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Archive for November, 2008

Saxby Sucks!

November 29, 2008 Leave a comment

And apparently he is a child molester as well.

If you are in Georgia, please help protect innocent girls from this groping GOP goon.  Vote Martin this coming Tuesday, December 2.  Do it for the children.

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Has The Fat Lady Sung?

November 29, 2008 1 comment

fat_lady_sings

Or is that just the sound of the last gasp of a group that can’t deal with reality?

A Last Electoral Hurdle For Obama

A Web-Driven Challenge To His Legitimacy Targets Members Of The Electoral College

Barack Obama has one election still to win before he moves into the White House, and by all accounts he’s a shoo-in. The Electoral College – that curious body created by the Founders to put one extra check on the popular vote – meets Dec. 15 to elect the president.

But across the US, a small band of Americans convinced that Mr. Obama is not a natural-born citizen, as the Constitution requires of presidents, are lobbying Democratic electors to take one last look at the notion that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii.

The idea that Democratic electors would deny Obama the presidency strains the bounds of credulity. But the lobbying campaign points to the endurance of conspiracy theories pertaining to US presidents – and revives longstanding questions about the Electoral College itself.

I have a friend who has a blog called Stock Market Implode.  He deals with money issues, and even he is dancing around the issue of Obama’s legitimacy to be president based on him having a forged birth certificate and really being from Kenya.  Here is Obama’s birth certificate:

obamabirthcertificate

I believe that were there to have been any substantive issue at all in regard the legitimacy of Obama to qualify as a candidate for president of the US based on his citizenship that they would have been resolved long before now.  I imagine that the final two candidates for the executive office job would be required to have some sort of intensive background checks. It is absurd to extrapolate and suggest that this is all part of a sinister plan to declare martial law and…well…do what?  It gets sort of fuzzy after that it seems.

I am taking bets that Obama will be inaugurated without a hitch.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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Consumer Chaos

November 29, 2008 Leave a comment

stampede2

Unlike young Simba, the clerk did not escape.

Worker Dies At Long Island Wal-Mart After Being Trampled In Black Friday Stampede

A Wal-Mart worker died early Friday after an “out-of-control” mob of frenzied shoppers smashed through the Long Island store’s front doors and trampled him, police said.

The Black Friday stampede plunged the Valley Stream outlet into chaos, knocking several employees to the ground and sending others scurrying atop vending machines to avoid the horde.

When the madness ended, 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour was dead and four shoppers, including a woman eight months pregnant, were injured.

No…really.  Here’s some footage:

I feel very bad for the employee that was killed and his family.  Incredible.  I have never been pushed by shopping fever enough to a) go to a store hours before they open to buy somehting nor b) been so committed to buying somehting that I would trample any who got in my way.  Apparently these “Black Friday” events are like little Pampalona Bull Runs where workers and fellow shoppers test their fates across America and normally decent people turn into mad consumer demons frothing at the mouth and with blood in their eyes.

Killed in a Wal-Mart by a horde of mindless Christmas shoppers.  What a tragic end to a life.  Happy Holidays.

-Sigh-

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Mumbai Maelstrom

November 28, 2008 Leave a comment

mumbai-attacks

There is quite a bit of coverage about the attacks in Mumbai, India.  It appears the targets have been primarily Americans, Britts and Jews.  Here is a bit of background that will probably not be part of the narrative in the “Main Stream Media.”

Why The Attacks In India Should Surprise Nobody

Most Americans were shocked to learn that coordinated terrorist attacks struck the heart of Mumbai, India’s commercial capital on Wednesday evening. After all, India is not Iraq or Afghanistan or even Pakistan. According to pundits such as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, India is a shining capitalist success story and the next global superpower. In the pro-globalization narrative, India’s eager-beaver working class has benefited greatly from neoliberal economic policies. Intellectuals extol India as the world’s largest democracy and an example for the rest of the developing world to follow. Today, India is a popular tourist destination for everyone from backpackers on spiritual voyages to white-collar executives on business meetings.

Americans are largely shielded from the shocking reality of India. According to the World Bank’s own estimates on poverty, almost half of all Indians live below the new international poverty line of $1.25 (PPP) per day.[1] The World Bank further estimates that 33% of the global poor now reside in India. [2] Moreover, India also has 828 million people, or 75.6% of the population living below $2 a day, compared to 72.2% for Sub-Saharan Africa.[3] A quarter of the nation’s population earns less than the government-specified poverty threshold of $0.40/day. Someone should tell the starving masses who have remained largely marginalized and subjugated that India is a “success story” because that’s not reflected in most Indian’s lives. Income inequality in India, as measured by the Gini coefficient, is increasing at a disturbingly destabilizing rate.[4] In addition, India has a higher rate of malnutrition among children under the age of three than any other country in the world (46% in year 2007).[5],[6] India is possibly the world’s largest democracy by some definitions; however, as Mahatma Gandhi, once asked, “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

