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Jack Rabbit

Jack Rabbit's Journal
Jack Rabbit's Journal
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.

September 27, 2014

I'm going to enjoy this

First of all, from the information in the article, it would appear that Dave and Charlie Koch are actively lying, not merely willfully ignorant, about climate change. One cannot discount the willful ignorance of a couple of Birch-bred ignorami, since a person who believes that Ike was Communist or that the fluoridation of drinking water is a subversive plot is likely to believe anything.

However, since many fossil fuel magnates who promote the climate-science-is-a-hoax hoax are also inheritance brats who attended Ivy League universities where they probably learned something besides deviousness, sociopathology and ridiculous, unsustainable economic theories, it is difficult to believe that the whole fucking lot of them are so stupid as to question the conclusions of 97% of scientists.

What they are doing is lying to the public in an attempt to keep their businesses on life support.

They profess to believe in the free market, but ALEC crafted model legislation to tax homeowners with the audacity to install solar panels on the roofs belies this. This is nothing less than an attempt to strangle the competition in the crib.

They think coal and oil corporations are too big to fail. Actually, they're just too big for their breeches.

We need to supplant -- not supplement, but supplant -- fossil fuel with renewable energy sources in the next few decades. Fossil fuel is unhealthy. If you don't think so, take it from somebody who uses to drive past the Cheveron refinery between Richmond, California and the Carquinez Strait on a regular basis. Just smelling that place will make a person sick. If you don't live near an oil refinery, just go fill up you car at a gas station. Smelling a gas station will make you sick, too.

We didn't really need climate science to tell us that fossil fuel consumption was bad for public health. However, it's not just a threat to public health. It's a threat to life on Earth, and that is not an exaggeration.

Dave and Charlie are old men and will soon go to that great blazing fossil fuel source under the earth, and their final years will spent being reminded that karma can be very, vary nasty.
September 26, 2014

Please provide some context, sir

I refuse to be put in the same boat as Darell Issa or Louie Gohmert because I believe Holder will go down in history as a poor, perhaps even corrupt, Attorney General. Holder's failings include failure to prosecute Bush administration war criminals, failure to prosecute crooked Wall Bankers, defense of the NSA spy on everyone program, defense of assassination of American citizens without trial and persecution of whistleblowers.

These are real failings, not a ginned up scandal like Benghazi.

I also count as a failing Mr. Holder's inability to hold back the GOP assault on the right to vote. Many are lauding him today for what action he took without mentioning that if Mr. Holder's party loses the Senate, it will be because Republicans successfully barred American citizens from the polling place. Of course, Mr. Holder didn't desire the outcome, but he failed to stop it. There are times that good intentions just aren't good enough.

However, the scandals mentioned in the first paragraph, also mentioned by Matthew Rothschild in The Progressive, were done with no good intentions at all. Denial of due process or the right of Americans to be free from overreaching government intrusion are as much an assault on American democracy as is the denial voting rights.

So excuse me, but add me to those who, unlike Darell Issa or Louie Gohmert, are giving a principled and informerd good riddance to Attorney General Eric Holder.

September 11, 2014

Middle Eastern Wars and Energy Indpependence

It seems a laudable goal to destroy ISIS in the Middle East. ISIS may be an unintended consequence of a failed US policy, and it is a brutal, genocidal view of the future.

It seems an equally laudable goal to achieve energy independence. Unfortunately, "Drill, baby, drill" is a slogan that is proposed by those who would perpetuate the problem. What we need to be energy independent is to be able to make policy independent of fossil fuel corporations.

Let's not lose track of our priorities. We, as Americans, wish to become "energy independent." Going into the Middle East to secure a supply of oil is bad policy. Going to war to secure foreign oil is not being energy independent. It wasn't in 2003, it isn't in 2014.

Neither is it energy independent to tax homeowners for putting up solar panels.

Why is it that Republican party donors grin widely when McCain and Graham demand a bloody, aggressive policy in the Middle East? Why is it that Republican party donors, through ALEC, pushed through the solar panel in Oklahoma? Why is it that the Koch brothers are ground zero for the global-warming-is-a-hoax hoax?

I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it's pretty clear there a conspiracy here. Why should that be a surprise even to people like me, who thinks that Oswald killed Kennedy all by himself and that Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida operatives were responsible for the September 11 attacks?

The questions we should be asking concern whether what the President is proposing good policy. We've allowed one president to overthrow a bloody tyrant in the Middle East in order to gain control over oil and it didn't work out too well. What we got was a power vacuum being filled Baghdadi the rabble rouser, an even bloodier tyrant than Saddam. Yet, because we have not become energy independent, but instead allow those who are most interested in perpetuating the dominance of fossil fuel based energy to dictate energy and foreign policy to what is supposed to be a government by the people, not the oligarchs, here we are again. Let's go overthrow a tyrant in the Middle East so that they'll not brutalize the people they rule and install a new puppet government that will allow the west to control their natural resources.

The oligarchs' imperialist war against Iraq was a colossal failure, but they are determined to do again and again until we get it right. That's right, they want us to get it right for their benefit. They expect our children and grandchildren to die in Middle Eastern oil fields to secure a supply of oil for them to sell. To make sure they can sell it, they'll strangle any nascent technology that might eventually supplant it in the cradle, for instance, by taxing its use.

Not only do the oligarchs want to stifle the development of renewable energy industry, but they insist on a new, dirtier and more dangerous technology: fracking. Of course, if we don't like that, then there's always nuclear power. Chernobyl, anyone? Fukushima? Does their business plan really involve the destruction of planet Earth?

I see a common enemy here besides ISIS.

Can we help Middle Eastern regimes destroy ISIS and at the same time limit the influence of our own fossil fuel industries? Those energy corporations insist that we keep them on life support with imperialist wars, taxpayer funded subsidies and bailouts and assistance stifling the growth of new and cleaner energy industry.

It should be the avowed policy of the US government to supplant fossil fuel with renewable energy by the middle of this century. We should have no higher priority. If the Messrs. Koch, Mr. Tillerson, Mr. Blankenship, the Dukes of North Carolina and others want to keep their corporations viable, they can diversify, invest in renewable energy and help that industry grow. If not, we should do whatever it takes to grow renewable energy industries, including direct taxpayer funding to develop the industry as a completely public enterprise. Yes, that is socialism. To paraphrase Patrick Henry, let us make the most of it.

If the government proves unresponsive, then We, the People, independent of the government must make the policy. We will not fight in the oil industry's imperialist wars. We will not pay taxes (did he just propose a tax strike?) to keep the fossil fuel industries on life support or to prosecute wars for their benefit. If the government at any level passes legislation to stifle the growth of renewable energy, such as a tax on solar panels, then put up the solar panels and don't pay the tax. General strikes should also be employed, although they are illegal under the infamous Taft-Hartley Act. Yes, this is a campaign of civil disobedience. Be prepared to go to jail, be prepared for worse than that. We have an idea what the oligarchs have in store for us under their oligarchy. We are fighting not only for our survival, but the survival of planet Earth.

August 21, 2014

I don't quite agree, but yours is a lot closer to my point of view than Ayn Rand's nonsense

My view of the world is through the lens of Rousseau, specifically his dichotomy of the natural and social orders of things.

Our species is not cursed with original sin, as Christian doctrine holds, but there is certainly no evidence of the opposite, perhaps we should call it original virtue, which seems good for selling overpriced paperbacks in a new age bookstore, but little else. Since I've mention Ayn Rand, an overrated hack novelist and quack philosopher, her ideas about human nature are closer to the Christian doctrine of original sin, except that she thinks that the emotions and behavior Christians enumerate as sins are virtues.

To give that lady her due, however, greed and selfishness do fill a positive role, along with some of our more aggressive traits that get out of hand too often. If we were created by a god, then it created us, like it created every other species, to survive for at least for time on this planet while it is still inhabitable.

Nevertheless, Ms Rand's view of human nature is at best a half truth. Her heroes are "born without the ability to feel others." Such a person usually ends up committing criminal acts, like a serial killer. If her novels don't ring true to most of us, that is the reason: her heroes aren't like most of us, and we don't hold them up as people to be admired. That ability to feel others is as much a natural part of us as greed, selfishness and aggressive behavior. Primitive humans live in groups and hunt in packs. A human with no ability to feel others would not survive very long in a state of nature. He would be a lone hunter. No one would do his hunting for him or look after his health if he were laid up for a while with the flu or if he catches a cold that digresses into pneumonia. He might pass on his genes if he can find a mate who's as sick as he is, as happens in Ms Rand's novels such as, for instance, with Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged.

While it is true that we can be characterized as being greedy and selfish, there is a reason we don't often think that those are part of our better nature. Humans are also, by nature, a social animal. By nature, we reach out to our fellow humans. One can call that empathy. It's a good word for it, although I think empathy means something more, something less clinical or academic, but something warmer. If we didn't do that, we would have become extinct long ago. A slow runner (compared to a hungry leopard) and poor tree climber (compared to a frightened monkey) had to have something else going for it in order to have been as successful as we have been. A good part of this might have been that magnificent brain of ours.

Do I hear the Objectivists chortling? Do they really think a lone human hunter could have survived in a state of nature more than a winter or two by himself and his brain? No, he would not have. He would not have lived long enough to become a hunter. Most of human cerebral development takes place outside the womb, after birth. Our childhood comprises about the first 20% of our life span. It is necessary for our survival to the age of puberty that we be nurtured by other, older humans. Again, it is natural for humans to live in groups. If it were not, few of us would survive childhood and the likelihood we would be extinct by now would be rather high. Therefore, we have the family, the village, the tribe, the community, or if one wishes to use some more general term, society. Human society cannot be separated from our nature. It is part of us.

True, it comes at a cost, such as limitations on individual freedom. Part of that limitation is what we call morality, that is, the rules by which we agree to live in a particular group. Believers in the Abrahamic god assert that morality comes from their god. I don't agree with them. People who have never heard of that particular god still live in groups that have rules by which they live. A society could not function well if we allowed any individual to resolve a dispute with another by killing him. Nobody needs a god to furnish a prophet with a stone tablet saying so in order to know this. Even Pharaoh, who most certainly did not believe in the Abrahamic god, enforced laws prohibiting murder and theft.

Morality, in my view, grows out of a social pragmatism growing, in turn, from our natural need to live in groups. I don't think that need is the same thing as empathy, but it is related to it. Empathy is something like an elaboration on that need. We don't really need empathy for survival, but it makes the world a more pleasant place.

August 13, 2014


I think it is perfectly possible for a police state to allow some, even most, citizens to make the observation that it is a police state. One may even make the observation while not condemning the state, e.g., "Thank God this is a police state; the police should have free reign to do what is necessary to protect law-abiding citizens from criminal elements."

The sticking point is that "free reign to do what is necessary" clause. In a real police state, "what is necessary" is interpreted in a way to mean "excessive." What is excessive? In the specific case at hand, it is when the police -- or a neighborhood watchman -- treat any young black man as a criminal suspect. It should have been a wake up call that some thirty years ago when patrolman stopped a young black male driving a car only to find out the "suspect" was television star LaVar Burton. That incident only raised some nervous laughter -- it was clear that Mr. Burton was stopped only because he fit an overly broad profile of a criminal and, beyond the inconvenience of having to explain to an officer that he was only his own business, didn't suffer any harm -- but there was still something wrong with that picture. We knew that this happened all the time, but the only reason we heard about this instance is that the young man randomly stopped was a Hollywood celebrity.

I don't believe the patrolman who stopped LaVar Burton had any specific crime that he was investigating, but in the time that it happened to now I may have forgotten a detail or two. In much less time, I can't recall any specific crime for which Trayvon Martin was suspected when he was killed by a neighborhood watchman or last week when Michael Brown was killed by a uniformed police officer. Messrs. Burton, Martin and Brown were not suspected of any crime; they were suspected because they were simply being.

Now consider this: is there any one here who thinks that officer who killed Michael Brown won't walk, assuming that he is even brought to trial? More than that, is there any one here is isn't expecting a barrage from the right wing claiming that Michael Brown was a thug who got what he deserved? Some of us might like to think that the Koch brothers or other right wing oligarchs are manipulating that sentiment, and perhaps that is partly true. Scapegoating young blacks helps keeps the masses divided, making it less likely the masses will come together to oppose them. Let's not get to conspiratorial in our thinking. Much of the ugly right wing sentiment will be spontaneous. The Koch brothers were not around when the KKK was founded.

The elements at work here are scapegoating, oligarchs who finds that scapegoating useful to maintaining their own power and police officers who are instructed to believe that a whole class of individuals are thugs and should be treated as such. The police officers come from the same general population as George Zimmerman and his defenders. Of course, so do you and I, my fellow DUers. Don't get too proud. If one's survival defended on a career and one's career depended on doing as one is told and one is told to treat any young black man as a criminal suspect, then even one who is not inclined to that kind of scapegoating will damned sure act as if he is.

That's how police states are made.

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Hometown: Sacramento Valley, California
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