Wednesday, February 28, 2007
I hear some on the right wing blogosphere attempt to distort the truth of what recently occurred at Thelma Drake's office when a military veteran, Tom Palumbo, was arrested on trespassing charges. Tom Palumbo was simply voicing his opinion to a member of our house of representatives. He was greeted by a staff who closed down the office and hid from him and his companions. The landlord told the constituents they were on private property and must leave or be arrested for trespassing.
Tom Palumbo chose to follow his principles. He simply sat and stated that he would wait for the office to open. In the spirit of Rosa Parks I commend Tom Palumbo for following his principles.
Thelma Drake has earned the nickname "Tra La La Let them Eat Cake Drake." She serves the interests of Bush/Cheney and ignores her constituents (the majority of whom disagree with "staying the course" and escalating the occupation in Iraq}.
The problem is that Thelma Drake is a public official. She has sworn to uphold the constitution, a constitution that grants citizens the right of redress of their grievances. She is taking public, tax payer funds for an office that is supposed to be a communication center with her constituents. The House Ethics book states that representatives shall represent all constituents (including those who disagree with her) and treat them equally. I wonder if Drake would have Pat Robertson and his people arrested if they chose to visit her office to voice their opinions?
Regardless, this notion of "private property" and trespassing charges being used to prevent constituents from delivering their message to a representatives office is outrageous. It is not ethical. If it isn't illegal it should be.
Hopefully, Tom Palumbo's trespassing charges will be dropped. No constituent should be arrested for trespassing for simply trying to deliver their message to a representative of the house.
Tom Palumbo has simply followed the example of Rosa Parks, Cindy Sheehan, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi. He chose to live his principles even if that resulted in an arrest. An arrest that is on it's face unconstitutional.
May we all remember that as Americans we have a grand history of civil disobedience to redress our grievances..in fact OUR COUNTRY was founded on this principle. Hopefully, when others are faced with the same predicament they will chose to stand by their principles (or sit) as Rosa Parks and Tom Palumbo have done..... Photo by Lyle Sanders (Tom Palumbo third from right wearing cap)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
NOW WE KNOW that BUSH, CHENY, and ROVE all had knowledge of the CIA outing...Bush And Cheney were involved in the scheme to discredit Ambassador Wilson.
Clicking on the title link above takes you to an news/oped article I wrote for OpEdNews.com, with dramatic photo, about Tom Palumbo's arrest and what you can do to protest this. The article provides contact info for Tom Palumbo, Thelma Drake's offices, and a link to send an email to your local Congress Person, Senator or newspaper. Please take a stand now, before more ethically challenged politicians adopt the same methods.
Monday, February 26, 2007
I would fight God Almighty Himself if He didn't play square with me.
by Mary H. Jones (Mother Jones)
Who was Mother Jones? Just the archetypal, compassionate, truth-embracing, earth-shaking, universal "Ma" who rallied American workers and their families to fight for their rights in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Visit This Site for an online history.
We are now auditioning for a new generation of Mother Joneses to rally the people, not just in America, but around the world. You can sign up here or anywhere where the living are oppressed by the arrogant, the crooked and the cruel. Just start raising Hell as loud as you can and as colorfully as you can and the universe will let you know if you've been cast.
For some time now, Thelma Drake’s landlord has been called to confront dissenting constituents and told they are “trespassing on private property," that the police have been called, and they must leave the premises immediately or face arrest. It didn’t matter if the people (6-20 folks) stated they were constituents and simply visiting their representative’s office to deliver letters or a petition. The police have been called on numerous occasions.
Last week’s incident, resulted in the arrest of a military veteran, Tom Polumbo, who simply sat down in front of the office stating that he would wait for the office to re-open so he could deliver the letters. This resulted in his arrest. This incident was first reported at ShadowNorfolk and was picked up by Mosquito Blog. The VB Dems and GOTV also worked to spread the news.
Thankfully, the Virginia Blogosphere is refusing to let this issue--of a representative’s taxpayer funded office being utilized as a private property—die. Today, some blogs —Vivian Paige and Not Larry Sabato checked in on this issue and are keeping it alive.
Our readers can take action on this. Contact your personal representative in the U.S. House and ask them to file a formal complaint. Also contact Nancy Pelosi’s office via email and/or call her DC office at (202) 225-4965.
Let them know that Drake has violated the House ethics by treating her dissenting consituents to charges of trespassing in order to prevent them from utilizing her office. Drake is treating her publicly funded District Office like it’s her own private office. She should be reimbursing the taxpayers for their office payments. In addition she is not upholding her constitutional oath which includes the rights of her constituent to petition for a redress of grievances.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Google must have changed their directory and the change is for the worse not better. When I googled Thelma Drake I obtained "her" websites, her wikopedia listing but nothing on the latest "public-private office" controversy that is currently going on.
Google is valuable to us as long as the searches are up to date and relevant. This is not the case today.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Yesterday, the office staff decided to shut out the lights and "hide" in the office rather than accept the petitions from constituents attempting to "redress their grievances" over the Iraq War. Supposedly a constitutional right that our members of Congress swear an oath to uphold. The crowd consisted of a number of veterans (some of whom have served in Iraq). One veteran--Tom Palumbo-- decided he would "wait peacefully" for the office to reopen so he could deliver the petition.
Tom Palumbo was arrested for trespassing and is to appear before the court on March 26th. Palumbo will fight the trespassing charge. According to Tom Palumbo “It shouldn’t be trespassing to petition a member of Congress.”
