Monday, December 7, 2009

Give Peace A Chance - Remembering John Lennon

John Lennon
( October9, 1940 – December8, 1980),


by DC Magazine music editor Ben New

It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught his band to play......

It is now 29 years ago today that the recondite voice of a generation was silenced for eternity by an assassin's bullet.

It was 2 years and 203 days ago that a piece I wrote about John and my remembrance of this tragic day called "Strange Days Indeed" was first published by Duly Consider. I had asked on a thread of comments if people would share their thoughts about John Lennon and what he, and his work meant to them for a future article. I received quite a few replies from you.

As many of us reflect today on the life and death of a man who gave us so much music and stood steadfast for the cause of peace in the world, I can't think of a better time to share these beautiful thoughts with our reading community. I am posting the comments only, but perhaps you will recognize your own story here. I thank each and every one of you for sharing these with me and now with many others who also miss John on this day. There is also a link at the bottom of the these comments which I have received from so many of you via e mails and social networks to "STRANGE DAYS INDEED" which I hope you will visit. It remains my personal favorite of all the writing I've done for Duly Consider and couldn't be more poignant on this day. Without further delay, here are OUR stories:


Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. R.I.P. John.

What I always liked best about John is he always remained "one of us", using his fame for good causes instead of ego bolstering or "cashing in".

I have heard that when a new beatles album was coming out, it was an event like the Super Bowl back in the day. The versatility in the song writing, the 'differentness' of many of the songs strikes me as somewhat unique. There was[and is] a range there that just isn't there with so many artists. with many groups you heard one or two songs, you heard them all. these guys were different, often surprising. That unpredictability[except for an emphasis on vocals, that was pretty much across the board] may be why each album was so anticipated

I was 8 years old when I first saw the Beatles (1964) at the old Ed Sullivan theater downtown. I saw John Lennon playing live on stage. Thank you for those wonderful memories John.

"For the other half of the sky..."

All we are saying..... is give PEACE a chance.

Love you and miss you, John.

Rest in peace.

There will never be another.

I was in High School when I bought Mind Games on 8 track... Wore it out.... Free the people now, Do it, Do it, Do it now ! When you are caught with your hands on the kill, You still gotta swallow that pill, As you slip and slide down that hill, On the blood of the people you killed ! Yes, I was a wild, hippie child... Regrets....SOME !!!

Lennon traveled around the world. He got to experience these many different religions. He wrote his music on how he saw it, as most musicians do. He shared his point of view. With him two and two always made four. Today's society does not think before it leaps and four is ignored. That is why we have a hard time having peace in this world.

Lennon was a man who believed what said. He was a man who walked the walk of his rhetoric. He was a man of the people, who was simply a person and not some cardboard, glad-handing, smiling, fluffed hair imitation of a person. We will be unlikely to see his kind again any time soon.

Give Peace A Chance - if only we could hear that now...........

I'll always remember Mind Games.

I guess it's almost true to say that John Lennon's death really did shock the world. (I recall photos of Russian teenagers in Moscow with placards saying "Lennon, not Lenin"). And while BoxMonkey, above, is correct, that there are always new heros to be sought, the nature of the hero changes as does the nature of the times. John Lennon was the perfect embodiment of his times.

I was checking out of a hotel in Honolulu, going to the airport, when a desk clerk told me of Lennon's death the previous night -- and mentioned that the killer had once worked in Honolulu, at a nearby hotel. I was on a flight to San Francisco, where most people I met were quite shocked. A few days later, in New York, I went round to the Dakota, where flowers were still piled in the street. It's weird, but those memories seem from so long ago, but the magic of Lennon's music is very much here and now.

I believe that those who truly love freedom are naturally brave. John was a fearless freedom fighter.

A few of my German friends urged me to go to Hamburg to see this new British group that played fantastic music. At that time, I thought that the only music worth listening to was by Americans such as Buddy Holly and Elvis. I relented and drove to Hamburg with a few of my German friends. We went to this dingy strip bar in Hamburg's notorious red-light district, the Reeperbahn (from Cabaret: heute gehen wier bumelm auf der Reeperbahn). That was my first encounter with the Beatles. Even then, John Lennon stood out in my mind even though all my friends thought McCartney was the leader. Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance' was my mantra during the Vietnam years and his 'Imagine' is still my all time favorite.

Thank you Dr. Winston O'Boogie.

A true working-class hero. I ran into him one nite/morning in the late seventies in Greenwich Village, he was just a regular guy.... Warm memories

.... John was passionate about a simple concept - peace and equality. I always did and I always will admire him for that. The world has never been the same since his death.


It was a weird warm night that December in 1980. I got off work and got to my friend’s house and was told by him, John had been shot. Everyone had something go through their head when they heard the news. Some thought, well there goes one of the true voice of the people. Others thought, a Great Voice in music is now gone. And here I sat on the step to the front door. The tears running down my face, unashamed for showing this emotion. And all I could think of is that, I will never get to jam with this man. I will not get to talk to him and get to know him better. He would have taken the time to do that if I would have met him. He was that kind of a man.

I would love to have John around at this time.

I guess you had to live in the 60's to really understand the power this man had.

I was in college when I heard about it.
Went directly from Providence to New York City,
where I paid homage outside the Dakota.

Thanks for bearing witness today, Ben. I learned the news in a curious and weird way.. Hitchhiking down the Pacific Highway with my partner, we got an early-morning ride, squeezing into a car with some guys who virtually filled it and looked like they'd been driving all night. "Did you hear the news?" one asked. "One of the Beatles got shot". My flash, silent, response was "I hope it wasn't John". "Which one?" I asked. "Oh Paul, I think".. AAAARRRGGH! I learned to think more highly of Paul later but never to love him like I did John. He was the man! Sarcastic, opinionated, obnoxious, didn't suffer fools gladly, a real pain-in-the arse to all authority figures and the leader of the pack! A survivor on his life, a survivor today in the memory of untold millions. Time for a few tears.. [First typing attempt produced Tome for a few rears]

Miss him and his music....

I miss the hope he represented

John was a peaceful being. It would be interesting to see how his music would have been influenced by today’s violence. Clearly not all that different then Viet Nam.


Thank you, John Lennon for living a peaceful life. Our lives have forever been touched because you brought the world the music that was locked inside such a calming soul.

This is about a great man, & talented artist, who was taken away from us much too soon!

There are those moments burned into the psyche that I remember as if they had happened a second ago. The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was one of them. The positive energy that exploded off the screen that night inspired so many future musicians including myself to pick up a guitar. The opening riff to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" just jumped out of the radio in the early days of 1964. It was impossible not to sit up and take notice of the song and it's difference from the other songs on the radio at that time.

