Archive for May, 2009

Abortionist Murdered

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

It seems that Kansas has one fewer place for women to go to get abortions. This is from Ben Smith’s Blog on Politico.

“A murder in the abortion wars

A prominent doctor and abortion rights activist, George Tiller, was shot dead on his way to church in Wichita this morning.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had faced opposition for her alliance with Tiller, whose clinic is one of relatively few performing late-term abortions.

The murder is a return to a violent era that seemed to have faded; Tiller himself was shot and badly wounded in 1993, and his assailant is still in jail. The murder may be a reminder of the limits of President Obama’s attempt to find common ground on the issue.

Go to the Wichita Eagle for the full story, which says police haven’t identified a shooter.”

As I commented on Smith’s blog page, what we need is to properly educate people. It seems one of the reasons that fanaticism has become so prevalent in politics is simply because our education system has broken down. Instead of spreading secular understanding we get what seems like a series of Coffin Joe movies like “At Midnight I Will Take Your Soul”.
I am a firm believer in studying comparative religion. I was raised catholic but quit when my dog was run over by a car while I was in religious school. I was 11 at the time and decided if the Catholic god couldn’t look after my dog while I was studying the religion, then it wasn’t much of a religion.
I spent a few years as a communist acid head in high school.
Later I joined a commune and studied with a gnostic group that turned out to be Jesus freaks. I quit when I found my best buddy doing my girlfriend when I was off studying to be a minister.
I then became a punk rock anarchist and moved to California.
Next came my trip to India and Hare Krishna land where I got to listen to gurus complain about how the American Gurus had all the money and wouldn’t share with their Indian God Brothers. When I got to the place where Krishna was god on earth, a town called Vrindaban, I found out that my French girlfriend’s Krishna husband was more curious about our sex life than he was in being a guru type. Anyway I left India a bit disillusioned about gurus. I did see signs of what seemed to be ancient space technology there and I wondered if all the gods we heard about were space aliens.
This long wind up is my way of saying that I do believe there are other realms of energy where forces of nature are strong and wild. We humans have little idea what is going on in these 5th and 6th dimensions. I highly doubt that there is a giant plastic Jesus out there or an old man with a beard or any of the other anthropomorphic god beings. That means no big blue Krishna, no Zeus on Mount Olympus, no Osiris cut up into little pieces with a wife god named Isis searching the world for them. Nope not any of it. Maybe there was a Mohamed but if he saw an angel, he was seeing things. That I can believe, I have seen some pretty amazing things, like my girlfriend turning into an insect being from another planet, but seeing this kind of stuff and creating a religion around it is another thing. I mean I know there are some indescribable levels to the cosmos, and we as humans can only see a very small part of it with our limited sensory mechanisms.
Perhaps we can heal with spiritual power alone. Perhaps trees will bend their shapes so that they will provide shelter for us overnight. Perhaps we can dissolve clouds with concentrated thought. We might even be able to communicate with dolphins and other life forms. But and this is my point, we don’t create religions around that stuff.
Perhaps in the past there was some guy who came up with the brilliant notion that the sun needs human hearts sacrificed every day to come up in the morning. Perhaps there was another person who said, nope sorry what the deities really want is your first born son. Then along came another who said nope, god only wants a goat. Goat blood is as good as human blood and I have heard relgionists say that is a sign of progress. Progress is when God decides that a goat is as good as a human. By that logic then when god as Krishna says that a flower and some fruit is good enough then that is real progress. Fruit juice instead of goat or human blood, progress or regression? You choose. I am thinking progress but I am thinking that meat causes colon cancer. Cancer is bad, but then maybe god doesn’t get cancer.
What is the point? I am a wondering myself. But some guy in Wichita got shot today for performing abortions. Now that should be nobodies business but the doctor and the patients. There are people who call themselves fundamentalist Christians who kill people for performing abortions. There are also people who stone other people to death for sleeping with the wrong person they are called fundamentalist Muslims. There are people who execute other people for ratting out one country for another. They are usually called patriots and the ones they kill are called traitors. People do some pretty horrible things to one another in the name of what they think god wants them to do, or not do. Personally I think reason is the best guide. Using reason is not always reasonable. In a tight situation sometimes you have to use instinct. For instance if you are assaulted by zombies who what to rip your head off and eat your brains, killing them first may by your instinctive reaction. But is it instinct to shoot a guy on the way to church because he performs an operation that women are asking for? I don’t think so, that seems to be premeditated murder and murder is murder. In some cultures murder is acceptable, in fact most cultures allow you to murder the enemy. Problem is who is the enemy here?
I don’t believe in an eye for an eye but I do believe that people have to act reasonably if there is a recourse other than to killing I think it should be chosen. The person who killed the abortion doctor did not agree, but for the sake of the preservation of the species, and for the sake of some sort of human progress, I think that simply killing people because you don’t like what they do, is reprehensible. It is reprehensible because it ends the dialogue for that person. You may think that someone who kills fetuses has no rights, but fetuses have been aborted all through history and until recently people were not killed for the act.
It revolves more around what humans consider to be acceptable killing and unacceptable killing. Most humans accept murder in some form and not in others. Only a few people like Jain’s think all killing is bad.
Personally I think killing cows for food is reprehensible and in some parts of the world it is illegal and considered to be murder. People used to be hung for stealing horses. I will have to say that humans need to face these issues as a community and discuss what is allowable and what isn’t as a human race, and not as so many cultists. We are either a family of humans or we are tribes warring over meat.
So I advocate education, comparative religion, science, history and basic communication between humans. If that doesn’t work then we should lock the fuckers up until they are willing to see reason.