I totally agree with Mr. Palumbo. Thelma Drake has a district office that is fully paid for by taxpayer money. This office is for her to serve ALL of her constituents equally. If constituents cannot go see their delegates and deliver petitions because of "private property" issues then the Congressional member should be footing the bill for "their private office" and not the taxpayers.
I am pleased that Tom Palumbo is fighting the trespassing charges. Maybe Thelma Drake will have to become more "hospitable" to all of her consituents and start following that constitution she pledged to uphold.
If you answer so constituents can come and communicate with their representative that would have been my guess also.
I've always been shocked when I have joined with others (usually 10-25 constituents) to deliver our opinion and petitions to Thelma Drake at her office. We have actually been told to leave or be arrested. We always pledged to be polite, and our plans have been to gather at the office, maybe speak for 15 minutes and talk with the press, have one to two people enter the office, leave our petitions and exit.
Today Drake's constituents decided to participate in the MoveOn.org action to stop the Iraq War escalation. They attempted to deliver a message to Thelma Drake opposing Bush's escalation of the Iraq War. The plan was to hold a half hour rally in front of her office, hopefully talk to the press, and deliver the petitions to Tra La La Drake. Nothing that was illegal or "out of the ordinary" behavior for a public official's office.
So why did Drake's staff sit in a darkened office (pretending the office was closed). The staff knew about the MoveOn rally. Why did the property landlord (or manager) have the police on hand to charge Virginia citizens with trespassing because they were attempting to communicate with their legislator?
Tom Palumbo, a local anti-war activist was arrested (he had his hand on the office door and/or was leaning on the door). A rally participant reports that after Palumbo was arrested the office lights were turned back on.
Aren't the office of our representatives and senators paid for with "our" tax dollars? Why can't constituents hold a press conference and attempt to deliver petitions to their elected officials without being threatened with arrest?
Something needs to be done about Tra La La Drake's attitude towards her constituents. If she's going to accept tas payers money to have an office to meet with and communicate with her constituents she needs to have her office at a "public" place where her constituents can gather without being threatened with arrest when they are "peacefully assembled" and attempting to deliver letters and or petitions.
It's utrageous that the local southside press does not report any of this even though they were contacted and had full knowledge of the event.
If Drake cannot "meet" with her constituents to discuss issues in her office then the money should be refunded back to our treasury and applied to a purpose that benefits the public.
It's NOT legal for public funds to be paying for a private office for Tra La La Drake. Maybe when a decent candidate is put up in the next election we will no longer have to put up with Thelma Drake and her Bush/Cheney neocon lockstep attitude.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
We live in a culture that worships violence and death and mass-produces violence and death, a culture epitomized by such TV shows as "24" with its 21st Century, testosterone dripping, ruthless American male prototype, Jack Bauer. The Fox Network, the semi-official propaganda organ of the White House, has created a complete caricature of the TV heroes I can remember as a kid, such stalwarts as Lorne Greene's Ben Cartwright, Richard Boone's Paladin, and James Arness's Matt Dillon, characters that were fair, honorable and just, slow to anger and measured in their responses to provocations. Hell, Paladin even quoted Shakespeare. But all that was before the era of the arrogant, hate-spewing Neocons, of the descent of the collective American psyche into a paranoid, delusional state of endless victimization and revenge. And art, imitating life, has reflected this.
Our Neocon icon, fair-haired, light-skinned Jack, uninhibited by any moral or legal restraints, thus flaunts his adrenaline-saturated virility weekly in sado-masochistic encounters with darker-complexioned denizens of Manichean evil, serving as a powerful conduit for the sadistic impulses of countless American 24-cultists. Moreover, we now have the confirmed surrealism of life imitating art when it was announced in the media on Tuesday, 2/13/2007, that a percentage of American soldiers (and, I assume, mercenaries) have been role-playing Jack Bauer in their daily routines of tormenting, humiliating and shooting Iraqis, so much so that the Pentagon has now had to ask the Fox producers to tone down Jack's excesses. In other words, televised sadism is rather contagious to the psyches of our emotionally-strained GI's, who, contrary to their idealized, sanitized image, are in reality beset with an avalanche of mental, emotional, ethical and physical problems that are inundating the VA Hospitals when they return from combat.
But with perhaps as many as 650,000 or more Iraqis already dead, two million or more driven into exile, hundreds of thousands more wounded or broken, the Pentagon's concerns come a little late. These are but the fruits of 21st Century American civilization, the flowering of high culture in our political and military leaders' minds. It is as if the Aztec Empire has been reborn in El Norte, after slumbering for so many centuries to the south. How much longer before we have Dick Cheney atop a stone altar in front of the Washington Monument, cutting out the throbbing heart of a spread-eagled, ceremonial "evil-doer" with an obsidian knife? Watch out world! America requires continuous, voluminous human sacrifice to satiate its bloodthirsty gods. Who will be next?
