Wednesday, April 25, 2012


 Ever since the dawn of man, it would seem that some group or another attempts to constitute themselves as some type of aristocracy, imposing their views and wishes on others. From the pharaohs of ancient Egypt to the self-regarding thugs of ancient Rome to the glorified warlords of medieval and absolutist Europe... in every urbanized society throughout human history, there have been people who have tried to control and dominate the populace.
Today, we hear these people who see themselves as modern Pharaohs claiming you must accept whatever social station you have been assigned, you must accept a lower standard of living, lower wages, less healthful foods, less education, more dominance and interference in your personal life, less services, less maintenance, less infrastructure, less peace, etc.
Yes, you must accept massive austerity on a grand scale. All hopes must be abandoned, all aspirations must be nipped in the bud. Regardless of  what type of misrepresentation the would be Pharaohs and their sycophant supporters are selling the truth is rather obvious. You must have less so they, themselves can have more.

I'm here to tell you this is all lies.
Do not believe it. Do not accept it.

We are nothing without our aspiration. When we launched the Voyager into points unknown in space, we included representations of the things man aspired to....Bach's music, representations of mathematical equations, literature, art, and the earth's natural beauty.
We did not send visual representations of warfare.
Nor poverty. 
No shots of social injustice, starving children, people living in open sewers.
We did not send pictures of  toxic pollution or bloated CEOs and shareholders draining the life blood from a child laborer in some forsaken 3rd world toilet.
We did not show dishonest rotters scheming ways to cheat people out of their homes and possessions.

Why not?  After all, this is the stuff we see daily in our media. We are confronted and bombarded with this daily.
In the U.S. more than half of every dollar received by government is spent on warfare.
One might think this was important to mankind.
Yet it is not.
We are what we aspire to.
When we were born we knew nothing.
We were dependent and ignorant (some want us to return to that condition).
But we rose above that state. At least many of us have.
We wanted to learn, we wanted do whatever needed to be done to achieve our goals.

Austerity for the many, abundance for the few is not the path to a desirable future.

I'm a musician, I did not become a musician without effort nor without investment of resources.
I aspired to become what I am today.
I aspire to become what I will be tomorrow.
When someone said "no, you can't do that" I ignored them.

What thing of any value was ever created as a result of austerity and abandonment of aspiration?
There is nothing we can not do.
There is nothing we can not achieve.
If we want to end starvation we must first aspire to ending starvation.
If we want peace in this world, we must first aspire to creating peace in this world.
We must never ever believe the person who says "no, you can't do that".
They lie.
If we aspire to creating social justice, we can have social justice.
If we aspire to lead a kind gentle life we can do that too.
We are what we aspire to, we must never surrender these aspirations.
There is no doubt, one who refuses to aspire to an amicable future ensures there will not be one.

I recall John F. Kennedy proclaiming man would walk on the moon.
At that time, this was a rather preposterous notion. We hadn't invented seat belts yet.
Primitive computers took up multiple floors in buildings.
Yet in less than a decade man indeed walked on the moon.

If today's naysayers had been there, Buzz Aldrin would be an unknown obscure crop duster.
No giant step for mankind would have been taken.
It took great aspiration, great investment of resources.
Not Austerity...not at all.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blatant Bigotry As Policy?

Is there really anyone gullible enough to honestly believe the right in America is not unambiguously racist?
If so, this person is so dense they deserve nothing less than compassion & pity.
For decades Republicans at election time deliver their flatus of toxic racism and xenophobia typically and dishonestly defended as unintended and misunderstood in the finest tradition of twisting the truth of who is the victim and who is the assassin.
A couple recent examples for your displeasure-
 Ron Paul ran an ad featuring Jon Huntsman speaking Mandarin, moving about in China where he was recently ambassador, and holding his adopted Chinese daughters accompanied by text declaiming Huntsman’s lack of “American values” (apparently neither tolerance nor rationalism are among those values according to Paul) the implication was Huntsman retains more allegiance to China than to America, going so far as to question the parentage of his daughters, asking, “China Jon’s daughters: Even adopted?” insinuating Jon had committed that Republican mortal sin, cross-racial insemination.
C'mon folks how obvious can it be? This may be the most downright stupid expression of brazen xenophobia ever though I’d have to review the collected ad oeuvre of Jesse Helms to make the definitive judgment. I suspected Paul’s cult of supporters were pitiable dopes, but good grief!

