Sunday, March 24, 2013

Americans would act more Christian if we were atheists

America has yet another story of an innocent man, falsely accused and imprisoned, then freed. This one  involves an added tragedy - a serious heart attack one day after his release. David Ranta served 23 years as an innocent man. His life was robbed. The criminal "justice" system fails yet again and all the American "news" consumer wants to do is shake their collective head and say 'what a shame. Well these things happen.' It's a wonder to me that these men don't seek revenge after they are released, but then 23 years is such a long time. Plenty of time to realize the futility of revenge.
Now it would be another thing entirely if it were an entire nation, an entire culture who were unjustly punished. I imagine a child who has grown up in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan - any country upon whom the United States has placed sanctions. Sanctions that have caused hunger and physical suffering to the innocent as a means to force the ruling elite into line. What a sick and antidemocratic notion! We will make your children suffer because we don't like your leaders. Where is the justice in American foreign policy? Where are the Christians who actually believe and act according to the words of Jesus Christ?
Former Congressman Ron Paul was in North Carolina for a Republican presidential debate in 2012. There, right in the heart of America's famous "Bible Belt" he said that we should approach the wielding of power overseas with a nod to the Golden Rule. That is we should, 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.' The Republican audience laughed at him. You see, American Christians don't believe in the words of Christ. They have believed the propaganda of the Military/Industrial/Secrecy/Prison Complex for so long that they have given their immortal souls to an immoral cabal. That cabal was named by Republican President Dwight David Eisenhower. He called it the Military/Industrial Complex. We must now add the word Secrecy to this because America's CIA and innumerable other secret agencies (even secret PRIVATE corporate agencies) control and coordinate the actions of the cabal. We must now add the word Prison to this because America now has secret prisons scattered throughout the world. AND we have laws in some parts of the United States that actually forbid considering exculpatory new evidence in cases where innocent people are imprisoned - even facing the death penalty.
President Obama was cheered in Israel for declaring that Israelis should empathize with the Palestinian people, that they, too, deserve a country. In America, Christians cheer the Israeli MILITARY for each and every action it takes, no matter how severe or counterproductive to peace. They WANT to continue paying for military actions. They WANT the children of Iran to suffer until Iranian leaders submit to the U.S. Military/Industrial/Secrecy/Prison Complex. (Notice that the U.S. allows North Korea to have and test nuclear weapons, but goes into fits over a nuclear Iran.) They WANT to lock up their fellow Americans even for crimes that do not occur in the physical world - thought crimes - evil minds.
I think America would act more Christian if we all were atheists.
I am Contrary.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

of another reason to legalize cannabis

The federal government should treat cannabis like it does alcohol and tobacco because every family in America is at risk. Parents may have never used cannabis, may have been against it all their lives, but somewhere in every family tree is a kid or adult who has or will try it. And they may get arrested that one time they try it. And everyone knows it is not as deadly in its affects as alcohol or tobacco.
I know Republican parents of a pot lover who were appalled at what happened when their son was busted for a pot pipe in the back seat of his car. He got a criminal record and they paid heavy fines or else he would have done jail time. They said, "The government uses it as a way to extort money." Right you are.
The ones in jail for simple possession of pot or paraphernalia are poor kids, mostly non-white kids. Free them! No Gore, no Bush, no Obama child will EVER do time for pot. Nor will a Hilton or a Trump. We all know it.
Forbidding states like Colorado and Washington from legalizing cannabis will be a blatant move to prop up the "private" prison system, to lock up and disenfranchise minorities, to continue the arming of foreign militaries in the name of the "war on drugs." It will fly in the face of logic. It will cost a fortune (already has). And it WILL NOT stop the weed!
It will open the door for the Republicans to use the issue and earn the votes of millions who know that smoking pot is less harmful to self and society than alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. 

I am NOT grist for your mill

So a mother watches her child shot in his stroller. TV cameras show up and she goes on TV to talk about it - within 24 hours of the tragedy!
What the hell! Americans think they are required to talk to reporters just because there is a microphone and/or a camera shoved in front of them. My son died at age 34 and I could no more have  talked about it to a reporter than I could have danced a jig. What's wrong with people? America does not have news; we have entertainment and opinion shows. The "reporters" are vultures and I mean Fox, CNN, NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC (Disney) ... News outlets don't want to spend money on reporting so they chase ambulances. Let's rebel!
Tell 'em to f*** off. Tell them I am not grist for your mill!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

as Pot laws go, so goes the nation

I just read a great article on about progressive political changes in Colorado. I won't reiterate the article here; you can check the link and read it. I am focusing on one aspect of the change in Colorado - Proposition 64 - legalizing marijuana. The essential question on this issue boils down to this great "Colorado" question: "Why should a state known for a toxic substance (alcohol) not allow its citizens to consume a less toxic substance (pot)?" 

