Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Corporatist Republicanism or Democracy?

So how’s that war-on-drugs-thingy worked out over the last forty years?

They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same action in hopes for a different outcome. The drug war could be classified as such institutionalized insanity, but it is not. It has been a calculated effort by powerful political players originally intended to suppress minorities, and more recently, to enrich the prison/industrial complex, and preserve the dominance of their own peddling of politically correct, and often more toxic, psychoactive products.

In the wake of a new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy that states the "war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world," we see a small glimpse of enlightenment in our US Congress.

At last we have a Democrat and a Republican introducing a bill in Congress to take the Feds out of their cruel and wasteful war on cannabis. The bill introduced last Thursday by Barney Frank and Ron Paul would allow states to "legalize, regulate, tax and control marijuana without federal interference."

We know the chances of passage are less than slim to none, but it is a bold start.

With each passing year more of the public are realizing the need to end much of the drug war debacle.

Veteran police officers also share this enlightened view.

"Since President Nixon declared 'war on drugs' four decades ago, this failed policy has led to millions of arrests, a trillion dollars spent and countless lives lost, yet drugs today are more available than ever," said Norm Stamper, former chief of police in Seattle and a speaker for legalization-advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

"When President Nixon declared the 'drug war' in 1971, we arrested fewer than half a million people for drug offenses that year. Today, the number has skyrocketed to almost two million drug arrests a year," said former Baltimore narcotics officer and LEAP executive director Neill Franklin. "We jail more of our own citizens than any other country in the world does, including those run by the worst dictators and totalitarian regimes. Is this how President Obama thinks we can 'win the future'?"

We the people are way ahead of corporations and their politicians on this, as most other issues.

As we see more voters approving medicinal marijuana through ballot initiatives, it provides a clear contrast between the application of democracy and the anti-democratic forces of corporate and political conservatism.

History has shown us authoritarian and corporatist conservatism has always opposed every effort towards democracy, equality, freedom, civil liberties, and prosperity for minorities and the working class. Slavery, poll taxes, “literacy” tests for minorities, voter disenfranchisement, purging of rolls, minimum wage, warrantless surveillance, torture, military aggression, and the war on drugs are all hallmarks of the Right Wing authoritarian corporatist conservatives.

Right Wing corporate "free speech" money is used by tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical corporations to continue prohibition through the politicians they buy, proving again, corporatist Republicanism is antithetical to all vestiges of democracy.

The choice is simple. Corporatist Republicanism or democracy. We cannot have both.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beck: Redux

When Bill Maher featured Andrew Breitbart as a guest on “Real Time”, he asked if it was possible that people were racist without their knowing it. Breitbart responded, “I don’t understand the question”. I believe that perfectly answered the question.

For any reader who still wonders, “Where has Beck spewed any racism?”, and would rather disingenuously assert we “repeat this crap because they read it on Daily Kos but have never listened to one minute of Beck”, I will dedicate this post towards answering that question.

I’ve listened to Beck, and so have others. Unfortunately, some of those who listen to Beck are not too bright and became very angry.

Fortunately there are others at MediaMatters and elsewhere who listen and document what Beck and fellow neo-fascists say. We thank them for shining the light into the darkness of Beck World. While former Republican David Brock accused Beck of being arguably “responsible” for three assassination attempts last year, I would say Beck surely inspired these ignorant and frightened dupes. Beck has proven to be a racist, fear-mongering, and dangerous, radical Right Wing ideologue.

His hate speech is finally ending on FOX(R) TV due in part to some corporations having the sense to pull their advertising from his show.

Here we see the rogues’ gallery of Beck fans: Thank you MediaMatters.

David Brock accused Glenn Beck of being "responsible for three thwarted assassination attempts this year." Indeed, in each of the three examples Brock cited -- Gregory Giusti, Charles Wilson, and Byron Williams -- the incendiary and often violent rhetoric spewed by the Fox News host and elsewhere on the network was said to be a motivating factor, if not the inspiring factor, in the men's actions.

On July 18, 2010, Byron Williams was stopped by California Highway Patrol and engaged in a shootout with law enforcement. He later said he was on his way to murder individuals at the Tides Foundation and ACLU.

During an interview with reporter John Hamilton after his arrest, Williams said: "I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn't for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed that blew my mind. I said, well, nobody does this."`

In October 2010, Charles Murray was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for threatening Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) with "violence" in phone calls to her office.

A relative of Wilson said in publicly available documents filed in federal court that Wilson's "fears were grown and fostered by Mr. Beck's persuasive personality" and that Wilson's actions occurred because he "was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast."