Newt, has labeled President Obama “the food stamp president” (Get it? Black? Food stamps?) offered to attend the annual NAACP convention and discuss, “why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” One needn’t demean oneself explicitly parsing the innumerable falsehoods and crude racist myths and declarations in that gem to know how perverse and primitive it is.
Romney belongs to a church that until 1978 officially taught blatantly racist and despicable doctrine that claimed black skinned people are inferior to whites. When asked about this on the campaign trail his stock answer has been "next question". ...he won't address the issue.  (The irony here is his supporters were appalled 4 years ago when it was reported one guy in a church Obama attended made racist statements that the President never heard and clearly disagreed with, throwing that particular fellow under the bus and running him over repeatedly...yet that never stopped their criticism)  But a religion that taught racism as stock and trade...part of doctrine IS acceptable...of course this racism was not aimed towards the Caucasian so that's obviously different! (Sure it is). Up is down, War is peace.

Not to be outdone in the Republican competition to insult entire races of people, Rick Santorum uttered this treasure: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn money.” The obvious implication is that blacks don't work and are a financial  burden.  These racist smears aren’t rare, they’re a prominent pattern of the Southern Strategy in Republican politics for many decades now.

On cue, Newt and Santorum pulled out the old original Nixon trope adopted by all Republicans since, “I’m shocked and outraged you would consider my comments to be in any way racist.”  Republicans remain dull enough to mistake what they regard as the effectiveness of a ploy with actually eluding moral accountability for their indecent hateful putrid speech.

 Is it possible to believe even they are dim enough to believe their own defense?
“I’m not racist just because I repeatedly exploit vicious racial stereotypes”
Before anyone whines that these are anomalies, I’ll remind them these are three top tier Republican candidates for president of the United States speaking during a primary campaign, and that it doesn’t get any more center stage than that in American politics.

The Republican Strategy

I know I probably shouldn’t be, but I’ve been shocked by the right wing reaction to shooting of Trayvon Martin. In what appeared to me to be a tragic loss that the nation and indeed the world should morn together, ideologues have decided to make a circus of to display their commitment to racism.
Reactions have ranged from a desperate search for ways to make it the fault of a kid with a can of tea and a bag of skittles in his hands, to hysterical accusations of some kind of liberal plot. The shooter of course should not be convicted by public opinion but the incident is certainly a crime that calls for HONEST investigation and justice in a courtroom.
I was a bit stunned, to tell the truth, that  people would have tried to turn the unjustifiable shooting of a kid into evidence of the evils of the left, but I thought about it for awhile. And when I hear some idiot’s vile reaction to the death of an innocent young man into context with all of the other spew I hear from the right wing every day, then it makes “sense” for the right wing to blame those damned libruls.

The Republican Party has destroyed the American standard of living. No Ifs Ands Or Buts. They have basically enslaved millions of people-NOT by way of one of those goofball conservative welfare fantasies, but by stripping wages so much that people work every hour they can just to have enough to eat and a place to sleep. (We won't even delve into the slave labor issues of  the "free market" abroad). When asked ,who do the right wingers blame? "The lazy and slothful American workers" for having it “too good.”.

Instead of trying to exercise some of that “American exceptionalism” the fools of the right talk about by demanding that every working American be treated with a minimum of morality, the modern conservatives and their hateful followers choose to denigrate, attack, and complain about American people who work hard, play by the rules, and just try to get along from day to day.
 "How dare you question the wisdom of the CEO of Bank Of America quadrupling his own pay while the bank itself is implicated in fraud, theft, and scams... while only existing as a result of your tax dollar bailout"!
Indeed how dare you bring that up or point that out?   "Your a pinko, anti-American, communist!"
Only a commie would complain about the CEO who gives himself a 30 milion dollar bonus the day after laying off 10,000 Americans (and replacing them with 30,000 10 cent an hour people in India or better yet political prisoners in labor camps in China ).

The GOP has turned America into an anti-science menace feared and loathed the world over. Instead of recognizing that the gun is not the way to solve all disputes with other nations, however, the GOP and their mindless parrots have instead become enraged at any country who dares to question it's wars for nothing. So what if we  flat-out lied to get us into a war of choice-forget about all that! Instead, be furious at FRANCE for daring to complain about our illegal and evil warmongering! France is obviously full of evil LIBRUL America-haters!
(Viva la France!)
The GOP has morphed into a white supremacist organization that appears to have been the designated successor of the United Klans of America. In case after case, Republicans have tried to displace minorities from their homes, keep minorities from voting, and legalize overt racism nationwide. But don’t bother trying to explain this to a rabid right-winger; you’ll get a diatribe on how those damn lazy (insert epithet for minority here) don’t WORK hard enough! How they all sit on their asses and expect handouts! Oh, and them damn illegals-they is KILLING our schools and our hospitals! It certainly isn’t the fault of employers who happily hire them because they can’t complain about wages or working condituions, no sir!
And women?
There are too many wrongs to catalog here. From their “neglect” of their children due to working for a living (which most have to do in any case,) to their “sluttiness” because they want insurance to cover birth control, to their “asking for it” because of the way they dress, or where they go… According to the GOP, they’re just plain evil. And naturally, "LIBRULISM" is to blame for that.

I could, of course, go on in this vein. And on, and on. But I don’t have to, because you know what I’m talking about. No matter how much these idiots screw up, it will always be the fault of “the left.” Sure, they might have to twist themselves into pretzels to make that argument, but we know from their “service” records that most of them are spineless anyway, so it isn’t a big deal.

Yes, I’ve been disappointed and indeed shocked more times than I can count now. But I finally understand what the phrase “American exceptionalism” actually means.
Our sadly powerful fringe right wing is known the world over for exceptional idiocy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Across The Great Divide

I've read polls that indicate that 40% of Americans don't believe in evolution. Whenever I encounter one of these folks, they claim there is not enough evidence to convince them. yet they are always convinced an invisible man who lives in the clouds created all life...with not so much as a shred of evidence. They also have a very simplistic and inaccurate understanding of evolution... "man came from monkeys" (as opposed primates having common ancestry for instance). They seem to believe whatever they choose regardless of facts, probability, or observable evidence conflicting with those views.
Before someone with a differing
  view rightfully objects to simply taking my word for the legitimacy of the theory of evolution lets look at the facts. Evolutionary theory is the idea that life has existed for billions of years and has changed over time. Overwhelming evidence supports this fact. Scientists continue to argue about some details of evolution, but the question of whether life has a long history or not was answered in the affirmative at least two centuries ago. This tends to be the case in science, as we'd not bother to continue asking questions if we knew all there was to know and unlike ideologues, a scientist must adjust his thesis based on new evidence. The dwarf planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh. His discovery tweaked our understanding of the solar system we live in, yet it certainly did not lead anyone to question the notion of heliocentrism. In 2005, when aside from it's large moon Charon, it was observed that Pluto also has 2 smaller moons, this did not suggest that a return to the Ptolemaic system of Earth being the center of the Universe was in order. At any rate, the history of living things is documented through multiple lines of evidence that converge to tell the story of life through time. There is the fossil recordhomologies, the distribution of evidence in time and space,  and evidence by example. Natural selection can be observed for instance in bacteria treated with antibiotics, the survivors reproduce and become a drug resistant strain.

But the rejection of evolution is but one facet of the Great Divide which I refer to, this divide is between those who have an overall disdain of reason, science, logic, conscience, and the notion of self governing democracy and those who think these things are pretty good ideas.

I'm not sure what the solution is, but there is little point of conversing with someone who believes scientists routinely lie because they have some political agenda. Okay, I'll buy that there has always been a contingent of idiots at play in every civilization, but it may be a unique situation since the advent of democracy to have such a vast network of political machinery dedicated to institutionalizing & empowering utter idiocy. Once a person abandons reason, conscience dissipates as well. This creates a state of deference, a willingness on the part of people to accept being the bottom of some imaginary hierarchy constructed by those who would place themselves at the top. I think this is why we see this great divide. Dumb people are easier to fleece and be lead than any person who  might ask questions. A nation of ignoramuses will believe anything they are told, their deference yields decisions to a higher power - some group of people who have constituted themselves as some type of aristocracy. The divide between this group and those who embrace reason as well as democracy (the notion that we are of equal value in terms of governing ourselves) has been growing. With so many of the people crossing the line and entering cloud cuckoo land, I am at a loss as to how the situation can be improved.  Education?  Not all that likely if one rejects and despises reason itself.

Examples of Idiocy-
Denial of relativity ...yes you have to see this crap

Author Chris Moony discusses science denial.