Bird Dogging

I’m always humbled when I find a gaping hole in my vocabulary. 

The other day, someone in a political activist group suggested that it would be effective to ‘bird dog’ incumbents about a rather controversial issue we were discussing.

Mind you, I have made this tactic central to my electoral campaign strategy, integral to implementing my candidate contract plan of action.  I just didn’t know the name for it.

See?  Even the Google definition mentions bird dogging in a political context.

Yes . . . “dogged determination” . . . very cute.

That cute characterization is the polite, PC way of describing what I’m proposing.

As I presume will happen, my enlightened, progressive, honest and transparent people’s candidate has signed one or more contracts on issues that reflect the will of the majority of voters in the district where the contest is taking place.  You can view the contract and the laundry list of progressive issues here, one that’s drafted for the House of Representatives.

But . . .

His opponents, whether newcomers or an incumbent, are establishment candidates, thus HAVE NOT SIGNED THE CONTRACT.  I’ve explained elsewhere why they cannot and will not sign these contracts, but basically it boils down to their all but certain loss of campaign funding and major party machinery support.  There are huge stakes at keeping at bay any significant populist reforms, specifically those in the progressive candidate contract.  Keeping obedient establishment lackeys in office is essential for the status quo.

For simplicity sake, let’s say the contract in dispute is not the one listing the whole gamut of populist issues, but just one for raising the minimum wage.  It would look like this.

Of course, raising the minimum wage is certainly the main focus in the battle for votes.

But the actual centerpiece of every element of the publicity campaign is the contract for raising the minimum wage.  This is where the bird dogging comes in.

At every public rally, campaign event, fundraiser, town hall meeting, meet-the-candidate barbecue or hotdog eating contest — literally everywhere the establishment candidate(s) show up in public — there will be protesters wearing t-shirts, carrying signs, chanting:

Why won’t you sign the contract for raising the minimum wage?

Understand:  ‘Why won’t you sign the contract for …’ is not a genial request for an answer.  It’s an expression of outrage!  It’s a condemnation!  It’s saying:  You are insulting us!  We as voters are making a simple, fair, reasonable request.  And you are defying the will of the people!  It’s a rhetorical question challenging the empty rhetoric of the candidate.

Of course, every candidate, especially when speaking to younger folks who are most likely working for or just barely above the minimum wage, is going to discharge billowing gusts of smiley-face vapor about the “crisis in the availability of good jobs in this country”, and “all workers deserving a livable wage”.  This always sounds nice but is really a lot of stinky poop, considering that the official rate hasn’t increased in seven years, and moreover, that adjusted for inflation the current $7.25 per hour is worth less than it was 50 years ago.

There’s only one way to take such patronizing oratory seriously, and that is to have him or her sign on the dotted line — put it in writing, in the form of a candidate contract.

The corollary to that is:  The only way to boldly and loudly declare that such a candidate is NOT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY is by challenging them for NOT SIGNING the contract.

That’s how the candidate contract becomes a sledgehammer in a political campaign, a serious tool for exposing an establishment candidate’s hypocrisy and duplicity.

Why resort to harassment?

To be blunt about it, at least at first, any candidate which signs any version of the contract I’m proposing won’t have much choice.  He or she will not have much in the way of funds, will not have the organizational support of a major party’s machinery, will be marginalized or entirely ignored by the mainstream media.  Such an outsider campaign will have to get in the news by making news!  By creating so much trouble and controversy, the media and anyone within any proximity can’t help but notice!  Using street theater, outlandish stunts, sit-downs, sit-ins, blocking traffic, naked acrobatics . . . whatever!  All to call attention to the fact that the slick, well-groomed, smooth-talking sack-of-hot-air opponent REFUSES to sign the contract.

Along those same lines, this is how the candidate contract works around big money.  Yes, those establishment types will have huge campaign chests to run slick ads, to disseminate their carefully-worded and misleading messages.  Those messages will always seem to be saying the right things.  They’ve got the best spin doctors, PR and campaign consultants money can buy, massaging their images and words to a milky silky stream of lovely goo.

But voters are waking up.  And people don’t like being manipulated and deceived.

As with our example, either a candidate is for or against raising the minimum wage.  That being the case, if he or she is claiming to be with the voters on this particular issue, and the voters by a vast margin are for raising the minimum wage, why is it unreasonable to ask for a clear and unambiguous commitment in writing?  After all, that’s what this candidate contract is — a clear and unambiguous commitment to raise the minimum wage.

If indeed it does turn out to be too much to ask a particular candidate, then it appears that WE’VE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM.  And the problem is the candidate is blowing smoke!  He or she is full of the brown stuff that comes out of the south end of a bull heading north!

Our democracy is sick.  Our whole electoral system is diseased.  This has largely because the professional political class of this country has discredited itself — and seems to be bent on continuing to discredit itself — every time one of them opens his or her mouth.  We the voters didn’t bring on this crisis of trust.  The political establishment did.  By consistently and intentionally lying to everyday Americans and with almost a religious fervor breaking every campaign promise that might actually benefit the majority of American citizens.

Worst of all, any newcomers to this corrupt system have been vilified, marginalized and excluded, unless they are willing to play ball by the corrupt rules of ruling class obeisance.  Bernie Sanders’s brilliant campaign was systematically undermined by the Democratic Party establishment.  I surely don’t need to review here how the major parties in sinister, symbiotic collusion with the media openly mock and trivialize attempts by minor parties to introduce some integrity into the river of political filth the current system has become.

Yes, the duopoly of the two corporate parties has gotten control of just about everything having to do with electoral politics.  But there’s one thing they haven’t been able to shut down completely.  That’s word-of-mouth.  That’s people talking to people.  Which is why even the most powerful individuals can be brought down by the right scandal.

