Tag Archives: glenn beck

Reactionary of the Week: The Holocaust and Glenn Beck’s lies

It is hard to find which of the regularly pungent liquid detritus pouring from Glenn Beck’s mouth on a daily basis as being the most inane and simple-minded. What are worse are the obvious lies that he blathers. And, if by some slim margin of reality, they are not outright and purposeful lies, then the sublime depth of his ignorance is both stupendous and confounding.
So what brings us at Revolution and Beer to award this distinction of stupidity, or worse a badge of gun-porn and reactionary propaganda? Sadly, it has much to do with an issue we were talking about the very day that it happened. It has to do with a militarized police force and a government possessed of control by fear, and the state’s temporary revocation of basic constitutionally protect civil rights-you know that throw away amendment about persons being secure in their homes and possessions, and that silliness about being searched without cause or a warrant for specific evidence-based evidence of a crime being committed. Wait, before you go there, not someone else’s crime, but yours. If they can suspend rights blanket for a city because of an emergency-in this case one man-they have precedence to revoke them for anything. All law is based on precedence.
Beck, so swiftly on the civil rights bandwagon, a mere two weeks after many proponents and champions of civil liberties were aghast, finally referenced the house to house searches in Boston. He pointed to a photo of a policeman in an armored vehicle aiming a weapon at someone taking a picture from their window. His advice: “Don’t give up your guns!”
Amazing! Joseph Goebbels would have risen to attention at that one. Take that visual any direction you like.
But that isn’t what our banal bobble-head of bullshit babbled today on his radio program. He thought it crucial to inform the Texas-tall grass-for-brains mopes who buy his liquid detritus to educate them on how the Nazis rounded up the Jews during the Holocaust. His history cartoon went like this, as the Nazis “dragged” Jews from their homes, neighbors were ordered to stay inside. If they came to the window or doors the Nazis killed them. Wow. Now that is a new take on reality even I couldn’t have conceived, no matter how many beers I ingested. I believe that amount of beer would likely prove fatal!
Now, call me an elitist for reading books, but I have been documenting and studying nationalists and nationalism for more than two decades. Conservatively, the better part of about 30 books in my personal library is dedicated to Nazism and other brutal nationalist regimes. I even had the pleasure of interviewing a Holocaust survivor, Moris Albahari, in Sarajevo some years ago, who was witness to a pogrom by the German and Croatian fascists between 1941 and 143 in Sarajevo. Damned if there isn’t a single shred of evidence to support Beck’s b.s. bombast.
In fact, the Nazis encouraged community participation in their pogroms. Like all good criminal enterprises, nationalist regimes rely on the collective guilt of their societies. Often, as with the Holocaust, local residents were integral in the effort. And that is the fundamental piece Beck missed when he donated his soul for a dime to the NRA. This is more about blind consent based upon fear and security than about an overtly oppressive government.
Welcome, Glenn, to the Revolution and Beer reactionary of the week alumni. Well, done, you’ve earned your diploma, now move the tassel to the other side of her hugely inflated dunce cap

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La Fin du Monde: A toast at the end of the world

So at the post-show meeting for the radio program the other day for the radio program on WCPT in Chicago, we were talking about the end of the world program this coming Sunday, December 16th. We’re coming up a couple days short of the Mayan prediction for the apocalypse on the 21st. Guess I’ll use that time to get caught up on some mischief. I figure there isn’t nearly enough time to atone for all my past sins, and heck, some of those sins I’m quietly proud of. Not all, but a few. I survived ‘em, I figure I get to brag a bit about ‘em a bit. But what to do before the end of the world? It has to be good, but not enough to flub things up on the small chance the world keeps on going come December 22nd.

I was mulling that one over Sunday night when I cracked open a bottle of Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde,  a beer made by triple fermentation. Some years back I’d acquired a cherished tulip –shaped beer glass in Sarajevo. It was made for this Quebec-made work of art. Quickly the cool, almost Prosecco-esque aroma filled the room, giving me a moment’s pause from my mischief-making. It wasn’t thin as, say, Prosecco, this beer had a fuller aromatic smooth bouquet. I know that sounds a bit poetic for someone pondering pranks at the end of the world, but I’m making no apologies.unibroue-la-fin-du-monde

“Oh my god!” my wife gasped. She is not a beer fan at all. A good glass of wine is her vice. But that first breath of La Fin du Monde caused her to turn suddenly.

I was holding the glass up to the light. It was trying to look through poured gold, the light sweeping around the edges. “That’s something, isn’t it?”

“I want to taste that,” she said.

