president has to do is throw a softball at them, claiming they are holding up the 'war' on terrorism, and they capitulate like the Iraqi Army during Desert Storm.

It was refreshing to hear a mainstream media personality tell the truth about the reasons why the Democratic leadership would go along with this madness. Keith Olberman summed it up when he said that the only reason the Democrats would be going along with this was out of a fear for their own liability. Not because giving Bush unchecked surveillance power is good for America, or because of some major threat to our national security. But merely to save their own asses, they are willing to tell the American people to shove it, willing to further erode the Constitution, and willing to commit what amounts to treason to do it.

Barak Obama, as the new head of the Democratic Party, can not stand off to the side on this issue. He must speak up and make his position known. If he is against this, he must find a way to put a stop to it. If he also wants to play nicey nice with Bush, he must make that position known also. Because God help us all if his position is the latter, and he refuses to step in and stop this madness before it's too late. It would mean we still have no candidate for President that represents change, but just the same product packaged in a different box.

If there are any Democrats left besides Russ Feingold and Dennis Kucinich who have any honor left whatsoever, they too must step forward, political careers be damned. The People have long memories when it comes to acts of betrayal as large as this, and to allow for this President, this fascist administration, to get off scott free and even perpetuate their crimes against the People due to either political expediency or perceived culpability by the Democrats themselves, would be an act of betrayal never before seen in this country. The Democratic leadership had better step back from this precipice or they had better start making other employment arrangements come this November or for those awaiting 2010, we'll still remember then also.

We as Americans do not stand idly by when a mugger knocks an elderly woman down and takes her purse. Neither shall we stand idly by as our elected to represent us officials decide to represent the corporate interests over the people once again. Pelosi, Reid, Stoyer and Lieberman need to consult their criminal attorneys instead of abusing their offices to try to betray the Constitution of the United States for personal gain. If they can not see their way forward to do that, then they should step down, resign, and allow for honest men and women to take their places. Men and women who understand the rule of law, and will serve the people and not special interests. And should Mr. Obama continue to duck this issue, then it is possible that loyal Americans will have to rethink the entire electoral landscape and who we are going to vote for. Isn't Ralph Nader still running? Just something to think about if we can't get the entrenched politicians to do the right thing.

So it's time to start the email campaigns once more. It's time to let everyone, from your local council person to Queen Pelosi know that we are tired of these antics, that we want no more of these treasonous acts, that corporate interests do not come before the interests of the People, and that should this continue, we the People reserve the right to shuck off a tyrannical government that no longer serves us, and the first step towards doing so will be recall initiatives against those who will not serve the People's will.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Red Menace Rising

In the space of only one year, the U.S. debt being bought and held by Communist China rose by a full 25%. China, not only the world's second largest buyer of U.S. debt, is also the world's leading buyer of military hardware behind the U.S. itself. Outspending even the Russians, and the entire Middle East combined, the U.S. government seems to be turning a completely blind eye towards what can only be described as the largest conventional and nuclear military buildup in modern history.

As with any emerging global power able to project it's will through military might, China has already begun to swing it's hammer around in the Asian Arena. In December of 2007, the Communist Chinese government declared that it's newly formed Sansha City offices would now hold jurisdiction over the Spratley Islands, the Paracel Islands, as well as be the Macclesfield Bank. Disputed immediately by the government s of Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia, the Chinese merely ignored them and went about the business of assimilating the areas into part of their own country. Even when thousands of protesters showed up in front of their embassies in each of the countries disputing the claim, there was no reply from the Chinese as to the complaints, save for a declaration that they now owned the waterways in between them all also.

A simple test case for what is being seen as a platform for an even bigger plan of expansion, the Chinese waited for the U.S. reaction. None came. Not a peep. Emboldened by the non reaction, the Chinese have now set their greedy little eyes on Taiwan itself. Chinese President Hu's speech to China's 17th Party Congress in March, 2008 decreed a policy of unification between China and Taiwan, come what may. With the U.S. unable to offer more than a token resistance to any invasion of Taiwan, Hu offered terms to the government of Taiwan that you were not privy to in the U.S. media. They were told unification would happen, period. What the Taiwanese had to reconcile was whether it would be by force, or there would be a Hong Kong type of deal worked out. Negotiations are ongoing.

