Arm Wrestling Jesus

I think it’s about time we settle the whole Jesus/Son of God/Savior of Mankind thing once and for all.

After all, there’s so much dispute about what Jesus said, what He did, what He meant, why He was here, even who He was.

Basically all of this comes down to the question about His divinity. That in one giant gulp swallows everything else. It’s the elephant __ or maybe whale (see Jonah 1:17) __ in the room.

So I’m issuing a challenge to Jesus Christ, upon His return to Earth.

Here’s my challenge . . .

When the Man-Who-Died-On-The-Cross-and-Lived-to-Tell-About-It returns to our sorry planet __ as we all know, this encore appearance is referred to among the reverent as the Second Coming __ we’re going to first straight away settle the whole omnipotence thing.

After giving Him a few days much needed R and R to get His bearings and get back up to Savior speed __ God knows what the jet lag must be coming that distance __ we’re going to sit Him down to an arm wrestling contest. Yes, that’s right. An arm wrestling contest!

Let’s see what He’s made of.

Let’s see once and for all if He’s really got the right stuff!

If Jesus wins, He will be crowned King of . . . of . . . well . . . everything.

If He loses, He owes us a big apology. Really big! . . . considering all of the time and money we’ve spent on cathedrals, churches, prayer books, pipe organs, hymnals, the Pope Mobile.

Let me state unequivocally, I think it’s important here to pit Him against the best that the atheists have on their side. To be quite honest, I can’t really say I’m up to speed on atheist arm wrestling, so you folks out there who are familiar, help me out here, by choosing from among your heathen flock who you think can finally put Jesus in His place. Seriously, give it your best shot! He may come off as a wimpy preacher/philosopher/guru kind of guy __ generally these touchy-feeley types are not exactly known for their athleticism __ but if He truly is the Son of God and all-powerful as widely claimed, He’s bringing more to the table than steroid-soaked, pumped-up muscles. Certainly don’t underestimate Him. You might want to think David and Goliath. This calls for brain and brawn. Jesus supposedly had a formidable bag of tricks at His disposal first time around __ raising the dead, changing water to wine, cripple maintenance and repair, leper healing, fishes and loaves, water walking __ so He’s definitely not a lightweight!

Folks, I’d say we’re in for a real mega-event here, the veritable Super Bowl of Metaphysics! The World Series of Cosmology!  Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if Arm Wrestling Mania sets new pay-per-view records.

Then when this battle of the biceps is over __ and I have no personal stake in the outcome except for the life savings I placed on a bet with a rather tawdry bookie here in Japan __ I hope once and for all we have the answers we’ve been looking for and can move on to tackling the bigger, more pressing questions of our troubled times.

Like . . .

Why did they kill off Will Gardner in the hit TV series “The Good Wife”?

WHY?!!

Posted in Deconstruction, Religion, Satire, Social Commentary, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Compassion Is The Fashion

Compassion is the love muscle of caring.

But a lot of the muscle flexing I see going on these days is more like body building than world building. It looks great and makes the “flexer” feel darn good about him or herself, but other than putting on an impressive show, it doesn’t get much done. And it actually may do some real harm.

Look at all of the crocodile tears over the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370.

Granted that this is a tragic, highly unexpected event. Whether pilot error, pilot meltdown, mechanical failure, a vibrational burp in the harmonic spectrum, or some hairline gash in the condom of the space-time continuum, it happened and represents a tragic loss for the families of the passengers.

But the simple fact remains, none of us caused it. None of us can bring back to life the victims of this bizarre malfunction. None of us particularly needs this new reminder that the world we live in, even those things we so fastidiously design and meticulously create, are not and never will be perfect. Certainly none of us can even do anything to prevent it from happening again. We have no idea even what happened.

So why the media drama and obsessive news reports? And why the disproportionate and OCD level of attention to a fluke, affecting 239 people who 99.9999% of us didn’t and will never know?

Well . . . we do know why the media gave this particular event so much attention. Yes, if it bleeds it leads. But now since the spurting of blood is down to a trickle, we find the story consigned to the “back pages” of the 24/7 cyber river of pseudo news and hand-wringing, gut-wrenching, love-muscle flexing. And like the switch man at the local railway yard, we can send our trail of tears down another track. The Compassion Express is off to some brand new destination of manufactured grief.

At the same time, during the unfolding of the Malaysian airliner crisis, it was indisputable. We really cared. We really felt for those victims __ the dead and their surviving relatives and friends. By golly, it really felt good to care about others. It really showed what a good space we were in. What really kind and sensitive people we are. It really let those relatives and friends of the missing passengers know what a concerned and compassionate family the 7 billion of us fellow brothers-and-sisters-in-shared-misery are here on our shrinking planet.