In December 2010, Gregory Lee Giusti was sentenced to a year and nine months in federal prison for threatening to destroy former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's home if she voted in support of the health care reform law.

During an interview with the local San Francisco ABC affiliate, Giusti's mother, Eleanor Giusti, stated that Fox News was a factor in her son's actions.

Here we have more of Beck’s racism documented by MediaMatters, showing the tip of the iceberg of Beck’s racist spew:

Beck said of the 2008 election: "You were voting for - not change, but change, I think, in race. You were like 'Hey, let's put this behind us.' I think a lot of people were there. They weren't necessarily for his policies because his policies and everything else are - what are they?"

"This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

"He chose to use his name, Barack, for a reason. To identify, not with America -- you don't take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical?"

“The health care bill is reparations. It's the beginning of reparations. He's going to give -- if you want to go into medical school, the medical schools will get more federal dollars if they have proven that they are putting minorities ahead."

"Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations. ...”

Throughout his career in Top 40 radio, Beck was known for his imitations of "black guy" characters and racist tropes. According to Beck's former colleagues in the late 90s, this included mocking unarmed blacks shot and killed by white police officers. Such was the case of Malik Jones, the victim of a controversial killing that took place in 1997.

"After the shooting, Beck sometimes did a racist shtick," remembers Paul Bass, a former radio host and Beck colleague at a Clear Channel station cluster in New Haven. "Glenn did routines about Jones' grandmother being on crack. Generally he made fun of his family and the loss of life--as joke routines."

Beck's racially tinged tirades did not disappear after he switched formats in 1999. During his first talk radio stint in Tampa, he often referred to the Rev. Jesse Jackson as "the stinking king of the race lords."

Beck forced to apologize for "mocking Asians." In 1995, Beck and his co-hosts at KC101 in Hartford, Connecticut were made to apologize for mocking an Asian man who called into the program. The Hartford Courant reported in October 20, 1995: "When [Zhihan] Tong telephoned WKCI- FM to protest the broadcast as a racial slur, disc jockeys Glenn Beck and Pat Grey made fun of him. The two played a gong in the background several times, and Papineau, the executive producer, mocked a Chinese accent."

On his June 4 radio program, Beck promoted The Red Network by Elizabeth Dilling, saying of the 1934 book: "This is a book -- and I'm a getting a ton of these -- from people who were doing what we're doing now. We now are documenting who all of these people are.

The Red Network is rife with racism and anti-Semitism. As Media Matters noted, Dilling's book contains numerous passages that espouse anti-Semitism and racism. At various points throughout the book, Dilling attacked "racial inter-mixture" as a communist plot, referred to "un-Christianized" "colored people" as "savages," called Hinduism and Islam "debasing and degrading," and blamed Nazi Germany's anti-Semitism on "revolutionary Russian Jews."

Dilling herself was a Nazi sympathizer. Dilling visited Germany in the late 1930s, and attended Nazi party meetings and praised Adolf Hitler's leadership. She also spoke at rallies hosted by U.S. Nazi organizations after the outbreak of World War II. Following the war, she leveled anti-Semitic attacks against several U.S. presidents, calling Dwight Eisenhower "Ike the Kike," attacking Richard Nixon for his "service to the synagogue," and calling John F. Kennedy's New Frontier program the "Jew frontier."

What do you know? The Daily Kos didn’t make this stuff up after all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

FOX (R): Again

Once again we hear this kind of race-baiting from FOX(R)’s Eric Bolling:

"It's not first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse."
"So what's with all the hoods in the hizzy?"

Obama Was "Chugging A Few 40's" instead of responding to the Joplin disaster.


So just how exactly are we to NOT see FOX(R) and the radical Right as racist?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Permanent War Powers?

It is always time for Constitutional patriots to pay attention to what happens in Washington DC. Now is one of the more urgent times.

Here’s the latest bulletin from the ACLU:

The House of Representatives recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains a reckless provision that would give the president — any president — the power to unilaterally take our country to war wherever, whenever and however he or she sees fit. The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin debating the NDAA next week,

The Senate Armed Services Committee is about to consider a new stealth law authorizing America to be in a worldwide war.

We are very concerned that one or more senators may try to sneak this new amendment authorizing worldwide war into the National Defense Authorization Act. As early as Wednesday, the committee may vote on the new amendment, which would give this president — and all future presidents — the sole power to send American service men and women into war anywhere and everywhere around the globe, wherever there is a terrorism suspect. There would be no more checks and balances on these critical war decisions. The worldwide war amendment would have no clear enemy, no expiration date, no geographical boundaries, and no connection to the 9/11 attacks or any other harm or threat to Americans.