In a recent response to legalization of marijuana in two states, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control holds that science proves that marijuana is not safe, is too potent today, and that smoking it is not a prudent option for anyone. Director Gil Kerlikowske's statement (read it here:  legalization) rather implies that there may be room for cannabis edibles and/or big pharma derivatives from cannabis (removing the high in the process).
As with cannabis, there is some proof that consuming alcohol has health benefits. I submit that removing the high from alcohol would be political suicide, but in order to make the argument that cannabis cannot be used, the government MUST take that step.
Unlike tobacco, whose only benefit is to kill many people before they can collect Social Security, smoking and eating cannabis has a long lasting, pleasant high, however, for the government to be consistent it must immediately criminalize smoking tobacco and remove the nicotine from ingestible tobacco products.
There is overwhelming evidence that gun violence in America will not be effectively curbed because of a lack of political will (in other words, fear of losing elections, science be damned), so politicians should change federal policies in light of THE FACT that they will lose elections if they refuse to allow Colorado and other states to apply common sense to the cannabis issues. Count on it.
Now, notice my use of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms in my analogy with cannabis. Four things with varying degrees of danger to the American people. Three of them are legal, yet controlled. It would be prudent to add cannabis to the list. Politically prudent. If government wants to use statistics and scientific knowledge to ban marijuana then it must ban alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. To do any less is a hypocritical lie. To leave ANY legality to alcohol, tobacco, and firearms, but to ban cannabis use (by democratic STATE approval) is to be so hypocritical that any political party that does it will lose elections in consequence. And any political party that does decriminalize pot at the federal level will reap untold votes even if their other policies are not good.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Democrats let Republicans have the Supreme Court

Part 3
This is the third blog in a row in which I think of political events that somehow I managed to figure out, but Democrats apparently did not. No, they did, but they didn't have the will to fight.
I hardly have the energy to go on and on about the Supreme Court, a national disgrace that carries more weight than Constitution itself. The decision Bush v. Gore alone disqualifies those justices as political hacks. And Citizen's United? Money is speech? Corporations are people? The recent ruling that WE the People don't have "standing" to challenge the pervasive unwarranted use of spying techniques? Any common sense reading of the Constitution would convince an intelligent fifth grader otherwise. Is the Supreme Court dumber than a fifth grader? No, it is simply a giant turned evil.
I remember hearing decades ago that Republicans intended to put the Supreme Court into their back pocket, and now they have. Why didn't Democrats move aggressively to prevent this? Why did I see it coming, but they apparently did not? Does it matter that one could say, I've seen it coming ever since FDR? No, what matters is doing something about it and the Democrats failed.
Robert Bork was voted down because he had written and spoken so much that he had a track record easy for even a Democrat to oppose, so the game plan now for all Supreme Court nominees is to refuse to comment on anything. But, the Republicans know what they are getting, except for that one Obamacare surprise from Roberts! (gives one hope)
I could not believe my eyes and ears as I watched the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. I could not believe that such words were being broadcast into my home where I had young children to raise. And when Anita Hill was savaged in the name of getting Thomas's sure right-wing vote for a lifetime, I thought our nation had lost all justification for ongoing moral influence in the world - but that's a long list, eh Patrice Lumumba?
I'm saving the discussion of judicial review for another time. I'm talking about the Republican techniques used in building a Supreme Court which could, with a straight face, proclaim that in the 21st century PRE-9/11 world, the United States of America could not dare the luxury of counting votes or running a new, clean election.
Anyone still reading this post probably doesn't need me to go on about the appointments of the current Supreme Court, but I'd like to make sure to remind you that the Republicans have ALSO been refusing to approve lower court seats if a Democrat proposed the position. That the Bush administration purged many honest lawyers from the Justice Department for no good reason and replaced them with ill-educated hacks. The Republican Party has sucessfully stocked the legal system pool with party hacks who will become the only "logical" choices for future Supreme Court justices and Federal presecutors.
The Republicans stop at nothing to achieve their ends and the Democrats stop at the mere threat of a filibuster. Democrats pursue things one at a time. Republicans work all aspects of the system so they direct the course of debate even when they lose elections.
Democrats are linear. Republicans are global.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Republicans lead Democrats by the nose