China's footprint is being felt in Africa also. We all know of their involvement with the criminal regime of al-Bashir in Sudan. We also know that they refuse to force an end to the genocide in Darfur because they import 7% of their oil from al-Bashir, and also because human life means nothing to the monsters in Beijing.

We here in the U.S. know of Chinese submarines surfacing behind U.S. aircraft carriers, and the shoot down test of one of their satellites. But here's some more numbers they don't want you to know about due to our corporations friendly relations with the slave labor Chinese. Such as the fact that right now, the Chinese PLA's Second Artillery Corps has enough long range intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads, and called Df-31's and DF-31A, aimed right at you and your children that they could wipe the U.S. off of the map. That's why we can not get rid of our own stockpile. Even more cause for alarm is that in 2009, China will have deployed it's new JL-2 ballistic missiles on their JIN Class Type 94 nuclear subs. Stealthy and almost undetectable, this new class of submarine, in the words of Lieutenant General Fang Fenghui, "will sneak right up the Mississippi River undetected." Not could, but will.

All of this would seem to be a wake up call to someone somewhere within our corporate controlled government, but wait, there's a few more things they 'forgot' to mention. Such as the Chinese government's "daily" incursions into the defense networks of the U.S., the Germans, and the French, not to mention the state sponsored heists of billions of dollars from financial institutions the world over from cyber space. Combine these acts of what can only be called terrorism with the stepped up espionage being done by Chinese nationals and what we are facing is a menace far above any threat we ever faced from the old Soviet Union. Now called simply Russia, they and the Chinese now hold joint war games, and trade intelligence about us

The trade imbalance alone would argue that we need to stop catering to this out of control regime, but with so many make believe American corporations having their hands deep in the Chinese fortune cookie jar, with absolutely no concern for the welfare of the people from their make believe country of origin, nothing will change any time soon. That is unless we here recognize what is going on and understand that we are in peril, but not from some made up extremist boogeyman threat. But a threat from a nation intent of spreading Communism, or their brand of it, to the rest of the world, by force if necessary. a country that will allow people to be killed in any numbers so long as they obtain the resources they need, and who do business with rouge nations in order to capitalize on their misery.

I know. we need to look in the mirror ourselves. But we may not get that chance if the Chinese have their way. They are literally laughing at the destruction of our way of life, because their greatest accomplishment, and one they seek to implement eventually according to PLA leaders, is the domination of the United States by whatever means they deem necessary. And as a people who will start a plan in motion today, knowing that it will not bear fruition for a hundred years and being fine with that idea, we had better realize that the Chinese have been plotting our downfall since the Mao revolution, and that was almost sixty years ago. The only way out of this mess is to stop letting China buy our Treasury Bonds at such a fast clip, because if we allow them to be able to yank our economy to the ground, we will lie defenseless before them. But then again, maybe that's the eventual corporate plan also.

Something to think about as you wander the aisles of Wal-Mart, buying all of those Made in China products. Isn't it time to slow the Red Menace by demanding a return of manufacturing jobs to the United States? Should we not declare that companies who outsource our jobs to China are no longer considered American corporations, but Chinese, and apply heavy tariffs on the products they then import here? And can we not stop being the world's biggest hypocrites, as we give our nation and our sovereignty over to China, can we not end the Communist Cuba embargo? At least the cigars they make don't have poison in them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Velvet's Bee

Blacker than night and four months old, Velvet came into our lives when she was barely weaned from her mother at six weeks. An ad in the paper, a desperate plea for homes for an unwanted and unanticipated litter was how we found each other.

Being the parenting types, and with the kids all grown up and going about their own lives, I imagine it was 'empty nest' syndrome that drove us to seek out a surrogate child, and while not generally a lover of cats, Velvet has become such a part of me that when she was injured this morning, I acted as though my child was being murdered.