If you follow Naomi Kline, Amy Goodman, Arundhati Roy (hmmm…all women and all at the forefront of bringing truth about globalization to the people.  And the above is written by Deena Guzder, also a woman) then a lot of the piece from Common Dreams will not be news.  Communism in China took hold because of the brutal Japanese occupation.  The communists, a small political block before the invasion of about 7% became the best organized resistance to the Japanese and the puppet Kumitang government.  So too in Iran, fundamentalist Islam took root as a result of the brutal reign of the puppet Shah put in place by a coup at our hands.  The fundamentalist Muslims were the best at organizing resistance and eventually led the revolution that took back their country.

In India there are hundreds of millions of incredibly poor people and a small percentage of very rich and moderately rich people.  It seems that the poor are tired of going unnoticed.  I hope this is resolved soon, but the trade policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many are part of the problem.  It will be interesting to watch and see what direction the responses to these actions go.  In the meantime, this is pretty scary stuff.

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Thanks Rachel

November 28, 2008 Leave a comment

notimebush-turkey-done

Rachel Maddow has an excellent review of the indicted, convicted and resigned in disgrace turkeys that were part of the Bush Cartel Administration:

Thanks, Rachel.  It is difficult to keep up with all of the former, current and future convicts that GW brought to run his government.  I believe he set a record that will not be matched for a long time.  Lucky us.

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T-Day. Celebrate the Myth.

November 27, 2008 Leave a comment

thanksgiving-genocide

As with a lot our history, the history of Thanksgiving is mythical.  And of course there is Christian Whackery ™ involved as well.

Psalms 2:8 reads:

“Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

That was a guiding belief of the “pilgrims.”  The mythological history that we perpetuate with the Pilgrim story and the first Thanksgiving serves to trivialize and distance us from the suffering and devastation of the indigenous peoples of this continent.  The English had been scouting the eastern coast of North America since the late 1500s.  They had a bad habit of kidnapping indigenous people and bringing them home as trophies and to sell as slaves.  I’ve found that most of my fellow citizens have this image that American history began in 1620 with the Pilgrims.

When the Pilgrims arrived over 13 years after Jamestown was settled to the south, and nearly a hundred years after Spanish settlements in the South and West, they came upon a town that was fully constructed with houses, storage buildings, plowed fields and a stream running right through it all.  They did not carve civilization out of wilderness.  The village population had been decimated by the disease that traveled north from exposure to the Europeans at Jamestown.  Later, John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony called the sundry plagues of European diseases that killed the indigenous peoples “miraculous.”  Winthrop wrote to a friend in 1634:

“But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by the smallpox which still continues among them.  So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection…”

When the Puritans came to Plymouth, they found in the ready built yet vacant village a lone “Indian” named Samoset  He happend to speak…English.  He greated them with “Hello Englishmen” and spent an evening with them.  He left the next day and returned with a man named Squanto.  He also spoke English, though much better than Samoset.  Squanto had led a near Ulysses-like life.  He had been captured in his youth, in 1605 by an English coastal raider named Captain George Weymouth.  You can read about his incredible life here.  These peoples lives, their tribes and the fate of their tribes are nearly written out of the history of our Thanksgiving myth.  Mentioned in only the most trivial way they are minor players in the saga of that group of “Pilgirms” that came and “carved out of the wilderness” the beginnings of our country.

The Pilgrims had arrived at this “new world” at the onset of winter due to many reasons.  Their first winter was a very rough time to be sure.  Without help from the indigenous peoples they would surely have died.  The “Pilgrim” heritage also tends to write out that of the 102 settlers of the Mayflower only 35 were “Pilgrims” though they never called themselves that.  In fact, one of the more interesting stories of the “Pilgrims” is their saga before arriving on these shores.  We have their  “Mayflower Compact” a brilliant move to unite the interests of all, yet overblown in its historical importance.  But the story of the cult and their trials and tribulations that brought them here is quite interesting.   It does not appear in the telling of their near magical and sanatized arrival at the new world where they carved out the makings of a country from wilderness with the help of just a few Indians and God’s will, and such nonsense.  We don’t really care who they are.  They got here and that’s all that matters.

It is interesting that the Puritans left Holland  (they had left England years before), because the leaders of their cult felt the group was becoming too Dutch and forgetting their English roots.  It is interesting, too, that they are said to have fled Europe to escape persecution for believing contrary to the Church of England, yet they were so intolerant of others upon arrival that did not adhere to their views of religion as well.

