Thursday, July 29, 2010

Distraction As A Weapon


Magicians use it to get us to temporarily believe the impossible. Pickpockets use it to steal from us. And those who own the mainstream media use it to manipulate public opinion.

But a weapon? Oh yes. If people are killed, wildlife dies, or your wealth is taken away from you against your will; the equivalent of a weapon has been used.

We need to pay attention to the fact that propaganda doesn't always have to look like propaganda. In fact, the most effective propaganda often just gets you to look away.

Need and example? Illegal Immigration.

Illegal immigrants are the least powerful people in this country. They don't even have the right to vote, much less the money to pay for lobbyists. But a whole group of (mostly white) people in this country have been convinced that “illegal immigrants” are the source of all our problems. What's worse; another, much larger group has been convinced to look away from the real problem... The real problem?

If you work like a slave for $2 an hour, you're an “illegal immigrant.”

If you get $20 in food stamps a week, you're likely to be called a “welfare mother.”

If you steal $200 from a credit card company that charges you usury interest rates, you go to (a privatized) jail.

But, if you steal $200 million from taxpayers, you get to run the country.

The real problem is that too many greedy powerful people are taking way too much. We could deal with a few thieves. But it has become a free-for-all for the powerful. There's hardly anything keeping them from taking everything. They call it a “business friendly” “free market” economy.


And they've got us believing that that's just the way things are, and that that's the way it will always be – like the weather. But that isn't the way it will always be (like the climate). Someday, we will either stop the hemorrhaging, or there will be nothing left to take.

Our beloved democratic republic has metastasized into a cleptocracy. The mega-thieves have taken over. And until we stop them, they will take everything – and leave us desperately impoverished slaves in a polluted, dying world.

Are you motivated yet?

If you are; they'll call you a bleeding heart.

But if you're a bleeding heart – because you see wrongs and want to right them, what does that make your accusers?

How about uncaring, selfish, greedy, cold hearted, misdirecting liars who would rather live by unfairness of the law of the jungle than the rule of law.

That would make them un-American.

The Bill of Rights was written to reduce the power of the privileged class.

The Revolutionary War was fought to break away from a ruling class.

The Founding Fathers cared.

They cared enough to risk their lives to create a system with checks and balances.

Now, the present powers-that-be don't want you to notice how out of balance things really are.


And the weapon is aimed at us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Three Reasons For Rioting In The Streets

What a day. What a day...

  1. A Bill in Congress today was blocked from passage by the usual suspects – the (vote no on everything) Republican Party. This Bill was particularly damning for Republicans, however. It was a campaign contribution disclosure Bill.

  2. 37 billion dollars was committed to continuing the Afghanistan “war” against the Al Qaeda army, jet fighters, tanks, handful of civilian guerrillas with small arms and home made bombs. (There was some marginally good news, however. A number of Democrats decided this time to vote against supporting yet another Viet Nam.)

  3. A Pentagon audit has disclosed that 95% of the 9 billion dollars for the hailed Iraqi reconstruction (between 2004 and 2007) has vanished.

Now, let me get this straight; We don't get to know who is trying to manipulate our opinions. We don't get to end a war against a country with less that 100 Al Qaeda members left in it. And, in some instances, 95% of our tax dollars are just being embezzled.

You've got to wonder; how does one just misplace almost 9 billion dollars - and nobody notice for years?

Our elections have become like horse races; they make tons of money for the mass media, the election winners, and the big “contributors” – while they often serve as merely a distraction (from making real progress) for the rest of us.

Some of those secret contributors get enormous benefits on government projects we would do better without – such as war, occupation, oppression, and empty promises of reconstruction.

It has gotten so bad that in some cases, almost all of our tax money is just disappearing.


How broken does our system have to be before it just collapses of its own largess?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What's It Going To Take?

You've got to wonder. We've just had the biggest oil disaster in U.S. environmental history. (This is essentially our Chernobyl.) We just had the biggest coal mining disaster in decades. Natural gas “fracking” has poisoned a vast number of underground water supplies across our country. 2010 was the hottest June ever recorded in Earth history. The Arctic Ice Cap is melting (and humanity's response is an oil rush.) And even worse; a massive flow of ice broke off of the surface of Greenland recently! (That's right, the oceans are rising faster than ever expected – right now!)

...And there will be no comprehensive Climate Bill in America.

It had no chance of passing.

Not one Republican Senator will vote for it.