But what are the dynamics that are driving this sadistic American assault upon humanity, which is being enforced, one soldier at a time, with extreme prejudice? Moreover, there is such an obvious sexual component to the extensive sadism uncovered thus far that this must be fully taken account of while exploring the psychopathology of American soldiers involved in the bizarre and voyeuristic treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. For erudition, I turn to several passages by the famous, though controversial 20th Century German psychiatrist, researcher and author, Wilhelm Reich, an arch-foe of Fascism who delved into the depths of human sexuality and its perversions, particularly in relation to mass psychology and political extremism. I quote:
"When sexuality is prevented form attaining natural gratification, owing to the process of sexual repression, what happens is that it seeks various kinds of substitute gratification. Thus, for instance, natural aggression is distorted into brutal sadism, which constitutes an essential part of the mass-psychological basis of those imperialist wars that are instigated by a few. To give another instance: from the point of view of mass psychology, the effect of militarism is based essentially on a libidinous mechanism. The sexual effect of a uniform, the erotically provocative effect of rhythmically executed goose-stepping (a German practice in particular-McKinney), the exhibitionist nature of militarist procedures, have been more practically comprehended by a salesgirl or average secretary than by our most erudite politicians." (Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Third Edition, p. 31 and 32)
It is not merely a matter of American soldiers, having run out of salt petter, suddenly turning to torture for sexual release. The problem goes much deeper than that. The underlying cause is institutionalized sexual repression in much of America from early childhood on, often first experienced in the devout, moralistic family setting by the hapless adolescent who is taught that sex is both sinful and dirty. This sex-negative ideology is then reinforced in the churches and school systems to varying degrees, and, with the advent of the Bush Administration, now directly underwritten by the State itself in the form of national abstinence programs masquerading as sex education.
If you are a recovering victim of Fundamentalist brainwashing, you likely know very well what I mean. Many of our youths' psyches have thus become bridled with guilt and fear regarding healthy sexual relationships by the time they reach high school. Some overcome this inhibition; others do not, especially since every social artifice is introduced to make it difficult for our teenagers to develop satisfactory sexual liaisons with each other. This is considered a shocking taboo by our guardians of "civilization". But what kind of civilization?, for the worst thing about sexual repression in the early formative years is this, to again quote Reich:
"The moral inhibition of the child's natural sexuality, the last stage of which is the severe impairment of the child's genital sexuality, makes the child afraid, shy, fearful of authority, obedient, 'good' and 'docile' in the authoritarian sense of the words. It has a crippling effect on man's rebellious forces because every vital life-impulse is now burdened with severe fear; and since sex is a forbidden subject, thought in general and man's critical faculty also become inhibited (a profound subconscious censorship having been implanted-McKinney). In short, morality's aim is to produce quiescent subjects who, despite distress and humiliation, are adjusted to the authoritarian order." (ibid, p. 30)
This mind-job on susceptible male youth, in particular, is a bit like gelding horses, making them more manageable and at lower risk to impregnate the mares. Moreover, "gelded" youth are much more amenable to the Hell-fire and damnation sermons of Evangelical preachers, with their otherworldly cult of pain and suffering. Having estranged such youth from their own bodies and negated their experience of ecstatic worldly pleasure through internalized guilt and denial, and instead having saddled them with recurring, unrelieved sexual tension, it is an easy step to convince them that the world is truly a veil of tears and sorrows. And to emulate Christ's suffering through your very own anguish is deemed a high and worthy goal, a goal that, however, inevitably breeds masochism. There is no better proof of this inclination culturally than the phenomenal success of Mel Gibson's The Passion of Christ, with its orgy of sado-masochism that was fervently embraced by the Christian Right, and even showcased in church auditoriums.
Moreover, according to church dogma, this is a world beset by evil, which must be battled incessantly until the Second Coming. Now, thanks to this doctrine, all of a sudden we have an outlet for all that sexual tension. This is where the Church Militant, that launched endless Crusades, Inquisitions and Holy Wars, has traditionally entered the picture. "My children, you will not be allowed to enjoy natural human love, but you will be allowed to get off on self-righteous and unnatural hatred and savagery. This will allow you a temporary catharsis of sorts, on your way to death, insanity or dismemberment."
Fascism is the modern successor to the Church Militant, institutionalizing war and/or repression on a permanent ideological and organizational basis in the modern industrial state. Fascism transforms, moreover, as Reich points out, the masochism inherent in otherworldly religions of suffering, such as embodied in the image of Christ upon the Cross, into a new and worldly religion of State-sponsored sadism. This is the hallmark of all Fascist movements, and they find their own appropriate religious symbols and ceremonies, such as the Swastika and candle-light marches of the Nazis, to ritualize their new religion.
They all, as well, incorporate their sacrificial scapegoats into the new litany, for the Nazis this meaning the Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals. For our metamorphosing American Warfare State, Neocon ideologues have largely scapegoated and demonized Moslems, with other ethnicities or religions likely to be added later, all the while they hypocritically pontificate on morality and family values, just like the Nazis used to do. It is certainly no coincidence that the Bush Administration has been promulgating, as already noted, a culture of abstinence in American youth, even now trying to extend such precepts to young adults, with sexual repression and the resultant alienation from the natural universe being central mechanisms of the authoritarian state in developing human canon fodder for the War Machine.
George Orwell, by the way, was also one who understood these dynamics, incorporating these themes into his famous novel, 1984. So Reich is far from alone in his analysis of the modern Fascist state, which I might add, he also categorized totalitarian Communism under, as but another variant, Red Fascism.
This new religion of sadism defines itself by its enemies, to focus and fulfill the emotional angst and sexual tensions of its worshippers by providing them with real, live scapegoats. Thus, just as the Nazis had their Jews to demonize, so do the Neocons have their Moslem "radicals" to demonize, with the lines of demarcation between radicals and moderates always rather blurry and arbitrary. If you Google the phrase "destroy Islam", prominent among the thousands of hits registered you will find Fundamentalist Christian websites that make no distinction at all between the two, who associate Islam with Satan and Evil, period, and accordingly call for its utter destruction. Some of these apocalyptic types are officers and enlistees in the American military, who are carrying on their own little Jihads as I write.