I had no idea that I would love this animal so much. Having had cats before for the sake of my children, I pretty much gave them their space and they gave me mine. But something happened with this one over the course of the past couple of months. I would sit at the computer and she would hop into my lap, purring and kneading, head rubbing my arm while she 'groomed' me with her tongue.

What started as a desire to have something to take care of quickly blossomed into a full blown love affair, with toys and bedding, and scratching poles, and, well, you know what I mean. Only the best kitten food and kitten treats, the little hurried pattering of her feet when I shake the Whiska's treat bag making me giggle because I've never seen anything move so fast. Her constant presence and her desire to be loved and to give love in return has so endeared her to me, that were something to happen to her, I don't know what I'd do. Scratch that, meow, because I now know that I would become incoherently panicked.

I was awoken this morning to the sound of mewling. Not her usual amiable "Hey wake up and feed me" sound, but an insistent, frightened meowing that caused me to bolt upright. Wondering what she could have gotten herself into since the entire house is child proofed again, she flew past my feet flinging her head back and forth as though possessed. Trying to catch her proved a job in itself, and I felt the panic begin to rise as I realized that something was really wrong.

Finally scooping her up, I held her tight as she was trying desperately to escape, I saw at once that her tiny little nose was all wet, and that she had something sticking to it. While trying to get a closer look and touch it, she tried to claw her way out of my arms, and it took considerable effort to keep my grip on her. It was a stinger I realized, and wandered with her to see where she had been. Going to her favorite perch in the living room window, the evidence lie there in the form of a dead bee, Velvet's curiosity had gotten her into trouble.

Not being very well educated in the ways of feline propensities to withstand such things, terror struck me as I imagined her dying right then and there. Calling our animal hospital, they said that we should watch for her throat to swell, or any other outward signs of distress, and oh, pull the stinger out. Signs of distress!? She's freaking out! Well, yes, but......... But nothing! Help me! Send a pet ambulance for God's sake!

After they calmed me down enough to rationalize again, they pointed out that I could bring her in for a shot, but it was going to cost me, especially if I wanted her kept for observation. And so, out came the tweezers, and with two of us holding her, (not an easy feat), we got the stinger out, while she yelped in pain and leaped away like a flying squirrel immediately after. What sounded like sneezing brought fresh panic, as I imagined the sound to be a death rattle, and frantically found her and held her close, all the while feeling her throat for any signs of swelling. Her poor little eyes were all watery, and she was shaking a little bit, but she purred at me, and my heart dissolved into a reddish pool of water. I set her down and went and did the only thing I knew how to do, got her treat bag.

It was at that moment that I finally calmed down a little, because as soon as the kitchen cabinet door opened, a streak of black fur raced into the kitchen and Velvet was right there, rubbing against my leg. Stinger in the nose? No problem. Can't see where she's going because of her watery eyes? Not a big deal. Because she knows the sound of that particular cabinet door opening, and she knew full well it meant TREAT TIME! Hallelujah for stupid bees and the TREAT BAG, because so far, even while I'm writing this, I'm feeding her more and more of the things.

The bee is now a little pile of mush. I put it in an envelope, (thinking to take it with me to the vet), and pounded it's stinger less body into nothing for hurting my baby. And God help any other creature that tries to harm her either. I know. She has trained me well, but I can not help it, God help ME, I love the little thing half to death. I don't know where such a strong feeling has come from, but I'm glad it's there, even though she is a pain in the butt when I try to sleep on my own schedule.