(NOTE: For those of you (flat Earth) climate change deniers, who get their pseudo-science education from FOX (say anything for a profit) “news,” why don't you go out and read a real science publication once in a while? And while you're at it, look up the term “scientific consensus.”)

Time magazine reports that $350 Billion was spent on lobbyists last year. Gee... do you think that maybe this has something to do with Republicans protecting their (big money) fossil fuel contributors? The Republican politicians have sold out. They've sold out our future.

Our political system is broken. No one can get elected without essentially taking required bribes. I'm not happy with the Democrats – but I'm thoroughly disgusted with the Republicans.

The Democrats didn't have the best of ideas to deal with CO2 emissions. Cap and Trade was very likely a mega-bank con job. A carbon tax would still have been a tax. But the best idea, at least for a start, is to stop subsidizing some of the most profitable companies in history. The fossil fuel companies don't need our tax money. They should be paying taxes. And neither the Democrats nor the Republicans would even talk seriously about this. Why? Why? Why?

It has become blatantly obvious why. In today's political circus, subsidies are for companies who can afford to buy them.

Our government has practically driven itself into insolvency by giving our money to all the wrong people – those with enough money to manipulate what was once a Great Democracy. This is now an oligarchy. They pick who we vote for. They often pick who we vote against. And by the time the election circus is over, whomever we vote for will not cut off the oligarchy's give-aways. It has made them briefly stronger. But it has made us all weaker in the long run. It has stifled innovation. It is gutting our nation's real wealth. It is destroying our world.

What is it going to take? An even bigger oil spill? Abject desperation of millions? A total collapse? How bad are you willing to suffer before you do something significant to save your future? Will we only act when someone tells us it's too late? Hey! It may already be too late! The environment is not a linear system. If things go out of balance bad enough, there may be no human way possible to keep things from spinning out of control.

And as we see now, things are spinning out of control in Washington.


Here in Nevada, the National Resources Defense Council has issued a report by Terra Tech that elevates Clark County's projected 2050 water supply shortage risk to “extreme” – due to global warming.

Southern Nevada must now want to take Central Nevada's water more than ever. The irony of this self-destructive desire amazes me. Exporting water from the desert is just a STUPID idea. And exporting that water to maintain a high carbon lifestyle is even more STUPID – because it just makes the problem worse. On top of that, spending even more money on a bad idea (when there are better ideas) is just STUPID (but that's what politicians do, because it's political suicide to ever admit they were wrong.)

It's hard to change. Sometimes it means admitting you were wrong about something very important. Once the momentum is there, people are expecting to make money. And of course, the (say anything for a profit) propaganda machine has already convinced people this is what they want.

Come election day; there will be some certifiably selfish people here in White Pine County who will go to the polls to vote against Senator Harry Reid because he was against building two huge coal-fired power/CO2 generators (in favor of solar power). Yet, at the same time, they will vote for a Republican who will almost certainly vote against any effort to fix extreme climate change – making the export of Great Basin water even more likely. Apparently, there are people in White Pine County who will vote against their own air and water because they've been convinced that money is more important.

I wish I could say that Harry and Rory Reid were against the watergrab – or at least willing to commit to an independent study to compare real alternatives. But I can't. And at the moment, I don't know of any post-primary candidates willing to stand up for Central Nevada.

This is what's wrong with our political system. Majority rule does not imply that might makes right. Freedom of speech does not imply that one can essentially buy a candidate. But U.S. history has shown just exactly that. Those with wealth and power and numbers have been able to take whatever they've wanted since the days of “manifest destiny.” Frighteningly, what they want now is collectively insane. Together, they want to ruin it all for a big short-term profit.

We need a comprehensive Climate Change Bill. This is a matter of National Security. Our coastal cities are at risk. Our food and water supplies are at risk. Our health is at risk. Our long-term economy is at risk. So what if some terrorist can blow up a building or two. Climate change could take down the whole country.

No nation can survive consistently making bad decisions. It is a hideous situation we are now in. We have allowed the most polluting industries in history to make our decisions for us. And they have decided to keep making quick multi-billion dollar profits – at whatever the cost.

I have a nagging feeling that Americans are starting to lose faith in America. I sense that people are starting to doubt that the politicians are going to be able to fix themselves. And I hate to see this, because who will fight for America if Americans lose faith in America.

It took thousands of years to get to the point where a nation would (at least generally) respect the Bill of Rights.

If we lose America, we will lose what frayed threads of rule of law we still have.

It will be a whole lot easier to fix things now.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I Just Witnessed The Staged Support Of Harry Reid's Opposition

It isn't very often that a small town has as much influence on national politics as today.

