Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Monday, 7 November 2005 at 6h 34m 43s|
I love Jim Hightower
"To measure the vitality of a town, don't look for corporate logos but for
signs that the community has some semblance of a soul."
Jim Hightower, 4 November 2005
In other words, the town center is more vibrant without a McDonalds, Starbucks,
and B Dalton Bookstore located where a small local business used to be. In the
name of progress called corporate profit extraction we have torn the heart of
living out of our chest, so that we can receive the advertized version.
When big business replaces small business, lots of middle men get cut out
because the market operations and the local business spending shrinks, and
becomes reallocated. The above businesses have their own warehouses and
financial centers far removed from the thousands (millions even) of retail
stores and their locales. Decisions are made by persons who will never meet
the people affected
by those decisions, and so those persons do not at all weigh upon the factors
which go into the decisions. Indeed, the sole weight becomes pure financial
So when Starbucks goes into a new market and buys up the surrounding property,
they are doing so to control the competition. When McDonalds sponsors and
supports the unhealthy raising of cattle and the bad agricultural practices
which enable its world-wide array of supplies, they do so because they want to
experience economies of scale. Local businesses sponsor local sources of
supply, which is where the restaurants of San Francisco obtain their grass-fed
beef. For small proprietors , the demand for economies of scale are not
possible at the magnitude of large corporations because they do not have the
market power to force or create suppliers that cut costs at the expense of
health or quality.
Personally I think no retail or food business should be allowed to cross state
lines, and I also think limitations should be placed on how many businesses any
one controling group can own. Right now we are just creating an aristocracy,
and a polity which is merely the well-funded propaganda arm of the rising
|Saturday, 5 November 2005 at 1h 20m 23s|
Excerpt from my soon to be finished novel
I really liked this exchange, and thought I'd share it with
Juvi raised his beer. “I hear you, dog.” He then added sincerely, “But I grew
up in that park, man. It was hard to see it go. And now ... and now there
ain’t nowhere for the young brothers to go hang out except on street corners
and in automobiles. I mean shit. It never was about jobs. It was always
about ownership. You know they talk about everyone being able to buy a piece
of the corporate ownership, but fuck man, I got maybe 10 or 20 grand surplus
cash in any given year, hows am I supposed tuh compete with mother fuckers who
gots 10 to 100 millions extra in the bank? Sooner or later the little people
get priced outta da market and the rich people own everything. Then they start
pushing judges and politicians on us, trying to convince everyone that their
self-serving philosophy is beneficial. That’s all corporations do for America.”
“Put a man in a strait-jacket”, Jim began, his beer grasped firmly in
his right hand, “ and call the few who escape entrepreneurs or men of
genius. Everyone else is a loser, but at least the strait-jacket makers come
with a lotta money.”
The men laughed.
|Thursday, 3 November 2005 at 18h 15m 32s|
Another judge with integrity
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.
I got this from Atrios, who quotes from a Boston Globe
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. ruled in a 2002 case in favor of the Vanguard mutual
fund company at a time when he owned more than $390,000 in Vanguard funds and
later complained about an effort to remove him from the case, court records
show -- despite an earlier promise to recuse himself from cases involving the
The case involved a Massachusetts woman, Shantee Maharaj, who has spent nearly
a decade fighting to win back the assets of her late husband's individual
retirement accounts, which had been frozen by Vanguard after a court judgment
in favor of a former business partner of her husband.
Her lawyer, John G. S. Flym, a retired Northeastern law professor, said in an
interview yesterday that Alito's ''lack of integrity is so flagrant" in the
case that he should be disqualified as a Supreme Court nominee.
Maharaj, 50, discovered Alito's ownership of Vanguard shares in 2002 when she
requested his financial disclosure forms after he ruled against her appeal to
the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
In 1990, when Alito was seeking US Senate approval for his nomination to be a
circuit judge, he said in written answers to a questionnaire that he would
disqualify himself from ''any cases involving the Vanguard companies."
According to a 2002 court filing submitted by Flym alleging the conflict of
interest, ''Alito owned shares worth $390,000 to $975,000 in seventeen Vanguard
Surrounded by piles of legal documents at her temporary home yesterday, Maharaj
held up one of the briefs in the case submitted to the Third Circuit and
pointed to the listed parties, which included The Vanguard Group Inc., Vanguard
Fiduciary Trust Company, and Vanguard/Morgan Growth Fund Inc.
''How could [Alito] not have known Vanguard was a defendant?" she asked. ''He
had to have."
So Alito can't recuse himself from the court, even though he said he would on
a 1990 questionnaire?
It appears that Judge Alito is more "in the mold of Justice Scalia" every
day. How could anyone have any doubts? Of course this judge's perspective is
tainted with his own fudiciary interest, as well as his own position in the
same society over which he finds himself presiding. In the Globe article,
Alioto says that he is only "an investor" not an owner, apparently oblivious of
his ownership of contractual rights to profit disbursement -- ie. financial
It is infuriating to me, how anyone can say otherwise with a straight-face.
