Crossing the mountainous region that separates the province of Andalusia from Extremadura, I dash into a field of aromatic wild flowers; wild licorice caressing my clothes and my nose. A patchwork of white, red, yellow, and purple wildflowers lace the lush green grass, a beneficial result from early Spring rains. Graceful oaks and charismatic, craggy olive trees abound, as do grazing sheep and moss speckled boulders. The signs of congested civilization, most notably people, are nowhere to be found. I can easily imagine trolls and pixies romancing in the afternoon sun as Spring birds sing their joyous songs.
Spain’s countryside is timeless, it’s history a visceral, palpable experience to the passerby. A medieval castle or hacienda abandoned, a Roman arched bridge or a forgotten Moorish wall are visible reminders of Spain’s past civilizations and the personal marks they left. Silently they sit in the open landscape as they have for centuries.
Open roads always provide me that exhilarating sense of freedom. Meandering along the less traveled ribbons of asphalt in this bucolic countryside, my rental car radio was able to pick up throughout the Andalusia and Extremadura provinces a classical radio station. A taste of classical music, sometimes opera, even some Segovia flamenco guitar, accentuated the passing Spanish scenery. Suddenly, I see up ahead in the distance the stalwart medieval city, Trujillo, glistening in the midday sun, rising high on the leveled horizon’s lone granite hill.
“Onward trusty metal steed,” I say to my shiny black VW. “I bring harmonious tales to my awaiting Spanish countrymen.” This cannot be said for another arrival to this valley, that of native son, Pizarro, who brought faraway tales derived instead from greed and cruel, ambitious desires.
So how did I get here, you ask? This southern Spain adventure began several days prior, along the shimmering blue Mediterranean shores of Malaga, an Andalusian treasure. Home to Picasso, situated between its more well-known Andalusian brethren cities, Seville and Granada, Malaga with its chicly renovated harbor, countless museums, lively city center, Moorish fortress and graceful gardens, has become its own cultural gem destination.
I spent first two days getting my Spanish bearings. Stayed at a fantastic apartment, wonderful host, and a bedside window view of the Mediterranean. Walking or easy bus distance to downtown; great beginning.
Comfortable, but ready to begin my journey, I head west toward the mountainous lands of the “pueblos blancos”, or white villages, the city of Ronda being the most prominent. Through the course of my Spanish travels, I would gradually become accustomed to the somewhat strict eating timetable. By 1 sometimes 2 pm, as I’m just about to perish from starvation, a restaurant opens with its saving grace “menu de dia”, a two-course meal plus dessert. Well-fed I continue the weaving mountainous drive through quaint small villages and more stunning wild scenery; eventually an old Roman wall and railroad track points me toward the outlying area of Ronda.
Ronda, a history as old as European civilization itself sits perched on two natural high precipices, connected by a dramatic bridge over the canyon river below. A fertile countryside spreads out in miniature across the valley, more steep mountain ranges in the misty distance. Bandits and conquerors sought this same view, fought over to win only to lose over time to the next desirer.
Man’s perpetual struggle with his inner divinity and his inner beast is physically dramatized within the innocuous circular bullfight arena that overlooks the dramatic cliffs. The origin of the bullfight, home to the greatest bullfighter and immortalized by Hemmingway, the symbolic as well as barbaric battle between man and beast has played out for centuries here to generations of Spanish audiences within its massive wooden gates. Ole!
Romanticism aside, I would soon learn the reality of my visit to Ronda; all rooms… I repeat all rooms had been booked for that evening. Once resigned to the fact I was sleeping in my car, a surprisingly liberating feeling emerged. Untethered as simply a tourist outsider, this experience would create a stronger bond for me with Spain, reliving a similar sensation I had not felt since my overnight in car experiences back in the U.S. The traveling vagabond, at home and abroad.
I roamed the old medieval and Moorish quarters past midnight, reviewed bars until closing hour. The night was surprisingly cold, requiring both my pullover and jacket. As the tourists dispersed to their hotels early, I discovered an all Spaniards tavern where impromptu flamenco guitar music suddenly engaged the crowded room. Patrons ordered their red wine while others, predominantly women, of all ages, burst into song and flamboyant gestural dance, pelvises and hands weaving to a passionate pulse. This IS flamenco country, and you feel this intimate connection among the people, this heart and soul passion unleashed with their dance and music. The neighboring Dublin bar was not quite so lively.