Velvet is fine now, her nose seems to be a little sore, but she's back to exploring and doing all of the usual cat things. In fact, she is sitting and looking at me as if I must be stupid for not catering to her instead of sitting here writing this. And so, I must beg your leave to do my master's bidding, as she now knows where the treat bag is, and is going to play on my sympathy all day long, probably gaining a pound or two before the day is out. Hopefully this will be the only time we ever have to deal with this, but knowing this particular kitty, we're going to be in for many more 'emergencies'.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Freedom To Blog Under Fire

With the advent of the Internet and the absolute freedom and ability to garner information from multiple sources, there was bound to be controversy in what many people who began 'blogging' had to say. For many many years before the web ever existed, people who felt compelled to shout out warnings of situations they believed to be wrong, or of persons they thought to be acting in a criminal manner, (such as politicians), would literally stand on boxes, loudly telling everyone within earshot of their grievances.

Called 'standing on one's soapbox', the practice was widely accepted for what it was. A person giving their opinion on any given situation or of any person. Someone exercising their right to free speech. Today's blogs, or at least the ones that are run by individuals, are the modern equivalent of yesterday's soapboxes, but the mainstream media, in one of their thinly disguised scare the populace pieces, loudly echoed an Associated Press story proclaiming the notion that individual bloggers must be afraid to write their articles for fear of being sued for libel.

Laughing as I read the warning, I instantly thought in my rebel brain of writing a story of how the Associated Press was little more than a make believe news organization comprised of a conglomeration of news organizations from around the country. I was going to tell everyone that it is none other than far right extremist Rupert Murdoch who sits on their Board Of Directors, and who imposes his will on the slant of their news reporting, kind of like he does over at Fox Noise. But I decided to get on my soapbox against what I believe is the attempt by the media to not only take control over the flow of information on the Internet, but to try to suppress the voices of dissent with terror tactics, in much the same way that an insane president has Americans looking under rocks for the boogeyman.

Not satisfied with taking absolute control of how information is disseminated and perceived by average Americans, the media now attempts to make it seem as if every person that is blogging is being sued by greedy corporations, and that so many are terrified of writing anything out of this fear, that bloggers should and must go through a training course in order to learn journalistic skills. Let's examine the journalistic skills part shall we?

The New England Courant was started by the brother of Benjamin Franklin. Contributed to by a group that jokingly referred to themselves as the 'Hellfire Club', they posted essays and satire on their front page that set all of polite society atwitter. Not one of the contributing 'editors' had any journalistic training, and Benjamin Franklin himself went on to incorporate several Philadelphia newspapers into one entity called the Pennsylvania Gazette. While he headed the Gazette, Franklin became essentially the country's first self proclaimed blogger, writing biting satirical pieces about people with whom he disagreed, telling everyone that he was just having some fun. Although the Gazette flourished under Franklin's hand, he himself declared that journalism was the forte of fools, and left to pursue other interests. Did Franklin have a university degree in journalism? Of course not.

One of the Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution of the United States was one of the first and well known bloggers in the history of our country, recognizing that in order for free speech to be truly free, all had to be allowed to say what thoughts were in their minds, and not be hamstrung by petty thinkers determined to impose their will upon the masses. He also said that for a free and unencumbered press to thrive and for the people to get the actual truth, media must never be consolidated in such a way that only the few control the information received by the many.

But yet today, here in Franklin's America, the U.S. media is owned and operated by mostly defense contractors, consolidated into massive corporate entities, answerable to no one, and in admitted collusion with the government to either with hold information from the public in order to not affect the outcome of elections, or to outright lie to the people. The AP alone consists of 1,700 U.S. newspapers, 5,000 radio and television outlets that use AP content as Gospel Truth, and 850 AP radio franchises.

It is because the people of this country can not get a straight story from the mainstream media that many have turned to the blogosphere to try to obtain other points of view. Imagining the world today, with the instant access to information, as a world where people must be afraid to write what they think for fear of being financially ruined is nothing short of the institution of a thought crime mentality, and must be resisted at all costs. MSM does not want you or I to be writing articles that run contrary to what they, the official gate keepers say, and run these scare tactic pieces to try to silence media critics.

What exactly is the difference between someone who works at Fox and the average citizen journalist? Well, to start with, most citizen journalists are better educated, more informed, will tell you that they lean left or right, and will tell you the truth as they see it. Secondly, citizen journalists are OPINION writers, whereas Fox and Newscorp tout themselves as official media sources.

