Monday, May 31, 2010

Jurassic Puke

GrandIsle bead bird
An oil-coated dead seabird lies in the sand on the shore of Elmer's Island Friday, May 21, 2010.

When the Tea Baggers started their "Mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore..." tirade, evoking the 1976 prophetic film  Network, they had no idea what they were tapping into, no idea the origin or meaning of their spew. Their venom has spread, and now that the decayed blood of the extinct dinosaurs is rising up from beneath the sea like doom itself, the words of  Network come back with more meaning than ever. I've quoted it before, and now here it is again. Mr. Beale, the newsman who got all those people to yell, "I'm mad as Hell," confronts reality:

Arthur Jensen: [bellowing] You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it! Is that clear? You think you've merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case! The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rins, rubles, pounds, and shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and YOU... WILL... ATONE!  

Arthur Jensen: [calmly] Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those *are* the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that . . . perfect world . . . in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you, Mr. Beale, to preach this evangel.
Howard Beale: Why me?
Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy. Sixty million people watch you every night of the week, Monday through Friday.
Howard Beale: I have seen the face of God.
Arthur Jensen: You just might be right, Mr. Beale.

What can a U.S. President do, or Congress, or international outrage, or the media, or any of us against the collective Pantheon of

BP, Halliburton, Transocean, Nalco, and Goldman- Sachs?

They are the intimately interlinked entities (persons according to our Supreme Court) that have caused the biggest  ecological disaster ever and continue to make it worse with their poison Corexit....


Friday, May 28, 2010

Living like Merlin

From Dennis Guion:


       I want to live my next life backwards:

       You start out dead and get that out of the way.

       Then you wake up in a nursing home feeling better

       every day.

       Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.

       Enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.

       Then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your

       first day.

       You work 40 years until you're too young to work.

       You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party,

       and you're generally


       Then you go to primary school, you become a kid, you

       play, and you have no


       Then you become a baby, and then...

       You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in

       luxury, in Spa-like

       conditions - central heating, room service on tap, and


       You finish off as an orgasm.

       I rest my case

Dennis Guion

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Our Two Party System

There is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. That is the claim of the far left and the far right. Leftists argue we need more socialist reform and that we must make radical change in our way of living to protect the planet and the environment. The far right, including Libertarians, want as little federal government as is possible-- no social security, virtually no taxes, no universal health care. Those on the right think free enterprise means no government regulation of business.

Democrats and Republicans alike reject these positions. But they are hardly the same. The majority of Democrats do believe the federal government must regulate business, stop abuses, and provide essential services to people who need them, the poor, the elderly, the under-privileged, the sick. Most Democrats favor universal health care, a system freer than the current one just passed, that limits the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies. They want a more equitable country regarding taxes, financial freedom, and opportunity. Most Democrats would limit the power of banks, big business, the oil companies, and the insurance companies.

Many Republicans believe in giving big business more power and privilege, less taxes, and less regulation. Under Mr. Bush, the Environmental Protection Agency opened wilderness areas to loggers and other business interests. Had they the chance, they would have opened up the Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration.
They agree with the libertarians that big business should not be under the control of federal agencies. Our national park system was sorely neglected under Bush. Republicans also believe in huge military budgets, if not outright war. Look at how Cheney and his company, Halliburton, prospered under the rule of the Republicans. Look at how many no-bid government contracts they got. Look at the Blackwater company.

Nothing demonstrates the difference between Republicans and Democrats more than civil rights. Civil Rights heroes such as John Lewis, who marched with MLK and took the blows and injuries of bigots and hate filled mobs, are Democrats for a reason. Most Democrats now support gay rights, if not everything we gays demand. They support civil unions, if not marriage equality. Republicans, for the most part, oppose such social reform. There is great irony in the Republican charge that Democrats are elitist. There is no one on Earth more elitist than the quail hunting Cheney and his rich cronies. Many Republicans really do take the "Let them eat cake," point of view.

Yes, it would be great to see the rise of a Green Party in this country. It would be heartening to see all those who supported Nader come to power and bring about "real change we can believe in."  But after watching how Nader brought us Bush rather than Gore, I believe we leftists need to plan what we do far more carefully. Voting for people who can win is essential. In Vermont, we can elect a socialist U.S. Senator like Bernie Sanders. In Mass. we can get Barney Frank elected to the House. But all our efforts as activists or just as voters, should be to elect the most liberal candidate possible. Nader never had a prayer of a chance, and those who voted for him gave us the most corrupt president ever, one who passively allowed us to go to war and passively allowed Big Oil and big business to fuck us over big time. Tax cuts for the rich and to Hell with the middle class and especially the poor suckers who bought into his election because of religion, guns, or bigotry.

In ancient times, people thought natural disasters revealed the anger of the gods. As a Pantheist, I think our abuse of the planet may well bring on the wrath of Nature. Homo Sapiens may well be condemned already. How we vote may not ultimately stop the onrush of destructive capitalistic industry that is raping the Earth, destroying the rain forests, killing wildlife, and changing the climate. Religious intolerance and superstition continue to foster over-population, poverty, bigotry, and hate. Maybe retreating to a little garden of like spirits in the vein of Epicurus or Edward Carpenter, or my beloved Kalani, is the best way to live. The difference between Republicans and Democrats may not be substantial enough to save us. Yet, I do think the Democrats, very generally, have more compassion for people and for the Earth. For that, I'll continue my support-- for now.


See also,   Left-Right Politics for an interesting discussion.