What’s more scandalous than lying to voters just to get their votes?

What’s more cynical, what’s more insulting, what’s more corrupt than refusing to stand up for what’s right and good for the majority of good, decent, hard-working citizens?

And since it’s every citizen’s right to know where a candidate really stands on issues that affect the everyday lives of everyday Americans; it’s every citizen’s right to be informed, and to be treated with candor and respect; it’s every citizen’s right to know with certainty who is on their side and who isn’t; sometimes we need to let that dog-bird, bird-dog, that hybrid-GMO-predator out of its cage, and proceed with “dogged determination”.

Let it be known . . .

You’re being put on notice, establishment Democrats and Republicans.

Just the right amount of bird dogging might make honest politicians out of you after all!

If not, then it’s really quite simple . . . you’ll be replaced.

By politicians with the integrity to sign the contract.

Woof woof chirp chirp!

 


CC_eBook Cover_Final_200x300 “Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” was published middle of last year and is available worldwide from all the usual suspects:

Amazon (Kindle)  . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1Cuq0du
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1OEI2xj
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

 

!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve” was published this past September and also is available both in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe paperback:

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1VMf2Ft
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1L9SdIC
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1JD1YAg
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1ZUJUpn
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/1IX6rO4
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/22PXWLf
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1i7ISFM

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump Makes Russian the Official Language of the U.S.

In a surprise move that caught just about everyone flat-footed, President Donald Trump by executive order today made Russian the official language of the United States of America.

Trump came out of the box swinging.  When a reporter yelled out a question to him on the 7th hole at the Trump International Golf Course, the president appeared very excited and wasn’t going to take any crap from anyone about his controversial decision.

“I promised jobs, didn’t I?  Well, we’ve got a helluva lot of signs to replace.  Also a lot of smart phones.  The Russian alphabet is in . . . uh . . . acrylic.  It’s a whole different deal from our alphabet.  A whole different deal!  But I tell ya, it’s great!  Really really great! Gotta say, I can’t wait to start Tweeting in Russian!”

Of course, this announcement comes on the heels — just 48 hours — of another truly extraordinary development, that of Trump’s replacement of Nikki Haley with Alex Jones as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

With the efficiency that is becoming the hallmark of this administration, the transition was quick.  Literally the following day, Ambassador Jones was seen sitting at a U.N. Security Council session with bottles of his highly-acclaimed Caveman nutritional supplement lined up in front of him, as he read a new U.S.-sponsored resolution proposing that UNESCO, under the auspices of NATO, administer Crimea as a newly-founded leper colony.

Right after Trump signed the executive order mandating the change in the U.S.’s official language, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was interviewed at a charter school volley ball meet she was attending in the Hamptons:  “Well, it’s a challenge.  But we’re making America great again.  So we’ve got a handle on it.  Some of my best friends are Russian.  And hey!  Have you ever had a Black Russian?  Come on!  Don’t give me that look!  I’m not talking about sex.  I mean the drink.  It’s vodka and Kahlúa.  Yum yum!”  Asked about how this might impact her plans for retooling America’s educational institutions, she replied:  “Obviously we need some native speakers fluent in Russian.  But we’re on top of it.  I was online just this morning and personally hired over forty excellent teachers, so no worries.  I’d say we’ve got this covered.”

Among pundits, Rachel Maddow was first in line to lambast Trump’s game-changing maneuver.  She called it a cheap Soviet-style stunt to sabotage the important work of Congress.  Under the strict guidelines established by the directive, from now on, all of the business of government — including any calls for Trump’s impeachment — must be conducted in America’s new official language.  Maddow looked into the camera and seething with contempt said, “He knows no one up on Capitol Hill knows any Russian. He and his KGB buddy Putin are behind this treachery . . . having a big laugh at the expense of the American people.”

Unfortunately, no one understood a word of her acrimonious rant.  Since Trump’s order was already in effect, her entire show was overdubbed in Russian.  No English sub-titles were made available.

What really prompted Trump’s bold, unprecedented move?

Of course, there’s much speculation.  Hillary Clinton along with the DNC leadership posed under a huge banner that said:  See? We Told You So!  Because it wasn’t in Russian, they were promptly arrested and are now awaiting arraignment.

Perhaps more reliably, an unnamed source from within the president’s most private circles at Mar-a-Lago — rumor has it that it’s an African-American maid named Jemima — stated that Ivanka Trump had just received a Matryoshka doll from a friend in Russia and was carrying on about the gift:  “Oh daddy!  Isn’t this just adorable?  I love everything about Russia!”  President Trump reportedly then smiled, and looking dreamily at her breasts, proudly patted her on the butt and said:  “That’s my girl!”

We thus conclude that as with the cruise missile attack on the Al Shayrat air base in Syria, Trump will do anything to keep his daughter happy.  Having everyone in this great nation of ours speaking Russian from now on was just his gift to his precious little daughter.

Ivanka is a Russian name, isn’t it?

 

Posted in Fox News, Nihilism, Satire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Public Shaming

Many folks actually believe our elected “representatives” — quotation marks are warranted since they don’t in fact represent us at all — listen to us.  To put it mildly, this is a bit naive.  The simple truth is, it’s completely refuted by the facts.

Granted, these professional politicos put on a good show.  They all have at their disposal the best handlers, who tell them how to gesture and when to smile. They have the best speech writers money can buy, who twist words into incomprehensible but delightful-sounding gobbledygook, smearing just the right among of cake frosting on often the most insidious acts of blatant treachery.  We buy into this three-ring circus because we foolishly trust these clowns.