Part 2
In yesterday's blog I made the point that the old set of rules for broadcasting in America  was thrown out during the Reagan administration. There had been an idea that the airwaves belong to the people and therefore broadcasters have a legal obligation to the people. I argue that the entire electromagnetic spectrum belongs to the people, so therefore no provider's use of the internet should never become a monopoly.
The other actors in the game of keeping folks misinformed are our politicians. I blame Democrats for being mealy-mouthed and spineless as a group because the Democratic Party has failed to perceive and/or act upon so many problems that even a lowly citizen such as myself have seen coming. Another of these problems is school reform.
I was a teacher for 17 years. The main thing I saw as a teacher was that every new president brought a new perspective to education leading to a situation of constant turmoil. Every four or eight years Americans throw the babies out with the bathwater in the name of getting politicians reelected. Republicans make steady progress in demonizing teachers in order to destroy their unions and to force them to teach propaganda instead of fact-based reality. Democrats compromise away the very Constitutional basis of the educational system. However did Larry Burl Dunn receive such first class educational opportunities in Amarillo, Texas from 1956 to 1968 without the overwrought guidance and money of the federal government?
How? Well, for one thing Amarillo had the same superintendent of the school system during all that time. For another, the political landscape was not poisoned with the the lie of privatization and the dilution of money forcibly given to charter and religious schools. And no one should dismiss the fact that, as the tax-payer revolt begun in Ronald Reagan's California spread outward, the federal tax burdon imposed because of the Military/Industrial/Secrecy Complex increased apace so there was never a net gain for taxpayers. This has brought us to the point where one political party wishes to create an oligarchy that sucks the best of everything away from the little man and lays it upon the altar of the super-rich. They won't be happy until government does nothing beyond collecting taxes for war, exercising police-state control, and incarceration. The other party TALKS about getting back little pieces of the freedoms and benefits WE the People once had - the very freedoms and benefits they voted to end. 
Nothing in my blog should be construed to be anti-Obama. I am talking about the arc of the two political parties during my lifetime, not the brightest American political mind of our time.
The arc of the Republican Party ends in contempt of WE the People. The arc of the Democratic Party ends in whimpering.
The biggest threat to education posed by Republicans is that we will still pay taxes for education, but those taxes will go to international corporations who run "private" schools as money-making businesses. Privatization is taxation without representation.
The greatest threat posed by Democrats (and unfortunaltely supported by Obama) is the drive to make a "good" education a Constitutional right. This will play directly into the Republican game plan because the only people who will ever suffer from denying this Constitutional "right" will be teachers, thus furthering the Republican goal of privatization. The first people who are guilty of denying education, people who deny it from the womb to pre-school, are parents. All scientific studies confirm that the first years of a child's life are the most crucial in determining the brain-potential of a child. The Jesuits knew it. "Give me a boy for seven years and I will give you the man." (We can do without the cheap-shot wisecracks here. You know what they were saying.) Do you think the government is going to start arresting parents for the violation of their child's Constitutional rights? Okay, do you think the government is going to arrest hard-working WHITE people for the violation of their children's rights?
Example - I know some parents (educated, with good jobs) who recently withdrew their daughter from the public school and put her into a church school that assured them they had better abilities to teach their girl how to read. She was in the eighth grade and they just found out she couldn't read! I grant you that the school system failed that child miserably, but I also say that parents who don't notice their 12-year-old can't read have failed as parents. Who is going to prosecute them? They must not have engaged their child with books when they were young and any child who shows up at the schoolhouse door without excitement over books is already on a losing path.
Finally to the issue of educational standards, especially social studies standards with which I am most familiar. Read your state's standards. Are they written in language such as, "The student will show an appreciation of the importance of ___________ in American life"? Fill in the blank. In Texas the ultra-right have removed some historic personages, such as Jefferson, and added such noble greats as Phyllis Schlafly! But there is a larger issue involed. You need to be able to see the propaganda angle. The student is not being asked to develop critical thinking skills, such as the separation of "fact" and "opinion" or the rules of honest debate. They are being asked to accept and internalize an opinion without question. American students can't perform a critical reading their Constitution. They are told what it says, meanings are garnered second hand. Education becomes catechism. America becomes more stupid by the day, but that's okay because there are plenty of kids receiving good educations all over the world and many of them want to emigrate to America and become rich. So, no problem. We will still have plenty of doctors and nurses, scientists, and technicians. And the stupid American kids? Lock 'em up. It's the American way.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Democrats React, Republicans lead (in the wrong way)