Owners might be the big bosses, they might work at the company everyday and
know the employees; but how many mom & pop self-proprietor's do people invest
their money? Investors put their funds in the stocks and bonds of the
financial system and corporation assets. In the narrowest sense, investors
want to make a high percentage per year on their initial purchase of dividend-
bearing paper. Judicial decisions that cost their investments money directly
affect them financially when the corporation has to decrease the dividends.
Antonin Scalia, chief Justice of the Supreme court, went on a duck-hunting
expedition with Vice President Dick Cheney weeks before a case involving
documents from Cheney's 2001 Energy commmission was to come before the Supreme
Court. Judicial Watch sued for those documents and was able to get some of
them before a judge issued an injunction and the legal case took the path upon
the 2004 Supreme Court case.
One of the documents obtained was a map of all the Iraqi oil fields marked over
with 11 oil companies. What was Cheney doing in April of 2001 with all of the
large energy companies? Planning for the California Energy Holdup to make a
few bucks for his Enron buddies, AND preparing for the Iraq carve-up they were
also planning. They knew Al Quada would soon make a terrorist attack, and they
were anticipating with salivation how they could best manipulate the event for
their own ends.
Yes that's what kind of men we have in the Adminstration. I admit this is
rather harsh, but it is also the truth. They said so much themselves in 1997
when they signed a document which laid out their plans to invade the middle
This was the same court that cast the deciding vote to enable Bush into
office in the first place, despite all of the many shenanegans during the
recount process, and the felony lists that disenfranchised 90,000 people, most
of which were not even felons because the Republican company (Choicepoint-DBA)
that collected the lists were apparently very sloppy. Mind you that all of this
occurred in brother Jeb Bush's state of Florida. Kenny Lay's Enron jets flew
Congressional staffers to West Palm Beach to scream up a fake popular protest
and slow down Democracy when the law was being followed and the votes were
being counted. Meanwhile recently appointed new Supreme Court Justice John
Roberts was at the time providing
the guidelines and legal planning for the Bush team. I'm sure his legal advice
was ... non-partisan and unbiased.
The counting of those votes were all ordered stopped by an unprecedented
injunction from the Supreme court. The reasoning laid out in the decision was
that it would have unnecessarily disrupted the nation, the people's will be
Can you say Dred Scott? The court could have just as easily ruled that the
votes of all Florida be counted, or the court could have voted in favor of
democracy. The American people could have waited another 2 weeks so long as
the process was fair, and without the legal manuevering and political posturing
that occurred by the Bush administration. Bush was already making a pompous
show about picking and selecting his cabinet within 3 days of the election.
Instead of working out a way to follow Florida Law and count the votes without
disarray, the Bush people sued to have the counting of the votes stopped. They
would have almost had the Florida State Legislature vote for new electors that
would have nullified the counting had not the Supreme Court stepped in with the
The supreme court could have decided and could have made any different amount
of decisions based upon many different precidents. The sanctity of the vote
could have been upheld. It's not hard to count votes really. The myth about
the hanging chads has belittled the history of counting ballots, and ignored
the long struggle of Americans to make democracy real. The constitution did
not guaranteed the right of all persons to vote. Voting is a legal province of
the States, and was only gradually Federalized over the last 200 years, with
the civil rights struggles of the 50's and 60's representing the latest in a
long struggle over equal rights and representative government. I believe
election 2000 was the watershed of a new struggle.
It's called a Coup D'Etat. They stole the election and now they are destroying
We can't expect them to nominate anyone but people like themselves to the
|Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 22h 31m 42s|
More principles at work
|Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 22h 25m 24s|
You just Gotta love those principles
|Wednesday, 2 November 2005 at 19h 17m 0s|
Looking in the mirror, again.
I really am a leader. I am . I am.
Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
"The United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership. They
have no convictions, they have no principles, they have no ideas."
What a way to complain that Senator Harry Reid motioned to convene a Senate
meeting behind closed doors to investigate how the Congress and nation was lied
to about the war. I suppose the principle of the truth, and a conviction about
ideas concerning good government are alien notions in the addled brain of
What exactly are your own principles and convictions, Mr. Frist? To attempt to
politicize the death of a clinically diagnosed brain dead women. To add rider
bills and admendments to non-discretionary bills that favor the corporate
lobbyist groups that fund your political campaigns. To sell stock based upon
insider information in order to spare your own ass. To profit off of sick
people by buying up non-profit hospitals, gutting the staff and the budget at
the expense of the rising costs of health care.