I remember a David Frost show in a New York studio with John and Yoko. At the time John would not talk to any journalist as he didn't like them but he got into a argument with the audience as he sang a song about the 43 people that had died in the Attica Prison riots; 39 convicts and 4 guards. He made no distinction between them just 43 useless deaths, but some of the audience took exception to them all being lumped together. I believe that would be his view today about Iraq, All the useless deaths not just one side. As I said an extraordinary man.

John & crew performed in Dallas, one year. A girl I went to High School with, went to see the performance. The glass front of the hotel shattered from the fans pressing against the glass to catch a glimse of John. The girl was cut pretty bad and was hospitalized. After she return to school, with scars all over her, all she kept talking about, was the visit she got while she was in the hospital and how it was all worth the pain. Yes, John & his crew stopped by to see how she was doing. "We all live in a yellow submarine...", one of many songs, I remember from those days.

I remember when I heard that he got shot. I wore a black armband for a week.

"Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans."

February of 1964. The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. All I wanted to hear them sing was "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", which I'd been hearing on the radio. Nobody had any idea how talented these guys were or what prolific writers they would become. I had just begun dating my wife. We've been married for 40 years. Ah, the Beatles and at a time when I was finding the love of my life. The happiest of memories.

The night John Lennon died. I had a photography show years ago and a few of the images bore that title. Some how my friends and neighbors collected together and ended up in downtown Philadelphia. First in Rittenhouse Square under the WMMR window. And then on the steps of the Art Museum. Someone brought a big parachute to play with. We all needed each other that night and long into the next day. The poet had a huge effect on the way I think about things... Tears again.

To John...a hero of mine and many...Remember watching Monday Night Football which they interupted to announce the shooting..."No, no, nooo...paced about our trailer at the time...punched hole in bedroom door...then cried...I include John Lennon in my prayers to this day...Quite a guy...Peace...

This remembrance made me cry. Great great article. Goodnight sweet prince. And thank you....

Statue of Lennon at Havana Park, Cuba

John had the ability to express what the collective consciousness of his generation yearned to hear.

He was an original, never again will we see the likes of John Lennon.

One windy cold night in New York I wondered in to a little Italian Bistro to escape the weather, and there seated at the table no more than 3 ft. away, sipping an espresso, was John Lennon. I wanted to speak to him but really didn't wish to disturb or hassle him. So I sat there kind of like a deer staring into the headlights. John glanced over and smiled. I guess he'd seen this look of befuddlement more than a few times before. I wanted to speak but nothing came out. John laughed and said "Hey mate, you should try this chocolate, It does wonders for ya, they make it right here in the back" He broke off a piece, handed it to me and said " the owner is a bloody magician!". I managed to thank him and exchange a few words. For being one of the most recognized faces on the planet, he was remarkably comfortable in public and a "regular guy". Goodnight John,
I 'd like to believe you have found the peace you gallantly sought in this world.
And thank you, you were right about the chocolate. It was delicious.

Continue ....

A comforting read on this day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Contending Sex Is Bad Because It Leads To Dancing

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church." -Thomas Paine, Patriot, Rationalist.

And of course, dancing is far worse!

The Yellow Brick Road Of The Subnormal
Religion is like the Wizard of Oz.
There's some guy behind the curtains your not supposed to pay any attention to, operating the machinery, duping Tin Men into believing they alone can fix their absence of heart. Religion has nothing to do with creators, sky dudes, dudettes, or morality in any plausible sense. It has everything to do with power. Power to manipulate others. What, after all, is more powerful than claiming a supernatural ascendancy of some kind? It can't be questioned, it has no basis in logic and proudly proclaims so, and has authority above and beyond mere mortals. Once logic is suspended, it is no problem to manipulate followers into drinking Jonestown Punch, killing themselves to get on some imaginary space ship, invading sovereign nations of "heathens" or burning themselves and their children to death to protect a megalomaniac with a private army from indictment.

Freedom Of Speech Does Not Indicate Freedom From Scrutiny
I believe that every person on the planet has a right to believe in any religion, no matter how ridiculous it is, simply because I also believe that every person has a right to free speech...which also means we have the right to talk about ridiculous religions and why they are ridiculous. The "people of faith"are offended by scrutiny, that's too bad. The lack of desire for honest inquiry is far more offensive than any factual information that one might encounter. Because I respect the right to practice ridiculous religion doesn't mean that I have any respect for it, nor should we be expected to pretend it isn't ridiculous. History tends to prove religions are dangerous and destructive cults.

Ridiculous religions are based as much on culture as dogma. The culture is rooted in the belief that you're superior to everyone else. You are chosen, going to a Nirvana of some kind, while the rest of us are going to suffer some horrid torture of one type or another.

Evangelism, Fundamentalism, and World Domination

We are right and everyone else is wrong. Zealots are mandated to expand their cult to everyone in the world. They want ridiculous religions to control governments to enforce their way of life on the masses and have the authority to punish dissent. The idea of personal rights and liberties is contrary to surrendering your life and free will to the Wiz and doing "Wiz work" as dictated by the "Wiz Biz. After all, if you're not serving Wiz, you're serving the Anti Wiz, and you are evil. So the idea of personal liberty and free thinking is the same as giving rights to Satan or some other boogieman.

Abominis Nabisco
Who burned the Great Library at Alexandria, destroying 600,000 volumes of knowledge of the ancient world--the greatest property crime of all time? The mad monks led by Saint Cyril, the patron saint of arsonists!

Who delivered the first trainload of Jews to Auschwitz?
Monsignor Tiso, head of the Slovak State.

Who inspected the naked bodies of women, claiming to be looking for "witches marks" so they could light them on fire, in a sacred celebration during the Middle Ages called auto de Fe (act of faith)? Hint - It wasn't Atheists, deists, or the dreaded rationalists.

There was that dust-up with Luther and the wars that followed wherein Germany lost half its population in a generation. And of course the slave trade...Yes the Church was quite involved in that endeavor.

How about the destruction, plunder, rape and papal pillage of the peoples of the Americas and the eradication of their culture?

The "Donation of Constantine" was a forgery, Adrian IV really didn't own Ireland and therefore had no right to give it to England. And who castrated young boys to sing in choirs? How about the Third World, which is kept in hunger due to the Vatican's ideas on birth control?

Now, in no particular order...