We think that if we call their offices enough times, routed into the digital black hole of automated message machines; that if we attend the rare town hall meeting when he/she has found time between lunches with lobbyists, and fundraisers blessed by deep-pocketed corporate benefactors; if we sign online petitions, that add to the growing pile of tens of thousands of similar petitions; if we organize rallies and protests which while unreported by the media we’re sure will attract some attention; if we write letters to the editor of our hometown newspapers, which in all probability won’t get published but whose message will, we believe, still somehow magically get communicated; surely all of this effort will make a difference and we’ll see some good, positive changes take place.

Talk about a disconnect!  Talk about willful denial!  Talk about delusional thinking!

Look around, folks.  Could it get worse for those of us with some humanity and decency?  Look at all levels of government. We have a card-carrying member of the .1% in the White House, lapdog puppets of the rich and powerful in control of both chambers of Congress, Republican majorities in all of the state legislatures, and Republicans also as governors of the majority of the states.

What does this mean?  What can we expect? 

Aristocrats and their pay-for-play toadies in high places are elitist and anti-democratic to the core, they are relentlessly greedy and insatiable, and will use their power to further enrich themselves at the expense of the rest of us.

How will this end?

The ultra-rich have been and will continue to plunder our nation until there’s nothing left to plunder, then they’ll move on to other countries — it’s quite evident that the process is already well underway throughout Europe and Asia, funneling vast amounts of wealth to the already ultra-wealthy via hyper-capitalism and the neoliberal juggernaut.

Here’s the straight talk, though it’s not what you want to hear.

None of what we’re doing works because . . .

The people we vote into office are not listening.  Not to you and I, the everyday citizen.

It’s that simple.  We don’t need to analyze this any further.  Sometimes it’s just exactly what it appears to be.  If someone is laying in the middle of the street with six bullet holes in their head, brains scattered across the pavement, and a note pinned to their back which says, “I told you to stop hitting on my wife”, we don’t need an autopsy to see if maybe what the poor slob had for lunch caused his death.  Or whether maybe he’s allergic to his new wristwatch band.

Our legislators are serving the rich and powerful and ignoring the needs of everyday folks like you and I.  Period!  It’s right smack in front of our eyes.  This is not a rumor or a piece of conjecture.  The Princeton study by Professor Martin Gilens and Professor Benjamin Page in 2014 was unequivocal in its findings.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

This means we are now forced to take DRASTIC ACTION.

I happen to know something that works.  Because it works with all public figures — movie stars, pundits, sports celebrities, priests, ministers, rabbis, military leaders, pillars of the community — and always works especially well on politicians.

Public shaming!

Some folks might be squeamish about humiliating so-called respectable and responsible men and women devoted to public service.  Don’t they deserve better?

No, they don’t!

They’ve sold out themselves and our political parties to a ruling class elite which is selfish, heartless, ruthless.  They made their own bed of nails, now let them sleep in it.  They made a bargain with the Devil.  They chose to align themselves with evil over selfless and honest service to the people who elected them to their wonderfully cushy jobs in Washington DC.  IT IS OUR PUBLIC DUTY TO CALL THESE PEOPLE OUT ON THEIR TREACHERY!

So . . .

Here is how we shame them, how we make it clear that we are fed up with the games, the deceptions, the double talk, the con.  This contract reflects what polls tell us by impressive margins what the vast majority of Americans want done.  And we put it to our politicos straight:  Will you sign or will you refuse to sign this contract before the next election?Dare any elected representatives stonewall us?  Refuse to sign?  Him-and-haw and make all sorts of ridiculous excuses about why they don’t want to raise the minimum wage?  Say they can’t get behind fair tax policies and closing tax loopholes?  Balk at providing decent health care to every U.S. citizen, refuse to cover the 35 million people now who currently without coverage?  Opt for having the elderly slip into poverty and hardship because fixing social security and Medicare might upset Wall Street hedge fund managers?  Insist that more young men and women should come home in body bags so we can protect oil, gas, and mineral interests in Afghanistan, Syria, every other place we’ve bombed recently?  Take the position that our electoral system is just dandy the way it is, that the evisceration of the democratic process by Citizens United and the corrupting influence of big money is just the way things have to be?  Declare climate change a lost cause and suggest that our children’s children will just have to adjust to mass starvation, resource wars, and all of our coastal cities joining the Lost Continent of Atlantis, because some of our politicians were too dumb to make it through high school science class?

Here’s what I say . . .

If our current congressman can’t step up to the plate and play their very best game for the home team, they should be shamed, booed, reviled, scorned, humiliated, vilified, mocked, ridiculed, condemned, excoriated, burned in effigy!  That’s if we’re in a good mood.

Let them stew in the cauldron of the bad publicity they heap on themselves, then rot in a big foul steaming pile of their own wickedness, after we haul the garbage to the dump!

Now not everybody will agree with everything in the contract I’ve offered here.  There will be individuals who don’t buy into every single item.  This is a work in progress and not written in stone. But the simple fact is, reputable polls tell us . . .

Most people buy into most of it.

Thus we have here the perfect device for drawing a line in the sand and asking candidates who are looking for our votes . . .

Are you on our side or not?  Will you sign this before the election in 2018?

Of course, the ultimatum inherent in this approach doesn’t stop here.

Actually . . . it starts here.

This is the starting point for us everyday citizens taking control of the narrative, making a bold decisive claim on power that rightfully and constitutionally is ours in the first place, and putting all the smooth-talking, double-dealing incumbents on notice — we can call it ‘electoral probation’ . . .

We’ve had it with the games.  We’re watching your every move.  Shape up or ship out!