If bloggers should be liable for libel, should not Murdoch then be open to the same exact standard? Can Obama sue his corporation for slander for insinuating time after time after time that he and his wife have some sort of terrorist ties? Or should Bill O'Reilly be able to sue Keith Olberman for what are clearly personal attacks? In the case of the former, they get away with it by phrasing it in the form of a question, as in "Terrorist fist jab"? In the latter, it's a case of satire and no suit would apply. But what about the people who post personal attacks and lies in response to the blogger's posting? Should they not then also be liable for some form of compensation for the damage they attempt to inflict on the blogger's reputation? Should Internet bullies who try to use terms of service twistings and the badgering of website administrators into barring people with whom they disagree be cause for a lawsuit?

This entire attack on the freedom of ordinary people to express their opinions is yet another insidious attempt to stifle dissent, regain control of the flow of information, and stamp out the voices of those who are shouting from the rooftops and using the net as their own form of soapbox, one that can effectively reach a massive audience with their message. Already taking what mainstream media says with a grain of salt, and then double checking what they report as truth, I for one will tell you that in my opinion, Rupert Murdoch can take his slanted to the extreme right scam media multi-national conglomerate and go back to Australia. The Associated Press can keep spewing propaganda pieces for the corporate elite, and threaten bloggers with lawsuits in an around a bout way. I, and millions more of us, will continue to call a lie a lie, and if MSM doesn't like it, then they should clean up their act, start telling the whole truth, and stop pandering to the government and corporate interests. Blog attackers who use rules like a weapon to try to silence those with whom they disagree are usually no talent riff raff bent on rabble rousing. Let the lawsuits commence, and we shall write about those too. We shall remind the media and the seekers of the destruction of Freedom of Speech about Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code. Bloggers uphold the First Amendment, MSM, Murdoch, and anonymous web attackers seek it's destruction for everyone save themselves.
And the other point that those who would stifle the voices of the people should remember is that the web is akin to being the replacement of the people marching through the streets by the millions. Should this attempt to destroy any semblance of autonomy of the internet by those who can not stand to hear views other than their own succeed, what alternative do you leave to the millions upon millions of bloggers who will have nowhere to vent their feelings again? Something to think about for those who seek to trample on our rights.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Death From Above

Amidst the carnage of tornadic storms that literally formed all along the collision of fronts that met over the eastern part of the state of Nebraska Wednesday, the few bright spots during this night of terror were the small towns and cities that could have sustained much more damage than they did.

The massive cold front that was met with hot moist air caused such a horrendous storm front to appear in an almost straight line from Omaha all the way southwest to Grand Island, that many thought the end of the world was at hand. Watching the radar screens as the beast crept slowly eastward, the sirens began blaring in the background. Not completely unusual for this part of the country, the insistence and intensity of the storms began to give way to panic among many residents.

Human curiosity being what it is, many people ventured outside for a glimpse of whatever tornado the sirens and radar screens decreed was on the ground in Lincoln, Nebraska. But as the siren receded, everyone began going about their business as usual. Not five minutes later, more sirens began blaring out their warnings, and this time people did take cover, as a humongous super cell formed seemingly out of nowhere directly over the city proper.

Torrents of rain flew almost vertically at high speed, enough to cause literal pain when waves of water slapped against the body, but yet, oblivious, people still ventured out again to watch the tornado that dropped out of the sky not ten blocks from where we all stood. Almost silent in it's sneaking down to the ground behind the Husker Stadium jumbotron, we were awestruck as we awaited it's destruction. At the last possible second, mother nature spared the massive electronic billboard, as the tornado dissipated as quietly as it appeared.

Within about one minute however, the super cell was passing directly over our heads, looking for all the world to be a hell spawn demon, blackest of black sky swirling in a perfect circle, with lighting streaming across the sky and striking so close to where we were standing on the rooftop, that the reverberation of thunder shook the entire neighborhood like a rag doll. By the grace of God, it passed over and dropped another small tornado onto 33rd street. Once again however it teasingly flew back up into the sky, moving off to the northeast until it reached 70th street, where it destroyed an indoor tennis complex.