Great Moments In Papistry

  • It was said that Pope John XII (955-64) invented sins that had not been known since the beginning of the world and whole monasteries spent days and nights praying for his death. He turned his home, the Lateran Palace, into a brothel. He used the papal treasury to pay off his gambling debts. He died on May 14th 964 aged twenty-four, after he was caught in bed by the husband of one of his mistresses in 'the very act of adultery'.
  • Pope Innocent VIII (1484-92) sired eight illegitimate sons and probably as many daughters, of whom he openly acknowledged. His reign as Pope was known as 'The Golden Age of Bastards'. He authorized an inquisition against those thought to be witches. On his death bed a wet nurse was found for his final craving - woman's milk.
  • Pope John XXII (1316-34) excommunicated fellow clergymen for not paying their taxes.
  • In 1932, Pope Pius XI (1922-39) as well as condemning contraception, ordered German Catholics to drop their hostility towards Hitler. He also backed Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia.
  • Pope Celastine II (1143-44) had a certain Count Jordan condemned to a horrible death, he was strapped naked to a scalding iron chair while a red-hot crown was nailed to his head.
  • Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) instituted the approved method of interrogation of suspected sodomites. In order to make them confess, suspects were lowered naked onto a red-hot spike. This method was kept until the year 1816.
  • Robert of Geneva was well known for his ability to decapitate a man with a pike. He became Pope Clement VII (1378-94) and was 'much given to fleshy pleasure'. He surrounded himself with page boys, whose jackets, it was noted, shrunk from being knee length, to mid-buttock for his pleasure and easier access.
  • Pope Benedict XIII (1394-1417) gave a dispensation to the twenty-nine-year-old Richard II of England to marry Isabella, the seven-year-old daughter of the King of France.
  • The child-pope Benedict IX (who became Pope at the age of 12!) was bi-sexual, sodomised animals, ordered murders and dabbled in witchcraft and Satanism. He loved to throw wild, bi-sexual orgies. Benedict IX held the post of Pope in the years 1032-44, 1045 and 1047-48. He was described as "A demon from hell in the disguise of a priest...", and St Peter Damian said of him: "That wretch, from the beginning of his pontificate to the end of his life, feasted on immorality". Dante estimated that under Benedict IX the papacy reached an all-time low in immorality and debauchery. When he was 23, he survived an assassination attempt (strangling at the altar during Mass). Benedict went on to marry his cousin and sell the papacy to his godfather, Gregory VI.
  • Pope Boniface VII (974; 984-85) was described as: "a horrid monster" and "a man who in criminality surpassed all the rest of mankind".
  • In the year 440 Pope Sixtus III (432-40) was tried for the raping of a nun.
  • Pope Leo I (440-61) was a warped and sadistic torturer. He made his victims confess that they mixed semen with the sacrament and used young girls at the altar for the purpose. He was the first Pope to claim the right to put anyone who disagreed with him to death.
  • Pope Pius VII (1800-23) comdemned bible societies as "a most abominable invention that destroyed the very foundation of religion".
  • It was widely rumored that the ex-pirate Pope John XXIII (1410-15) was an Atheist. He tortured his own cardinals and was said to have "had wicked company with two of his own sisters". Robert Hallum, Bishop of Salisbury said that he: "ought to be burnt at the stake".
  • The homosexual Pope Paul II (1464-71) liked to see naked men being racked and tortured. He died of a heart attack whilst being sodomized by one of his favorite boys.
  • Pope John XIII (965-72) { yes, I know there was more than one John XIII } was condemned as an adulterer who "defiled his father's concubine and his own niece". He was said to have died at the hands of an enraged husband, caught in the act of adultery - just like his dad, Pope John XII.
  • Pope Sergius III (904-11) enjoyed sex with underaged girls. According to the historian Baronius, Sergius III was "the slave of every vice". When he was 45, Sergius took a 15- year-old mistress - the affair produced a son who went on to become Pope John XI.
  • Pope Stephen VI (896-97) had the body of his predecessor, Pope Formosus (891-96) dug up, dressed in papal vestments, set on a throne and tried for perjury and coveting the papacy.
  • Pope Benedict XII (1334-42) was such a hardened drinker that the expression "drunk as a pope" became popular in his lifetime.
  • Pope Anacletus (1130-8) committed incest with his sister and several other female relatives. He enjoyed raping nuns.
  • Pope Clement VI (1342-52) was described by Petrarch as "an ecclesiastical Dionysus with his obscene and infamous artifaces". Clement VI slept with prostitutes and had dozens of mistresses. When he died, fifty priests said Mass for the repose of his soul for nine consecutive days, but it was generally agreed that this was not going to be nearly enough to prevent the dead pope from going directly to hell.
  • Pope Pius II (1458-64) had been a well known author of pornography, and had fathered about 12 illegitimate children.
  • The Sistine Chapel was built by Pope Sixtus IV (1471-84). He had six illegitimate sons, of which one was the result of an incestuous relationship with his sister.
  • Pope Julius II (1503-13) who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the the Sistine Chapel, was a pedophile and spent much of his time with small boys and male prostitutes.
  • In the year 1095 Pope Urban II introduced the callagium, a sex tax which alllowed the clergy to keep mistresses, provided they paid an annual fee to the papacy. This had the immediate effect of reducing the use of concubines and hugely increasing clerical homosexuality. Which has resonance well into modern times.
  • Pope Paul III (1534-49) enjoyed an incestuous relationship with his daughter. To gain control of his family inheritance, he poisoned several relatives, including his mother and niece. He killed two cardinals and a Polish bishop to settle an argument over a theological point. Paul III was probably Rome's biggest ever pimp - he kept a roll of about 45,000 prostitutes, who paid him a monthly tribute.
  • Pope Julius III (1550-55) sodomized young boys, of which one was his own, illegitimate son. He appointed several handsome teenage boys as cardinals. Cardinal della Casa's famous poem In Praise of Sodomy was dedicated to Pope Julius III.

Yes, Catholicism takes the brunt of critique here, it's like shooting fish in a barrel....Piranhas.
But all so called Christian religions share this history to some point. Those that invented their own versions of the already corrupted Paulists and murderer of his own wife and son (boiled his wife to death...) Constantine have no more legitimacy. The protestant witch burnings both in Europe and here in the New World killed far more people than any demented leader of inquisitions could have dreamed of.

The big three are by far the worst because they wield influence over the largest amount of people. Put faith in yourself friends, as anytime you delegate it to someone else, the wine your poured will be sour at best. Power. Power corrupts...infinite power corrupts completely.
If your willing to believe things are so without any shred of evidence, because some guy wearing a purple dress, wearing a pointy hat, or turning his collar around, said so; you are shirking your responsibility to the rest of humanity who direly needs the rational to survive. Not the ridiculous.

