Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thoughts about Anarchism

The word "Anarchist" is used with very different meanings depending upon who is talking. merriam-webster.com says "1) a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power. [That could be any teenager.] 2) one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order." That description could include George Washington, the Tea Party, as well as Che Guevara. It could also mean meatheads that get a thrill out of provoking a riot. I've noticed plants from White Supremacist camps who are charged with provoking a riot; these are also included in the definition of anarchist.   

But there are also non-violent Anarchists, who advocate the reduction of central government influence, and increased local control of government, by non-violent means. Non-violent anarchist used to be #3 in the dictionary meanings, but seems to have been purged. Often those from Europe and South America understand this aspect of Anarchism.

In other words, Anarchism is when the People take control of the government whether it be through violent means or by non-violent means. If this is true, then Anarchism may be the only true Democracy!.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Bonus Army Marches on Washington 1932 & 1933

Humanitarian, Herbert Hoover (R.), was renowned for feeding the starving European victims following the Great War, and coordinating private relief efforts after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.  During his tenure as President (1929-1933), 17,000 WWI veterans and their families, along with 26,000 civilians, marched on Washington DC in order to get the promised post-war bonus that had been postponed due to the Depression-related government’s lack of funds.  The 17,000 homeless, unemployed veterans were camped out across the Anacostia River close to the Capitol. 

Hoover’s Attorney General, William Mitchell, ordered the hobo camp removed.  General Douglas MacArthur and Major George Patton commanded military tanks and the cavalry to forcibly remove the Bonus Army, and burned the shanty town to the ground.  Military veterans, proud of their patriotic service, destitute and without medical insurance, 20% listed as disabled, saluted at attention as Patton and MacArthur approached.  Unexpectedly, they were slashed by sabers, shot, had their meager huts and crops trampled by tanks and burned to ashes.  This was a repeat of a less violent but similar incident in 1783 when veterans of the Continental Army marched on Philadelphia to receive the unfulfilled promise of their bonus pay.  Needless to say, Hoover lost his re-election bid later that year to a landslide victory for FDR.  

A similar march occurred a year later during the tenure of FDR.  Roosevelt ordered the homeless veterans fed 3 meals a day, sent his wife, Eleanor, to lunch in the shanty town, and had 25,000 of these veterans hired into the Civil Conservation Corps.  Yet, Roosevelt vetoed a bill to pay the bonuses early, but Congress overrode his veto, and the bonuses were paid.  

As demonstrated by Herbert Hoover, left to Republicans, the poor, homeless, disabled, and military veterans would be bulldozed into a mass grave because social services would be deemed “wasteful spending” and not profitable.  At least a Roosevelt Democrat would provide 3 square meals a day and give them jobs. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why We Left the USA - [I couldn't have said it better myself!]

Why We Left The United States:
Because on December 12, 2000, the United States Supreme Court nullified the results of a national election and installed George W. Bush as president. And then I saw millions of my fellow Americans deliriously happy the Rule of Law was broken by the Supreme Court of the Land so “their guy” could… “win.”  

That’s when I knew partisanship had ultimately won out over reality. More Americans believe in angels than election fraud. If millions of Americans could turn a blind eye to a stolen election, simply because their side stole it, and then have that coup legitimized by not only the Supreme Court… but by all of MainStreamMedia… then I knew the country I lived in was not the land of my birth.  

I can’t emphasize this enough. Millions of Americans were ecstatic that George W. Bush won regardless of how he won. Unquestioning blind partisanship was more important than the law to these people. But more ominous was MainStreamMedia ratifying the coup. At that moment Corporate Media proved they were committed to the destruction of our democratic republic. 

That was pretty scary to witness. We’ve all heard of similar ham-fisted tactics used in banana republics South of the border… but this was happening… here!

That’s when I began formulating my Crazy Stupid People Theorem. Whoever thought the Supreme Court’s decision was part and parcel with a “Normal Transfer of Power” was either Stupid, Crazy, or… Evil. Americans who didn’t know it was essentially a coup were either Stupid, or Crazy, or a little bit of both. If anyone knew it was an outright theft of Americans’ votes… and they were perfectly OK with that… well… what else could you call it other than Evil? The subversion of our right to choose our elected representatives strikes at the heart of our country’s founding principles. But again, and this is what continues to confound me, millions of Americans thought it was just fine and dandy.  

Along with millions of sane Americans… I didn’t “Move On.” I could not understand why it was so important the institutions Americans trusted most to protect its freedoms and principles had crammed George W. Bush down our throats.  

Then 234 days into Bush’s first term as president … the attacks of September 11th 2001.  And from that day on… everything the Bush/Cheney regime did to distort and transform the United States of America into something… unrecognizable… was because of 9/11.  It all came down to 9/11… period. The buck stopped there.  

And as we were all walking around in a daze, coated with the ash of human beings and pulverized concrete, we were spun into the Ultimate War Crime; wars of aggression. As Chris Hedges wrote, “ … We became what we abhorred. The deaths were used to justify pre-emptive war, invasion, Shock and Awe, prolonged occupation, targeted assassinations, torture, offshore penal colonies, gunning down families at checkpoints, massive aerial bombardments, drone attacks, missile strikes and the killing of dozens, and soon hundreds, and then thousands, and later tens of thousands, and finally hundreds of thousands of innocent people.“  

Then the dawning realization… the 9/11 trigger mechanism that caused Hell on Earth for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq… was a grotesque lie. [YEAH!] This was the ultimate Horror piled upon horror. 

Hundreds upon hundreds of statements from members of the Senior Military and Intelligence Services, Law Enforcement, Government Officials, Engineers, Architects, Pilots and Aviation Professionals, Professors, 9/11 Survivors and Family Members, Artists, Entertainers, and Media Professionals, are on record saying the Official Account of 9/11 is: "False", “Impossible”, “A Bunch of Hogwash”, “Total B.S.”, “Ludicrous”, “A Well-Organized Cover-up”, “A White-Washed Farce”, “Absurd”, "Fatally Flawed", "Not Possible.”  

The lies the Bush/Cheney Regime told us that led our country into The Ultimate War Crime were predicated upon the lies the government previously told us about the attacks of 9/11.  

As Ralph Lopez wrote, “The biggest problem with the 9/11 Truth Movement is where it leads: a place dark and evil beyond imagination. …when hundreds of American military officers, pilots, engineers, and CIA veterans stepped forward to say they believed the official story to be a monstrous lie, I was shaken to the core. …The conspiracies led to the deep dark hole that we are ruled by criminal psychopaths."  

This is about as bad as it gets. We knew the government covered up how and why 3,000 people died on 9/11, and then went on to use the attacks as an excuse to do everything we find reprehensible today. And again… corporate media ran cover for the government.
If we can’t believe the government’s cover-up, we’re left with three options:
  • Conclusion One: They Made It Happen.
  • Conclusion Two: They allowed it to happen.
Or …
  • Conclusion Three: The attacks of 9/11 were possible because of massive incompetence on the part of the Bush/Cheney Regime.
If Incompetence is the least offensive rationale to explain the actions of the Bush/Cheney regime, then… why has there been no accountability?  

Involuntary manslaughter is an unintentional killing that happens during the commission of a misdemeanor or because of gross negligence or carelessness. According to Federal sentencing guidelines, Involuntary Manslaughter is punishable by 6 years in prison.  

Shouldn’t someone (or a lot of someones) from the Bush/Cheney Regime be prosecuted for the gross negligence that led to the deaths of almost 3,000 people?  Not in post-9/11 America.

But while we struggled to map out just exactly what a post-9/11 America looked like… another stolen presidential election knocked us to our knees.
We knew it was stolen in Ohio. We knew how it was stolen. [Kerry had ample funds left over from his campaign to pay for a recount or an investigation and refused to challenge the results in Ohio.]  And once again the corporate media buried the truth by ignoring it.  And the blind partisan Crazy Stupid People rejoiced in the prospect of “Four More Years” of the Bush/Cheney Regime.  

Throughout it all the majority of Sane Americans made the same strategic blunder over and over and over again. We were used to signing petitions and having protest marches. We treated these people like they were politicians. But the Bush/Cheney gang were not politicians. They were Gangsters and Thugs. Politicians periodically bend to the will of the people. Thugs. Don’t. Care. These people wipe their ass with petitions. When Dick Cheney was told that two-thirds of Americans said the war in Iraq was not worth it, Cheney replied, "So?"

That’s who we were dealing with. Gangsters who completely ignored the will of the people. We could write all we want, and call all we want, and demonstrate all we want… but by following their rules… we had the unlimited freedom to be ineffectual.  

The Republican Machine, aided and abetted by Corporate Media, stole the presidency of the United States twice. Together they started two wars and have killed over a million people. How could we think they would back off and play nice because we all wrote scathing e-mails or marched in protests? They were Thugs. We were supposed to arrest Thugs, put them on trial, and if guilty, put them in jail. But we didn’t do that.  