Half past midnight, all was closed, so I continued to wander across the ancient bridge toward the old city’s gas-lamp lit streets. In the shadows the towering catholic cathedral glowered over the defeated Moorish fortress, its ramparts and stairways still leading to lookout points designed to watch for lower valley approaches from bandits and other interlopers. The history enshrouded in that beautiful enveloped darkness was palpable, the silence only broken by the imaginary whispers of former souls and their wispy specters. I was tempted to just lay on the stone bench and breathe in that crisp night air until dawn.
Traditions run deep among the people in this region as well as in Extremadura. In the more remote “pueblos blancos” the elder men and women dress as their parents, and their parents’ parents did before them; Same stocky builds, same earth-tone sweaters, dresses and trousers, same tightly coiffed hairdos. I know if I looked back at pictures I took over twenty years ago, I’d probably think I was looking at their twins today. Either they make their own clothes with the same material or the nearest department store only stocks the same items every hundred years or so. Apparently, if someone tries to wear a polka dot shirt with shorts in these small country villages, they are run out of town!
Granada: A touch of class, civility, artistic edge and flare.
A tavern decorated with knights in shining armor, swords, and medieval ambiance.
A tavern decorated with minotaur paintings and various intriguing art forms.
A locals’ tapas / tabernas with jolly greeters, welcoming me to a table and an approving smile to my selection of spaghetti bolognaise and an ice cold cerveza.
A pub with rock n roll and provocative art.
A pub with an edgy, provocative art, punk-edge patrons, a cold small cerveza and a free tapa (hot pizza).
A Saturday night in a crowded tapas taberna where the bartenders are beautifully crazy; fast, fun, singing songs and busting each other’s’ chops while slinging generous servings of beer, wine, and free tapas to awaiting patrons.
A city park where the bronze statues are Spanish writers, including Lorca, sitting on park benches. Even a statue of a man reading a book. A tribute to poets and playwrights versus politicians and generals reflects well for Granada’s enlightened consciousness. Notably, the city park pigeons agreed for these statues lacked the usual stains of secretive disdain.
Grab a cold cerveza and wash this thought down with a midnight late snack assortment of home grown tapas – grilled shrimp, grilled pork, jamon, queso and peppers, olives, meatballs and potatas, pizza slice, jamon in olive oil, and a touch of paeia. A hungry heart and stomach no more…
Saving Granada’s crown jewel for last, the Alhambra is impressive in its majesty, its strength, its original feng shui, and harmonious design. Moorish engineering forethought channeled and sculpted the Sierra Nevada’s melting snows into poetic water streams and fountains, each flowing throughout the inner courtyards and around the fortress’s orange sherbet walls down to the old Moorish neighborhood, the Albaicin.
Taking in some cooling shade after the steep hike to the fortress wall, I enjoyed a brief conversation with some pre-teenage French boys waiting for their group to enter the Alhambra. We talked about the Arabian Knights on their horses galloping up this same imposing fortress entryway, swords drawn for action. They agreed building a fortress on a hill was a good strategy.
Below, within its narrow corridors the Albaicin transforms the Andalusia Granada into the Arabian Nights. Welcome to the Kazbah: Moroccan cuisine and teahouses merge beautifully with intimate flamenco nightclubs and tapas bars. Beautiful, just beautiful!
North of Granada, the La Mancha countryside had turned fertile since last spoken about by Don Quixote and Cervantes. Passing vineyards and olive tree fields filled the passing scenery whereas the semi-arid environment depicted in the La Mancha region of old was now the lands on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevadas.
Leaving Granada, the rugged lower mountains of the snow-capped Sierras dominate the landscape before settling in to drier dominions. Here, a dramatic scene unfolded as the Sierra Nevada’s ominous dark clouds loomed above the tangerine-hued La Calahorra castle.
Not far away, Badlands-styled sand hills provided modern underground dwellings for many residents in the fabled town of Guilix. White-washed red tiled abodes blending in beautifully with the desert-scape environ. This driest region of Spain continues down to the coast where I would finally discover the equally fabled windmills Don Quixote so valiantly fought.
Today’s more prevalent windmills are giant corporate windmills, whiter than white that reach the sky. A whole village could be obliterated if one of those windmill dragons comes crashing down.
My circular drive was complete upon my return to Malaga, enjoying more seafood by the sea, sunny Mediterranean views, and pleasant seaside “paseos” (evening strolls). From a man’s perspective, the Malaga beachfront is the perfect respite. My beachfront cafe served spaghetti seafood, or in Spanish, pasta “con fruitas del mar,” accompanied with a chilled white wine. Families and friends are milling about on the sidewalk and beach enjoying the day. Young women casually lie topless on the beach… pequenos, medios, and grandes… all size tatas all in a row, basking in the ripening sun.