If invisible friends are talking to you or your "leader"...please see a mental health professional immediately before the inevitable malfeasance occurs. The future of humanity lies not in the childish beliefs in the Wizard of Oz's emissaries. Now that's a horse of a different color!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dispatch From The Voice Of Reason

Hopefully we have all agreed that the use of critical thinking skills is desirable. (Please have a peruse of the previous dispatch regarding this subject - Awakening The Intellect To Study Itself)
First understand that in no way do I suggest that my skills in this area are superior or any such nonsense. I will claim only to be aware of these concepts, attempting to use them is an ongoing and evolving activity that for me, personally; is more successful in some areas of my life than in others. Being aware of common breaches of reasoning, we all can improve our lives and the quality of debate on all fronts. We encounter fallacy constantly. Recognition of it, in our own reasoning or in the reasoning of others is a liberation, a step towards intellectual honesty, ...keepin' it real.

A "fallacy" is a mistake. "Logical" fallacy is a mistake in reasoning.

Aristotle was the first formal logician—codifying the rules of correct reasoning. He was first to name types of logical error, and the first to group them into categories. The result is his book On Sophistical Refutations.

Aristotle's teacher, Plato, was the first philosopher to collect examples of bad reasoning, which is an important preliminary piece of field work before naming and cataloging. Plato's "Euthydemus" preserves a collection of fallacious arguments in dialogue form, putting the examples into the mouths of two sophists. For this reason, fallacious arguments are sometimes called "sophistry". In the centuries since Plato and Aristotle, many philosophers and logicians have added to fallacy studies, among them John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, and Arthur Schopenhauer. Recognizing bad reasoning is the path to implementing sound judgment and good reasoning. Why bother studying bad logic? Well, even if you could count on reasoning correctly 100% of the time, you cannot count on others doing so. In logical self-defense, you need to be able to spot poor reasoning, and—more importantly—to understand it. To be able to correct others' mistakes, or to refute them convincingly, you need to understand why they are wrong. Let's have a look at some fallacies that we encounter quite often.

The Ad Hominem
Translated from Latin to English, "Ad Hominem" means "against the man" or "against the person." An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant claim about the author of or the person presenting the claim. Typically, this fallacy involves two steps. First, an attack against the character of the person making the claim, their circumstances, or their actions is made (or sometimes the character, circumstances, or actions of the person reporting the claim). Second, this attack is taken to be evidence against the claim or argument the person in question is making (or presenting). Unfortunately, Ad Hominem is now a standard practice in mainstream media/editorial. Polarizing the public opinion is often accomplished by using sweeping generalizations: What do you expect from a liberal?. This technique takes Ad Hominem a step further and seeks to create or demonize a particular social categorization, associate the person with such a group, and as a result discount the individual and the value of his opinion. Opponents of Thomas Jefferson for instance, in the presidential election of 1800 accused the man who penned the Declaration of Independence, one of the founding fathers of the nation of being an anti-American, a godless atheist (isn't that like being a white Caucasian?), and a tool of the godless French ( Jefferson had served as U.S. ambassador to France). Newspapers owned by Federalists (the opposing political party du jour) claimed that the election of Jefferson would cause the "teaching of murder robbery, rape, adultery and incest". (Source- Sound familiar?
Ad Hominem fallacies are nothing new, after all the ancient Greeks must have used them enough for Aristotle to have given it a name. But what is different today is the ownership of communications has become highly concentrated and capable of reaching far more people.

When people refer to others by generalized groups (secularist, atheist, liberal, conservative, feminist, hippy, etc.) be wary of the veiled attempt at ad hominem. For example, in mainstream America, many Christians have erroneously tried to associate atheism with satanism, and therefore seek to discredit the identity of an atheist as the evil opposite of Christianity. What it really is, a lack of belief in all such supernatural mythology, requires the rejection of the guy with the horns and pitchfork as well. In this manner, the reference to atheism, or secularism becomes a sort of a codified ad hominem.
Talking about it is one thing, there's nothing like seeing bad logic in action though.
Here are video examples from a constant ad hominem source:

Ah, yes... the personal attack...used most often when actually presenting a legitimate argument is not an option.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Awakening The Intellect To Study Itself.

"Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness."
This is a statement about critical thinking, a concept developed for the last 2,500 years which was presented by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, the summer of 1987. So what is this all about then?
Basically we are talking about the ability to access the relative viability or fallacy of a concept.

Critical thinking is the ability to think for one's self. To use information reliably and responsibly to make decisions. Most people develop it at least to the degree they need to survive at the basic level...insuring they get the correct change from the cashier, or learning to stop at a red light. But unfortunately far too many develop the skills any further. There are many components to this process. Critical thinking must include critical inquiry. Intellectual curiosity. One must investigate problems, ask questions, pose new possible solutions, question authorities and traditional beliefs (after all if something is so, it remains so when investigated...if not, it was never so to begin with), and challenge any received dogmas and doctrines without prejudice.

What does it say about a culture where practicing scientific and critical thinking is discouraged? It would seem that certain societies will only tolerate a limited number of critical thinkers. Why might that be?

Most people are simply followers of authority:
Most do not question, are not curious, and do not challenge authority figures who claim special knowledge or insight. Most people, therefore, do not think for themselves, but rely on others to think for them. Most of us indulge in wishful, hopeful, and emotional thinking, believing that what they believe is true because they wish it, hope it, or feel it to be true. Most people, therefore, do not think critically. Life, itself can be described as a sequence of problems that each individual must solve for one's self. Critical thinking skills are nothing more than problem solving skills that result in reliable knowledge. Humans constantly process information. Critical thinking is the practice of processing this information in the most skillful, accurate, and rigorous manner possible, in such a way that it leads to the most reliable, logical, and trustworthy conclusions. From these conclusions one can make responsible decisions about one's life, behavior, and actions with full knowledge of assumptions and consequences of those decisions.

The Dumbing Down

So much knowledge has been acquired about the natural world in the last century that the quantity of information in science for example, has become enormous. As the quantity of knowledge mankind acquires increases exponentially, educators are faced with the daunting task of attempting to relay more and more information to students. Science educators and science textbook writers came to believe that they must seek to transmit as much factual information as possible in the time available. Our textbooks grew larger and curriculum became more concentrated; students were expected to memorize and learn increasingly more material.
Acquisition and transmission of scientific facts and information took precedence over learning scientific methods and concepts. Inevitably, the essential accompanying task of transmitting the methods of correct investigation, understanding, and evaluation of all this scientific data ( critical thinking) was thrown under the bus entirely. This situation became especially severe in primary and secondary education, and over the last decades there has been a well-known decline in the math and science ability of students in the U.S. compared to other industrialized countries. Studies have shown that our students abilities in math and science begin on level with students in other countries, but then progressively decrease as they make their way through the educational system. By the end of high school, United States students rank among the lowest in the industrialized world in math and science achievement. The well intended "No Child Left Behind" legislation actually has compounded the problem as funding is tied to testing, forcing teachers to teach to the test (or lose their jobs) which further moves education towards memorization of facts or figures and further abandons learning the skills required to actually participate in any meaningful way in not only the sciences, but every facet of life.
Knowing when the Civil war took place or where the battles were fought is information. But understanding why it took place is wisdom. Insight is a quality of inestimable value. One will continue making the same mistakes over and over again without it. Therein lies the need for critical thought. It is a matter of survival.