We decided to "hope" instead. We hoped the Bush/Cheney Regime wouldn’t completely destroy the country before 2008. We hoped the same corrupt voting systems that delivered us George W. Bush would magically allow us the autonomy to elect someone to save us from “the Evil-doers.” We hoped a Constitutional law professor would restore the Constitution. But most of all we hoped, for the first time in living memory, that a politician would deliver on his campaign promises.  [Hope is a feel-good emotion that ignores the current facts and promotes a delusion as something positive.]  [George Bush also ran on "hope and change" in 2000.  Doesn't anyone else remember but me???] 

The policies of the Bush/Cheney Regime are still in place under the Obama administration. We still have the wars of aggression and occupation. Innocent people are still killed every day. We still hold prisoners in Guantanamo Bay who after almost ten years have yet to be charged or tried for any crime. The Bush/Cheney/Obama Regimes have given away trillions of dollars to people who engineered the largest financial swindle in recorded history. And they, along with our honest-to-god war criminals, continue to walk free, unindicted, unaccountable, and above the law.  

As Michael in NY wrote you in October 2009, “ … my belief is that the American system has lost its capacity for reform.” I’ll take that to the next step… the American system has lost its capacity to govern! Corporate interests under the guise of Partisanship über alles

And as Paul Craig Roberts wrote the other day, “Obama regime appointee Cass Sunstein, a Chicago and Harvard Law School professor, thinks the 9/11 movement, for challenging the official “truth”, should be infiltrated by US intelligence agents in order to shut down the fact-based doubters of government propaganda. When a law professor at our two most prestigious law schools wants to suppress scientific evidence that challenges government veracity, we know that in America respect for truth is dead. The notion that a country in which truth is dead is a “light unto the world” is an absurdity.”  [Don't forget, the Milton Friedman Neo-Liberal school of economics also comes from Chicago, a city famous for their gangster culture.] 

I find that nothing short of terrifying. And real solutions are nonexistent.
And so… after 10 long years, and finally having enough money… we left. It may be completely illusory, but it feels like we have a future here. It feels more substantial than… hope. It feels like we finally have come home.
Regards,  Bob

And in reply, added this:
Well, ever since the Marbury v. Madison case of the early eighteen hundreds, our Supreme Court has systematically taken more & more power from the other two branches of government (the Executive & Legislative) that was never voted on, never introduced as ideas or legislation, and has never been challenged.

We worry about money in politics and poverty or apathy? We should worry and be angry about our nine (well really five) kings in black robes

Our interpretation of law by inserting unanswered and focused, partisan direction through precedent has led to the damaged and broken version of this idea call the United States of America we accept today. Unfortunately, from our failed education system through monetary starvation and our monopoly media Republican propaganda delivery system, the very people that can, and should demand the return of rule of law through legislation don't even know that it is they, not an ethereal they (the government) that need to demand this be reversed. It can be done, and maybe some day, it will be. Or not.

The one thing that gives me some hope is this. This nation, these United States of America, this constitutionally limited, democratically elected, representative republic is the only one of its kind in the entire history of man that was founded on an idea, not through genetics or geography. As an idea cannot be destroyed, it will stand through all of this. But, an idea can be repressed and/or perverted. It is our legacy and responsibility to restore this grand experiment, this honorable idea of the governance of a society through the strength of our example of human rights and self respect must be restored if this is not to falter and become something studied for its demise and not for its collective desire to strive toward 'a more perfect union'.

Its up to us, the we, in We the People, to change this back to the foundation that we started out with where there were three equal, branches of government ...

... not nine kings & queens  in robes dictating to their subjects what they will or will not do. This is precisely what we fought back against in the first place when we declared our independence from England.  Ironic, really, don't you think?

"A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for a second; that second for a third; and so on, till the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sin and suffering."  --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

Monday, September 05, 2011

My third visit to the Tea Party - The Threat of Islam to America

Today, August 18, 2011, the Ukiah Valley Patriots featured a speaker from the Bay Area named Peter Friedman.  He claims to have studied Islam for over 40 years.  His 2-hour lecture was entitled, "The Threat of Islam to America."  He introduced himself as a good Conservative, having had the opportunity to fly Reagan around during his election campaign. 

Mr. Friedman began by admitting that he is scared of Nazis and Muslims.  He declares that Yasser Arafat's uncle, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, sent 23,000 Muslims to work with the German SS during WWII. Therefore, all Muslims are a threat.  He conflated Auschwitz with Islam.  He claims that the Hamas charter names the Rotary Club, Lions & Freemasons as enemies of Islam.  His website is called: www.islamthreat.com.  

Mr. Friedman conveyed his outrage that the California city of Santa Clara gave permission to build a mosque in which an imam calls Muslims to prayer five time per day.  He repeatedly played the sound to the audience of an imam calling people to prayer.  To me, it brought memories back of magical and holy days living in Udawatekele, Sri Lanka, in which the call to prayer down in the valley echoed up through the hermitage where I was meditating in the hilly jungle.  Mr. Friedman compared the sound to a dog caterwauling.  It this point, it became very apparent to me that Peter Friedman was fomenting blind hate.  

He outlined the 4 stages of the organized plan of the Islamic Conquest:
  1. Infiltration
  2. Consolidation of Power
  3. Open War
  4. Totalitarian Islamic Theocracy
He went on to express outrage at New Jersey's Governor Christie appointing a Muslim judge.  Now we have Sharia Law in New Jersey! he exclaimed.  My unspoken response was to silently ask, Do Christian and Jewish judges bring Bible law?  If so, I presume he would agree with that as a good and normal thing.  Do Chinese judges bring Buddhist, Taoist or Confucian law to the bench?  Now that the Supreme Court consists totally of Catholics and Jews, would Mr. Friedman find that objectionable?  I was under the assumption that our law is based on English Common Law codified by Henry II in the 1160's, followed about 55 years later by the Magna Carta.  Not wanting to disrupt his build up of hate, I remained silent.  Friedman added that the Constitution is based on Biblical law. 

Friedman gave examples of the first step, Infiltration, by siting that Muslims are going around during this economic downturn buying up distressed properties.  He claimed that Rupert Murdock is buying into the Mideast media market, and therefore had to get rid of Glen Beck who presented an obstacle to the lucrative deal.  He added that the Holy Land Foundation was laundering money for Hamas.  During the bust, they found a road map on their computer composed by the Muslim Brotherhood of all US operatives.  Posing more examples of infiltration, he claimed that the Muslim Student Association runs San Francisco State University, and beats up Jews on campus.  Friedman concluded this portion of his lecture by conflating the 501(c)(3) status of a religious mosque with the "fact" that all Muslims speak political speech is designed  to overthrow the government of the USA.  

I could take it all in up to this point because I haven't studied this topic very much, and I didn'tknow the extent of the veracity of his facts.  But then he went on saying, "King Obama is full of crap!"  Since Obama's father and grandfather are both Muslims, therefore, Obama must be a Muslim.  Claiming to be a Christian makes Obama an apostate.  Friedman went on to say some very disrespectful things about President Obama that were so inflammatory that it discredited anything else he had to say.  

He went on to talk about Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, identifying it as the home of the Muslim Brotherhood. President Nasser made the Brotherhood illegal in Egypt, and then survived 2 assassination attempts.  Then he described the American educated Muslim fundamentalist, Sayd Qutb, who published a book called "Milestones" for which he was arrested and was martyred by hanging in 1966.  Friedman showed a convoluted chart reminiscent of Glen Beck showing all the connections which prove the Muslims conspiracy to take over America, promulgated by the Al Qaeda magazine called "Inspire." 

Friedman stated that the World Trade Center got hit on 9/11 to commemorate the 1683 defeat of the Ottoman Empire's invasion of Europe.  He didn't mention that Salvador Allende was assassinated by the CIA-backed coup in Chile also on 9/11.  

Friedman states that Obama said in a speech that Islam has always been a part of American history.  He asked, did any Muslims come over on the Mayflower?  He has a copy of a letter signed by both Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton from 1785 asking Ambassador Lamb why Muslims feel hostile toward Christians.  Although Jefferson had a Koran in his library, he was studying it to know his enemy.  

Friedman claims there are 35 known terrorist training camps in the USA, two of which are located in California.  Muslims believe every word in the Koran because they believe it comes straight from the One God.  I thought to myself, so do fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Jews of the Bible.  And so do Mormons of their books.  Friedman exclaims that Islam is a cult!  (I hear some Christians say the same thing about the LDS church.) 

The main message of the Koran is world domination of all non-Muslims.  Book 9, v. 29: "...fight all those who do not believe in Islam, unless they pay the tax (jizya).  Jihad is mandated in the Koran.  Allah means the One God.  Juihad means slaying Jews and Christians.  Greater jihad is an internal struggle; lesser jihad involves killing infidels.  Takiya is sacred lying in order to advance Islam. 

Friedman asks, "Can a Muslim be a trustworthy American?"  NO!  Why do we even have Muslims in the army???  The first war ever fought in the new nation was against the Barbary Pirates (Muslims).  The average IQ in the Middle East is about 70 due to inbreeding.  The Koran commands Muslims to beat their disobedient women.  (The Bible commands us to beat our disobedient children right in the town square, as well as stone to death: 1) a virgin who is raped but doesn't call out for help, 2) the rapist, 3) a homosexual, 4) someone who works on the Sabbath, 5) anyone who takes you to the house of worship of another religion, 6) anyone who even talks to you about another religion, 7) perpetrator of incest, 8) bestiality, 9) cursing your parent, 10) necromancy, 11)witchcraft, 12) snake worship, 13) child sacrifice.)  The Koran even forbids making friends with non-Muslims.  Our local judges are afraid to insult a Muslim, and therefore end up with Sharia law.  Our laws are based on the Bible.  "Hindus don't have a holy book."  Therefore, Islam and Democracy can't co-exist!  The Smith Act of 1940 makes the overthrow of the US Government a felony.  

It was offensive and crazy that they allowed Congressman Kieth Ellison to swear his oath of office on a Koran.  Friedman then conflated Congressman Ellison with a terrorists (for being Muslim), and implied that he is violating the RICO laws.  If Iraq is a Muslim nation, and our RICO laws make it illegal to aid or assist aliens into the country for the purpose of terrorism, and all Muslims are terrorists by definition, then WHAT ARE WE DOING IN IRAQ???

The Arab Spring has brought about a "peaceful revolution" in Cairo, but they have no idea what democracy is!  Especially with an IQ of 70.  "There is an unholy alliance between Liberals and Muslims in the USA.  Liberals are using Muslims to do their dirty work,"... and Muslims are exploiting the opportunity with Liberals with intention to crush them later.  

Mr. Friedman mentioned that his lecture is prohibited in UK due to the risk of inciting people to violence.  Having mentioned the Sermon on the Mount and Christ's proscription to "Love thine enemies," I asked him if he loves his enemies.  He replied, "I'm not a Christian; I'm a Jew."  I said to him that his angry tone of voice could very well incite someone to violence.  He retorted, "Well, Yeah!"  

As the lecture ended, Duane, the MOC, came up to me and asked, "Why do you even come to these meetings?  To collect dirt on us?"  I replied, "To form a massive coalition in order to restore democracy to our federal government."  But I was thinking that Duane must have a guilty conscience if he thinks there is dirt to collect at his meetings.  Certainly, these 2 hours of hate could be considered "dirt."  

The chaplain of the local prison was a member of the crowd.  After the lecture, he complemented me on my good question about loving one's neighbors.  I was surprised to see a man of the cloth in a crowd of hate mongers.  He never even said a single word to stop this tirade of hate.  He was joined by the man who says the beginning and final invocations to Jesus Christ at all these Tea Party meetings.  I asked him why he prays to Jesus Christ when not everyone in the room is a Christian.  He replied something about the father, son and holy ghost, and the holy ghost applies to everyone.  I asked how, if he is a Christian, that he could tolerate so much hate toward Muslims.  He was surprised at that question because it was so obvious to him, Muslims deserve it because they are attacking us.  And when I joked about how these Christians are always badmouthing these other Christians, he agreed that the Catholics are the anti-Christ, and the Mormons are a cult.  

Even 2 weeks after this meeting, I am still reeling from the hate fomented by Peter Friedman, and by the 30 people in that room who all agreed with him, including the chaplain and the praying Christian. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My letter to President Obama

President Obama,
I am profoundly disappointed in your recent budget negotiations with the House Republicans.  You never even put the People's Budget of the Congressional Progressive Caucus on the table for consideration.  You didn't even follow your numerous campaign promises.  You have sold out to the Neo-con dream of turning the USA into a banana republic to the detriment of the Common Good. 

I strongly disagree with removing the Constitutional mandate of determining a budget by the House of Representatives, and instead having the future binding budget negotiated by a small committee.  NO WAY!  I expect the small committee will be made up of Neo-cons from both sides of the aisle. 

I ASSURE YOU THAT I WILL NEVER AGAIN VOTE FOR YOU.  In fact, I don't even want to be a Democrat. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

Rabbi Michael Lerner re: Debt Crisis

A Note From Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun Magazine 7/30/11
      "Instead of being such a wimp, Obama could even now simply announce the following plan for what will happen if the debt limit isn't reached: he will pay the social security, medicare and other benefits to those Congressional districts whose representatives voted to raise the debt limit and not to those which did not. And similarly all other federal services. Military installations in the Congressional districts whose representatives did not vote for the raising of the limit will be immediately shut, and all military personnel outside the U.S., starting with Iraq and Afghanistan, will be ordered to return to the U.S.  They play hardball, so could a progressive Democrat, if we happened to have one in office, which we don't.  If the Supreme Court ordered him to not follow this path, he could tell them to enforce it on their own, because he has the Constitutional responsibility to defend the U.S., and this is the best way to do so."  

I think Rabbi Lerner's idea about NOT paying SS or Medicare in the districts that voted to cut benefits, is a GREAT IDEA! He must have learned from the shenanigans of Governor Scott Walker who, no sooner than the picture ID voter registration law passed,  promptly closed the DMV offices in Democratic districts, and used the money saved to extend DMV hours in Republican districts.  

Personally, I disagree with the revered Rabbi about ordering military personnel home.  I think the part about all military personnel outside the U.S. be ordered home is the correct action right here and right now, NOT only if the Congress votes us deeper into debt.  As a successful manager of money, I understand the concept of cash flow.   Debt is a risk that needs to be taken short term and only if there is no other way to pay.  Solving a deficit crisis with more deficits is nuts.  That's reminiscent of the folks who refinanced their mortgages in order to put money in their pockets to continue to make their mortgage payments.  Everyone I know who did this all lost their homes.   

The one biggest place we are bleeding money is in military and security spending, not entitlements.  Let's not get the nation deeper into debt or bankrupt in order to enrich the war profiteers.  END WAR NOW AND BALANCE THE BUDGET! 


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ruminations about cutting the deficit

The way I see it, the founding fathers established the Constitution in order to form a more perfect union dedicated not only to providing for the common defense, but equally to promote general welfare, insure domestic tranquility,  and secure the blessings of liberty to all of us.  Right in the Preamble to the Constitution are 2 words that Tea Partiers and Neo-Cons* hate, unions and welfare! 

Our government was established to serve the People, not for profit.  Yet, our members of Congress are currently planning to reduce the budget deficit by cutting services to the people and protecting corporate profits, which is not only unconstitutional, but also unethical. 

As I see it, the Neo-Cons and Tea Partiers plan to bankrupt the US Government thereby subverting the Constitution, and then exploit the natural and human resources of America without limits until they are depleted.  As I see it, nearly every member of Congress on both sides of the aisle is conspiring in this plan.  If not, why else do they continue to approve deficit war spending, as they did just a few weeks ago?

Our founding fathers never planned on having standing armies.  The Neo-cons have been planning to take over the world using the military might of the USA ever since they posted that plan a decade ago on the website of the Project for a New American Century.  So now, the USA is funding 3 foreign wars and at least one domestic war (war on drugs), massive bases all over the world, a security network that sucks $Billions every week from secret budgets, all funded by debt. 

Until NAFTA and CAFTA, half of the US Government revenues came from import tariffs.  Having eliminated half of government revenues with "free trade," and thwarted financial regulations with Neo-Liberal** economic policies, and now the Neo-Cons are further shrinking revenues by reducing taxes for the rich, they want to cut the most successful government programs in history, Social Security & Medicare, and increase the debt ceiling to borrow more money to fund the endless profitable wars. 

Our government is mandated to serve the people, not bankrupt our economy enriching corporate war profiteers. 

If you believe in Peace, and want Peace in your life, in your community, in your country, and in the world, then it is time to call your members of Congress and tell them to reduce the deficit by ending war.  Three phone calls won't do much; so then you have to vote with your feet by showing up in massive numbers at demonstrations. 

A journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.  Ancient Chinese Proverb

 * "Neo-Con" is supposedly short for Neo-Conservative.  But I see it for what it is, the New Con.  I'm going to coin a new word, "CONDAR," the ability to detect a con job.  My condar is very sensitive to con men. 

** "Neo-liberal" is Orwellian Double-Speak for the freedom to consolidate ownership of the means of production into the fewest hands by busting unions, cutting benefits, and transferring public services into private hands for profit off the People's dime.  Founding father was Milton Friedman.  Historical first success of Neo-Liberal Economics was Chile under Pinochet. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Truth, the environmentalist

 I posted an ad on the local BB for riders to go to the Rainbow Gathering.  My first reply was from a person named Truth. 

Truth:  Hi there- just wanted to let you know that air conditioning causes holes in the ozone layer. being a  rainbow person i thought you might want to know that. blessings-Truth

Bodhi:  Only when it leaks out of the  pipes.  At a certain recent historical point, they stopped using freon and now use a less damaging refrigerant.  Why?  As a Rainbow Person, you don't use a refrigerator?  You use an ice box and buy a new ecological block of ice every day?  The refrigerant in your refrigerator will cut holes in the ozone layer also. 
In Peace, Bodhi

Truth:  Dear Bodhi, Hey,  I wasn't being snarky when sharing that info with you-I thought you might want to know.I am sorry that my email seems to have upset you. Your reply was filled with snark though, and that's kind of sad. I have a sun frost solar powered fridge btw and it doesn't use freon, it uses a different refrigerant which does not make holes in the ozone. And before I could afford the fridge, I had my cooler buried in a creekbed. But I truly was not trying to out "planetarily correct" you. I thought I was being friendly. 

Sister Truth,
No offense taken at all.  I found your need to tell me amusing.  It is true that you have gone a long way to have a more ecological refrigerator.  I hope your solar refrigerator runs on sulfur dioxide or anhydrous ammonia; if not, it probably is loaded with the same or similar less damaging refrigerant as the air conditioner in my late model car. 

It is false that air conditioning cuts holes in the ozone layer.  Freon refrigerant, when released into the atmosphere, cuts holes in the ozone layer.  Freon refrigerant, contained within an intact refrigerant system, whether air conditioning or refrigerator or freezer, does not cut holes in the ozone layer.  Freon is no longer used since 1995, and other similar chlorofluorohydrocarbons are being phased out.  Nowadays, refrigerant is usually a blend of less damaging chlorofluorohydrocarbons. 

Sorry.  I'm a bit dumb witted and you need to be specific when you speak to me.  When you say, "just wanted to let you know that air conditioning causes holes in the ozone layer," then I think, Truth thinks that running an intact air conditioner will cut holes in the ozone layer.  She must be either exaggerating or has been ill informed.  She probably means that freon escaping from broken refrigerant systems have cut a major hole in the ozone layer that has damaged the Earth.  She may not know that legislation was passed almost a decade ago to outlaw some CFHCs and phase out others while funding research to develop new safer refrigerant alternatives.  I wonder if Truth has a refrigerator?  I wonder if Truth knows that there is a refrigerant in it, most likely the same one that is in my late model car air conditioner.  Other possibilities are: she is homeless and has no refrigerator, she uses an ice box, she lives off the grid at high altitude and drops her food into a box in the river, she has a totally ecological refrigerator.  The most likely alternative was that she had a regular refrigerator and didn't realize that it uses refrigerant also. 

You saw my ad for a rider to the Gathering but you don't need a ride there.  You noticed that a Rainbow sister uses air conditioning.  You know there is an ingredient in air conditioners known for damaging the ozone layer.  You assumed that I was either a Rainbow hypocrite with a cavalier attitude about environmental damage, or I was ignorant about how refrigerants can do environmental damage.  You assumed that all air conditioners always damage the ozone layer.  You conflated the potential for refrigerant leaks with the fact that refrigerants have done damage.  You assumed that the dangerous ones that caused the alarm and did most of the damage, and continue to damage the ozone layer even though they were removed from circulation almost a decade ago.  Taking the good natured course, you chose to educate me of a piece of information with love and kindness in your heart. 

As a chronic asthmatic, I used inhalers.  One day, about 20 years ago, I noticed that the propellant inside my life-saving medicine was freon!  That meant that I and every asthmatic on the planet was exhaling freon into the atmosphere every day!  I began a letter writing campaign that lasted about 7 years.  Now look around you.  Freon propelled inhalers have all been replaced. 

I am delighted to see a blossoming of a whole new generation of Rainbow youths.  I love to see the rainbow colors, the dreadlocks, the health food and vegetarianism, the lack of consumerism and instead a sense of reverence for Mother Earth.  I love it!  But here's my gripe. 

About 85% of Rainbow youths smoke tobacco.  A few years ago, I asked some young brothers and sisters why they smoked.  I got answers like: "Oh! It's American Spirit.  It has no additives." Or, "I pick up every single cigarette butt."  I was perplexed that they could justify the damage to their own immediate and long term health with such flimsy excuses.  One possibility was that they had been sold a bill of goods by some advertizing agency. 

I thought, how could an marketer capture an entire market niche of Rainbow youths if they don't watch TV or read magazines, and cigarette billboards are outlawed most places?  If I were a tobacco company advertizer, and I wanted to sell to a market niche, how would I promote my product?  PLANTS!  I would put plants in places where that market niche congregates and have them give out cigarettes for free, like they did to the Armed Forces in WWII. 

At last year's Gathering, I looked for tobacco company plants.  I saw one spaced out youth, all dressed in tie dies with a bandana around his head, and a 5lb can of loose tobacco hanging from a strap behind his neck with an endless supply of rolling papers wandering throughout the camps giving out smokes. He was reminiscent of the beautiful girls who carried trays of smokes slung by a strap around the back of their neck, around at events and restaurants in the 30's.  I never spoke to him. 

But there was an older woman, also dressed in beads, bracelets, and tie dies, replete with bandana around her head, who looked to me like a washed up drunk.  She sat not far from main circle, right off one of the main paths, sitting behind a booth where she gave out and endless supply of cigarettes.  She had a deep throaty cough, probably due to her chain smoking.  I could understand why you would want to get a cigarette from that other cute youth, but who would want to approach this sad, coughing woman to get a free cigarette?  I chatted with her for a while, and then asked if she was a plant from a tobacco company.  She was taken aback.  She looked at me with outrage and shame, but didn't answer my question.

I am perplexed that health food, environmentalist Rainbow youths all seem to smoke tobacco.  They know the bad effects to their health, but may not know that they are being exploited by profiteering capitalists to enrich heartless corporations.  I asked so many blossoming Rainbow youths why they smoke, and the best answer was that "It's cool!" 

Be honest with me, Truth, do you smoke tobacco?
In Peace, Bodhi

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A discussion of Mother India with friend Madhukar

 Madhukar brought up 'ADVAITA-SPEAK,' a frequent practice among the advocates of Advaita.  He contested that only those who practice what they preach have any meaning to their words.  Madhukar is an American with east Indian heritage, and a fellow traveler and Buddhist. 

  • Bodhi: I noticed in India that a popular pass time for devout men was to discuss the true meanings of the Sanskrit slokas. I found they discussed it ad nauseum, but didn't incorporate the meaning into their lives. I know India has changed a lot since I was there. Are the high minded men still doing that, Madhukar? You're there.

    When I was there, women would wake up before dawn, get the fire going, grind the flour, make the chappatis and aloo sabji, and in Kashmir, they heated up the water for the men's hot baths. Then she would feed the men, clean up after breakfast, immediately begin cooking lunch, and have lunch ready by 10:30am. Then they might pack a lunchbox, and send the children to dad's work with a hot lunch. After lunch she would sweep the floor, shine the cooking pots, and cow/deer dung the floor and walls. Then she would take the laundry to the water hole which could be a stream, a "tank," a government spigot in the middle of town, a well, or up in the Himalayas, a spring. She would wash the laundry at the water hole, bathe herself and her baby, then fill up several large jars. With the help of other women, she would stack the jars on a woven grass ring on her head 2-3 jugs high, grab the laundry with one hand, and the freshly bathed baby in the other hand, and haul the water & clean laundry back home, sometimes several miles. Then she might go shop for an ounce of oil to cook supper, and a few vegetables, and collect firewood or cow pods. While she did all this, men would sit around smoking bidis and playing dice, reading the newspaper and sipping tea, or reciting their favorite Sanskrit slokas to argue the true meanings with a friend. Is it still like that?

  • Madhukar: firstly---i am no longer in India; having returned a few months back to the States. but i did live there and in Nepal for 3 years. with 7 other trips before that as well....and---i would have to say that, YES--it is that way exactly still---in the hinterland. its fundamentally a patriarchal society--for all its Devi worship and Divine Mother worship. i have had to work my way thru all this --- one step at a time--reading, interviewing, cajoling, and making friends with folks---and at first accepting, then rejecting and finally resolving and blowing out the backside of the thing. to project my own system or 'mores' on another culture---is as totally bogus, as the presumptions that many have that in america the streets are paved with gold and that we are all depraved materialistic hedonistic sex maniacs. it is good to wrestle with all these things --- and see other cultures and the our own thru their eyes---which is an EYE OPENER as well. in many respects---in the hinterland of India---not much has changed for 5000 years---except they have cell phones now. and tractors. but when i first arrived 11 years ago--- i harvested potatoes behind a waterbuffalo with a wooden plow---just like it was 500 years ago.... India has changed more in the last 10 years---than in the previous 100. it will all trickle down as the middle class grows. yes---i can critique mother India --because i love her---just as i can critique my own country---- i just want a better and more just life for everyone.
  • Madhukar: ...and regarding these so-called 'men of religion'--- i understand and completely 'get' your point. i would feel the same if i saw that here in an american judeo-christian patriarchal society as well.
  • Bodhi:  Exactly!
  • Bodhi: My mom and dad came to see me in Budh-Gaya. They hoped to convince me to return to the USA with them. My meditation teacher, Anagarika Munindraji, took us for a walk to some smaller nearby villages. My parents were tired and rested on a low wall. Beyond the wall was a long stretch of paddy fields, each small plot with a rammed earth wall around it. There was an intricate system of gullies and spouts from higher fields to lower ones. On the high end near the wall, there was a well with a unique device for pulling up the water. There was a large fulcrum holding up a long pole, not centered. On the short end was bound a large boulder. On the long end, was a long rope with a 1-2 gal bucket fasted on. A withered and bent old man with a rag tied around his brow, was pulling one small bucket after another out of the well and pouring it into the top of the gully. In other words, this single old man was planning to flood acres of paddy fields bucket by bucket. My parents were awestruck!

    They sent me to ask him in Maghahi language if he would rather live in the USA? He replied, "What for? Life is good right here." (Btw, I can't remember not one single word in Maghahi.)

  • Madhukar: Ah! 'what for?--"life is good right here! i understand...♥

Friday, May 20, 2011

My Second Visit to the Tea Party

The meeting began with a report from the Republican Party meeting.  Supervisor Pinches had been there and described the budget shortfall issue.  One way the county is reducing costs is by cutting jobs via attrition, which in turn reduces county services.   He reports even the unions have agreed to take 10% pay cuts. The reporter impassioned that we need to generate more business in the county to generate more government revenues.

At this point, one member pointed out that there was a “non-member” present.  He overlooked the fact that there were 5 non-members present.  He called out my name and said that I had written bad things about this group.  He asked the leader to call me out.  I asked if this was a members only group?  The leader said this group is open to the public and non-members were welcome.  I apologized to the man for saying anything that had slighted him.  He responded that he was not personally slighted, but the group had been.  I made a mental note to shake his hand and apologize directly after the meeting.  I sought a non-offensive approach to ask him what I had said that was untrue, harmful, or malicious. 

The next topic: how to contact your elected officials. The group leaders had been to a “Wright Online” seminar.  They had prepared a series of handouts to share from the seminar, the first of which was distributed tonight.  They were very well organized and made a lot of very good suggestions on communicating with one’s government representative. I love that they suggested starting each letter with “Honorable…” I start my letters like that, just as I was instructed in my school years long ago.  I haven’t seen anyone address a letter to a legislator like that for years, except for myself.  I often think, have we lost all respect for our elected representatives?  Then I respond to myself, Well, Yeah! There’s hardly a handful of elected representatives that haven’t sold out to the corporate industrial war profiteers! 

Someone said that letters in the post have to be inspected for anthrax and therefore take a long time.  I threw in that you could fax your letter.  The leader agreed that a letter could take 3 weeks to arrive on the desk of your elected representative.  It is better to call.  He gave an excellent instruction of whom to ask for and what to say about your point. 

Anyway, I made a suggestion about calling local numbers instead of calling Washington DC; local numbers are rarely closed or overloaded, and you still just talk to an aide.  The speaker took my suggestion as a hostile criticism although I thought I was agreeing and enhancing his point. He was giving the group a great grass-roots democratic lesson.  He mentioned that it is best to see your legislator face to face.  After respectfully speaking your mind, you then hand them a written statement of your issue.  Great suggestion! 

The next issue discussed was the Redistricting Plan of northern California.  The leader presented his original unique redistricting plan, which made a lot of sense.  Since I haven’t given redistricting much thought, I couldn’t take a stand for or against his plan.  It seemed to be logical to divide voting districts by county.  There was a big important meeting happening tomorrow in Santa Rosa.  At our last election, we voted that a citizen’s committee would carry out the redistricting rather than the majority party in the legislature.  Tomorrow will be the northern California public hearings of the Citizen’s Council and this Tea Party group leader asked for support to accompany him to submit his unique plan at the Santa Rosa City Council Chambers. 

The plan is to split Mendocino County from Sonoma County and not have to deal with Sonoma County environmentalists or big money interests of vineyards, and also to get rid of Mike Thompson. Then, the Secretary began using crude language while she was presenting the plan, and speaking in unsubstantiated generalizations. She even apologized for her language but justified it because she was so tired that she couldn’t think of the correct words to use.  I worked to maintain my equanimity and remain open and non-judgmental.

As the 2 leaders explained the plan, I gleaned that the Tea Party wants to split high population areas from rural areas, and not split counties.  By keeping whole counties as intact voting blocks, they could avoid “Voting Rights bullshit.” I was taken aback that anyone could think that a law to protect the right to vote would be considered bullshit.  The requirement for redistricting plan proposals was to keep "communities of interest" together. The Tea Party leader explained that the logging, ranching, and mineral interests in northern California were very different from the manufacturing and environmental interests of the high population areas like Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.  The plan had obviously taken a lot of work and had some logic and merit.  I really admired their excellent motivational force and organizing.

I further gleaned from the ensuing discussion that the members of the Tea Party consider themselves to be conservatives positioned against the leftists: progressives and socialists. The leader explained that he doesn't care about Democrats or Republicans. I thought that was an excellent declaration! 

An example of how his redistricting plan could benefit the county is the long advocated Willits Bypass of Highway 101. When a finite amount of money goes to a district, the legislature has to decide how to carve up the pie. They would normally allot the funds to a high population area instead of a rural area since, by force of population density, it would benefit more people. As such, the bypass has been delayed for a decade. This issue would be resolved with his simple redistricting plan. 

It is true that Mike Thompson has a very large and unusual district making up parts of several counties and widely diverse populations from liberal environmentalist to redneck, urban to rural, ranchers to lumberjacks, vineyards to pot growers.  Representative Thompson often sites the difficulty of balancing the needs of the many diverse groups that he represents.  The members of the Tea Party mentioned that they would be glad to see Thompson go.  Another person volunteered that Thompson could still run for office even if he didn’t live within the district.  The leader concurred. 

The final topic was the rising price of gasoline.  The Secretary emphasized that it was due totally because Obama has restricted offshore drilling and new drilling contracts. It was due to the unjust moratorium on drilling in the gulf.  They were planning a demonstration on Saturday to say, "drill baby drill.” Someone in the group said he doesn't want to demonstrate on the street corner like hippies.

A voice of reason among the group suggested that there were other factors influencing the rise of oil prices.  He mentioned several separate causes: not just the moratorium but also unrest in Middle East and more.  Yet, no one mentioned the utterly obscene profits of the oil companies, so I decided to mention it myself.  I raised my hand and the Secretary graciously called upon me.  I mentioned the fact from recent news that the oil companies has made such record profits in the first quarter of this year that they exceeded any other company in all of history.  I asked her if their record-breaking profits had anything to do with the rise in fuel prices? 

Well, suddenly the Secretary became unhinged.  She began her verbal assault with a severely cynical tone saying, “Oh we wouldn’t want to make profits, would we?  Profits are so evil, aren’t they?”  The pitch of her voice rose as she recounted how the oil companies made more profits than the whole American government, and continues to exceed their own records quarter after quarter.  I thought she had just justified my point exactly, but she went on upbraiding me. 

I felt the hackles rising on my spine.  My heart rate increased and my breathing became fast and shallow.  My fingers were tingling.  I noted all these bodily states and breathed.  After being married to a screamer that believed “he who screams loudest wins the fight,” I had a great deal of experience staying calm during an onslaught of verbal abuse.  I breathed and calmed myself.  I already knew not to scream back at abusers. 

In her frenzy, she mentioned how oil is the cheapest form of energy, which could never be replaced by windmills or solar cells.  I contended that the overflow costs of the health effects of pollution caused by petroleum need to be considered when you call oil “cheap.”  She talked over me, not listening or considering my points.  She proclaimed that petroleum is a natural product and we need it due to the other products made from it like plastic.  I mentioned that plastic can be made from cotton, i.e. Saran Wrap and Bakelite.  In response she declared that those products were obviously flawed since the better petroleum-based plastics have replaced them. 

She screamed that petroleum products do not cause pollution or any negative health effects.  I responded that that was the most preposterous thing I ever heard.  She then made a direct threat.  She proclaimed that she would fight me every step of the way, me and people like me with liberal values. She went on to be utterly disrespectful using exaggerated superlatives. Folks in the audience were shocked and told her " you're losing ground." Then her husband intervened, whereupon she rushed from the room in a humiliated rage. Her husband, the leader of the local Tea Party, commanded me to hold back, as well.

Folks in the audience were stunned to see her ragging on me like that. After the meeting adjourned, many rushed to me to apologize for her assault. I mentioned that I am not against profits. I, myself, am a capitalist and my livelihood depended upon profits.  Several mentioned that they agreed that profit is good, but obscene profits are bad.  I thought about how, after all the careful and excellent organizing the local Tea Party was doing, that the Secretary’s behavior had just discredited the whole group. 

I rushed over to Mike, the leader.  I praised his efforts to effect grass-roots democracy.  I said although we don’t see eye to eye on many points, we actually agree on a lot.  He was surprised to hear this.  I said we both agree on having a country where we are free to disagree.  I asserted that we can still be neighbors living beside each other in Peace yet disagree on politics.  That’s why I love America, and I admire his efforts.  I reiterated that I am not here to contend with the Tea Party, but rather to create a coalition.  I shook his hand and again praised his excellent organizing skills and lessons in democracy.  Then I looked for the other man to whom I wanted to apologize, but he was gone. 

I noticed some differences from the last meeting of the Ukiah Valley Patriots that I attended. There were no volumes of Ayn Rand visible.  There were no choruses from the audience shouting, “Evil, evil.” There was no talk about gun rights.  The leader was very careful to be completely neutral and democratic in his proposals and discussions. There were only half as many participants today as last time. I wonder if my Letters to the Editor have taken some of the wind from the sails of folks who realize that they don't want to effect change at the end of a gun barrel?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

MLK Speech to the APA 1967 calling for creative maladjustment

Dr. Martin Luther King addressed the American Psychological Association convention in 1967, as reprinted in the APA Monitor in 1999: King’s challenge to the nation’s social scientists
APA Monitor Introduction: In September, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr., was only 38-years-old but already president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize when he took the podium at APA’s Annual Convention in Washington, D.C.

A re-reading of his powerful address today captures the urgent tone of the 60s, as he cajoled the nation’s social scientists to ‘tell it like it is.’ In fact, to APA’s membership, whom he addressed as ‘concerned friends of good will,’ his plea for help in changing a society ‘poisoned to its soul by racism,’ seems now ever more poignant in light of the tragedy that struck only seven months later.
The words he spoke that Sept. 1, as the convention’s Invited Distinguished Address, were reprinted in the Journal of Social Issues (Vol. 24, No. 1, 1968). While the speech was in galley proofs, the shocking and numbing news of his assassination was released.
Here is the full text of his speech: 

The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement
by Martin Luther King Jr.

It is always a very rich and rewarding experience when I can take a brief break from the day-to-day demands of our struggle for freedom and human dignity and discuss the issues involved in that struggle with concerned friends of good will all over the nation. It is particularly a great privilege to discuss these issues with members of the academic community, who are constantly writing about and dealing with the problems that we face and who have the tremendous responsibility of molding the minds of young men and women all over the country.

The Civil Rights Movement needs the help of social scientists
In the preface to their book, ‘Applied Sociology’ (1965), S. M. Miller and Alvin Gouldner state: ‘It is the historic mission of the social sciences to enable mankind to take possession of society.’ It follows that for Negroes who substantially are excluded from society this science is needed even more desperately than for any other group in the population.

For social scientists, the opportunity to serve in a life-giving purpose is a humanist challenge of rare distinction. Negroes too are eager for a rendezvous with truth and discovery. We are aware that social scientists, unlike some of their colleagues in the physical sciences, have been spared the grim feelings of guilt that attended the invention of nuclear weapons of destruction. Social scientists, in the main, are fortunate to be able to extirpate evil, not to invent it.

If the Negro needs social sciences for direction and for self-understanding, the white society is in even more urgent need. White America needs to understand that it is poisoned to its soul by racism and the understanding needs to be carefully documented and consequently more difficult to reject. The present crisis arises because although it is historically imperative that our society take the next step to equality, we find ourselves psychologically and socially imprisoned. All too many white Americans are horrified not with conditions of Negro life but with the product of these conditions-the Negro himself.
White America is seeking to keep the walls of segregation substantially intact while the evolution of society and the Negro’s desperation is causing them to crumble. The white majority, unprepared and unwilling to accept radical structural change, is resisting and producing chaos while complaining that if there were no chaos orderly change would come.

Negroes want the social scientist to address the white community and ‘tell it like it is.’ White America has an appalling lack of knowledge concerning the reality of Negro life. One reason some advances were made in the South during the past decade was the discovery by northern whites of the brutal facts of southern segregated life. It was the Negro who educated the nation by dramatizing the evils through nonviolent protest. The social scientist played little or no role in disclosing truth. The Negro action movement with raw courage did it virtually alone. When the majority of the country could not live with the extremes of brutality they witnessed, political remedies were enacted and customs were altered.

These partial advances were, however, limited principally to the South and progress did not automatically spread throughout the nation. There was also little depth to the changes. White America stopped murder, but that is not the same thing as ordaining brotherhood; nor is the ending of lynch rule the same thing as inaugurating justice.

After some years of Negro-white unity and partial success, white America shifted gears and went into reverse. Negroes, alive with hope and enthusiasm, ran into sharply stiffened white resistance at all levels and bitter tensions broke out in sporadic episodes of violence. New lines of hostility were drawn and the era of good feeling disappeared.

The decade of 1955 to 1965, with its constructive elements, misled us. Everyone, activists and social scientists, underestimated the amount of violence and rage Negroes were suppressing and the amount of bigotry the white majority was disguising.
Science should have been employed more fully to warn us that the Negro, after 350 years of handicaps, mired in an intricate network of contemporary barriers, could not be ushered into equality by tentative and superficial changes.

Mass nonviolent protests, a social invention of Negroes, were effective in Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma in forcing national legislation which served to change Negro life sufficiently to curb explosions. But when changes were confined to the South alone, the North, in the absence of change, began to seethe.

The freedom movement did not adapt its tactics to the different and unique northern urban conditions. It failed to see that nonviolent marches in the South were forms of rebellion. When Negroes took over the streets and shops, southern society shook to its roots. Negroes could contain their rage when they found the means to force relatively radical changes in their environment.
In the North, on the other hand, street demonstrations were not even a mild expression of militancy. The turmoil of cities absorbs demonstrations as merely transitory drama which is ordinary in city life. Without a more effective tactic for upsetting the status quo, the power structure could maintain its intransigence and hostility. Into the vacuum of inaction, violence and riots flowed and a new period opened.

Urban riots.
Urban riots must now be recognized as durable social phenomena. They may be deplored, but they are there and should be understood. Urban riots are a special form of violence. They are not insurrections. The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. They are mainly intended to shock the white community. They are a distorted form of social protest. The looting which is their principal feature serves many functions. It enables the most enraged and deprived Negro to take hold of consumer goods with the ease the white man does by using his purse. Often the Negro does not even want what he takes; he wants the experience of taking. But most of all, alienated from society and knowing that this society cherishes property above people, he is shocking it by abusing property rights. There are thus elements of emotional catharsis in the violent act. This may explain why most cities in which riots have occurred have not had a repetition, even though the causative conditions remain. It is also noteworthy that the amount of physical harm done to white people other than police is infinitesimal and in Detroit whites and Negroes looted in unity.

A profound judgment of today’s riots was expressed by Victor Hugo a century ago. He said, ‘If a soul is left in the darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.’

The policymakers of the white society have caused the darkness; they create discrimination; they structured slums; and they perpetuate unemployment, ignorance and poverty. It is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes; but they are derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society. When we ask Negroes to abide by the law, let us also demand that the white man abide by law in the ghettos. Day-in and day-out he violates welfare laws to deprive the poor of their meager allotments; he flagrantly violates building codes and regulations; his police make a mockery of law; and he violates laws on equal employment and education and the provisions for civic services. The slums are the handiwork of a vicious system of the white society; Negroes live in them but do not make them any more than a prisoner makes a prison. Let us say boldly that if the violations of law by the white man in the slums over the years were calculated and compared with the law-breaking of a few days of riots, the hardened criminal would be the white man. These are often difficult things to say but I have come to see more and more that it is necessary to utter the truth in order to deal with the great problems that we face in our society.

Vietnam War.
There is another cause of riots that is too important to mention casually - the war in Vietnam. Here again, we are dealing with a controversial issue. But I am convinced that the war in Vietnam has played havoc with our domestic destinies. The bombs that fall in Vietnam explode at home. It does not take much to see what great damage this war has done to the image of our nation. It has left our country politically and morally isolated in the world, where our only friends happen to be puppet nations like Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea. The major allies in the world that have been with us in war and peace are not with us in this war. As a result we find ourselves socially and politically isolated.
The war in Vietnam has torn up the Geneva Accord. It has seriously impaired the United Nations. It has exacerbated the hatreds between continents, and worse still, between races. It has frustrated our development at home by telling our underprivileged citizens that we place insatiable military demands above their most critical needs. It has greatly contributed to the forces of reaction in America, and strengthened the military-industrial complex, against which even President Eisenhower solemnly warned us. It has practically destroyed Vietnam, and left thousands of American and Vietnamese youth maimed and mutilated. And it has exposed the whole world to the risk of nuclear warfare.

As I looked at what this war was doing to our nation, and to the domestic situation and to the Civil Rights movement, I found it necessary to speak vigorously out against it. My speaking out against the war has not gone without criticisms. There are those who tell me that I should stick with civil rights, and stay in my place. I can only respond that I have fought too hard and long to end segregated public accommodations to segregate my own moral concerns. It is my deep conviction that justice is indivisible, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. For those who tell me I am hurting the Civil Rights movement, and ask, ‘Don’t you think that in order to be respected, and in order to regain support, you must stop talking against the war?’ I can only say that I am not a consensus leader. I do not seek to determine what is right and wrong by taking a Gallop Poll to determine majority opinion. And it is again my deep conviction that ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but a molder of consensus. On some positions cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?!’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience must ask the question, ‘Is it right?!’ And there comes a time when one must take a stand that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular. But one must take it because it is right. And that is where I find myself today.

Moreover, I am convinced, even if war continues, that a genuine massive act of concern will do more to quell riots than the most massive deployment of troops.

The unemployment of Negro youth ranges up to 40 percent in some slums. The riots are almost entirely youth events-the age range of participants is from 13 to 25. What hypocrisy it is to talk of saving the new generation-to make it the generation of hope-while consigning it to unemployment and provoking it to violent alternatives.

When our nation was bankrupt in the thirties we created an agency to provide jobs to all at their existing level of skill. In our overwhelming affluence today what excuse is there for not setting up a national agency for full employment immediately?

The other program which would give reality to hope and opportunity would be the demolition of the slums to be replaced by decent housing built by residents of the ghettos.

These programs are not only eminently sound and vitally needed, but they have the support of an overwhelming majority of the nation-white and Negro. The Harris Poll on August 21, 1967, disclosed that an astounding 69 percent of the country support a works program to provide employment to all and an equally astonishing 65 percent approve a program to tear down the slums.

There is a program and there is heavy majority support for it. Yet, the administration and Congress tinker with trivial proposals to limit costs in an extravagant gamble with disaster.
The President has lamented that he cannot persuade Congress. He can, if the will is there, go to the people, mobilize the people’s support and thereby substantially increase his power to persuade Congress. Our most urgent task is to find the tactics that will move the government no matter how determined it is to resist.

Civil disobedience.
I believe we will have to find the militant middle between riots on the one hand and weak and timid supplication for justice on the other hand. That middle ground, I believe, is civil disobedience. It can be aggressive but nonviolent; it can dislocate but not destroy. The specific planning will take some study and analysis to avoid mistakes of the past when it was employed on too small a scale and sustained too briefly.

Civil disobedience can restore Negro-white unity. There have been some very important sane white voices even during the most desperate moments of the riots. One reason is that the urban crisis intersects the Negro crisis in the city. Many white decision- makers may care little about saving Negroes, but they must care about saving their cities. The vast majority of production is created in cities; most white Americans live in them. The suburbs to which they flee cannot exist detached from cities. Hence powerful white elements have goals that merge with ours.

Role for the social scientist.
Now there are many roles for social scientists in meeting these problems. Kenneth Clark has said that Negroes are moved by a suicide instinct in riots and Negroes know there is a tragic truth in this observation. Social scientists should also disclose the suicide instinct that governs the administration and Congress in their total failure to respond constructively.

What other areas are there for social scientists to assist the civil rights movement? There are many, but I would like to suggest three because they have an urgent quality.

Social science may be able to search out some answers to the problem of Negro leadership. E. Franklin Frazier, in his profound work, Black Bourgeoisie, laid painfully bare the tendency of the upwardly mobile Negro to separate from his community, divorce himself from responsibility to it, while failing to gain acceptance in the white community. There has been significant improvements from the days Frazier researched, but anyone knowledgeable about Negro life knows its middle class is not yet bearing its weight. Every riot has carried strong overtone of hostility of lower class Negroes toward the affluent Negro and vice versa. No contemporary study of scientific depth has totally studied this problem. Social science should be able to suggest mechanisms to create a wholesome black unity and a sense of peoplehood while the process of integration proceeds.

As one example of this gap in research, there are no studies, to my knowledge, to explain adequately the absence of Negro trade union leadership. Eight-five percent of Negroes are working people. Some two million are in trade unions but in 50 years we have produced only one national leader-A. Philip Randolph.

Discrimination explains a great deal, but not everything. The picture is so dark even a few rays of light may signal a useful direction.
Political action.

The second area for scientific examination is political action. In the past two decades, Negroes have expended more effort in quest of the franchise than they have in all other campaigns combined. Demonstrations, sit-ins and marches, though more spectacular, are dwarfed by the enormous number of man-hours expended to register millions, particularly in the South. Negro organizations from extreme militant to conservative persuasion, Negro leaders who would not even talk to each other, all have been agreed on the key importance of voting. Stokely Carmichael said black power means the vote and Roy Wilkins, while saying black power means black death, also energetically sought the power of the ballot.

A recent major work by social scientists Matthew and Prothro concludes that ‘The concrete benefits to be derived from the franchise-under conditions that prevail in the South-have often been exaggerated.,’ that voting is not the key that will unlock the door to racial equality because ‘the concrete measurable payoffs from Negro voting in the South will not be revolutionary’ (1966).

James A. Wilson supports this view, arguing, ‘Because of the structure of American politics as well as the nature of the Negro community, Negro politics will accomplish only limited objectives’ (1965).
If their conclusion can be supported, then the major effort Negroes have invested in the past 20 years has been in the wrong direction and the major pillar of their hope is a pillar of sand. My own instinct is that these views are essentially erroneous, but they must be seriously examined.

The need for a penetrating massive scientific study of this subject cannot be overstated. Lipset in 1957 asserted that a limitation in focus in political sociology has resulted in a failure of much contemporary research to consider a number of significant theoretical questions. The time is short for social science to illuminate this critically important area. If the main thrust of Negro effort has been, and remains, substantially irrelevant, we may be facing an agonizing crisis of tactical theory.

The third area for study concerns psychological and ideological changes in Negroes. It is fashionable now to be pessimistic. Undeniably, the freedom movement has encountered setbacks. Yet I still believe there are significant aspects of progress.

Negroes today are experiencing an inner transformation that is liberating them from ideological dependence on the white majority. What has penetrated substantially all strata of Negro life is the revolutionary idea that the philosophy and morals of the dominant white society are not holy or sacred but in all too many respects are degenerate and profane.

Negroes have been oppressed for centuries not merely by bonds of economic and political servitude. The worst aspect of their oppression was their inability to question and defy the fundamental precepts of the larger society. Negroes have been loath in the past to hurl any fundamental challenges because they were coerced and conditioned into thinking within the context of the dominant white ideology. This is changing and new radical trends are appearing in Negro thought. I use radical in its broad sense to refer to reaching into roots.

Ten years of struggle have sensitized and opened the Negro’s eyes to reaching. For the first time in their history, Negroes have become aware of the deeper causes for the crudity and cruelty that governed white society’s responses to their needs. They discovered that their plight was not a consequence of superficial prejudice but was systemic.

The slashing blows of backlash and frontlash have hurt the Negro, but they have also awakened him and revealed the nature of the oppressor. To lose illusions is to gain truth. Negroes have grown wiser and more mature and they are hearing more clearly those who are raising fundamental questions about our society whether the critics be Negro or white. When this process of awareness and independence crystallizes, every rebuke, every evasion, become hammer blows on the wedge that splits the Negro from the larger society.

Social science is needed to explain where this development is going to take us. Are we moving away, not from integration, but from the society which made it a problem in the first place? How deep and at what rate of speed is this process occurring? These are some vital questions to be answered if we are to have a clear sense of our direction.

We know we haven’t found the answers to all forms of social change. We know, however, that we did find some answers. We have achieved and we are confident. We also know we are confronted now with far greater complexities and we have not yet discovered all the theory we need.
And may I say together, we must solve the problems right here in America. As I have said time and time again, Negroes still have faith in America. Black people still have faith in a dream that we will all live together as brothers in this country of plenty one day.

But I was distressed when I read in the New York Times of Aug. 31, 1967; that a sociologist from Michigan State University, the outgoing president of the American Sociological Society, stated in San Francisco that Negroes should be given a chance to find an all Negro community in South America: ‘that the valleys of the Andes Mountains would be an ideal place for American Negroes to build a second Israel.’ He further declared that ‘The United States Government should negotiate for a remote but fertile land in Equador, Peru or Bolivia for this relocation.’

I feel that it is rather absurd and appalling that a leading social scientist today would suggest to black people, that after all these years of suffering an exploitation as well as investment in the American dream, that we should turn around and run at this point in history. I say that we will not run! Professor Loomis even compared the relocation task of the Negro to the relocation task of the Jews in Israel. The Jews were made exiles. They did not choose to abandon Europe, they were driven out. Furthermore, Israel has a deep tradition, and Biblical roots for Jews. The Wailing Wall is a good example of these roots. They also had significant financial aid from the United States for the relocation and rebuilding effort. What tradition does the Andes, especially the valley of the Andes Mountains, have for Negroes?
And I assert at this time that once again we must reaffirm our belief in building a democratic society, in which blacks and whites can live together as brothers, where we will all come to see that integration is not a problem, but an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.

The problem is deep. It is gigantic in extent, and chaotic in detail. And I do not believe that it will be solved until there is a kind of cosmic discontent enlarging in the bosoms of people of good will all over this nation.

There are certain technical words in every academic discipline which soon become stereotypes and even clichés. Every academic discipline has its technical nomenclature. You who are in the field of psychology have given us a great word. It is the word maladjusted. This word is probably used more than any other word in psychology. It is a good word; certainly it is good that in dealing with what the word implies you are declaring that destructive maladjustment should be destroyed. You are saying that all must seek the well-adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.
But on the other hand, I am sure that we will recognize that there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted. There are some things concerning which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will. We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.

In a day when Sputniks, Explorers and Geminies are dashing through outer space, when guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can finally win a war. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence, it is either nonviolence or nonexistence. As President Kennedy declared, ‘Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.’ And so the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a suspension in the development and use of nuclear weapons, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and eventually disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. Our earthly habitat will be transformed into an inferno that even Dante could not envision.

Creative maladjustment.
Thus, it may well be that our world is in dire need of a new organization, The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment. Men and women should be as maladjusted as the prophet Amos, who in the midst of the injustices of his day, could cry out in words that echo across the centuries, ‘Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream’; or as maladjusted as Abraham Lincoln, who in the midst of his vacillations finally came to see that this nation could not survive half slave and half free; or as maladjusted as Thomas Jefferson, who in the midst of an age amazingly adjusted to slavery, could scratch across the pages of history, words lifted to cosmic proportions, ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. And that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And through such creative maladjustment, we may be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.

I have not lost hope. I must confess that these have been very difficult days for me personally. And these have been difficult days for every civil rights leader, for every lover of justice and peace.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A response to the Tea Party's letter to the editor

This is an answer to the letter dated 4/27/11, from Mr. Amagi, the Morgans, the Lowes, the Smiths, the Cannons, and Grillis, and Mr. Olsen entitled “Not dupes” about my alleged misrepresentation of the tea party movement and the Constitution class sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Patriots. 

First, I would like to apologize if I have offended you.  Please forgive me if I have misrepresented you or your affiliated group to be something it isn’t.  Next, I’d like to state that the Ukiah Valley Patriots do not have a monopoly on patriotism.  Although I don’t enjoy membership of their group, I am also a middle-aged Ukiah Valley patriot, as well as a Constitutional scholar. 

I originally heard that there was a political activist group meeting monthly at Jensen’s. Being a political activist myself, I was not only curious, but also intent on forging bridges and ties in order to unite all of us political activists into a great coalition.  I was shocked to find that the activist group I had made so much effort to attend was the Tea Party.  I had to decide whether to continue in the door, or leave.  I chose to enter and listen with an open mind.  The abovementioned letter states that I have only been to one Tea Party meeting.  In fact, I have gone to three, but two of them were cancelled for various reasons, leaving only one meeting actually attended.  I agree it is not at all easy to take time out from one’s busy life to attend meetings.  I made great efforts to arrive at the Tea Party meetings, only to find most of them cancelled without even a note on the website or on the restaurant door. 

The abovementioned letter assumes that I get my information from far left blogs or news programs.  It is true, that the media portrays the Tea Party movement as screaming, gun-toting individuals with an agenda to disrupt.  That’s why I was originally struck with fear when first I discovered the political activists I was pursuing were the Tea Party.  But I decided to find out for myself right from the horse’s mouth. 

At the meeting I attended, I was immediately struck by how much we had in common.  We were in agreement that the tax code needed reforming.  We agreed that taxes were not all bad; they only needed to be made fairer.  We were all in accord about corporate tax loopholes, offshore tax havens, and the Federal Reserve printing up too much money.  Another thing we all had in common was our love for the Constitution.  We also agreed that both the Democrats AND Republicans were representing corporations more than they were representing the will of the People.  Pretty soon I was starting to feel comfortable and excited about the Ukiah Valley Patriots.  I also admired how they could recruit 40 people to a meeting when I could barely recruit seven.  And I loved the fact that they were sponsoring a free class on the Constitution.  Why didn’t I think of that? 

Although I was agreement with them on many points, I also heard many things that disturbed or terrified me.  The calls of “Evil!  Evil!” that I heard while one man gave an exposé of the political and financial involvements of George Soros seemed radically extreme.  When someone mentioned that Senator McCarthy was on the right track and should not have been stopped, I admit, chills of terror shot up and down my spine. 

I saw a tome of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in a position of honor on the table.  Since I had recently read it, I was excited to discuss it with this group. It turned out that only a few of them had read it.  Noting the honor bestowed on the book, I assumed that the Ukiah Valley Patriots were free market neo-liberals like most of the other folks that admire Ayn Rand’s philosophy.  I engaged the secretary in a discussion about free markets and the Constitution.  She explicitly stated to me that the Constitution supports free enterprise.  I argued that there is nothing in the Constitution about free enterprise.  The secretary contended, as did Ayn Rand, that the Founding Fathers established the Constitution to protect free enterprise.  I responded that the only thing even close was the right to own private property.  She, and several echoes from around the room stated that this right IS about free enterprise.  Now, in the abovementioned letter, the authors make it very clear that the Constitution was NOT established to promote free enterprise, contrary to what was discussed at the Tea Party meeting.  So it is true, if the Ukiah Valley Patriots were sponsoring a class on the Constitution and they stated at their meeting that it was established to promote free enterprise, and they admired the philosophy of Ayn Rand, I jumped to the conclusion that they were planning on spinning the Constitution classes to support their neo-liberal beliefs.  Please forgive me for any wrong assumption about the Constitution class.  I regret not having attended them all. 

The one Constitution class I did attend was excellent.  But it did have some spin.  I didn’t think they could teach me anything new about the Constitution but I was happy to have been proven wrong.  I learned how some rights were for citizens, some for individuals, and some for the People.  I saw the underpinnings of armed revolution designed right into the Constitution not only in the right to bear arms, but also in the government’s right to raise taxes to enlist armies to put down insurrections.  I had never put those two facts together before.  The spin came in when the teacher emphasized that it is not only our right to bear arms, but it is our obligation.  He then went on to say that we have the right to bear arms and petition the government for redress of our grievances in BIG groups, implying that we are obligated to get into an armed militia to petition the government for redress at the end of a gun barrel. 

 Believing that we can have an unarmed revolution pressuring the government by force of massive coalitions of disparate groups, I saw an opportunity to plant a seed of Peace.  I suggested to the teacher that a trade union is a huge mass of people who use collective bargaining to non-violently petition the government for redress of grievances.  I was particularly thinking of the government workers in Ohio that were having their Constitutional rights to bargain with their boss, the Ohio government, stripped from them by their Tea Party governor.  The Constitutional teacher was taken aback for a moment, with objections heard muttered around the room, that THAT was different.  Case closed! 

So when I hear everyday middle-aged working class people at a Tea Party meeting tell me that Senator McCarthy and the HUAC was right and shouldn’t have been stopped, and that Soros is evil but the Koch brothers are heroes, and boast to me about their license to carry a concealed weapon, it is not from left wing blogs that I draw my conclusions.  And it is true, that the UVP do not say who is underwriting their program; I assumed that it was the Koch brothers who are notorious for underwriting other Tea Parties.  And it is true that the Tea Party movement is not monolithic.  And just because a few individuals Tea Party members boast about their license to carry a concealed weapon doesn’t make all Tea Partiers armed, wild-eyed extremists. 

After a brief 4-sentence mention of the local Tea Party in my letter to the editor “Feeling Powerless,” it was interesting that a dozen people felt compelled to write over 1100 words in response. Nor was I even referring to the Tea Party in my letter when I talked about neo-con fascists.  It is also interesting that the non-monolithic Ukiah Valley Patriots assumed I was talking about them when I mentioned neo-con fascists.  I was actually thinking about Milton Friedman, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, signers to the Project for the New American Century, Erik Prince, Paul Wolfowitz, Ben Bernanke, Donald Rumsfeld, Ron Regan, Alan Greenspan, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Charles & David Koch, Rahm Emanuel, William Daley, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and many more. 

And as far as deficit spending, although the government should NEVER be run for profit like a corporation, it is commonplace for fledgling businesses to run on deficit spending until their product improves or their market share expands enough to turn a profit.  If Toyota Motors didn’t run on deficit spending for nearly 2 decades with protectionist government tariffs, there would never have been today’s Prius or Lexus.  History demonstrates that government deficit spending and protectionist tariffs stimulate economic growth.  Of course, I wouldn’t include racking up deficits on bank bailouts or endless wars.  Usually the spending that stimulates the economy is in improving the infrastructure and upgrading the human capital with education and skills training.  Or to provide a social safety net during economic downturns. 

If we expect to change our government to one that represents the People, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, instead of securing the profits of big corporations at the People’s expense, then we need to join together instead of contending with each other.  I invite the Ukiah Valley Patriots to join together with other patriots to work in concert to establish a more representative government.