Most people don't get their mendacity spewed on the front page like you do,
Senator Frist, and none have aided and abetted greater corruption and decay
than yourself. Indeed only a pompous ass would presume his lies could spare
him from the inevitable truth. You must think Americans are god damn idiots
because you can't look at that man in the mirror, so you describe him to us
every time you smear and denounce "the opposition."
There is no opposition. That is merely an illusion of our own fears. No one
really competes either, but instead, we try to take control over others if not
ourselves by "defeating" them. These are but symptoms of a sick mind riddled
with mental disease.
I sense a collective purging of the veins, much like the medieval doctors would
bleed their patients -- to rid them of the evil spirits who were said to lurk
in the blood.
|Tuesday, 25 October 2005 at 17h 8m 9s|
The story of life
I thought this was cool.
"Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, the
power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as
times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts."
-- Salman Rushdie
|Sunday, 23 October 2005 at 17h 23m 43s|
Why did they nominate Harriet Miers?
It wasn't because of her legal prowess or attention to detail.
From the LA
At one point, Miers described her service on the Dallas City Council in 1989.
When the city was sued for violating the Voting Rights Act, she said, the
council "had to be sure to comply with the proportional representation
requirement of the Equal Protection clause."
But the Supreme Court repeatedly has said that the Constitution's guarantee of
the "equal protection of the laws" does not mean that city councils or state
legislatures must have enough minority members to match the proportion of
blacks, Hispanics and Asians in the voting population.
....Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan...said she was surprised the White
House did not check Miers' questionnaire before sending it to the Senate.
"Are they trying to set her up? Any halfway competent junior lawyer could have
checked the questionnaire and said it cannot go out like that. I find it
shocking," she said.
Could it be related to when she was appointed head of the State Lottery
Commission ... ?
Here's how Newsweek's Michael Isikoff, on July 17, 2000 !!!, described
foray in the morass of Bush's Guard service: [SOURCE: Philadelphia Daily News]
The Bushies' concern began while he was running for a second term as governor.
A hard-nosed Dallas lawyer named Harriet Miers was retained to investigate the
issue; state records show Miers was paid $19,000 by the Bush gubernatorial
She and other aides quickly identified a problem--rumors that Bush
had help from his father in getting into the National Guard back in 1968. Ben
Barnes, a prominent Texas Democrat and a former speaker of the House in the
state legislature, told friends he used his influence to get George W a guard
slot after receiving a request from Houston oilman Sid Adger. Barnes said Adger
told him he was calling on behalf of the elder George Bush, then a Texas
Both Bushes deny seeking any help from Barnes or Adger, who has
since passed away. Concerned that Barnes might go public with his allegations,
the Bush campaign sent Don Evans, a friend of W's, to hear Barnes's story.
Barnes acknowledged that he hadn't actually spoken directly to Bush Sr. and had
no documents to back up his story. As the Bush campaign saw it, that let both
Bushes off the hook. And the National Guard question seemed under control.
So far, intriguing...but it gets better, and more complicated. At roughly the
same time all of this was happening, Miers was also the Bush-named chair of the
scandal-plagued Texas Lottery Commission. The biggest issue before Miers and
the commission was whether to retain lottery operator Gtech, which had been
implicated in a bribery scandal. Gtech's main lobbyist in Texas in the mid-
1990s? None other than that same Ben Barnes who had the goods on how Bush got
into the Guard and avoided Vietnam.
In 1997, Barnes was abruptly fired by Gtech. That's a bad thing, right? Well,
on the other hand, they also gave him a $23 million severance payment. A short
time later, Gtech -- despite the ongoing scandals -- got its contract renewed
over two lower bidders. A former executive director thought the whole thing
The suit involving Barnes was brought by former Texas lottery director Lawrence
Littwin, who was fired by the state lottery commission, headed by Bush
appointee Harriet Miers, in October 1997 after five months on the job. It
contends that Gtech Corp., which runs the state lottery and until February 1997
employed Barnes as a lobbyist for more than $3 million a year, was responsible
for Littwin's dismissal.
Littwin's lawyers have suggested in court filings that Gtech was allowed to
keep the lottery contract, which Littwin wanted to open up to competitive
bidding, in return for Barnes's silence about Bush's entry into the Guard.
Barnes and his lawyers have denounced this "favor-repaid" theory in court
pleadings as "preposterous . . . fantastic [and] fanciful." Littwin was fired
after ordering a review of the campaign finance reports of various Texas
politicians for any links to Gtech or other lottery contractors. But Littwin
wasn't hired, or fired, until months after Barnes had severed his relationship
Littwin reportedly settled with Gtech for $300,000.
Hmm, maybe it's just that Miss Miers is the perfect corporate lawyer, someone
who knows who to keep her mouth shut.
