January 23, 2015
I attended the 2015 swearing-in of the Texas legislature. While waiting the office of a Rep. I saw a band of TEA partiers activists (TPA) return from the floor after the vote for house speaker. After the Turner Massacre (Scott not Nate) they were consoling themselves by plotting revenge on the defectors and promising to march to the offices of the Naughty Nineteen to express undying gratitude. While they were waiting a Lyndon LaRouche activist (LLA) came calling in the long stream of lobbyists of all sorts. A TEA Party activist (TPA) seated by the door asked who LL was. The LLA instantly lit up , after a long morning of rejections, I suppose. He said LL worked on the Strategic Defense Initiative under Pres. Reagan (hoping to ingratiate himself by invoking St. Ronnie). But the TPA interjected, “Star Wars” (which really surprised me since I thought in the TPA world only DC Liberals called it Star Wars). Undeterred The LLA proceeded to say that LL had been railroaded by Pres. G. H. W. Bush to jail for five years .The TPA added she disliked the Bushes too and asked what LL had been up since. This question really invigorated the LLA. He reached in his bag and pulled out a glossy brochure. He flipped open to the International Development Bank article. The TPA asked, “wasn’t that like the IMF or the Federal Reserve “,which she really didn’t like either. The LLA reassured her the IDB was the opposite of those. She said she only liked her local bank. At this point the LLA decided he had done all he could and excused himself. Another TPA ambled over and asked what that was all about. The first TPA recounted the conversation but when she got to the part where LL was “railroaded” by GHWB, the seconded TPA responded that no one was railroaded to jail for five years without cause. I hung my head and feared for the fate of the nation.
May 31, 2013
A long time ago I chose to no longer join in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. My reasoning was not centered on the “under God” addition, but rather I felt I, as some religious groups do, that I could not pledge an oath to an inanimate object. I have, however, stood silently with a group while they recited the pledge. This choice was to demonstrate respect for the group and their attempt to show their patriotism. Then recently I heard a mother relate the story of her 15 year old daughter. She will not say the pledge until this nation lives up to the words of “Liberty and Justice for ALL” and I now fully support that choice. When undocumented aliens, Native Americans, Gays, the poor, those wrongly convicted and the powerless are all are free to exercise LIfe, Liberty and shown Justice I will reconsider the pledge. Until then I will no longer stand.
February 26, 2013
The GOP is counting on the short game by letting sequestration go into effect. Claiming that they compromised by letting the tax giveaways to those with incomes over $450k the GOP believes they have boxed Obama in to accept only deep spending cuts. The effects of austerity will not be distributed evenly. Obama will now be able to state that spending cuts have matched the pain of lapsed tax cuts. It is time for those who have benefitted from the recovery to share and build the economy.
December 13, 2011
OK, I am going out a limb and predict Obama will win a second term. The question is then, “what will he do in a second term”, assuming approximately the same Congressional split ( a little more Democratic House and a little more Republican Senate). Also assuming the economy has improved just enough to get him back in. Will the GOP just stall and obstruct knowing he’s now a lame duck? Will Harry Reid then take the gloves off, go nuclear, and let a majority move legislation and nominations in the Senate? Will Obama hold steady (Rope a Dope) for more two years and hope an even better economy and demographics will give him a “mandate” in 2014? Will the ChiComms put a Technocrat in power to satisfy domestic demand for the benefits of the consumer society to take the internal pressure off? Will there be a worldwide movement to prize the people over the bond market? Will the moneyed interest accept sharing the benefits of technology with displaced workers? I don’t recall there being a mention of the unemployed on Star Trek, despite replicators and warp drives. While many of my generation wax nostalgic for the 1950’s, I can’t wait for the 2050’s and beyond.
Currently Reading: Hadrian and the Triumph of Rome by Anthony Everitt, Jazz a History of American Music by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns.
August 8, 2011
On a recent weekend I flipped the channel by one of my old favorites, CSPAN-2, or BookTV as it is known on the weekends. I have drifted away from the channel over the last year or so as it devolved into a right-wing corporate mouthpiece, kinda like Faux, but without commercials or the blondes. Now it is mostly a roosting place for the conservative think-tanks (Heritage Foundation, Manhattan Institute, Hudson Institute, Hoover Institute, AEI, etc.) to pimp their corporate-funded propaganda. I did linger long enough to hear the speaker relate the story of a teenage girl who had gotten pregnant by her boyfriend. Heeding her family and friends advice she went to the clinic. There she was accosted by the self-assured anti-choice zealot intent upon making her change her mind. The teenager went in but had a change of heart and left. The speaker crowed, “End of story.” Now the point of the speaker was for the right-wing leaders to switch from a statistical arguments to narrative arguments in order to make a deeper connection with the targeted audience. There was an air of envy that the creative types in the past tended to promote a liberal narrative in the arts and on to the mass media. I would posit that the corporate masters long ago learned that creativity can be bought and has gladly served the interests of the powerful to mislead the public. But my central point is that while the right-wing is glad to see a simplistic world of black and white, good and evil, and right vs. wrong, the messy details of reality are to be ignored. In the story of the pregnant girl who will pay the medical costs of carrying the fetus to term and for delivery? What if there are complications? More messy. Who will pay for the infant’s living costs? Who will provide daycare, transportation and education expenses so the girl will be able to gain employment and support her family? More messy. Will the tax exempt religious institutions provide adequate care for those millions? They didn’t do it before FDR. Do the ends justify the means? Accosting women about a personal matter in the public sphere with screaming condemnation would seem to violate the liberty and the right to be left alone the right-wing propagandists espouse. Maybe they would approve if she resorted to a second amendment solution to being attacked. Just more messy details that spoil “the story”.
currently reading The Years of Talking Dangerously by Geoffrey Nunberg, Jazz a history of American Music by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, and Justice Brennan Liberal Champion by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.
June 18, 2011
The World As It Is by Chris Hedges, Jazz a History of American Music by Geoffrey Ward and Ken Burns, Justice Brennan by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel.
May 8, 2011
As a member of the baby boom generation I was amazed at the vision of the future as seen in Disney’s Tomorrowland. In the near future we would be flying in air cars or at least traveling in vehicles that drove themselves. Building on the miracle of penicillin medical science would vanquish infectious diseases; chemicals would end pestilence and let agriculture provide an end to hunger worldwide. Nuclear reactors would provide the clean energy at a price too low to meter. Automation and robots would finally free humans from drudgery and tedium, allowing us all to purse happiness through arts and science to improve our minds, bodies, and spirit. After all, we never saw anyone mopping the decks of the Starship Enterprise. This Utopian vision had one fatal flaw that was never revealed. All those manual laborers, be they file clerks or factory workers, would never be simply liberated and supported to follow their muse. No, the vast economic savings would not be shared with them, but rather funneled to wealthy. In place of this grand future the displaced were now to be given limited unemployment “benefits” while they pursed not happiness, but their next job. The mantra from the political elite became “Retrain Yourself”. No time for learning nor enlightenment, but only retraining for a job that technology had yet to obsolete. The direction to file clerks was become computer programmers and to factory workers become computer repairmen. Mankind now serving the machine, that stood the future Utopia on its head. No leisure for you, move along. Unpaid vacations and hope for longer hours to make ends meet. A result of these workers being displaced governments no longer derived revenues from income or sales taxes, while they were expect to provide the “benefits” and the retraining. But that’s a topic for the future.