Republican Energy Miss-conference

Friday, May 29th, 2009

The Republicans are having an energy conference. They seem to be making one point. They are saying that the Cap and Trade plan is driven by ideology. They want to develop nuclear policy. They want to cut down older trees to kill bark beetles and because they say younger trees suck up more CO2 than older trees.
The congressman calls them Beatles. He says they are killing millions of acres of forrest in Colorado. How does he know it. Because while driving up to Vail and Aspen to go skiing from Denver, he noticed that some of the trees were missing. Otherwise he had never heard of such a thing. He wants to cut down the forests to save the ski resorts that might be threatened by fire.
Global warming is a big part of the spread of these beetles as I wrote earlier in a different blog posting. The forrests in British Columbia are devastates as are the forrests all across the western US. The solution is not to cut down millions of trees. The solution is to find a way to stop the spread of the beetle and the reasons for its rapid spread, ie global warming.
The Republicans lead by Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana is saying that carbon sequestration will not reduce the temperature of the planet by 1 degree. He noted that there will be a large amount of job loss due to the energy bill and he wants to develop the resource that Indiana has plenty of, that being coal.
Mike Pence Republican of Indiana called the cap and trade program a tax. He would like to see an increase in nuclear energy development. He is telling people that the utility rates will go up anywhere from 25% to double the current rates. He calls it cap and tax, he says it will hit the Midwest harder and Indiana hardest of all states. Pence is trying to say that big states on the coasts are trying to make the Midwestern states pay for the energy for the rest of the country.
Governor Daniels is calling it regional warfare and is saying that the coastal states look at it differently. From his viewpoint it will make the Midwest less competitive.
Representative Fred Upton of Michigan says that there are 2 nuclear power plants in his district and he would like more. He would like to see a nuclear component to the energy bill. He would like to see nuclear power raised from 20% to 40% and that would require 55 new nuclear power plants. He says that most of the American nuclear industry has been so damaged that 80% of the components are made overseas.
Then he turns around and says nuclear power will create jobs. Jobs in France maybe.
Rep. Steve Buyer says the bill will take 2.5 million jobs out of the economy. He also notes that the system is not going to be strictly auctioned off as initially planned. It will now have a give away element. But he is not clear on exactly how that happens. He also says that the CEO of Duke Power was involved in this. He made a real Republican point, who is looking out for the little guy? What little guy is he speaking about his little political party, or perhaps he is referring to his Johnston, after all he was pointing at his penis when he said “little guy”.
Rep. Robert Latta from Ohio is saying it comes down to jobs. He is saying there will be no jobs, they will go elsewhere. He is saying people will move out of the heartland to the coasts.
Gov. Mitch Daniels is saying that his fellow governors from Wisconsin and West Virginia have the same concerns that he has about the cost of cap and trade coming on the backs of the mid western states.
Now what exactly is the reason why they are saying it will cost them more than any other states is not made clear. I would call this a Republican Energy misinformation conference, as broadcast on CSPAN.

On to other matters. President Obama is saying he is going after cyber criminals. Ok, that is real controversial. Also the honey moon must be ending. I found myself beginning to think, who is this pompous guy.

Korea held a funeral for its former president Roh who jumped off a cliff after he was accused of financial improprieties by the current president Mr Lee. This was the Sunshine president. He was the liberal who believed in opening up to North Korea. He was from what I can tell an honorable man who looked into the tea leaves and saw a rough road ahead and decided the honorable thing would be to jump. Or he was pushed. Most people in Korea seem to be on his side and were seen booing the new president, or at least that is what I heard on NPR today.

Back to the nomination of Ms Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. It seems that the Republicans are going nuts over her. Rush Lunkhead called her a reverse racist. He is going on about the ruling regarding the fire department supervisors in New Haven, CT. On Rachel Maddow the point was made that the ruling was according to the law correct because employers are supposed to make sure that tests do not unfairly discriminate against minorities. The tests must be related to the job and not give advantage to people of one race over those of another.
If she had decided to strike the decision of the New Haven Fire Department then it would mean that companies don’t have to worry if their tests discriminate even though the law says they cannot. It would be a catch 22. She simply was following the legal precedent.
The Republicans are like a pack of dogs with nothing to hunt. So they are going after the bosses cat.

Getting Serious

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Americans have been on a leave of absence, or at least the generation that was born after WW2 has been. We grew up with a sense of entitlement or disapproval of what the society offered. We wanted an alternative world. But our alternative was based on a life of leisure. Not the slacker world of tube watching morons that we have ended up with, drugged out on mindless TV, dead end jobs and needless worries about trivial economic issues. No what we envisioned was a life like that of the wealthy aristocrats of the 19th century. We wanted to travel, to take the tour, see the world, explore exotic religions, write novels, do scientific research, and spend a portion of our time working at the necessary work of society, but most of our time would be spent in creative leisure. The belief was that machines would do most of the repetitive work, that our efficient mega machine would give us a world in which we could explore the ends of the earth, the depths of the mind and the heights of intellectual acumen.
What we got was the enforced leasure of unemployment, the mindless leisure of materialism and a modicum of time spent learning enough skill so that we don’t kill ourselves on the job or others with our shoddy work.
Politics was supposed to be a collective cooperative creative process in which we hammered out the details of how we wanted to distribute surplus wealth and how to fairly distribute the necessary work. This included compensation for those who did stuff no one else could do like brain surgery or that no one wanted to do like garbage removal.
But under capitalism we have had an inefficient distribution of human potential with a small minority getting most of the rewards. If this were a true meritocracy it might be justifiable. But what we have is a class system, where certain members have extreme opportunity and a few of the unwashed millions have an opportunity due to luck mostly, to get ahead. Obama may be considered one of the lucky. Bush may be considered to be one of the privileged. Obviously a lucky talented person is preferable to a dumb shit who happened to be privileged enough to get into the highest positions. But better than either alternative is restructuring so that all have an opportunity to use their talents creatively. We may be moving in that direction now.
Certainly Obama is doing a lot to move the disadvantaged who have talent and luck into positions where they have opportunity. But we need a systemic reform so that opportunity is not a matter of being lucky. Opportunity has to be part of every day life. It has to become something that is part of the inherent structure of society, not just for the lucky 10% even if it is no longer racially determined.
There are a couple of different matters, one is intelligence, people need to be able to use their intellects. But also it needs to be fair. Just because someone is not that bright does not mean that they should be penalized in how the worlds resources are distributed. Also there are different kinds of intelligence. Nurturers should be as well rewarded as anal compulsives. Just because someone is not aggressive does not mean they do not deserve to be rewarded. Same goes for physical beauty, simple beauty should not be a criterion any more than lack there of should not.
What we need is to think about how to distribute resources, not by encouraging greed, but by encouraging consideration and thoroughness. We should reward people for doing things well, and conscientiously as well as for being brilliant and intuitive. I am all for meritocracy, but also for simplicity. Things should not be complicated simply because we can make them more complex. As in science, all of life should strive for simplicity and elegance. If there need be complexity, complexity in diversity with simplicity as its essence. Ultimately we need to make sure that things are not being obscured and thus overly complicated for the sake of keeping information out of the hands of the average person. Most of life is not that complex. Only when things break down does complexity take over.
Planetary systems are complex, but balanced and work by a few simple principals. When we take things apart then we ad complexity, especially when we attempt to replace natural systems with artificial ones. It is like Bees flying. They simply do it but when you start trying to replicate the process then you get into complexity because you have to analogize and abstract simply to understand. Now I am not advocating a no nothing faith, but I am saying that we need to let natural systems guide us, just as they guided our in touch forefathers for thousands of years before we began to develop this thing we call modern civilization.
We can get serious and juggle so many balls at one time until we drop from exhaustion. or we can simply let things be, in balance, in the Tao as it has been called. We do have a choice, part of our choice is to know when to let a rose simply be a rose and a bee be a bee.
Or we can really rev up the mental machine, get direct interfaces on a cellular level with computers so that our sleeping time can be productive, teaching our subliminal mental matter to start doing calculations that are captured instead of wasted in the collective unconscious to be frittered away in useless dreaming. Come on science, put all of us to work 24/7! Just like a giant humming bee hive. Now there is a metaphor for you.

Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor? And Other Stuff

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The President selected Sonia Sotomayor she was number 2 graduate in her class at Princeton, was editor of the Yale Law Review and may now be the 3rd ever woman Supreme Court Justice and the first Hispanic. It will be tough for the Republicans to filibuster this. She is not the most liberal justice, but she has had more experience as a practicing judge than anyone currently sitting on the bench of the Supreme Court.
Barbara Boxer likes her, but she seems to be more of a centrist than a leftist. I think Obama is trying to get a symbolic nomination that gives the nation a Hispanic woman more than he is interested in promoting the liberal vision.
Again we see Obama is proving to be slightly to the left of Nixon, maybe. Certainly not as far to the left as Johnson although I think he is as ambitious as he was. Lets hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Clinton.
Rush Limbaugh doesn’t like her, but then he doesn’t like President Obama either. It seems that the Republicans will have a tough time stopping this nomination. They will have to find a deep dark secret of her doing something evil to get anywhere attempting to block this nomination. The case they have is that she failed to support the Connecticut fire fighters claims of reverse discrimination. It will make the Republicans truly the party of the white male if they try to use that as the basis for their resistance.
But that is what the modern Republican party is. It has become the party of the knee jerk conservatives. Not fiscal conservatives, or environmental conservatives, but social issue conservative.
Today in California the State Supreme Court came down with a resounding no to Gay Marriage unless you were married when it was legal in which case it is OK. Pretty damn confusing. Prop 8 is sustained by the courts. It seems like the sensible thing would be to simply legalize it. But we have something called democracy and that means more or less majority rule unless you happen to be part of a ruling elite like the people who run the banking system.
Over 160 people were arrested in San Franciso today, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Oh and today General Petraeus came on board with the President calling on the closing of Git-mo. What can the Republicans and their scaredy cat Democrat friends say? Not much. After all Colin Powell supports President Obama’s position and if we can believe him so does former President Bush.

Not much more in the news as far as I can see because if there was anything like say a North Korean nuclear test, well we wouldn’t know about it because the left is too busy crying over the California Supreme Court decision and the rest of them are too busy talking about Ms Sotomayor to worry about whatever the Koreans are doing. Or anybody else in the world.

What do we say about people who think it is OK to water board if it is only for 3 people? Or if a really smart president decides it is OK instead of a stupid one? It simply is torture and if we as a nation allow it even once, we are slipping down the slope to thuggery as a national policy. It would be OK if the declaration of independence had a statement similar to “Life, Liberty and pursuit of terrorists to beat the living hell out of them”. But then, it doesn’t, unless torture is your idea of a pursuit of happiness. That is why Cheney is so big on it. He loves torture, it is part of his version of the fundamental right to pursue happiness. Ok Dick…