I say to the owner’s wife, “Yo creo verano esta aqui”. She nods, smiles and says simply “Si”.
“Fascism is a Lie told by Bullies.”
“It ain’t over til it’s over.”
For whom the pendulum swings, be it right or be it left, be it short or be it long, be it right or be it wrong, it swings for thee… and thee… and thee. As history is my guide, this much I know.
Where on the pendulum of history, the purveyor of time, are we the American society? As a slice of our world’s humanity, the “melting pot” slice they say, which direction are we heading, a country once founded on proud principles not so long ago. Proud principles that feel foreign today in a country that seems hell bent on sliding into the fascist abyss.
During the past century and beyond, other countries have seen the pendulum swing toward their darker side of humanity; Spain under Franco and the earlier Inquisition period, South Africa under Apartheid, Italy under Mussolini and their more protracted Inquisition period, and of course we all remember that guy in Germany. Are we as American citizens immune from following such destructive human paths? Hardly, if we’re not careful to heed the warnings. Perhaps taken into historical perspective this is simply our time to slip into the darkness.
Fortunately, today, societies in Spain, Germany, Italy, and South Africa have learned some valuable lessons from their past mistakes and through my recent travels to Capetown, South Africa, southern Spain, and Sicily, I’ve happily observed cultures that honor quality of life conditions and promote harmonious living for all. Their pendulum now swings toward the compassionate, progressive direction. Remember life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? They’re getting it, and they’re acting upon it, as do Scandinavian countries whom have done so I might add without any blatant nightmarish societal lessons.
Am I disgruntled with our own discouraging trend? Of course, but always the optimist I have not given up hope. Since our last general election, I have noticed a few bright spots among the bleak American society landscape. Those most suppressed, most overlooked today have reached a breaking point and are courageously fighting back. I speak of the high school student movement against guns and the violence in our society. Enough Is Enough, they admirably say. Then there are their teachers, overworked and underpaid since the beginning of time, are also being outspoken, becoming a unified protest voice in numerous RED states including West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky. They are demanding higher wages, better working conditions, and a renewed respect for the education profession.
The Los Angeles service industry, comprised of predominantly immigrant workers, vulcanized into a strong union force, demanding higher wages, and with a newfound clout achieved great recent success. Hopefully teachers and students will be able to do the same.
Everyday people, you and I, strong individuals are taking on our fascist regime any way they can. To deal with the most recent horrific behavior by the Trump administration, the arrest and separation of children from their parents coming to the American border to seek asylum, several courageous individuals and groups have honorably stepped forward: protesters chastised Homeland Security director Kirstjen Nielson at ironically a Mexican restaurant in D.C. Other customers joined in to show their support of the protest.
Trump’s hardliner underling, Stephen Miller, the architect of this immigration fiasco, was heckled at a Mexican restaurant as well.
A Red Hen restaurant owner in Virginia, outside D.C. requested White House spokesperson Sara Huckabee and her entourage to leave her establishment. As she explained to Huckabee, “our restaurant has certain standards it has to uphold, such as honesty, compassion, and cooperation.”
News correspondent Chris Cuomo beautifully articulated his impassioned response and consternation to the way Fox News has distorted and misrepresented the facts in their coverage of the immigration tragedy.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters got on the megaphone and told a rally to get people protesting and peacefully harass any Trump cabinet member that supports his inhumane policies, wherever they are in public. Not surprising, corporate CFR Democrats and Republicans like Pelosi and McCain chastised Waters, each afraid of course to take any real defiant stance themselves against this administration.
Nationwide protests over this immigration policy continue while the movement to “Abolish ICE” is going (slightly) mainstream, with new support from Senator Gillibrand in New York as well as New York City’s mayor Blasio.
Meanwhile, First Lady of the White House and recent immigrant, Melania Trump, tries again to look concern over her husband’s border policies’ effect on the children, this time without her “Don’t Give A Shit” stylish jacket.
A positive indication of at least some Progressive Democrat headway against their own Corporate Democrat do-nothing wing was accomplished last week with the young progressive candidate Ocasio-Cortez’s victory against long term incumbent and third most powerful member of the Democratic Corporate party. His lack of tough response to Trump and his corporate pharmaceutical campaign contributions were noted as a negative for him by his constituents.
The battle within the war within. People fighting back for the soul of their country. Progressive Democrats fighting the Corporate Democrats, better known as fascist wolves in sheep clothing, you know… the Clintons.
