Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We're never leaving Afghanistan because it's too good for business

If the Wikileaks disclosure of classified documents concerning the mangled mess that is Afghanistan changes any of the granite-minds of centrist Democrats (read Rockefeller Republicans) and wing nut, asshole, reactionary Republicans then Pfc Bradley Manning and Julian Assange should receive the Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize respectively.

Unfortunately it will not. And they will not.
A Christian Science Monitor headline tells the tale:Congress's response to WikiLeaks: shoot the messenger. There's really no need to read further. With the exception of a handful of enlightened Democrats and one socialist, most of Congress is ready, willing and quite capable of throwing more troops, more treasure and time into the sewer that is Afghanistan.
If I have said this once I shall continue saying a thousand times: Since Vietnam, winning a war, any war, was and never has been the objective government of the United States, both on the elective Constitutional side and the career management side. And as we should know from the recent events that led up to and subsequent to George Dubya Bush-Hank Paulson engineered TARP bailout, the upper echelons of career federal management and high seniority elected officials take their marching orders from the Wall Street Investor Class. The Investor Class has no incentive to end America's military adventurism. It's good for business.

The primary goal of what President Dwight D. Eisenhower aptly named the military-industrial complex is to keep the fight, any fight, going as long as possible to keep the the real engine of our creaky domestic economy humming along. In many respects the military-intelligence-industrial complex is the last bastion of American technological expertise, organized labor in the private sector and heavy manufacturing.

I mean, just look around your own home. How many made-in-America products can you find, aside from perhaps the furnace and central air conditioning unit? Even traditionally domestic-manufactured items as washing machines and refrigerators and furniture are increasingly being imported from China. But the United States can still make one helluva air superiority jet fighter!

The another thing the military-intelligence-industrial complex successfully did to keep it deeply embedded in the US economy was the shifting of pension funds from traditional "defined-benefits" pension plans, whereby employee retirement compensation is funded totally by the employer, to "defined-contribution" pension plans, the 401k for example, whereby the employee is responsible for contributing towards his own retirement. But from my own experience with the federal employees version of the 401k, the Thrift Savings Plan, the individual employee is never let in on the secret of where his hard-earned money is being invested. The same can be said of Individual Retirement Accounts, IRA, which I also have. I receive a prospectus once a quarter but reading through it is tedious and the names of many of corporations which the fund held stock in meant nothing. I had no idea what Halliburton did, even though my IRA held its stock, until 2000. Suffice it to say that if you own any investment vehicles for retirement, IRAs or 401k, you are investing in the American way of war. By the collusion of Wall Street and Congress in legislating our we fund our retirement the military-industrial-intelligence complex has made us all accomplices in their crimes.

The most curious thing that keeps the American-way-of-war going is the bleeding heart anti-war movement. Because our oh-so-sensitive Pentagon does not want to upset the bleeding heart anti-war movement the American-way-of-war tries its darnest to limit civilian casualties. I do not support the Bush wars, yet from Troy to Korea wars were never won by worrying about civilian casualties. Look at all the German and Japanese civilians we, the United States the ostensible good-guys, slaughtered in World War II! Sorry to sound like a contrarian but if killing civilians brings an end to a war then so be it. The only realistic way of limiting civilian casualties is to not get militarily involved in the first place!

The only way out of the Afghan morass is: One, our troops on the ground in Afghanistan are defeated in detail, ie massive casualties and surrender of entire elements of army and Marine units to Taliban forces; two, a country-wide mutiny of a majority of American military units in Afghanistan; three, a systemic economic collapse on the home front. The first two scenarios are unlikely, the third almost happened in 2008 but thanks to the Bush-Paulson TARP bailout the military-intelligence-industrial complex shuttered, sputtered but did not fail.

But never fear, good and gentle readers, the next theater of operations in "the war on terror" is on the horizon: Somalia.