Waiting For Egbert

Monday, May 25th, 2009

My sister went in the military and it gave her a decent retirement. I have to work. I was in the anti war military and we have no retirement plan. We have nothing but our memories and the bits of social welfare benefits that we can claim as citizens of the USA which is very little. Americans are expected to game the system.
If you live by the system, the honest taxpayer that the politicians love to call upon at election time, then you are considered to be a fool.
Only senior citizens and children are expected to play by the rules. The rest of us are expected to play out some modified form of survival of the fittest until we break or until we get the piece of action we wanted. Since only about 10% can win the game, most people simply break or find a niche, like the military where they don’t have to play the money game.
It is strange when a society is built for the 10%, the commercials are for them, the promotions are for them, and the social networks are for them. The rest of us have TV, bowling, and if we are young and cute, then we can make up the lines outside of the posh clubs for the cameras to record.
We have the movies, they have the cultural institutions, we have museums, they have the galleries, we have the mall, they have their boutiques. And lately we don’t even have the mall, we can only afford Target and Walmart. Americans have been downsized in what they can afford and the commercials are trying to catch up with us. Insurance for example, they have a guy telling us that we have a car to take family vacations in now instead of cars as status symbols. Nice to know someone is trying to take our money in a more sensitive manner.
So I write this and I wonder why I bother. Is it the need to see my words in print? Is it the desire to be remembered? To have at least a dozen people who consider what I have to say worth reading. I don’t know. It is a habit now. I write to leave a trace, a trail of piss and poop for someone to follow and maybe consider for a moment or two before they move on.
Will there even be an internet in another decade?
I have a dystopian vision. I think the world will be a shit pile in another 20 years. Not the world of the Schwarzenegger movies, but more like the world of Soylent Green. Overcrowded, polluted and government services crumbling under the weight of it all. Then there will be the collapse and with the collapse is the death and destruction of at least half the population. This is what I see for 2050.
A total collapse of civilization. There will be a few colonies of monastic type communities and there will be a few geniuses tinkering with the waste of the previous civilization but for most of the survivors it will be just that a battle for survival. It won’t be the primitive world of the Road Warriors, but there will be some nomadism. More likely a return to bullock carts and horses. Only a century ago stage coaches still were a method of transportation and it will not be hard to return to the horse and buggy. Just get ready for a lot of horse poop every where.
Places like rural India will not feel the change as much as we will. Urban centers will loose people, mostly in an initial die off, the survivors will start growing food in the empty lots and the free ways will collapse. A train service will exist. Steam engines are still around and there are people who are good at tinkering who will be able to make the trains run. As for cars, well if you have diesel then you can convert to run on vegetable matter, but cars will be used for essential services and when the roads collapse they will be useless anyway.
We will have lost the electrical grid. Satellites will fall from the sky, It will be a world with steel taken from the cities and used to create the infrastructure of a lower tech world. All the complex electronic gadgetry will be garbage. No more TV, no more radio, although radio is not that complex a technology and it may exist. Computers and the internet will be gone. There might be some mainframes in some Cheyenne Mountains performing some last ditch government services but by 2100 it will all be gone.
In a hundred years we will be in a world not to much different from 1850. Oh there might be a few hold overs, dirigibles to fly in. The odd automobile kept as an heirloom, but there will be nothing much that we will recognise. They might have radio back up but I doubt if the electronic infrastructure will be back. Local grids maybe based on hydro-electrics, solar and wind power, but small, local and need based. Goodbye showers, goodbye electrical appliances in every home. There might be social centers with a few solar based appliances, but much will be simply wood based. There might be a return to some form of Television but it will be for news and maybe some local cultural affairs. The big networks and commercial TV will be gone. There might be the ability to show old movies assuming the tapes and DVDs have not all deteriorated.
We will have trains running on coal and wood burning steam engines. We will have solar and wind powered heat and perhaps running water, perhaps. We will have wells and hand pumps and if they are able to keep aqueducts flowing then places like LA might be inhabitable for perhaps a half of the millions here now.
I grew up on a farm that had running water part time, a well, an out house and intermittent heat and electricity. This was in suburban Connecticut and we were simply late in hooking up to the grid. Imagine in a world where services have collapsed where simply providing water will be a major accomplishment. People will work things out, but it will not be like it is now. It will be cleaner, quieter and a slower paced world. Let us hope it will be one where capitalism has been buried with the rest of the failed infrastructure of the past.
The taste of a peach, in season, is the taste of late spring and early summer. A strawberry is mid spring at its peak. Apples are the taste of fall. The seasonal tastes we grew up with in New England seem to pervade the country. Oranges and bananas are forever exotica, available all year round. Now apples seem to have joined the exotica, available year round. If you grew up in Los Angeles you might remember an Orange and avocado season, but now that urban sprawl has moved those crops out of human reach, it is only through farmers markets that you have a sense of what is seasonal.
I am a pessimist for technology. As much as I use it every day, and I would never write as much in public if it were not for the computer, it is a burden upon the soul. We live in isolation. Boxed in by our predilection for barriers between our self and our public lives. I maintained a longer public life by going to demonstrations durring the Bush years. But I am afraid that under Obama even that means of public display of human solidarity might wither.
I see no way out but in collapse. I see it simply becoming too much of a burden, but will we collapse it out of a desire for something else?
I look to my anarchist friends hoping to find there a vestige of the hippie rebellion of the last century. Mostly what I find is enablers for fringe technologies and subcultures more or less tuned into the media as sources of new marketing gimmicks. Come up with a new tune, an exotic hair style, a catchy new way to sell a new technology and you are a winner. The best commercials are selling credit rating schemes with alt rockers in beat up cars. These students will learn not to marry for love but for the credit rating of their potential spouse.
In a time when credit ratings meant life that was critical. Now that we are in the credit melt down there will be a resurgence in a return to basics, basics like good credit? No that is a joke, it is part of the scheme to keep us enslaved. Basics like free access to resources and work that is socially meaningful. That is a return to basics. We need to pool what we have, get rid of the shuck and jive games of 3 card monte played on us by the insurance and credit industries, and learn to live on food we grow or can get locally, walk to work and do what is needed for the survival of a humane cultured life.
It that means returning to tribes and living on roots and berries, so be it. But this living as if we are sending our souls into space in modified tin machines is simply not worth the insanity of the effort. Elders you have to get used to being with the young again and youth embrace your elders. We are one family or we are going to be shredded up and consumed by the mega machine that only wants our labor for consumption of its inane products. We can do better, we must and soon or it will all be for nought.
I became a punk because hippie became marketed, the same happened to punk and so I moved as far into a non compromised life as I could find. But it doesn’t matter, they all get consumed so I simply decided that it is not the external identification but what you do day to day that matters. Problem is that without a symbol of renunciation it is too easy to become simply a silent participant in the machine.
I have become both, it is part of surviving in this world. Some market their differences and are able to play it up as some kind of star or business hero. I am not that public, I am simply trying to survive and pass on survival skills and hopefully a dream that it can all be brought to an end and a just world created. Could happen.
Primitive anarchist communist dream of a tribal syncopated rhythmic culture rooted in nature and nurture could happen. It is a matter of what we dream and how we make our dreams real.

Social Policy By Natural Selection or Intelligent Planning?

