Category Archives: USA Politics

News and views of the United States of America.

Chris Hedges; Rise up or die

While I continue to mull over the recent BC election results, I will be excerpting a few of the blogs or writers that I enjoy reading. I do NOT necessarily agree with each of these writers, but I do find them thought-provoking.

Here is today’s excerpt, from Chris Hedges, writer for Truth Dig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines.

Joe Sacco and I spent two years reporting from the poorest pockets of the United States for our book “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.” We went into our nation’s impoverished “sacrifice zones”—the first areas forced to kneel before the dictates of the marketplace—to show what happens when unfettered corporate capitalism and ceaseless economic expansion no longer have external impediments. We wanted to illustrate what unrestrained corporate exploitation does to families, communities and the natural world. We wanted to challenge the reigning ideology of globalization and laissez-faire capitalism to illustrate what life becomes when human beings and the ecosystem are ruthlessly turned into commodities to exploit until exhaustion or collapse. And we wanted to expose as impotent the formal liberal and governmental institutions that once made reform possible, institutions no longer equipped with enough authority to check the assault of corporate power.

What has taken place in these sacrifice zones—in postindustrial cities such as Camden, N.J., and Detroit, in coalfields of southern West Virginia where mining companies blast off mountaintops, in Indian reservations where the demented project of limitless economic expansion and exploitation worked some of its earliest evil, and in produce fields where laborers often endure conditions that replicate slavery—is now happening to much of the rest of the country. These sacrifice zones succumbed first. You and I are next.

To read the rest of this piece you can visit Truth Dig.

Excerpt from Strange Jubilee on Clusterfuck Nation

An interesting blog a friend sent to me today, Clusterfuck Nation by James Howard Kunstler. The following is an excerpt from that blog;

Is there a Baby Boomer so dim in this land of rackets and swindles who thinks that he or she will escape the wrath of the Millennials rising? The developing story is so obvious that only an academic economist could fail to notice. Here’s how it will go: some months from now, as the financial unwind worsens, and the mirage of gainful employment shimmers away to nothing, and the technocrats of Europe meet nervously by some Swiss lakeside (and are seen glumly shaking their heads), and Romney and Obama try to out-do each other peddling miracle cures for the tanking national self-esteem – a dangerous meme will go forth across the internet, and this meme will say: Millennials, renounce your college loans and set yourselves free!

Thoughts? To read more of Clusterfuck Nation, Visit http://kunstler.com/blog/2012/04/strange-jubilee-1.html

Let me knowwhat you think of it.Pretty radical ideas.

Gov Rick Perry on Tar Sands Oil

The following is an unconfirmed quote from Rick Perry, current Governor of Texas and Republican Presidential candidate. The following makes me wonder if Perry needs to review his geography or if he is assuming that Manifest Destiny is fait de accompli.

Every barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of oil that we don’t have to buy from a foreign source.
—Gov. Rick Perry

 

George Abbott muses about a legislated end to teacher strike

George Abbott

George Abbott

Two examples of irony today; first one from our home province of BC where yesterday, on International Day of the Teacher, George Abbott, Minister of Education was heard publicly musing about legislating an end to the current teacher strike here in BC. Great way to show your appreciation for the work your kid’s teacher is doing!

Second example comes from our neighbours to the south. Alabama passed a very strict new immigration law intended to force illegal workers out of jobs. However, the new law is also driving away many legal immigrant workers who work in construction and on farms doing backbreaking jobs that Americans generally won’t.

One tomato farmer said only eight of the 48 Hispanic workers she needed for harvest showed up after the law took effect. Those who did were frightened.

Farmer Chad Smith said his family farm stands to lose up to $150,000 because there are not enough workers to pick tomatoes spoiling in the fields.

“We will be lucky to be in business next year,” he said.

Republican Sen. Scott Beason says, “We have the best law in the country and I stand by what we’ve done.”

Yes, he stands by while the crops rot in the fields because there is nobody to harvest them.

Ah, irony.

Thoughts on the American Debt Ceiling Crisis

The following is an interesting snippet of an article on the very contrived “American Debt Ceiling Crisis.”

I received this snippet via email this morning and I have not yet had time to ascertain the veracity of this piece or the source of the article. Take it for what it is, food for thought. For now, read and consider;

1) Almost ALL of the increased debt and deficit is REPUBLICAN CREATED by many of the same people who now refuse to raise the debt ceiling. The budget was better than balanced when the Republicans took over in 2000 – it was running a surplus.

It was projected that the entire debt would be PAID OFF completely by now. Republicans voted for 2 massive tax breaks for the rich, 2 massive wars (one of which was completely unnecessary), a huge giveaway to drug companies with the unfunded Medicare Drug supplemental, and sabotaging of regulatory agencies that could have prevented the housing collapse, the derivative bond market collapse, and the banking collapse – and all BEFORE the Democrats regained Congress.

2) The debt ceiling has NEVER EVER been politicized before and this “crisis” is completely manufactured by the Republicans to 1) get the Democrats to vote to cut Medicare so they can neutralize the Republican Ryan budget vote to end Medicare, and 2) to force this into the middle of the 2012 election where the Republicans can use it once again as political fodder to try to embarrass the President and as leverage to extract yet more ultra-corporatist policies.

The debt ceiling was raised 18 times under Reagan (who TRIPLED the debt), and 7 times under Bush (who DOUBLED the debt) without any politicization. 
3) The Republicans are literally holding the American nation, people, way of life, and American dream AS HOSTAGE and saying with a clear willingness to do so, if we don’t get our way, we will put a bullet in the head of our hostage and destroy the American economy.

Many Republicans want and hope the US goes into default. Why? Do these economic terrorists even call themselves “American?” If a foreign nation did this to us, we would go to war with them. This is literally an act of treason.

 

Republicans Continue to Refuse to Compromise

I’m having some difficulty trying to figure out how the Republicans in the USA figure they can afford to bomb the rest of the world into democracy if they refuse to ask their well-to-do constituents to pay taxes.

The financial world may look very different if the Republicans insist on continuing their pet wars in Afghanistan and Libya while refusing to entertain any changes to how these wars are financed.

 

American Exit Strategy for Libyan Conflict

I believe it was Stephen Covey in his seminal book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People who wrote that one of the habits of highly effective people is to “always begin with the end in mind.” In other words, before you begin a task you know what a success will look like. Or at least you know what the project will look like after you are done. Perhaps the American war lords might have a read of Covey’s book.

Look at their experiences in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya. What would a “win” look like in any of these conflicts? At what point have you “won” allowing you to walk away? For each of these conflicts I have to wonder what the war lords had in mind for an appropriate ending when they started, or got involved in the conflict.

Chris Hedges on the American Education System

An interesting read on what the corporate agenda is doing to the American education system. Written by Chris Hedges on TruthDig.

A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.

Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating…

To read the rest of this thought-provoking piece visit Truth Dig where they drill beneath the headlines.

No Photo Op for Bin Laden

From the William Perry letter file;

Unlike Bin Laden, President Obama has his photo-ops without fail. Obama’s persona is a character in photo-ops, his political persona, his well-known features, his interchangeable political principles, and his devotion to maintaining his larger than life ‘awesomeness’, have all defined his place in the American political world more than any ideological or partisan framing – the guy in the really big car.

There is a photo op practically every day when President Obama hosts someone in the Oval Office meeting with someone perceived to make it look as if he is working hard for the American people.

His peoples’ mantra: Make the most of any moment, key or otherwise, making history with his masterfully rendered character – elegantly posed, one finger extended for that authoritative appearance – both business and business attire – worn by the man on the campaign trail in American cities from coast to coast. Maybe he should try a magnetic wardrobe – that change of clothing we can believe in! Solving the economic crisis you say. Not important as long as you look good – for those pesky 3 a.m. phone calls, “do you shoot him or do we shoot him?”

Nevertheless, No photo op. No chance for reporters to ask the President about where things stand.

Although there are several compelling reasons to show the pictures – so the citizen on the street will believe Osama bin Laden is dead. Not a good enough reason. Damn if you do – damn if you don’t.

There’s going to be conspiracy theorists that are going to believe the pictures are doctored.  There’ll be stories the whole event was shot on a movie sound stage, like the moon landing.

Reason not to show the pictures – It doesn’t show Obama’s best side.

Tea Party Voters Supported Bristol Palin on DWTS?

A usually reliable source has informed me that there are rumours circulating around the internet (and as I always say, if it is on the internet it must be true) that the ugly world of political partisanship entered into the results for the reality tv show, Dancing With the Stars.

The rumours of which I speak? It is rumoured that large numbers of Tea Party supporters voted to keep Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol Palin in the Dancing With the Stars reality tv show to demonstrate just how powerful of a voting block they can be.

And here I thought people were simply voting for her because of her mad dancing skills.

(PS: This post was written entirely in jest. Don’t take things too seriously.)