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Jack Rabbit

Jack Rabbit's Journal
Jack Rabbit's Journal
January 31, 2015

"There would be no reason to keep it so secret if it was in the interest of the public"

That, the last word for Yves Smith, is true.

That would mean that if America were actually a democracy, the default position of the people's representatives would be to oppose the TPP. To fast track this agreement when no member of Congress is allowed to see the whole thing, or even to bring it up for any kind of vote under those circumstances, is like signing a contract without reading the fine print.

The push to ram the TPP through Congress as quickly as possible without public discussion is just further evidence that America is an oligarchy in which corporate masters are aristocrats who presume to know what is best for the whole society and, as aristocratic classes have don throughout history, make decisions conforming to their own narrow interests and tell the unwashed masses that starving to death is good for them. That is the sum of John Galt's speech from Atlas Shrugged.

We, the People, have a right to read the TPP before our representatives in the legislature vote on it. We have a right to discuss this matter among ourselves, with the expectation that their will be a full discussion and airing of the agreement in a congressional debate before it is voted up or down. This whole process is an attempt to make fundamental law without consulting the people or even allowing the representatives of the people to be fully informed. It is a process that violates the principle that government is legitimate only if it is government with the consent of the governed.

Under these circumstances, any congressman who is prepared to support this agreement that he cannot read or streamline its passage is no true representative of the people of his district or state. It is simply not OK to be OK with that.

January 23, 2015

Let's get this straight: there are very few conservatives in the GOP nowadays

Anyone, including another woman (are you listening, Mrs. Schlafly?), who believes a woman is expected to oppose abortion in any and all circumstances without even an understanding of the issue from a woman's perspective and is otherwise perfectly all right with giving men the authority to tell women what to think or do is a misogynist.

The belief that such an arbitrary, unnatural hierarchy is mandated by either nature or something supernatural is by definition right wing. There are no kings, emperors, fascist leaders, slave masters or Übermenschen of any kind in this cosmos; those who claim there is a supernatural creator who made such beings and who is benevolently disposed to human beings believes in an oxymoron. Human beings are made partly as the aggressive, acquisitive beasts that Ayn Rand would have us believe we are, but also the social animal who reaches out to his fellows for love, companionship and a collective, cooperative effort toward a common goal that Ms. Rand would also deny that we are. The most primitive humans are free men and women who live in groups and hunt in packs. Consequently, objectivism is nonsense, society exists as an outgrowth of human nature and democracy is the outcome of the natural process of social decision making. There is no need for kings, emperors, priests, fascist leaders, slave masters or Übermenschen of any kind and that includes -- dare we say it? -- business leaders who think their judgment is better than that of any of us and outweighs the judgment of the rest of us put together.

No human is superior to another in any natural order. Rousseau said Man is born free, yet is everywhere in chains. Those chains, I maintain, are an illusion. As another great writer said, The fault, dear Brutus, is in ourselves, not in our stars, that we are underlings. The first act toward casting off our chains is to simply stop believing in them.

Women of America and the world, I cannot make you free; I merely inform you that you are free, as you probably already knew that you are free. Don't let these misogynists even think that they have any make-believe authority over you. Tell them loud and clear that they do not and that abortion is your right and has always been your right and will always be your right and no misogynist -- not Erick Erickson nor Ted Cruz nor Phyllis Schlafly -- can take it away from you.

January 22, 2015

I have a different point of view

This is in response to Mike Malloy's comments on Chris Kyle.

My years in the Army were during peacetime, but they still gave perspective. I have serious problems with the "just following orders" rationale not being a proper defense in all cases. Soldiers are trained to follow orders. Soldiers are often decorated for following orders. Soldiers are ofter given a court martial for not following. While in basic training, I saw a short film about war crimes and how an order to commit one is itself illegal and the soldier is has an obligation to disobey. Of course, the war crime dramatized was a redneck infantry lieutenant ordering that civilians be used as human shields and later that prisoners be executed because the captain wants a body count of at least three. It was a pretty cut and dried case of a war crime with no ambiguity whatsoever. It was all simple, neat and well-packaged. As drama, it was artless.

The reality, I suspect, is quite different. The same people to urge enlistees to "use your chain of command" also warn them that "shit rolls downhill." Too many troops I served with were afraid of authority, even of officers they thought were lunatics or idiots. If a soldier gets a questionable order in combat, my bet is that he will carry it out, no matter distasteful he finds it or how clearly illegal it is. He also knows if he disobeys, there will be repercussions directed his way. He knows his comrades in arms will be discouraged from giving witness against and that there will be a likelihood that up the chain of command, the accused officer's fellow officers will give him the benefit of the doubt against an enlistee.

I like to think I would have refused such an order, but in the heat of performing a live combat mission I cannot be sure how I would have acted.