We both shared that first taste, as if it was a discovery; and it was. La Fin du Monde was perfectly balanced, with soft fruity notes, and just the perfect carbonation without becoming distracting.

“I would drink that,” she said, reluctantly relinquishing the glass.

“I know, but you can’t.”

“That’s like fin du awesome,” she remarked.

“And that’s fin du silly,” I replied. “And I am putting that in the review.”

“No you’re not!”

“Oh, it’s going in, baby.”

Truth of it is, if the world is about to end, I can’t imagine a better beer to end it with. That’s not arrogance, but if the world is crashing …or fading to a close it’s best to make a statement, which brings me back to the prank.

The post-show sort of train of consciousness ran through everything from a Zombie apocalypse through the Left Behind series, which I confessed that I hadn’t seen yet.

“Dude, you have not seen the Left Behind movies?”

“Should I,” I replied.

“They’re mostly crap,” came the reply, “but they are done well enough to be fun.”

“So this is what I’m thinking, then,” I began. “What if on the 21st we go to the house of one of these people who believe we’re all going to get sucked out our clothes in the rapture and fly to…where ever. We drop some outfits up and down the sidewalk, shoes and everything. And when they come out we look to the empty clothes, up at the sky and then accusingly to them and ask them, so what did you do? ”

“That’s funny, but cruel,” someone else remarked.

Ah, it’s just spit-balling. If the world is really going to end next week, better to go quietly and with a good beer. And as the sun sets for the final time, raise that glass of La Fin du Monde with friends and make a toast to the end of the world. And then, when the sun rises again on the 22nd, and it will, so much the better.

Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of the page.  

For more info on Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde visit http://www.unibroue.com/en/beers/15/


Unspoken Truths: Bain, Romney and the latest Obama Campaign Ad

Don’t bitch. If you backed away from the Occupy movement and threw money  at Democrats ahead of the presidential election out of some pragmatic retreat to make  sure Obama got re-elected, or because it was time to “face reality,” believing that if one side has super PACs then we have to fight fire with fire, or if you threw in the towel about campaign finance reform and the repeal of Citizen’s United, you’ve got nothing to bitch about. If you are a Republican, you can shut up as well. The hyperbolic vitriol that has become and that is the campaign on both sides is exactly what you get when you concede perverse nonsense such as money equals free speech.

This week a super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, Priorities USA Action released an ad placing blame against Romney for the cancer death of a woman who lost her health insurance after Bain, Romney’s company, closed the company where her husband worked. The Kansas City based GST Steel declared bankruptcy and closed in 2001. Romney claims he was not in control of the company at the time, but FCC filings offer a different perspective, clearly showing that he was in control of the company.

In the ad, Joe Soptic, who worked at GST when Bain took control says, “When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that, my wife became ill. “I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance. And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia, and that’s when they found the cancer, and by then it was stage four. It was – there was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days.”

The Right reacted with predictable outrage, calling the ad despicable. Rush Limbaugh mocked Soptic on his radio show today. No doubt in the coming days they will attack every aspect of the story, the man and his family. But the argument is a thin one, particularly in light of the veiled re-hashing of the birther issue in the anti-Obama film heavily promoted on  Right-wing radio called “Obama’s America 2016” is little more than a pro-Romney ad parading as journalism by former Reagan Whitehouse functionary and zealot Dinesh D’Souza.

But the ad speaks to a deeper truth, one that the Occupy movement championed and working-class and the poor have known only too painfully. While politics and big business  are a game to the rich and powerful, the true effects of that game, hidden by a complicit or gleefully dumb media are too often written in the lives lost to those policies.

So a factory is closed. Too often it barely merits a mention on the nightly news. If it does, the cold facts report ten, thousand laid off, or twenty thousand jobs outsourced overseas. Missing are the lives of men and women who may not have the capacity, who may be too old, to whom resources  aren’t easily accessible, or  are unable to tear up lifetimes invested in a home. all too often it is the elderly, those of limited means, perhaps invested and over=extended to provide an education for children, or at the age of retirement when their insurance and the pension they worked for their whole lives is suddenly and legally taken from them.

These  are the people, many tens od millions of Americans for whom the loss of a job or insurance is a devastating event that may take years to recover from, may lead to bankruptcy, foreclosure, and choosing a meal over a needed medical checkup, the electric bill over a meal as despair becomes a cruel indignity to honest hardworking people who lost their jobs and livelihoods not to normal or unforseen economic cycles and calamities, but by strategic takeovers, manipulations of the law, greed and uncaring financial gamesmanship.  