These storys come from the Kansas City Star and the Austin American Statesman,
but I am quoting from David Sirota. [SOURCE]
With Miers serving as managing partner of the law firm Locke Liddell & Sapp,
the firm "helped accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP sell a sham tax shelter" by
advising investors that they "'should' be able to beat the Internal Revenue
Service in court." Miers' firm "appears to have made $3.5 million on 70 such
deals" which a Senate report called called "potentially abusive or illegal."
As I wrote about earlier, under Miers' leadership, Locke Liddell & Sapp was
forced to repeatedly pay damages for "defrauding investors" and was building a
specialty practice in union busting.
Miers was a Managing Partner at Locke Liddell & Sapp, and should have been at
least aware of these illegal practices. They aren't isolated incidents either,
and show a pattern consistent with possible intentional practice.
Unless of course, she was made a Managing Partner precisely because she
would "not" pay attention to details.
George W. had the same problem in the 1980's when he sat on the corporate board
of Harken Energy while the company was selling $10 billion in debts to a faked
corporation of insiders so they could make the debt look like a sale. This is
also similar to the government contracts Halliburton got while Cheney was the
Simply put, they know she is corruptible. That's why she was nominated.
|Friday, 30 September 2005 at 19h 27m 4s|
TV is a waste of time
I mean really. What? Are we so
active that we come to rely on the hypnotic tube for a systematic daily
I listen to the radio. I get clips from different web sources, and listen
while I am working on something -- one of many ongoing life-long projects.
Sometimes I have a baseball game streaming in the background, but I am not
really staring at the game half of the time because I'm busy doing other things.
Quite frankly, I don't really understand how to religiously watch 3 hours of
straight television and think I'm experiencing a relaxing event. My nerves and
pulse keeps me fidgety for something closely resembling to a passion for art
Don't get me wrong. I love a good movie. I have an appreciation of genius and
artistic achievement in whatever form the excellence takes. But to waste your
time watching a cheapened cliche for an hour and a half is to me exceptionally
annoying. I can think of an almost infinite set of alternatives I'd rather be
So why do we watch stupid skits of people acting out morality shows that are so
far from reality that it reminds me of two pampered housewives trying to talk
ghetto. I mean, for real real. I remember back to the day when "The
Jeffersons" (thanx Franc :-)
was a show about a Harlem family moving into an uptown apartment, and even back
then, the silly comedy was really about celebrating the success potential of an
urban black family. The humor was just a sidetrack.
Let's analyze this thread some more. MASH was the most successful show in part
because it met the need of the 1970's which needed an analysis of the breakdown
of moral fiber in society, politics, and government. That the show was well
written is not an inditement, but merely a fact. Star Trek was equally
relevant to the times, but nevertheless, the main draw was due to the
fundamental cultural discussion which touched the nation's nerves.
With the concentration of the media into smaller hands, the tendency to
manufacture cliches is too much a function of a need to fill space so that
commercials can have a medium for revenue accumulation. Television has been a
vast sea of mediocrity and incredible stupidity for the last 20 years, although
not without exceptions (the Simpsons, the Daily Show, David Letterman, etc.)
However, the percentage of good versus schlock is way less than 0.1 percent.
But never underestimate the ability of people to become content when they are
well fed and economically stable while they can sit on their ass and get
pacified, excited, and emotional by the dancing
lights and sounds. I myself am no different, even if my nature is quite
frenetic. Like Marshall MacLuan would say in the later 1960's, "the medium is
the message." Translated that means it doesn't really matter what is on the
television, because it is the experience of sitting passively, imbibed with
external sights and sounds, through which the medium is partaken. Our
makes mental impressions and associations based upon the way in which we
receive our experience. Television is a very impersonal, vicarious and
potentially isolated experience because there is no way really to engage the
audience into active engagement with the group, unless the entire group
and receives the spellbinding phenomenom. Instead the group is a farce,
celebrated for the cameras only.
I guess for me this is a philosophical predicament. I don't want to project my
own anxieties of alienation and disentegration, and yet to me this seems but
the prime driver of the great modern rift between society and the individual,
in which the community and individual are both amorphous and concrete, rather
than completely indistinguishable.
|Saturday, 24 September 2005 at 8h 31m 37s|
The 14 characteristics of fascist regimes
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to
use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia.
Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of
the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human
rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to
look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions,
assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people
rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived
common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals;
communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic
problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government
funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service
5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost
exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are
made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the
state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to media is directly controlled by
government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by
government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives.
Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational
the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are intertwined - Governments in fascist
tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate
public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government
leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed
to the government's policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is protected - The industrial and business
aristocracy of a
fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power,
creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is
only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated
entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to
and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not
uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested.
Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the
police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often
willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name
of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited
power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are
governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to
government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their
friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national
resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by
14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a
complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against
or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control
voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media.
Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control
(Source: The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism, Dr. Lawrence
Britt, Spring 2003, Free Inquiry)
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