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I am a fan of Roman Polanski movies about the devil. I like Rosemary’s Baby and The 9th Gate. His other movies like Chinatown were decent also. Too bad he can’t come back here. He had sex with one too many underage girls and now he is persona non gratis in the USA.
Didn’t Woody Allen have that problem, sex with a step daughter or something like that. I personaly draw the line at 18. If you are legal then I am willing to partake, if you are underage, you should stick to fellow teenagers. Give your classmates a crack at the prize.
It may not be exactly logical but it is the norm in our current culture and who am I to tell people to break the rules of our current culture. Just because in traditional cultures adulthood starts at puberty, and in parts of the so called modern world where the beast of consumerism and academic education have not formalized the 18 to 21 year age for the beginning of adulthood, does not mean I have the right to claim an exemption any more than Roman Polanski does.
I am writing about population control and the rearing of young. The romance vs tradition arguments have more to do with the methodology of breeding selectivity chosen by a society.
The argument is made that older persons are predatory when they want to have sex with younger persons. It is even illegal in some countries and nations that allow marriage between say a 50 year old and a 14 year old are considered to be backwards, like those Mormon renegade groups who believe in polygamy. I can understand considering anything that comes out of Texas to be suspect, but then just because a culture thinks that marriage between old men and young women is OK does not make them automatically backward, except perhaps in the eyes of older women who want a crack at young boys and are barred by law or custom. I certainly was devirginized by an older woman. It would be considered a crime now, but at the time I remember feeling rather happy about the turn of events.
De Sade wrote a lot about the differences in sexual practices of peoples around the world. He was trying to come up with justifications for his own practices. When he was locked up for abusing milk maids and such he had plenty of time to make his arguments. He was a master at exposing the hypocrisy of the mores of the times and certainly durring the French Revolution there was an opening for him to be considered in polite society as well as in the underclass of the pornographers of the time.
We have now got a world of sexual pain/pleasure that has been considered either a perversion as it was classified in the 19th century when such things began to be considered, or as a subculture in the later part of the 20th century and now is simply in some kind of limbo brought about by the cultural clash between the so called family values sect and the libertine values sect.
People with children want their children to be protected from predators. The possibility of loving relations between the young and the old goes against the image of the western ideal of romanticism where two beautiful young figures meet from families in the same socio-economic level and meld in a continuity of the myth of the middle class that is a hold over from the ethos created in the mid 20th century when the nuclear family ideal was economically viable and desirable.
There are two modes that are acceptable, meeting in high school and marrying after graduation when the man gets his factory job and the woman her hairdresser gig, or meeting in college and marrying after the man gets his Medical practice, or Legal practice started and the woman has become a homemaker and member of the local charity and arts association.
Anything else is suspect. In the 1960’s there began a rebellion against a model that had barely begun to be instituted, it really only existed for one or perhaps two generations. Prior to that we had the arranged marriage that was made between family heads with professional match makers.
But the modern system collapsed almost from its start and the divorce rate accelerated. Since there no longer was the family tradition to hold families together and there was only the ideas portrayed in the media and a rear guard action being played by the churches that attempted to make the nuclear family the new model for the church to build morality upon, there was a sense of the ground being taken out from under peoples feet.
This had developed over the last two to three centuries as modernism took hold across the planet.
Late in the 20th century the single mom and the family of two divorced people uniting and even same sex families began to be portrayed as models. As I write there is a battle over whether same sex couples can marry. It is a further unraveling of the traditional family that may have begun with Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet”. Or perhaps with the courtly troubadours of the middle ages when the man of the house was off on the crusades and the woman had to take on the companionship of the wandering minstrels. And we are only talking of the western elites. In the east a similar process has developed since the mercantile period when western ideas of monoculture in economics began to shape family policy in Asia and where slavery affected African family policy.
Who knows how many men were taken into slavery removing eligible males from the gene pool in west Africa and thus forcing polygamy on the remaining populace. What were the percentages of female slaves to male? How has that disruption which began in the 15th century as the Portuguese gained foot holds on the coast of Africa.
The evolution of the opium trade from India to China by the British to pay for Chinese silks and table wares instead of the silver and gold from Europe and the Americas that emerged as part of British imperial policy in the 18th century must have had an effect upon both India and China. In the 19th century we see the results in the Opium Wars between China and Britain and the Sepoy mutiny in India.
There was a vast increase in the destruction of traditional cultures and family systems around the world as capitalism took sway. It demanded child labor in many parts of the world and it got them. Child labor on the family farm had been part of traditional cultures. It was part of the initiation into the society and children were taught chores, to go hunting, to make clothing and weaving and what ever else was done on the homestead. But with the advent of enclosure movement to remove land from public access and the emergence of the factory system, family values went out the window and children had to work in the factories. At the same time the state began to seriously intervene and find other things for the young such as propagandizing them to become citizens. The unwashed peasantry of previous ages, had by the 19th century begun to be seen as individual profit centers for the state and for capital to invest.
By the 20th century it was assumed that children started becoming indoctrinated in the requirements of capital and the state by age 5 or 6 and would be prepared until their teens or twenties depending on if they were tracked for factory work or managerial work. As economies grew in complexity so did the demands for an educated and more importantly disciplined work force. The logic of states reached its peak in the massive world wars of the 20th century when millions were conned by their leaders into believing that their state demanded their lives and millions gave them up willingly for the sake of state mythologies.
Since then with the advent of MAD mutually assured destruction states have attempted to take the edge off of the competitiveness of their institutions and we have seen the emergence of we are the world propaganda. But in the process of creating these massive machines, human institutions that evolved over generations and centuries have been twisted and manipulated for the sake of the mega machine state and capitalist institutions that have emerged in the last 2 to 3 centuries.
Attempts to recoup traditional values by so called conservative groups have made alliances with capital that simply stated that “we will give you loyal workers if you give us an opportunity to control the after work hours of their lives”. Church and state work hand in hand to preserve capitals need for willing workers, and the state is able to ween off a percentage for it own needs in the war and control machines.
Problem is that technology is growing at exponential rates. The market allows for innovation to be transferred as soon as a return on the investment of the previous technology is attained. In some markets it is an annual cycle, in others the cycle is slower. This leads to increased complexity and an increased need to stimulate demand. Because there had been a clamping down on the self activity of workers to form associations to defend their interests, the incomes of the workers had declined as the 20th century came to a close.
Easy access to credit became the preferred solution. Having forgotten the lesson from the 1920’s when easy access to credit was part of the build up to the 1929 stock market crash, the same policies were followed in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Finance was not regulated and it was thought that they would self regulate. Families bought homes they could not afford and borrowed with second mortgages on the increased value that these homes had as the market inflated like a balloon. It collapsed and hundreds of millions of people all over the industiralized and post industrial world found themselves burried in debt like so many third world nations.
Families now had to put their teens back to work just as in the 19th century. Women, children and adults all were forced to seek employment at a time when demand for real goods was going down. They were merely servicing the debt incurred.
So what do we have? A society on the brink of collapse. Social values are shaken. On the one hand there is pressure to reduce population that leads to same sex coupling. For that to be part of social policy there has to be a legitimization of such alliances. The society needs stable units of production. Procreation will become more and more regulated along the Chinese model or simply by making it so expensive that only a few will attempt it and those that do will do so as part of a tracking that provides a social support model such as family oriented churches, protective government institutions and such. The problem now is that there is not a clear sense of policy about this, instead there is a battling between forces that should be working together. One track for the procreative family units and another for the productive coupling units. It may develop that couples who choose to procreate become state subsidized to a degree that is now found in places like France, and the non procreative units that do the work of the society are given a different support system. What may emerge as population pressure and resource pressure develops is a Bee hive mentality with queens and males who procreate and drones who work.
Certainly world policy should be one of encouraging one child per family, and for non sex coupling in productive units. The problems associated with the increased number of elderly adults relative to the young that will emerge in a short period of time will have to be alleviated by prolonging the work life of the individual and accessing of more females as productive workers instead of as procreative workers. That means there should be modeling done now to come up with workable ratios of workers vs retired and workers vs trainees.
As population pressure decreases then there will be an abundance of employment opportunities and a post plague like economic model should emerge if we look at what happened in Europe at that time. The 12th and 13th centuries were ones of economic and population growth, the 14th century began to see food shortages and opportunities vanished as the workforce increase reduced wages. Marginal lands were exploited. Then came the sudden collapse of the plague, one could almost say just in time to avoid the social catastrophe of overpopulation. After the plague in the later 14th and 15th centuries survivors were able to demand much more return for their labor, people had access to land and wealth from those who had died and frontier and marginal lands returned to the more ecologically balanced conditions of being forests and swamps.
It could happen again if it is planned or we could have a massive influenza epidemic do the same thing, man made or natural. Ultimately it is all man made, when we push population limits and extend our physical presence into environments we do not belong in, parasites and viruses will be able to take advantage of new host populations and spread rapidly in unprepared populations just as the epidemics of the Europeans wiped out up to 9/10th of the native population of the Americas in the 16th century.
We certainly need a culling. Will we do it in a controlled maner or will nature do it for us? There was a novel by Anthony Burgess written in the 1960’s that humorously portrayed the battle between conflicting methods of social control called the “Wanting Seed”. He portrayed the conservative approach being babies, bombs and war, and the liberal approach being gays, police and peace. It was a pretty illuminating vision. I would recommend it to anyone considering the issue. Although now I would say we are in a more humorless period of needing to make choices. rather unlike the period of 50 years ago when we could toy with possibilities.
Maybe my anarchist friends will come up with a libertarian volunteerist method of bringing the population down.