When I visited Sarajevo at the height of the Serbian siege, thousands had died of sniper and artillery attacks. Unreported and uncounted were the elderly who froze to death, starved to death in their homes. Untold children died of malnutrition. Hundreds, perhaps thousands died during those 4 long years of disease.  They were not shot or killed by an overt act of war, but were dead just as surely. 

Is there any difference when a company like Bain takes over a factory with the express purpose of carving it up purely for the financial gain of a few. And when a town is decimated by that closing, when someone like Joe Soptic’s wife dies for what amounts fully to greed, who is responsible for that death? If a couple must choose between heat and food because their retirement has been stolen and they succumb to pneumonia or the effects of cold or malnutrition, who is responsible for that, when the act of ending their retirement was a fully unnecessary and wholly self-serving act? If a mother and  child cannot properly afford pre or post-natal care because her healthcare was discontinued so that a few  stockholders could afford a bigger house, a fancier car or another European vacation, and the child dies, or suffers, who is responsible for that?

Interestingly, and sadly, there will be American’s who are unsympathetic to the pain of men like Joe Soptic, and maybe America needs to confront that darker side of itself to understand the stakes, and those who would lead us down a wholly inhumane and unrighteous path. Perhaps that’s the tactic; to draw out the extremist Right and push Romney into the corner with them, clinging to nakedly cruel, short-sighted and unAmerican positions from which they cannot escape to hide behind the lies, confusion and innuendo they have cloaked themselves in up to now.


21 days in May: An Occupy Novella, part 2

Chicago was adopting something of a siege mentality as the NATO summit and protests loomed ever closer. It certainly wasn’t the protesters dialing up fear and concern. There had been in recent weeks a purposeful effort to intimidate the population, painting the protests as dangerous and the authorities as protectors. The effort began slowly in February and by the end of April had grown to a near fever pitch. The authorities, state, local, Federal and private corporate interests would manage and stoke that fear with their propaganda wing at FOX, CBS, ABC and even the so-called liberal MSNBC.

It began with leaked reports that downtown businesses would be hiring increased security for the protests, the reports punctuated with images from unrelated riots in Seattle some years earlier. Then came near panicked interviews with police officials clamoring for emergency funding from a cost-overridden city hall to make sure the police all had expensive new protective riot gear. Commuters would be subject to search and trains could be diverted or stopped altogether for “security concerns.” Boats in the harbors would be prohibited as the city became an armed camp. Then, at the end of April the fear was raised to insidious levels, first with front page headlines that downtown Chicago was now considered a “RED ZONE,” and that heavily armed federal agents in riot gear would be guarding strategic  buildings. The next day the local CBS affiliate published a “leaked” memo revealing how Red Cross officials in Milwaukee were preparing for the possible evacuation of Chicago in the event of an insurrection during the NATO summits. No one, in the media at least, questioned the rationale or what possibly would cause a city of eight million to flee en masse, not to the suburbs, nearby Joliet or Gary Indiana in such a catastrophe, but 90 miles North to Scott Walker’s Milwaukee Wisconsin. 

Angelo studied his smartphone, tapping on an MSNBC story emailed to him overnight. His eyes moved across a stunning headline that left him even more conflicted about his part in all this.

  “…agents have arrested five people who were plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland, Ohio… Douglas L. Wright, 26, Brandon L. Baxter, 20, and Anthony Hayne, 35, were arrested by members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force on April 30 on charges of conspiracy and attempted use of explosive materials to damage physical property affecting interstate commerce. Also arrested were Connor C. Stevens, 20, and Joshua S. Stafford, 23. Charges are pending… of Hayne, Stafford and Baxter, there were claims that they were affiliated with Occupy Cleveland, which moved swiftly Tuesday to distance itself from the bridge plot… after “we awoke to the news of the arrests,” coordinator Johnny Peskar, 22, told msnbc.com… “We don’t need any implications in this nonsense,” Peskar said… Occupy organizers had seen a few in the plot hanging around earlier events, but their actions were “autonomous,”

He set down the phone and went to the long mirror by the door. Six years in special forces and 4 more as a military contractor with a for-hire firm had placed him is some odd and morally questionable circumstances, but none more than this.  This mission left him awake nights, praying for the respite of nightmares in sleep instead of the nightmare he was living.

He still looked like a college kid, and could pass for his early twenties. Angelo had let his dark brown hair grow long, nearly to shoulder length. His clothes were rough and urban and worn. His cover was a simple one, which was always the best-less to remember that way. Facts and dates were mixed or altered should anyone go prying. He looked the part well enough, but there was something else.

