Monday evening open thread

May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good evening:

Welcome to the second week of our experiment with an evening open thread with four suggested topics in the news. This is your place to comment, a place where off topic is on topic.

Please let us know if you like the idea. We’ll incorporate it as a regular feature, if you do.

Or suggest something else.

(1) In the Republican looney-tune department, we have Gary Kiehne, an Arizona rancher running for Congress with hopes of defeating Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ). Think Progress reports what he said at a Republican primary debate on Saturday regarding mass shootings and gun rights.

“If you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people,” Kiehne said. “So I don’t think you have a problem with the Republicans.”
Kiehne also boasted that he had “more guns and ammo than any one of my competitors.”

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Of course, one has to have a mind in order to waste it and I’m not certain Kiehne has evolved that far.

(2) In the yet-another-corrupt-bozo-Republican department, we have 3 GOP bozos who introduced a bill in the North Carolina legislature that would make it a felony to reveal any of the chemicals used in fracking. Mother Jones reports,

On Thursday, three Republican state senators introduced a bill that would slap a felony charge on individuals who disclosed confidential information about fracking chemicals. The bill, whose sponsors include a member of Republican party leadership, establishes procedures for fire chiefs and health care providers to obtain chemical information during emergencies. But as the trade publication Energywire noted Friday, individuals who leak information outside of emergency settings could be penalized with fines and several months in prison.

“The felony provision is far stricter than most states’ provisions in terms of the penalty for violating trade secrets,” says Hannah Wiseman, a Florida State University assistant law professor who studies fracking regulations.

The bill also allows companies that own the chemical information to require emergency responders to sign a confidentiality agreement. And it’s not clear what the penalty would be for a health care worker or fire chief who spoke about their experiences with chemical accidents to colleagues.

“I think the only penalties to fire chiefs and doctors, if they talked about it at their annual conference, would be the penalties contained in the confidentiality agreement,” says Wiseman. “But [the bill] is so poorly worded, I cannot confirm that if an emergency responder or fire chief discloses that confidential information, they too would not be subject to a felony.” In some sections, she says, “That appears to be the case.”

These three creeps belong in prison.

(3) In the who-has-the-right-stuff department, we have Matt Taibbi and his relentless reporting about the criminal banksters on Wall Street. Salon interviews him about his new book.

His relentless coverage of Wall Street malfeasance turned him into one of the most influential journalists of his generation, but in his new book, “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap,” Matt Taibbi takes a close and dispiriting look at how inequality and government dysfunction have created a two-tiered justice system in which most Americans are guilty until proven innocent, while a select few operate with no accountability whatsoever.

Salon sat down last week with Taibbi for a wide-ranging chat that touched on his new book, the lingering effects of the financial crisis, how American elites operate with impunity and why, contrary to what many may think, he’s actually making a conservative argument for reform. The interview can be found below, and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

(4) In the this-is-bullshit department, we have Cecily McMillan, 25, who was sentenced today in NYC to serve 90 days in jail, to be followed by 5 years probation. Her “crime:” She elbowed a cop in the face after her breast was grabbed from behind during an Occupy protest. She was then thrown to the ground and handcuffed. She suffered a seizure and has since been treated for post-traumatic stress. The poor widdle cop suffered a black eye and spent two weeks off work with headaches and sensitivity to light. Imagine his terrible suffering!

The Guardian reports what she said to the judge before he pronounced the sentence.

Wearing a fuschia dress, the New School graduate student was on Monday led, handcuffed, into a courtroom lined by about 50 police officers. Reading a prepared speech, she told the judge that she lived by the “law of love”. She said: “Violence is not permitted. This being the law that I live by, I can say with certainty that I am innocent of the crime I have been convicted of”. She apologised for what she called “this accident”.

She will actually serve 60 days, minus the 14 days that she has already served awaiting sentencing.

Meanwhile, armed right-wing-domestic-terrorists like Cliven Bundy and his supporters break the law with impunity.

Not to mention the parasitic criminal banksters who just keep getting richer at our expense.

Sickening.

There will be an accounting one day and when it comes it will be bloody.

The hat is on the sidewalk. Please make a donation if you like what we do.

Fred


Shadow and Enlightenment

March 13, 2012

Each one of us has a shadow.

The shadow is that part of the internal world of our consciousness we seek to hide from ourselves and others by pretending that it does not exist.

When we do that, it confronts us in the external world that we call reality.

This happens via projection of our internal consciousness as if onto a mirror, which is what we experience as our external reality.

Wetiko is a Native American word for something difficult to describe, a non-local mind parasite, or aspect of consciousness that not only imagines itself to be sighted, but imagines itself to be able to see better than anyone else. No one is immune and everyone has it.

Wetigo lives in the shadow and manifests in each person in an individual way.

Wetiko seizes you when you least expect it and when you have it, you do not recognize it as it slowly eats and kills your soul much like a tapeworm consumes vitality and eventually kills its host.

Look a Barack Obama. To you, as he is to each of us, he is a projection of what we hate about ourselves and fear to confront.

He is what he is and refuses to listen, but do not demonize and condemn him or Wetigo will just as surely consume you.

Enlightenment consists of becoming conscious of the shadow within by illuminating and observing it objectively from a detached perspective. Study it closely, my friend, and know its soft and barely whispered touch.

Wetigo is your addiction and conceals itself in your shadow like a cockroach.

Wetigo will consume your immortal soul, if you let it.

You cannot kill it without killing yourself, but you can speak its name and disempower it.

Use love and compassion to keep it at bay.

Illuminate your way to enlightenment by neutralizing Wetigo.

This is how you will transform the world, which is but a projection of your dream.