Really?

Did anyone check with the families to see if they really wanted all that attention? Did we forget about something called “privacy” or “solitary mourning”? Do we actually think that mass, anonymous sharing of their grief made any of those poor, sorrowful individuals feel any better? Did anyone stop to think it might actually make them feel worse? That maybe a big group hug from millions of television voyeurs wasn’t such a great idea?

During the sanctions imposed on Iraq for their invasion of Kuwait, lasting for twelve years from 1991 until 2003 when Saddam Hussein was finally toppled by the U.S. invasion, it is estimated that over 500,000 children died of malnutrition and lack of medical supplies and proper health care.

Articles reporting this horrible tragedy started on the back pages and stayed there, or they disappeared entirely. There certainly was no outpouring of shared grief for the millions of Iraqi casualties resulting from our insidious foreign policies, including the death of over a half million children. No crocodile tears were shed outside of some very dedicated, truly caring on-the-ground aid organizations who saw first-hand the genocidal results of our cruel punishment of innocent civilians.

But there should have been.

What’s the difference between Flight 370 and sanctions on Iraq?

While we had nothing to do with the vanishing of Malaysian Flight 370, we were directly responsible for the death of those innocent children. It was our government perpetrating this horror. We could have stopped it.

Moreover, we can and should stop things like this from ever happening again, because each one of us is implicitly involved. As citizens of a democracy, each of us is directly and personally responsible for the policies and actions that come out of our often misguided representatives in Washington.

And when we murder 500,000 innocent children, that’s something to cry about.

Unlike disappearing jetliners, it’s something we could have done something about.

There is something we could do something about right now. Something we should and must do. That’s ending the illegal, immoral, and self-sabotaging murder of innocents with drones. It’s estimated that just during the Obama presidency 2400 individuals have been killed by these diabolical weapons of our errant, self-defeating foreign policy. Estimates which run as high as 37% say many of the dead are completely innocent people, having absolutely no interest or role in terrorist activities against the U.S. or its allies, mere victims of our paranoid and extralegal campaign of assassinating militants. Often these folks were just attending weddings or other family events. A lot of the killed again are children, lives cut short by being in the wrong place.

The harsh truth is that we are all complicit in these murders. It’s our government. It’s our trigger-happy Congress and President who perpetuate this carnage. This is something we should be crying about.

Crying and yelling and screaming.

Do you feel it?

Posted in Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Broccoli Is Free Speech and Tractors Are Persons

Broccoli farmers celebrated today as the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, declaring broccoli free speech and the tractors used on their farms to be persons.

The implications of this controversial ruling are not entirely clear but are expected to be far-reaching.

The President has by executive order mandated that all public parking lots now have a specially designated area next to the already required handicapped parking zones, giving tractors priority parking.

Voter registration of tractors is expected to begin early next week. This will heavily weight congressional representation in agricultural states. With reapportionment, Nebraska and Kansas are expected to send as many congressman to Washington DC as California and Texas. Pundits and political analysts are saying this will tilt the House of Representatives even more to the right, as tractors tend to lean very conservative. It will also be a gigantic boost for proponents of prayer in schools, as most tractors are evangelical Christians.

Major banks will be sending out Visa applications to all farm vehicles. They are leaving it to the vehicles themselves to sort out which fit the strict definition of tractor personhood referenced in the Supreme Court decision.

The free speech aspect of the decision is a little more complicated. Now that broccoli has the same right of expression under the Bill of Rights as human protoplasmic life forms and corporations, will this affect placement in grocery store vegetable sections? How exactly will the voice of broccoli be heard? It’s not as if broccoli is all that popular of a food that it might be used as payment for political favors. A recent NBC/Times poll among prominent politicians at the national and state level showed only a 17% approval rating for broccoli. These guys are not going to be lining up and fighting their way to the front of a feeding trough full of the green stuff unless it’s the more traditional green stuff of money.

On a more forthright note, a bill has been introduced in Congress, co-sponsored by several legislators from Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Georgia, and Mississippi, declaring broccoli to be the official National Vegetable, joining the Bald Eagle as the National Bird and the Oak as the National Tree.