When our Neocon officials and ideologues are describing this enemy, they generally slip into moralistic and archetypal terms devoid of any reality-based factuality. George Bush consistently employs such adjectives as "evil", "bloodthirsty", "totalitarian", "rapist" and "terrorist" when defining the "enemy", never acknowledges any cause and effect between our military operations in Iraq and elsewhere and the inevitable violent reaction by said "enemy", and goes on to inflate "their" powers as vast enough to threaten world domination, quite a tall order for ragtag Jihadists when Hitler's vast war machine couldn't even pull it off. Jewish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust may recall all the vitriolic and fantastic rhetoric that Nazi propagandists employed against them. Nowadays, it is as if the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been rewritten as the Protocols of the Elders of Islam, a task made easier because Islam, in its long history, has also had its own "Church Militant", so to speak.
But such Manichean language and imagery of pure evil is also a telltale giveaway of another dynamic at work in the psychology of our ideologues. Psychiatrists and psychologists recognize that when one is excessively denigrating someone or something, one is really engaging in negative projection, projecting one's own negative "shadow", to use Dr. Carl Jung's term, by which he meant the subconscious, repressed and suppressed parts of oneself, in particular those aspects that one refuses to even acknowledge, so inimical are they to one's self-identity. Thus the stridency with which one accuses and assaults those same aspects in another is often an indication of the depth of intensity with which they exist in oneself, particularly when the accused bears no resemblance whatsoever to the accusation. In this latter case, such accusations would be pure projection, a veritable mirror of one's own negative shadow.
Concrete examples of one's projections mirroring one's shadow would include Reverend Ted Haggard, the recently dismissed Evangelical, firebrand preacher against homosexuality and other perceived evils, who turned out to have been regularly visiting a male prostitute who outed him for his hypocrisy. Then, going back some years, there was old Jimmy Swaggart, scourge of pornography and all manner of immorality, who was finally exposed as a female prostitute's client, and a rather pathetic one at that.
So what does this indicate about George Bush and his War on Terror? Time and again he conjures up an almost supernatural juggernaut of a diabolical enemy that threatens the very foundations of Western Civilization. Yet we know how little relation that characterization bears to reality, as symbolized by the hundreds of detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who, Bush assured us while acting as both judge and jury, were the worst terrorists on the planet and yet, after some five years, only a handful have even been charged, and many have been quietly let go. The obvious inference here is that Bush is projecting his shadow, as is the entire Neocon movement that he is the figurehead of.
Basically, when the White House, Fox News and the scores of Neocon ideologues world-wide project elemental evil, terror, mass murder and totalitarianism onto the "Other", the archetypal "Enemy", they reveal much about themselves and their collective shadow. And because action always speaks louder than words, what we need to do is compare their track record with their rhetoric. Who has invaded and devastated two countries, bombed or shelled others and is a stone's throw from attacking Iran? Who has set up a world-wide torture network? Who runs Black Operations globally that utilize terrorism, murder, sabotage and false flag ops routinely. Who has precipitated another Cambodia-style human rights catastrophe in Iraq? Who is building more and more military bases globally while setting up the infrastructure for a police state in America? The answer in each case is this American-led incarnation of Fascism, the Neocon quasi-religious movement, which has even put out strategy papers stating that they seek global hegemony. The unmistakable conclusion is that this movement is, in its psychological depths, profoundly attracted to the archetype of evil that Jung has described, and increasingly influenced by its power and essence.
Just as Hitler romanticized marauding German troops and the brutal Nazi movement as bearers of light and high civilization against the darkness of international Jewry and Bolshevism, which must be defeated with uncompromising ruthlessness, so too does George Bush romanticize American troops as noble protectors of freedom and democracy against the darkness of radical Islam, while the military knocks down entire cities, as with Fallujah, and subjects thousands to daily outrages and horrors, to raids, imprisonment, humiliation, brutality and death. It is not Islam that threatens civilization, but Neocon Fascism. Islam has been a part of civilization for well over a thousand years, while Fascism has been the scourge of civilization since its inception in the 1920s.
The reality is that the Bush Administration has been trying to colonize Iraq, with only partial success. From the perspective of ideological Fascism, their only recourse now is to magnify the slaughter, to multiply the killing fields, to extend their control over the planet and the country. They can only do that through even greater fear and repression and an endless supply of cannon fodder, which returns us to icons like Jack Bauer and the cultivation of sadism through the perversion of human love. Yet the fictional Bauer, serving as both glamour boy and recruiting poster for self-righteous barbarism and the demonization of a large segment of humanity, can only exist in a culture that gives credence to the negative values of fear, hatred, violence and alienation, alienation from humanity, nature, the cosmos and oneself.
Wilhelm Reich realized that only a society that is still connected to nature and capable of natural love can withstand the Fascist onslaught. Fascism can only devour human love. It cannot generate love, upon which civilization ultimately depends. Or as Reich put it at the end of World War II:
"In our society, love and knowledge still do not have the power at their disposal to regulate human existence. In fact, these great forces of the positive principle of life are not conscious of their enormity, their indispensability, their overwhelming importance for social existence. It is for this reason that human society today, one year after the military victory over party fascism, still finds itself on the brink of the abyss. The fall of our civilization is inevitable if those who work, the natural scientists of all living (not dead) branches of knowledge and the givers and receivers of natural love, should not become conscious of their enormous responsibility quickly enough." (ibid, p. xvi, Preface to the Third Edition)
It is time to take on this enormous responsibility on all fronts, by debunking the lies and upholding the truth in every avenue of political and social life, by disrupting the media monopolies that suck at our brains, by exposing this culture of sadism for what it truly is, by rolling back the inroads of Right-wing Fundamentalism in controlling our institutions, and by as many other ways as we can countenance that are effective. In reality, a revolution in values and paradigms is what is required to uproot this entire anti-life system. Needless to say, life-enhancing religions that integrate the human psyche and soma and embrace nature and the long repressed Divine Feminine are essential to this goal. Let us brainstorm on how to go about this in our articles, comments and discussions.