Today I watched the political spin machine attempting to bring down a powerful leader.

And it all happened at a 4th of July parade in the town of Ely, Nevada. (That's pronounced ee-lee, Nevăda, for those of you who have never heard of the place.) Ely is a town of about 5000 people. …And, as far as national politics is concerned, doesn't matter much most of the time.

But, the second most politically powerful man in United States politics is our State's Senator, Harry Reid – who just happens to be the Senate Majority Leader. And it also just so happens that the phrase “Elect Anyone Butt Harry Reid” originated here (not something to be proud of – but Fox News ran with it on national news – so that's Ely's claim to fame).

I was just expecting another small-town participatory semi-spectacle parade down our main street – nothing special. There were some fire trucks, some old cars, some cheerleaders, and few candidates looking for votes – in other words just a good excuse to get together with the rest of the people in town.

So, it surprised me when I saw a professional camera team. Don't get me wrong. It was just a camera man and a sound man. But we don't have that here. They had to come in from hundreds of miles away.

On top of that, this professional camera man was shooting towards the sun. This just didn't make sense. Anyone who gets paid to operate a $20,000 plus camera knows better than to stand on the wrong side of the street.

But it all started to make sense when candidate against Harry Reid for U.S. Senate, Sharron Angle, came parading down the street. That's when a handful of spectators started cheering – next to the microphone.

Oh, now I get it. The camera man must have known where the cheering crowd would be, and couldn't go over to the other side of the street to get a better picture.

My guess is that we will either see this footage on Fox “News” or a Sharron Angle campaign ad. (But I guess there isn't really that much of a difference between the two.)


Senator Harry Reid has made a number of enemies over the course of his career.

By supporting utility scale solar power here in Nevada – and opposing coal-fired power, he has alienated himself from the coal industry.

By stopping the nuclear waste dump in Nevada, he has alienated the nuclear industry.

By stating the obvious (back in 2006); that we had lost in Iraq, he has alienated the military/industrial complex.

By being a key player in health care reform, he has alienated the health insurance companies, the corporate hospitals, and the drug companies.

By being a key player in the reform of Wall Street, he has alienated the big banks.

And by speaking out about global warming and the BP oil spill, he has alienated the big oil companies.

With that many powerful enemies, Senator Reid has a real challenge getting his message out. All of those industries have a lot of advertising power. Which means don't expect to hear the truth about Harry Reid on the “for profit” mass media news networks. Moreover, a number of those “news” providers are owned by people with investments in coal, nuclear, oil, military, health “care,” and of course the big banks.

This is the inertia I often speak of.

When money starts flowing in a certain direction, those on the receiving end don't want things to change – no matter how wrong it is.

These greedy, uncaring fools would rather the nation fail than do the right thing. They are not conservatives. They just don't want things to change because they want more money. And they are more than willing to make up stories about how popular Sharron Angle is to keep that money flowing in their direction.


Don't get me wrong. I don't believe Harry Reid is a saint. No one can be a saint in today's political circus of big money controlled politics. But there are far worse Senators in other states – total sell-outs that make Senator Reid look like one of the few Senators left with the will to vote once in a while with their conscience.

I met Senator Harry Reid once here in Ely. It was back when he chose to fight the coal-fired power plants here. ...Now; whatever your opinion about coal – whether you are for or against coal power; you must realize that the money (for Harry Reid) would have been with coal. They have billions, and have spread it around in Congress for decades.

Just before that meeting in Ely, Senator Reid decided to go against big coal money, and decided to promote solar power. You may not agree with his decision. But you have to admit he made that decision because he truly believed that it was the right one. I am convinced Senator Reid doesn't always make decisions based upon how much campaign money it will get him. This is rare in today's politics.

In spite of what you have been told, Senator Reid does have a conscience. I saw it in him that day.

Our political system is broken. He has to live with that every day. And he still has a conscience. We need more of that. We don't need less government. We need a government that functions. And to get that, we need elected representatives that are willing to stand up to corruption.

Don't be surprised when the “for profit” news media tries to convince us that up is down, right is wrong, and those who stand up for us are the bad guys. That's what they're getting paid to do.

Selling out will always pay better than speaking truth to power.

...And if we don't realize that, it will only get worse.

Sharron Angle wants to privatize Social Security.

Doesn't anyone remember what happened to our 401K's?

(Sorry about the ad, but this was the quote I wanted you to hear.)

In contrast, here's Harry Reid (back in 2008):