The mission was taking a toll. He appeared haggard and exhausted, which did not lend themselves to a successful mission. But what of the mission? In Afghanistan in a beard and local garb, Angelo passed sufficiently to infiltrate a Taliban group. He tracked a FARC leader in Columbia for  six months without being detected, and was able to worm his way into a Mexican drug lord’s inner circle. Never before had he been asked to spy on fellow Americans, which was bad enough. But this, this mission…

Angelo glanced at the paper he’d been slipped the day before at the protest. He had never seen the contact. The man came and went like a ghost. Now he found himself balanced on a fence, weighing ethics, morality and salvation. They were an operative’s worst obstacles. He thought of the mission once more as he went to the sink and poured a chemical mix over the paper, dissolving it almost instantly. He washed it down the drain with water and recalled the headline from Cleveland that morning.

Nineteen days and it would all be over. Nineteen days and the mission would be complete. Nineteen days and the nation would be forever changed. Angelo steeled himself and nodded resolutely. In the end he made it about the money. He’d made  a shade over a million tax free as a military contractor-the ultimate welfare scheme he sometimes mused to colleagues. Another half million would be deposited in an off shore account for him following a successful conclusion of the mission. Other missions were for country, unit or to bring down truly reprehensible people, but this would have to be about the cash, and that would have to suffice.

 

 

The train, bus and three block walk to he and Eva’s bungalow on Chicago’s Northwest side left Jack beaten. Eva wasn’t home yet with Jeffrey. The house was still and comfortable and peaceful. He practically collapsed onto the chair in the front room. He still had on his jacket and hat. The shoulder bag was in his lap, as if he’d striven for that chair with his final ounce of energy.  Morris, their lumbering Boxer/ Boston Terrier mix, normally a pest for attention, seemed to understand well enough. He sort of flopped to the floor at Jack’s feet and laid his head across one shoe with a heavy sigh.

The family still wasn’t completely settled into the place, and a daunting list of projects left Jack all the more spent. The phone rang, and he hardly had the energy to lift it, let alone answer. He hit the speaker key and let it go to voice mail

“This is Jack, lean Left,” came his recorded message. After a short pause Angelo from Occupy replied.

“Hey, Jack, wanted to know if you could get together later. I have something I need to discuss with you. You’ve got the number. Call me back.”

Jack sighed and  let the phone fall to his leg. He’d been meaning to get back into the movement, especially now as the NATO summit neared. He liked Angelo, at least what he knew of the kid.  Every movement attracted its share of oddities; Occupy, Socialist groups, anarchists, The Tea Party, and certainly the Ron Paul devotees. Angelo seemed like a normal fellow, well informed and adjusted and, for as much as Jack could tell, passionate about the cause. He thought about Sarah as he lifted the phone and found Angelo’s number. As it began to ring at the other end, he was already crafting his sincere apology to her.

“Hey, Angelo, its Jack,” he began. “Brutal day at work, sorry I couldn’t pick up before. Still want to get together?”


The Black on Black violence myth and Trayvon Martin

It isn’t that racists are for the status quo, but that the status quo is by nature racist by supporting systems resulting in oppression. Mythology created by assumptions, outright fabrications or lazy intellectualism is the cornerstone for those systems, creating the cultural foundations for oppression arising from the pressure and imperative of the so-called status quo.

If that sounds overly precise and academic, it was meant to be. Given the lawyerly and subversive tactics of true racism today, those opposed to it must be as precise as possible in their opposition. But once that mythology takes hold and becomes “common knowledge,” challenging those assumptions can become monumental. The mythology surrounding the Trayvon Martin case is telling.

The status quo culture is constructed to undermine and negate issues and events exactly like the death of Trayvon Martin. Think of a river with momentum more than will. Diverting the river becomes an incredible, often impossible task. The river resists change, in favor of its own blind momentum.. The river that is American culture reflects the dominant power, which is primarily money and commerce, but also historically and primarily white and male. It is not racist on purpose, but most definitely racist in structure as it eschews or erases the individual nature of minority groups. Can’t picture it? Walk into any IKEA and feel your individuality erased as you become quite purposely an identity-less consumer. Now imagine an entire system, 24 hours a day, in every direction you turn designed to erase your individuality.

On yesterday’s Thom Hartmann show, Hartmann, a progressive talk show host, did not challenge a statement by Alan Korwin from gunlaws.com, in which Korwin wanted to know why everyone was so concerned about Martin but “there wasn’t a single story about 70 other black men killed” in black on black violence over the same period.”  This has been the loud and forceful narrative from the Right, and has gone all but unchallenged from the Left.