So remember, gentle reader, war may not be good for children or other living beings but it is positively wonderful for the Investor Class and its running dog lackeys in the coordinator classes and the union men and women hard at work in the factories that churn out our military weapons of mass destruction.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Comment on Brace Yourself: This Is the Tip of the Iceberg for Oil-Induced Enviro Catastrophes

Yet the Obama administration is openly supporting not an outright ban on offshore drilling, but Kerry and Leiberman's weak-kneed concessions. Their bill does include provisions that allow states to ban operations within 75 miles of their coastlines, as well as a sweetener that allows them to siphon off larger revenue from those operations. Brace Yourself: This Is the Tip of the Iceberg for Oil-Induced Enviro Catastrophes, Scott Thill, Alternet.org

So, O.K., I turn on my TeeVee this morning and there's New York US Senator Chuck Schumer, and usually I put him in the provisional "good guy" column, saying something like, "We are not going to get a "clean" energy bill unless we have offshore drilling."

Schumer was immediately followed by recombinant DNA human-turtle mutant Mitch McConnell saying, "If we don't have offshore drilling we'll have fourteen dollar a gallon gasoline!!!" Of course my personal reaction was, "What's wrong with that."

Next I saw some bloated Louisiana, rednecked commercial fisherman pitching a bitch about how me makes more in one day of fishing than BP paid him for three days of cleaning oil off the Gulf! Oh, poor baby.

And what fuel do you suppose that poor lard-assed Louisiana, rednecked commercial fisherman uses to power his boat to go to the fishing grounds to make more in one day of good fishing than BP pays in three days of cleaning up the area of his livelihood? I'd say diesel fuel refined from petroleum, wouldn't you.

And I'll bet you even money that when that same bloated, rednecked Louisiana fisherman sets down to slam down a few watery Bud Lights with his buddies, he'll start bitching how big gub'munt ain't doin' enuff for 'em down here. Course he and they all hate big gub'munt 'cause big gub'munt dictates to 'em what they can catch. Then he'll start moaning how the price of diesel fuel's going up because of this oil spill; how it'll cut into his profits and he jes' cain't go on like that. And all his buddies will shout their assent.

Then some other barroom sage will interject, "Mubbe that offshore drilling ain't so bad. It brings in a lotta jobs fer young folk an' them oil rigs are good fer fishin'." And our lard-assed, rednecked protagonist and all his buddies will nod in agreement.

From the corner of the bar comes a voice saying he heard tell that that Nancy Peelosee and her California tree-huggin' pals wanna stop offshore oil drillin' altogether and that'll spell the end of commercial fishin' in Louisiana! And the bar will erupt in shouts of acclamation. Why thanks to them tree huggers the gub'munt tells us fishermen what we can catch and when we can catch it, shouts another. And a round of anti-government grumbling cascades round the bar.

And so we Americans are caught in a web of our own making. We say but we don't do. We bitch but nothing changes. The ideologically pure left's wishing to improve things for what it sees as the better feeds right into the lunatic right's paranoia about loosing its pathetic jobs and ways of life.
And that paranoia is kept at a fever pitch by constant feedback from right wing talk radio and FauxNews.

Two things are clear, we will never see any significant change in this country until somebody dies. Perhaps very many somebodies.

Secondly the forces of reaction have done a better job in studing and understanding the psychology of the working middle class, especially "white" working middle class, than its counterparts on the ideologically pure left. While the ideologically pure left says it stands for the interests of working men and women, they too often look at their leftist saviors as creatures from another planet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Comment on Jim Hightower Op-ed Posted on Alternet.org

Jim Hightowner has a spot-on op-ed posted at Alternet.org titled The Right-Wing Loons Should Stop Blaming "God" for the Oil Spill

Hightowner's right, gawd didn't cause the BP Gulf oil spill, human avarice and cupidity did. Not only on the side of the oil company executives and their major shareholders but on the side of politicians for campaign contributions and average Americans hungry for cheap shrimp and fish and even cheaper gasoline.