One hotbed of contention which has literally taken over the airwaves of talk radio since the Supreme Court decision, is the question of evolution. There is a core of fundamentalists in the Deep South who are objecting to the notion that tractors are a product of the industrial revolution, the final result of a long progression of increasingly sophisticated man-made devices. One preacher in Alabama declared, “There’s no way you’re gonna tell me that my tractor started as a wheelbarrow, then magically turned into the fine machine it is today. By golly, I love my tractor like I love my own children.”

As might be expected, now that tractors have been declared persons, there have already been massive book burnings across America of text books which portray them as mere agricultural implements.

Moreover, piles of broccoli are now showing up in churches, often right on the altars in front of the crucifixes. People have reported hearing voices emanating from the broccoli, offering a message of hope and a promise of a glorious world in the afterlife.

We should all be grateful that the nine judges sitting on the hallowed highest court in the land have been instrumental in providing a new positive direction for a nation that has recently been troubled by so much bad news and plagued by divisiveness.

This is surely something we can all get behind.

Posted in Nihilism, Political Analysis, Satire, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Extreme? Radical? Or just realistic?

We are constantly being lied to. We are being sold wars  we don’t want.  We are having our best social programs cut. Our jobs and tax dollars are being shipped overseas.  Our treasury is being looted by Wall Street banks and corporate oligarchs. Our education system at all levels is being systematically destroyed. Our privacy and personal freedoms are being whittled away. We are being asked to work harder for less money. Our minimum wage is so minimum, no one can possibly live on it. We are told we have to tighten our belts while the rich are carting away billions from the public till as tax breaks and corporate subsidies. 7-11 clerks and fast food cooks pay higher tax rates than corporate CEOs and rich Wall Street bankers.

How long does this have to go on before the American people have finally had enough?

The typical American citizen is being shafted on so many levels, what totally astounds me is that there are not outraged mobs in the streets demanding the heads of the politicians and the cold calculating country club elites they serve.

Okay . . . okay . . . mass insurrection is not going to happen. At least not for now.

So it seems obvious to me that since we’re not going to have a revolution in this country, the very least we can do is replace the elected officials in our federal government who have been the cheerleaders and implementers of these onerous policies. The very least!

I’ve stated over and over that we need to replace at least 500 of our legislators, then put someone in the White House who understands and serves the needs of all Americans, not just the filthy rich. I’ve even dug up that old electoral battle cry: “Throw the bums out!”

As a result, I’ve had people say I’m extreme . . . out-of-touch . . . radical . . . and even call me an ungrateful, unpatriotic, American-hating whiner. I get it. Attack the messenger.

Let’s be honest here. If our government on practically every critical front is headed in completely in the wrong direction and I say it’s time to clean house . . .

Am I extreme?

Am I radical?

Or am I just being realistic?

I am proposing here simple, straightforward tests, applied locally within each community. These are based on the electoral strategy outlined in my recent book, “An Unlikely Truth.” Just ask yourself . . .

  • Did my congressman or senator vote against raising the federal minimum wage? If he or she did, it means that this elected official is voting against the stated will of 72% of the American voting public. Apparently the demands of the greedy businessmen who fill his or her election campaign coffers are more important than people being able to earn a decent living.
  • Did my congressman vote for the Ryan budget in the House or did my senator vote for continuing tax breaks for the rich in the Senate? That vote would go against the 71% of the voting public who think the wealthy should bear more of the burden, as they did for most decades of the 20th Century. Supporting historically low income tax and capital gains tax rates means more money into the pockets of the already wealthy, paid for by the rest of us who are struggling to make ends meet. It’s Robin Hood . . . but in reverse.
  • Did my congressman or senator vote for a defense budget which included the infamous F-35 advanced fighter jet, arguably the biggest boondoggle in the history of the nation? A whopping 75% of American voters want serious cuts in the defense budget. Voting for any of the bloated defense appropriations budgets means throwing away money on worthless defense projects while schools, streets, bridges are crumbling. It’s putting bombs and bullets above quality of life.
  • Did my congressman or senator vote for continuing oil subsidies for the oil industry? Alright, profits were a little off last year. So the Big 5 __ BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell __ only made $177,000 per minute.  Cry me a river! That added up to $93 billion in total profits. 74% of Americans want the government to stop throwing money at the these behemoth corporations and insist they start paying their fair share in taxes.
  • Did my congressman or senator vote for funding attacks on Libya, Syria, Iran, the Ukraine or extending the waste of American tax dollars in Afghanistan, which 69% of Americans now oppose? Americans are sick of war. Fed up! Every dollar spent on these misadventures is one less dollar for critical needs here at home. Estimates for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are in the upwards of $6 trillion __ that’s trillion with a ‘t’. That adds up to 12,000,000 good paying jobs here in America. Think about it!
  • Did my congressman or senator vote for any legislation which cut benefits, raised the eligibility age, or tampered with the rate of increase of Social Security payments, for example, the “chained CPI” skullduggery? Such a vote, or even thinking about such a vote, is in direct opposition to the clear voice of the American people, 79% of which want no changes to the most popular and successful federal program in history. Putting the squeeze on our elderly, who have worked hard all their lives and can barely survive on the pittance that the program now provides, may be the most heartless, sinister, pathological proposal to come down the long pike of heartless, sinister, pathological proposals. The money to pay benefits would be there if the Social Security trust fund had not been raided to pay for unfunded wars and tax breaks for the rich, and having everyone’s savings replaced by a bunch of government security IOUs. More to the point, those responsible for this theft should not only not be in public office. They should be in prison.
  • Did my congressman or senator vote against labeling foods that contain GMOs? If he or she did, then this elected official is at odds with 93% of the voting public. Yes . . . I said 93%! And keeping people ignorant of what they’re eating and exposing them to potential health hazards as dictated by the giant food and agrochemical conglomerates like Monsanto is the choice your legislator is consciously and unconscionably making.