The nightly news and newspapers routinely carry these stories. Indeed, especially in Chicago, the Right passionately describes inner city violence to assail Obama’s, Jesse Jackson’s and other civil rights leader’s credibility. It isn’t that no one is reporting on those stories, but rather, no one is paying attention anymore. Life for life, all of those whose death receives only peripheral attention are equally as important as Trayvon Martin. All of their circumstances should be equally shocking in a better world. The importance of Trayvon Martin lies not in the context of those other tragedies, but rather of the supreme injustice with which his death was handled in the media and by the authorities.

That the status quo culture and media were so quick to negate that injustice points to the dangerous and inhuman momentum of the river. That millions were able to rise up and lend their voices to a cry for justice, and divert that river, even a little should be cause for hope. It should give us hope that it can carry the culture towards the ocean and greater truths, rather than allow it to die polluted in its mad run to the desert.


Legacy

I was a child in the 1960s and early 70s, but even at an early age it was impossible not to be affected by those tumultuous years. Even in the suburbs, far from the so-called Grant Park riots, the anti-war movement, Civil Rights, the vitriolic assaults  against those questioning the status (white) quo and Vietnam, the historic scope of those years was inescapable. And that was perhaps the most dramatic period of American History since the civil war. Before that change was far more incremental, and still favored the status quo. White power and supremacy was not assailed or significantly challenged for more than two centuries. That changed in the 1960s.

But the effort begun during those years was surrendered as that generation grew older. Many, though not all, abandoned the ideal of love, peace and egalitarianism they fought, bled, and in the case of Kent State or Martin Luther King, or Malcolm X and many others, died for. To be fair, their dreams were not completely abandoned. Important steps forward in peace, human and civil rights were made, but too many of that generation believed they had won the fight, or had won it enough. In the last several decades a purposeful effort was made to discredit their work and to roll it back as much as possible. As much as civil order would tolerate. But many from that generation abandoned their ideals, or followed the mantra of ideological cowards, a phrase repeated endlessly by the Right:

When I was a young man I was a liberal, when I grew up I was a conservative.

Where is the evidence for the charge that the 60s generation quit, conceded or defected to the enemies of peace and tolerance? First of all, they are the ones mostly in charge now, because succeeding generations have not yet acquired enough money, power and influence. Here are but a few examples. 

Racists have honed their message, and made their craft slicker and less apparent, even seductive. So-called “men” like Limbaugh and Savage and Beck tease the humors of their closeted and bigoted followers in carefully couched language. Human Rights were thrown back pre-Second World War over lawyerly justifications and obfuscations about torture. Vietnam was  a war over money, markets(oil and rubber) and influence filtered through extreme national ego, with just the right amount of racism to sell it to middle America. The perverse invasion of Iraq, the “strategic” picking and choosing of which human rights issues we will interfere in makes American foreign policy in Indochina and the 1960s-world seem naive and innocent by comparison.

And please don’t think this is a generational thing. My generation gave itself to an “Alex B. Keaton” style of morality and conscience, compromising comfort with ethics. We were on watch when the Twin Towers were struck, and when war threatened in Iraq, carried on propaganda and demonstrable lies, we acquiesced. A million of us marched, but it wasn’t enough, because we didn’t understand the powers arrayed against us, nor how to  turn the message to our favor. We stood in the street and then conceded when the war began, disillusioned that a wholly owned media would impune our patriotism, and that a bought and paid for government wouldn’t simply ignore us, it laughed in our faces as pathetic for believing our voice actually held value in this nation.

And now comes the Occupy Movement. they stand for equality. They stand for freedom. And they stand for a government that must work for human beings, rather than corporate and banking interests. And for those simple assertions they are treated like peddlers of porn or worse. Safe from the comfort of their homes, too many in older generations ignore their efforts or dismiss them as kids, communists-and even worse-not serious. They will inherit the world the rest of us failed to improve enough. They are in the fight to reverse the damage the out of control influence corporations have had on the nation and the world. It is a just fight. It is the correct fight, because in each of our hearts we know the alternative should this movement fail.

And they have created their own media. The mainstream media is obsolete and never even a consideration any longer. The revolutions will not be televised, I have heard, it has been digitized. And it works through the amazing  ascension of social networking, instantly and around the world. They control their own message, and underground message, if you will, growing and strengthening as the old media kills itself off with its corrupted and co-opted corporate parentage. Occupy will succeed or build its own society based upon principles often quoted from the Constitution…and Bible…documents too many now wipe their ass with to use as a weapon against others. 