In my next posting, I’ll explore how the above candidate contract will either get our elected officials to clean up their act, or if it looks like that won’t be happening, will be used in the coming election to flush them out of Congress.

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to Dennis Kucinich on Peace in a Military State

I have talked to Dennis on the phone but it’s been a while.  He personally sent me a copy of this speech.  Here’s what I have to say about it — an open letter.  I hope he gets it.

Dennis:

As is true to form, your speech is breathtaking in its scope and packed with everything we need to know about what is wrong with America’s embrace of aggression and militarism.

Since I have nothing to lose, and you have everything to gain from my unsolicited critique, I’ll just give it to you straight with both barrels.

Like EVERYTHING I see coming out of articulate, recognized, widely-acclaimed, highly admired, and dedicated peace proponents like yourself, your message lacks TWO VITAL, GAME-CHANGING COMPONENTS . . .

  1.  It doesn’t speak to the masses, the 200 million Americans we need to reach to turn things around.
  2. It offers no decisive solution to the gravest threat in the history of the world — America’s out-of-control military and addiction to war.

It’s easy from the “inside” of the peace movement to think that our message is valid and powerful.  It is valid in every respect, but unfortunately fails to persuade.  It fails to even get noticed by the vast majority of Americans.  The people we need to reach may not even know who Dennis Kucinich is, they’re so dumbed-down and brainwashed.  They certainly don’t know who Gareth Porter or David Swanson are.  So everything you well-meaning, informative, eloquent folks say . . . is preaching to the choir.

Why do we need these everyday Americans?  Well, you said it yourself.  While you were in Congress, you made proposals, you argued, you reasoned, you pleaded.  What happened?  You were brushed aside like dandruff.  Then you were railroaded out of Congress.

I don’t know how you read this, but I know what the correct reading is . . . 

THESE ASSHOLES WILL NEVER LISTEN!  THEY WILL NEVER EMBRACE PEACE!

Therefore . . .

THEY MUST BE REPLACED!  There has to be almost a clean sweep of Congress or the march to war and annihilation will continue.

THAT’S why we need 200 million people on our side.  It’s that simple.

Are you offended yet?  Are you still reading this?

SO . . . any speech, any strategy, any campaign on behalf of peace, which does not include, 1) a message for the masses, and 2) a decisive strategy for removing the warmongers from power, will fail.  As long as the peace movement continues to delude itself about this, it will continue to go backwards.

I’m exhausted trying to get you to look at my Peace Dividend idea.  Thank goodness, a brilliant, passionate activist just made the case for me.  Here’s John R. Hall’s very recent article at The Greanville Post:  http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/04/28/the-peace-dividend-a-time-to-take-dead-aim-and-attack/

Please read it.  Think about it.  I sincerely hope you want to talk more about this.  I’m still available.

You have my number.

John Rachel


The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World is now available both as an ebook and deluxe paperback at many of the usual outlets . . .

Amazon (Kindle) / US . . . amzn.to/2cpIRfQ
Amazon (Print) / US . . . amzn.to/2cEhnCb
Amazon (Kindle) / Canada . . . amzn.to/2ciZKdl
Amazon (Kindle) / Japan . . . amzn.to/2cbf3TO
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/2cWxvzd
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/2cI8cB6
Apple iTunes . . . apple.co/2cqw7an
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/2cb6Cse
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/2c3mJsl

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Peace Dividend, Political Analysis, Revolution, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mobilization Without Method Is Meaningless

Everyone knows this expression:  There was method to his madness.

What does it mean?  It means that regardless of how crazy the person acted, no matter how much he appeared to be nuts, behind that facade there was a solid plan, and that plan presumably resulted in successfully achieving what he set out to achieve.

It is this sense of ‘method’ I’m referring to in the title of this essay.

If there is any doubt about my message, here it is:  To mobilize people behind any cause, regardless of how worthy that cause is, regardless of how intrinsically appealing it may be to get these folks marching, singing, chanting, shouting for that cause, if there is no clear strategy which targets an equally clear and obvious outcome, with a realistic expectation that the strategy will achieve that outcome, then the mobilization is a waste of time.

I didn’t say it wasn’t fun or satisfying.  I didn’t say it didn’t have notable and perhaps positive collateral effects.  But I am saying that anyone who thinks that mobilization is some guarantee of making substantial change and achieving desired reforms is surely kidding themselves.

This is why, despite being the biggest mass movement in recent history, OWS completely failed.  Spokespersons for OWS will say it didn’t fail at all, because it had no preconceived agenda or goals.  But that is a frivolous cop out.  By the time OWS went international and ‘occupy’ was attached to everything from towns to shopping malls, labor unions, and even Facebook, there was certainly a goal.  It may not have appeared on any official documents, but that was because as an experiment in unstructured, horizontal command-and-control, married to spontaneous democratic expression, any attempt at formalizing anything at all was discouraged and successfully thwarted.

Nevertheless, it was evident to everyone who watched the marches, read the protest signs, listened to the speeches, or was constantly bombarded by the most successful, ubiquitous meme to erupt in colloquial English in the last five decades — the 1% vs the 99% — exactly what all of the brouhaha was about.

In the broader sense, it was about the ruling class — the 1% — forcing its elitist world view and self-serving agenda on everyone else — the 99% — using their privilege and raw power to callously and ruthlessly turn everyday people into serfs.

In a more specific sense, it was about overwhelming, abusive, and anti-democratic wealth inequality.  It was hardly random that the movement was started in the heart of America’s financial district and the anger and vilification was directed at incomprehensibly wealthy investment bankers and Wall Street high-rollers.