Here are two very recent pieces detailing the cultural and political influence, as well as ethical consequences, of Fox's "24":
1) This is the headliner article and summary on the Media Matters for
America website from February 2nd:
"Conservatives continue to use Fox's 24 to support hawkish policies."
"Summary: Cal Thomas is the latest conservative figure to use the TV show 24 to forecast a nuclear attack on the United States. Conservatives have also looked to the TV series for justification of aggressive interrogation procedures....."
This article details how truly pervasive the personna and sadism that Jack Bauer represents have become in the Right-wing media, intelligentsia (a misnomer), and power structure. Bauer has basically become a metaphor for rationalized torture. For the full article, please see: http://mediamatters.org/items/200702020015
2) This is the headline of an Amy Goodman interview on Democracy Now on Thursday, February 22:
"Is Torture on Hit Fox TV Show “24” Encouraging US Soldiers to Abuse Detainees?"
"Summary: This past fall, the Dean of West Point, Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, along with experienced military and FBI interrogators and representatives of Human Rights First, met with the creative team behind the hit Fox Television show “24” and tell them to stop using torture because American soldiers were copying the show’s tactics. We speak with two of the delegation’s members -- former Army interrogator Tony Lagouranis, who served one year in Iraq and David Danzig, director of the Prime Time Torture Project for Human Rights First. [includes rush transcript]"
For the full interview, please see: http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/linkframe.php?linkpg=http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/22/1448252&linkid=31212
Monday, February 19, 2007
However, If you are an everyday citizen on the road you surely aren't feeling very good about the "occupiers" who simply ram your car out of the way as you are simply trying to get out to get necessary supplies in order to survive....
We really need to get out of Iraq NOW....and even though Bush and Cheney are "innocently" stating they aren't planning to attack Iran they've already started that war with Israel at their side. We sill need to work very hard and fast to stop this Bush Cheney madness....
Hopefully enough of us value knowledge enough to work to correct this awful truth.
Rhis reminds me of a popular Canadian tv that used to send reporters down for people in the street interviews....It was a great comedy for Canadians to see the standard of ignorance running around in America.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Weeks later, Webb has written to Rice to remind her of the question he wants answered and Rice has not replied.
I hope the Senate will use their constitutional powers and make Condi's sit her butt back in the witness chair and answer some questions. Cite her for contempt if you have to...but this evasiveness and lying has gone on long enough....
Monday, February 12, 2007
--Album of the Year: "Taking the Long Way,"
--Record of the Year: "Not Ready to Make Nice,"
--Song of the Year: "Not Ready to Make Nice," Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson (
--Country Album: "Taking the Long Way,"
--Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Not Ready to Make Nice,"
“Against the ongoing blanding out of
A right wing backlash was quickly orchestrated with Clear Channel radio stations leading the way. A campaign of hatred was directed at three of the most talented women in the history of music. Clear Channel led the way and banned the Dixie Chicks from all airplay and sponsored "CD" crushing events and "pro-war" rallies. Chick Emily Robison's home was vandalized and death threats were made against them.
“The Dixie Chicks are one of the hottest acts going, but one of their lasting contributions to the music industry may well be contained in a record of a different sort: the Congressional Record. At Senate hearings July 8, Cumulus Media--which owns some 270 radio stations--was the latest to be caught up in the backlash over the power that large radio conglomerates hold to curb free speech and to punish those with whom it disagrees politically. In a riveting exchange, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., compelled Cumulus chairman/chief executive Lewis W. Dickey to acknowledge that the chain by corporate fiat had ordered the Dixie Chicks off the air at all 50 of its country stations. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the decision by Cumulus and Cox Radio to ban the Dixie Chicks was similar to the blacklisting of
“The Dixie Chicks have been able to exercise free speech happily all the way to the bank. They've posed nude for the cover of ‘Entertainment Weekly’ with ‘Saddam's Angels’ emblazoned on their flesh. Their album ‘Home’ rebounded from its brief dip, returning to No. 1 on the country chart for weeks. Their tour has sold out from its first stop, that left-wing stronghold
The 2006 documentary--Shut Up and Sing--covers the controversy that erupted over Natalie Maines.
WWDE Norfolk/Va Beach 757-420-1013
WGH Norfolk/Va Beach 757-490-9797
WTVR Richmond firstname.lastname@example.org 804-474-0000
WSLQ Roanoke 800-410-9936 WSLC Roanoke 540-767-7827
Sunday, February 11, 2007
The Dixie Chicks Speak Truth To Power (when it isn't popular) and now the rest of the country is ready to follow .....
The Dixie Chicks ROCK and RULE!!!
Congress get the wax out of your ears and make this your anthem!!
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Susan Mariner is now the DNC Regional Field Organizer in Hampton Roads.
This is fantastic news for the Democratic Party in HR. They have picked the best candidate for this job.
Susan made quite an impression as the local Webb volunteer coordinator. She's friendly, charming, compassionate, and smart. She has a talent for uniting diverse people and diverse groups. She doesn't rest on her laurels and her consistent hard work has earned her the respect of many.