But what if it succeeds? What if a world in which the individual is paramount is forged. What if the government works to further human rights, fight wars only in defense or in defense of the helpless rather than as the enforcement wing of multi-nationals, or the marketing wing of those companies, siphoning taxpayer dollars to subsidize corporate profits? what if we lived in a world in which political candidates were chosen by the people, without the money influence, and that we could be sure they were beholden to us, and if not faced dismissal or prosecution? What if our choice for president was  3 or 5 or a dozen viable candidates, rather than two media chosen automatons shoe-horned into the ballot box? Now what if none of that came to pass?

And so one question remains, one that calls us back to our purer, less cynical, less damaged,more loving and accepting selves? When is it time for change? When do we decide to make that change. Where does a road begin, and when is it time to take the first step on that road. No one can make that decision for another. They must make it on their own. But that decision begins change in the world, every decision makes change in the world, and that is each person’s legacy.  

In my younger days I was a liberal…and I never stopped fighting or believing.

That is my legacy.


Big government? Damn right. The biggest! Just fix it.

So the mantra from the right these days is that government is too big, and we must shrink it, not to make it more efficient, but so it can get out of the way of business.In the age of the highest corporate profits in human history that rhetoric is obscene. Fundamentally, that is an anti-American, anti-Constituional idea. Let’s set aside the argument that government exists because it has the power to do things individuals simply can’t do, like build a road, fight a war, enforce health and safety codes, maintain a justice system and get toilets to flush safely from coast to coast.

This nation is being duped into buying the perverse and dangerous idea that corporations are virtuous and wise, while government is corrupt, inept and out of control. Are they saying they’d happily trade corporate control for the United States government? Have they never seen a corporation go bankrupt? Go out of business? End pensions? Break the law?

Name me a single corporation that has existed as long as the US government? Name me a single one that acts as a democracy? Name one that voluntarily protects the interests of individual workers rights without those rules being imposed by government. Name one. That corporation doesn’t exist.

Without government, corporations would pollute the environment, abuse employees, and even murder labor activists http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/26/international/26COLO.html?searchpv=day04&pagewanted=print . They would be free to pay employees the lowest possible or barely survivable wages with no benefits in dangerous environments. Get hurt on the job due to their negligence and you’re history, and so is your family’s future.

The problem with government is that the Democrats and especially the Republicans have allowed and facilitated the corporate stranglehold on government,  a crime promoted and repackaged in the pseudo-Press suppositories of FOX, CNN, MSNBC and talk radio, all of which are owned by significant corporations with huge interest in the outcome of this quiet coup.

The people can take it back, but they have to get smart, get organized, and defend a government large enough to defend a Constitution that was written for people not corporations.

What you really what, whether you realize now or later, is a government big enough not to get bullied by terrorists, rogue nations, competing nations, and least of all self-interested corporations. But it has to be a government humble enough to protect the homeless guy on the corner from being run off because he fell on hard times, or the millions of families faced with foreclosure

The Bush tax cuts for the rich (still in effect) have failed to generate the jobs Republicans and the rich promised would happen if those tax cuts continued. The government should be big enough to conclude a war and recognize the rights of minorities and the wrongly accused.

Big government? Damn right. The biggest! just fix it.


WARNING: Explicit Language on Unions/FOX and Idiots

I have a specific request for 2012. I need someone to convince me that this country is worth saving, or if it is over-burdened with a fatally vapid population. Convince me that the sooner the last of the so-called baby-boomers and Gen-Xers( of which I am one) are gone this society will have a chance of a progressive and purposeful society. I know, I know, the Right has demonized the word progressive, but pause a moment to think about the root of the word, and then think about something that has progressed, like say flush toilets over outhouses, cars over wagons or cellphones with internet as opposed to hollerin’ across the valley.

I was listening to this evil, evil show on FOX called Bulls and Bears, a lop-sided name as there is far more bull than bear. One comment that all the pundits cheered was regarding how unions prevent the historically profitable and powerful corporations from competing in the global marketplace due to those union wages and benefits. And who precicely would we be competing against for, say, manufacturing? It isn’t Europe or Japan. It is regions and countries like Mexico and Central America, India, China and southeast Asia. Add to that the comment from a relative recently, attacking the Occupy Movement by detailing how poor people in this country need to shut up because they live a better life than people in Africa (As if the entire continent were in all the same dire situation). By that logic, that relative won’t be happy until they are as poor as people in Africa. (Nevermind that this relative on the family’s current income in a southern desert state would be “Africa-poor” if forced to live in say Malibu or Manhattan- because your income is relaive to where you exist) 

It is an all too common theme I hear repeated among people making less than hundred thousand a year, many who make far less than that. They regurgitate so-called common knowledge fed to them by the Right and Corporate media. They pit their economic woes against people on  Social security, welfare or other public assistance, or among evangelicals and other Christians, or Muslims among racial lines, which amounts to little more than fighting over the scraps tossed by the wealthy abusers of the nation and planet.