The Hunt For America

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

In the woods, way out there in the middle of nowhere, is a place, it is sleeping, it is happy, it is discrete. When I was a youth I would hunt for America, hitch hike around the country. I would get rides, free meals, places to stay, and get where I was going with little or no money. Life was good. Even though occasionally there would be a nasty cop kicking me off the freeway entrance ramp, or taking me to a drunk tank in some small town, for the most part they would leave you alone. It was still OK for a youth with no money to be on the road in America.
Soldiers used to hitch hike from their bases home on leave. It was not uncommon right up until the 1970’s when there began to be stories put out about hitchhikers killing people who picked them up and people killing hitchhikers. It was pretty lame but by the 1980’s nobody was hitching any more.
Now we have to do everything with money. Massive amounts of it. We are told we cannot exist without it. We are told that only beauty is worth paying for. So beautiful people have others pay them just to be near. It is pretty absurd, but it is true. I was once semi good looking, and I could pass among the truly beautiful.
I got to visit the magic kingdom where they reside and lived in their lands, places like Boulder, Colorado and the Upper East Side of Manhattan and San Francisco, and Santa Monica, California. But now I live in a border town, were things are older and not so beautiful, Long Beach, a place between. Near enough to know where they are, but far enough so that it is known that I am not there.
We all have our barriers, mine was that I was not willing to take my place among the beautiful people, among the elite. I had opportunities, but I did not take them. I spurned the opportunities that seemed to be like selling my soul. I tried not to sell my soul to the money and beauty elite. Instead I kept working as a man with ideas. I tried not to sell out to the intellectual elite, or the spiritual elite. Most of the anarchists I knew were part of the intellectual elite. They were academics.
I am not trying to say I am a self made man. I am not made into anything. I have simply tried to work and earn my own way into the light. I have tried to deserve everything I get, not because of a connection, not because I was part of the in group of one kind or another. All I can do is pray that I am worthy of the little attention I get. I did not take the academic route because I did not want to sell out to academia. I don’t know if it was because I am not good enough to be an academic or simply because I wanted to be free and not wear the collar. It was the same with becoming a priest. I studied the spiritual rituals and could have become a leader in a gnostic christian church. but I am not a christian, not yet. I would like to believe in something other than myself, I would like to believe in god of Christianity, or the god of Moses or the god of the Koran, Jesus, and the rest of the Mosaic tradition, but I am older than that. I am a believer in the old gods and goddesses. I want to believe in the one love but I believe in multiple loves. I love always like an Indian, with my heart and head. I cannot love the abstraction of the one in three. I can love the one when it is in my face, the one here and the one there. She who has the beautiful legs and ass. I can believe in my love, but not in the love that is on a cross. What is that?
So I work and work and it turns into day and night and I am a worm or a mole digging in the dirt. Examining the tastes and smells. Squinting into the daylight from time to time, shaking off the dust, cobwebs and dirt. Then I go back into my book infested cavern and seek after the light that is always there for all of us who have the desire and the will.
I am a truth seeker, sometimes, who has his crutch, his vehicle, his earthly plane and his occasional friends and offspring who run like lone wolfs in the receding night of the Nubian desert.
I am not here for pleasure but to seek some truth and if I never find it then so be it but it is my adventure and if I find the true America in the process then I am blessed and if I am only in the waste land then I am cursed. Anyway it is the night and Long Beach is nice in May. My adventure is simply one piece of the puzzle that is all of us collectivly. It is reasonable to believe that we are here to come up with a solution, an answer to the questions that life poses for each of us.
We can collectivly come up with solutions or we can each find our individual answers. America seems to be the land where there might be an answer. In India I was told that America and India together had the answer to the worlds problems. What I find is that I am here to not exactly testify like some born again, but to record, to tell the truth as I see it. That is what each of us have to do and to find companionship if it is possible.

The Thirty Year Sleep - Is It Over?

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

When Reagan was elected president Americans began to fall asleep. By the time of his reelection that was it America was snoring away. When Clinton was elected, there was a slight stirring in the sleeping body but after waking up for a minute the body went back into a deep slumber.
When Bush Jr was selected by the elites the body went into a coma. It was not much longer before it seemed that the body would not recover consciousness. Then there was a great conflagration and Wall Street started burning and peoples feet got toasty. It was when their own houses began to burn that most Americans finaly woke up. It was just in time. If they had waited any longer they would have burned up with their homes.
In Sri Lanka that is what has happened to the Tamils who lost their homes in the war. This week the Sri Lankan government defeated the Tamil Tigers and now the victors are celebrating. UN head Ban Ki-Moon is telling the government that they have to take care of the 300,000 Tamils who are trapped in camps set up by the government.
Somalia has had a return to violence between the pro government and Al Shabaab militants who are claimed to be linked with Al Qaeda. The BBC has reported on an increase in violence. Today on NPR there was a report on a Danish shipping magnate and the negotiator for pirates having developed a business friendship. It seems that the former pirate is now angling to become an expert on pirates to explain to the shipping industry how to deal with the increasingly sophisticated Somali pirate clans.
Today Obama signed a bill to limit the credit card companies control. It is about time. With 78% of Americans using credit cards and rates going up to around 30% in a market that until now was virtually unregulated. I personaly have found that the card companies do not honor the insurance plans they promote and that I have been paying for a plan that simply is a fraud. Three months after applying for the benefit that I was paying almost $20 a month for for each card, I have not received any freezing of the interest on the cards, I have been inundated with harassing calls day in and day out where they ask the same thing over and over, how much can you pay. This goes on 7 days a week and when I ask them when is my insurance going to be put in effect they tell me that I have to call them. After being told to fill out a bunch of paperwork and mailing it to them. Interesting that they can call me 3 times a day every day to ask for my money but they cannot be bothered to give me a benefit that I paid for. On top of that they raised my interest rates.
I have had to put my foot down and insist that they lower my rates. After all if my tax dollars can go to pay for their bailout and they get 1% or less interest rates from the Fed on money, how can they dare to try to charge 30% interest for a poor person who was until a week ago unemployed and unable to pay anything at all? It is outrageous and it is the reason why we need strict legislation to regulate them because they know no shame and Obama realized that if action was not taken there would be a refusal on the part of Americans to continue to pay. We would insist upon a jubilee and vote with our feet away from plastic.
The BBC is reporting that Europeans are happy to see that Obama is closing Guantanamo and Germans seem to think that terrorists use Guantanamo as an excuse. American policies in the Middle East under Bush helped the terrorists gain support from the masses of the populace. Middle Easterners see appeasing Iran as a sign of weakness but the closing of Guantanamo as a sign of strength. As the Republicans are saying, America is Frenchifying. I wonder when they will start drinking Lattes and eating croissants like the rest of us and give up on Coors beer and shooting baby seals with their now legal concealed guns at national parks?
Cheney lost the debate on national security yesterday according to most pundits I have seen and heard today. On the Nightly News Hour the talking heads were saying that Cheney not only did not speak for the Republicans but that he did not even speak for most of the Bush Administration who gave up on harsh interrogation methods by 2004 and 2005. When Rumsfeld went so did most of the wind in the hard core sails. As one pundit said on NPR today, the President is really continuing the policies of the later Bush administration which had been trying to get rid of the Guantanamo detainees since at least 2006 when the Supreme Court told them that it was time to give the detainees due process.
All Obama has done is to insist on a deadline for the closing down of Guantanamo. Same as his call for a deadline to get out of Iraq. His plan is virtually the same as what Bush negotiated at the end of last year. What is the difference? Only that Obama makes the left feel better because he likes to take a proactive pro peace stance in contrast to the Bush administration tough guy stance. But in reality he is increasing the war in Afghanistan and he stated that he is taking the privilege into his own hands to try prisoners by military trials something that Bush insisted upon.
Where is the substance? Good question. From a radical perspective it is mostly a matter of image. In reality Obama is no more to the left than Nixon. From 1970 to 1972, Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency and signed laws including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. He also signed executive orders and international agreements on environmental issues and created OSHA. They were needed and it was on Nixon’s watch that we got them.
So far from Obama we have a continuation of Bush initiated polices on the economy, we have an increase in the military in Afghanistan, and we have legislation to control credit cards. Wow. Too bad we didn’t get legislation to control the banks where it really hurts in the housing rip-off. Guantanamo is a dead letter, it is going away one way or another. But this week we saw how much control the right still has in Washington. Cheney represents the shadow of fear and Obama is the new dawn. But is this the real world or just symbolic?
Is America waking up? Perhaps it is. But let us hope the new President moves on to make substantial changes and not just wastes time boxing with shadows. If we can just get out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, get single payer health care and real environmental legislation, then perhaps we will have a president to the left of Nixon.