As far as I’m concerned, a ‘yes’ on any single one of the above questions is a knock out.

Zero tolerance. Time to look elsewhere. Time to stop voting for the same ol’ same ol’.

My reasoning is this. If your senator or congressman accepted what is effectively a bribe __ lobbyist favors, campaign donations, expensive lunches or junkets or whatever __ on one critical issue where there exists a major consensus among the American voting public and in your voting district, it means that at some time in the future, if enough pressure is applied by powerful corporations and their cutthroat lobbyists on other critical matters, your same representative will ignore you, his or her constituents, and vote lockstep with moneyed interests. If it happened once, it’ll happen again. Politicians must be put on notice: We’re watching and there is no margin for error. Or chicanery. Or excuses.

Of course, they’ll him-and-haw, create a tsunami of obfuscation and evasion to justify that one “compromise” or trade-off. I say we take the higher ground and leave the guy to drown in his own bullshit. Then suggest to Mr. Got-Lotsa-Excuses Legislator we’ve heard enough, point to the parking lot and tell him, “Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out.”

Remember, elected officials want your vote. They will tell you what you want to hear to get you to check the box. Too often, once they are in office, they conveniently forget that the promises they made were in effect a contract with their constituents. A verbal contract. Based on what they said they would do, we voted for them. There’s a bond of trust and responsibility operating. And if they can’t honor any single one of those commitments, then why should we trust them to honor any of them __ past, present of future __ after they disappear inside the Washington bubble?

We have to keep focused . . .

It doesn’t matter whether your current congressman or senator has a pleasant smile, looks dashing when going to church on Sundays, has enchanting TV ads showing him or her at the local Kiwanis Club annual bake-off fundraiser, is a model family man or woman, and gosh-by-golly is again this year the Grand Marshall for the Independence Day parade down main street of your home town.

What does matter is whether he or she is listening to you, or taking marching orders from the deep-pocketed campaign donors who pay for those TV ads full of patriotic slogans and empty campaign promises, those slick video bites and photo ops designed to fool you once again into voting against your own interests and needs.

Is it extreme to expect honest representation?

Is it radical to want a functioning democracy?

Or is it just realistic to expect our system of government to work for all of us, not just the privileged and powerful?

______________________________________________________________

I am doing what I can to address the destruction of our democratic system.

Without taking back our government, nothing will change.

In my new book, An Unlikely Truth, I offer an electoral strategy which I believe can effectively remove the crooks and liars from office, and begin to restore representative democracy to America.

An Unlikely Truth (Literary Vagabond Books) is now available worldwide in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe edition paperback.

Posted in Corporatism, Political Analysis, Political Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Obviously Insane?

A definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein has been getting a lot of attention lately . . .

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

So every day I get up, read the news, write some comments on Facebook, OpEdNews, Huffington Post, sign some petitions. Some days I write a blog (that takes up several hours), some years I write a book. That means 6 to 8 months of focused work. (My most recent novel, “An Unlikely Truth” took about two years to research, then six months to write and re-write.)

This pattern of activity has been going on for several years now. Day after day, I do these same things over and over. Each and everyday I check the news, the reports, the updates.

I keep hoping.

But nothing changes.

Well . . . technically it does. Things get worse.

But there you are. The textbook (or comic book) definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Sound familiar?