Of course, any thoughtful exploration of these two parallel themes — monopoly on power and obscene accumulation of wealth — would naturally conclude that they are inextricably related and mutually reinforcing.  Not that there was much analysis going on.  The OWS protests were pretty much an ‘it’s-us-against-them’ affair, with lots of noise and bluster, but with absolutely nothing remotely resembling a grab for power anywhere in sight.

Thus, in terms of specific demands, it was quite common for news commentators to ask:  What do the protestors want?

This was a legitimate if mostly rhetorical question.  As a matter of record, there were no actual demands aired by the movement, much less tacit undercurrents of a coup d’etat.

There weren’t any coherent demands, no specific policy proposals, not even obvious ones.  It wouldn’t have been out of place, as an example, to at least talk about GBI — guaranteed basic income — as a conspicuous path to begin addressing the grotesque level of wealth inequality.

There were no hard and fast calls for student debt forgiveness, free college education, mortgage default relief, capping credit card interest rates, free access to universal health care, and a host of other palliatives which would have somewhat reduced the wealth gap.

This is not a criticism of OWS or anyone who bobbled up, even if temporarily, from the rank-and-file to take credit — or blame, depending on where you stand in judgment — for what happened.  OWS was an intriguing and inspiring new experiment in activism, which attempted to skirt the usual pitfalls of hierarchical, top-down organization.  It was what it was, and I believe should be respected for that.

But that doesn’t prevent us from learning from it, and taking every precaution to not make the same mistakes again.

If you’re going to assemble a mob, give them something to do.

Give them something which will make a substantial and decisive difference.

Camaraderie is a good thing.  It’s a social high.  Feeling like you’re part of something offers relief from a sense of isolation and helplessness.

But it’s only a feeling.  It’s not politics.  Politics is about power.  Only power can confront power.

After the marches are done, after the protest signs are put away, when we’re in our cars or on buses headed back home, we always need to ask ourselves:  Do we now have power to implement the changes we want?

If the answer is ‘no’, then we didn’t have an effective plan.

The best time for an effective plan is BEFORE we hit the streets, before we march and sing our songs, before we waste valuable time and energy in a frustrating and fruitless attempt to get those NOW IN POWER to do anything for us.  Asking the the ruling elite and their lapdogs in our governing institutions to listen to our demands and serve our interests is like asking a carjacker to be sure and wash our automobile and return it in the morning with a full tank.

Here comes my plug:  I have an end-to-end plan, a carefully-crafted strategy for engaging a broad base of U.S. citizens, uniting them into an overwhelming voting bloc, directed at stopping America’s out-of-control militarism and endless wars of aggression.

You can get a general idea here:  The Peace Dividend

Next time we march for peace, we’ll know where we’re headed and how to get there.

At least, that’s the hope that gets me from day to day in these insane times.


The Peace Dividend: The Most Controversial Proposal in the History of the World is now available both as an ebook and deluxe paperback at many of the usual outlets . . .

Amazon (Kindle) / US . . . amzn.to/2cpIRfQ
Amazon (Print) / US . . . amzn.to/2cEhnCb
Amazon (Kindle) / Canada . . . amzn.to/2ciZKdl
Amazon (Kindle) / Japan . . . amzn.to/2cbf3TO
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/2cWxvzd
Kobo (Indigo) . . . bit.ly/2cI8cB6
Apple iTunes . . . apple.co/2cqw7an
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/2cb6Cse
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/2c3mJsl

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Economics, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Revolution, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clouds of Pollen in the Spring

“The awareness is spreading like clouds of pollen in the spring.”

That was a comment I made on a progressive website about the worldwide demonstrations, street protests, and rallies celebrating this year’s Earth Day.

I must confess that until two weeks ago I had a highly prejudiced understanding and appreciation of pollen.  I associated it with red, runny noses, puffy, squinting eyes, an annual epidemic of misery among a sizeable chunk of the population.  This limited and highly negative view was shaped by thousands of ads for over-the-counter remedies which had been embedded in my brain, probably from my first days of watching TV as a child.

Of course, a little basic biology is a powerful corrective.  We find that pollen is the delivery mechanism of male sperm cells for plants.  Pollination is about reproduction.  It’s how vast landscapes are turned into breathtaking fields of flowering plants, a floral explosion that here in Japan transforms the whole country into a beautiful garden stretching sea to sea.

My awakening, however, did not come from a text book.  It came — as is quite common these days — from my lovely and truly brilliant Japanese wife.

Masumi and I were on our way to an outdoor market in a nearby town.  It was at the peak of the cherry blossom season.  Cherry blossoms here are not confined to parks or community malls.  Tens of thousands of cherry blossom trees line roads, rivers, canals, and crisscross fields of rice and other crop plantings.  It’s absolutely spectacular.

However, I mentioned casually to her that is seemed a little hazy that day.  We’re downwind from the China mainland, which hosts many coal-fed power plants, heavy-industry factories, and the like, so I just assumed it was the usual dust and smoke blowing our way from our Chinese neighbor.

“No, that’s pollen,” explained Masumi.  She directed my gaze to the face of a forested mountain we were passing.  There was a huge puff of what appeared to be smoke, but not really the color of smoke, or the way smoke looks rising from burning debris.  No, it was a cloud of pollen, which was being released in that section of the forest, I assume from the floral undergrowth beneath the trees.

Thus began my quick education and new respect for pollen.  That cloud was the promise for the continuing regeneration of the awe-inspiring bouquet we and others across Japan were now enjoying.

Okay.  I believe in balanced reporting.  So let me explore the other side of this story.

Some folks are allergic to pollen.  Those ads for over-the-counter remedies turn their misery into cold, hard cash for the manufacturers of these palliatives.  Point taken.