Obama Vs Cheney On Terror

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Darth Cheney claims that his 1% solution was the right move. Attacking Iraq was justified because they could have delivered weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Not that they were, not that they even had weapons of mass destruction, but that they could. Could have… and I could have taken a rocket ship to the moon.
President Obama basicly said that we need to make policy based on law and the principals that guide the USA. The president is telling us that he is basing his determination on the available data and that data says to him that the policies of enhanced interrogation ie torture is to be stopped and that Guantanamo is to be abandoned. They both go against American legal principals, and they don’t work.
Cheney on one hand is saying that Obama threatened the security of the nation by releasing information on the techniques used by the CIA. On the other hand he is asking for the release of the remainder of the material that the CIA has on what was done to interrogate the terrorists. He is saying that he wants the president to give into partisan political considerations and release material that he claims will make him look good. Obviously then there is no serious issue of national security, in which case his statements are a red herring. Or he is right saying that it is a serious breach of national security and he has no problem in compromising national security when his partisan political viewpoint is being expressed.
The second view is more likely because of the Bush policy of leaking information that would be detrimental to enemies of the Bush Administration as in the case of leaking the identity of the CIA agent with regards to the fake uranium being sought by Iraq in Niger. When the administration had an unfavorable story leaked about the fact that the story was a hoax, then the administration leaked the exposure of the cover for the CIA agent compromising their life but gaining political points.

The Republicans seem to be hammering on this hardened terrorist theme. Apparently they think about 160 of the so called terrorists left in Guantanamo are to dangerous to be held in the USA. Senator Saxby Chambliss wants to have a bill passed that will prohibit any Guantanamo detainees from being brought into the USA. Also they are hitting on a theme that it is to please Europeans that Obama is closing Guantanamo.
It is pretty obvious that the Republican strategy is to rally the reactionary elements in the population by stirring up fear. Irrational fear is the method they use. Claiming that legal technicalities will get detainees released into the general population where they will be freed. Deliberately garbling the pronunciation of names, obscuring the issue such as calling the 21 Uighur who are to be released into the USA because their lives are threatened in China, as terrorists it to create a bugaboo issue. He is creating false deamons.
Senator Dick Durban, the Democratic Senate Whip is stating that since 347 terrorists are currently incarcerated in the USA and that American prisons are safe.
Chambliss is saying that these people were arrested on the battlefield. He calls them the meanest and nastiest people in the world. The problem is not that these are mean and nasty, which is absurd to think that they are worse than American Serial killers.
Another point is that if they were treated a prisoners of war then they would be repatriated to their home countries after the war is over. Problem is that this is not a war. Bush declared a war when there was no war. He created this absurd legal mess and then simply wanted to let people rot in a prison in a place that is of dubious legality. It was a deliberate plan to create a perpetual state of imprisonment similar to the methods used by the Russians when they put people in camps for years.
As Obama pointed out indefinite detention is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court has ruled that the detainees have the right to due process. It is incumbent upon the USA to act upon the Supreme Court ruling in 2006 and to process these prisoners with some sort of due process.
Cheney ignored this in his speech. He gave a summary of the Bush position that was one based not upon law but upon expediency. He claims the enhanced interrogation methods worked and that Obama is covering up their effectiveness. He also admitted that the government used phone taps on people in America and was upset that the New York Times revealed this illegal and secret wire tapping. He was not apologetic in the least. He took the approach that whatever was done in the defence of the country was justified because there was no further attack on the scale of 9-11 2001. He stated that being in a bunker in the basement of the White House on that day had a lot to do with shaping his mind set.
As I write this there is an attack in Nancy Pelosi by Republicans who want to investigate her to see if she was lying about claiming that the CIA was lying. Rob Bishop Republican of Utah is trying to investigate this issue. So here it is the Republicans want to know if the CIA was lying to the Congress. Is this a trap for the Democrats? Hard to say, But we have a strong Republican attempt to turn the nation by using the same fear mongering that led to the Patriot Act after the original 911 attacks. They are trying to play up on Americans fears of the unknown. Will it work?
Obama has to turn the conversation back to issues that are important such as a health care plan and an energy policy. The fact that the Senate stripped out Guantanamo closing funding is a publicity success on the part of the Republicans. They are using the issue to try to drive a wedge into the public support for Obama by making him look like a radical on the issue of terrorism. I don’t think it will work. The BBC evening news gave less than 20 seconds to the entire matter tonight. It was major news all day in America. Now lets see if we can move on and deal with the important issues.
Scaring people by claiming that these people rounded up in Afghanistan back in 2001 are hardened terrorists simply won’t fly. Most of them were simply people in the wrong place at the wrong time. More like the case of Chauncey Gardener in “Being There” a movie from 1979 that postulated that appearances are all and substance is meaningless the modern world of image.
We live in a world where media spin has been allowed to determine policy and we saw this under the Bush administration become a replacement for reality not simply an enhancement to help explain reality as good fiction is used by a decent author. We saw spin used after 911 used to bamboozle America and now we have a president who is trying to give people the facts without the spin. Let us hope he doesn’t give up and revert to the Bush era reality spin. We saw a prime example of it today in Cheney’s perfectly reasonable speech, a speech that turned reality on its head and showed us how the 1984 version of reality can easily become a replacement for truth.