We have made the story of the Pilgrims so important to the narrative of our heroic beginnings that we all know the name of the ship that brought them, The Mayflower.  But as to the ships that brought the settlers to Jamestown over a decade earlier…well, they make for a good trivia question.  (the Susan Constant, the Discovery and the Goodspeed, by the way).  The courage, fortitude and persistance of the Pilgrims is what we see as the “Beginning” of our national history.  Thanksgiving is linked in the DNA of that narrative.

The Pilgrims began stealing and foraging for Indian caches of corn and beans.  From one of the diaries of their group we read:

“We marched to a place we called Cornhill, where we had found the corn before.  At another place we had seen before, we dug and found some more corn, two or three baskets full, and a bag of beans…In all we had about ten bushels, which will be enough for seed.  It was with God’s help that we found this corn, for how else could we have done it, without meeting some Indians who might trouble us.”

Yes.  Thanks to God.  Not to the Indians that tilled the fields, grew the corn and stored enough to survive winter and begin crops the coming year.  God saved them from encountering those Indians because the Pilgrims knew they were stealing.  The Pilgrims robbed graves, too, from the beginning of their arrival.  We read from the same writer above:

“The next morning, we found a place like a grave.  We decided to dig it up.  We found first a mat, and under that a fine bow…We also found bowls, trays, dishes and things like that.  We took several of the prettiest things to carry away with us, and covered the body up again.”

My, my.  Just “like a grave.”  The incidental “and covered the body up again’ thrown in like the body itself.

In the book Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen, he tells of the Massachusetts Department of Commerce celebrating, in 1970, the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrams’ landing.  The Wampanoags, the indigenous people of the area where the Pilgrims landed, were asked to select a speaker to mark that anniversary celebration.  The speech had to be presented to the Department of Commerce first for review and was not allowed to be read.  The speech that would not be heard reads thus:

Today is a time of celebrating for you…but it is not a time of celebrating for me.  It is with heavy heart that I look back upon what happened to my People…The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors, and stolen their corn, wheat and beans…Masssoit, the great leader of the Wampanoag, knew these facts; yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers…little knowing that…before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoags…and other Indians living near the settlers would be killed by their guns or dead from diseases that we caught from them…Although our way of life is almost gone and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts…What has happened cannot be changed, but today we work toward a better America, a more Indian  America where people and nature once again are important.”

But that did not fit the narrative of our history.  It was truth but it was a turd in the punch bowl of feel good revisionist history.  The history that says God ordained a white ethnocentric supremacy over these lands.  I had a conversation about history yesterday with a gentleman that I work with.  I told him that the real facts of history are much more interesting, exciting and instructive than the sugar coated myths that are presented in text books.  The saga of the Puritans to get to the shores of America is a fabulous tale.  It is well told in a book titled Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick.  The saga of the peoples of the Wampanoag, Patuxet, whose land the Pilgrims took, and the other tribes of that area and the poltical dynamics of their relationship with each other as well as the new arrivals is a fascinating look at a most cataclysmic time in the lives of the people and land that we grew out of.

Pilgrims were forced to dig up the bodies of their dead to feed on in the winter.  They stole and they took by guile and force of arms.  They were people though.  Good and bad and products of their time and environment.  Judging them is not the point.  Dwelling on their ill deeds is as relevant as dwelling on their mythological ones.  It paints them human and shows they did have great courage and were pitted against incredible odds.  That is a fantastic story on its own merit.  Building a national mystique around a fictional Thangsgiving does not serve us in understanding the complexities and the lessons of the past.  It perpetuates a hero mythology that does disservice to the European settlers as well as the indigenous people they encountered.  The Thanksgiving myth propels and sustains the Christian ties to the founding of our country yet shields them from their horrible deeds.

To learn the lessons of the past the real history needs to be understood and confronted.  The indigenous peoples of the Americas do not celebrate Columbus Day.  They mark the day of  The invasion.  Likewise, the indigenous peoples of the east coast do not celebrate Thanksgiving.  They mourn the events that surround it.  Understanding that would put some perspective to two days celebrated by whites yet anathema to indigenous peoples.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving but please remember at what cost it comes to us.

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Words. They Haunt….

November 25, 2008 2 comments

But they also vindicate.  This is an amazing look at a plethora of fail.

What a surprise.  The voice anathema to Fox News’ free market, laissez faire, deregulated financial institutions conservative economic mantra is the one that is spot on.  Ben Stein, whom I tolerated for being a Nixon speech writer , because of Ferris Beuller’s Day Off and Win Ben Stein’s Money, until 9/11, is seen to be completely intoxicated by that right wing view of economics, and completely wrong.

“Not enough production and savings”, he said.  He was laughed at.  Is this guy on the team trying to figure out the fix to this economic meltdown? He saw this coming down the pike and what was causing it. Very interesting…

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