Teachers Are Bad?
It matters not who we might blame for this egregious error. But we must first acknowledge that it is an error, and secondly; change the entire approach of education to focus far more on relaying critical thinking skills as the primary goal of education. Teachers like all employees must do what they are told, in good schools their ideas regarding curriculum and agenda are given weight, in most, this is frankly discouraged. It is not teachers who fail us. Anyone with an advanced degree in the sciences or mathematics has needed to master critical thought. It is generally policy that is at fault.

The problem has been growing for generations. I suggest this is one reason it has not been recognized by many or dealt with. Not enough critical thinkers in school policy making to recognize the problem (As a necessity they must focus on whatever programs provide funding), certainly not enough critical thinkers in the national political scene to create new policy, and not enough critical thought from the public to demand the needed effective changes. As a result of the inability of the public to think critically we largely end up with leaders who also lack these skills.

Everyone of us thinks; it is a trait of the human condition to do so. But much of our thinking, if not subjected to criticism in terms of it's intellectual integrity, has a bias, is distorted, is incomplete, uninformed, misinformed, or is out and out prejudiced. The quality of our lives and that of what we produce, depends precisely on the quality of our thought processes.

Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life.
Nowhere is this more evident in The U.S. than in the poor quality of political debate, advertising, and news media in general. This is only effective or even possible for the perpetrators because of the disregard of critical analysis by the populous at large. Our willingness to accept flawed logic.
This is a case where change truly comes from within. Excellence in thought processes, must be systematically cultivated by each of us. The quality of our lives will improve dramatically.

Our survival quite literally depends on it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Benjamin New- Without Shoes- Music Video

Title Track From Without Shoes.
Most of the visuals are references to other songs on the album.
All instruments and vocals by Benjamin New.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Music - Paper Boys...The Movie

Paper Boys
The Movie
All photography (Except Mr. New's Head Shot) is courtesy of Aware Productions who holds all copyrights

New Music from the film "Paper Boys" directed by Bryan E. Hall features a soundtrack composed by Benjamin New. Some of the music has been offered as free mp3 downloads for a limited time.
Composer Benjamin New

Father and son Musicians Ben New And Ben New at work on the soundtrack for Paper Boys the movie.
"Working with Bryan (director Bryan E. Hall) was a blast, he had a very good idea of what he wanted and great communication skills to convey these ideas. On top of that the film is superbly shot and has a fantastic screenplay. The ensemble cast is top notch and I particularly liked the humorous undertones sometimes sardonic, sometimes quite subtle. As with most independent films, this is obviously a labor of love. A unique vision of coming of age complete with social ills, a healthy dose of irrepressible human spirit, and the triumph of enduring friendships."
- Benjamin New, composer-musician

Here are links to some of the music where indeed you can listen for free, download some for free, purchase the soundtrack, or individual tracks. The film will be premiering in Atlanta. The date of the world premier will be Saturday, June 20th, 7:30pm in Atlanta at the beautiful Plaza Theater on Ponce De Leon! So if you can attend by all means please do! If not look for the film in your area in the coming months.

Ben New (son) contributed drums
and "handsonic synthesis" to the music
Ben New (composer) wrote for the film.

Two of the more cinematic pieces are "Sean and Leah's Theme" and the "Bicycle Symphony" which is composed entirely of analog tape loops created with guitar, a method favored by Robert Fripp of King Crimson, he had referred to it as "Frippertronix". Essentially 2 reel to reel decks with one acting as the recorder and another as the playback which combines an incoming source with sound being played back creating a layering effect. Also used by Terry Riley in his composition "In C".

3. Sean and Leah's Theme-Benjamin New

The soundtrack also features great tunes by
Jamie Radford, Dear Savannah,
and The Mighty Parrot Band.

See the IMDB listing for Paper Boys here.

Purchase tickets for the premiere and learn more at the director's blog.
The Movie's Myspace page is excellent, I highly recommend a visit.
The collection of stills and behind the scenes photos are simply not to be missed.
Independent film is really the life blood of cinema. Hat's off to the producers, director, cast and crew!
And lets all support the work by attending screenings!

See you at the movies!
All stills from the film and photos of the music production are courtesy of Aware Productions.

Submitted by the editor

Director Bryan E. Hall, Benjamin C. New, And Benjamin E. New
At the composer's studio in Cape May N.J.

Remember folks-
Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day;
Give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.

Your Ad Here

Friday, May 8, 2009

Vulture Capital and Predatory Politics

As many of you may know I have long advocated the complete absolute outlawing of the practice of political lobbying. Some argue that the lobbyist is guaranteed a job as a part of free speech. The practice is nothing more than bribery. I find this appalling. And I'm confident you will will too after reading this.
Three University of Kansas professors completed a verifiable analysis of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. They studied rates of return for money spent on lobbying. Their data and findings were covered in an article by Dan Eggen in the Washington Post on April 12th . Here is a link to that story . What they discovered was that a cabal of predatory multinational corporations were getting a return of $220 for every 1$ they spent on lobbyists. On top of that they received a gift of a 100 million dollar tax break.

This "law" with a name that defines charlatanism, allowed these vulture capitalists who amassed profits overseas to inexpensively bring that money back into the States. The normal tax rate on such profits was 35 percent. But this repatriation of profits as it is referred to, allowed these predators to haul their money home, paying only 5.25 percent!

This act of treason was a tax holiday was sought by big pharmaceutical and high-technology corporations simply because they didn't want to pay taxes. They concocted a scheme and were quite successful at pulling it off. According to Mr. Egan's article:
"The largest recipients of tax breaks were concentrated in the pharmaceutical and technology fields, including Pfizer, Merck, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson and IBM. Pfizer alone repatriated $37 billion, representing 70 percent of its revenue in 2004, the study found. The now-beleaguered financial industry also benefited from the provision, including Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, all of which have since received tens of billions of dollars in federal bailout money."

In 2006, the Washington Post business columnist Allan Sloan wrote about Ford Motor Co.’s abuse of the laughably named act:

"It’s almost enough to make you laugh — bitterly, of course. Here was Ford Motor Co. announcing yesterday that it had cut 10,000 jobs last year and that it will cut up to 30,000 more. But shedding jobs at muscle-car acceleration rates didn’t stop Ford from pocketing hundreds of millions of dollars courtesy of the American Jobs Creation Act. … Hello? How can you simultaneously cut jobs and benefit from the American Jobs Creation Act? Welcome to the wonderful world of Washington nomenclature."