I'm looking forward to seeing Susan Mariner bringing folks together to grow the DNC in Hampton Roads.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Alan Watts was one of the great eclectic philosphers of the 20th Century, specializing in Eastern Philosophy, especially Zen Buddhism. He served as a sort of unofficial guru for the San Francisco Bay Area for years. I used to love listening to his jovial, carefree voice on his weekly radio broadcasts when I was a teenager. He was one cat who could always cut to the quick about any topic and and see through all the facades erected. I think he would have considered Bush the Decider as a cross between Caligula and Father Coughlin, the lunatic, Emperor-sadist and the pro-Fascist moralizer, respectively, although Coughlin was far more complicated a man then the Decider.
Bush certainly likes to speak in evangelical, crusading terms, framing his wars as moral exercises against evil, or the axis of evil, defining his enemies of choice as evil-doers while he "champions" civilization and all that is good. Yet there is something incredibly obscene about this entire characterization. Alan Watts was a thinker who understood why.
"The most awful wars that are waged are the wars waged for moral principles. 'You' are a lousy communist. 'You' have a philosophy that is destructive to religion and to everything that we love and value and reverence, and therefore we will exterminate you to the last man unless you surrender unconditionally.
"Such wars are ruthless beyond belief. We can blow up whole cities, wipe peoples out because 'we' are not greedy. We are 'righteous'. That is why the goodie-goodies are the thieves of virtue. If you're going to do something evil, do it for a plain, honest, selfish motive. Don't do it in the name of God, because if you do, it turns you into a monster who is no longer human, a sadist, a pure destroyer.
"So an inflexibly righteous person is not human."
-from the Essential Lectures of Alan Watts (http://www.alanwatts.com/aw_story.html )
Saturday, February 03, 2007
"The people in their overwhelming majority are so feminine by nature and attitude that sober reasoning determines their thoughts and actions far less than emotion and feeling."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Ralph Manheim translation, p.183)
Adolf Hitler expounded upon propaganda considerably in his massive autobiographic polemic against the Jews, Bolshevism and most things civilized, Mein Kampf (My Life), first written in 1925. Actually, Hitler was the director of propaganda for the Nazi Party for a time.
In the above quotation, he is cynically observing that for mass propaganda to work on the masses, one has to throw logic out the window and hit them with images and rhetoric that provoke fear, anger, patriotism, disgust, etc., and on a more primal level, by triggering their archetypal longings through symbols like the Swastika. However, I would hesitate to say that the Nazis themselves understood all the attractions of the Swastika, especially its sexual connotations, other than on a subconscious level.
To circumvent logic for emotions was a critically important point for a movement that was itself illogical at its core. Nazi ideology depended on a mystical belief system to promote its notion of Aryan superiority, which, like eugenics in general, it could only disguise as science.
Hitler also underscored several other key propaganda tenets, such as repetitiveness and simplicity:
"But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success." (ibid, p.184)
Then there is what may be described as the Nazis' grand propaganda principle:
"All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation, p. 134)
The world has seen how effective the above principles were in the Nazis' ultimate goal, the "victory of the idea". They succeeded not only in Nazifying Germany, but spread their toxic ideology across Europe and even overseas, America itself seeing the rise of such Fascist organizations as the American Bund Movement in the 1930s:
"Propaganda tries to force its doctrine on the whole people.....Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea, while the organization achieves victory by the persistent, organic, and militant union of those supporters who seem willing and able to carry on the fight for victory."
-Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Ralph Manheim translation, p. 582)
Thus, all the above principles must be implemented by a strong propaganda apparatus, a dedicated and single minded organization that brooks no internal dissent, and ultimately no external dissent. Reality has been pigeonholed and the pigeons must not be allowed to debate the shape of their hovels.
Whether or not Karl Rove and the apparatiks in the White House have actually read Mein Kampf I do not know. Have they incorporated those same propaganda principles espoused by Hitler? The answer is a resounding YES!
Let us look at the run-up to the war in Iraq after 9/11 as a case in point, although I will not get into the raging debate as to whether 9/11 was the American Reichstag fire. However, let me ask, soon after the lightning collapse of the Towers, was a dominant idea promoted that had to be indoctrinated into the American people as widely as possible? Yes, the idea that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat who must be dealt with immediately before he could strike with "weapons of mass destruction", a good, chilling phrase meant to terrify mothers and children and alarm the men.
Was going to war justified primarily by reason or appeals to emotions? Emotions largely. Balanced, reasoned debate based on real facts was largely absent. Debate was skewed to begin with by false reports about alliances between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, non-existent chemical/biological mobile stations, "yellow cake and aluminum tubes", and so forth. I won't even dwell on the obvious fact that Saddam Hussein's military capacity was largely impotent in 2003, especially against the United States. Emotionally speaking, there were strident appeals to patriotism, always against the looming background of the vaporized Twin Towers of 9/11, not to mention the great fear, anger and disgust this evoked in the average American. The mindset became, for millions of Americans: 9/11=al Qaeda=Iraq, so protect ourselves and get revenge!
Was this mantra that Saddam's regime was an evil, al Qaeda-loving threat to international security repeated constantly? Yes is not a strong enough term. Repetition was 24/7 from multiple sources: government, radio, TV, websites, newspapers, magazines, Right-wing pulpits, and on and on.