But there are others who don’t have this excuse.  These are folks who choose to seal themselves up in an artificial cocoon, stare at flat-panel displays, thus have no idea about clouds of pollen, pollination, flowers, or anything that doesn’t conflate with living under artificial light, being captive of a hermetically sealed environment; no concept of a reality which doesn’t adhere to and reify the rules of commerce and commodification of everything.  This is the model embraced by an economy-fixated society, which exclusively views humans as components of monetary mechanisms, consequently only values them as producers and/or consumers. 

I would surmise the notion of beauty for such champions of greed is skyrocketing returns on investments and a bulging portfolio of winning stocks.  I seriously doubt either of those has much of a fragrance though I may have on occasion heard someone say: “That person smells of money.”

For these individuals, flowers are “beautiful” depending on how marketable they are and what sort of profits they produce.  With no sense of irony, they would deem the distress of those allergy sufferers as an opportunity to turn a profit.  The more misery these folks have to endure, the better the prospects for some fat returns on pharmaceutical stocks.

We’re told that this is the new way to look at the world.  Those old valuations — meaning just the basic use of our senses, and gauging the world around us by the joy and delight we feel in our hearts — are passé, and have been replaced by the new tools of capitalism, the free market, and the now dominant neoliberal paradigm.

Yet, the Earth day protests and celebrations convincingly offered a very different message.  That message was loud and unambiguous.  Treating the Earth as a factory for man-made goods, narrowing the contribution of human beings to merely producing and consuming those goods, subjecting everything from happiness and love to the value of a human life, only to the metrics of economic worth, reducing all of the potential for human creativity, ingenuity, compassion, nobility, vision, altruism, excellence, and achievement, to mere numbers on a spread sheet, is suffocating the human race, exterminating the human family, eviscerating the human spirit, and destroying the planet.

I’ve made my choice.  It took me a while to come around.

I’ll take my chances with the clouds of pollen.

Posted in Environment, Science, Social Commentary, Spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dealing With A Serial Liar

There's a special place in the world for people who constantly lie to others -- decent folks who trust and rely on them to do the right thing.There is a special place in the world for people who constantly lie to others — who dupe decent but naive folks who trust them, and rely on them to do the right thing.  (See photo to the right.)

You see, career politicians lie and lie.  They eventually have no idea they’re lying, because they have no idea anymore what the truth is.  And they’ve gotten to the point where they don’t care.  Everyone knows politicians lie.  It’s part of the job description. They only stop lying when they take a break to think up new lies.  They say exactly what they need to say.  To get the job done.  They do know what they need to do — what job needs to get done.  But you probably don’t.

Because they lie about it.

Lies can be spotted.  There are key phrases — red flags — we can watch for.  Here is a list of them.  When you hear a politician say any of these, everything which follows is a lie:

“Trust me when I say . . .”
“I sincerely believe . . .”
“The American people want . . .”
“There is no doubt that . . .”
“I’m proud to announce . . .”
“Thanks for that kind introduction!”
“Good evening!”
“Good afternoon!”
“I’m honored to be here!”
“How are you?”

The Nuremberg Tribunal of 1946 declared that crimes against peace are “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” 

I would make a parallel assessment.  Lying is the supreme personal crime, differing from other offensive personal behavior in that it contains within itself the accumulated potential for all other offensive, even criminal, behavior.  When a person lies to you, the gateway for every other possible abuse is flung wide open.  Humiliation, treachery, sexual abuse, theft, embezzlement, libel, slander, even murder.  Would you trust a liar around your children?  Would you trust a liar with your house keys?  Would you even trust a liar to watch your things while you went to the restroom?

My previous blog dealt with how not to deal a with serial killer.

It contains an important lesson.

Understand . . .

Serial killers and career politicians are very similar.

They both have us at their mercy.  They both have the power of life and death over us.

They don’t play by the same rules as you and I.  They are ruthlessly amoral. There may be exceptions to this.  But as anomalies, these only confirm the rule.

They both have value systems which exclusively serve their own needs.  The only value the serial killer places on human life is the kick he gets from terminating the lives of others.  It’s about a brutal hedonism and personal power.

The only value career politicians place on the trust and loyalty of their constituents, is how it serves to secure their prestigious jobs in the national limelight, and positions them best serve their deep-pocketed ruling class patrons.  It’s about job security and personal power.  All else is subordinate and thus entirely irrelevant.

In my previous blog, I described in nauseating detail what the serial killer of my narrative did to his victims.

Then I described the idiotic, completely lame, totally ineffective things a community did to try to stop the gruesome violence.  Maybe the folks meant well, but they were entirely out of touch with reality to think any of it would be effective.

At this point you ask:  What’s your point, John Rachel?  Is this supposed to be funny?  Actually it’s pretty twisted!

Well, it is twisted.  But it’s twisted on a lot of levels.  Not only is the killer clearly twisted, but apparently our cerebral cortex is too, if we actually believe that any of the measures outlined — regardless of how commonly heralded they might be — could possibly work.  Apparently, all too often our minds are gripped by a covert confusion where form and substance are conflated into a toxic brew of false hope and ridiculous expectations.

‘We have to do something!’ subliminally becomes a license to do a lot of stuff which has no hope of succeeding but temporarily satisfies the anxious goading of desperation and guilt.

My point is that all of the chosen methods to stop the killer were obviously a total waste of energy and time.  What incentive is there in any of the tactics for the killer to end his orgy of violence?  He loves killing and mutilating people!  He doesn’t care what others think or how much suffering it causes.  This is how he gets his jollies.  Dead bodies are his reward! 