But I figured something out the other day. Maybe I’m not insane.

There is an important concept that applies here. That concept is critical mass.

Adapted from nuclear physics, where a certain critical concentration of fissile material is required to create and sustain a nuclear reaction, the sociodynamic concept of critical mass is parallel.

Basically, it suggests that there is some level of active participation within society, where change occurs and becomes self-sustaining. Estimates of what percentage of the general population is sufficient varies. Some say only 5%, others suggest it’s more like 20%. It’s a relatively small percentage nevertheless. Meaning once a certain level of awareness occurs, once a comparatively small number of individuals embrace a compelling idea, it takes off. Whoosh! It catches on fire and sweeps through the society like a firestorm. Soon almost everybody is on board. From that modest critical mass grows a powerful consensus.

The important thing to appreciate with critical mass is that profound change, even huge paradigm shifts, don’t necessitate 100% of the population. An aggressive, focused minority can move mountains. They might even be able to move Congress. Wouldn’t that be special!

So specifically in terms of our current, highly frustrating political quagmire, let me offer my own, slightly mutated definition of insanity . . .

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over but not having enough other insane people doing it to get a different result.

What do you think?

Obviously insane?

Or just hopeful?

______________________________________________________________

I am doing what I can to address the destruction of our democratic system.

Without taking back our government, nothing will change.

In my new book, An Unlikely Truth, I offer an electoral strategy which I believe can effectively remove the crooks and liars from office, and begin to restore representative democracy to America.

An Unlikely Truth (Literary Vagabond Books) is now available worldwide in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe edition paperback.

Posted in Political Analysis, Satire, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spitball Politics

With my new book An Unlikely Truth coming out, I’ve had a few interesting days recently.

Among several interviews I did last week, I ended up on a right wing radio talk show. We only had a few minutes but the host immediately challenged me with . . . “Well, since money is free speech, how can you get the money out of politics? And why would you want to?”

For one of the few times in my life, I was speechless.

Of course, you and I know the answer to that question. But it’s a VERY LONG ANSWER!

It’s an answer that goes to the very core of the values each of us hold about our country, about our system of government, about what democracy means and how it should function in a free society.

Then something occurred to me.

This guy threw me a spitball.

He fired a pitch covered in slime, lubricated with the mucous of his warped, partisan, and corporate view of America, meant to slip and slide off any attempt by me to give it a good smack at least into the outfield, if not the stands.

Therefore . . . there was no point in even trying to answer it.

If you think that spitballs are not in the spirit of good sportsmanship, not aligned with the greater good of baseball and fair play, you don’t attempt to discuss it with a pitcher who has just won his last 15 games throwing the spitball.

You talk to people with some perspective, people who can look at our national sport, see it as only being fair, competitive, entertaining, and a contribution to our culture, when we all recognize that the integrity of the sport is more important than winning a particular game.

As a result, it was long ago decided by fair-minded, concerned members of the baseball community:

Spitballs are the unsavory choice of slime balls.

And the guys who insisted on throwing them were given an ultimatum:

Stop throwing spitballs or you can’t play the game.

It’s the same with politics. We can’t expect Congress or any of our national leaders to do the right thing about Citizens United or the corruption of our system with truckloads of corporate money, when these are the very people who are benefiting from this heinous mutilation of American democracy.

If the current crop of lackluster elected officials don’t want to play the game with honesty, distinction, respect for the American people, and reverence for representative democracy, they shouldn’t be allowed to play the game.

Spitball politics in the form of legalized bribery by lobbyists, play-for-pay politicians, and corruption of our political system by deep-pocketed oligarchs, is destroying America, or at bare minimum turning it into something we barely recognize.

No more spitball politics, I say!

If our current crop of weak-kneed elected officials don’t have the courage and integrity to adopt sportsmanlike rules by legislatively ending Citizens United immediately, they don’t belong in the game.

If a politician can’t embrace and play by sportsmanlike rules, one strike and he’s out!

______________________________________________________________

I am doing what I can to address the destruction of our democratic system.

Without taking back our government, nothing will change.

In my new book, An Unlikely Truth, I offer an electoral strategy which I believe can effectively remove the crooks and liars from office, and begin to restore representative democracy to America.

An Unlikely Truth (Literary Vagabond Books) is now available worldwide in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe edition paperback.

Posted in Political Analysis, Political Rant, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

VIDEO BLOG: Trust No Incumbent

______________________________________________________________

I am doing what I can to address the destruction of our democratic system.

Without taking back our government, nothing will change.

