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Friday, July 31, 2009

A teachable moment

In 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense was founded in Oakland, California.

Huey Newton and Bobby Seale were joined by Elbert “Big Man” Howard, Sherman Forte and Little Bobby Hutton, in the stated defense of minority communities against the U.S. Government. From Maoism, they worked to develop a united front and used the theory of dialectical materialism to further their ends. Dialectical materialism is basically the theoretical foundation of Marxism – Communism is the actual practice of being Marxist.

The name Huey Newton may be familiar because he was accused of being a cop-killer. “Free Huey” became a repeated battle cry – matched with “Black Power,” a term pushed by Stokely Carmichael who once said, “If we are to proceed toward true liberation, we must cut ourselves off from white people..... (or) we will find ourselves entwined in the tentacles of the white power complex that controls this country."

The Panthers became directly involved in gun-running in 1968, using the sale of Mao’s Red Book to fund the purchase of shotguns. Mao’s book is a treatise on reorganizing society. Page 304 of the book has an excerpt, which oddly resonates with some of the activities surrounding our current U.S. administration’s activities:

“Marxist philosophy holds that the most important problem does not lie in understanding the laws of the objective world and thus being able to explain it, but in applying the knowledge of these laws actively to change the world.” – Mao.

And perhaps even more frightening:

“It is man's social being that determines his thinking. Once the correct ideas characteristic of the advanced class are grasped by the masses, these ideas turn into a material force, which changes society and changes the world.” – Mao.

So what does this have to do with you, here in the current day?

Consider that sometimes it is the small things, which are really the most illuminating. It’s like being in a dark room with an elephant. You can hear it and smell it, but you can only feel small sections of it at one time. It’s not possible to get a full picture of the whole creature unless you focus on the right part.

The story of two Black Panther Party for Self Defense members, National Chairman Milik Zulu Shabazz and party member Jerry Jackson who both faced charges for violating the Voting Rights Act, broke on the national news media almost immediately. But the reports of their alleged coercion, threats and intimidation of voters November 4, 2008 at a Philadelphia polling station was largely given a surface treatment by most of the media.

The original charges against these individuals were filed when President George Bush was in office. Those charges, however, were dropped by the current administration’s Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder has, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) allegedly ignored at least three letters sent over the past month by Republicans requesting details.

In fact, the only charge allowed to stand, is that against Shabazz, who was charged with brandishing a “deadly weapon.”

Perhaps that should have been the end of it, but Wolf is pressing Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) to hold a hearing, investigating the matter. An interesting side note to this is that Wolf has said that one of the Black Panther members was carrying a local Democratic committee card.

An affidavit filed by a veteran voting rights activist adds a soundtrack to the memorable video of the two Panthers, standing about 15 feet from voting booths in military attire while Shabazz tapped and pointed his nightstick at passing people. The rights activist’s affidavit alledges the two men directed a few comments toward poll workers, such as, “you are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker.”

Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) defended the two men, saying the charges are “bull.”

But there’s something more to be gleaned from all this.

The current 10-point platform of the Black Panther Party has within its’ tenets, the following:

• We believe that this wicked racist government has robbed us and now we are demanding the overdue debt of reparations.
• We will accept payment in fertile and mine rally rich land, precious metals, industry, commerce and currency.
•People’s tribunals must be set up to prosecute and execute.
• We want decent housing, fit for human beings, free health care (preventative and maintenance).
• We want educaton for our people that exposes the true nature of this devilish and decadent American society.
• We want all black men and black women to be exempt from military service.
• We want freedom for all black men and black women held in international, military, federal, state county, city jails and prisons.
• History has proven that the white man is absolutely disagreeable to get along with in peace. No one has been able to get along with the white man. We believe that his very nature will not allow for true sharing, fairness, equity and justice.

Does racism exist? Unfortunately, yes. Is it fueled by some of the best, unintentionally? Probably. Is it fueled by some of the worst, intentionally? Well, you can look at the above selections from the Panthers’ 10-point platform and judge for yourself.

But, when you’re in the dark room with a big creature, trying to determine its’ nature, it might be useful to start at ground level. What is the base for the thing and how far does it extend? What are the capabilities, the dangers?

Look at the incident itself – only two guys standing around, acting tough. But when you look at where they come from – what they believe, and what the history of their organization is, you might come to a different conclusion.

As the recent Panther incident is at least, potentially, just a small part of something much larger, standing in that dark room with us, let’s look again at Mao Tse Tung, who wrote the Panther’s foundation document. Ask yourself if any of the following seems like the direction the U.S. government is going, and then ask yourself - why?:

The people's state protects the people. Only when the people have such a state can they educate and remold themselves by democratic methods on a country-wide scale, with everyone taking part, and shake off the influence of domestic and foreign reactionaries (which is still very strong, will survive for a long time and cannot be quickly destroyed), rid themselves of the bad habits and ideas acquired in the old society, not allow themselves to be led astray by the reactionaries, and continue to advance - to advance towards a socialist and communist society.
- "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (June 30, 1949). Selected Works, Vol. IV, p. 418.*

Is any of this a teachable moment?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

THE BEER SUMMIT - POST GAME WRAP UP

Oh thank God!
We’re saved!

Now that the Beer Summit has happened, our entire world is different. No longer will people be screaming about their poor abused rights. No longer will we have to worry about sliding into a police-state with every wonderful thing that goes along with that.

No longer will we have to worry about “collective” mentality political correctness.

Anyone remember the icky “Borg” thingies in Star Trek? No? Well, it’s OK, we don’t have to worry about any of it anymore, because the Beer Summit has solved it all. And how could there have been any other outcome? Two lawyers, a president who used to be a lawyer, a police officer and some dorky professor – yep, bound to have a great outcome there.

Anyone remember Gilligan’s Island? There was a professor there too, and a big business guy and his stuffy wife – and a couple hot chicks. Oh yeah- and two sailors – one of them an idiot.

Nothing could possibly go wrong there.

Anyone notice they never got off the island – not really. And so, any predictions that the Beer Summit might get us off the finger-pointing, name-calling, PR-spinning, lawyer employing, media-dancing island of Dr. Moreau, which we all seem to be stuck on, are baseless.

In the spirit of total transparency, I should say that I’ve started this story before the conclusion of the big event. Why? Because I just had to bring you live, the results of the beer summit.

Oh yeah, baby. Like sitting waiting to see how Gilligan was going to deal with the ticking WWII anti-ship mine, I am sitting here waiting for the start of the Beer Summit and the conclusion, which will mean the rescue of us all from this island called “The cops behaved Stupidly-land.”

What does it mean to be rescued? Well, for a start, the 100-times more we are spending on Medicare – not to worry. We’re going to have a better program… a socialized one. You don’t get to come off the island, but we are all going to be healthier because we won’t be allowed to buy and drink beer – or smoke, like the President – that’s unhealthy and will harm the “collective.”

We won’t have to worry about anything really, because the government will provide re-education squads to deal with those who are too concerned. Being overly-concerned might produce stress, and that’s bad for the collective and the island as a whole.

And we’re going to be safe too, because a “citizen army” will oversee everyone and be as well- funded and equipped as our military. After all, we can’t trust those evil, racially motivated police officers anymore. But your neighbor in the brown shirt, peering over your fence with opera glasses – yeah, he’s OK. Nothing to worry about.- just a Pelosi citizen soldier.

We’re not going to have to get off the island anyway, because this probably all happened before.

In a place called Atlantis.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

National health care - deficit neutral?

Deficit neutral.

We’re considering health care reform at this point based upon the notion that the new Blue Dog idea being bantered about in Congress is “deficit neutral.”

I wonder how we became so frugal suddenly – just a few short months after passing an alleged stimulus plan, which carried a price tag almost 13 times the size of the national deficit prior to the last presidential election.

So, at present, we have spent almost 10 percent of that – at a little over two trillion, dollars. We are about 1 trillion, 60 billion in the hole. So why should we be worried about these “leaders” we have, tinkering with universal health care? After all, the stated price tag only adds a mere trillion or two more to our country’s balance sheet. We are already so deep in the hole, we can’t pay it back and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

In fact, at present, the national debt, if spread amongst every citizen in the U.S., means if we stopped right now, and everyone paid exactly $37,883 each to the government, we'd break even. The money spent by this government on its’ citizens - with it’s huge pool of tax money - is allegedly now $7,402. I’m not sure where that money is. I haven’t seen some of my neighbors much lately, perhaps they sent them all to Disney World?