Mr. Sloan said that Ford saved $850 million in taxes, not the $250 million the company suggested in its press release.

So how do vulture capitalists that don’t believe in paying their appropriate share of taxes pull this off?

Mr. Eggen reported:

"The provision was championed in part by the Homeland Investment Coalition, a group of companies and trade associations that was formed to push for the repatriation holiday. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the disbanded coalition’s members, said in a statement Friday that “repatriation of profits provided a new source of investment for American companies.”

“PhRMA supported the legislation four years ago as part of a broad business coalition because of the additional economic benefits the bill would provide,” senior vice president Ken Johnson said. “It meant jobs and skilled training for American workers, as well as a shot in the arm for local economies.”

Well heck, that doesn't sound so bad...
Creating jobs provided the political cover for members of Congress to sign on as a co-sponsors of the bill. But did the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 actually lead to jobs being created?
Flat out no.
How about providing “a new source of investment for American companies”?
Your kidding right?
The profits were simply pocketed.
It was merely a handout to America's most profitable Vulture Capitalists.
And the supporters of this tax holiday tried to get yet another gift from U.S. citizens.
As reported reported in Mr. Eggen's article:
"… the Congressional Research Service and others have since found that many companies cut jobs in the wake of the tax break and that nearly all the money was used for stock buybacks or dividends. Supporters failed in a bid to include a similar tax break in this year’s stimulus legislation, and a Senate subcommittee has launched an investigation into how companies used their tax savings under the 2004 program."

So the good news is they weren't successful at getting another round of freeloading at taxpayer expense included in the stimulus package.

How about those big Pharmaceuticals? Did they create any jobs with the profits they got a tax holiday from? Not according to the Associated Press.
Here is their chart showing employment at these firms 2 years after President Bush signed the Job Creation Act into law.


Look how merely one member of this corrupt coalition; the pharmaceutical industry "influenced" members of Congress to work on their behalf.
The Ways and Means Committee is the main tax writing committee of the House of Representatives. The 2004 sad excuse for a bill was primarily a creation of the House.
Former congressman Bill Thomas (R-Calif) served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee during the run-up to the bill’s passage.
He is listed as the prime House sponsor of the American Jobs Creation Act.
Surprise! Surprise! The pharmaceutical industry gave his campaign more than $407,000.
The bill had 40 sponsors. All but one were Republicans.
A review of the campaign contributions records of these 40 men and women collected by the Center for Responsive Politics showed that since 1998, the pharmaceutical industry gave their campaign committees $4.49 million. Of those 40 co-sponsors, 14 served on the Ways and Means Committee: They have received, since 1998, $2.5 million from Big Pharmaceuticals.
Recall that, thanks to the act’s tax break, Pfizer repatriated $37 billion.
That's some math lesson!

The lone Democrat who conspired to help with the looting was former Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, of Connecticut (where drug-maker Pfizer has a significant presence), received more than $692,000 from Big Pharma. She has since departed from office but...

Surprise! Surprise! She is now a senior public policy adviser (That means lobbyist) for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and serves on the Pfizer U.S. Health Advisory Board.

The bill had no opposition in Congress.

The Senate voted 69-17 on the bill; The House, 207-16.

Their compliance and submission allowed an average rate of return of 22,000 percent for the corporations who lobbied for this bill, according to the Kansas professors.

If $1 invested in lobbying earns a $220 return,
which is what the Kansas study has determined,
then the pharmaceutical industry has invested,
for the 41 sponsors and co-sponsors of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004,
about $4.5 million. That’s a return of $990 million.
Isn't that an enticicing return for buying only 7 percent of the members of Congress?

Now this is only one case study on one bill.
Imagine every K street flim flam artist and every bill.
Outlaw this "pay for play" con.
Turn K Street into a parking lot.
Throw the participants in jail or deport them.

The devastation caused by predatory capitalism is becoming obvious to all but the most obtuse of Americans. This is not a criticism of private ownership, that is a good thing. It's the economic slavery created by a new elite capitalist class of criminal thugs that must go. How do we accomplish this?

To regain our Constitutional freedoms, we must establish and insure equitable economic principles. We can begin by implementing the Second Bill of Rights suggested by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his State of the Union Address in January, 1944.

Roosevelt's remedy was to create an "economic bill of rights" which would guarantee:

  • "The right to a useful and remunerative job"
  • "The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation"
  • "The right of every family to a decent home"
  • "The right to adequate medical care and opportunity to enjoy and achieve good health"
  • "The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment"
  • "The right to a good education"

Roosevelt stated these rights would guarantee American prosperity and security, and that America's place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights were carried into practice. He was dead right.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy President's Day !

Many American Presidents offered their deepest thoughts on the country whose rudder they guided through rough seas. Some had compasses to assist, others navigated by the stars, still some others drilled holes in the keel and ran the craft aground. The words of the best resound and reverberate through the halls of time. The worst tend to speak for themselves and their legacies accurately and succinctly.

George Washington (1789–1797)

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. "

"Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

"Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!"
George Washington wrote this in a note to his gardener at Mount Vernon (1794) from- The Writings of George Washington, Volume 33, page 270 (Library of Congress)

"We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth & reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition."

"Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest."

John Adams (1797–1801)
"If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve?"

"A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
In a letter to Abigail Adams (1780-05-12) Adams wrote:

"I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain."

Thomas Jefferson (1801–1809)

"I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be...I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law."
Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904, Vol. 1, p. 459.

"Fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; … that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; and therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust or emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religions opinion, is depriving him injudiciously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow-citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emolumerits, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminals who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty."
Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes.

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

James Madison (1809–1817)

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

"A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended."

"Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?"
During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
"Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" (1785)

James Monroe (1817–1825)
"National honor is a national property of the highest value."

"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and an usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin."

John Quincy Adams (1825–1829)
"America, with the same voice which spoke herself into existence as a nation, proclaimed to mankind the inextinguishable rights of human nature, and the only lawful foundations of government."

"Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it."

Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
“The mischief springs from the power which the monied interest derives from a paper currency which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges which they have succeeded in obtaining...and unless you become more watchful in your states and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges you will in the end find that the most important powers of government have been given or bartered away…."
Farewell Address, 1837

"As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending."

"It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics, and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing."
Comments about his Veto of the Bank of the United States

Martin Van Buren (1837–1841)
"There is a power in public opinion in this country—and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers—which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens."

"Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe."

William Henry Harrison (1841) (Harrison resigned from the army in 1814. He had an obscure career in politics ending up 20 years later as a county recorder in Ohio. He was nominated for president in 1835 and billed as a military hero whom the conservatives of the day hoped to control, he ran surprisingly well against Van Buren in 1836 and defeated Van Buren in the following election. He caught pneumonia and died in Washington on April 4, 1841, a mere month after his inauguration. Harrison was the first president to die in office.)