It is shocking that Congress is entertaining such legislation at a time when many are looking to see an end to escalating conflict and abuses of power in the name of fighting terrorism.

The worldwide war amendment would have no clear enemy, no expiration date, no geographical boundaries, and no connection to the 9/11 attacks or any other harm or threat to Americans. Congress should not wholesale hand over to this president -- and all future presidents -- the authority that the Constitution gives to Congress alone to decide whether, where, and why the country will go to war. If this provision passes, there will be no more checks and balances on the use of the military.

The time is now to restore respect for the Constitution and the system of checks and balances. The decision to go to war is too important to be decided in a secret debate on an amendment to a much bigger bill, and Congress should not turn over all of its power to this president and all future presidents.

President Obama says he opposes this provision. Let's hope he means it. That was not true for the previous president and will likely not be true for the next president. If the National Defense Authorization Act passes with this provision, with enough votes to over-ride a veto, our Constitution will be gutted.

Call your senators, please. Now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Constitutional Meltdown Continues

Military action continues in Libya, despite the 60 day limit allowed by the 1973 War Powers Resolution. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has criticized legislators for avoiding confrontation with the President on the issue, saying Congress has become “not even a rubber stamp, but an irrelevancy”.

Tell us something new. Since being intimidated by Bush and Cheney’s “unitary executive” seizure of powers to make war, Congress has continued to abdicate its Constitutional duty.

Paul said, “The real hypocrisy of the conservative movement is that they claim to be such fans of the rule of law. But they sure aren’t willing to follow it, when it comes to how we go to war.”

I applaud him for this, and furthermore I’d substitute the word liberal for conservative and send the same message. We are suffering some serious Constitutional meltdown here, and both parties are to blame.

Poem For Sarah P.

The Midnight Ride of Sarah the Quitter

Gather 'round children and hear the tale
The one the Twit of the Tundra tells

Ride like the wind o'er hill and dale
And warn the British with shots and bells

Ding dong, pow pow
Listen to our song
Everything you thought
You knew is wrong

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Orwell wrote “Ignorance is strength” as a Party slogan in “1984”. It seems as if that is also an operating principle in our corporate media and education funding as well.

Newsweek featured a Citizenship test that amplifies this ignorance.

Here are a few disturbing examples:

Who’s in charge of the executive branch? The president. Correct: 73% Incorrect: 27%

Who did the United States fight in World War II? Japan, Germany, and Italy. Correct: 60% Incorrect: 40%

We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? Six. Correct: 39% Incorrect: 61%

Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government? To print money, to declare war, to create an army, or to make treaties. Correct: 19% Incorrect: 81%

How many justices are on the Supreme Court? Nine. Correct: 37% Incorrect: 63%

What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution? The Bill of Rights. Correct: 57% Incorrect: 43%

Yesterday was the 67th anniversary of D-Day, the allied invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. I wonder how many Americans are even aware of this.

Never mind who wrote the Federalist Papers, forget civics. Americans are fed more vital information.

While the corporate media was falling all over each other to cover non-issues like a congressman’s Twittering skivvies and another certain Twittering Twit of the Tundra’s blathering about Paul Revere’s “shots and bells” warning the British, five more Americans died in Iraq for George W. Bush’s war of choice.

Yes, indeed. Mission accomplished...as long as the mission was the enrichment of corporate cronies, and political capital for the re-election of a “war president” in 2004. Those Americans killed this week did not die to protect us or our freedoms. They are still paying the true cost in blood for Bush’s “crusade” for political gain that he openly admitted he desired, before the cronies on the Supreme Court strangled democracy and gave him the White House.

“One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it. If I have a chance to invade…, if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency.” – George W. Bush 1999

That “capital” was spent through Orwellian “war is peace” doublespeak on behalf of permanent war and the shredding of the Bill of Rights.

“I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace.” - George W. Bush

“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way..." – G. W. B. 4-20-04

But never mind all that. It’s “old news”. Let’s hear more about wieners, shots and bells. And isn’t it more important to hear politicians’ bickering about “values” and government debt while they continue to give tax breaks to the rich and austerity for the rest of us?

Above all, shouldn’t we focus on everything that is NOT about restoring peace, our educational system, our economy, our infrastructure, and our jobs?