There was a time when dumbass-no-nothing-neverreadabook-can’tseepasttheirownnose-believeeverythingtheyhearonFOX-flagwaving-can’tgettheirgrosslydimpledassoffthecouch-dunces had no mass outlet to make us all collectively dumber with their insipid opinions. But Reagan and the Clinton saw to that, allowing for the political and idealogical lopsidedness of the media into the hands of a small number of elites. Evidence a number one progressive radio show in San Franscisco being replaced by the obsolete Glenn Beck show because the station is owned by clear channel, which is owned by Bain Capital, which is owned by Mitt Romney.

But Clinton and Reagan aren’t the only ones to blame for media consolidation. Oprah in the early Ninties convinced us all that the news should work for us, not just tell us stuff about foreigners. She gave voice to a slate of housewives who whined about all the violence on the news was bad for their children, and who cares what happens way over on the other side of the world-I want to know where the best shopping malls are and where all the multitudes of child abducters are at any given moment. Of course, while that was going on, we were being set up for 9-11…way over on the other side of the world.

But is wasn’t just Oprah and those other 2 guys. People like Newt Gingrich saw an opportunity to enrich themselves by inventing the moral majority, which was little nmore than a ploy to polarize the nation between so-called Left and Right as a means of tightly focusing  a new market for their flood of crap books and Bill O’Reilly products.

And it wasn’t just Newt and Oprah and, R and C. Too many of the American people fell for that crap. They let it happen. They let themselves be rolled over, and are now too dumb not to know first that they are taking it hard in the caboose, and second that they don’t know who is giving it to them (Hint, it ain’t the Black guy in the office who was “born” in Kenya). And then when their kids, and people who have known all along about the shit-storm befalling this nation and planet stand up in mass protest for the 99%, those poor-as-dirt vapid, dumbass couch-idiots cheer the police for pepper-spraying and beating them, or they call them filthy hippies and communists.

A bit harsh? Needs to be said. This country is teetering on dumb and lazy, and I am afraid it prefers it that way, fighting over scraps from the wealthy 1%. If that is the case, we’re just dumbing out freedom and nation to death and we’ve no one to blame but ourselves.


Ongoing violence against Occupy protesters: part 2

Last week Florida Representative Ted Deutch introduced a Constitutional Amendment removing personhood for for-profit corporations and prohibiting corporate funding of candidates. Please encourage your representatives to support this historic measure

Meanwhile, attacks continue against peaceful Occupy protesters as a concerted and systemic effort to crush their constitutionally protected voice. Below is the current list of new attacks against peaceful Occupy Protesters:

November-18 mayors in conference call with DHS coordinate crackdown on Occupy Movement. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/17/1037317/-Could-The-DHS-Be-Coordinating-With-Mayors-s-No-Credible-Evidence

04November- Iraqi War Marine Corps veteran Kayvan Sabehgi suffers a ruptured spleen while telling Oakland police he is a veteran and a business owner. Sabehgi is in intensive care, the second veteran severely injured by Oakland police. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/04/occupy-oakland-second-veteran-injured

November-former US Poet Laureatte, 70 year old Robert Hass and his wife beaten while pleading with police not to beat non-violent protesters. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass & Wife Beaten by UC-Berkeley Police During @OccupyCAL Protest http://t.co/6UoOhT2w #ows

Novemeber- Seattle Methodist Pastor Rich Lang tackled and pepper-sprayed while attempting to mediate between police in riot gear and protesters.

13November-84 year old Dorli Rainey doused directly in face by military-grade pepper spray. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFN307Sn9BU&feature=related 

19November- UC Davis police pepper spray non-violent protesters with bear/weapons-grade chemical. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjnR7xET7Uo

The illegal and immoral assaults are growing in ferocity across the country, ramped-up by Right-wing talk radio and other media consistently portraying protesters as criminals, scum, communists and treasonous. They must stop before a fatality occurs. Time for politicians to voice support, if not for the protest then for their assertion of constitutional rights. It is time for churches to stop their silence. It is time for all good citizens to come forward and be heard.