Keeping track of happenings in nearby towns, we listened as Aurora was hit with a twister, as well as Beatrice, Crete, Elkwood, and as the storms intensified and moved towards Omaha and points north, Plattsmouth, Bellvue, the north side of Omaha proper, and finally Little Sioux, Iowa, which is about an hour's drive north of Omaha.

Glued to the live Internet broadcasts from Omaha television, we all knew as soon as they said the campground was hit by a twister, there was going to be a loss of life. Officials tried to put on a brave face at the beginning, but given the area that death from above decided to land in, the lumps began to form in many area resident's throats. A bunch of kids really. Not even old enough to completely understand what was happening to them despite their training, were flung threw the air like scattering paper, and mother nature did what it always does, kills the vulnerable. Four dead Boy Scouts, more than forty others injured, we learned from scanners and the web. Innocents, trying to do what we encourage of them, mainly learn to be good and honest in an insane world, are gone or mangled because of a whim of whatever power watches over all of us.

We pray with the families of those who were lost, and ask a speedy recovery for the injured not just at Little Sioux Ranch, but all the rest who were hurt the other night, all those who lost homes and businesses, because the damage is quite extensive over the entire Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas corridor. In fact, the entire Mid-West has damage in one form or another, but the major flooding downed trees, power lines and swath of destroyed buildings seems to be along the path of where the super cells passed over.

What used to be an event that happened maybe once a storm season has now become almost routine. This is the third major cell system to strike this exact same area in the last two weeks, with predictions for more next week or even this weekend. With the heat and humidity at almost unbearable levels at this early stage of the summer season, there is no doubt we in the Plains are in for a rough ride. Let us hope and pray that mother nature will stay her hand and spare the lives of innocent babes such as those she decided to take from us, and for whom an entire nation now mourns.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mexico And Jordan More Important Than New Orleans

Stories from the Associated Press about the new war funding bill about to get the thumbs up from Congress, but eerily absent from major mainstream media newscasts and sites should so enrage every American, that the Congressional switchboard should light up like a Christmas tree.

The new demands from the liar in chief for $212 billion to fund his illegal war in Iraq have add ons for the country of Jordan to the tune of $100 million dollars that will go to directly aid their military. Also included are items such as $50 million dollars in military aid for the government of Mexico, and oh, by the way, $350 million dollars to help Iraqi refugees. The amount of money that would have gone to help Katrina victims who are mentally handicapped and/or disabled people would have been a mere $73 million. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the cut in aid to New Orleans is necessary in order to avoid a Presidential veto.

This new war funding will supposedly keep the Iraq war going through January of 2009, in and of itself a slap in the face to war opponents, but there seems to be a disconnect between the charlatans in Washington D.C. and the people who sent them there as to where the hearts and priorities of the American people lie. We would never begrudge helping the Iraqi people, but should we not be helping our own suffering two and a half years later citizens? And why in the world would we as Americans wish to arm a state sponsor of terrorism to the tune of 100 million dollars?

Rep. Allen Boyd, a Democrat from Florida, needs to have his head examined for making idiotic statements along the lines of 'we're cutting aid for Katrina victims due to the 9 trillion dollar national debt'. What? Somebody must have slipped something into this jerk's Kool-Aid! And Pelosi's fear of a veto from the chicken hawk in chief are unfounded, because were he to do so, he would be unfunding his own war. Even better. Let him veto the bill. Let the Pentagon, who ordered the destruction of interrogation notes at Gitmo run out of money for this illegal mass murder. We all know by now that it was outright lies that led us into this war in the first place, so let the money dry up. Otherwise, we are complicit in the lies of the worst presidency in American history.