And sorry, even though this oil spill will damage an already endangered eco-system, I can not feel too much sympathy for the shrimp and fishing boat owners and operators, the charter fishing and excursion boat captains. What do you think they used to fuel the engines of their boats so they can shrimp, fish? Their farts?

In the last presidential election these assholes voted for cheap oil. They voted for "drill, baby, drill!" Look at any detailed map of the '08 election. Why in St. Bernard Parish, LA, directly in the path of the oil slick, 71% of the eligible voters cast their ballot for the McCain-Palin ticket and "drill here, drill now!" And I will wager that the older voters of St Bernard Parish overwhelmingly cast their ballots in 1980 for Ronald Reagan, apple pie and SUVs.

Here's how fucking brilliant the American people are:
Despite the spill, 60 percent say they support allowing for more drilling off U.S. coasts, and 53 percent believe that offshore drilling’s potential economic benefits outweigh its potential harm to the environment.

The public is split on the federal government’s response to the spill: 45 percent say it has not done enough, while 43 percent say it has done enough.
Poll: Despite spill, support for oil drilling high, MSNBC.com

I was talking about this to a buddy of mine last night. I was complimenting him on his comments to an NPR talk show. But when I launched into my rant about the dumbasses on the Gulf coast who vote for cheap oil, guns, gawd and the right to be as stupid as they can to be, he said, oh, no, no, no. Those poor dumb bastards are "victims," he said, of slick Madison Avenue advertising. They, and the vast majority of Americans, are conned, hoodwinked, bamboozled by a never ending stream of propaganda telling to buy SUVs and big block V8 pick ups.

True enough. But, I countered, you don't have to pay attention to the propaganda. And we've always had the option of fuel efficient vehicles and voting for eco-friendly politicians. But we Americans never took those options. We never learned a thing from the Exxon Valdez or the OPEC oil embargoes of the 1970s. I reminded him of a late mutual friend who, dedicated to the outdoors and the ecology as he was, never in his short life owned a fuel efficient automobile; the guy always owned full-sized vans, SUVs and pick up trucks. Dumbass Americans have gotten used to $3 a gallon gas so what the fuck?

I guess B.F. Skinner is right and Noam Chomsky is wrong, we Americans are little more than pigeons in one of Skinner's electrified boxes dancing to the Investor Class's tune every time they flip the switch.

So next in this oil spill saga the commercial shrimp and fishing boat owner-operators, the charter fishing and excursion boat captains and the owners of casinos and resorts all along the Gulf Coast will start whining and crying that the government isn't doing enough for them. Conveniently they make themselves victims of their own stupidity and want the rest of the country to feel so sorry for them and bail their asses out.

Even the CEOs being grilled in Congress right now are playing the victim: "Oh, fuck, it ain't BP's fault this thing blew up it's Transocean's;" "No it's not Transocean's fault, it's Halliburton;" "Hey, guys, don't get on Halliburton's case, it's BP's fault."

But watch this Fall the dumbasses who are getting drenched in crude will turn around and vote for some sleazy used car salesman of a Republican who will sell them out to the corporations at the drop of a dime. Why? Because the "Lie"-brules are gonna take their guns, kill babies, spit on the American flag and socialize medicine!

Meanwhile the Greens, Socialist Workers and libertarians will run around telling everyone and everything that they are not in big business's pocket and not do a fucking thing as usual. They would rather whine how the system is stacked against third, forth and fifth parties; even enough in clean money, clean election states, where they have no excuses and should be making in-roads, they are not doing anything either!

Face it people, we are screwed and as the late Walt Kelly put the in the mouth of his swamp sage Pogo Possum, We has met the enemy, and he is us!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Response to Jack Smith's op-ed posted at Alternet.org

Look Out, Obama Seems to Be Planning for a Lot More War, by Jack Smith (reposted from Asia Times Online)

Oh, please, another tiresome accusatory article on an American president--really any and all US presidents since William McKinley--furthering the cause of US imperialism.