"A decent and manly examination of the acts of the Government should be not only tolerated, but encouraged."

"The strongest of all governments is that which is most free."

John Tyler (1841–1845)

"Patronage is the sword and cannon by which war may be made on the liberty of the human race."

Popularity, I have always thought, may aptly be compared to a coquette - the more you woo her, the more apt is she to elude your embrace.

James Knox Polk (1845–1849)

"No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have
any leisure."

"By the theory of our Government majorities rule, but this right is not an arbitrary or unlimited one. It is a right to be exercised in subordination to the Constitution and in conformity to it. One great object of the Constitution was to restrain majorities from oppressing minorities or encroaching upon their just rights. Minorities have a right to appeal to the Constitution as a shield against such oppression. "

Zachary Taylor (1849–1850 )

"For more than half a century, during which kingdoms and empires have fallen, this Union has stood unshaken. The patriots who formed it have long since descended to the grave; yet still it remains, the proudest monument to their memory. . ."

"I have no private purpose to accomplish, no party objectives to build up, no enemies to punish—nothing to serve but my country."
Millard Fillmore (1850–1853)
"The man who can look upon a crisis without being willing
to offer himself upon the altar of his country is not fit
for public trust."

"God knows that I detest slavery, but it is an existing evil, for which we are not responsible, and we must endure it, till we can get rid of it without destroying the last hope of free government in the world."

Franklin Pierce (1853–1857)
"The storm of frenzy and faction must inevitably dash itself in vain against the unshaken rock of the Constitution."

"States which are exempt from the actual ravages of war, in which the roar of the cannon, and the rattle of the musketry, and the groans of the dying, are heard but as a faint echo of terror from other lands, even here in the loyal States, the mailed hand of military usurpation strikes down the liberties of the people, and its foot tramples on a desecrated Constitution."

James Buchanan (1857–1861)
"The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there."

"I feel that my duty has been faithfully, though it may be imperfectly, performed, and, whatever the result may be, I shall carry to my grave the consciousness that I at least meant well for my country."

Abraham Lincoln (1861–1865)
"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy."

"These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert to fleece the people, and now that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people's money to settle the quarrel."
-Speech to Illinois legislature, (January 1837)

"If Slavery Is Not Wrong, Nothing Is Wrong"

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
Abraham Lincoln : Speeches and Writings 1832-1858

Andrew Johnson (1865–1869)

"Honest conviction is my courage; the Constitution is my guide."

"Legislation can neither be wise nor just which seeks the welfare of a single interest at the expense and to the injury of many"

Ulysses Simpson Grant (1869–1877)

"I have never advocated war except as a means of peace."

"As the United States is the freest of all nations, so, too, its people sympathize with all people struggling for liberty and self-government; but while so sympathizing it is due to our honor that we should abstain from enforcing our views upon unwilling nations and from taking an interested part, without invitation, in the quarrels between different nations or between governments and their subjects. Our course should always be in conformity with strict justice and law, international and local. "

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1877–1881)

"He serves his party best who serves the country best."

"It is the desire of the good people of the whole country that sectionalism as a factor in our politics should disappear."

"The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations. — How is this?"

James Abram Garfield (1881)
"Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education, without which neither freedom nor justice can be permanently maintained."

"We can not overestimate the fervent love of liberty, the intelligent courage, and the sum of common sense with which our fathers made the great experiment of self-government."
( The Garfield administration had barely started when he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a disappointed republican office seeker, in Washington on July 2, 1881. He died in Elberon, N.J., on Sept. 19.)

Chester Alan Arthur (1881–1885)
"Good ballplayers make good citizens."

"Madam, I may be President of the United States, but my private life is nobody’s damn business." Quipped to a temperance reformer. Quoted in Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur, chptr. 8, by Thomas C. Reeves
Stephen Grover Cleveland (1885–1889)
"A man is known by the company he keeps, and also by the company from which he is kept out."

"He mocks the people who proposes that the Government shall protect the rich and that they in turn will care for the laboring poor. Any intermediary between the people and their Government or the least delegation of the care and protection the Government owes to the humblest citizen in the land makes the boast of free institutions a glittering delusion and the pretended boon of American citizenship a shameless imposition."

Benjamin Harrison (1889–1893)

"We Americans have no commission from God to police the world."

"God forbid that the day should ever come when, in the American mind, the thought of man as a consumer shall submerge the old American thought of man as a creature of God, endowed with unalienable rights."

William McKinley (1897–1901)
"Unlike any other nation, here the people rule, and their will is the supreme law. It is sometimes sneeringly said by those who do not like free government, that here we count heads. True, heads are counted, but brains also . . ."

"War should never be entered upon until every agency of peace has failed. "

Theodore Roosevelt (1901–1909)
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them, but it is duty bound to control them wherever the need of such control is shown. "

"The material progress and prosperity of a nation are desirable chiefly so far as they lead to the moral and material welfare of all good citizens."

"We wish to control big business so as to secure among other things good wages for the wage-workers and reasonable prices for the consumers. Wherever in any business the prosperity of the businessman is obtained by lowering the wages of his workmen and charging an excessive price to the consumers we wish to interfere and stop such practices. We will not submit to that kind of prosperity any more than we will submit to prosperity obtained by swindling investors or getting unfair advantages over business rivals."

William Howard Taft (1909–1913)
"Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution . ."
(I Suppose the SCOTUS decision that eminent domain included corporate interests overriding citizens ownership rights disagrees no?)

"I am a Unitarian. I believe in God. I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe. Letter to Yale University (1899), quoted in Henry F. Pringle, William Howard Taft: The Life and Times, vol. 1, p. 45 (1939)"
Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1913–1921)

"Is there any man here... who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry? ... This war, in its inception, was a commercial and industrial war. It was not a political war."

"We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers."

Warren Gamaliel Harding (1921–1923)

"Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little."

"There is something inherently wrong, something out of accord with the ideals of
representative democracy, when one portion of our citizenship turns its activities
to private gain amid defensive war while another is fighting, sacrificing, or dying
for national preservation."

John Calvin Coolidge (1923–1929)
"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

"If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final."

Herbert Clark Hoover (1929–1933)
"Prosperity is just around the corner."

"Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die."

"What this country needs is a great poem. John Brown’s Body was a step in the right direction. I’ve read it once...Kipling’s “Recessional” really did something to England when it was published. It helped them through a bad time. Let me know if you find any great poems lying around. "

"I'm the only person of distinction who has ever had a depression named for him."

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933–1945)
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

"I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made."

"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

"We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization."

"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth."

"A nation that destroys it's soils destroys itself. Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people. "

"They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers... call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order."