There’s only one option:  He must be eliminated.  He must be taken out of circulation!

And this is precisely the way we deal with our current coven of elected officials.

I’m not suggesting assassination.  All I’m saying that if we want things to get better, these pay-for-play politicians — serial liars — who are puppets to Wall Street, investment banks, transnational corporations; who’ve let our country be stolen by a wealthy ruling elite; who have demonstrated time and time again they will never truly represent the interests and needs of their constituents . . . MUST BE REMOVED FROM POWER.

. . . THEY MUST BE GIVEN THEIR PINK SLIPS AND SENT PACKING . . .

. . . AND NEVER ALLOWED TO ROAM THE HALLS OF CONGRESS AGAIN!

We’ve had enough abuse.  We’ve been victimized too long.  No more lies.

Regime change in Congress in November 2018!


CC_eBook Cover_Final_200x300 “Candidate Contracts: Taking Back Our Democracy” was published June of 2015 and is available worldwide from all the usual suspects:

Amazon (Kindle)  . . . amzn.to/1QJRiNZ
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1Cuq0du
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1BXnPcy
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1GpTTLq
Indigo (Kobo) . . . bit.ly/1OEI2xj
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/1B4DQCp
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1MGjDnN

 

!!!FFTDWD_Cover_200x300Fighting for the Democracy We Deserve” was published September of 2015 and also is available both in every popular ebook format and as a deluxe paperback:

Amazon (Kindle) . . . amzn.to/1VMf2Ft
Amazon (Print) . . . amzn.to/1L9SdIC
Apple (iTunes) . . . apple.co/1JD1YAg
Barnes & Noble . . . bit.ly/1ZUJUpn
Indigo (Kobo) . . . bit.ly/1IX6rO4
Smashwords . . . bit.ly/22PXWLf
Direct from printer . . . bit.ly/1i7ISFM

 

Posted in Corporatism, Deconstruction, Democracy, Political Analysis, Political Rant, Revolution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dealing With A Serial Killer

There’s a serial killer loose in town.  Eight to ten people a month have been murdered over the past several years.  They’re dropping like flies!

Well, they’re not actually dropping like flies.  Flies usually fall on their backs, their legs do this happy feet dance, they expire with little fanfare or ritual, then dry up and blow away.

On the other hand . . .

This homicidal monster has some strange fetishes. He ends a person’s life immediately by driving an axe in the face, then cuts the dead body into various size chunks.  The entrails he drapes in trees around town, the finely-carved fillets of flesh from the meatier parts of the body — thighs, calves, arms, backs and stomachs if there’s a nice balance between fat and muscle — are fed to stray dogs by tossing them in alleys around town.  More delicate parts — eyes, ears, lips, tongues, genitals — are stuffed into bubble mailers and arrive in mailboxes in the nicer neighborhoods. They’re marked ‘Something Special Just For You’.  Finally the bones are stacked on the hoods of parked police cruisers.

It’s a horrifying, gruesome mess that has pushed the entire community to near insanity.

So . . . what do you do?

I got it!

You put an ad in the local paper:  Stop killing people! We don’t like it!

You get people together for marches.  They go through the business district during the busiest hour of the day carrying protest signs, chanting anti-serial killing slogans, and singing Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall.

You sell t-shirts that say:  “Serial killing is bad for humans and other living things!”

You get experts on TV talking about how the killing really should stop, how the violence and fear is tearing the community apart, what bad effects this has on the kids growing up in this type of environment.  There’s unanimity on all the panels discussing this.  No one comes out in favor of serial killing.

We mount a campaign to send emails to the serial killer — don’t ask me how but somehow we got hold of his AOL email address — and his In box is flooded to capacity with messages decrying his butchery:  ‘People are really upset. You’re a sick man!’  ‘Burn in Hell, MF!’  ‘What is wrong with you? Don’t you know killing is bad?’

We call his office — again, don’t ask me how we got his phone number but we did, he has an office somewhere in the city — morning, noon, and night.  It’s organized through the Code Blue Mothers Against Murder ad hoc committee, and 800 to 1,000 calls a day pour in to his office.  Every once in a while, we get a live person.  Boy, do we give her an earful!  But usually, we get an automatic answering device with a menu:  If you’re against serial killing, please press #1.  If you’re for serial killing, please press #2.  If you wish to speak personally to a member of our staff, just stay on the line and someone will be with you shortly [ bleep click ] Expected wait time to answer your call 2 hours and 15 minutes.

We set up a Town Hall Meeting.  It’s attended by thousands of angry, concerned citizens and they can’t all fit into the high school gymnasium where it’s being held.  The serial killer appears on a video screen — with his hockey goalie mask on, of course — and people vent and express their outrage.  When things calm down a bit, people ask questions and plead with the serial killer.  He explains he has difficulty controlling his temper, but he says he can see people are upset, so he’ll try harder.

There are no killings for a week.  Then they start up again.

So finally, we pull out the big gun.  Yes . . . a petition!

We circulate a petition both in person on the streets, and online — it’s up on MoveOn.org and Avaaz.  We get tens of thousands of signatures!  In fact everyone — well, everyone who hasn’t been murdered yet — signs it.  Our signature drive is a complete success. 

Yessiree!  We’ve really got this psycho by the balls!

Now we wait.

For some reason the killing hasn’t stopped.  Three more this week.

Where did we go wrong?

Hmm.

Posted in Deconstruction, Democracy, Nihilism, Satire, Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gay Whales

“We’re aware of the situation.  We’ve got the Coast Guard working this.  The best coast guard in the world!  These guys are top notch.  Great men, every one of them!  And we’re looking at an armada of America’s best fighting ships and nuclear submarines to take them out, if they don’t get with the program.  God bless our military!  The greatest military in the world.  I just love them to death!”