Was the Big Lie utilized? Yes again, as already inferred above. Everything was a lie except for Hussein's track record as a tyrant, and even this was embellished. How much bigger a whopper, to mention just one, can you contrive than the B-movie scenario that Iraq planned to use unmanned drones launched from merchant ships to spray American cities with deadly chemicals. We are half-way to Orson Welles' famous 1938 radio show, War of the Worlds, which scared the Hell out of countless Americans, with concoctions like this. All told, this was a rather fantastic fairy tale, all explained away after the fact as the product of faulty intelligence. Of course, some, such as diehard Congresswoman Thelma Drake, are still striving to depict several hundred degraded, 20-year old chemical artillery shells recovered from the Iraqi desert as the missing WMDs. Good luck.
Was there a singularly focused propaganda apparatus driving the entire campaign? Only one of the most massive in history. The White House, State Department, Pentagon, co-opted portions of the CIA and NSA, all the Right-wing think tanks, all the Neocon-biased media owned by the likes of Rubert Murdoch, Sun Myung Moon and others worked relentlessly in lockstep to vilify Saddam Hussein as the great threat to America.
Where am I leading with all of this? Well, on January 23, 2007, the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), the esteemed (largely in Neocon and Right-wing circles) "think-tank" announced that it was launching a week-long TV advertising campaign aimed at "educating" the American public about the growing threat posed by a nuclear Iran. This has subsequently run on CNN, MSNBC, Headline News and the Fox News Channel in Washington DC, Maryland and northern Virginia. The campaign consists of two rather nasty 30 second TV commercials. This just happened to coincide with 1) the State of the Union address in which Bush demonized Iran; 2) the heightening build-up of American Naval forces in the Persian Gulf, a second carrier group (the Stennis) having just sailed from the West coast, 3) orders to allow American soldiers in Iraq to shoot to kill Iranian "combatants" (how they will be able to tell who these shadowy Iranians are before shooting them is not explained, or will they arrest them, interrogate them and then execute them?); and 4) the recent acrimonious arrests of Iranian diplomats in Iraq by American forces, actions that have antagonized both the Kurdish and Iraqi authorities, to only partially list all the current initiatives against Iran.
In other words, Hitler's propaganda principles have now been turned against a new victim, Iran, and incorporated into the larger, multi-faceted escalation of hostilities, with the AFPC serving as an appendage of the American government, either directly or vicariously.
This is rather unprecedented, a private think tank trumpeting and financing hysterical propaganda against a foreign nation on TV. And just who is the AFPC? To quote from their own website: "AFPC is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing information to those who make or influence the foreign policy of the United States and to assisting world leaders, particularly in the former USSR, with building democracies and market economies. AFPC is widely recognized as a source of timely, insightful analysis on issues of foreign policy, and works closely with members of Congress, the Executive Branch and the policymaking community. It is staffed by noted specialists in foreign and defense policy, and serves as a valuable resource to officials in the highest levels of government." (See: www.afpc.org/ ) Within the AFPC, a program called the IFI or Iran Freedom Initiative, apparently spearheaded by AFPC Vice President for Policy, Ilan Berman, has commissioned the advertisements.
Hmmm. Everyone toots their own horn, but AFPC is so important to leaders in Russia that when you run their name in the Russian Pravda and Itar-Tass search engines, they register zero hits, although their website, to be fair, does list some glowing comments by several members of the Russian Duma. And indeed, one gets the impression from their website of wise, tweed-suited senior professorial types pontificating expertly on crucial matters of State. But after you review the scripts of their two anti-Iranian commercials, you suddenly begin to imagine half-naked lunatics dancing around a bonfire, chanting, "Disembowel Iran, disembowel Iran, font of all evil!"
The first commercial's script conjures up Iran as a nuclear threat and accuses it of being the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, killing hundreds of Americans, nurturing 25,000 suicide-bombers against the United States and Europe, as well as developing a dangerous nuclear capability. Then, with true Orwellian panache, the ad asks the audience to "Stand up for peace. Call up the White House and tell them to enforce sanctions against Iran today." We have seen how well coercive sanctions against Iraq "stood up for peace" in that luckless country.
The first script also dutifully lists "references" for its allegations, the first dig, that "Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism" being backed up by a BBC article reporting that Condoleezza Rice has charged that Iran is the central banker for world terrorism. And that's it. NO EVIDENCE, NO EXPOSE, just her disingenuous statement! What terrific research, enough to make a 6th grader blush with embarrassment.
The next allegation is that the Iranians have supported attacks that have killed Americans, basing it on a lawsuit against Iran by American families who lost loved ones when the Marine Barracks was blown up in Lebanon in 1983 during the Lebanese civil war. Iran ignored the lawsuit, considering it specious, and U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth awarded the judgment to the plaintiffs by default, coupled with the prosecutor's investigation.
However, a case where there are no defense arguments and cross-examination alleges much but proves nothing. What AFPC is really referring to is an attack on the Marine barracks in direct retaliation for President Reagan ordering the battleship USS New Jersey, with its massive guns, to lead deadly naval sea and air bombardments of pro-Syrian Druse villages and positions on the Lebanese coast-line. Reagan, thus, was directly taking sides in the raging civil war. At that point, America ceased to be a neutral peacekeeper.
Several Shiite militias claimed responsibility for the assault, including the Free Islamic Revolutionary Movement, which even named the two suicide bombers. Hezbollah was not even an official organization at this point (being founded in 1985 as an amalgam of Shiite militias), yet Judge Lamberth finds in his ruling that, amazingly, YET TO BE CREATED Hezbollah carried out the bombing on orders from Iran, rather sloppy scholarship indeed. However, this is good enough for the AFPC.