In my new book, An Unlikely Truth, I offer an electoral strategy which I believe can effectively remove the crooks and liars from office, and begin to restore representative democracy to America.

An Unlikely Truth (Literary Vagabond Books) is now available worldwide in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe edition paperback.

An Unlikely Truth is a critical read for anyone who shares the progressive vision of a more peaceful, more humane, more democratic America.

______________________________________________________________

Posted in Political Analysis, Political Rant, Video Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Throw the bums out!

72% of American voters are for raising
taxes on the wealthy.

That equates to 108 million people.

76% of American voters want to cut back
on military spending.

That’s 114 million people.

72% of American voters want a federal minimum wage of $10.00 or more.

108 million people.

74% of American voters are for ending oil subsidies.

111 million people.

79% of American voters want no cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

Over 118 million people.

93% of American voters want labeling of GMOs in their food.

That’s nearly 140 million people!!

But none of this gets done!

The simple and insulting truth is that a mere 500 or so men defy the will of millions, that the very people we elect and send to Washington to create laws that protect our interests, refuse to represent us, ignore our clearly stated will on these crucial issues and many more.

They ignore “we the people” and do the bidding of “we the rich”. Until we confront these play-for-pay lapdogs, they will continue to serve a tiny elite minority of rich and powerful oligarchs and America will continue its slow but certain decline. You and I will live like beggars and America will become a Third World country.

We’ve all been appalled by recent events. We’ve watched as our government was shut down. We’ve been horrified by the fight over the debt limit. We’ve seen the systematic destruction of our democratic way of life.

So what can we do? With millions of dollars of fat cat money floating around, the voice of the regular guy has been drowned out. There has been no way to get rid of the crooks and liars. But I believe now there is.

How did that old expression go?

“Throw the bums out!”

We do this using a new, unique and powerful strategy for taking on the corrupting cancer of money in politics __ an end run around the iron grip which Wall Street, big banks and corporate oligarchs now have on our political system. This sledgehammer approach gives the 500 corporate toadies in Congress, who arrogantly sit inside the Washington DC bubble and ignore the very people who voted them into office, a simple straightforward ultimatum: Do your job and start representing “we the people” or collect your pink slip.

It’s a no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners method for cleaning up the corruption among our elected officials and putting people in office who will do our bidding. It forces the men and women we choose on election day to start taking their orders from us, instead of the deep-pocketed puppet masters who have effectively stolen our government by buying off our senators, congressmen, even our president, with huge campaign donations.

This is an election year and people are frustrated and angry. Congress started the new year at a historically low 13% approval rating.

I say we channel that frustration and anger into a unified and constructive effort to restore true representative democracy to our country.

It’s up to us. But something has to happen immediately. We are fast approaching a point of no return, beyond which the specter of a rigid totalitarian state looms. Either we replace our current legislators or they will replace our country with one we don’t recognize.

Look around. It’s already happening.

So either we rise up now in a bloodless coup at the polls or we rise up later in the streets. Revolution in the streets will not be bloodless and I suspect it won’t end well. The blatant and ruthless dismemberment of OWS was a warning.

Time to unite and act decisively.

Hopefully it’s not too late.

Sometimes truth comes from an unexpected place and from an unlikely messenger.

It doesn’t matter the source. It’s still the truth.

Posted in Political Analysis, Political Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Change We Can Believe In

According to recent polls . . .

Approval of Congress stands at an all time low. Only 13% think they’re doing their job.

Almost half of American voters “think their own member of Congress does not deserve reelection” while only 25% thought they did.

This is an election year __ perhaps the most important election year in recent history __ meaning we have a choice to make.

Will it be more of the same?

Are we going to be obedient little robots again and pull the lever for the guy with the clever campaign ads and teeth-whitened smile?

Or is it time to take this seriously?

Our situation is certainly serious. Despite the massaged statistics we are fed and the latest Wall Street bubble courtesy of our Federal Reserve, our economy is in shambles. Popular and highly successful programs like Social Security and Medicare are still under attack by the viciously selfish 1%. The rich still don’t pay anywhere near their fair share of taxes, and they seem bent on starving the most vulnerable among us by cutting food stamps, heating oil subsidies, unemployment benefits, child care, school lunch programs. Jobs continue to be shipped to slave wage countries in Asia and profits bankrolled in tax havens around the world. Corporations get the royal treatment and we regular citizens get the shaft.

Had enough of this?

It’s time for some major change in this country.

It starts November 4th.