Outside of the New Orleans city hall, in a park across the street, people are living in a tent city. No homes, no jobs, no food, no running water, no toilets, and no beds. There are American children in this tent city. There are American men and women living in conditions that we condemn third world nations for forcing their citizens to live in. But yet, this government that is supposed to be of the people, for the people, and by the people, has decided that military hardware for Mexico and Jordan is more important than helping Americans. They have decided that the Iraqi people are almost four times more important than the American people with this scam of a war bill.

And where will all of this $212 billion dollars really go? Oh, you know it. Halliburton, Blackwater, the Bush family's Carlyle Group, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations among a few of the biggest war profiteers. Oh, and let's not forget the oil companies who are over there right now, making sure that only a spit of Iraq's oil gets produced in order to push the price through the roof. They'll get there cut for 'oil field development'.

This outrage and insult to the very core of who we are as a nation must not be allowed to stand. We help our own first. Period. And don't start with the tired, idiotic arguments that this should not be attached to a war spending bill, because neither should allotments to help Iraqi refugees, nor giveaways to a terrorist state and drug dealer Mexico. Get in your Congress person's face. Call and email your local, state and federal representatives and tell them America cares about the starving and homeless people of New Orleans first, and we care about the rest of the world second. DO not let this trend of forcing hurting Americans to take a back seat to the needs of the power brokers continue, or the road to ruin is already behind us. That's OUR money they're playing around with, and Ms. Pelosi would do well to remember that. The Congress and this idiot in the Oval office would do well to remember that they are also supposed to be American citizens, and not some sort of aristocracy that makes decisions contrary to the will of the people.

Because even though Americans have their differences when it comes to right, left, and center, we all come together during a disaster. We pay our taxes in the expectation that our government will help the people affected by disasters. We do not countenance the tossing away of our money to foreign countries for military hardware when American citizens are starving in the streets and the city of New Orleans has virtual tent cities set up in their front yard due to a lack of caring on the part of our elected leaders. Wake up Washington. The people, slow to anger, have had a belly full of this nonsense, and will brook it no longer. Trim the giveaways to foreign countries, take care of our own people, and do it now.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

And To Promote The General Welfare

Advocates who promote the idea of private enterprise being the only saviour of America's public housing crisis need look no further than the current mortgage scam pulled off by Wall Street to put an end to their argument. The consensus by otherwise intelligent individuals, is that the U.S. government has no business running public housing projects, and should turn over that responsibility to private Realtors and developers.

But these arguments for more giveaways to the corporate world are swept aside in one fell swoop when one looks at what has happened to public housing that was even partially privatized in the form of Congress's much vaunted, but now swept under the rug program called Hope VI.

Called the Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere program, in New Orleans, the much ballyhooed and promoted idea of private enterprise going into business with the government to provide low income housing after the devastation of Katrina became the most corrupt building project in the city's history. Joining forces with developer Pres Kabacoff, the city tore down several perfectly good and salvageable projects for low income people, promising to replace them with a mixed neighborhood plan and a better life for all. What transpired was a criminal enterprise that shut the poor out of their former housing, in favor of townhouses for well heeled citizens, and a Wal-Mart store.

Seattle also has had it's fun and games with Hope VI. Three separate and ambitious attempts to integrate middle class and poor neighbors by allowing private developers to renovate public housing projects had the same effect as the New Orleans debacle. Developers went for the high end, profitable tenants, pricing the new apartments far out of reach for the poor tenants that should have been rightfully allowed to return to their homes. Senate Democrats have proposed cutting off the funding for Hope VI, but Republicans must repay their corporate sponsors and so the money that should be going to help the poor goes instead into the pockets of private enterprise.

By contrast, and just down the road from Seattle in Kelso, Washington are the Brian Baird Apartments, also public housing. The city sought and received money to renovate the housing units in 2005, and the result has been a low crime neighborhood because of it. Walking down S.6th street, one would never even know they were passing by a 'housing project' due to the attempt by the city to make sure their projects for the poor looked like everyone else's homes.