But then again, maybe not. Maybe they’re all holed-up in their house, eating MRE’s behind makeshift barricades, sitting on their ammo cans, waiting for the ACORN/census people to come-a-knockin.

Today, so close to the August break for our hard-working, and so underpaid Congressmen, lawmakers are frantically trying to come to some kind of agreement which would allow them to pass a type of health care reform bill before they all go on vacation. It’s amazing.

A huge and growing number of people are against the proposed take-over of the health care system by the U.S. government. But to these lawmakers trying to rush something through, the voices of the regular people don’t matter. They’re worried about getting back to their mansions and sailboats. Their minds are on golf games and tending their investments in clean energy companies. They will not be taking part in the new Health Care plan. They and their families will have a much better system – no long lines to get inside crowded clinics – no tired, soul-crushed bureaucrats, waiting with piles of forms for them to fill out, sitting there behind some smudged, antiseptic soaked window-frame, staring blankly out at the unchanging mass of sick and injured and dying.

Nope. Those Congressmen won’t have to get any of that. That’s all being reserved for you and I. And for the most part, these people don’t care a whit about you or I, or who dies in those waiting lines – or at home, alone.

Consider that despite all the yelling and moaning, the national debt numbers continue to tick over. They are spending their way through billions every minute while we sit and worry about a mere couple trillion more. Don’t believe me? Look at the U.S. National Debt clock at www.usdebtclock.org.

And now that you’ve seen what these lawmakers have done – and continue to do to us, let’s try a fun little exercise. I call it: Being Mr. Fat Cat.

Come on, sit back and think about smoking that cigar and drinking that scotch they want to take away from you, because they are so concerned about your health. Sit way back in that easy chair and try to imagine yourself as a pampered, grinning Congressman. Your daily affairs are no more than a game to you – who’s trying to cut down who, what the latest rumors are, what’s for lunch – what posh club or spa you’re visiting later in the day – the amazing color of the shirt being worn by that lithe intern – what’s her name?

Yeah, it really is that lame. It’s like they’re all in high school. The only difference is that we’re stuck with their idiot decisions. We are literally paying the bills for the people we thought were assholes when we were in high school. Stunning, isn’t it?

Here’s a prediction. I’ve just decided to stop playing “Mr. Fat Cat,” and instead have switched to my “Dave as Nostradamus” persona. So predictions…

1. Despite all the hand-wringing, the Congress will either stuff something through in the last wee hours – or more likely, they will wait until September because that may give the whole issue a month to cool off. By that time, they likely believe there will be less people following the despicable activity by our country’s leaders. You see, they believe our attention span will wane. We are, after all, just a bunch of dumb peasants to these characters.
2. Our new health care plan will work about as well as the bail-out program did – virtually nothing positive will happen, and in fact things will continue to collapse. Government-run health care will simply destroy the current insurance business and eliminate more jobs. As more companies collapse, the fat cats will simply play more golf – because without private companies as competition, the government basically owns and controls everything.

We’re in trouble. We’re about to be destroyed. We’re about to be destroyed by people under the banner of “helping all the poor amongst us.” They care, you see. Mr. Fat Cat (And Mrs. – or miss or Ms. – or Madame Senator – or whatever the going political correctness says it is) feels deeply for all those millions who can’t get health care. The fat cats are always “working closely” with someone or another. That’s because they really feel for us. They care so much, they are reading every page of every bill. They’re in their offices, hard at work taking calls from their concerned constituents. They are being responsible. That’s why they’re so concerned with making the new nationalized health care bill “deficit neutral.”

Remember that term when you look at the U.S. Debt Clock – “deficit neutral.”

Really.

Have we found angels in the form of kings to govern us? Or is Big Brother alive and well in America?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's coming - welcome to my nightmare.

The first thing they teach you in journalism school is to maintain a narrow focus. If you go after too big a subject, you risk confusing the reader. The second thing they teach you is not to exaggerate – report the facts. Let the facts stand on their own. Maybe, the third thing is to keep yourself out of the story. You can report effectively while keeping the article neutral and objective.

Sorry about this. I’m going to break every one of these rules.

But it’s OK, because the fourth thing I remember them teaching us is that if you know the rules, then you can break them – or you know when your breaking them… or something like that. I was sleepy that day.

Anyway, here goes. Some will read this and call it alarmist crap. Some will read it and label me a whack-job. Some won’t even get through it before they feel compelled to pick up their field glasses and scan the skies for the “black helicopters.” And of course, some, who have likely been considering putting me on a watch-list, will now just wave their hands dismissively and stamp “whack-job” on that file folder in the black helicopter headquarters.

I’m going to paint you a picture of words – a picture, which normally would be found inside science fiction novels. Here – in this sentence, ends any humor. What follows is your sci-fi scenario:

Very soon, people will be found dead, who have been standing in line overnight, waiting to get into the emergency room. Some type of universal health care will pass because no one prevented it. The complicated, ridiculous system will simply kill people at street level. Others will be found dead in their homes, knowing that the wait will be too long, and they may as well die in the comfort of their homes, instead of dying in the 21st century “med” lines.

Very soon, the news will be reporting incidents where killings have picked up outside the crammed primary care and emergency clinics because the criminals will have discovered an easy, soft target to acquire free drugs – simply take it from those too weak and sick, to resist.

Terrorists will carry out their publicized threats to use the Mexican border to carry through satchels of chemical and bio weapons, releasing them from the tops of skyscrapers perhaps, in densely populated areas during high traffic times during the day.

Plagues will create “sanctuary” cities of the dying – people who cannot be helped by the already overburdened first-responder and the rest of the top-heavy, socialized health-care system.

Those still moderately productive and not relegated to slow death in these places, will be relied upon to provide for everyone else – especially those insulated at the top of the political and financial ladders. They will be taxed mercilessly and the result will be a blossoming black market.

Police will be used to break up peaceful demonstrations and meetings, using a variety of excuses cloaked in the truth that any protests or claims against them will never make it into court – or if they eventually do, will not have any significance. Dissenting voices on the air will be silenced one way or the other – perhaps simply by using the rest of the “house” media and “new media,” to chip away at the opposition until they can no longer continue. Or perhaps they will be quieted through application of astronomical buy-outs using appropriated funds from untraceable public funding – in which the new owners simply replace the entire organization with more controllable reporters who will “toe the line.”

Congress will become irrelevant. Czars and committee dictators will replace the political process – especially for issues, which various groups want shoved-through into law without interference.

The new laws will include legislation to tell us how we can live and what we are allowed to think and say. Thought policing will take place through a “civilian” para-military arm of the government, which reports only to the President, perhaps through a handful of czars.

Presidential term limits will be eliminated. The massive powers newly taken up by the government would become more and more centralized until we arrive at a true dictatorship.

Outside the U.S., countries will become more and more nervous as a world superpower becomes more insulated and less controlled.

Growing internal unrest will lead the new dictatorship to levy heavier and heavier controls on the population. Resistance groups will be labled, “enemies of the state.” Peaceful rallies will be broken up by members of the massive civilian para-military group, which will by then, have massive power. People will be “disappeared.” Further confrontations will lead to further organization by resistance groups, pitting the overweight government apparatus against its own citizens.

I know. It's science fiction, right?

But make no mistake – if things continue on the path they are currently on, we will become subjects. We will become slaves. We will become the lost. Welcome to my nightmare.

Do something to stop it.

Please.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We need to dream.

I once spoke to Chuck Yeager, the legendary Air Force test pilot. I had lunch with the “fastest man alive,” John Stapp, I took a long road trip across the desert with the first female shuttle commander, Eileen Collins. I’ve interviewed Story Musgrave.

I have myself only flown in choppers, transports and for two glorious hours, once, an AT-38 Fighting Falcon flying alongside an F-117 Stealth Fighter.

But I’ve met people who have truly lived in the skies. They were and are truly heroic and they probably would never have seen themselves that way. It’s not that they had no sense of the history, which surrounded them; it’s just that they seemed to always have the mission in sight. I don’t know if that’s true. I guess it is just how it always seemed to me.

The moon missions have been in the news a lot lately, and Constellation, the next series of planned return shots to the moon, is well beyond the theory stage and into production. Costs are about what you’d expect – and in a tough economy, that is going to be an even harder sell, than usual.

But I think a recent interview with Buzz Aldrin, one of the astronauts on Apollo 11, really said what should be said again and again until people remember the qualities, which have always made us great. We are explorers.