Somehow in the world's oldest democracy commentators of every political stripe pretend that our presidents have some sort of magical dictatorial powers to do or undo that which they like or loath. But that's the beauty of being an American citizen, one can set in the rural remoteness of the Hudson River Valley or the cornfields of central Iowa or the mountains of Idaho and pretend one is not an accomplice in the expansion of the military-industrial complex and our overseas American empire.
That's bullshit. If one is a citizen of the United States, from the closeted gay Second Amendment-is-the-First Amendment gun nut to the Nike-wearing college student anarchist, one is as guilty as President Obama in the growth of the military-industrial complex and the overseas empire.

Noam Chomsky, collecting his pension checks from an institution of higher learning high on the Pentagon's funding list, is just as guilty as the poor kid from Appalachia, brain filled with patriotic bullshit from right wing talk radio and his semi-literate preacher down at the local Pentecostal church, who enlists in the All Volunteer Force because it pays better than Wal Mart and Mooslims hate Jesus.

The military-industrial complex percolates throughout every facet of American life, from McDonald's to Halliburton, from Disney to Raytheon, from FauxNews to Lockheed Martin. In the bases and camps of our AVF the brainwashed dine on the same mass produced crap their civilian counterparts dine, KFC, McDonald's, Coke, Pepsi.
Stooges who never served in any of the uniformed services don their own homemade uniforms of black leather boots, pants, vest to ride their noisy Harleys in honor "heroes" returning from Iraq and Afghanistan in boxes so a tiny, noisy gaggle of homo-haters from Topeka, KS will disturb the solemnity of the occasion.

Fat, shaven-headed, American flag grease-painted, non-military veteran, anti-union assholes standing at attention, saluting the USAF jets flying over the NFL stadium to honor "our heroes in uniform" are just as guilty as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers members clocking off at General Dynamics Electric Boat plant in Connecticut.

Bleeding heart liberal politicians who agitate so openly homosexual men and women can serve as officers and enlisted personnel in the AVF are just as guilty as conservative politicians smiling approvingly of illegal immigrants getting fast-tracked for citizenship by enlisting in the AVF.

The only way to get the United States off this track is if one or more of three events happen: new legislation nationalizing the manufacture of weapon systems, an arsenal system, taking the profit incentive out of manufacturing and procurement and a universal service draft; the defeat of the AVF, Army, Navy, Ari Force, Marines, in the field in detail as was Germany and Japan in World War II; a total economic collapse which would necessitate the US government shrinking the Pentagon budget, closing overseas bases and reducing the size of the AVF. Of the three economic collapse is the easily obtainable, but I doubt if anything of substance changes in my life time.

So go ahead an bluster and bitch. You have a First Amendment right as do I.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tea Party Network

Look, I like marijuana...

Look, I like marijuana, I don't know why I like it I just do. It's like liking chocolate. why does anyone like chocolate? Because it's sweet? There are a lot of sweet things. But chocolate has this combination of molecules, flavonoids, alkaloids and what-have-you-oids that in combination have proven health benefits.

Well marijuana is sort of like chocolate. Marijuana has all these cannabinoids that work in conjunction with one another and only work with one another. So despite science's best efforts to refine the active ingredients out of pot and take the "high" out as it were,only whole leaf, organic marijuana has a medicinal effect.

So that's NORML's latest angle for legalizing marijuana, medical marijuana. And so I found myself with a couple of hundred other people at a rally for medical marijuana on the west lawn of the Iowa State House, of course no television cameras were there. Speaker after speaker testified to the efficacy of marijuana as a medicine, pitched a bitch about the harshness of the anti-marijuana laws or advocated for the end to "pot"-hibition. You know, I've heard this all before. Most of the rhetoric was a lot of hot air and a curious mixture of religiosity, "God created marijuana," and libertarian politics, "Ron Paul's for medicinal marijuana. Vote for Ron Paul!," with a caveat not to vote Republican even though marijuana has allies in both parties.