I can't be accused of being "right wing-ized." I'd make an awfully bad wingnut.

Nor can I be accused of not being among those who tried to stop the war in Iraq before it started. I marched in the late winter/early spring to 2003. One day I was part of the largest anti-war demonstration ever seen in Sacramento. The next day I was part of over a quarter million marchers who jammed Market Street in San Francisco all the way from the Embarcadero to City Hall. Even counting my three years in the Army, March to stop the invasion of Iraq and my other anti-war activities at that time was the best service I ever gave my country.

Chris Kyle does not sound like an admirable person. If it weren't for joining the Navy, he sounds like someone who might have become a serial killer. One of my best friends has a son who served in Iraq. His Marine unit was in Fallujah. One night he was on guard duty. A suspicious looking approached the compound entrance. The young man told him stop. He told him to stop in Arablic. He picked up the language because he had positive interactions with the locals, unlike Chris Kyle. The man did not stop and the young Marine had to shoot and kill. It bothers him to this day. It bothers him even though, as it turns out, the man was, in fact, wearing a suicide bomb.

It's hard for me to think of Chris Kyle as a hero. He is the worst of America, a racist who goes overseas and enjoys murdering foreigners in their own country in order for US oil company tycoons to expropriate that country's natural wealth and isn't bothered by it.

As for my friend's son, he is a hero.

January 15, 2015

Dissenting: I wish it were BS

To make your point, you cite one of those among the powerful who still has the common sense to know that in the long run the market cannot go unregulated as it has for thirty years. It should come as no surprise that that is the only quote you can find, since most of those driving us driving us off a cliff, like the Koch brothers or Legs Dimon or Pretty Boy Lloyd don't make public statements about it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and those assholes certainly aren't going to protect their plans from the sun. It's the same reason the TPP was negotiated in secret and remains secret.

Frankel is right: what we have is an "amoral", "irresponsible system." But it is the system we have and the Wall Street tycoons have paid good money to bribe politicians and influence elections to further their nefarious goals. The thesis presented by Messrs. Papantonio and Leopold is that Democrats, too, are sucking up Wall Street as much as Republicans. Perhaps not all Democrats, since Senator Warren clearly doesn't. Unfortunately, she and Senator Sanders, who shows his disdain for how the Democrats have bought into the prevailing corruption by running as an independent, are among the exceptions. The rule is represented by Senator Booker, who raises money from Wall Street and votes as they tell him to vote in return, as well has unholy trio of Clinton, Manchin and Schumer named in Pap's introduction.

Let's drop this party chauvinism. Let's take our blinders off. There is a real crisis in the economy and the Democrats in Congress and the administration have done far more to feed it than to relieve it. President Obama, too, must bear responsibility for feeding the crisis since he allowed Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer to let the Wall Street criminals off the hook with light fines when he should have thrown both of them out of the Justice Department, loudly and publicly, about half way through his first term.

Democrats are better than Republicans. The Affordable Care Act is a good beginning to health care reform. Democarats are better because they support a more inclusive society that allows more people to participate in the American dream. However, that makes precious little difference when the American dream can no longer be realized. The absence of gay marriage or even more affordable health insurance is not going to tear America apart before income inequality does. The only way to maintain this level of inequality is with a police state. Do you really think NSA spying is about al Qaida? Don't be so naive. You and I are the presumed enemies of the government over whom the government is keeping watch. There is no war on terror. There is a war for the planet's natural resources and the powerful expect your children and grandchildren and mine to fight and die to make them richer, while we and our posterity will not benefit a twit.

It does no good to dismiss RT with such a broad brush. I watch much of RT's content as it presented here or on YouTube and I still think that if the Russian people were smart then they would make a lamppost ornament out of Vladimir Putin.

The question before us is what are we going to do about income inequality. It certainly isn't to stay on the same course administrations of either party and the congresses controlled by either party have been steering for the last three and a half decades. The follow up question is can we still fix the problem at the ballot box. Personally, I would still like to think we can; however, given the ability of the powerful to corrupt and manipulate the system, I advise all of us to prepare our torches and pitchforks.

January 14, 2015

Multimedia idea: Can any do this and show us the result?

First, use this video from a thread that was locked in LBN for being in the wrong place . . .

Thanks to big_dog for today's comedy with Louie Gomert segment, even if it should have been posted here.

Now, who can get the audio from this and use it as background music in the above? . . .

December 6, 2014

I don't thik you and I have the same definition of "corporatism"

Corporatism, to be fair to you, has no formal definition that I know. However, my understanding of the concept is that it is devoid of any concept of noblesse oblige. Corporatism is modern concept that the large private corporation is the only thing that is real and all social efforts must be made for the health and well being of large, privately owned corporation at the expense of the common human individual (but the those who privately control the corporation), human society, the government or even the planet itself.

While most corporatists claim to celebrate the individual against any legitimacy of a "collective" rights, the fact is that a corporation is itself a collective. For example, General Motors cannot be identified with the chief executive officer of GM, as corporatists would have us think, or even with the collective body of corporate officers, the board of directors or the stock holders. A corporation is, in fact, all of those individuals, along with the sum of its employees and can even be extended to the consumers who buy its products, without whom there would be no corporation.

A man who holds the office of President of the United States and uses the bully pulpit to deride those who could rightly be understood to be corporatists as "economic royalists," and who took the kind of strong action to back up such rhetoric as FDR did, cannot himself be a corporatist, no matter pure the silver spoon in his mouth when he was born.
November 15, 2014

Mr. Hedges says what needs to be said

The system is broken. The patient is in critical condition, in a coma, and beyond the point where she can heal herself.

The only rational path is to take to the streets and push back against the oligarchs who are the dictators of America. Never mind their political stooges, who putatively represent us, but only fool would think more than a handful of elected representatives really do.

Go ahead and vote for Hilary Clinton if she is the Democratic Party's nominee. You can say she is better than any Republican, but if that left-handed compliment is the best that can be said of her, then we should expect nothing more than a continuation of the corporate state that must be killed and buried with a stake through its heart. Mrs. Clinton really is better than a generic Republican: she supports civil rights for gays and other minorities, but not civil liberties, such as the right not to spied on by the NSA; she believes that climate change is a real crisis, but she won't oppose fracking; she bemoans income inequality, but she won't oppose "free" trade deals that enhance corporate tyranny and exacerbate the problems of social inequality and environmental degradation. She'll talk of human rights, but will she go so far as to say that all human beings are made of flesh and blood? I may vote for Mrs. Clinton in 2016, but, as things stand, I cannot in good conscience do any more than that.

Civil disobedience and defiance of corporate "authority" is the order of the day. Bankrupting the oligarchy is the goal. If the oligarchs can be separated from the wealth that they wield as a weapon against us, then we will have done the preliminary work necessary to creating the other world that is possible.

K/R for Chris Hedges.

November 9, 2014

To all the third way purgies

Response to wyldwolf.

It makes precious little difference whether the President who deals with Congress to sell out American sovereignty to an unelected body of corporate lawyers with the power to fine elected governments for regulating businesses under the TPP or TTIP, to start another Middle Eastern war (or perhaps more than one) in order to keep the oil corporations on life support, to enact "entitlement reform" that will result in retirees starving in the streets, who fails to prosecute too big for their breeches Wall Street bankers for fraud and enact badly need financial reform and re-regulation or who fails to act on climate change is a Republican like Ted Cruz or a third-way Democrat like she who shall not be named for the fear of offending any one.

It isn't in the spirit of Henry Wallace in which this missive is written. Henry Wallace still had a functioning political system in which he could operate. That no longer seems to be the case.

This is rather a warning: What do we do when the political system becomes so dysfunctional that the only viable candidates being offered in what only vaguely resembles a free and fair election are those who conspire with the wolves to sell out us sheep? If the political system is so corrupt and rigged that it will not protect citizens from criminals like the Koch brothers or Legs Dimon and Pretty Boy Lloyd, then it becomes irrelevant and the fallacy that needs to be identified is a red herring, also called the irrelevant thesis.

That logical fallacy is your lesson for today.

It won't matter who is president passing pioneering civil liberties for homosexuals if the oligarchs starve us to death, kill our children in wars that benefits only them, make our water flammable or put our homes literally underwater as sea level rise and that same president doesn't do anything to stop them.

The power to fix the political system and make it work for the many may already be beyond the power of the ballot box. Direct action in the streets may be required.

The Republicans did not win last Tuesday's election. They were boosted to power a low voter turnout, voter suppression and the unfair advantage of corporate money drowning out popular sentiment. To address the first point, I recall that Lenin, who was at least admirable in the respect that he was a hard nosed realist (except when he was writing the fanciful nonsense called State and Revolution), was once asked who voted for the Bolsheviks to take power. "The Soldiers did," he replied. "They voted with their feet when they deserted."

So who voted for direct action against the oligarchs? The people did. They voted with their asses by sitting on them on election day. They did not participate in an election that offered nothing relevant except some ballot initiatives about raising the minimum wage, which they passed while tea baggers took over the US Senate.

October 16, 2014

Governor Scott refuses to debate Crist in Daylight

Governor Rick Scott of Florida, battling for re-election against a strong challenge from former Governor Charlie Crist, today said he would refuse to debate Mr. Crist or make any other public appearance anywhere in Florida unless the sun has set on that particular day in that particular location.

Governor Rick Scott
Governor Scott claimed that he has an unusual condition that makes him extremely sensitive to sunlight that could prove a personal embarrassment if he is exposed to the sun.

October 2, 2014

October 2 -- Happy birthday to: Mahatma Gandhi (1869) and Groucho Marx (1890)

Today we celebrate the birthday to two anti-establishment heroes: Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India's independence from the British Empire, and Groucho Marx, one of the great clowns of the twentieth century.

Both wore glasses, both had a mustache (although for most of his career, Groucho's was greasepaint, not hair) and both made it a habit to knock the high and mighty down a peg or two. As always, that's a good thing, because, as always, the high and mighty usually always need to be knocked down a peg or two to remind them that they're really no better we peons are.

Groucho's weapon was humor and his field of battle was the stage and screen. His targets were merely symbols, i.e., a stereotypical wealthy or powerful person portrayed by another actor, such as Louis Calhern (the Machiavellian ambassador in Duck Soup), Sig Ruman (A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races), Walter King (the opera star with an inflated ego in A Night at the Opera), Louis Sorin (the ex-convict turned art critic in Animal Crackers) and, of course, Margaret Dumont (the society matron in most of the Marx Brothers' films). Specifically, he would insult his target, such as "Say, you better beat it, I hear they're going to tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing," to Margaret Dumont or, to Louis Calhern, "I can't think of anything to say -- maybe you can suggest something -- in fact, you do suggest something -- to me, you suggest a baboon." All of these characters were proud of their status and never as smart or talented as they might think. This is how Americans thought of the rich and powerful during the Great Depression and just as many of us in the Great Recession view the rich and powerful of today.

Mahatma Gandhi fought a real battle in his native India, a nation that was the home of an early civilization before Stonehenge was built, but was at the time of his birth reduced to a colony of the British empire whose laws were written by British politicians in London for the benefit of the British East India Company and enforced by British administrators in Calcutta. What did the people of India have to say about the natural bounty being shipped to factory in Britain to be made into consumer goods, some of which would return to India to be sold to Indians while British capitalists collected the profits. What did Mahatma Gandhi do about this injustice? Although a trained lawyer, he rejected wearing fine suits, which might have been made in Britain with silk from China made available to British merchants by gunboat diplomacy, in favor of wearing a loin cloth spun and weaved in his own home. It was illegal for the natives of India to manufacture their own salt; instead, they had to buy British manufactured salt on the British controlled markets. What did the Mahatma do about this injustice? He marched to the sea and, in front of armed British soldiers, began to collect salt in defiance of British imperial law. Gandhi was willing to do anything to free India from the British Empire except kill human beings. His fight was a fight of nonviolent tactics. He would openly break the law, he would do so knowing that the British could use his provocation as an excuse to kill him or massacre his followers, but he trusted that British soldiers were human beings and wouldn't do that to people who were doing nothing to physically harm them. Of course, it was a real risk; but as the Mahatma said, "I can no more teach nonviolence to a coward than I can teach music a deaf man." Gandhi and his followers simply took actions that deprived profits to the East India Company and weakened the Empire. It worked. After World War II, everybody in Britain with the possible exception of Churchill saw that it was too expensive to maintain an Empire. Lord Mountbatten was sent to India to negotiate the end of the British Raj.

One might imagine what our two heroes would do with today's rich and powerful. What cigar smoke would Groucho blow in the face of Wall Street crooks? What clever turn of a phrase would he use to insinuate that their power is based on bribing politicians from congressional committee chairmen to local dog catchers. I'm sorry. Did I say bribe? I meant to say contribute large sums to their campaigns. The first thing their stooges have to do once in office is to make sure the law makes a distinction between bribery and giving large contributions to election campaigns, were citizens with common sense know there is no difference.

Mahatma Gandhi would lead us in defiance of laws passed by crooked politicians backed by crooked corporate officers. There a law calling for a tax on homeowners who put up solar panels? The Mahatma would first lead by example and be the first in the state of Oklahoma or Florida to put up solar panels on his home, announce that he will not pay any unjust tax written by the Koch brothers and their tyrannical corporate and crooked political allies, and urge all others to do the same. Naturally, some may back away after the initial bluster from crooked politicians, crooked corporations and crooked opinions makers in the media, but most of us already know that America has already become an oligarchy and is no longer a democracy. We've already lost all there is to lose and we are simply fighting to restore democracy, where the people of the community have control of the community's destiny. We will state as our goal to bankrupt billionaire tyrants and drive crooked politicians from office until they cry "uncle" and sue for piece. What reparations we demand will depend on how time that takes measured not in years, but in social and environmental damage. Meanwhile, what part of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance do the tyrants not understand?

October 2 is a day to celebrate. Today is the birthday of both Mahatma Gandhi and Groucho Marx, two of the great liberators of mankind.

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Sacramento Valley, California
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 45,984
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