The arguments made in favor of privatizing public housing by saying that Big Business would better serve the poor are ridiculous by their very nature. Saying that Big Business would have any interest in helping the poor or putting any effort into making their lives better is like saying it's ok to let the wolf guard the sheep because the wolf is strong and powerful enough to do the job. But when one comes back to check on the sheep and finds them all dead and eaten, shoulders shrug, and statements of condolence are sent out with best wishes, yet that doesn't bring back the dead sheep. The wolf moves on to find another sucker, making the same tired argument that right wing fanatics embrace as Gospel Truth over and over and over again.

"And to promote the general welfare". Words long forgotten by Americans, or merely paid lip service to in a recital of an idea that has been eroded to the point of meaningless drivel. An idea that says that we are all in this together, and not here to promote the ideals of a fascist corporate dictatorship. The government is supposed to help ALL of the people to achieve a better life, and since the first public tenement building was built on Manhattan's Lower East Side in 1854, it has attempted to do just that.

To those who decry the massive costs of housing the poor, maybe they should take the time to read the 2008 budget again. Oh. They never read it in the first place? then it becomes clear that they would whine about $6 billion being spent on all public housing in the country, underfunded by over one billion dollars due to the ever present machete of the Bush White House that slashes all domestic programs year after year. Those who advocate for privatizing all domestic programs don't want you to know that all programs combined make up about 1% of the annual federal budget. They conveniently forget the fact that more than 50% of our tax dollars goes towards building bigger and better bombs, planes, ships, nuclear missiles, military, military, military, the people be damned.

Next they'll focus on the crime that occurs in public housing projects, and that because of this fact alone, they should be torn down and handed over to private Realtors. In order to make that false argument stick, they'd also have to agree that all white collar criminals should have their homes given over to private enterprise to handle. Oh yes. That's right. The rich commit just as many crimes as the poor, only the rich tend to go for the big money in the form of insider stock trades, ripoffs of government programs, massive fraud schemes, and yes, they steal from the poor. Evidenced by the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, violent crime tends to be committed by those of lower income out of frustration and a sense of futility, but the rich and the middle class commit just as many crimes, albeit in cunningly more inventive ways.

These fallacious and fascist attacks on the poor must cease in this country. Instead of looking at your fellow American's and seeing an adversary, would the nation not be better served if we as a people recognized the problem for what it is? If corporations would stop shipping all of the good paying jobs overseas and give the American worker a chance to make a livable wage, maybe there would come a time that we would no longer even have to be talking about who should be running what. Maybe there wouldn't be any need for public housing.

Because anyone who still believes that government programs should be run by private enterprise only need look at the Medicaid program. Massive cost over runs. Larger and larger budgets. But yet, less people being served by the program, and those who are on Medicaid unable to access medical care. What are you talking about you ask? Why, didn't you know that the Bush administration privatized Medicaid? That HMO's such as Kaiser and Blue Cross and Magellan are actually the beneficiaries of the largest heist in American history? That's right. HMO's run Medicaid now, and they get paid more money to ensure less people receive actual services. The poorest of the poor now pay 'co-pays' for every doctor visit, prescription and specialists cost more, meaning that they can't afford to go to the doctor at all, so who's getting all of that money? The insurance industry, that's who. Disabled people having to choose between food or medicine, that's privatization.

What do the advocates of handing over public housing think will happen once the corporations take over? Will they remodel the projects for the poor and charge them the same subsidized rents? No. They'll tear down the public housing and rebuild in their place some condos or townhouses, with a mall thrown in to attract the higher end renters, leaving the poor holding the bag once again. Will you give them a place to sleep? Or will you rent them space on your lawn to pitch a tent? If not, then know that giving government programs to private enterprise is the worst and stupidest idea anyone has ever come up with, period. Those who advocate this course of action need to take classes in compassion, and perhaps reflect upon why they think that kicking the poor around is perfectly acceptable. They wouldn't feel that way were someone they knew in the position of having to rely on housing and other programs in order to survive, and have a spark of understanding that the ranks are growing every day.