Here are some related blogs:

Trust No Incumbent
It’s Nothing Personal
VIDEO BLOG: It’s too complicated
VIDEO BLOG: “Take me to your leader!”
Guillotine or Exile?
Real News
The Day That Changed The World

Posted in Political Analysis, Political Rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ship of State

Our ship of state cannot find a new, better direction by rearranging the deck chairs, hiring a new trumpet player for the band in the Captain’s Lounge, or repainting the life boats.

It really comes down to setting an entirely new course, even turning the ship 180º around if it’s heading entirely in the wrong direction. Nothing less will get the job done.

Yet, our often bitter national conversation __ sometimes a shrill shouting match __ is always focused on the tiniest details, irrelevant details which serves both to distract us and obscure the larger issues which are the real source of our national conundrum and chronic paralysis. Whether this is intentional or not, it has poisoned all of the air in the room and killed progress on the many critical __ as in life-or-death __ challenges confronting us.

We argue about capping student loan percentages and whether bankruptcy should be allowed for individuals who can’t pay for their student loans. Public funding for advanced education has been coming up short both at the national and local level. Public universities facing insolvency are either depending more on private __ as in corporate __ funding, or being completely privatized. Tuition is shooting through the roof. To assure profitability, institutions of learning are becoming more beholden to private industry. The disturbing upshot of these trends is that higher education is becoming unaffordable for the majority of young people, at a time when employers are demanding even more education of their prospective employees. Nevertheless, all we seem capable of doing is nitpicking away about the burgeoning student debt problem.

The real question is what kind of country doesn’t educate its population? Conservatives say the money isn’t there. Yet we spend in the upwards of $1 trillion a year __ that’s trillion with a ‘t’ __ on our military. We really need to ask: Books or bombs?

We argue about the upsides and downsides of Obamacare, wrangle over the exemptions and loopholes in the program, condemn governors who are opting out certain aspects of the Affordable Healthcare Act. These are certainly genuine issues but not the problem.

The real problem is twofold: There is nothing keeping the cost of health care under control __ we spend 17.7% of our GDP on health care, next closest are Holland at 11.9%, France at 11.6%, Germany at 11.3%, Canada at 11.2%,  __ and much of what we spend on services is turned into corporate profits. You get sick, corporations make money. The sicker you get, the more money they make. Am I off here but isn’t there something bizarre or even cruel about turning human misery into an ATM machine?

So forget the details of this sub-clause and that policy rider. We need to address a very fundamental question about what kind of society we want. Is America a country where the proper care and health of its citizens is a fundamental and integral part of “the general welfare” __ is a basic right __ or is it a service commodity like getting your car tuned or your house painted? There is no other modern industrialized nation which does not lean toward seeing health care as a right, like voting, free speech, freedom of religion, and so on. America distinguishes itself by ignoring this most fundamental aspect of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Only in America will you be left to die just because your insurance doesn’t cover your problem or like 40 million others you have no health insurance.

We talk about whether we should go to war with Syria or Iran, whether we should continue to use drones, what we can do about North Korea. Yes, this is a dangerous world. But we ignore a simple fact. We are the ones making the world a more dangerous place. We are now viewed by the rest of the world as the greatest threat to peace and stability on the planet. With maybe a few obvious exceptions, we are the problem, not those we are constantly demonizing. We are becoming a pariah in the world community.

Because of the wholesale takeover by the military-industrial complex of our foreign policy apparatus, meaning wholesale embracing of a neocon imperialistic world view, we don’t even consider peace as an option. We don’t work for peace. We don’t think about peace. We rarely mention peace. The military option, from targeted drone bombing to full-scale war is apparently the only option. We have a one-size-fits-all strategy: Bomb, kill, destroy.

The real question is:  Do most American citizens want America to rule the world by force?  Do the imperial ambitions and delusions of global hegemony of our leaders truly reflect the values of the majority of our citizens? What insanity is Washington DC championing here on our behalf?

Who’s version of America arms the world __ we are the biggest arms supplier on the planet __ antagonizes every other world power, bullies its friends and foes alike, never takes ‘yes’ for an answer unless it’s a ‘yes’ for armed confrontation, and expects to survive?

This is a survival issue. Because if any significant number of the countries becoming increasingly fed up with America’s my-way-or-the-highway tactics unite, no amount of bombs and bullets will rescue us. Think about this:  America hasn’t won a war since WWII. Oh right . . . forgot. There was Grenada. A country of with less than 1/4 million people with no standing army. We trounced them.