Part 1
I just read a bit of a Salon post that mentioned Texas' educational standards in light of how history standards (to take one example) can be propaganda. It makes me think of other issues such as the successful Republican takeover of the the Supreme Court, the murder of our post offices, and media consolidation.
I'm not trying to say I am the smartest boy in class or that I am a fiend about reading and watching all the reporting  that happens on issues, but I saw so many problems coming from our government long ago that seem to only reach the mainstream way after they should. Let's start with media since they are half the problem here. I was working toward my 1st Class engineers ticket right before the Reagan folks led the change to so much of broadcasting. I worked in an old-style radio station - KGNC in Amarillo, Texas. We had 4 farm reporters and 5 news people! I mean local, full-time in the studio or out in the world gathering news just for KGNC; now that's old style. The retooling of broadcasting in America included a LOT of slacking in regulatory areas that had been highly effective in providing a diverse and fair media.
One of the biggest blows was to end the Fairness Doctrine which provided the best separation of FACT from mere OPINION that we had. It provided a citizen with a soapbox to respond from whenever broadcasters stepped away from reporting and entered the world of editorializing. Equal time had to be provided, by law, to the airing of opposing views. Now you can't find news; it's all opinion. We just choose who we get our opinions from. And the check on editorializing is so far gone that we have actual lying media outlets serving propaganda! And it sure as hell ain't just Fox news. The lying propaganda element is in all the networks. You can see it in CNN, ABC (et al) and even NPR. Part of the lying propaganda is to pretend that problems came out of nowhere, all of a sudden. Who knew? Who could have seen that coming?
By the way, before I mastered the 1st class ticket it was done away with. Even the bleedover that you hear from a powerful station stepping on a nearby (in frequency) station is now legal because engineers with a 1st class ticket are no longer required to prevent such deprecations. A money-saving gift to the big guys who dispensed with a lot of engineering staff. A fuck-you-finger to the little guys whose signals are stepped on.
By the way, Congress under Republican leadership and lots of dough from the big broadcasters carved up the frequency allotments on the left end of the dial - you know where the public stations are -  and gave lots of bandwidth to Christian broadcasters (who fuckin' love to step on NPR). During the Clinton administration the FCC made a big give-away  of new kinds of frequency allotments and also let XM and Sirius radios merge into a monopoly. Now this monopoly can charge you extra for XM plus (where you can get baseball) and Sirius plus (where you get the NFL). When charging you and deciding what you can hear they act as two stations, but they are one giant monopoly.
The destruction of the commons - the ideal that there are some things that God gave us all - is a major Republican goal. It runs from the somewhat abstract (the electromagnetic spectrum) to more concrete things (air, water) to the prosaic (highway rest stops and picnic areas).
They want to allow private citizens to own these things, don't kid yourself. The simple amenities of a decent society - parks, rest areas, public restrooms, etc. - will be gone in a Republican world. And the ones built with taxpayer dollars will be stolen and sold for private profit. This is a MAJOR problem I have with Ron Paul's Campaign For Liberty. I loved son Rand Paul's filibuster about the unConstitutionality of killing Americans with drones, but I don't accept the ideal that individuals deserve control over things that were built up by taxpayers. I don't want to live in a world that denies parks to children unless their parents can pay a fee. A nation that allows a bankrupt vampire named T. Boone Pickens to own water rights all over the country is sick. The tragedy is that it's so obvious what an sick and evil world the Republicans want to create AND THAT DEMOCRATS PLAY ALONG IN THE NAME OF COOPERATION AND BIPARTISANSHIP and give it all up piece by piece.
Gutless. Without guiding principals. Willows in the wind. Democrats.
And I haven't even begun on the stupid practice of paying money to run advertisements on TV and radio during election seasons. It's a give-away to big media outlets who we should just tell - you are going to run x number of debates when we tell you to or you lose your license. Period. The elctromagnetic spectrum belongs to WE the People!

Friday, March 1, 2013

the Fourth Amendment is gone

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The Supreme Court agreed with the NSA that American citizens have no Fourth Amendment rights in this post-9/11 world. The War on Drugs eliminated the assumption that we the people have a right to be secure in our persons or houses. Now FISA takes care of the rest. 
If all the gun rights crowd gave a s*** about their Constitutional rights they would be "up in arms" -) over this. And then we would have an end to warrantless wiretapping and ...
Because, you see, the gun lobby is so powerful Congress trembles in its collective boots to bend over backwards for them. And the Supreme Court? It's actually a fully owned subsidiary of the NRA. So this is my secret political tactic - get the NRA to back your cause/bill/program. Gosh, fellers, I'll trade you the second for my first and fourth!