And as I looked around the crowd, mostly young people in their late teens, early twenties with a smattering of geezers like me, though to be truthful most of the geriatric-tokers sported gray, greasy ponytails and bushy, gray beards over their marijuana leaf-decorated t-shirts. The whole enterprise looked frozen in time, circa 1972 or so.

And that's what is so bullshit about the USA. Culturally we have no identity, no authenticity of purpose or being.  People in the United States tend to wear costumes for whatever function or whatever political or religious or recreational sport we happen in which we participate. Guys who ride twin-V motorcycles, whether it be Harley Davidson, Victory or one of the Japanese brands, all have to wear black leather vests, blue jeans, some sort of do-rag et cetera. So except for a couple of Boomer moms who were there in support of their sons, I was the only guy not wearing any "marijuana leaf" apparel. I was also just about the only guy over fifty not sporting a gray beard or a greasy, gray ponytail.

And here's what I'm getting at when I say the USA is all about bullshit: Activism for marijuana legalization has been going on for something like forty years now and, with the exceptions of the 14 states that allow medical marijuana, any move toward legalization has never gotten off the snide. Now back in 1972 we could point to our parents' generation and blame them for being the stumbling block but who do we point at now?

I'm pointing the finger at my generation. What a fucking disappointment we Boomers are. Now as sure as I type this some Boomer motherfucker will say I'm wrong and list all the fucking wonderful things the Boomer and GenX generations have done to date. To which I answer: Bullshit.

Look at the leadership of both political parties, with the exception of a few relics like Robert Byrd of West Virginia, they are all Boomers, especially so the the Republican Party. That pumpkin-faced, prick, House Minority leader, John Boehner is a Boomer as is his butt-boy Eric Cantor of Virginia. George Dubya Bush, the most incompetent president ever, is a Baby Boomers as is his mentor "Turd Blossom" Karl Rove. As was Rove's guru Lee Atwater whose 1988 "Willie Horton" commercial scared the living shit out of white, suburban Boomers enough for them to vote for Dubya's not as incompetent father George H.W. Bush. Atwater, it should be noted, loved the Blues and playing Blues guitar. Now I've never known anyone who is a Blues aficionado who doesn't smoke pot so it's a good bet Atwater toked.

Oh yeah, and somebody voted for Ronald Reagan. That bastard's election can't solely be blamed on the New Deal-World War II generation, our parents. I know my old man and my mom thought Reagan was a piece of shit even then. But somebody had to vote for him.

And need I point out the Rock world's raging Boomer reactionaries like Vincent Damon Furnier a.k.a. Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter?

So do I think marijuana will be legalized any time soon? No! Not while the Boomer and GenX generations are around. My generation, the American version, is without a doubt the most hypocritical, fucked up piles of dung squeezed into human skin to have ever walked the face of the Earth.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Re: "Why Law Enforcement Officials Should Hate Arizona's Racist New Law"

"Why Law Enforcement Officials Should Hate Arizona's Racist New Law, Alternet.org

My Comment:
What the Arizona anti-immigration law really proves is the fecklessness of the Green Party and other ideologically pure leftist groups.

Why? Because Arizona is a clean money, clean elections state so Greens and other ideologically pure leftist political parties and individuals can not fall back on their standard excuse of lack of funding to get get the message out.

In fact when Arizona passed its clean money, clean elections law the Republican Party of Arizona feared a wave of liberal/progressive Democrats and more radical leftist parties sweeping state house elections. That ain't happened. In fact just the opposite occurred.

Clean money, clean elections has led to Arizona politics being the playground for Ayn Rand-cultists, George Lincoln Rockwell-groupies, John Birch Society-fellow travelers, Grover Norquist-lovers and other various and sundry flavors of right wing anarchists, homophobes and xenophobes.