I can go on and on against each of the AFPC's allegations, especially the main broadsides that 1) President Ahmadinejad of Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map and 2) that they are on the verge of developing a nuclear bomb that, to hear the Israelis shiver and prattle about it, the Iranians will apparently immediately hide in a goat cart, sneak into Tel Aviv and detonate. Ahhh yes, paranoia, it makes deranged fools of us all. Meanwhile, Israel possesses some two hundred to six hundred nuclear weapons, according to various intelligence agencies. Nothing like the teapot calling the kettle black.
Regarding the "wipe out Israel" quote, it has now been proven by, not one, but many investigators and scholars that Ahmadinejad was only quoting an old Ayatollah Khomeini prophecy in Persian to the effect that the regime occupying Jerusalem shall vanish from history, a far cry from the skewed translation, ironically by an Iranian news agency that later retracted it, that the state of Israel itself should be wiped off the map - regime collapse versus the annihilation of an entire people, quite a big difference.
As for the terrifying specter of a nuclear-armed Iran, no one (except of course the always self-serving and imaginative Israeli intelligence services and Dick Cheney's X-ray vision) can find any direct proof that Iran even has a nuclear weapons program, let alone a viable one, not the AEIA, not the CIA, not anyone halfway credible. As for the industrial nuclear program that Iran is so proud of and stubborn about, this just came out in The Observer in England this past Sunday, January 28:
"Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology. Iran's uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved. The country denies developing weapons, saying its pursuit of uranium enrichment is for energy purposes.
"Despite Iran being presented as an urgent threat to nuclear non-proliferation and regional and world peace - in particular by an increasingly bellicose Israel and its closest ally, the US - a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme have told The Observer it is archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production." ( )
The article only gets more embarrassing for Iran as it continues, not to mention for the AFPC and its "timely, insightful analysis" of realities in Iran. Yes, it is tough being a propagandist in the era of the blogosphere.
However, the AFPC probably really doesn't care because it is working within the Hitlerian framework of peddling the Big Lie, and if past history be the judge, the new wave of fear propaganda, in essence recycling and retooling the same lies used against Iraq for use against Iran, will succeed in staining America with yet more innocent blood, both American and Iranian, while the Neocon ideologues and merchants of death cackle in the shadows, rejoicing in their sadistic handiwork, unless.....
Unless we turn Hitler's principles against them. For example, in opposition to the Big Lie, we should loudly trumpet the full truth about Iran, warts and all, exposing all the Neocon lies ferociously, providing trustworthy sources and promoting honest scholars, while welcoming Iranians into our hearts as well, for the Biggest Truth is, of course, that God, or the infinite creative consciousness, is in all beings (even Neocons), and that we are all, in the deepest respect, brothers and sisters. When you assume that perspective, you gradually abandon the demonization of others and begin to think in terms of real diplomacy and reconciliation.
We must also incessantly reaffirm and reinforce the truth, because it is not enough to expose a lie once and rest on our laurels, for the totalitarian hardcore out there will regroup like Hydras. And we must enlarge our platform for speaking the truth. That means we must continue to obstruct the strident and ongoing Fascistic attempts to monopolize and control all aspects of the media, to pigeonhole Americans' minds, and continue to build or restore our own venues for presenting the truth to the world.
Finally, to put the lie to Hitler's observation that the "feminine", unthinking masses are persuaded primarily by pushing emotional hot-buttons, we must extol our fellow citizens to really wake up. This will require some detoxification and consciousness raising, but it will be worth it if we can truly awaken the sleeping American giant to its higher, spiritual destiny.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
She was running around the cemetery and her father was "timing" her. It usually takes her 1 1/2 minutes to go around the cemetery. It had been more than five minutes. The father remembered there had been a red pick up truck in the cemetery when his daughter started to run....the red pick up truck is gone. My friend alerted the park police and the father had called the Portsmouth Police to report the incident.
We live in one of those "peaceful" neighborhoods where it is rare for "bad things to happen...." When I moved here 27 years ago an elderly neighbor told me the "only" bad thing that had ever happened in our neighborhood occurred one day when a woman was raped in her home.
In the 27 years that I have lived here we have had one violent crime that was well publicized. A brother and sister were unloading groceries from their car in the late afternoon/early evening. They were not aware that earlier police had interrupted a robbery at a pizza hut a few miles away. The "robbers" kidnapped them and had them drive down to North Carolina. The brother was shot and killed in a NC convenience store after telling his sister to run because he was going to make a scene to try to save them.....
And now this. I feel for that father who for a moment was not "watching" his daughter run....maybe he was looking at the stop watch...maybe he was thinking of what awaited him at work....but for a few moments....something happened and his daughter is now "disappeared." I pray he won't feel guilty for being human....who watches someone every second?
Hopefully this will turn out to be "nothing." But my partner doesn't think this is the case....she said the girl and her father are obviously close and she does not see "running away" as something this girl would do. I wonder if someone has been watching this father and daughter over time and planned to do this wretched thing. I feel for the frantic father, the mother who has now been told, and for a possibly terrified 16 year old girl. I pray that this horrible morning ends up having a "happy ending."
I hesitate to send this post out. Mainly because I am disgusted how the Corporate Media uses 'the bad things happen" to hide news of importance from the American people. News about issues that seriously affect our lives and, if we had enough advance notice, we could do something about these issues.
But when it happens in "my" neighborhood I want to tell the story so that others might be a little more careful today...because sometimes "bad things happen." This possible tragedy won't be "used" to hide the crimes of the rich and powerful who attempt to use our government for personal gain.