"I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people. Let us all here assembled constitute ourselves prophets of a new order of competence and of courage. This is more than a political campaign; it is a call to arms. Give me your help, not to win votes alone, but to win in this crusade to restore America to its own people."

Harry S. Truman (1945–1953)
"We need not fear the expression of ideas—we do need to fear their suppression."

"I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it."

"I never gave anybody hell. I just told the truth and they think it's hell."

"I do not understand a mind which sees a gracious beneficence in spending money to slay and maim human beings in almost unimaginable numbers and deprecates the expenditure of a smaller sum to patch up the ills of mankind."

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

Dwight David Eisenhower (1953–1961)

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

"When people speak to you about a preventive war, you tell them to go and fight it. After my experience, I have come to hate war. War settles nothing."
The Quotable Dwight D. Eisenhower (1967) edited by Elsie Gollagher, p. 219

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."

"If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power."

"Oh, goddammit, we forgot the silent prayer."
Politics and Diplomacy in Recent American History (1979) by Robert A. Divine, p. 55

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1961–1963)

"And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

"Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there." Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked."

"Freedom is not merely a word or an abstract theory, but the most effective instrument for advancing the welfare of man."

"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1963–1969)

"If government is to serve any purpose it is to do for others what they are unable to do for themselves."

"I believe the destiny of your generation - and your nation - is a rendezvous with excellence."

"If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it."

"We have entered an age in which education is not just a luxury permitting some men an advantage over others. It has become a necessity without which a person is defenseless in this complex, industrialized society. We have truly entered the century of the educated man."

Richard Milhous Nixon (1969–1974)

" Solutions are not the answer. "

"I am not a crook."

"This is a great day for France!"
while attending Charles De Gaulle's funeral

"I was not lying. I said things that later on seemed
to be untrue."

"When the President does it,
that means that it is not illegal"

"The second point is that coming out--coming back and saying
that black Americans aren't as good as black Africans--most
of them , basically, are just out of the trees. Now, let's
face it, they are."
Richard Nixon to Donald Rumsfeld 7-11-1971 White House Tapes

You know what happened to the Greeks.
Homosexuality destroyed them. Sure, Aristotle was
a homo, we all know that, so was Socrates."
May 26, 1971White House Tapes Released 3-2002

"What people resent is this business of some colleges
pushing the blacks too far for their own good, making
them doctors and everything else.... you can't talk about blacks like
you once did."
President Richard Nixon Alone In the White House, Pg 110

"Do you know what happened to the Romans?
The last six Roman emperors were fags. . . .
You know what happened to the popes?
It's all right that popes were
laying the nuns."
May 26, 1971, White House tapes Released 3-2002

"I would have made a good Pope."
Gerald Rudolph Ford (1974–1977)

"Truth is the glue that holds governments together. Compromise is the oil that makes governments go."

"If Lincoln was alive today, he`d roll over in his grave."

"Things are more like they are now than they have ever been."

James Earl Carter, Jr. (1977–1981)
"The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation."

" We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children."

"human rights are not peripheral to the foreign policy of the United States"

"America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense human rights invented America."

Ronald Wilson Reagan (1981–1989)

"I would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964."

"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."

"Facts are stupid things."

"One problem that we've had... is people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice."

"Now we are trying to get unemployment to go up and I think
we're going to succeed"

"Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders."

"Because Vietnam was not a declared war, the veterans are not even eligible for the G. I. Bill of Rights with respect to education or anything."

George Herbert Walker Bush (1989–1993)
"I want a kinder, gentler nation."

"Read my lips: no new taxes."

"I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it."

"[The war in Iraq is] a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation. Out of these troubled times...a new world order can emerge."

William Jefferson Clinton (1993–2001)

"There is nothing wrong in America that can't be fixed with what is right in America."

"The real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. The real differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to the future and those who cling to the past; between those who open their arms and those who are determined to clench their fists."

“Politics is not religion and we should govern on the basis of evidence, not theology.”

“If we want to invest in the prosperity of our nation, we must invest in the education of our children so that their talents may be fully employed.”

George Walker Bush (2001–2008)
"I have opinions of my own-strong opinions-but I don't always agree with them."

”The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country.”

”We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe.”

”If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

"It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it."

“I would still invade Iraq even if Iraq never existed”

"Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?"

"You have black people too?"
—speaking to the President of Brazil

”See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

”I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.”

Barack Obama
"There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America . "

"I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars."

"You know, there's a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit - the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us – the child who's hungry, the steelworker who's been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this – when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers – it becomes harder not to act; harder not to help."

"We have a stake in one another … what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and ... if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth."

"Whenever I write a letter to a family who has lost a loved one in Iraq , or read an email from a constituent who has dropped out of college because her student aid has been cut, I'm reminded that the actions of those in power have enormous consequences – a price that they themselves almost never have to pay."

"How does America find its way in this new, global economy? What will our place in history be? Like so much of the American story, once again, we face a choice. Once again, there are those who believe that there isn’t much we can do about this as a nation. That the best idea is to give everyone one big refund on their government—divvy it up by individual portions, in the form of tax breaks, hand it out, and encourage everyone to use their share to go buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, their own education, and so on. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it—Social Darwinism—every man or woman for him or herself. It’s a tempting idea, because it doesn’t require much thought or ingenuity. It allows us to say that those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford—tough luck. It allows us to say to the Maytag workers who have lost their job—life isn’t fair. It let’s us say to the child who was born into poverty—pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And it is especially tempting because each of us believes we will always be the winner in life’s lottery, that we’re the one who will be the next Donald Trump, or at least we won’t be the chump who Donald Trump says: “You’re fired!” But there is a problem. It won’t work. It ignores our history. It ignores the fact that it’s been government research and investment that made the railways possible and the internet possible. It’s been the creation of a massive middle class, through decent wages and benefits and public schools that allowed us all to prosper. Our economic dependence depended on individual initiative. It depended on a belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in it together and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity."

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do. Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage."

President Bush Called Former President Clinton one afternoon.
"Hello, Bill? It's Dubya. Say, I've been meanin' ta ask ya sumthin'. How did you do so well with the ladies when you were president?"
"I'll tell ya, George. The trick is to dazzle them with charm and intelligent conversation."
"Yeah, but what can I do?" asked Bush.
Clinton paused. "Well, George, if all else fails, try puttin' a potato down your pants. That works every time."
The next week, Bush called Clinton again.
"Bill? Dubya. Laura was in Crawford over the weekend and I got to go stag to the embassy ball. I tried the potato trick, but all the ladies kept their distance."
"I know, I saw the ball on C-SPAN," laughed Clinton. "Next time, try puttin' the potato down the front of your pants."

Happy President's Day Everyone!

Submitted by the Editor