At our core, we seek to push the boundaries. I think, when we lose that drive, we lose ourselves.

For years NASA has released publications aimed at explaining the value of space exploration in the face of the truth – that public interest was increasingly waning. These publicatons identified the hundreds of day-to-day conveniences and advances, which have come out of space exploration. Today you can find those same kind of lists simplified and highlighted on NASA’s website.

But still, Shuttle mission after Shuttle mission lit off for the impossibly vast ocean void, which surrounds our little island of a planet, and most people never even took notice, until the disasters. I suppose that’s human nature, but what I do know is that it is sad.

People no different from you or I once walked on the surface of the Moon. They dared to take the chance of dying in a truly alien place, with no one to even provide them with a decent burial.

The words may seem hollow now. The concept of moon missions and space walks and space stations probably seems so antiquated and so disconnected from the lives we all lead here on the only planet we will ever know.

But people did walk on the Moon.

And just as Buzz Aldrin has suggested many times, I would say to you now that to return there may be a dead end. We’ve collected or rocks, tested and re-tested the samples which were taken, Photos have been analyzed, data recorded and re-recorded. What is left for us there? The moon is a desolate place, certainly not the finest stepping-stone you could ask for to leapfrog into the places beyond. It will be a difficult beachhead at best.

But NASA’s goal is to build a long-term presence on the Moon. The stated reason on their website is to search for resources, learn to work and live in a harsh environment and look for more clues concerning the way planets were formed. Aren’t we already doing that now, here on Earth? People have done those things, as long as there have been people. We don’t need the Moon for that.

In fact, we don’t need to spend huge amounts of money to watch a handful of people bounce around in 1/6th gravity, chipping at dusty rocks, motoring around on an updated Rover in a place where we have already left footprints. We don’t need more photos of “Earth-rises,” We don’t need another 842 pounds of rubble. In fact, NASA’s own website, while providing a truly profound number of details, does not provide a clear, solid explanation for the proposed return.

Critics will argue that costs are the reason we shouldn’t do it – that we should focus on our Earthly troubles. There’s no reason to go to the moon as long as there are people fighting and dying and starving and killing right here, right now. The critics might be right, but not for any of those reasons. They’re right because we are the Yeagers, and the Stapps, the Musgraves and the Collins. We are explorers and we have suppressed our true nature for too long, submerging it in the comfortable numbness of modern living, in an all-to-familiar world. The critics are correct. We shouldn’t return to the moon, because we need to dream.

We should go to Mars.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The chart THEY don't want you to see

This is the chart some of the folks in Congress do not want you to see. The Democrats have banned members of Congress from using this chart which depicts their proposal for government health care. Additionally, Rep. John Carter (R-TX) received a notice from the Franking Commission which allegedly censored his use of the phrase "government-run health care," saying he "must" instead call it a "public option health care plan."

-Attribution - The Freedom Project (freedomproject.org)

Don't think these folks are trying to run one past us. Look at the chart.

-d

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lifestyle choices - and the List of Liberties Lost.

Lifestyle choices.
Yep. That’s top on my list of things to be concerned about.

Give me a break. Please. In fact, give yourself a break if you happen to be one of these food, environment or government healthcare NAZI types. Do yourself a favor. Don’t come out to the real world to talk about this. You won’t be well received.

I don’t know how many folks out there are tired of turning on the television only to see some 92-pound bleach-blonde telling us what we should buy at the grocery store, but I am well sick of it. In fact, I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it. I don’t even need to develop high cholesterol or diabetes, or any other illness to put me at risk. All I need is another self-righteous, stick-person to get on TV and talk about how fat people are the “biggest” issue in America right now, and my head will probably explode.

The latest in this string of stringy types is MeMe Roth, President and Founder of the “National Action Against Obesity.” Through education, legislation and parental action (according to their stated mission), MeMe and her group of cult-like foodies would like to control what people can buy or eat, what schools can distribute in the lunch-line, and what type of exercises everyone should participate in “across all ages.” Don’t images of long lines of dutiful citizens doing calisthenics in fields filled with alternative energy wind-turbines, just bring tears to your eyes?

According to NAAO’s website, “when the majority is overweight, America cannot be normal.” So we must conform. We must conform NOW!

But before we do, let’s just take stock of the liberties we are losing both with recent legislation and the push for further government interference by groups like Roth’s. Following is my “Basic List of Liberties Lost.” It’s a work-in-progress, kind of like my physique, so cut me some slack, OK?

Anyway, here they are:

1. You won’t be able to buy anything bigger than a clown car. The clown car must run on carefully collected moose farts – or something like that.
2. More than half your income will be going to pay for the latest batch of government bailouts, turtle crossings and moose fart collectors. More than half of your children’s and grandchildren’s and possibly great grandchildren’s income will go to paying off the debts the government is incurring today paying untold billions for untold idiot reasons. Three generations down the road, if organizations like our current administration and NAAO have their way, we will all be skinny peasants working in volunteer turtle and moose fart government programs.
3. You will no longer be able to choose your own doctor or control your own health care. You will be part of a “community” care system. Marxist government officials will determine what care is appropriate for you and you will be prioritized. They will decide whether you live or die and the lives of your parents and children and grandchildren will also be controlled by these policies. Wildlife like the Moose and turtles will be better protected than your children. The new U.S. version of KGB, or their trained observation turtles will observe and report any violators. Undoubtably, excrement regulatory police will measure our sewer output to make sure we aren't sneaking Twinkies.
4. The intimate details of your medical data will be available to these same government officials and poop police.
5. You will be less able to get a job because there won’t be much other than government and “volunteer” positions to fill. That's OK, though, because the vast protections offered wildlife will mean a spike in the turtle population. Whole new agencies will be needed to count them.
6. You won’t be able to spend your money on an item like tobacco or alcohol without Uncle Sam keeping knowing about those purchases – and using that data to possibly deny medical care in the future. Better put down that package of hot dogs; it's probably got government tracking devices all over it - like all the copies of Catcher in the Rye.
7. Taxes on goods will increase the cost of foodstuff and perhaps other items, which you buy day to day. There will be an additional tax on air, because if you have a few extra pounds you will be using more oxygen and exruding more waste into the environment. Basically, your personal carbon footprint will also be called "huge."
8. And of course, those items, which are not on some kind of “approved” list, will have some kind of surcharge placed upon them - like socks. I haven't heard anything on the sock thing, but I know it's coming.

What’s next? Any guesses?
Thought-police anyone? Better control on the media – maybe only media who agree with the administration? How about only media who all fit in size six clothing. Subdermal microchips, so we don’t get lost? Don’t think any of it is at all preposterous. It’s all on the table, now. But don't worry, at least we'll be thin enough to fit in the clown cars with our pet turtles.

Does anyone else see the dangers involved here? Is anyone else outraged at the constant inane babbling of the lifestyle NAZIs?

As disgusted as MeMe obviously is over the over-weight among us, I for one, am disgusted with those like her, who would project their belief systems – indeed, seek to force their belief systems onto the rest of humanity.

Roth decided to single out the new Surgeon General appointee, Dr. Regina Benjamin, explaining that Dr. Benjamin should not have stepped forward at all because of her weight. Roth suggested that young women need a good-looking role-model … I guess that is more important than Benjamin being a qualified doctor. Oh, and don’t we already have a new, fit, role model for young women – Miss America? What about the new Miss California? Can we add that to her job description?

Here’s some suggestions for Roth and anyone else who wants to play fitness police over top-notch people like Benjamin:

Go to medical school, develop a resume that would allow you to compete with someone like Benjamin, have some kids, raise a family, live in the real world, and then feel free to criticize the rest of us.

Just don’t expect us to listen - and definitely don't expect us to invite you over for dinner.

The new Cold War

I once walked through Red Square and stood in front of Lenin’s tomb.
I went to the Bolshoi, I toured the summer palace, I walked the night streets of Moscow, tailed by a phalanx of KGB officers. And I did it all, the year before the Soviet Union broke apart.

I worked for the 501st Tactical Missile Wing, a unit which had been reactivated to house, maintain and possibly launch 96 nuclear cruise missiles in the event of an attack – all under the “MAD” theory (Mutually Assured Destruction).

Why is this relevant at all?

Consider that, while the rest of the world has essentially abandoned them to their fate, the Iranian people continue to resist their insane – and likely very dangerous government - calling for Ahmadinijad to step down. Good people, tired of the thugs who are in control of the country, are protesting still, although the government is becoming more and more effective at putting down riots, and the lack of organization is making it impossible for these folks to break free.

They may lose and a free Iran may remain just an unreachable idea, just as early America might have been without the eventual assistance of the French. Our early colonies could have had their push for independence quashed by the British just as easily as not. It was always a near thing.

So, the formation and collapse of the Soviet Union and the civil disturbances in Iran and even the American Revolutionary War, are all relevant and connected, because they deal with key, recurring concepts.

Did you know that in 1998, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, was named as one of the most influential people of the 20th Century by Time Magazine. This is because this Russian lawyer became involved with Marxist revolutionaries, social activists and eventually led the Bosheviks to the Russian Revolution. In 1916 Lenin penned “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism," which suggested that the merging of banks and industrial cartels would give rise to finance capital. The last stage of capitalism, according to the man who would become the founding father of the Soviet Union, was the pursuit of greater profits than the home market can provide.

November 7 and 8, 1917, marked the storming of the Winter Palace by the Bolsheviks, and the beginning of Soviet rule.

But that wasn’t the end for Lenin. His march to ultimate power may have begun in the October Revolution, but the long civil war, which followed between red and white factions, saw the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the targeting of social classes by government thugs and terrorism, which was the answer to years of instability and the collapse of society.

One of Lenin’s own writings, titled “How to Organize the Competition” is concerned with describing how to eliminate all sorts of “vermin…” including “the rich.” An interesting side-note - the late Australian leftist, Manning Clark once called Lenin “Christ-like.”

So we come to present day – and an attempted revolution by Iran against its’ own corrupt leadership. I can’t help but wonder what will become of those revolutionaries. I think, however, that with momentum lost and no one to back them up, so goes the dream of their freedom.

Yet, their current leadership poses a greater threat to others than it does to its’ own people. They are developing a nuclear capability.

In 1986 I watched with others at the base which contained our own country’s nuclear cruise weapons – all targeted on points in Russia - as President Ronald Reagen said the words “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” I remember the heady feeling I had at those words and the images which followed – young Germans using sledge hammers; the Berlin wall falling away in sections.

We knew then – all of us sitting in the base dining hall, watching that television, that the Cold War was over. We knew our unit had played at least a small role in keeping the pressure on, long enough to see Communism, and all the Marxist ideas, which had been put forward by Lenin – fail. We believed we had won the Cold War.

Today I see the world with older eyes. I wonder what we have become that we should allow the yoke of suppression to be dropped again on the necks of the Iranian people, who were struggling for freedom just as we did so many years ago.

I wonder why a nation, founded on freedom would be toying with some of the notions once outlined by Lenin, himself. I remember watching the wall come down. I remember standing in front of Lenin’s tomb. I remember considering if the Cold War could ever end, even then, standing there in the middle of Russian winter. Was it the weather making me cold? Or was it the unmistakable press of history all around me?

Our forefathers fought for freedom and once upon a time, they won it. The Russians fought for freedom and it was nearly within their grasp – instead they found civil war, famine, atrocities and collapse beneath the weight of self-styled social engineers. The Iranian people fight for freedom now – and are almost immediately forgotten.

What is the common thread? Does it matter?

At the height of the Cold War the United States and Russia had enough nuclear armaments pointed at each other, to turn the Earth into a dusty wasteland. We went to the brink at least once – probably many times. And although the Cold War has passed us and those moments where I could feel history, are gone, we now face the prospect of Iranian leadership being armed with the same technology. This is an Iranian government in cooperation with the equally crazed North Korea – and all this with a United States too busy with its’ own experimentation into failed Soviet social engineering – to do anything real about it.

So, did we really win? Or is it all again building, not only out there, amongst the acknowledged enemies of freedom – but also here within our borders, thriving as ideas once thought dead and buried with Lenin and Stalin.

Did we really win the Cold War? Or was it just a dream I had?

Because lately, despite the alleged global warming, I’ve been feeling a bit chilled.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Revolution or evolution - the war of the "ists"

We live in a world of “ists.”
It used to be, in my framework of life, only eggheads and people studying to be eggheads were “ists.” These days, however, you just can’t get away from them. It really makes you wonder what the solution is – or if there’s a solution at all.

The old “ists” were things like psychiatrists, pharmacologists, linguists, physicists, astrobiologists, chemists, horticulturalists, hydrologists, balloonists, scientists, etc. Now, for whatever reason, we have brought new words into the discussion – abortionists, environmentalists, abolitionists, annihilationists, apocalyptists, bolshevists, decentralists, and so many others.

There are elitists who want to develop into eugenicisits and evolutionists who want to drum out all the biblicists. There are ecologists who are dabbling in the world of economists and escapists who are probably already druggists. There are evangelists who have become cultists and feminists who were really just faddist.

Of course, we have all seen factionists who became terrorists.

There are humorists and lampoonists who really are ignorantists but aspire to be Congressionalists.

But then, there are the worst. There are the names now bantered about so freely because of a failing government – and its representatives who hide from the people, use locked doors and guards to remove protestors from public property, and use the law to fold around the corners they can’t shore up.

Some of these names are: Centrist, democratist, communist, racist, capitalist, loyalist, Zionist, fascist, leftist, Marxist, nihilist, inflationist, progressist, dogmatist, socialist, propagandist, tzarist and seditionist.

Can you recognize the times when terms like these last were used most freely? I’ll give you a hint – they weren’t happy moments in our world’s history.

Now this may annoy some of the “ists” who are out there, but I hold no great love for any political party. You might just define me as an occasional essayist who is alternately an artist and a practiced pugilist, but who dabbles as a shootist.

I honestly do not care if the answers come from the left or the right. Frankly, I’m tired of all the gibbering on both sides of the spectrum. I can’t think of a more pedantic, ridiculous course of action than to drone on and on about the same old solutions to the same old problems. I would call this “puckfist” thinking.

As an example:

An email being fired about today amongst the politicists, who would desparately like to be pantisocratists, described an apparent discussion in which they had been engaged. During this meeting, some egoist, who might have been a defeatist, but was probably closer to a defectionist had put forth the idea that the group should adopt Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” rewriting it essentially and putting some kind of capitalist spin on the thing. I cannot disagree enough.

No matter what kind of pretty ribbon you wrap around excrement, it remains excrement. You can no more get reliable tactics or strategy from Alinsky than you can from any other mediocrist aspiring to be an incendiarist.

On the other side of the stupid coin, however, you have those marginalists in our government and media, who wish to wave away the concerns of many, making them the butt of jokes and focus of their derision. On this same side are the politicians who seek fat paychecks, but do not wish to hear the complaints and address the woes of a growing and very uneasy group of people.

Set it all aside.

We are in a scenario now, which leads in only two directions. The first is increasing Statism, an easy march down a very straight road, which eventually leads to more polarity within the population, until you have insurrection and revolution. The second is a cleaner destination, but a more difficult, twisting, up-hill climb.

It is liberty.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fly me to the Moon

I love the incredible diversity of beliefs, which span the sea of humanity.
If one had time to interview every living person on the globe, they would certainly find plenty of similar themes, but I bet the final count would show nearly as many belief systems as we have people.

I don’t know if this is how it has always been. I think it’s normal to look back fondly on past times and say “ooh, they had it real good back then. Life was so simple.” But I’ll bet there were early humans who believed in a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Enough said.

Some of the big questions:
Is there a God? Does Heaven exist? Do we really meet 76 virgins in the next world – I really hope not. What about aliens? Are there others out there in the impossible reaches of space? Are we reincarnated? Is our last incarnation really as a dog? Did a dog, Coyote, create the starry sky by tearing open the creator’s bag as he ran, scattering flowers everywhere in a big mess, instead of the intended careful patterns? What about ghosts and demons and angels and exorcisms?

Some of the small questions:
Was Kennedy really shot by one pin-head from the window in the book repository? Did a flying saucer crash land outside of Roswell, NM? Did Atlantis exist? Did the Titanic really hit an iceberg, or was it torpedoed? Did the U.S.S. Eldridge slip into another universe before reappearing hundreds of miles away, blah, blah? What about Bigfoot and the Black Dog of Britain, and ancient astronauts coming to Earth and leaving evidence of their arrival?

Hang on a moment. What was that last one?
Oh yeah, ancient astronauts.
Did you know that there are a whole lot of folks who believe fervently that ancient astronauts came from somewhere out in the cosmos and helped us build pyramids and maybe even influenced the development of life here on our little piece of stardust. Yet, there are also a lot of folks who believe there’s no way we sent our own astronauts to the moon – essentially that this was all filmed in some studio somewhere.

So what’s real and what isn’t? Is it reasonable to believe that we sent humans out into the pure vacuum of space in a thin tin can, flew them all the way to the moon and landed them nearly perfectly, then got them all the way back? What’s the alternative – that this was a hoax perpetrated by the government to try to beat the Russians in a high-stakes game. What’s more difficult: Flying to the moon on the power of a computer system little better than a pocket calculator, or creating a perfect hoax in which many thousands of people would have to be knowing conspirators?

Look at it from this angle: You can’t even keep a decent secret anymore without some CIA guy or gal getting outed and the entire Congress moaning about being “out of the loop.” Our best agencies, made up of pros who deal daily with secrets, struggle to keep our simplest computer networks safe from basement hackers. We have voter fraud and corruption, thieving involving trillions of dollars, adultery and everything in between, not only rampant within the ranks of our politicians, but even expected. Those with their own self-interest at stake; who’s very lives will be destroyed if their little secrets are revealed, can’t even keep the skeletons in their closets.

And that’s the biggest evidence there is, really. Ask yourself, with human nature the way it is, what seems more likely? Do we really need to question whether it is possible for our government to lie and cheat? Of course not. Radiation pills given to pregnant women and the Tuskegee study on Syphilis in black men suggest we are truly capable of some bad stuff – even now, in our modern times. Just look at recent history. The government is made up of a lot of educated folks, and they can be great liars. But they are not very good at keeping secrets.

So is it possible for these people to keep such a massive secret for so long, with so many of them in the loop?

Frankly, I think it would be easier to fly to the Moon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Remembering Walter Cronkite

In a state museum, tucked into a dusty corner of Southern New Mexico, there is a three-dimensional model of the light-side of the moon. I have stood beneath that model, and marveled at the fact that one of the greatest journalists who ever lived, sat in front of that sphere and delivered the news that millions waited for.

The world truly stood still when Americans stepped onto the surface of the moon, and Walter Cronkite delivered the news to everyone here on Earth, July 20, 1969. I don’t remember the day it aired. I was too young.

Cronkite flew into Normandy on a glider with 101st Airborne troops. Many of those gliders were launched from RAF Greenham Common, U.K., where I was stationed after its’ reactivation in the 1980s. He covered the Battle of the Bulge and the Nuremburg Trials. By all accounts he was the top reporter in WWII. He was one of only eight newsmen to fly bombing raids in B-17s during the war.

But history wasn’t even getting started with him

He covered the ’52 National Conventions, and was given the title “anchor.” It was the first time the term was ever used to describe a news reporter and it has been used ever since. He covered the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the Iran Hostage Crisis and Watergate. He is remembered for breaking the news of the death of a president. He became involved with the ASU journalism program, which was named after him. Annually a leading journalist is presented with the coveted Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence. He interviewed statesmen and was himself a statesman.

But of course, there is that dusty model of the moon’s surface, housed in the New Mexico Museum of Space History. That was his backdrop for many of the moon shots, including the fateful Apollo 13 mission. He loved the space program and covered it from the very beginning.

In fact, if you consider 20th Century American history, you really can’t do it without considering Cronkite.

He left the air in 1981, saying in part in his farewell statement, “ Old anchormen you see, don’t fade away; they just keep coming back for more.” And Walter Cronkite did. He received the Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States upon his retirement – three years before I decided to join the Air Force, was sent to the Defense Information School, and become a military journalist.

Today Cronkite died, and I think it is important to take a moment to reflect on everything his life and works touched and influenced. I have had the good fortune to live in a time when such a man lived. I have been lucky to see how a real reporter did the job. Nobody ever replaced him – not really.

And that’s the way it is.

Government health care and the flaming paper bag.

“It’s time for health care reform.”

This new piece of PR features a few teary, doe-eyed people repeating the message. It’s off the screen even before you can try to figure out which party is pitching to you now.

I’ve written before about the marketing tools being thrust at us in every minute of every day. But most folks without PR training, just don’t realize how pervasive this is. It’s not just visual – it’s visceral. Terminology like “grassroots” and “Astroturf” and phrases like “around the kitchen table” and “economic downturn” is all part of the total package. But there are other mechanics at work – leading lines, use of backgrounds, contrast colors, visual arrangement, accompanying music, transitions, logos, repeated and sometimes subtle use of branding. There’s just so much spin involved in everything we see and hear.

And if you’re not looking for it – well, you’ll simply say to yourself “ahh, that was nice,” or “that guy or gal looks or sounds honest.” Or, if the PR handlers are real good, and their delivery medium is very sharp, it is possible most people will never even notice they are being sold a paper bag filled with crap.

So is it any wonder that we are sitting here just a few months into the new administration, wondering if the next generation will even grow up free? Is it so mysterious that we have tea parties sweeping the nation?

Please check your doorstep now. They haven’t just sold you a bag of crap – they’ve delivered it. That’s what is on fire on your front steps! The crap in the bag is Cap in Trade and Universal Health Care, and they expect you to do the flame dance and spatter that hot poop all over the place.

So, if you really want to be one of the “repeating stations” for these sales machines, do the front-steps dance and bask in the gleaming, fake smile of people like Nancy Pelosi and give those like her, power over every aspect of your life.

But know this. Not everyone is going to be dancing with you.

There will be a large number of people who’s lives will have been wiped out by the huge tax hikes necessary to fund these ridiculous programs. There will be many who simply won’t survive it at all – either being consigned to slow death in the waiting lines to see their government appointed doctor, or collapsing in their homes from freezing in winter temperatures, heat exhaustion in roasting summer temperatures, or starvation because they can’t afford to pay for food and green electricity at the same time. But they won’t wipe all of us out. Some of us will remain.

So stomp on that flaming bag. After all, the PR squads are telling you it is a huge emergency, and it just HAS to be done NOW!

But you’ll be replacing those shoes, and doing some painting. And I guarantee you the stink will still be there. Government health care is like any other government power; once it is taken up, it will never be put down. The stink remains.

And you in Congress – you who deal in the contents of those paper bags, light them up and run back to an easy retirement in your mansions on the coast– you are being watched by all the rest of us who won’t do the dance, and will not go easily. We’ll be waiting at the end of it all. We’ll be waiting for the chance to vote you out.

And we’ll be coming for you.
We’re coming for you all.


-We the People

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A painting for the patriots out there...

Here's a painting along with original poetry I did some time ago. Folks have bought it for their homes - some have bought it for the local VFWs and American Legion halls. It depicts warriors from each of our time periods. The poetry is personal, but has connected with all the vets who have seen it. I'm re-posting this because there has been renewed interest in it.

I can print museum-quality, archival prints of this painting for anyone interested in it. These prints will not fade or discolor for 70+ years - even in direct sunlight. I accept paypal and can make a 16x23 inch print for you for $30 plus shipping.

Send me an e-mail at Blackstarfish@cableone.net if you are interested. I can sign these for you if you like.

-Dave

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dropping the race card

The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is an amazing process.
While the boring, silly stagecraft, and half-baked, soft thrashing over Sotomayor’s now infamous statement on Latina wisdom continues, we watch. Yesterday, the hearings before the Senators began with a smooch-fest, and today worked through grinding hours of monotone Q and A.

What’s worse? Is it a poorer thing that our media sucks us into the “racial” question, so often, or is it worse that “race” just never seems to be very far away from general public discourse? We fear, we anger, we hate and then everything falls apart. This is a universal truth.

But I have noted more imbalance, when the race element is included in a discussion, and more intolerance from all sides when it is allowed to continue as a significant element.

Recently, a scientist was interviewed on one of the major news channels. He pointed out that the human tendency to “circle the wagons,” may date back through our history as a species. Literally, it is a reflex action to be cautious (afraid?) of those who are different.

Horsepucky.

If you’ve got more than two brain-cells to rub together, you should be able to get beyond the fact that everyone around you is not the same. There are different skin colors, different accents or languages, different societal requirements, different religions or belief systems – just plain, obvious, total differences. But we are not stone-age early humans huddling together in trees or caves. We are a modern society and we are an educated, modern species – and we can adapt.

And if we believe God loves what he has created, then he must be a great lover of diversity. He must truly appreciate these differences we fear so much.

In Sotomayor’s case, she simply said a dumb thing. I’ll bet she wishes she could erase that particular comment from memory. But those who fear what she might represent, will not let that go. It could be they are correct to question her motives. Then again, it could be that she simply has a tendency to make mistakes in some of the things she says.

Of course, there will be those folks out there who enjoy playing the “race” tag game. There are those who will simply love to hammer this lady – because she is a lady – and while they have her on the hot-seat; before she becomes a member of the greatest court in the land, they are going to try to get their “licks” in.

There is a solution, of course, and it has always been there.

We must develop bravery. We must embrace honor and decency. We must reject the low and mean. We must stand for reason and truth.

We must evolve.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Angels in the Dark




Here's a drawing of the woman I saw - who is referenced in the story below. There are angels in the dark. If you want a copy of this print, just send me an email to by pressing on the "Hate Rogers" button at the top right of this blog page. It will only cost you a little bit.

Angels in the Dark

Sometimes you just need to believe in something.
The saying “there are no atheists in the foxholes,” may be, for the most part, true. I know it because military experience led me to conclusions and connections, which I otherwise would never have made.

In today’s world, we are constantly being hammered down by dark happenings in our world and our country. We are faced with the hard truth, so frequently that we harden our hearts just to make it through the day. If we have good dreams, it is cause for celebration. After all, our days lately are like an acid ocean, their burning tides eroding the peace of our very souls.

But someone once said to me there are bad things in the world which we cannot see. Some African tribes call these bad things Shetani. Other cultures in other times had different names for them, but they all believed them to be dangerous, dark and evil. Of course, if you believe in such things, you likely believe in the opposite – that the balance is maintained by beings, which represent all, which is good and bright.

Before 1993 I would have shrugged all of this off. But by the time it was 1993, I had been in Africa for some time, driving the streets of Mogadishu and the surrounding countryside. I was a driver or a gunner most of the time, and no one of any importance. My friend, Al, was a U.S. Army enlisted guy. We swapped positions on the vehicle often – but always rode together. You just develop a trust with certain people. You just know that if the chips are down, they will have your back.

The chips weren’t looking too good one evening in a town called Afgooye. Our convoy had got stuck in a back alley late at night. We were boxed in, with high-rise buildings barely visible in the distance, just beyond the light of the street and the vehicles. For a long time, we couldn’t move forward or backward. I was sure this situation was an ambush, so I was scanning the distant high windows for a trace of movement, or the flash of an RPG, which I was sure would destroy the rear vehicle in the convoy and make retreat from the bottleneck impossible. Without night vision or any of the top-notch equipment being fielded today, the situation was similar to one in any conflict since Korea or Vietnam – maybe even WWII. In fact, my weapon had been made in 1971, never fired – and remained in a box until I was deployed to Camp Pendleton and from there became attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary – and the Joint Task Force.

All this was going through my head at the time, as I stood atop that vehicle and eyed those distant windows. That assumption could have been the end of us, because right next to the driver’s window – almost close enough to reach out and touch, was a weathered wooden shutter with peeling turquoise paint. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember suddenly realizing that it was there – suddenly understanding that a grenade flipped into the hummer from that window would accomplish the same ends as an RPG from the high-rises.

And as this dawned on me, the shutter began to slowly open.

The driver, my friend Al, was yelling up to me... “The window – the window!” I got a good sight-picture on the thing and flipped off the safety. I wondered how long I should wait – put my finger on the trigger, searched for any feeling about it all, and realized there was none. Suddenly understood that I was simply going to identify the threat and shoot, just as I had trained to do.

I put a little bit more pressure on the trigger. No nervousness, no nothing. The shutter kept gliding quietly open, but ever-so-slowly. I realized I would have to react very quickly. And as it came completely open, and I recognized that it was a human shape framed in the window, I knew I was prepared to finish it.

You see, for months we had lived amongst the Somalis. We knew the countryside and the people – even some of the language. We understood the mission and had accomplished most of the goals within three weeks of being in-country. By that night, we had been there for several months. Our time had been extended indefinitely.

I can speak for only myself in this, however.

I had long previously lost something important. I can’t put that in words. It simply is what it is. Some of you reading, you may know what I mean. For those of you who don’t, you’re very lucky.

But as I focused on that shape in the window, it seemed to light up. A woman was there, shades of blue light in a haze around her. She could have been Somali, but there was something unusual about her.

You see, I had the muzzle of that weapon sighted in on the center of her chest. We weren’t that far away from each other. She looked directly into my eyes. Al was screaming – “Do you see her? Oh my God, Dave, do you see her?” Her gaze was steady - impossibly so. With a loaded weapon aimed directly at her, she didn’t flinch, duck, yell out or say something harsh and accusing. In fact, she didn’t do anything a normal human would do. I could see her eyes and her face clearly. There was nothing there but compassion. We stared across the barrel of the weapon at each other, with Al still screaming and hitting my legs in the vehicle below.

She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and as the convoy again began to move slowly away, she kept her gaze on me. I watched her until we were out of sight and when the convoy turned around at the base of the road and we came back up and out of that neighborhood, she was no longer there.

But I felt something different. I was different, somehow. Something that I had given up on, or maybe something that I had set down or lost somewhere, had been found and given back to me.

So for those of you out there who need something to believe in; who have walked the dark roads for so long with nothing to give you light and faith and happiness, know this. The vision of that woman was a kind of proof that there is more than just beauty out there – maybe that there is more than darkness and demons looking for us, and maybe that there are some things real and tangible working on our side, and looking after us all.

To this day, and every day for the rest of my life, I have known and will know that I have seen an Angel.

And she offered me forgiveness and peace.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The wheels on the media bus go round and round.

We can only hope our leaders are not a reflection of ourselves.

If they are, we are all of us corrupt, petty, ineffectual, insulting, thoughtless and ignorant. We are all together, riding the happy party bus, on a trip to nowhere, leaving any place; just empty skin suits, OK with living in our coma-like state, and uncaring of what tomorrow really will bring.

But I often wonder as a former reporter, news editor and public relations guy, how much of what we see in the news, is just flash and babble.

Certainly each major political party is constantly seeking to turn the media, the people’s eyes and ears, into their own mouthpieces. Also certain is that traditional fringe groups have found efficient ways to organize, network and insert themselves and their views into politics, industry, banking and of course the news sources we are exposed to every day.

Perhaps the greatest recent example of this is the harm done to Governor Sarah Palin, of Alaska, who will soon leave office. Her reason? Continual interference by fringe opposition groups and individuals who were using petty legal actions to tie her up and wear her down, ever since she was tapped to run for the Vice Presidential position with John McCain.

So, what about this?

If we look at it from the perspective of an actual old-time daily news reporter, what is really going on here? Folks on the far left will parse it, and wave it away because her departure seems to serve their agenda. Speculation may abound as to the Governor’s “real reasons,” and whether she is planning some kind of great, involved strategy leading to other, bigger things, but it is all just speculation, and her choices and reasons and motives are her own business.

However, we can certainly look at the bias involved, the true source of many problems in the media, and the place it is taking us to.

From the perspective of a media “insider,” first I should remind readers of that old phrase “don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper.” This mantra applies to television news, and certainly to the “new media,” inside the Internet.

First you have to look at the most irrelevant of these sources – the bloggers, of which I admittedly, am one. But my writings differ from many of these, because of training and experience in a real newsroom, with a real publisher and managing editor screaming at me over one thing or another, every day, for years. I have had the fortune, or misfortune of daily deadlines, responsibility for every story and headline, layout and design element in a city-desk role. I have ordered the start-up of a massive offset press, countless times, while secretly praying I had not missed anything important.

Like good steel, I have been fired and quenched so many times, I know where the boundaries are, and if I choose to step over them, I do it, knowing the result is going to be bad. I accept the consequences of my words.

However, in the case of most of these bloggers, they are little better than the kids you would find on a high-school yearbook committee. They just blather away, committing libel at every turn, and generally being a pack of boobs. Following their unsubstantiated rants, they sign their little missives as if they are real journalists. I would wager many of them have never even seen the inside of a newsroom on a grade school tour. Judging from some of the material I have seen, a fair portion of these folks have never even graduated from High School.

So, that is the first group of folks, whose material might not be the stuff you should base life decisions on.

Next, we come to a great favorite of mine, the entertainment industry. First, you have to realize that the straight entertainers are in some cases, school dropouts or long-term substance abusers with the bank account of small countries. In some cases, they don’t care about you or I – nor have they thought out their positions on various subjects... it just doesn’t even come up on their radar. Their radar is set for butterflies, not aircraft. Idiotic catch-phrases stream from their gaping mouths and the light of flashbulbs reflects off their empty gazes.

There are exceptions, of course, and I do have friends who are big entertainers and do not view things from a political standpoint which would agree with any of the conservatives, of any stripe, who are out there. These folks have carefully considered many of these issues we are faced with today, and their beliefs are firmly held, carefully backed-up by personal research, and eyes which are looking around them. They are just seeing a different view than myself. I respect them and in some cases work with them and laugh with them, and can see past the right-left-independent dogma, which to me is more like dog shit.

Then there are the entertainers who are cloaked as news reporters. These folks work for big media concerns backed by big business and big money. They’re not all bad, but those who are, are amazingly bad. These rotten apples are influenced directly by what the organization wants to pay for. So, if a story about caged chimpanzees in deplorable conditions comes across the desk of one of these reporters, but the big business behind the media concern has a policy of cooperation with the company that is housing those chimps, you simply are not going to see a critical piece about the issue. The executives for that media concern may be out golfing and lunching with those company owners, and they are going to take a dim view of any story, which might put their buddies in a bad light. I know. I have been there – in exactly that situation

So, in many ways our government is similar to the chimps (sometimes I think the chimps are smarter, though). They are operating in a deplorable manner, albeit in posh conditions, but they are spending their time basically the same way - throwing feces at the members of the public who pass by them, or in the case of Governor Palin, facilitating conditions to heave more poop her way, than she can handle. Meanwhile, the basement blogger chimps are screeching and shaking their cages, and just generally making a lot of incomprehensible noise. Then there are the Capuchin monkeys of the “new media,” the real, idiot entertainers, who believe they can step into the political world and teach everyone else a thing or two. If you don’t know what a Capuchin monkey is, ask Al Franken.

So where does this party bus leave us, and where are we all going?

Media bias is nothing new. Big wigs have influenced the views of the peasants for a very long time... basically since newspapers had their start, and probably long before that in other countless ways. We still live in a world of spin and propaganda. It’s just that here in America we have been brought up to believe that everyone is free and there’s always a chance to reach for and grasp the waking edge of the dream.

But this is often not the case. People have influenced what we see and hear and think, ever since this country was founded, all in small ways and all for individual self-interest. What we face today, however, are groups, which have learned from the past, and have used networks and financial, legal and political engines to drive the party bus into territory best charted by dictators of the past. If you do not believe this, don’t worry. I have a feeling we are going to be experiencing the full weight of a totalitarian government in the near future. You won’t have to imagine it, because you will wake up to it every morning.

So, the bus with us all inside, is merrily rolling toward some kind of destination, which even the writers of Pravda find frightening. And we sit here, nearly motionless; perfect mirrors for the politicians we are electing to office. We are being paid back for our own short-sightedness, our own merry indifference to the scenery flying by just beyond the dirty glass of the bus window. The media may be biased, but many of us are simply not even paying attention.

It doesn’t take much to guide the uninformed: an uneducated blogger, a corrupt politician, a paparazzi-driven, silly or mean-spirited entertainer or a big-business influenced, trained journalist under orders to “slant” the story one way or the other.

In the end, however, it is our own personal choice to get on that party bus, and of course it is our responsibility to choose or not choose, to listen to the inane babble and believe it all.

We need to stand up and get the bus to stop. Maybe if we’re lucky, when we disembark, we won’t be on the Planet of the Apes.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Another Rogers painting

Here's another painting I did some time ago. If anyone is interested in a print of this, please just drop me an e-mail at Blackstarfish@cableone.net. Only cost you a little bit.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Solved our problems in an hour. Now what?

During a recent interview, President Obama answered criticism with the old standby, “lots of people criticize, but no one else has any answers.” That was a scary moment. Basically, our top guy is saying, ”OK, we might not be making things work, but no one else is giving us any better ideas.”

I don’t know. Maybe I’m a simpleton, but I’m going to take a stab at this. I asked people on Twitter to send me some issues they would like solved. So here we go – I’m taking on all comers. It should be noted, however, that President Obama didn’t send me any questions, which leads me to believe he is either busy, traveling to New York for a play or ice cream – or he’s still busy working up his own list of solutions:

  1. Energy woes – the government seems willing to grab up state parks in California – why not grab up some sections of ocean. Drill now. Drill in Alaska. Drill in my backyard if it is going to solve some problems. I’ll even help you build the rig. In short, I don’t care if the countryside is dotted with drilling rigs – and I don’t care if it takes ten years to get them all, running. At least we will be getting something real done.

  1. Global Warming – Just shut up. Worry about the globe once we’ve got our own country sorted out. Deal with the neighborhood after you’ve taken care of your own backyard. Environmentalism - Cut back the EPA regulations and bring some business back to the U.S. for a change.

  1. Out of control budget – stop spending money. In fact, the money which hasn’t been spent from the bills, which have been passed ... take it back, or give it directly to the people. Enough is enough. While you’re at it, open the books of the Federal Reserve and let the people see through an audit that everything is on the up and up.

  1. Loss of jobs – let the businesses, which are going tits-up, fail. Let the bankers who have run their companies into the ground, fail. Reduce regulation on new business and make it easier for small businessmen to get started. Cut taxes – don’t add to them.

  1. Medical insurance – got a job? Probably have some kind of medical plan. If you don’t, that is either a personal choice, or at least it is something you can deal with by getting a job. Care about your family? Get a job, and then get health insurance. While it may be necessary to take care of small children, seniors and the disabled, I don’t think anyone would dispute a government program dealing with that. But the rest of the stuff – simply adding 40 million people to the rolls – probably ridiculous.

  1. Free speech – Don’t levy thought-police legislation against the people. Just stay out of it.

  1. Cap in Trade – Be serious. See number one.

  1. Terrorism – Kill the terrorists. Squeeze the ones captured for info, which will help us kill more of them. Take care of the troops who do that job for us all. Let those troops come home when it is done. Worried about the terrorists we’ve got? Put them on trial and hang them, if necessary. Bury them. It’s a shovel-ready project.

  1. Corrupt politicians – Jail ‘em.

  1. Corrupt businessmen – Jail ‘em too.

  1. Prison space – Put the businessmen and the politicians in the same cells.

  1. Foreign policy – Don’t trade weapons systems for nothing. Don’t discontinue defensive programs we need. Shake hands, smile and don’t be an idiot. Remember, you’re representing us. Don’t try to solve the world’s problems. Try to solve our country’s first. Don’t sign climate control agreements with other nations. See number two.

  1. Idiots in Congress – Fire them all. Elect new ones.

  1. Problems with people who are angry with you – Stop screwing with them. Listen to them for a change. Try doing what the mainstream is asking you to do. Ignore the fringe whack-jobs. Want to know what my life is like? Come sit in my living room for a day. Deal with that. Help me fix the stupid swamp cooler again. Figure out why my mail is delivered to other people on the street. Help me to figure out how I’m going to pay another $3000 a year for electricity on my budget (see item number seven and then item number one). I'll even make you a cheese sandwich - then again, might not be able to afford cheese or bread due to VAT and new obesity regulations, so you might have to tough it out without the cheese or bread.

  1. Illegal aliens – Are they illegal? If they’re illegal, deport them. Don’t give them health care, driver’s licenses and everything else. They’re not citizens. The most we should pay for is the bus or rusty cargo ship, which drops them off at the gate.

  1. Senate rejecting audit of Fed – See number three.

  1. Gun rights – Leave it alone. If everyone carries, the criminals don’t have a trump card and it’s harder for good people to get hurt by bad ones.

  1. Clean Water Restoration Act (S787) – This is a resource grab. Ask what happened to some of the Southwestern ranchers after WWII. It’s always the same story. The government should not be able to seize people’s property. Period. If they try, they might want to see number 17.

  1. Barney Frank wanting to lower lending standards again – First of all, this is Barney. I believe there was a purple dinosaur named that. Same thing in my mind. But Barney should ask himself why our country is in the current fix it is in. Barney might also keep number nine in mind as he steps out onto the high wire again.

  1. Global Currency – It’s called the dollar. Stop printing it, like it means nothing, and you will not have to worry about it. See number three.

  1. VAT (Value Added Tax) – Has that been so helpful in places, which have done it before us? They’re choking on VAT. So in addition to the $3,000 more the government wants to add to our electric bill will be on top of rising costs in everything else due to hidden taxes. Get real.

22. Got a problem with bills slipping through, that some members of Congress don’t like? – Read the bills. Understand what you’re doing to people out here. Stop the snide, smirking disrespect you are showing to regular people who elected your dumb butts.

And remember. If you don’t straighten up, we will be coming for you.

We will be coming for you all.

-We the People

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Who's got their finger on the switch

Who’s got their finger on the switch?

Doesn’t it seem strange that less than eight years after we are attacked by terrorists, the same group of legislators who stood together in the capital and promised to set aside partisanship, now can’t even agree what to do with the same terrorists. Our military rolls up the carpet with all these cockroaches scurrying, but still trapped – and now the civilian leadership wants to discard all the hard work of our service folks and just open the gates and let these guys go.

Here’s the one problem with all of it. Set aside the moral issues for a moment. These people took up arms against the United States in a declared war. While they are not wearing the uniform of a specific country, that does not mean they aren’t cloaked in the intention to kill as many Americans as possible.

So while four Uighurs are released to live it up in Bermuda and more discussions are held as to where to move the rest of the Guantanamo detainees, yet another released terrorist is once again in the fight and is leading new attacks against U.S. Troops. According to Defense Department data 74 of 540 released detainees have returned to their previous pastime – the effort to kill more Americans, or recruit and train more people who will carry these attacks out.

Where is the shame? Does anyone remember why our government started down the path of catching and jailing terrorists? Are these things so dim in our collective memory: the reports from the scene in New York, bodies plummeting from the upper floors of the trade center before its collapse; grey people walking in the streets, color and creed erased by the ashes; the burning wreck at the Pentagon or the words “Let’s Roll?”

Set aside this fight and give the people who are responsible for these atrocities, U.S. Constitutional rights, and you spit upon the memory of those lost in the attacks and the nearly equal numbers lost in our military and intelligence community. Those people, who have died, served in the honored ranks of those who worked so hard to box these animals up in Guantanamo.

Who is in control here? Who has their finger on the switch?

Why do we have a president who continues to change direction on this issue? Why do we even have citizens who are demanding these prisoners be released? Didn’t military tribunals hang those responsible for atrocities after WWII? Why has this not already happened in this case? Why are we even discussing the closing of this prison? If these people had anything to do with the Trade Center attacks, should they not have been squeezed for intel, then tried? If this was done right, there would likely be no need for a prison – there wouldn’t be any prisoners left.

It seems a hard line to take, but it is really very simple. If they are criminals, they can’t be considered under military rules and so are not afforded the protections of the Geneva Convention. Thus, they may be tried and jailed. If they are the opposition in a war – as they were identified at the beginning of all this, they then have no rights other than those provided by the Geneva Convention. Subsequently, at the end of hostilities (a victory resulting in elimination of the enemy or their surrender – neither of which has happened), they are released to their home countries, regardless of what that home country decides to do with them. Since there has been no declared victory or surrender, we must still be at war, regardless of what the current administration wants to call it all. Lastly, if they are war criminals, then they need to be tried and released if found innocent, imprisoned for a determined amount of time, if not, or executed for crimes against humanity.

And really, aren’t they already damned lucky they weren’t shot on the field?

So why do we have all the lawyer-speak, Congressional hearings, mealy-mouthed, political correctness, PR dancing, parsing and spinning? I don’t know.

Could it be that our country’s leadership are flopping about like beached fish? Are they choking on their campaign promises? Could it be that no one in that leadership is listening to the people? Could it be that no one in the government is looking seriously at history – even recent history? Could they be too interested in cocktail parties, big dinners, and flights across the country and the world for their own personal recreation? Could it be that these people we have elected just keep clicking their heels together and wishing it will all go away?

Got news for you people. The heel clicking isn’t working. You’re still here with the rest of us.

And we’re coming for you. We’re coming for you all.

-We the People

Want to help our guys and gals?

Look at www.troopathon.com

or

www.woundedwarriorproject.org

In a single day

For more info on getting a copy of this print, email me at Blackstarfish@cableone.net

Nearly eight years ago, America was lost and found, all in a single day.

The terrorist attacks of 9-11 killed thousands and changed the lives of uncounted people across the globe. News reports saturated the airwaves, world governments promised justice or vengeance – maybe both.

Our new president stood on the crushed remains of a fire truck and delivered an impromptu speech to a scattered crowd of first responders and on-scene ground-zero volunteers. Many of us looking on from our living rooms across America railed at our inability to assist in any meaningful way. Flags sprouted up from porches and curbsides where only days before there had been nothing. Many went back to churches, long abandoned for the hectic, impersonal drive of every-day life. Some just moved along, barely functioning. But everyone suddenly looked around and recognized each other as Americans.

I remember. I was there.

I lived in a small town where a local police officer had only recently left to begin a new career in the airline industry. Al was on one of the aircraft, which hit the Trade Center. It was his first day on the new job.

But we lived day to day back then, and making the trip to one of the disaster sites to volunteer was impossible. We returned from work daily to a new helping of horror and a new feeling of impotence.

I was a graphic artist and a writer, so I painted and I wrote. And today, so many years later, I revisited the painting I did the week of the attacks, intending to make a print of it for a friend. I decided to make some additions – most notably, a complete list of names of every person who lost their lives in each attack.

So I ask you now – consider what is more horrible...

Is it that I struggled to fit the entire list on a 22 x 17 inch print? Or is it that I finally did?

Or maybe the most horrible thing of all is that with such a massive loss of life and a nation and world so terribly affected – with little towns filled with people raising and lowering their flags every day – with all that, we are here less than eight years later tearing each other down and struggling to maintain our national identity.

How mean and low and sick we have become that we so easily allow the very work those terrorists started September 11, 2001, to continue unchallenged. Our country implodes around us, a continuance of the work they started. And the very people who pulled together back then – the same people who stood united against a soul-less enemy, now stand in fractured political groups across the country.

So I’ll ask again, what is more horrible...

Is it that I felt a need to add those thousands of names to that painting? Is it that I was able to do it? Or is it that in time, amidst the partisan infighting, no one may even remember why those people died, and how America was both lost and found...

All in a single day.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

To Governor Sarah Palin

To: Governor Sarah Palin, her admirers and her detractors.

From: The People

Ref: Our loss and our gain.

Respectfully,

When a governor of any level is unable to carry out the duties of their office because of frivolous, ridiculous actions by the mean spirited, biased, foolish and spiteful among the public, we all lose.

Governor Palin has stepped forward to serve the people of her state, and offered up herself for service to our nation. She has been mistreated, by those in her own party, by honorless opposition groups, by despicable actions of those in the entertainment industry and basement bloggers who style themselves as some kind of new-age, anointed media. The elite in society have attacked Palin because she is not one of them and because she is an honest, straightforward person.

When you set aside the flashpoints of social viewpoints, a biased press is revealed as a dark coalition which has itself been corrupted by big business and big politics. These media concerns and their pet politicians have battered the governor.

So, what now?

Speculation abounds as to what the Governor will do once she returns to private life. Here is a suggestion:

Please spend some of your time returning the favor to the biased media concerns, which have worked so hard to harm you. Drag the fools into court and thrash them mercilessly. Here’s why:

Politics does attract corruption and the Congress continues to prove that point. But our media has so often been the last check and balance of our system. In the past, tough, resourceful, principled reporters would chip away at the system and call the attention of the regular people to the things, which they could not see themselves. The media used to be the eyes and ears of The People. Sadly, except for a few exceptions, that is no longer the case. Worse, those who would question the status quo – those few who would stand against the tide of corruption, are marginalized, demonized and attacked themselves.

So, Governor Palin, when you again join the ranks of the public, spend some energy and time yanking these jerks into court. Maybe when the rest of the corrupt see these insects dragged into the light of day, it will give them pause – and maybe it will embolden the real media out there to follow the true stories. Maybe they will follow the money on some of these crooked deals and shine the light in the dark places. Maybe these actions will give us back one of the most important checks and balances we have – something other than the near “state run media” which currently exists.

You may have decided to give up your governorship, but the greater body of regular people here, in small and large pockets, throughout the United States, have not given up on you – nor that which you represent.

Whatever your plans, Godspeed.

And for you others who cheapen our great country with your schemes... you, who steal from the people and hide behind your credentials or your basement anonymity, take notice of what I write here. You, who push your self-serving agendas by corrupting the political and journalistic process, pay attention. And you who use your public office to take from our children and grandchildren, mark these words:

We’re coming for you. We’re coming for you all.

-We the People.

Want to see something which will pick up your spirits?

Have a look at this link if you're feeling a bit down...

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