This was President Donald Trump’s reply to a Fox News reporter’s question during a visit by local area school children to the White House Rose Gardens, about the latest recent, completely unexpected crisis.

Oceanographers and marine biologists from the Department of Advanced Environmental Studies at Trump University had just yesterday announced some startling findings.

Apparently, starting the day after Trump’s inauguration as president, there has been an enormous spike in the number of gay whales seen swimming off the coastal waters of the continental United States.  Calling it sheer coincidence, these same authorities stated unequivocally that there is absolutely no causal connection that can be attributed to the president himself or his administration for this bizarre phenomenon.

A few hours later in a separate announcement made by White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, media representatives were informed that emergency follow-up studies are set to immediately begin to determine if this surge of whale gayness also afflicts Hawaii and the waters off the coast of Alaska.

Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, has also scheduled a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, to enlist the expertise of local scientists to determine if there have been any similar sightings of whale fudge-packers in the Sea of Japan.  Japan has a veritable army of highly credible whale experts, who undoubtedly will be able to shed some light on this troubling development.

The real concern in this mounting crisis was expressed by an unnamed high-ranking official in the Department of Education, who reputedly received his training, expertise, and sensitivity in the sphere of family values, as a corporate raider with Goldman Sachs:  “Summer is coming, which means time at the beach.  We sure can’t have young children exposed to the kind of thing that these gay whales do — whatever that is — with their wild abandon to hedonistic coupling, showing no regard for common decency.  This is truly offensive in the extreme.  It is shamelessly un-American.”

Now that whale gayness is acknowledged as an attack on American values, it has stirred up quite a few members of Congress.  Calls for a complete investigation are gathering tremendous support, driven by speeches on the floor of the Senate just today by senators John McCain and Marco Rubio.  It will focus on possible Russian involvement in the horrifying shift in sexual preferences among large mammals.  Can we expect to see a corresponding escalation in coming out parades of pink elephants?  Gay hippo same sex mud parties?  Gay gorillas?

Whew!  It just never ends.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another, eh?

I remember back in the 90s seeing a bumper sticker . . .

Nuke the gay whales!

I thought it was pretty funny at the time.

But it’s no longer a joking matter.  It’s now the newest battle cry in President Trump’s noble struggle to make America great again.

So whatever you do, folks . . . don’t laugh.

It’s not funny.  Not at all.  Not one bit.

God bless America!

Posted in Democracy, Environment, Fox News, Satire, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia: Scary Bear or Barely Scary?

The U.S. needs to get its story straight.

We have been fed over the past few years entirely contradictory views of Russia.

Lately, of course, we’ve seen a preponderance of “scare bear” propaganda and commentary.

Could this have something to do with it being appropriations time, the annual fight over who gets what in next years federal budget?  Considering the U.S. can’t pile up debt fast enough to suit its enlightened leaders, this also means lubricating the public mind for increasing the already humongous pile of money which goes into military spending, that being the major component of discretionary spending.

Of course, military spending, besides being intrinsically good regardless of how much it distorts our national values and bankrupts our economy, is about making American safe from the entire panoply of threats.  It seems everyone is at our throats, ready to chop off our benevolent heads.  Besides terrorists, rogue nations explicitly dedicated to destroying us like Venezuela and Cuba, and major nations like China — which lent us over a trillion dollars to buy military hardware to prevent them from attacking us — there is always the little discussed potential for an invasion from outer space.

Having said that, it’s Russia that seems to get all the headlines.  We have former VP Joe Biden concurring with current FBI Director James Comey that, without a doubt, even without any corroborating evidence, Russia is out to get us!

Yet, it wasn’t that long ago that Russia was being dismissed as a second-rate power.  Obama mockingly announced it’s economy was in tatters.  Sure, it might have some leverage regionally but certainly wasn’t a player on the big stage of world geopolitics.

So what is the truth?  Is Russia a wild and woolly beast?  Or an affable and tame dancing bear?

Maybe we need some veterinarian advice to sort all of this out.  Can bears get rabies?

Because while over the past several years Russia has consistently been getting folks from all across the globe to the peace tables, trying to resolve diplomatically the crises created by the West in Ukraine, Syria, the Middle East in general, we are now told that under the spell of their crazed leader Vladimir Putin, the country is foaming at the mouth, haunted and possessed with diabolical visions of world conquest.  Did Russia get bitten by a rabid ground squirrel?

To add to the confusion is this recently announcement, a highly thought-provoking one at that, which should — but won’t — result in some serious soul-searching in the U.S.:  Russia has just recently announced it is dramatically cutting its defense budget for 2017!  As this excellent piece of analysis points out, you are very hard pressed to find mention of it any where in the Western media.

Try to make sense of it.

Russia is 24/7 vilified as a rogue nation, an out-of-control empire-hungry aggressor, with a madman at the helm who longs for the glory days of the Soviet Union’s dominion over vast stretches of the Euro-Asian continent, but in fact only has 15 military bases in 9 foreign countries, AND is cutting its military budget by 25% next year.

The U.S. breathlessly peddles itself as the purveyor of peace, the spreader of democracy, the guardian of justice and a harmonious world, yet it has about 800 bases in at least 63 countries in the world — depending on your definition of ‘base’, some put this figure at over 160 — AND is increasing its military expenditures by almost 10% in 2018.

What are we to think?

Is Russia a scary bear . . . or barely scary?

And what about America?

Much of the world seems to think we’re the truly frightening ones!

Posted in Deconstruction, Journalism, Political Analysis, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment