Friday, April 27, 2007

Getting Reality in Pundits and Presidential Candidates

As the Bush – Rove Meltdown continues the pundits and other well paid operatives who have been providing services to the NeoCons on a long term basis are left looking wildly around for opportunities that offer them lucrative exits from the perception they have been, well, operatives. Forget loyalty, the only allegiance they swear to has dollar signs. One of these, John Fund, has recently been busy distancing himself from the NeoCon Cabal, edging away like an overweight crab. His attempts are boorishly obvious and so deserve a slight drubbing, which we here provide.

Fund took the opportunity to distance himself from former long time friend and drinking buddy John Doolittle in his trudge 'on the Trail' of politics with, “Doolittle, Too Late,”How a Reaganite idealist lost his way.” Admitting his long relationship with Doolittle Fund takes Doolittle to task for Doolittle's lavish grazing in the folds of such lobbyists as Jack Abramoff. These recently causes the Doolittle home computer to be carried off by authorities; According to Fund, “two months after taking office, the ostensible reformer (Doolittle) teamed up with Democrat Maxine Waters, a left-liberal firebrand with whom he'd served in the Legislature and who went to Congress in the same election as he did. Together, the two proposed a wish list of new perks that would make even European Union bureaucrats blush.”

Fund goes on to say, “When word of the Doolittle-Waters memo leaked to the papers, the freshman Republican reacted with indignation that Democrats in the House leadership had blown his cover. But Mr. Doolittle continued to behave like a perkoholic.”

Indeed. One wonders why it took so long for Fund to notice. Fund continues on, denouncing his erstwhile friend as a “Reaganite Idealist.” That is probably indicative of what Fund thinks of as an 'ideal' job, that being making lots of money by selling phony rhetoric and eating lunch in the Congressional dining room. Doolittle did that; and doubtless also made more lucre than Fund. Dragging Reagan into the mix is a shabby attempt to hide behind the Reagan mystique, something that NeoCons are likely to do since some of us are still squeamish about throwing things at dead people.

Note: John Fund was NOT invited to the Reagan Funeral. There were reasons for that.

Doolittle is a blatant thief who has been busy lining his own nest for years. Fund could hardly have been unaware of this for the last many years. But now outing Doolittle could be used to say, “See, I can out my own!” Who is dim enough on the Left to believe that remains to be seen.

For someone who spread stories about the strange tattoos located on the Clinton anatomy in the early 90s it is even more indicative of the growing desperation of the NeoCons that Fund said about Bill and Hillary Clinton on Good Morning America on the 23rd.

"What makes Bill Clinton special is he wouldn't just [be] viewed as the the spouse of a president, he would be viewed as a…former world leader in his own right," emoted the Fund.
Wow! A kind word for those demonic Clintons from the guy to lead the charge in Project Arkansas and bragged about inciting Vince Foster to suicide. Major hopes for amnesia on the part of those on the Left. That does spell desperation time. The source of that desperation comes from the lackluster field of Republican candidates for President, making the Clintons look good to Fund.

The following snippet shows just why the Fund is despondent – and why one should be careful about what one says in public. “”Overheard... John Fund

“WSJ columnist John Fund was talking very loudly on his cell phone this morning on his way to the Rosslyn Metro.

He spoke of Mitt Romney: "Looks good, gives a great speech... But he's terrible in a crisis. Look at the Massachusetts health care plan."

Romney can't be counted out, according to Fund. Neither can Fred Thompson.””
Fund knows that McCain would not be welcoming to him. Fund is the operative who spread the rumor that McCain had a black love child in 2000, destroying McCain chances of the Republican nomination. McCain hunted him down and offered to kick his butt at the WSJ offices in New York.

Well, if those wannabe presidential types all look bad to Fund for various reasons (They look bad to us, too, but for different reasons!) Fund might be desperate enough to inch in towards a Democrat who acts enough like a NeoCon for him to feel at home. That would describe Obama and Hillary, Edwards and several others.

Fund would be happy to spend time on the minority side looking for opportunities to be useful to yet another round of NeoCon types, replacements for the present cadre of Big Oil and Big Greed Corporations who are running America into the ground. Money, after all, remains green no matter who writes the check and pundits such as Fund certainly will do whatever is possible to continue on the payroll. But why would Americans find this whole set up attractive?
Why, for gosh sakes, are we letting these turkeys set the rules? American voters are supposed to do the hiring and the firing. Which of us did not have to fill out a job application? Have a background check? Professionals – and presumably anyone who wants to be President of Vice-President is a professional – are normally BONDED.

Perhaps Americans should get smart and take a long hard look at the applicants before primary day. Get Reality, in fact, get the Reality Caucus. It's about time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Bush Legacy of Death

Written for the Iconoclast

Thanks to George W. Bush children and young people in Iraq never have a 'normal' day, a day when they can feel safe and go about their lives. Every day in Iraq children, young people, women and the elderly along with good, decent, men simply trying to survive are snuffed out horribly. Their homes are invaded, going to the grocery store is fraught with fear; they live with one hour of electricity a day. That is how it is. When their loved ones are shot there are no counselors and George Bush, the man who did this to them and to us, leads no memorial service.

Now, more than ever, we need to remember what is happening to a country Bush decided to invade to alleviate his feelings about his father and help out his friends who wanted to ensure that the flow of profits from the lives and blood of Americans would continue. Bush and his friends have made violence an ordinary part of our lives. Children are dying of Bush Greed in Iraq every day.

BAGHDAD, 29 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government, the United Nations and NGOs have condemned an attack against a girls’ school in Baghdad that left five students dead and more than 20 injured on Sunday. Parents, students and teachers were left horror-struck after the incident.

“BAGHDAD, 29 Jan 2007 (IRIN) - "I’m 11 years old and an only son. I’m a pupil at Mansour Primary School in Baghdad. Lately, I have been feeling very lonely in my class. This week, I was the only student in class because all my classmates didn’t come to school for various reasons.

Since last September, three of my classmates have been kidnapped and two have been killed. One was murdered with his family at home and the other was a victim of a bomb explosion a month ago.”

Those are children younger that those who died at Virginia Tech. Bush's war killed them. They bleed red and Iraqis love their children, too. Before we invaded Iraqis viewed America as a place of hope. That was true of us, too. Many things have changed and many truths are now obvious there and in America if you open your eyes.

The housing bubble has popped. Foreclosures of homes are rising every single day. Last summer 130 old people died in Central Valley of heat, not because there was a loss of electricity but because they could not afford to run their air conditioners. Veterans are living on the street, denied medical care we owe them. America is bankrupt in all directions, drained by the Bush Administration. The oppressive presence of government, the rules followed by the police, the installations of Blackwater paramilitary being build near San Diego, supposedly for service in Iraq. Many fear their mission will be within the US.

The logic of Bush, his core constituency, and the National Church he has raised up against all the principles on which America was founded has created this world.

In America today we are inundated with hate talk from Bush and his NeoCon placements as they carry out a campaign that demonizes Muslims. The TV series, “24” injects ideas about Muslims that are absurd. Manipulating public opinion has become accepted in an American media that is entirely owned by corporations. 401Ks trump truth for most commentators and reporters. Americans watch Fox while in Europe such insightful films as, “The Power of Nightmares,” pose the questions and provide answers that make sense. The film is available at YouTube. All Americans should view it; few probably will. As our economy dissolved, drained by Bush and his friends, from the PR arm of the corporations, the mainstream media, we hear only hype and hate larded with the photo ops intended to still protest and divide us.

In the midst of this Bush appears looking 'presidential' to lead prayers at the memorial service for the 32 slain at Virginia Tech. The man who cannot remember the names of dead soldiers when he meets their grieving families gets dressed up and goes out for a photo op. You can almost imagine the discussion of timing in which Karl Rove doubtless weighed how this was to be played. “It will be a sympathetic audience; no one will make cat calls there – the President will love it.”

Of course, this still leaves 32 people dead and the media chasing their tails endlessly quoting each other and looking for causes that do not implicate those in power. They always manage, mostly by ignoring the logic of the policies that are steeped in violence and used to profit the Bush Core Constituency; a job is a job, after all.

Violence is evidently acceptable when carried out by those in power. Policy is assessed on the basis of how much money it generates for those in power, not on whether or not it provides the services Americans have a right to expect from the taxes they pay.

Do you remember the week after September 11, 2001? There was an outpouring of sympathy from people around the world. Offers of money, food, blood, woven with compassion came to us from people of all faiths and places. We came together. All across the country people dropped what they were doing and took action. There was a true power in the people then. It was a moment of time when nearly all of the world came together because we all understand the depths of loss when we lose people we love in ways we cannot explain.

In the White House there was jubilation because there was an excuse to invade Iraq. At a moment when a tragedy could have been converted into the peace we all yearn for those around Bush were busy planning out the Patriot Act and looking over invasion plans and doing the positioning for the hate campaign against Muslims that continues to this day.

Policies to lower the costs of providing promised benefits to the veterans who would be returning, injured and in need, were being formalized. “Wait them to death,” the policy now being followed, still present from Vietnam and the Gulf War was in place before a single soldier was deployed. The “No Child Left Behind,” program that converted schools into places where children are forced to regurgitate factoids instead of learning to think carried out yet another policy. Thinking Americans are a threat to Bush and his Theocratic National Church.

And in Blacksberg, Virginia families grieve for those they love, trying to make sense from horror. The coming days and months will be brutal as they continue to search for the inner peace that evades all of us. Each life lost diminished us.

Seung-Hui Cho referred to the Columbine gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as martyrs. Cho's life was evidently one of loneliness and emotional isolation. His family worried about him; the school he attended did not provide any aid for his speech problems. Such programs are less common now as funds are cut to pay for the War in Iraq. Unlike the Bush family Cho's parents could not pay for therapy. They came to America seeking a better life and by all reports were honest and hard working.

Seung-Hui Cho brought with him the problems that would marginalize him socially and drive him to violence against people he did not know and then against himself. The danger signs were present and ignored by those in the schools he attended.

Why would Cho see Harris and Klebold as figures to be emulated? Was Cho a monster? Is it more monstrous to strike out in rage or to use the institutions entrusted to you to kill and steal for yourself and your friends? Who is the greater monster, Seung-Hui Cho or George Bush? Ask those grieving and bleeding in Iraq; ask the families handed a flag in payment for a child, father, husband, wife. Ask the elderly woman who died, fried to death in the swelter of heat in Central Valley. Ask yourself and take action.

April 22, 1970 – Oil Day: Wake up and smell the fumes.

Written for the Iconoclast

The National Geographic, Vol. 138 No. 6 December 1970
- “We are astronauts, all of us. We ride a spaceship called Earth in its endless journey around the Sun. This ship of ours is blessed with life-support systems so ingenious that they are self-renewing, so massive that they can supply the needs of billions.”

But for centuries we have taken them for granted, considered their capacities limitless. At last we have begun to monitor the systems and the findings are deeply disturbing.”

Scientists and government officials of the United States and other countries agree that we are in trouble. Unless we stop abusing our vital life-support systems they will fail. We must maintain them or pay the penalty. The penalty is death.”

A successful take over of the then nascent environmental movement by big oil began during the months from late 1966 until the end of 1967. At that point in time the issues of clean water and accountability for those who pollute were non-partisan, the present partisan divisions did not exist. Clean air and water were things that everyone agreed were necessary; liability for polluting must be exacted. “If you pollute, you pay,” was the first point on the agenda intended for consideration at the 1972 Stockholm Conference for the Environment according to Helen Garland, an early activist. That agenda changed in the back halls of the United Nations before the conference was gaveled into order.

It was a change that alarmed and bewildered people like Garland, representative to the Environmental Movement at the UN in 1971. John McConnell, originator of the real Earth Day said, “the agenda of Peace, Justice and the care of Earth, were sidelined for something very different.” Howard Baker, Jr., a Republican Senator from Tennessee, headed the first Environmental Protection Agency. Clean air and water seemed as imminent as social justice.

The forces that changed our direction are one in the same, Big Oil.

The bottom line for oil companies was to ensure that their profits from the only thing they had to sell continued. In the last 30 years, that has come to trillions from those continued sales by Big Oil, today amounting to one quarter of the entire GNP for the entire globe. Additionally, oil companies have received from “US federal government energy subsidies and incentives over the past 50 years – $644 billion. It shows that the federal government has subsidized the energy industries – nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas, renewables – using different budget and off-budget funding techniques.” This is according to The International Journal of Global Energy Issues.

Money talks and motivates. The losses to Big Oil if the original agenda for the environment had been enacted would be literally incalculable. Ensuring that did not happen was not a conspiracy, it was simple corporate policy.

According to Helen Garland, one of the original surviving founders of both the Earth Society and its present CEO, the wording for the first reference to the conference on the subject in the records from the United National Library on the environment changes over the three year period from 1967 – 1969. In 1967 the subject is clearly, “Pollution.” The point is obviously the impact of human action on the earth in specific locations. The next year the wording has changed to, “Environment.” This term redirects the focus from both the liability and accountability for specific human action to a broad category with no specific focus. A year later it has changed again, the text becoming "Human Environment." This term bifurcates what is actually a closed system, dividing humanity from the Earth. To win you must divide your enemy. “The enemy” the oil companies confronted was very direction of humanity for a clean environment and social justice.

By 1972 the Environmental Movement, now firmly under the control of Big Oil, first by the careful reworking of the agenda and resulting laws and the hijacking of what had been intended to be the yearly focus of that movement, Earth Day, was complete.

The hijacking of Earth Day had been accomplished through an overt show of public relations muscle, powered with 4 million dollars fed into the hands of Dennis Hayes, a sallow undergraduate who got the name, “Earth Day” from John McConnell and the older generation of environmentalists that included Helen Garland and Margaret Mead.

The conception of one day to highlight the agenda of, “Peace, Justice, and care of the Earth,” had been carefully thought out to encapsulate the whole agenda for that movement. The moment chosen, the second of the Spring Equinox, marked the moment of time when the Earth shifted between summer and winter in its Southern and Northern Hemispheres. The term was first used when the idea was presented by McConnell to a few members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and other community leaders early October 1969 at a UN meeting.

Today, if you visit the site for the April 22nd Earth Day you will find much rhetoric but nothing that enables you to easily or inexpensively accomplish what those aware of the issues in the early 70s expected; the ability to get off the grid of energy dependence. The original idea of accountability is nowhere in sight.

Big Oil had found a useful tool with Richard Nixon. Nixon's tenure in office, January 1969 to August 9, 1974 overlays many of the events that so impacted the cited changes in the Environmental Movement. According to Garland Nixon assured environmentalists that clean air and water were priorities. Jimmy Carter, with a strong background in engineering and economics, was elected in 1976, and represented a problem for Big Oil. Big Oil removed him from office through the simple expedient of sharply increasing oil prices during the critical period of the election.

The original wording for the Clean Water Act, passed in 1967, is today unavailable as is the poll of Americans done by Senator Baker that was published but never distributed around 1968. According again to Helen Garland these laid down standards and expectations that were then rewritten by Maurice Strong, an ambitious oilman from Canada who moved into the United Nations through a series of introductions, first serving, from November 1970 until December 1972 as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. After a long and lucrative career at the United Nations Strong went on to involvement in the Food for Oil debacle and from there to Peace University in Puerto Rico, where he used that institution to train paramilitary. He is now reported to be working in China.

After the initial take over the work of vilifying the United Nations and environmentalism guaranteed that the chasms of distrust would reinforce the divides first forged among Americans in the early 70s. Those who did the work profited mightily, many finding careers in politics and nonprofits funded by Big Oil.

Today a new generation of environmentalists and innovators are taking stock and coming together to provide the means for Americans to get off the grids of dependence. John Sturbine, a businessman and investor, and others from that earlier movement, including Helen Garland, are founding what they call The Earth Project, intended to make off grid alternatives cheaply available. Included among those involved are a non-oil engine for automobiles, a technology for reducing the cost of energy in homes by one half and a boat design that also eliminates the use of petroleum.

Sturbine said for this article, “there is no limitation to human innovation; Americans could be off the grids entirely in three years.”

Friday, April 20, 2007

The CorporaState that Ate America

What would Thomas Jefferson say to those who evoke his words to install fascism in America today?

“Why can't you see?

We just want to be free

To have our homes and families

And live our lives as we please.”

Dana Rohrabacher

West Coast Libertarian Troubadour (1973)

(From David Friedman's, “The Machinery of Freedom.”)

Today is the 264th Anniversary of the birth of Thomas Jefferson. A lot has happened in America in those years but most importantly a lot is still happening that Americans fail to understand. We need to connect ALL the dots.

In California a Federal Maritime Officer, Lt. Eric Shine, is fighting charges he is depressed; although they have argued he is employed within the proceedings they refuse to pay him or give him his benefits; that means he receives none of his due medical benefits or legal aid. Catch-22. Very useful to those suing him, which includes the US Government, Homeland Security, and the US Coast Guard. The powers that be pretty much ignored Shine and the charges he had leveled of toxic waste dumping, graft, and corruption until he began to write letters to Congress. They then slammed him with continuous litigation and decided he was depressed. If he wasn't he should be.

Who 'they' is goes to the Dot question. If the US Government, Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard weren't enough Shine has gotten the attention of others who are perhaps even scarier. One of these is The Carlyle Group and their friends and associates. This included George W. Bush for a while; the senior Bush is still believed to be associated.

The Carlyle Group, a corporation that handles investments for the well connected, including alumni of the Reagan, Bush Administrations and Saudi Princes, acquired General Dynamics, for which Eric Shine's father worked as Vice President of Engineering in 1992. Seeing what was happening to America 's military through the acquisition of General Dynamics in that year gave Eric the insight he needed to understand what was happening to the Merchant Marine. At the time Eric had no idea how 'Six Degrees of Separation' the world really is.

The Carlyle Group acquired General Dynamics, which produced electronics for the military, in 1992. They purchased the electronics division, located in San Diego, according to William E. Conway Jr., a Carlyle managing director, in an,all-cash deal was for less than $100 million.” Carlyle Group, named for the hotel where the founders met, was founded in 1987.

Moving from investment in restaurants Carlyle Group began assembling a portfolio with a very different focus at the beginning of the HW Bush Administration. General Dynamics was expected to make $300 million when it was acquired, according to Conway . According to a specialist in the market consulted for this article that price was, “a steal.” We will follow those dots in a later article.

According to the Wikipedia, “Carlyle deals in the following industries: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Consumer & Retail, Energy & Power, Healthcare, Real Estate, Technology & Business Services, Telecommunications & Media, and Transportation. The Carlyle Group's investments are focused on East Asia, Europe and North America, with most investment money coming from the

United States (65%), Europe (25%), Asia (6%), Latin America, and the Middle East . Defense investments represent about 1% of the group's current portfolio — though this translates, for example, into a 33.8% ownership of QinetiQ, the UK 's recently privatized defence (sic) company.”

A shiny new Ensign in 1991, Eric Shine began what he assumed would be a career carrying out the duties of an officer in the Merchant Marine and Naval Officer. As part of his training he had become familiar with the statutes and regulations that had governed the existence of the Merchant Marine since 1791. Shine had not yet heard the term 'privatization,' it would soon become frighteningly familiar to him.

The term, 'privatization,' as it is used by those in power today bears as much resemblance to the original as Anna Nicole Smith does to Mother Theresa.

The term, 'privatization,' was first used by Dr. Robert Poole, founder of Reason Foundation in his book, “Cutting Back City Hall,” in the mid 70s. The idea of converting services provided by government into services provided through private, for profit business, became a byword for efficiency over the next three decades. But efficiency had not been the point. The issue was giving people back control of their own lives.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. The idealism of the 70s was harvested for the benefit of the greedy.

The issue of privatizing began with trash collection, proposed by Bob Poole and then Social Security. was first posed for a position paper written for the campaign of Ed Clark, Libertarian presidential candidate, in 1979. The 'white paper' later appeared in much the same form under the sponsorship of Cato Institute, founded in 1977 by Edward H. Crane, III, Charles Koch, and Murray Rothbard. During this time things changed. Ideas are useful tools for achieving your goals; this idea proved to be fertile ground.

In 1981 Rothbard, a stalwart Austrian School Economist, was ousted from the Cato Board. In his newsletter, Libertarian Review, Rothbard said Cato, "revealed its true nature and its cloven hoof. Crane, aided and abetted by Koch, ordered me to leave Cato's regular quarterly board meeting, even though I am a shareholder and a founding board member of the Cato Institute." Austrian economists do not approve of Congress fiddling with the economy.

Cato began providing regular briefings for Congress on how to minimize their costs and optimize their profits in the 90s when the Contract on America swept into office.

Privatization and outsourcing had found applications that lead to consequences none of the Libertarians who had originally supported the ideas expected.

Lt Eric Shine had seen continuous and troubling violations of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 through the first six years of his career. Shine had witnessed blatant dumping of toxic waste, violation of safety regulations, and other wrong doing. Because he was doing his due diligence, ironically Shine gained a reputation as a trouble maker. He persisted in reporting these through avenues that had been truncated, leaving active Federal Maritime Officers with no recourse. It was as if the rules he had learned had been canceled.

Congress had mandated that at majority of American shipping must sail under America 's flag. They had done this to ensure that ships would be available in time of conflict and peace so that standards for safety and the wellbeing of the seas and our nation would be maintained. These ships, Congress said, would be manned by Officers of the US Merchant Marine. When Lt. Shine began his career the 10,000 ships under the US flag at the close of WWII had shrunk to less than 200, reducing the protections to America intended by Congress and the jobs available to Federal Maritime Officers.

In 1998 Shine began work in Hawaii for the Navy. What Shine saw at Pearl Harbor was the application of American ingenuity to the dissolution of the Navy Installation that had been a hub of strength for decades. Under the mandate of privatization services were being transferred to private companies. Graft, corruption, and thievery were systemic. Serving as a project engineer Shine could find no one who would listen to his objections. There was too much money to be made by remaining silent. Privatization and cost reduction were the rhetorical devices that filled the air.

What Shine was witnessing was the birth of the Corporation as its own nation in its nascent form. Having extended corporate leverage through the use of government to wage war, to realize profits through war and through income streams flowing into their pockets from Americans, Corporations were now looking at how to further their portfolios by clamping Americans into place forever. The means were the various Grids that had become the core of their holdings; Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Consumer & Retail, Energy & Power, Healthcare, Real Estate, Technology & Business Services, Telecommunications & Media, and Transportation,

The next step was to bolt in place those missing links to nationhood. Corporations, including those owned by Carlyle, have now begun to assert extraterritoriality, ignoring laws through manipulation, payoffs, and restructuring. American maritime law says that foreign ships cannot engage in commerce between two American ports; they corporations are now chipping away at this limitation. The rules exist only for others and where they augment profits. Sea Launch, a ship that puts satellites into space, harbors at Long Beach and has extraterritorial status. Corporations have become nations, with all the power and money and none of the accountability. Anyone who got in their way would be toasted.

In 2001, Lt. Shine filed a grievance in the hopes someone would finally listen. Again he was ignored. Then, he began writing letters to Congress and the reaction was swift. Shine was astonished to find himself detained charged with being 'depressed.' He had not been aware that even if he was depressed this could be deemed a cause for denying him medical benefits. For the CorporaState the rules are made anew every day as needed.

Why would Eric Shine persist? He could have gotten on the Corporate dole, accepted the lavish stipends offered from his probably intentional placement with the military industrial complex. That goes to who he is. The answers are in his origins.

Sally Shine, now 80, remembers her son, Eric, “as a good boy,” who, “made her proud.” “Eric,” she said, “was president of his graduating class in High School.” Eric Shine was poised to live a life of accomplishment when he graduated from King's Point, the Academy for the USS Merchant Marine in 1991. Life is full of surprises.

One of five children from a close-knit and loving Catholic family, he had attended St. Columba School in San Diego, moving on to what is now Cathedral Catholic High School while participating in the local scouting program with Troop 272. Shine was the first member of his troop in a long time, according to his mother, to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. His Court of Honor was held February 15, 1977. During the Court of Honor the Scout receiving his Eagle Badge renews the oath taken when he became a scout; that oath includes the promise that of, “Living honorably reflects credit on his home, his church, his troop, and his community.”

In the experience of those who know him best, Eric Shine takes life seriously. He did so when he chose as his Eagle Scout Project to organize donations of food and clothing for a poor village in Mexico and he did the same when, as newsletter editor at King's Point, he insisted on publishing an article that uncompromisingly told the truth, despite pressure to do otherwise.

Those were the values he had learned and then lived. Those values stayed with him when he went on to a career in the Merchant Marine. Career was another thing the Shine family took seriously.

Eric's father attended West Point, as many other family members, going on to a career with General Dynamics for 30 years. He retired as vice president of engineering and director of ethics. Hard work and doing the right thing were values strongly inculcated in the Shine home. Eric was sure that this whole thing could be cleared up if he just persisted.

Each of us sees the world through our own place in that world, and Eric Shine began his career in the Merchant Marine hearing from his father about General Dynamics, where the elder Shine had spent most of his life, and about doing the right thing. Unfortunately, that does not square with the birth of the CorporaStates.

The stark images of returning veterans at Walter Reed Hospital and elsewhere are still alive in the minds of Americans, demonstrating what privatization and 'cost reduction' really mean. Those and other techniques for lowering costs have been used since the Vietnam War with deadly results. Veterans needing treatment and benefits were, and are, forced to wait while their symptoms are dismissed as 'emotional problems.' Those in need are simply waited to death. Dealing with Shine was just a matter of using the same methods that worked to lower other costs.

According to Philip Meskin, founder of the Veteran's Party, the treatment meted out to Shine exactly parallels the treatment of Veterans after all American wars since Vietnam .

“Same old business as usual,” he said. Meskin, added that, “300,000 veterans died after the Vietnam War of Agent Orange and other diseases related to cancer, cell degenerative conditions, and other undefined causes.” “They were depressed, too,” he said wryly. Social workers are notorious for rendering opinions that deny benefits to veterans based on such causes as 'depression.' “There are no limits to what they will do to cut costs. They let people die every day,” said Meskin.

So the same technique that eliminates costs in caring for veterans can in the case of Shine make it impossible for him as a whistle blower to find help.

So many are involved. So many, like Dana Rohrabacher, who were once singing the praises of freedom, have found cozy lives elsewhere. Following the money, connecting the dots, always brings us the answers, however unpalatable those may be.

Next week Lt. Shine will face yet another round of court dates, again without counsel. Detained without pay, he is now without any resources – but he continues to speak out. Eagle Scouts don't give up and Shine is no quitter. One man left standing against the CorporaState, unless others help. David and Goliath was nothing to this.

Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson!

(To contact Lt. Eric Shine go to his website. He will be grateful to hear from you.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

George Will and Phyllis Schlafly: Tools of NeoCon GREED

April Fool's Day saw two jokes played through the Internet, one funny one not. The first announced that Homeland Security had closed Buzz Flash. Funny. The other April Fool's joke, the one by George Will, was not funny; it was ugly.

Why is it that on April 1st all of these NeoCons simultaneously began attacking the Equal Rights Amendment? The ERA is not a feminist issue; it is about freedom and what it means to be a real American. Their actions have their own logic. Pundits as Will and Schlafly oppose the ERA to obfuscate the historic bait and switch that allows all of us to be chopped up like liverwurst for the profit of the corporate state.

Obviously marching orders were issued. We know how that works. The White House Briefing goes out; operatives such as John Fund, Matt Drudge, and Robert Novak call those further down the power chain. Articles slamming the ERA appear at nearly the same moment. Steve Frank's Capitol News, is one example of that. Frank, an old friend of Fund's probably chatted with John Fund directly. Will might have talked with Novak. Or those instructions could have come through those special briefings Fund is so proud of receiving from the White House.

You can't manipulate public opinion without inserting opinions; to make that work you use operatives to let those 'on salary' know the issue so they can produce their specialized spin. So George Will sat down to construct his hit job on the the Equal Rights Amendment. He used a front end of sneering and demeaning comments,“dolled up in love beads and bell-bottomed trousers.” He followed with an argument that has been worn threadbare but never really examined that insists the ERA is redundant. Will cited, without naming it, a decision by the Supreme Court in 1971. There were reasons he did not want those examined too closely. There were two relevant decisions rendered that year and between the two is a world of difference.

Those two decisions tell a story that the NeoCons can't afford to have known. Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp affirms the right of the State to intrude into the private affairs of individuals, effectively canceling our inherent rights, the other, Reed v. Reed, and with a salutatory 7-0 decision, says, “the Court struck down an Illinois law giving preference to a male seeking to administrate an estate over an equally entitled female. This case concerned a set of separated parents whose adopted son had died without a will. Both sought to administrate the deceased's estate; following the law, a lower court had placed the father in charge. The Supreme Court ruled that men and women could be treated differently only when there was some reasonable and relevant cause for doing so; while the Illinois law simplified judicial proceedings, arbitrarily giving preference to men over women was "to make the very kind of arbitrary legislative choice forbidden by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."

It must have annoyed them that the two decisions came in the same year.

That is one part of the obfescation Will, Schlafly, and other NeoCon operatives routinely use. The other one is ignoring the lower standard used on gender issues by the Supreme Court. According to those standards women are second class citizens and the NeoCons oppose the ERA because they are hoping to reduce even the consideration of 'Intermediate Scrutiny' cases of gender discrimination have now. Cute how Will glosses over that, isn't it? You can just hear him say, “Stupid women should shut up and be glad we let them wear shoes now.”

After that vague reference to 1971 Will moves on to his finale. There, he rather neatly segues again, unintentionally affirming the corporate connivance between government and megacorporations by citing as accepted fact the right of the State to make determinations on insurance questions. Success for the megacorporations and for people like Will depend on constantly reinforcing the idea government and corporations are not violating our rights every time they assert the power to regulate.

In a free market the state would have no such role. Until after WWII the State had no role there. Fraternal Orders had been providing for the needs of Americans for nearly a century by then. They made no profit, seeking only to provide security for their members. All kinds of fraternal orders were growing briskly and providing for those needs when FDR, himself a member of the Elks and Redmen, suggested with the best of intentions, a voluntary insurance plan available to Americans. Until it became obvious how profitable selling insurance could be all commercial purveyors of insurance were viewed as conmen, which of course they are.

Voluntary. Limited. Money held in trust.

That was, of course, Social Security. It took less that 20 years for Democrats to convert it into a tax imposed by law on all. Notice who benefited, megacorporations. Who made it possible? Congress. How was it accomplished? By ignoring the fact that such decisions are clearly outside the purview of government. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

George Will is not going to talk about unisex bathrooms or be caught saying that passage of the ERA will put women in combat. He knows his audience. But he did his best to deliver the goods for his NeoCon cronies that makes his posh lifestyle possible.

Unisex bathrooms, military service for women, and other such silliness are Phyllis Schlafly's ideas. Afew days ago at a forum in Maine Schlafly also said about rape, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape." Let's not think about her fantasy life. It is amazing that today she can still deliver her lines with a straight face. One wonders what she would do if her husband decided his needs had to be met while she was at the podium. If she is consistent she would probably just assume the position.

The Equal Rights Amendment has never been more essential because if action is not taken America will become a corporate plantation with us as the slaves. It is not the freedom of women that is most on point but the freedom of all Americans.

To understand you need to revisit a moment in time; you need to taste and breathe in the vision a people who hungered for freedom.