Then as we spend about as much on the rest of the world combined on our vast military machine, we scream and yell __ perhaps rightfully so __ about our national debt, about both our personal and public indebtedness, about home mortgages, foreclosures, credit card debt, of course, again student loan debt, how much we owe China and Japan, etc. Sure these are important matters. But they are only the dirty wine glasses on the Titanic.

Because the real question is:  Why doesn’t the nation we pay our hard-earned taxes to have control of its own currency? Why don’t we as Americans have any say whatever in the way the money of the richest country in the world is handled by its central banking institution, the Federal Reserve? The Federal Reserve is not federal __ meaning a part of the federal government __ any more than Federal Express. It is a privately owned-and-operated corporation! Our currency is not issued by Uncle Sam. It’s issued by Uncle Ben, as in Ben Bernanke! How can we get our budget priorities in line when we don’t have any control over the very currency we use? This sounds on the surface like some abstract question but it is fundamental to creating a sound economic system. He who controls the purse strings controls the world.

And now is the really big one, which spawns all of the others. This is the big daddy sitting at the top of this shit pile of self-deception causing all of the yelling, blather, incoherence, gridlock, confusion, frustration, helplessness __ the ultimate bargain with the Devil.

We argue about Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal, we have our standing jokes about Libertarians and spoiler candidates from the Green Party, and we point at the ultimate lepers of our time, socialists!

But the simple truth is that it’s not about Democrat vs. Republican. It’s about tyranny. The tyranny we have invited by our apathy and our self-invoked declaration of surrender. The tyranny that marches in when hope is replaced by hopelessness and toughness traded out for submission and compliance. It’s the tyranny of the power elite that fills the vacuum of citizen engagement and self-rule. It’s the tyranny of rule by a tiny core of elite oligarchs when voting becomes an exercise in futility, if not a complete joke.

All of this contentiousness, bickering, in-fighting, out-fighting, cage-fighting is irrelevant. Because we don’t have representative government anymore.

DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA IS DEAD!

Now that’s the real issue.

And until we address that issue, nothing else will get done. Politics will be a board game, about as relevant to governing our nation as Monopoly is to the real economy.

The evidence for this is clear.

No matter who is in power, Democrat or Republican, most everything just gets worse.

Ralph Nader made the controversial claim in his 2000 campaign for president that the two parties were Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. That was both perceptive and prescient. Now in the coming mid-term and 2016 elections, it is even more the case than ever. Real choice within the two-party system is an illusion. Third party and other independent candidates are almost totally shut out, shouted down, or mocked by those who benefit from having a two-party system beholden to the corporate aristocracy.

So the questions we need to address here are not the hot issues of the day. The questions are practically never what is being discussed in the 24/7/365 tsunami of scandal, rumor, manufactured crisis, and drama queen reporting that passes for news these days.

The most important question is whether we can become a functioning democracy again.

Whether a Democrat or a Republican supports gay marriage or gun control or legalization of marijuana may seem like life-or-death issues. This is what we constantly hear from both media pundits and politicians alike. But these issues __ these “details” __ pale against the real question, the big question.

Do these men and women in suits __ Democrats and Republicans __ support America?

Do they support America, or is their true loyalty to the huge transnational corporations which are looting our treasury via corporate welfare and off-shoring their profits, turning our country in a big wasteland devoid of real opportunities for real Americans, trashing the environment, and bankrupting our political system by buying our elected representatives?

So what’s the point of all of this?

It’s very simple . . .

Until we fix the big problems, nothing will get resolved. Our educational system is rigged. Our health care system is rigged. Our foreign policy is rigged. Our tax system is rigged. Our monetary system is rigged. Our democracy is rigged. So . . .

We can sweat the small stuff but all we will end up doing is standing in a puddle of sweat.

I talked about this problem of scale __ the big fundamental systemic issues vs. the narrow typically charged and highly divisive ones __ quite some time ago in a previous blog called “You Don’t Use A Microscope To Find The Cow That Left The Barn“. I also discussed the epic levels of exaggeration which issues from our government institutions supported by the talking puppets in the media, essentially propaganda designed to convince the public that the dysfunctional blowhards we elect to public office are actually getting something done. That blog was called “Differences That Don’t Make A Difference“.

Back then __ respectively April and March 2011 __ neither seemed to make much of an impression. But considering it’s been almost three years now and things are just getting worse, maybe this would be a good time to revisit them.

As to the important business of steering the ship of state . . .

Maybe it’s time for a mutiny.

Posted in Banking, Corporatism, Political Analysis, Political Rant, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments