Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How America Lost its Soul

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Literature is characterized by recurring themes. On a short list of archetypal stories is the 'pact' which some are said to have entered into with 'Satan'. In many variations, a protagonist agrees to exchange his soul for worldly or temporary gain. As a 'cultural motif', it is most often associated with or exemplified by the German legend of Faust or Mephistopheles.

It is significant that Faust or Faustus means 'lucky' --or 'auspicious' in the original Latin. It is, I'm sure, merely coincidental that Larry Silverstein who is the most obvious, the most notable beneficiary of 911, is called 'Lucky' Larry! In Latin --Faust!

In Goethe's retelling of this archetypal legend, Faust is unhappy, unsatisfied though he is a highly successful scholar. Mephistopheles makes him a 'bargain' that he cannot refuse. Faust agrees to exchange his soul for 'unlimited knowledge' and worldly pleasures. This motif is archetypal and not unique to Western or Christian traditions. It is found, I am told, in almost all cultures throughout history.

To be expected, the western versions of this legend are heavily influenced by traditional Christian beliefs in witchcraft. The pact is between a person and Satan or any other demon; the person offers his or her soul in exchange for diabolical favors, most often material, monetary or sexual but may include youth, knowledge, wealth, or power in various forms and proportions. It was also believed that some persons entered into such a pact in exchange for nothing; it was a sign of recognizing the devil (Satan) as master.
"I told the invited scientists who the Committee was, the Interim Committee, what it was established for, and then I switched over and told them what we wanted of them, the invited scientists; first, to congratulate and thank them for what they have done and then to get them started in talking and questioning. It was a little slow sledding at first but I think I got some wrinkles out of their heads in regard to my own attitude and that of the Army towards this new project. I told them that we did not regard it as a new weapon merely but as a revolutionary change in the relations of man to the universe and that we wanted to take advantage of this; that the project might even mean the doom of civilization or it might mean the perfection of civilization; that it might be a Frankenstein which would eat us up or it might be a project 'by which the peace of the world would be helped in becoming secure'. Well after a while the talk went pretty well. I had Marshall in and during a time when I had to be absent to go over to the White House he took a vigorous hand in the discussion and I think impressed himself very much upon them. I think we made an impression upon the scientists that we were looking at this like statesmen and not like merely soldiers anxious to win the war at any cost. On the other hand, they were a fine lot of men as can be seen from their records. Dr. Fermi, Dr. Lawrence, and Dr. Compton were all Nobel prize winners; and Dr. Oppenheimer, though not a Nobel prize winner, was really one of the best of the lot."

--HIROSHIMA: HENRY STIMSON'S DIARY AND PAPERS: Part 5, May 31, 1945 - June 6, 1945
The development of nuclear weapons is often said to be 'Faustian'. Indeed, for a few post war years, the United States, as the sole possessor of atomic power, ruled the world. Even before the bomb was dropped there were doubts about the wisdom of unleashing the atomic genie. It was Physicist Robert Oppenheimer, supervising the U.S. 'Manhattan Project' who quoted the Bhagavad-Gita:
" I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds..."
Another version differs only slightly:
If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty one...
I am become Death,
The shatterer of Worlds.
Forbidden Planet of 1956 is a classic Sci-Fi tour de force staring Leslie Nielson, Walter Pidgeon, and Anne Francis. It holds up surprisingly well against Star Wars of the 1970's and even the most recent digital entries.

The story of Dr. Morbius, re-discovering the technological marvels of a lost race of Krell on the distant planet Altair, is updated Shakespeare: The Tempest. And while Forbidden Planet excels in special effects, it's enduring fascination is found in a parable: technology vs its inventor, the monster vs Dr. Frankenstein, in fact any one at war with the enemy of his/her own making.

Forbidden Planet lays bare the dark side of human kind, a forbidding gestalt of uncontrollable urges, the monster from the ID! Just as Lord of the Rings depicts the absolute corruption of absolute power, Forbidden Planet confronts us with a question we would rather not answer: what are we to do with the physical manifestations of our inmost monsters?

Is "Terrorism" the Monster From the ID?

FBI statistics published by the Brookings Institution repudiate the political exploitation of terror by the recent Bush administration, the right wing in general. The FBI's own statistics indicate that while Ronald Reagan most vociferously waged his famous "War on Terrorism", terrorist attacks against the United States actually increased. There were three times as many terrorist attacks during the Reagan years as were the case under Clinton. Yet --Clinton was criticized for not having waged such a 'war on terrorism'. Either the American right wing has not bothered to check the numbers or it has checked them and lies about them. In retrospect, only the wealthy, elite right wing constituency has ever benefited in any way by various 'wars' on terrorism. The rest of us are cannon fodder. The right wing consisting of powerful lobbies and military contractors has made a Faustian bargain. The U.S. is akin to Morbius of Forbidden Planet --too late do we recognize that the only demons that howl are of our own making.

In the United States, if not everywhere, it is the ruling elite that, like Faust, made the bargain. Scrooge was wrong and so is the contemporary right wing. Scrooge was wrong because the terms 'rich' and 'poor' are subjective and often the 'poor class' is the result of elitist greed. The 'monster' that is thus created is not merely the statistical imbalance between right and poor but the insidious economic inefficiencies that result. For example, in the U.S. just one percent of the population owns more than some 95 percent of the rest of the population combined. A inequitable society is an inefficient society. The U.S., for example, seems always to plunge into recession/depression during GOP regimes in which it is also true that the very, very rich have gotten even richer.

By way of influence, lobbies and campaign contributions, et al, the U.S. elite controls the apparatus of government. Naturally, this 'ruling elite' favors economic policies which enrich them to the detriment and/or impoverishment of everyone else. This is the reductio ad absurdum of the Scrooge (Herbert Spencer) position which maintains, wrongly and fallaciously, that the rich are rich because they are smarter and better.

Robert Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Save the Wolves from GOP Predators and Palin

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

A bone-headed decision to remove gray wolves from the federal endangered species list applies to wolf populations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Idaho and Montana, and parts of Utah, Washington and Oregon. Apparently, gray wolves in Wyoming remain protected under terms of the Endangered Species Act. This 'act' has transferred the 'management' of the wolf population from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to state and tribal agencies. In Idaho -- the wolves have become legal targets for hunters in short order.
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners have already adopted dates for the wolf hunting season in the state and will set quotas once delisting takes effect.

"We have to move on and manage them similar to other big-game animals," Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said. "This is good news for wolves, elk, rural communities and hunters. I believe this action will help defuse the animosity and anger associated with wolves when we can manage wolves in concert with our other big game species."

The Fish and Wildlife Service will monitor the delisted wolf populations for a minimum of five years to ensure that they continue to sustain their recovery. At the end of that time, it will be decided if relisting, continued monitoring or ending service monitoring is appropriate.

Idaho governor C. L. "Butch" Otter has said he supports reducing his state's wolf population from its current level of around 800 animals to 100. "I'm prepared to bid for the first ticket [hunting license] to shoot a wolf myself," he once said.

--Lindsay Barnett

Ranchers are apparently the largest group demanding the eradication of Wolves. Especially troublesome are incidents in which the Alpha male is 'murdered'. In Washington state, an alpha male over several generations was killed, his 'pelt' sent to Canada, presumably for 'sale'. Hideous! And --no ---states do not have the right to eradicate any population! Some laws are unjust if not stupid! Alaskan attempts to eradicate wolves are disingenuous and Sarah Palin knows that that is the case. And, in any case, the wolves were there first! What if a law saying that wolves had a right to 'eradicate' were put into effect?

Ranchers have no legitimate complaint. Many have in fact encroached upon 'ancient' habitats and, in any case, they use land owned by the public for 'free grazing'. Anyone getting a 'free lunch' has nothing to complain about. But now --we are expected to turn a blind-eye to the murder of noble animals. In fact, wolves were never a problem until their habitats were encroached upon. As someone who spent much of his childhood on a ranch in West Texas, I can say with some experience: animals are a threat only when we have trespassed upon them. They have rights too!

Wolves also occupy an essential niche in vast, complicated ecosystems.
Wolves are the top predator in most environments in which they live and the trickle down effect of their presence is astounding. In Yellowstone, prior to the wolves' reintroduction in 1995, elk basically roamed wherever they chose and tended to spend most of their time in the river valleys. This excessive streamside grazing prevented willow and cottonwood tree growth along the river banks. But when the wolf returned, the elk quickly learned they couldn't set up permanent housekeeping in the valleys and they moved on to make a living in other areas. This, in turn, allowed young trees to grow along the riverbeds. The new trees shaded the river water, creating improved habitat for trout, which thrive in cooler, darker waters. The new willows and cottonwoods attract additional migratory birds and provided new food sources and building materials for beavers. The beavers then built dams which created new marshes and wetlands that in turn attracted otters, ducks and other species.

Wolves provide tremendous economic benefits

Ecotourism is quickly moving to the forefront of family recreational activities. The longing to see animals in their natural habitat has created an economic boom throughout the United States. In Yellowstone, fishing has always been a big industry and the improved environment along the river caused by the wolf's presence has improved fishing opportunities. The wolves themselves are also a huge tourist draw, with many people making Yellowstone their vacation destination expressly for the purpose of seeing wolves. Indeed, most sunrises in Yellowstone are accompanied by rows and rows of nature lovers with spotting scopes, all straining for a glimpse of the elusive wolf.

Wolves pose little threat to livestock and humans. In fact, their prey of choice has been wild game like deer and elk for centuries. The same is true for human/wolf interactions. Despite claims by wolf opponents, the fact remains that aggression by wolves against humans is a very rare event.

--Benefits of Wolves : The ecological and economic benefits they bring
The only justification for killing of animals is for food! However, no one has ever said that wolf meat is going to make any difference whatsoever to those who go hungry because the GOP has transferred vast amounts of American wealth upward to a ruling elite of just one percent of the total population. The greatest threat to those who may be near starvation is the GOP --NOT the noble wolf! Again --the American right wing, the GOP in particular, is not only wrong but dead wrong and wrong-headed, and, at their very core, stupid, evil and --charitably --misguided!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How the U.S. Invented 'al Qaeda'!

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Al Qaeda was a U.S. creation, specifically a product of inverted right wing psuedo logic. If 'al Qaeda' did not exist, never mind --the shills would invent it and cite it to justify wars abroad, crackdowns on freedom at home! They would bestow upon it a virtual existence via press releases, propaganda and outright lies --deliberate attempts to mislead the American people!

Bin Laden should pay royalties to the U.S. right wing if, indeed, he ever benefited from his new found celebrity, his holographic 'creation' by the mass media, his elevation to arch-enemy status! His is falsely characterized as the 'mega-terrorist' brain behind a sinister world terrorist organization resembling an octopus with tentacles in every real or fictitious terrorist attack. There had not been anything like it since Bond fought SPECTRE --an evil terrorist organization specializing in terrorism and extortion. In the Bushco rewrite the part of Blofeld is played by Bin Laden.

It was a crock!

It was the CIA which bestowed upon Bin Laden himself his near mythical image of sinister master terrorist who commanded a vast world wide network from deep inside a cave in Tora Bora. This was all really, really bad fiction. Many Hollywood producers would have laughed out of their offices anyone daring to pitch it! It was, it seems, a very, very bad rewrite of Ala Baba and his 40 thieves. Ali, like Binny, lived in a cave but --alas --did not have cell phones. But neither did Bin Laden.

The immediate acceptance of the Bush official conspiracy theory proves the diminishing IQs of those who insist upon believing it. The consolation is this: the CIA has no future in Hollywood!

A bad b-movie!

According to the official version of the lie (charitably: the 'myth') goes something like this: the CIA and the Saudis are said to have funded and armed Bin Laden throughout the 80s. His mission impossible: wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. In fact, Bin Laden was working for the CIA.

Simply --Al-Qaeda means 'the base'; in this case --the computer data base of thousands of mujahideen trained and recruited by the CIA. The mission: defeat the Russians. This is cold war James Bond stuff and, in some cases, a just a bad rewrite. Life imitates spy movies.

The problem has become apparent over time: Washington did not know what to do with this 'database', this network that had become obsolete with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It obviously never occurred to DC spooks and/or analysts that with the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, Ala Baba, uh, Bin Laden would focus upon U.S. imperialism throughout the Middle East! But did he? More likely --he was just the convenient scapegoat for an inside job that would become the pre-text, the boogie-man to be cited as justifying a war for the oil resources of Iraq, the poppy (opium) resources of Afghanistan.

The source for how 'al Qaeda' got its name is Sir Robin Cook, the former British Foreign Secretary. In order to protest the British connection to this sorry story, Cook resigned his job.

Benazir Bhutto: Bin Laden was Murdered

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bush's Tragic Legacy at Home and Around the World

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

One hopes that thinking about Iraq has gotten clearer since Bush violated U.S. laws and international commitments in order to: 1) seize the oil fields of Iraq; 2) exploit the 'threat of terror' to consolidate his 'base' at home, 3) subvert Constitutional guarantees that give Americans the right to denounce incompetent and/or traitorous 'leaders'.

An evil legacy of this idiocy is the recent decree that would allow the government to 'sanction' i.e, kill its vocal opposition.
Civil liberties advocates and legal authorities struck back Friday at what they describe as the “deliberate targeted killing of U.S. citizens far away from any active hostilities, as long as the executive branch determines unilaterally that they meet a secret definition of who the enemy is.”

In an admission that took the intelligence community and its critics by surprise, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair acknowledged in a congressional hearing ... that the U.S. may, with executive approval, deliberately target and kill U.S. citizens who are suspected of being involved in terrorism.

--William Fisher, Legal Experts Slam Assassinations of US Citizens, February 06, 2010
This reminds one of the infamous assertion by the newly appointed Gen. Michael Hayden that the legal standard to begin an investigation or, possibly more Draconian measures, was 'reasonable suspicion' --not 'probable cause' as it is, in fact! The General was wrong! He betrayed the fact that he had never bothered to read the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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.
That the possible murder of U.S. citizens by our own government even saw the light of day is not just worrisome, it is cause for alarm! We should be yelling --crowded theater or no! The very concept is repugnant and those politicians entertaining it should be fired, impeached, removed, tried upon the probable cause they have violated U. S. laws against sedition.

Next time --unless these ideas are exposed, eviscerated and laid bare --a future would-be tyrant may find it easy to carry out a program of rampant murder upon a mere 'suspicion' about which he might even be inclined to lie. Such a tyrant might order the round-up and incarceration of anyone daring to express a disagreement! There is precedent! In the Germany of Adolph Hitler one need not 'do' anything to be arrested, detained, imprisoned and, eventually, murdered. One had only 'be'! A Jew ! A Gypsy! A non-Aryan! Thus not even the pure Aryan was free to act! He could only 'be' but not as a free individual but as a cog in the enslaved collective! This is what happens when the rule of law is flouted and or ridiculed as it was during Bush's eight years each of which were Annus horribilis!
The President revealed this ... as he fairly spat through his teeth, words of unrestrained fury directed at the man who was once the very symbol of his administration, who was once an ambassador from this administration to its critics, as he had once been an ambassador from the military to its critics.

The former Secretary of State, Mr. Powell, had written, simply and candidly and without anger, that "the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism."

This President's response included not merely what is apparently the Presidential equivalent of threatening to hold one's breath, but within it contained one particularly chilling phrase.

"Mr. President, former Secretary of State Colin Powell says the world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," he was asked by a reporter. "If a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former secretary of state feels this way, don't you think that Americans and the rest of the world are beginning to wonder whether you're following a flawed strategy?"

“If there's any comparison between the compassion and decency of the American people and the terrorist tactics of extremists, it's flawed logic,” Bush said. “It's just -- I simply can't accept that. It's unacceptable to think that there's any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.

Of course it's acceptable to think that there's "any kind of comparison."

And in this particular debate, it is not only acceptable, it is obviously necessary, even if Mr. Powell never made the comparison in his letter.

Some will think that our actions at Abu Ghraib, or in Guantanamo, or in secret prisons in Eastern Europe, are all too comparable to the actions of the extremists.

--Keith Olberman, Bush owes us an apology
While he occupied the White House, his opposition was often called traitorous by that term and others as well. That this chill upon 'free speech' could happen in America where it was often said It Can't Happen Here begs an explanation! The question is not whether it might happen but why it happened in the first place and when it will happen again!
A state is not, like the ground which it occupies, a piece of property (patrimonium). It is a society of men whom no one else has any right to command or to dispose except the state itself. It is a trunk with its own roots. But to incorporate it into another state, like a graft, is to destroy its existence as a moral person, reducing it to a thing; such incorporation thus contradicts the idea of the original contract without which no right over a people can be conceived.

--Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace
Thus, it was in 1795 that Kant made quick work of the very concept of aggressive war. I find it ironic that as soon as this nation under incompetent and criminal leadership abandons those principles we find ourselves in a state of Perpetual War from which only an increasingly tiny ruling elite will benefit! This elite is Moloch by any definition!

Totalitarian regimes and other "fear based" societies are considered by Natan Sharansky to be "tyrannies". Though an apologist for Bush, Natan Sharansky is at least correct about that much! However, the "basis" for the specific principles of International Law to which the U.S. is "obliged", indeed, even insisted upon are as follows:

An excerpt:

(a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
I also recommend ‘Preventive War’ and International Law After Iraq. An excerpt from the introduction and executive summary:
However if change is to be effected, it must be carried out in way(s) that promotes international peace and security through multilateral action and the rule of law. This may be time consuming and frustrating, but the alternative danger is a weakening or even abandonment of the rule of law and undermining the prohibition on the use of force which has been the product of not only the international consensus to avoid war following two world wars but decades of consensus.

--‘Preventive War’ and International Law After Iraq, Duncan E. J. Currie LL.B. (Hons.) LL.M., 22 May, 2003
To conclude that because one has power its exercise is always right is, simply, wrong! It's a non sequitur! On trial for his Nazi crimes at Nuremberg, Goering called it "victor's justice"!
The victor declares what is right and moral and through some charade transforms these propositions into "legal" form and engaging in some meaningless ritual, punishes the losers.

--Hermann Goering
Goering's position is the Nazi position and that of anyone else, most recently, Republicans who subscribe to it! The law of the jungle, it will describe the ultimate descent of civilization unless it is eschewed. It must be pointed out that even Goering --a Nazi --did not consider for a moment that it was 'right'. It was and remains, as he said, the exercise of power by those who have it against those who don't! There is nothing 'right' about it and no victory can make it so.

Eventually Iraq will form an Islamic socialist/theocracy and --if it wishes to survive --an alliance with Iran. American soldiers will have been sacrificed for nothing! Is this how conservatives and/or GOPPERS define 'victory'?

Iraqis opposing a U.S. war of aggression are hardly "subversive"; many Iraqis will call those who oppose the U.S. by the word: "patriots". I refer you to William Pitt, Earl of Chatham who admonished the British parliament with what was very nearly his dying breath:
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms,—never! never! never!

--William Pitt, Earl of Chatham (1708–1778)
And what term is used to describe the Americans who fought with the Lincoln Bridge and others against Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Are they terrorists?

Terrorism is Worse Under GOP Regimes

It used to be that one need not be "left" to denounce wars of naked aggression! I denounce the idea of "pre-emptive" strike; it is a return to the law of the jungle in which " is nasty, brutish, and short"! Every tin horn dictator from N.K. to Iran need only cite the Bush doctrine to justify their armaments.It's hard to imagine how one can win a moral argument by so willingly, so eagerly giving up the moral high ground --as Bush has clearly done!

My remarks are not merely theoretical. Just as FBI statistics prove conclusively that terrorism against the United States was worse as Ronald Reagan waged his similarly failed "war" against 'terrorism', so, too, Bush has failed! In fact 'terrorism' against U.S. 'interests' is always worse under GOP regimes. Coincidence? No! It is the understandable reaction of people to U.S. imperialism as it was the reaction of Zulus and eventually the people of India against the British!

Terrorism under Bush increased with his declaration of no quarter for those nations harboring or nurturing terrorists! Though he would not admit it, Bush had in mind administering his new acquisition--Iraq --by way of puppet governments. The ex post facto rationalization --bringing Democracy to Iraq --was not conceived until it was clear that no WMD would be found and, secondly, that the mis-named insurgency would not go away! At various stages, Bush and Bushy thought things would get better.

They never did!

But we are expected --I suppose --to surrender our freedoms willingly because a moron fucked up! I don't think so!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Support Wikileaks; I am Yelling Fire in a Crowded Theater!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The U.S. will try to prosecute Julian Assange under laws that violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, laws that were absurd when the U.S. entered World War I and more so now. These are laws that prohibit you from telling the truth about the U.S. government; these are laws that make it a crime to exercise your conscience. Thus, these laws are, by definition, tyrannical.

Let's put aside the myth that we are guaranteed 'Freedom of Speech' in the U.S. Certainly, the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution makes such a guarantee but, in practice, we are often denied that right, most notably when it is the government that is sure to be embarrassed or exposed by the mere exercise of free speech. That is the case today! The U.S. Government has threatened to prosecute Julian Assange for violating the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, the law that progressive labor champion Eugene Debs was accused of violating when he dared to oppose U.S. entry into World War I. The world's biggest idiot --Sarah Palin --has irresponsibly called for the assassination of Assange.

The legislation enacted in 1918 is commonly called the Sedition Act, actually a set of amendments to the Espionage Act.

The Espionage Act made it a crime to interfere with the war effort or with military recruitment or to aid a nation at war with the U.S. The Sedition Act extended its provisions to cover a broader range of offenses, notably speech and the expression of opinion that cast the government or the war effort in a negative light or interfered with the sale of government bonds. One historian of American civil liberties has called it "the nation's most extreme antispeech legislation."[6] Those convicted under the act generally received sentences of imprisonment for 10 to 20 years.[7]

--Sedition Act of 1918

The law prohibited MANY forms of speech.
...any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the... form of government of the United States...or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy.
This law is absurd on its face, a clear violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is so overly broad, merely criticizing it, as I have done, probably violates it. It is not the function of government to make criminals of its best citizens. It is the job, the duty in fact, of government to protect the rights that, of late, it seeks to suppress. It is the function of government to guarantee that future Julian Assanges will not be prosecuted arbitrarily for purely political reasons or to avoid prosecutions themselves! As Eugene Debs was unfairly convicted of violating a bad law, an 'unconstitutional law', Julian Assange will, likewise, be falsely accused of 'yelling fire in a crowded theater'!

I am of the opinion that at present, when the U.S. empire is illegally embroiled and mired, when the military of the United States has proven its corruption to the entire world, when the armed forces of the U.S. have been videotaped in acts of atrocity and otherwise exposed to have committed numerous war crimes to include tortures resulting in death, mass murders of civilians (captured on video tape), when the criminal nature of numerous U.S. occupations, aggressions, incursions most of which violate every international treaty to which the U.S. is signatory it is unconscionable not to yell 'fire in a crowded theater!!

The law is overly broad, meaningless, clearly intended to silence the very opposition that the First Amendment was intended to protect; it places arbitrary limits on political speech based upon the prejudices of those in office. The government has proven time and again that it is not concerned with the letter of the law, breaking the law overtly when it is to its advantage and prosecuting the laws if it is you that is accused!

The government is concerned only because the information that has been leaked to Julian Assange can prove that the U.S. has become --in fact --a rogue nation whose leaders habitually flout international law to which the U.S. is signatory. The U.S. does this with impunity and threatens opposing nations with war, opposing individuals with prosecution.

The U.S. has not merely countenanced atrocities in Iraq and elsewhere but has ordered and sanctioned them! What we need is not another witch hunt by bureaucrats in an illegitimate and increasingly arrogant, imperial government; we need, instead, a responsible government which understands that the first responsibility of the law is the protection of the sovereign, i.e the people. Elected officials and bureaucrats are not the government; they are not the 'sovereign'. They are, in fact, mere hired hands and had best understand that fact! It is the Constitution itself which establishes as a matter of law, fact and practice that it is the people who are sovereign! Anyone doubting that should consult any competent, brief history of the Magna Carta!

Justice Holmes was wrong about yelling 'fire in a crowded theater'. It was and remains a false analogy! If the theater really is on fire, it is unconscionable not to yell fire. To deny one the right to oppose war --as Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes denied Eugene Debs --is a recipe for military dictatorship. Eugene Debs' 'crime' was that he dared to speak 'truth to power' by 'unlawfully' opposing U.S. entry into WWI. The real reason Debs was targeted was that he had not been fooled by those who benefit from war and for whom the lives of ordinary citizens are sacrificed! For the same reason, the U.S. GOVT is dead wrong to try to prosecute Julian Assange whose only crime may be the unforgivable one of exposing U.S. criminality, imperialism, arrogance, and, in some cases, incompetence.

To Julian Assange have been entrusted numerous 'files' which will most certainly prove to the world the clear and present danger that is posed by the architects of U.S. imperialism. The record speaks for itself but the files may speak louder, clearer. The files will prove that there really is a fire in the theater. There really is a clear and present danger to peace throughout the world, a danger that is posed to it by U.S. arrogance and imperialism benefiting an increasingly tiny elite, in the U.S, just one percent of the nation's total population.

The files leaked to Julian Assange will literally scream FIRE because there really is a fire; there really is a threat! To be silent is to be irresponsible! To do nothing is unconscionable! I support Julian Assange! I support a full revelation of every truth; damn the consequences! I am yelling FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

How GOP Fascism Screwed Texas

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

When a state or nation fails to live up to its basic obligations to the people, it is in breach of contract. It is the right of the people to rise up and replace --by any means --the illegitimate regime. If that sounds radical, I refer you to the words of James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire! You might also consider the Magna Carta!

What the GOP has in mind for the rest of the nation, it has very nearly accomplished in Texas. Under the criminal and incompetent management of George W. Bush and, later, Rick 'Good Hair' Perry, Texas is reduced to third-world status --an outcome resulting from Bush/Perry neglect and overt contempt for public education.
Our schools are in crises: We [Texas] rank 36th in the nation in high school graduation rates. An estimated 3.8 million Texans do not have a high school diploma. We rank 49th in verbal SAT scores, 47th in literacy and 46th in average math SAT scores.'

--Barbara Bush, The Critical Mind
But you can rest assured that the private schools in Texas are doing fine. But it is in the public schools that those not born to wealth have any hope of acquiring an education. But the elites would deny you even that!

A detention camp in Taylor Texas that currently holds hundreds of rebuffed asylum seekers who legally entered the country, half of which are children swept up in midnight raids, is a potential prime location for the enforced transfer of American citizens during a time of national emergency.

The privatized Hutto jail, which is also administered by Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), currently interns political asylum seekers who came to the U.S. on legal visas. Most of them are families including pregnant women and children who have never been accused of any wrongdoing but are forced to endure squalid conditions inside literal concentration camps.

In 2004 the facility was on the verge of being shutdown due to lack of occupancy but new immigration policies, allied to the burgeoning growth of the prison industry and future plans to detain American citizens en masse, have revived the potential scope of the camp, and a new contract to intern 600 individuals was finalized with immigration authorities in December 2005.

The facility is euphemistically called a "Residential Center," yet charges of overcrowding and poor conditions are rife, with an estimated 645 people filling a facility that has only 512 beds.

--Paul Joselph Watson & Alex Jones, Texas Prison Camp Future American Gulag?

This is a fascist outcome and as a result, the corporate prison population has exploded. If trends continue, one day, there will most surely be more folk in prison than out. This is a GOP payoff, a 'laundered' pay0ff, to the corporations for their support of the Texas GOP.
The newly instituted leveling system on death row in Texas under which prisoners are classified in one of three categories—supposedly based on their disciplinary record—is nothing but heightened repression.

It masquerades as a means to provide uniform rules and regulations in managing male prisoners sentenced to death. But in truth it is a reactionary response to prisoners’ efforts over the years to organize themselves against cruel and inhuman treatment.

The Endeavor Project, the Lamp of Hope Project, and now Panthers United for Revolutionary Education are just three examples of prisoners’ efforts to protect themselves and resist.

Any time prisoners, and even people on the outside—unions, women, people of color, gays—begin to organize themselves across color lines, the system devises counter-schemes to bring it to a fast and abrupt halt.

The Texas death row leveling system is another of these, out of a huge bag of trickery designed to dominate, subjugate and divide prisoners. It’s no different from when businesses divide workers, colleges divide students, and the ruling class divides the poor masses by establishing lines of antagonism.

Before the leveling system, all death-row prisoners in Texas—except for those classified as work-capable—were already confined to "administrative segregation" status. In other words: lock-down.

--Commentary from death row: Texas leveling system shows rise in repression, Harvey Earvin
As high school graduations per capita declined, crime in Texas, most notably murder, increased. Not surprisingly, the prison population swelled to overflowing. The GOP in Texas has, thus, enriched, the corporate, fascist owners and operators of prisons.

'Are there no prisons?' --Scrooge

These outcomes are not coincidence, not the result of incompetence, not the result of mere GOP idiocy, though many, like the Bush crime family, are idiotic to be sure! No --this is, rather, fascist policy; it is a laundered pay-off to the GOP's corporate 'base'. The corporate-GOP axis makes out like Nazi brass or the likes of I. G. Farben, the makers of Zyklon B. The made a killing. It is only the citizenry which suffers, a citizenry that is increasingly deprived of educational or vocational opportunity so GOP fat cats can continue to feed off the misery of its victims.

The Oil Boom is Over

Texas must learn to make an honest living. Texas must face up to its responsibilities now and to future generations or it will perish. Under the disastrous back-to-back Bush/Perry regimes, Texas is well on its way to economic oblivion.

The results are disastrous:

  • Texas/Bush style provides the residents of Texas with some of the nation's very worst crime and incarceration rates
  • Texas subjects the residents of Texas to deteriorating air quality and wanton ecosystem destruction;
  • Texas can boast of having the nation's very worst murder, crime and incarceration rates!
  • Texas now leads the nation in pollution, crime, and illiteracy --should be studied by any other state wishing to avoid a similar distastrous fate.
As education standards and performance declined with the ascension of George W. Bush to Governor and his equally incompetent successor --Rick Perry --crime rates, primarily murder and armed robbery have increased. Naturally, there is a round up of the usual suspects, i.e, the poor and those caught in the act of being black or brown.

The increase in crime in Texas is the result of GOP policies and the GOP's criminal neglect of education. The crime resulting will prove to be yet another 'growth industry' for the likes of Halliburton/KBR as was the Bushco war against the people of Iraq!
How infuriating has it been, the last five years, watching Halliburton and KBR get away with murder? Murder, poisoning, electrocution, rape, human trafficking, fraud, bribery — their crimes go on and on. But could their decade-long spree may be coming to an end? This year, settlements for old offenses, new exposés and new lawsuits for more recent evil-doings, have resulted in plummeting stock prices, canceled contracts, and a soon-to-be imprisoned former CEO.

The latest blow came last Thursday, in a Texas court, where executives for Halliburton and KBR were described in legal papers as conducting a “reign of terror” and functioning “as criminal enterprises.” Paying bribes, taking kickbacks, concealing gang rapes, and engaging in human trafficking were among the crimes listed on the May 14th complaint brought not by government or human rights lawyers, as you might expect, but by attorneys filing a class action suit for the pension fund of Detroit’s Policemen and Firemen. According to the press release issued by the funds’ attorneys, Grant & Eisenhofer, Halliburton and KBR’s directors enabled “a pervasive environment of misdeed and corruption,” resulting in suits, investigations, fines, penalties, and settlements of over $650 million, which have ravaged the corporations’ reputations, prospects, finances, and in turn the pension fund’s investment.

The Texas suit covers the period both before and after KBR became an independent company, and names the majority of the two companies’ recent and current boards, including such corporate heavyweights as past president and chairman of American Airlines, Robert Crandall. The May 14th press release by attorneys originally listed former Halliburton CEO, Dick Cheney as a defendant (not surprising, since most of the Nigerian bribes occurred under Cheney’s tenure; Cheney also appointed and directly supervised Stanley), but a hastily issued correction stated that Cheney had been listed in error. The complaint identified some of Halliburton’s and KBR’s known “misdeeds” in Iraq, including providing troops with untreated, untested water from the Euphrates and delivering ice to troops in a truck that showed signs of its former use as storage for corpses. The complaint concluded, “The myriad crimes and wrongdoings discussed above simply could not have happened if Defendants were doing their jobs. As officers and directors of the Companies, the Defendants were required to ensure that the Companies’ internal controls were in place, functioning properly, and sufficiently strong to prevent it from committing wrongful or illegal acts.”

The Detroit pension fund suit is one of many recent suits against Halliburton and KBR. In November 2008, Joshua Eller, a civilian employee at Balad Air Force base northeast of Baghdad, cited rotten food, contaminated water and ice, and toxic fumes from open burn pits, as contributors to his ongoing depression, nightmares, and gastrointestinal and dermatological conditions. In March 2009, parents of Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth sued KBR for wrongful death from electrocution in the shower at his Green Zone base. In April 2009, troops, private employees, and families filed nine lawsuits against KBR for compensation for illness and deaths from exposure to toxic fumes from Iraq and Afghanistan burn pits. The suits, which lawyers will be pursuing as a class-action, seek damages “in an amount sufficient to strip defendants of all of the revenue and profits” involved in managing waste for military bases.”

But the pension fund suit is the first initiated by shareholders, and the stakes are high. Grant and Eisenhofer is a formidable opponent, ranking first among plaintiff firms in funds recovered for shareholder clients. The firm is currently involved in class action suits against Barclays Bank, Countrywide Financial, UBS, Pfizer,and Merck as well as Tremont Holdings Group Inc, a fund charged with feeding $3 billion of client investments to Bernard Madoff Securities.

--Nora Eisenberg, Is KBR’s Decade-Long Crime Spree Finally Coming to an End?, AlterNet
A Day of Reckoning

With any luck, the whistle may have been blown.
New York - On Monday, Dec. 6, a district court in Texas will be asked – for the first time in that U.S. state's history – to decide whether the death penalty is unconstitutional based on the "disproportionately high risk of wrongful convictions" in Texas.

John Edward Green, Jr., the defendant in Texas v. Green, is charged in the fatal shooting of a 34-year-old Houston woman during a 2008 robbery. He has not yet been convicted, but prosecutors say they would seek the death penalty.

Green's attorneys have filed a pretrial motion in Harris County District Court. Judge Kevin Fine will hear arguments that the death penalty is unconstitutional because it creates an unacceptable risk of executing innocent people

Green's attorneys contend that a number of factors in Texas's legal system increase the risk of innocent people being executed.

According to the defence, these include a lack of safeguards to protect against mistaken eyewitness identification, faulty forensic evidence, incompetent lawyers at the appellate level, failures to guard against false confessions, and a history of racial discrimination in jury selection.

Paul Cates, director of communications for the Innocence Project, told IPS, "The Innocence Project will be participating in the hearing specifically to put on evidence about the cases of Claude Jones and Cameron Todd Willingham. Both Jones and Willingham were executed in Texas."

He said, "In the case of Claude Jones, DNA evidence has proven that critical physical evidence (a hair sample) used to place him at the scene of the crime did not belong to Jones. Cameron Todd Willingham was executed even though a prominent arson scientist notified the Governor and the appeals court prior to his execution that the critical testimony of the arson investigator was based on outdated arson science."

--US Execution Capital Reconsiders the Death Penalty
The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment (especially if you happen to be innocent) but, in Texas, its application is clearly discriminatory.
Mississippi and Arkansas have the highest poverty rates in the nation (at 21.9% and 18.8%, respectively), and Florida saw the largest increase in poverty (2.8 percentage points) over the course of the recession, new Census data shows. Poverty was lowest in New Hampshire (8.5%) and Alaska (9.0%), but even in those states at least one in 12 residents lived in poverty.

While the new data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) are similar to the nationwide data on poverty released earlier this month, the ACS provides a more detailed look at poverty in every state. The result is more evidence of the widespread pain resulting from the Great Recession. In the nation overall, there were 42.9 million people in poverty in 2009. For the average family of four, this means that their combined income for the year was less than $21,954 (the exact threshold varies by family size and number of children). From 2007 to 2009, 47 states and the District of Columbia experienced increases in their poverty rates. The first Map shows poverty rates by state and how they changed throughout the Great Recession, which began in late 2007.

--Kai Filion, Economic Policy Institute, Child poverty rises dramatically in most states,
One day, some believe, a ruling elite of just 1 percent of the total U.S. population may decide that a declining profit margin no longer justifies the 'business' of warehousing, torturing or murdering people because just 12 people decided that they did not deserve to live free or live at all!

The 'elites' may be tempted to pull out, to take the money and run, to 'cauterize' the prisons, dump the problem upon an unsuspecting but 'not rich' population. Thus --they will leave behind a dismantled and/or crumbling infrastructure incapable of handling a prison population of some 2.5 million across America. The corporate robber barons will decide that it is no longer worth the bother with either the infrastructure or the accounting of some $190 billion a year --more than the combined costs of wars against Iraq and Afghanistan.

At this point, the corporate psychopaths, having made a living 'killing' and 'warehousing', may decide as did Hitler before them that a 'final solution' is required.
Like in the late 1930’s, the “final solution” will be the mass extermination of prisoners across the U.S.A. And Texas – always at the vanguard of fascism – has already begun. At first by “medical means” with the complicity of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, now charged with all medical care (or lack thereof) across various TDCJ’s. That is how TDCJ/UTMB murdered courageous “jailhouse lawyer” David R. Ruiz: whose Ruiz v. Estelle lawsuit brought TCCJ under the heel of the Ruiz Court for nearly two decades. UTMB denied Ruiz timely lifesaving cancer treatment, much requested, until it was “too late to treat.” But there are many others: among the growing elderly population and the sick.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Why 80 Percent of Americans Don't Believe the Official Theory of 911

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

These days, Bush's only defenders with respect to 911 are 1) paid liars and hard cases left over from his utterly criminal and illegitimate administration; and 2) idiots whose only source of "news" is Fox. Fox news, however, is an oxymoron, appropriate I suppose for a network of morons in service to morons.

Bush, it is said, could not have pulled off 911 alone. Of course not! A total tool, it could not have been his idea. He was the 'titular' head of a loosely organized gang of power brokers and the motley crew of wing nuts who support them. God knows why!

Bush was and probably still is a puppet but not a good one. When the real history is known, we may find ourselves eternally grateful to Bush whose utter incompetence, his palpable stupidity, his painful, hardly bearable inarticulateness revealed however inadvertently the truth about how our nation was usurped by an ever smaller ruling elite.

Last time I checked this elite amounted to just 1 percent of the total population, diminishing in size as its members grow richer. One day, they will have put themselves out of business. In theory, at least! [The L-Curve; also see:Temporal evolution of the “thermal” and “superthermal” income classes in the USA during 1983–200 income classes in the USA during 1983–2001]

Nevertheless, it was under Bush that several wars --some phony, some real --were fought on their behalf. The most obvious war was the one with the phony name: 'War on Terrorism', a classic misnomer. It is more accurately described as the "War of Oil and Resource Theft". I suppose that we were expected to believe that God himself intervened with 911 and gave Bushco the pretext required to attack and invade those nations having precisely the resources most coveted by the Dick, otherwise called "Cheney".

Those having knowledge and/or participating with Dick Cheney in any way most probably have guilty knowledge of the method by which a pretext to attack and invade the Middle East was obtained.

Some of those having this guilty knowledge include Marvin Bush in charge of WTC security. In a position to help plan it Had there been a real investigation of the crime of 911, he would have been a prime suspect. He was. As head of WTC security, Marvin would have been in a position to know about, perhaps direct, the placement of explosives. It would have made possible a series of obvious controlled demolitions that provided the pre-text Bushco required to seize resources for sponsors like Halliburton et al.

The weakest link is Larry Silverstein who let the cat out of the bag. WTC 7 was "pulled" he said on video tape. It was Luck Larry that gave the order! Within 15 minutes, his order was carried out. A controlled demolition! Two facts put Lucky in a bad light: 1) it takes considerably more than 15 minutes to prep a 47 story building for demolition; 2) Lucky was financially upside down with the acquisition of the WTC white elephants. An insurance pay-off conveniently bailed him out. Lucky, indeed!

The Dancing Israelis

I believe that the 'Dancing Israelis' were Mossad Agents. On broadcast TV, they boasted that they had gone to New York for the purpose of documenting the event now called 911. That's guilty foreknowledge, probable cause to investigate 911 and everyone connected with it it starting with the prescient Israelis. It is clear that the "Dancing Israelis" knew that the towers would come down and positioned themselves to see it when it happened.

Dick Cheney's 'Energy Task Force', in fact, met prior to 911 for the purpose of carving up the oil fields of Iraq. They would need a pre-text! Were they 'prescient'? If not, that event speaks to 'motive'. Dick Cheney's Halliburton got almost all the contracts from the Bush admin just as did I.G. Farben, Thyssen et al from Hitler prior to his invasion of Poland. It's the fascist/Nazi way.
Essential 911 boils down to this:
  • The Bush Official Conspiracy Theory of 911 is utterly impossible by science and circumstance. It did not happen!
  • Even members of the 911 Commission, prominently John Farmer now DISOWN the 911 Commission Report and that of the NIST. Both are works of pure fiction, ignore established peer-reviewed physics and ignore the glaring holes in the official cover. [See: Rutger's Media Relation: New Book by John Farmer]
When you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however implausible, must be the truth!

At last --who benefits? Apologies to Sherlock Holmes! The truth is this: 911 was an inside job, a Mossad-CIA operation on behalf of a crooked coalition to include big oil, Halliburton, of course. All of them benefited!

If the MSM had been doing its job, good folk like my friends Dr. David Griffin and Kevin Barrett would have an easier time of it. Initially, the Bush administration utilized its leverage throughout the corporate media to shut up the opposition. The most egregious tactic impugned the patriotism of anyone daring to point out facts that prove the "official theory" is impossible. That's true for many reasons not the least of which is that it defies the basic laws of physics.

Physics, of course, is no longer taught in schools,. As the GOP has risen in power and influence, educational standards declined. That is the verifiable record of GOP failure in Texas which --as a result of the back to back Bush/Perry debacles now trails the nation in high school graduations.

It is hard to make the case that the official theory defies the laws of physics to millions who have never darkened the door of a high school, let alone a university physics lab. The GOP is 'anti-intellectual' for a reason. Mass ignorance as a result of their domination of the media and their overt subversion of education are the most effective covers for their many crimes. The GOP has a stake in keeping the U.S. population uninformed and/or stupid!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The 'Bailouts' were Frauds and Shakedowns

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The wrong people got the bailouts. One can find daily confirmation of that. Most recently, according to the L.A. Times, the Fed predicted that higher jobless rates, may become a long-term fixture, perhaps a permanent characteristic of the U.S. economy. This bad news follows the Commerce Department's revised estimate of third-quarter growth, up half a percentage point from 2 percent --nothing to write home about.
In fact, some Fed policymakers on Tuesday raised the specter of a permanently higher jobless rate for the U.S. economy, suggesting that many more workers will struggle to get back on their feet even as the economy continues to grow.

The Fed's forecast is an acknowledgment that the "healing process in the economy has slowed to a crawl," said Ethan Harris, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

The central bank's predictions were released Tuesday as part of the minutes of its early November meeting, when the institution also approved its controversial bond-buying program to spur economic growth.

The nation's unemployment rate has been stuck at 9.6% since August.

Just a few months ago, Fed officials were more optimistic about the road ahead — for jobs and the overall economy. But now they see the economy growing by about 2.5% this year, not enough to make a dent in unemployment.

--Gloomy Fed employment forecast overshadows upbeat GDP data
To be expected, consumer spending will drop. People who have less money or, worse, no job at all, will cut spending. They have no choice. The very, very rich i.e, the ruling 1 percent, are just fine, thank you for asking! You made it possible. But --the party is over.

The wrong people got the bailouts! By 'wrong people' I mean the big banks, insiders, fat cats and leeches. By wrong people, I mean those who game the system, make a living by moving funny money around or --even worse --your money! In passing, I must ask: do you really think it a good idea to literally 'give' these shysters the monies that you have paid in to the Social Security Trust Fund? My quick response: not a chance!

An effective bailout would have put money into the hands of real people --not legal abstractions or Wall Street insiders. An effective bailout would have increased the supply of real money in circulation. A real bailout would have created jobs and stimulated real industries --not money changers, Wall Street shysters, insiders or funny money men!
Confidence remains low, and unemployment benefits, which have helped prop up spending, probably won't be extended by lawmakers, given the new political sensitivity to big government deficits. Hundreds of thousands of jobless workers will see their benefits expire this month.

But the biggest single drag on growth may be the state of the labor market. Even the more optimistic independent economists say unemployment will decline slowly, starting most likely in the second half of next year.

--Los Angeles Times, Gloomy Fed employment forecast
This is the 'ruling elite' so favored of late by bailouts and Wall Street. We should have driven the money changers from the Temple! Instead, we bailed out this 'New World Order', patted the money changers on their heads as we greased their extended palms.
So help me, I can perceive nothing but a conspiracy of rich men procuring their commodities in the name and title of the commonwealth

--St. Thomas More, Utopia
This is not an isolated case. This is not a temporary screw-up. This is a fundamental flaw in the system. This is a flaw that favors crooks and fast-buck artists, latter-day 'Enrons', money changers, the 'new world order'. The entire financial system of the United States is a Ponzi scheme, a scam: 'You give me real money and I will give you a worthless piece of paper in exchange'.
In a sad reminder of the sorry state of our country and in particular the sorry, heartless state of the modern Republican Party today Unemployment Insurance will end for hundreds of thousands of workers left out in the cold by Republican policies that crashed the economy. Yes, fresh off a victory in which the American electorate showed mass amnesia the very folks who crashed our economy are cutting off the aid to those folks who have suffered most for their policies. Even more outrageous than this is the priorities shown by Republicans after the election. You see, while they will let the unemployed suffer their incompetence, the one folks they constantly watch out for is their own, the very wealthy. Yes, Republicans have chosen to side with those who crashed the economy over those who suffer it.

--The Unemployed Suffer the Real Cause of Deficits
As John Maynard Keynes had said of 'pound notes' in England, the U.S. government might have done better had it put the $billions$ in mason jars, buried them in a land fill and let 'private enterprise' (real people) dig them up. Had that been done, real people would have spent those monies in ways that might have revived an economy on life support.

As I have reported: the U.S. economy --not gold --supports our currency But what happens when the economy is no longer producing, no longer employing the population? That is, in fact, the case as confirmed by the CIA's own World Fact Book. The U.S. is on the bottom of the list with the World's Largest negative Current Account Balance; China, who owns us, is on top with the world's largest positive Current Account Balance. If it had not been in China's interest over the short term to prop us us so that it might dump its goods on our shores thus robbing us of jobs, the house of cards might have collapsed already. That cozy arrangement was set up by Bush in advance of Nixon's infamous but largely ceremonial visit to the Forbidden City back in the 70s. The deal may be nearing the end of its usefulness to China. When China no longer benefits from this arrangement, it will pull the plug on the dollar.
Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information, and religion destroys spirituality."

--Micheal Ellner
Another lesson that might have been learned but will not be is that neither banks nor governments create 'wealth'. Wealth --as every credible economist from the conservatives Adam Smith and Ricardo to the left-leaning Karl Marx has said --is created by labor. That's worth repeating: labor creates wealth. Else, capitalists could not have made profits and fortunes upon the backs of those whose labor in fact created the wealth in the first place. Investments are made after the fact, by those wishing to skim some of the wealth off the top but only after it has been created and the major 'stockholders' made happy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Please explain what difference there is between Republicans and Nazis!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

When Ronald Reagan became President, his party declared a 'revolution'. He was hailed by American right-wing “reactionaries” as our armed forces –a so-called volunteer army –became an organization of paid mercenaries characterized by increasingly militarist, corporatist attitudes.
We know that the Nazi Party was not put in power by a majority of the German vote. We know it came to power by an evil alliance between the most extreme of the Nazi revolutionists, the most unrestrained of the German reactionaries, and the most aggressive of the German militarists.

--Justice Robert Jackson, Chief Prosecutor, Nuremberg War Crimes Trial
George W. Bush provided the nation with a political spectacle --a conservative champion assuming office under a cloud. He did not achieve a majority vote, let alone a mandate. Unprecedented in American History, the U.S. Supreme Court executed the Republican strategy: stop a legally mandated recount while Bush is still ahead in the count.

With timely help from the U.S. Supreme Court, the fait accompli became a coup d'etat. Public servants --who had been court-ordered to recount votes –were physically assaulted as 'white shirts' attacked vote counters in Florida. This gang committed numerous counts of assault and battery if not treason. Photographed and identified by the Washington Post, this lawless gang should have been prosecuted but were not and that they were not was a warning that the rule of law would mean less, perhaps nothing to the new regime. Thus was begun a process by which the American GOP would resume an agenda that had been on the table in Nazi Germany.

Under Hitler, 'Jesus' prayers became mandatory in all schools. Abortion was a crime. Homosexuality was criminalized.

Clearly, the GOP agenda might have been supported by Herr Hitler, were he alive and in the US. Hitler put into practice the current Republican platform. Albert Speer asserted at Nuremberg that the entire Third Reich was premised upon “meaningless platitudes”. And so it is in America where the GOP speaks political babble, a smorgasbord of code words, slogans and utterly 'meaningless platitudes". It was the GOP convention in Houston nominating George H.W. Bush that almost made me puke. A Republican on the convention floor opined: "Reagan made us feel good about ourselves!"


Hitler had done as much for 'good Germans' many years earlier. Hitler had shown them the way!

Some 60 years after World War II, critics of the right wing agenda are criticized for “thinking logically”. Since 911, millions ridicule 'truth' itself. Anyone daring to advocate a real, fair and exhaustive investigation of 911, for example, is called a 'truther', a 'toofer', a 'troofer'. It does not matter that those using those absurd terms sound retarded; they ARE retarded! But –truth matters. Lies matter. There is, in my view, no legitimate state without truth. If truth does not matter, nothing matters. Those regimes premised and maintained upon lies are illegitimate. The recent Bush regime was illegitimate, the result of illegal force, intimidation, a stolen election.

Thus, despite the ascension of Barack Obama to the White House, the GOP has left in its wake a delusional society on one end, a disillusioned society at the other. The 'United States' itself is now premised upon false beliefs supported and argued fallaciously by ideologues who desire nothing less than the creation of a right wing state in which the environment, education, equality, peace, civil rights and responsibility itself are eschewed and demonized outright. Environmentalists are called 'tree huggers' and obstructionists to progress. Peace activists are called traitors, accused of failure to support the troops. These outcomes are the result of GOP tactics, in fact, NAZI tactics.

In Texas, a right-wing 'lab', education is reserved for the very rich as support for public schools increasingly becomes a low priority. Naturally, as a result, the corporate-owned prisons have swelled to over-flowing with the influx of those who are deliberately robbed of both education and opportunity. The great gains made by the civil rights movement are undone. Poverty, like one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, is an equal opportunity offender, laying waste to brown, black and white! The GOP are a different type of bigot favoring only the dirty ink green on money!

The Collection of Claptrap that Defines Two Parties

Hitler premised the Third Reich upon a collection of claptrap and muddled-thinking called: “Mein Kampf”. The truth about Hitler is found elsewhere. To The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I would add prosecutor Robert Jackson's summation to the jury at Nuremberg. It may be found in its entirety in Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury by Michael S. Lief, who writes of Jackson's summation:
It is difficult for the mind to come to grips with the Holocaust. The sheer enormity of the crimes is so beyond ordinary human experience that there is no context in which to begin evaluating the defendants' misdeeds, assess blame, and then move on to assign punishment.

--Michael S. Lief

Every crime perpetrated by the Third Reich had it origins in a lie and its corollaries: the belief that Jews and other non-Aryans were subhuman, the belief that Germans were a Master Race!

Efforts to shape a society upon a finite set of “lies” did not end with the Nazi Goetterdamerung. Nuremberg did not inoculate the world against fallacy, error and ordinary bullshit! Today, there is a voluminous encyclopedia of insidious claptrap and fallacy that is paid obeisance to, circulated, and repeated by the Religious Right, the NRA, and a virulent, corporatist right wing that has seized control of the Republican Party.

Taken collectively, these falsehoods, myths, and dogma consist of dangerous economic propaganda, conscious efforts to revise History, deliberate distortions of Constitutional Law, and efforts by powerful lobbies and special interests to coerce, bribe, and unduly influence the Constitutional process for personal and corporate gain. Amid all this, the voice of the individual is lost, shouted down and ignored. And with it –the voice of reason.

So what difference does it make if Republicans--as a class--espouse a pack of malicious lies? So what? Simply, the sane and insane alike act upon what they believe to be true and those actions invariably affect us all. What good can possibly come of an action that is premised upon a lie?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why People Believe the Official Conspiracy Theory of 911 and Other Weird Crap!

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Author Michael Shermer wrote a book that now says is out of print. The title is intriguing: Why People Believe Weird Things. Though Shermer deals with UFO's, allegations that NASA faked the moon landing, and the flat earth, reviewers have said his best chapter was about Holocaust Denial.

More recently and sadly, though, Shermer has ceased to be a skeptic. Last time I checked, Shermer was still touting the weirdest of many 'weird things' --the official conspiracy of 911! It is as if when the numbers nine, one and one are mentioned switches are turned 'off' inside the brains of millions: skeptics become devout followers of officialdom; scientists subscribe to voodoo; hard-nose lawyers forget the meaning of 'probable cause'! These people, and Shermer the one-time skeptic, have this much in common: they are victims of trauma and official blackmail! In a phrase: millions 'believe' the official conspiracy for the same reason Christians believe the scriptures: there is hell to pay if they don't!

The Official Conspiracy Theory is Weird

It is weird and completely unbelievable on its face, unsupported by physics and happenstance. The only explanation is that Shermer fell for it because it was official. Perhaps Shermer succumbed to the blackmail that was put on all of us! Perhaps the official conspiracy theory just made him 'feel good about himself' just as Ronald Reagan's 'economic policies' made Republicans feel good about being greedy, untruthful and self-absorbed. Indeed, it was at the GOP national convention in Houston in the earlly 90s that a Republican was recorded swooning of Reagan: "He made us feel good about ourselves!" But republicans ought never to feel good about themselves. And we have a responsibility to make sure they never do!

A mixed bag, Shermer managed to explore dark psychological reasons that people adhere to claptrap: prejudice. Holocaust Deniers are comparatively easy to spot. David Irving, a British Holocaust denier, sued American professor Deborah Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin Books, for libel in a 2000 London trial that made headlines around the world. A reading of the transcript of the court proceedings is clear enough it would seem: Irving was completely discredited.

Irving's long running campaign to exonerate Hitler and the Nazi regime consisted of fabrications, misrepresentations of fact, convenient omissions of evidence, and a consistent and convenient pattern of discounting as liars any eyewitness to any atrocity associated with the Holocaust. I predict that apologists for George W. Bush and the GOP as a whole will continue to wage a similar campaign of lies and propaganda on behalf of the utterly failed and wrong GOP!

Allow me to add a personal note. I have spoken in depth with a survivor of Auschwitz. There is no room to doubt this moving, personal history confirmed as it is by reams of documentary evidence, available independently of my source and in no way influenced by it.

What is conveniently forgotten is that Hitler's theory about Jews was, likewise, 'official'. The conclusion is inescapable: like Hitler's 'theory' re: the Jews of Europe, the official version of 911 is still widely believed because it makes people feel good about being prejudiced against Muslims. It makes people 'feel good' about being ignorant and/or stupid. Like Hitler's racial claptrap and GOP economic crap, the official theory of 911 makes people feel good about being rich and self-absorbed.

'Terrorists' just hate us, it is believed, because we are 'free'. Are we? Are we free when we are lied to? Are we free when we are so easily manipulated into 'believing' a load of clap trap for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever? Are we free when we are clearly trained not to question authority? Are we free when lies become the basis for foreign and domestic policies? Are we free when as a result of right wing policy just one percent of the U.S. populations owns more than the rest of us combined? No!

We are not free until we accept responsibility for our own beliefs!