I have forgotten more Balkan history than most will ever know: 17 November and Glenn Becks Fictions

After 19 years travelling in the Balkans, through two wars and more, I think I’ve picked up a thing or two about the history there. In fact, I can cite chapter and verse on better than 5000 years of Balkan history. You see, moving among the former republics of what was once Yugoslavia, in the hyper-charged atmosphere as war raged in Bosnia, with flare-ups among contested regions of Serbia and Croatia, and the calamity of Kosovo, everyone had an opinion they paraded as gospel truth on the conflict and each side’s culpability. I had two clear choices. one was to to nod respectfully and remain silent for fear of argument or reprisal (an embassy official in Belgrade warned me the going rate to kill someone was roughly $125USD), or I could dissuade vitriolic nationalism by knowing the history better than my opponent.

I hated the nationalists and their tunnel-vision fear and antagonistic-based view of the world. It was tribal and ignorant, and in the end, responsible for filling mass graves across the former Yugoslavia. I was there as a witness, and as a responsible witness ( to the dead in those mass graves, the rape victims, the displaced and devastated) I was only adding to the tragedy by not standing against it. The ultimate tool to that ignorance, and to all ignorance and injustice is knowledge.

From 1991, when the decision was made to go to the Balkans, I consumed all I could find on Balkan history, literature and culture, depleting the shelves at DePaul, Northwestern and Loyola Universities. I absorbed Russian, Turkish, German, Yugoslav, Italian, Greek, Bulgarian and Austro-Hungarian sources. My research included Classical Roman and Greek sources, archaeological  background and primary sources. I interviewed professors in a bombed out museum, holocaust survivors, diplomats, genocide victims and soldiers on all sides of the frontline-often under fire. That research has never abated. To say that I have forgotten more Balkan history than most will ever know is not an exhibition of ego, but an indication of a voluminous amount of research, blood, sweat and experience. 

The problem with history is that it proves nothing, but can excuse everything. History can be fact, but facts are not necessarily the truth. They can be arranged, omitted or skewed with hyperbole and emotion to pretend basis for excuse. It is the nationalists prime tactic-regardless of political ideology. On today’s show, Glenn Beck, in his Mosquito Coast scheme to falsely demonize the 17 November Occupy protest demonstrated the darkest form of this by drawing a perverse connection to today’s protest and a pathetic, barely remembered terrorist group.

First, Greek history, like every other part of the Balkans is not a linear arrangement, and not even a patchwork. It is a complex three-dimensional weave. A Marxist in 1960s Greece is not the same Marxist from Germany or France in the early 20th century, and certainly nothing like that of pre, let alone post revolutionary Russia. The term is meaningless. It is a ruse, a cartoon for Right-wing propagandists, like Beck, to stimulate those too lazy, incapable or gullible to learn those differences themselves. For the record, the “Marxists” in Greece were standing in opposition to a violent Right-wing Military dictatorship, you know, like those Hitler, Franco and Mussolini characters that destroyed Europe.

But to the point, today’s protest on 17 November, (all my years around the military, that’s how I say November 17) may well have had a historic inspiration, as Beck asserted. But not the one he’d have you believe. He began his show bragging that he’d blown the lid off the whole movement, and that 17 November was inspired, connected or in step with the so-called Marxist 17November terrorist group. But, oops, Glenn Beck betrayed his ignorance (or dishonesty) yet again. A few facts about 17November

On 17November 1973, after nearly a decade of brutal rule, the CIA supported Right-wing Greek Military Junta turned dictatorship violently turned on a popular mass protest against the imprisonment of thousands of dissidents and political leaders, the torture and exile of dissidents, the suspension of the Greek constitution and civil liberties, and the abolition of political parties. The terrorist fringe group 17 November grew from that violence, but 17November became a national Greek holiday, not at all connected with the fringe group. Greeks still observe the day annually. But Beck’s ignorance (or outright lies) did not end there.

He dropped a line about Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom targeting Jews in an orgy of violence in 1938. Unfortunately for Beck, Kristallnacht happened on 10-that’s 10 November 1938.

N17 is also a rock band. NC17 is a movie rating. N-17 is a song in Ireland, and N-17 is also a highway in Belgium, a very pleasant one I drove on just two years ago.

All of this is meant to portray and define the ignorance of men like Beck, and people who believe the slightest breath from his mouth. It also underscores  fundamental rule about history. Not that those who are ignorant are doomed to repeat it, but for the dumb and foolish it will eventually return to bite them in the ass.

 


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