GOP, Git-mo, And Human Rights

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Powell republicans are Obama Democrats. Steele and Palin are the left wing of the republican party. Rush Limbaugh is the mainstream of the Republican party. The right wing is people like those secessionists in Texas who tried to get the governor to call for an independent Texas.
So what does that mean. It means that there is no place for regular people in the Re-pub party.
Tonight the on MSNBC Limbaugh seems to be begging the opposition to leave him alone for a month. On Barbara Walters show Glen Beck got his butt ripped open by Whoopi Goldberg who called him a lying sack of dog poop.
It is like I was thinking to myself earlier today, America is waking up. It has been asleep for the last 30 years. There are even commercials now that make fun of the coal and oil industry. Mainstream commercials that advocate clean energy…Wow that is a real change.
On the Science channel, National Geographic channel, History channel, Discovery channel, ABC and PBS to name a few, there is a constant barrage of green media. That is not on Sundance and the Green Channel where you would expect to see such material. It could be that the government has given the media the go ahead. After all the right wing threats to suspend FCC licenses if they did broadcast such material has been removed by the new administration.
On the other hand what happened to the president when he was in a meeting with human rights groups who accused him of continuing Bush Policies? Michael Isikoff is reporting the left wing irritation with Obama for backtracking on his positions regarding torture pictures, indefinite detentions and military commissions. This was reported today on Rachel Maddow show.
Obama did not like being equated with President Bush. He also does not like the idea of a truth commission and said it would be to distracting for his staff. He thought the Attorney General is spending too much time on these matters. Someone brought up the idea that there should be at least one criminal prosecution and the President said it was not going to happen.
Isikoff said that this should be a decision of the Justice Department, not of the president and it seems that the President is making it a political decision by saying it is just pissing off the Republicans and distracting from important issues like health care and climate change.
An attorney general is supposed to be independent of political considerations and it is an issue when the President seems to be able to tell the Attorney General what he can and cannot prosecute. It should be a matter of the law.
Today the Democrats caved in to the irrational fear of terrorism by refusing to fund the Presidents plan to dismantle Guantanamo as a place to keep the detainees. Senate leader Reid even went so far as to state that America was not a safe place to take the detainees because he thought they would be released. That flies in the face of reality. We have plenty of terrorists detained in American prisons. An empty maximum security prison in Montana has been offered by the town where it was built as a place to put detainees.
America has more people incarcerated than any other country in the world. The idea that we cannot safely hold terrorists is blatantly absurd and is simply playing on peoples irrational fears. Tonight congress people are talking like old women in Chris Mathews show stating that American prisons are breeding grounds of recidivism. They are afraid that these terrorists will use Habeas Corpus rights to get out of jail. What they are admitting is that some of these people are being detained illegaly and illegitimately and if they had a modicum of justice they would be released. That is the real fear. It is not that they are terrible, but that they have been so badly mistreated.
Newt Gingrich is asking that Nancy Pelosi resign for saying that the CIA lied to congress. He had to step down as speaker of the house himself and had to pay a fine for improprieties. It makes Gingrich something of a hypocrite. He also accused the intelligence community of lying back in 2007. Chris Hayes of the Nation says that nobody cares about the hypocrisy issue. Gingrich is simply making noise. It is a speech act, not a legitimate argument. It is not a legitimate idea, only sound and fury that means nothing. Gingrich is a master of getting media attention. He is a professional headline getter according to Hayes.
But the fact that the Republicans were able to work their old magic and scare the Democrats into stripping out any money to start the change at Git-mo is a problem. Cheney has been rattling his chains around and spooking the democrats into taking hard line positions that are contradicting the Obama position and the will of the people who voted for Obama.
Just like the fact that the NRA was able to get a provision placed in a Credit Card reform bill that made it legal to carry concealed weapons in national parks. I mean why would anyone want to carry concealed weapons in a park? Is it in case those escaped terrorists who are being incarcerated in those leaky American prisons all run to the nearest national park to hide. Right…
It makes me sad to think that we need to be armed in parks, as if they are more dangerous than the rest of America.
But I am in favor of regulating credit card companies. They have just raised my rates for no reason and I am sure it is because they could and wanted to get in as high a rate as they could before the laws were changed.

Bill Richardson says that we need to use quiet diplomacy with North Korea to get the two journalists freed and to get them to back down on their nuclear program. The North Koreans want to deal directly with the USA. They don’t want to do six party talks, it was a Bush policy that was one that was determined to play hard ball with North Korea that did not work.

Back to Git-mo, Obama is loosing friends on the left and right on this issue. It is partly because he has been wavering and not clear and has backtracked and partly because this is an issue that the left has made a key issue. The left has abandoned the economy to the right wingers in the Obama administration and have not tried to fight it. Git-mo and torture seems to be where the left wants to draw the line.
Personally I think Obama is kind of right about it being distracting, but then why not simply let the Attorney General do his job.
Obama seems to be making headway on the climate change issue, with the legislation for the increased mileage on cars and cap and trade legislation seems to be making its way into congress.
We had a failure on the economic issue of regulating banks and foreclosures. We had a failure on Git-mo today and as far as the long term reform of the finance industry, that seems to have been swept under the rug.
Healthcare is coming up and we can hope that Obama’s people will succeed there.
We just need to make sure the Republicans cannot put the fear of terrorism as an issue that distracts people from real issues.
Wars and threats of wars are the distractions that can be a problem. The big problem is Afghanistan and Pakistan becoming major issues. This war is a hoax. There is no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. There is almost none in Pakistan. What there is, are corrupt governments in both countries that are supported by the USA. We need to get out of the nation building business. We need to let the governments in those countries deal with their own people. Economic support is what they need, not military. Once we get people jobs, they will forget about terror. At least unless we give them jobs terrorizing people. Oops that is how this all started. We gave Osama money to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the 1980’s. That is what we did. The USA did it with the help of Saudi Arabia, and the Pakistani intelligence services. The Taliban was created by the Pakistanis to help stabilize Afghanistan. They are still funded for the same reason. Even if it is to fight against Americans who support corrupt destabilizing governments.
We have found the enemy and the enemy is US…. Pogo (From an old cartoon).

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