There is, for example, absolutely no credible or verifiable evidence to support any part of the official conspiracy theory of 911. It is not my purpose here to repeat the numerous refutations of every part of the official theory. It has been thoroughly refuted and debunked and ridiculed and only idiots have not gotten the message: no part of it is true, no part of it is supported by either fact, logic, or admissible evidence. It is thoroughly refuted.

Most recently the very existence of the alleged flights had been debunked with the government's own data! There is no wreckage traceable to Flights 93 or 77; the government's own data --BTS --indicates that Flights 11 and 77 had been mothballed! There was no wreckage traceable to any airliner found at the Pentagon. No hijackers appeared on the official autopsy report of Pentagon victims --the only official shred of evidence relative to the Pentagon. There were no airline passengers or 'hijackers' buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is absolutely nothing to support anything said by Bush, the 911 Report or the many media minions who parroted this outrageous and absurd conspiracy theory.

Yet --it is believed but only because it was 'official' and espoused by a sitting 'President'. But it was a 'president' who stole his office. We believed it because we were blackmailed not because it was either true or support by facts. Bush's 'warning' was an overt threat! We were told that 'outrageous conspiracy theories' would not be tolerated! We were told that anyone daring to question the official conspiracy theory was a traitor, was un-American, or, less belligerently, they were just stupid!

It was the common 'argument from authority' fallacy turned into a decree. Anyone daring to question the Bush version of events was called a 'traitor'. Bush himself said: “If you are not with us you are for the terrorists” --a fallacy and a threat! Skepticism was made a crime by decree. This is --in fact --a defining characteristic of the police state.

As the trial of David Irving makes abundantly clear: people are prepared to believe anything that makes them "feel good about themselves," and the illogic that this leads to is not confined to the poorly educated. Consider the following from a distinguished economist, Milton Friedman, who became the "conservative's" intellectual when that movement was desperately in need of one:
The 1980s have been no kinder to the earlier Keynesian models. In the U.S., inflation was brought down drastically, accompanied by a temporary increase in unemployment to a peak of nearly 11 percent—-a short-term reaction to unanticipated disinflation along Phillips curve lines.

--Milton Friedman
Has Friedman forgotten that Reagan's policies were not premised on Keynesian principles? Moreover, Keynesian economics worked just fine for Kennedy and Carter when job and economic growth is clearly documented to have exceeded the same figures under Reagan, Bush and Bush. The truth is that any Democratic president since World War II has presided over greater growth of both GDP and jobs than has any Republican president! There must be a psychological explanation for the fact that millions will look at the documented statistics and refuse to believe them.

The rising unemployment rate throughout the 1980's is a good example. It is similarly documented at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is puzzling to me that an esteemed economist would cite this as evidence refuting the Keynesian model. That job creation fell and unemployment rose during the Reagan years does not indict Keynes--but Friedman.

Reagan's policies were not based upon the Keynesian model; they were based rather on Friedman himself and Arthur Laffer of "trickle down" fame. It was Laffer who, legend has it, drew a curve on a napkin and called it 'economics'. It was, rather, a convenient but plausible rationalization for the GOPs desire to enrich its base with tax cuts, a payoff for their support. It was not only the nation's tax revenues which paid them --it was the jobs and futures of everyone else not benefiting.

In fact, unemployment began to rise almost immediately upon Reagan's tax cut--not a "Keynesian" expenditure aimed at stimulating the economy but, rather, a "Laffer-curve tax-cut" premised upon the discredited notion that by cutting taxes for the upper classes, the wealth would "trickle down." It never has but GOP-types would feel good about it! It was intended to make GOP-types feel good about being greedy and dishonest with themselves. Friedman's passage glosses over the realities of that period:
  • First, Laffer's supply-side ideas are premised upon the idea that tax revenues at various tax rates may be graphed as a "curve." At some point on that curve, a lower tax rate may actually increase tax revenues. The problem with that is simply this: no one knows what that point is. The curve--on paper--is theoretical and depends on how you draw the curve. What, in fact, happened is that Reagan ran up huge deficits and tripled the national debt by budgeting monies that the theoretical curve had predicted but which never materialized. I hardly call this "conservative." The Bush budget has done the same thing.
  • Secondly, Laffer's tax curve was cited to justify supply-side economics--a goose that never laid the golden egg. It laid an 'egg' but only in the 'Vaudeville/Show biz' sense of the temr. It was Reagan and the supply-siders who laid an egg and it was not golden. As with the projected increased tax revenues, the new jobs that were to be the mechanism by which wealth would trickle down just did not happen. Rather --the reverse! Jobs declined and Reagan's administration is forever associated with a depression of some two years.
  • Finally, even if the tax base had increased, it does not follow from that wealth would in any way be redistributed downward; the public record clearly shows that it did not. One does not need an MBA or a PhD in economics in order to understand Census Bureau Statistics which clearly indicate that throughout the Reagan years, the upper 20 percent of income earners grew richer by a yearly average of some 20% while the lower 20 percent lost wealth at a similar rate. Friedman makes absolutely no mention of any of those facts in his paper on John Maynard Keynes. Several issues not addressed by Laffer's curve include how much wealth trickled, to whom, how, and when? The questions are moot, however. Nothing trickled down.
It is not merely that Friedman cites the 80's as an indictment of the wrong economists; it is his off-hand characterization as "temporary" the unemployment rate of some 11 percent that he calls a peak. Unemployment was high throughout the Reagan administration as was homelessness. In fact, half of the total number of jobs created under Reagan were in the public sector. Otherwise, his record--poor compared to any Democratic president and especially those who practiced Keynesian economics--would have been even worse. Finally, I submit to Mr. Friedman that a diminishing inflation rate is of similarly diminishing interest to someone who doesn't have a job.

How are we to account for the fact that Republicans still adhere to a policy that even a cursory reading of real world stats thoroughly discredits? Shermer posits that false beliefs are based on prejudice, but that just puts a label on it; it does not explain prejudice itself. More to the point, I think, is a common refrain heard among preppies throughout the Reagan years: He (Reagan) made us feel good about ourselves. The same could have been said of Hitler who is indicted by his own words: "Against the Jews I fought open-eyed and in view of the whole world...I made it plain that they, this parasitic vermin in Europe, will be finally exterminated."

Thanks to Herr Hitler, millions began to 'feel better' about being bigots, psychopaths, i.e. Nazis and/or right wingers! Thanks to Ronald Reagan millions began to 'feel better' about being bigots, self-absorbed elites, and psychopaths! Under Hitler, millions felt felt better about themselves because they could blame Jews for their miserable, desperate lives in pre-war Germany. Under Reagan, millions felt better about living in suburbs that destroy the spirit of urban life, deplete the inner cities of revenues and consign all but the very, very rich to poor and declining schools and educational opportunities. Reagan made them feel good! He jerked off the right wing and screwed everyone else!

Bush and Perry have more recently jerked-off Texas. Millions of Texans clearly feel good enough about their state that they re-elected Bush Jr's successor --Rick Perry. Millions of Texans got hooked on the jerks who jerked them. As a result, Texas now trails the nation in high school graduations even as corporate owned prisons swell to over-flowing! But millions in Texas feel good about it! The corporate prisons are located where their presence is not obvious. The rich can pretend they don't exist. Likewise, the ultra-posh neighborhoods where the increasingly rich elite are housed are hidden away among pines, behind the moats, behind the security guards' little houses, behind the walls, the trees, and, symbolically, the 'bushes'. Under Bush/Perry, they could escape responsibility for the hell-hole Texas has become. They could escape a real world. They need never see it and Texas need never see them!

Hitler told the German people, in effect, you no longer have to be responsible for your own idiocy, your own prejudices! That message was repeated by Herrs Reagan, Bush and Bush and the entire GOP. In fact, there are no excuses for believing a lie and no reason to believe that good will come of it. It was Jacob Bronowski, a logical positivist, a scientist, a philosopher, who said: 'Behave in such a way that what is true may be verified to be so!” It was Jean-Paul Sartre, an existentialist, who said: "A man is nothing else but what he makes of himself!" It was Bertolt Brecht who said: "A man who does not know the truth is just an idiot but a man who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a crook!" And it was a fashion photographer, Richard Avedon, who said: "you cannot expect another man to carry your shit!" He was right and in my opinion all of us have carried the GOP/right wing shit for too long now! Enough is enough!