Look at who's running for what in Arizona this fall and to date only one Green, a Richard Grayson, has declared. He's running against the incumbent Republican US Representative the aptly named Jeff Flake. On the Web site USElections.com Grayson is characterized as an "Attorney, NY Resident," traits which will not endear him with the former Midwesterners and Californians of white Arizona.

Face it, the United States is screwed. And it is the Baby Boomer generation that has screwed it. I mean we Boomers were supposed to be this great break from the "conservatism" of our parents. What a load of bullshit that was! We Boomers were supposed to be the generation of peace, love and understanding. What a load of bullshit that was! What is going down in Arizona and across the nation will not straighten out until the Boomers and GenXers are out of the picture, and that's going to take another generation. Thirty years! By then the damage may be irreversible. But by then, hopefully, I'll be dead.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's all bullshit if Employee Free Choice Act isn't passed

It's Sunday and this is the day President Obama eulogizes the 29 scab miners who died needless deaths from a preventable explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, WV owned by Massey Energy; the CEO of which should face indictment for man slaughter but more than likely will not and go on his merry way killing gullible scab labor for the greater glory of the shareholders.

As reported by the Washington Post, President Obama plans on ladling out the usual treacle about how these brave men risked their lives, "... all for their families. ...These miners lived - as they died - in pursuit of the American dream." It seems the "American" dream these days consists of owning a nice pick up, a fishing boat, a two-story tract house, an LCD big screen TV and being treated alright by the corporate bastards who own one's soul, q.v. April 7, SimplyErnest.blogspot.com. "Whipped American Worker"

The Washington Post report adds, the president plans on reminding all of we mere mortals, as these 29 martyrs are carried aloft to some coal begrimed Valhalla, "Never forget, they say, miners keep America's lights on."  He will then pledge greater vigilance and detail for mine safety so future Upper Big Branch mining disaster will never happen again.

Now here's why the president's speech is bullshit: nowhere does he mention, at least as reported by the Washington Post, the fact that traditionally unionized mines have safer work environments. While the president waxes poetic on how the dead hero miners and all us consumers of electricity are "...all family. We are Americans[,]" he breaths not a word about the Employee Free Choice Act.

EFCA is a bill that needs even greater legislative priority that "immigration" reform.
The Employee Free Choice Act streamlines procedures for employees to decide on union representation and bargain a first contract. Under this bill, a union would be automatically recognized in a workplace when a majority of employees sign cards stating that they want to be represented by that union. To facilitate agreement on a first contract for employees after the union is recognized, the bill enables either the union or management to refer any disputes about the contract to mediation if an accord has not been reached within 90 days after bargaining begins. If the mediator is unable to reach a deal within an additional 30 days, the dispute will go to binding arbitration with the arbitration agreement binding for two years. Finally, the bill increases penalties for violations of labor law: raising fines, tripling the amount of back wages employees can receive if they are illegally fired or discriminated against for exercising their labor rights, and requiring the courts to seek injunctions against employers, as well as unions, that violate labor laws.
But the sticking point is the simple "card check" requirement. As usual the forces of reaction, never champions of democracy unless it suits them, have gone into full cry that card check "would effectively eliminate private voting."  Of course the suburban white boys who pump out this propaganda have never gone through a National Labor Relations Board union-certification vote. Or if they have they have done so from management's perspective and know that management intimidation, management snitches and ballot stuffing are par for the course.

The sad fact is the American worker is so whipped and brainwashed by thirty plus years of right wing radio and television demagoguery, in the sense of, a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power, that he or she accepts the fact that he or she is fungible.  Why do you think corporations and even government agencies have substituted the bureaucratese gobbledygook of  "human resources department" for the older and straight forward "employement office?" As the whipped American worker Kevin Lambert says, "They treat me alright."

If Congress and the president do not make progress on the EFCA then these 29 miners will have died in vain.