(h/t to Maddy @Firedoglake who inspired me to write this with her comment @97 on a recent post by Wendy Davis and the link she provided to a redicecreations interview of Paul Levy)


Enough!

March 12, 2012

On March 1st, Tom Engelhardt (TomDispatch) published an interview at MyFDL on Firedoglake of journalist Jonathan Schell by Andy Kroll. Nonviolent revolution was the subject matter of the interview. The article passed off the conveyor belt without comment, which I find remarkable. I do not believe it even made the recommended list, let alone being front-paged at MyFDL.

You can read the article here.

During the interview, Schell reviewed successful revolutions that defeated and in some cases toppled empires and totalitarian governments. In each case, beginning with our war for independence against Great Britain, he described how the outcome was assured by first winning the hearts and minds of the people through a variety of nonviolent means, including the power of the pen and nonviolent public demonstrations against authority. In many cases, for example the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, the majority of the violence and killing happened during the scramble for power after the governments fell.

JS: . . . Usually the cliché is that the stage of overthrow is the violent part, and the stage of consolidation or of setting up a new government is post-violent or nonviolent. I discovered it to be just the other way around.

AK: On this subject, as your book makes clear, some re-teaching is in order. We’re so conditioned to think of overthrow as a physical act: knocking down the gates, storming the castle, killing the king, declaring the country yours.

JS: In a certain sense, overthrow is the wrong word. If you overthrow something, you pick it up and smash it down. In these cases, however, the government has lost legitimacy with the people and is spontaneously disintegrating from within.

AK: As you note [in your book, The Unconquerable World], the Hungarian writer György Konrád used the image of an iceberg melting from the inside to describe the process.

JS: He and actually the whole Solidarity movement had already noticed how Franco’s cryptofascist regime in Spain sort of melted away from within and finally handed over power in a formal process to democratic forces. That was one of their models.

Schell’s point is that in order to win a revolution, one must first win the hearts and minds of the people and one cannot accomplish that task at the point of a gun. He calls Ghandi the Einstein of Revolution because Ghandi was the first person to realize and intentionally use nonviolence as a strategy to bring down an empire. Ghandi used that tactic, in effect paralyzing the British, on September 11, 1906, at The Empire Theater in Johannesberg, South Africa. Here is Ben Kingsley as Ghandi recreating one of the greatest moments in people power and the history of revolution.

Spring is the time for new beginnings.

The American Empire is rotten to the core and cannot be saved.

Revolution is an idea whose time has come

Spread it

Demonstrate

And melt it from within.


The Deal

January 15, 2012

I am 64 years old. I have never been as disgusted with the political situation in the United States as I am now. On a scale from 1 to 10, I score all of the Republican candidates and Barack Obama at -1.

In other words, unfit and unqualified to serve.

Hell, I refuse to support Obama because I consider him to be a serial liar and a war criminal who supports indefinite detention, torture, and extrajudicial assassination. He’s flat out insane and dangerous. There is only one place he should be and it is not the White House. It is a prison cell.

The mind blowing fact about the campaigns of the various candidates is the absence of any acknowledgement and discussion of the important issues of these difficult times.

(1) Why empire?

(2) Why no civil liberties?

(3) Why are 2.3 million people locked up?

(4) Why haven’t all drugs been legalized?

(5) Why isn’t anything being done about unemployment?

(6) Why not single-payer health insurance for all?

(7) Why not free college and graduate education?

(8) Why forfeiture?

(9) Why no prosecutions of war criminals and criminal banksters?

(10) Why haven’t the TBTF banks been allowed to fail or taken over and broken up?

(11) Why the extreme and increasing disproportional distribution of income and what can be done to reverse it?

(12) Why oil?

(13) Why nuclear?

(14) Why coal?

(15) Why poverty?

These are some, but not all of the problems that beset us and I neither want to hear, nor will I listen to all these stupid jerk candidates babbling about bullshit.

Fortunately, OWS is starting to change the dialogue, and that gives me hope.

Which brings me to The Deal.

Listen to this tune by the Grateful Dead with OWS as The Deal.

OWS is The Deal.

The Deal

Source: The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics by David Dodd.

Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia
Copyright Ice Nine Publishing.

Since it cost a lot to win
and even more to lose
You and me bound to spend some time
wondring what to choose

Goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down

I been gambling here abouts
for ten good solid years
If I told you all that went down
it would burn off both your ears

It goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down

Since you poured the wine for me
and tightend up my shoes
I hate to leave you sittin there
composin lonesome blues

It goes to show you don’t ever know
Watch each card you play
and play it slow
Wait until your deal come round
Don’t you let that deal go down
Don’t you let that deal go down, no
Don’t you let your deal go down


OCCUPY

November 17, 2011

Grand Canyon
Under creative commons on flickr by Moyan_Brenn

OCCUPY is the “prime directive” (h/t shekissesfrogs). I dreamed this poem into being last night after writing a short comment to a diary by Frank Lee Speaking.

OCCUPY

We decide

what matters.

We lead

but we are leaderless.

We act

and wait for no one to save us.

We save ourselves.

Sometimes a drop

sometimes a tsunami,

we are everywhere and we are nowhere.

National boundaries do not separate us;

Language does not separate us;

Religion does not separate us;

Skin color does not separate us.

Anything that separates us,

we go around

wear it down

disappear it.

We are becoming . . .

there is no force in the universe that can stop us.

we are an idea taking form

We are becoming . . .

Birthing a new world

No one imagined a year ago.

We are becoming . . .

Let he who doubts the power in a drop of water

leap into the Grand Canyon.

In the beginning there was the word.

We know that word today:

OCCUPY.

Cross posted at my blog Firedglake/MyFDL and the Smirking Chimp.


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