Those people began a Revolution; that war is not finished. America has an unrealized Mission Statement, the Declaration of Independence. Mission Statements define the goal and motivate those whose pay in blood, sweat, and tears, to achieve that goal.

The Declaration enunciated a spiritual truth to a people not yet free in July of 1776. The violence and sacrifices that would come were supported by men and women who believed that each of us possessed rights granted by God. Of the four major cultures that founded the colonies two were fully committed to the idea that each human being is born possessed of spiritual autonomy that gives each of us control of our own souls. The physical corollary is our control over out own persons, property and destiny. Descendants of Quakers and Puritans understood and provided most of the labor and capital for the War. The Revolution was at one time both a political revolution and spiritual epiphany; their spiritual relationship to God would be mirrored on Earth.

That Revolution began in 1775 with Lexington-Concord. It will not be finished until the inherent rights of women are affirmed in the Constitution. Laws are only privilege, rescindable at the touch of a pen.

Allowing legislation to limit and mandate personal choice is the ggggggg-grandchild of the mistake made by the Founders to ratify the Constitution by compromising the principle that government has no right to change, alter or modify the rights each of us bring with us into life.

By allowing blacks to remain slaves so they could achieve a political goal they set us up, destroying the moral basis for the Constitution. They thought the compromise would be of short duration and their act justified in the interest of national security. They were wrong. Seemingly small exceptions that allow the greedy unearned power, sex, and wealth, are never willingly given back. A centralized federal government that allowed its state members to use legislation to limit the economic and legal options of women transferred wealth and power from women to men. Women had expected freedom, they received serfdom. Legislators, corporate interests, and others who had come to view legislation as a tool for their own enrichment wanted the transferability of unearned wealth to continue.

That is what happened.

The arguments for refusing women dominion over their own lives were endless, demeaning and disgusting. Through eight generations women worked. They struggled to be educated; worked as teachers for 1/3 the wages paid to men. They endured and persisted. No one gave them anything. Finally, through dent of hard and unremitting struggle they achieved a semblance of those rights in the late 20th Century. At the same time the State and such idea mongers as Phyllis Schlafly and George Will and their now deceased cronies, have been busy attacking that simulation because it is a chink in the justification used by the corporate-state to continue to steal. To enhance their profits corporations would like to discriminate while ensuring that women have no recourse. They are near to accomplishing their goal.

If you are going to have a feudal State then you must build its walls of ideas that keep the people quiescent.

The greedy from all parties love power; all have been working to obfuscate the real issue. They have screamed about abortion, gay marriage, the family, our borders, and National Security. The first issue has always been individual, inherent, rights, the rights that government should never have touched; was sworn to protect.

No one has a right to require action from anyone else. Our Rights are the natural,human ability to act, using those opportunities life offers. The appropriate means for social progress is persuasion, not force. Government is constrained. The people are not.

I cannot demand equal outcomes, neither can I can be limited by laws that deny me the right to start any business or make the life decisions I choose. Those are only limited by my ability, my circumstances, and my inclinations. As long as we do not lie, coerce or use violence we can do what we will - within the confines of life's absolute accountability.

The NeoCons - and those who have become accustomed to shackling us through statute – work diligently to disguise their real intentions, which is to install a 21st Century Feudal State. To do that they must continue to smother the truth before it can be born. Traditional political parties only argue about what part of our freedoms they are going to consume first by selling control to this or that agency or corporation.

Protecting our inherent rights remains the original and only true Mission of America; government is just a tool; a contractor, providing those services the people cannot provide for themselves. We are each of us sovereign, that is the truth of America. Government should be reduced to the size it was in 1787 - or smaller since the Post Office is clearly incompetent to do that job. For foreign policy listen to Cousin George Washington. Bring all the troops home.

The confusion would never have arisen if the Founders had not made that unholy compromise and instead said, "OK, since we can't ratify because doing so would compromise those inherent rights which we have no power to modify we will instead be 13 small countries who each compete to get people to come to us as the best supplier of governmental services." (The South lost a half a million in population after the Revolution when it became clear that slavery was going to continue; decent people were opposed to slavery.) Failing to do the right thing always costs you in the end.

If that had happened we would have saved the expense of the Civil War, which was not fought about slavery anyway; it was all about the right to tax. That would have pleased my ancestors, making their volunteer work in Abolition and Women's Rights unnecessary.

Women are born with the same rights, granted by God, as anyone. Ratifying the ERA cements that forever in front of everyone. Then we can rescind the kludge of legislation that was passed in the unending attempts to simulate a real freedom. Women want the real thing; the real thing for freedom is the ERA; simple justice long ignored.

Ratifying the ERA tolls out the doom of the Corporate State. The time for both freedom and an accounting has now arrived.