Where are the new compassionate voices within the Democratic party? Are they Ocasio-Cortez from New York, Xochitl Torres Small, Democratic House candidate in eastern New Mexico, Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), Governor Jay Inslee (Wash), Gov. Martin O’ Malley (MD) or Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore)?
On July Fourth, or more appropriately Independence Day, we celebrated our country’s origin and founding fathers’ defiance toward a tyrannical government and an oppressive corporate rule. Sound familiar? Are we experiencing de ja vu all over again?
I heard the news today oh boy and that day’s headlines carried more encouraging news:
First, another brave young woman, in a DC restaurant, with her 2-yr. old child in tow, confronted Trump Administration EPA administrator Scott Pruitt on his environmentally destructive policies and stated flatly he should resign.
Second, since progressive Ocasio-Ortez’s resounding victory, there has been a surge in campaign contributions and enthusiasm for all progressive candidates, Berniecrats, running for political office. These candidates are not just running against Republicans but also running against the corporate Democrats. Bernie Sanders and his growing Berniecrats network is taking hold, with those among the corporate elite Democrats taking notice, nervously.
Even arch nemesis Fox News’s headline took aim at not the usual foils of misdirection fodder… Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton … but a far more real threat to the entire corporate Democrat and Republican Establishment…. the growing empowerment of the Berniecrat Progressives, many of them first timers at seeking political office and people who had previously worked on Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
Days later, does the pendulum’s swing fade as too often it does. No, the momentum continues to build. Only two days after the latest direct confrontation incident, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, under countless unethical charges yet still clinging to Trump’s favored son status, officially resigns. Speaking up against the bully directly is working! Trump hates when his underlings receive bad press. His ICE chief under strong direct criticism for his hardline handling of the border family separations, has also resigned. Trump hates the appearance of weakness yet has shown his own Achilles heel for capitulation. Keep up the good fight people! Screw the criticisms from the capitulating spineless corporate Democrats. Go Maxine Waters… go Berniecrats… go strong individuals fighting for what’s right!
These fascist thugs’ persistent tactics of inhumanity must stop. I smell fascist weakling blood and it smells sweet, like the sweet smell of success! Sure, it’s an unsavory metaphor, but I don’t care. Wait… there’s more. It’s the townspeople joining the Wild Hogs and driving out the Del Fuegos. It’s the Revenge of the Nerds, swaying victoriously in the bleachers to We Are the Champions My Friends. It’s John Belushi’s Bluto making his humorously misguided yet passionate plea for action. Or, how about Luke Skywalker standing up in defiance to the “dark side” swinging his neon K-Mart vibrating toy! There, now I’ve gotten your attention.
So, here we are, early July, the mid-term elections less than four months away. I’m getting siked just rereading what I’ve written. How about you? Remember, though, all this positive momentum, leading up to mid-term elections, only works if the majority of us get behind these “good person” candidates and elect them to office.
Will the women’s movement to elect more Democrat candidates at least serve the purpose to bring more compassionate voices in the House and Senate as well as swinging the House and Senate back to a Democratic majority? As a reminder, the majority of white women VOTED FOR Trump in this last presidential election, securing complete Republican control. Oh yes, it’s true. Time to make amends, ladies.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to discard that black mourning dress. A call to action is needed en masse if we’re to push that pendulum in the proper direction, for this upcoming election, and beyond. Going forward, we still have both individual and societal dysfunctional issues to work on, but we can do it… we must.
“Get up stand up! Stand up for your rights.”
“I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture on somebody’s part. We’re just the guys to do it.”
Animal House gang
If you’re ready for some good evolution/revolution rousing music, here’s my Spotify playlist Social Justice Songs:
It feels good to return to writing on my blog. I hope you, dear reader, agree as well. Rock on!
Wasteful Management is a satirical black comedy mystery novel that goes after the true villains in our global society… the most egregious of the multinational corporation CEOs; essentially, the leaders of the Military Industrial Complex.
As the book begins, sometime in the present, corporate tyranny reigns supreme. To stop this madness, what can one person do? What can anybody do? Until one day… the largest multinational companies’ CEOs begin to disappear. Who is doing this, and why?
It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma… or is it?
In the book, Wasteful Management, these executives are “removed” from society in ways that illustrate poetic justice. They are replaced with thoughtful individuals with integrity, who, with the help of others, ultimately bring about a new age of enlightenment to the world… and that is just for starters!
As an example of this “poetic justice”, one CEO, the Agribusiness leader of Tyrranex, Inc., is trampled by a giant GMO tomato in a remote part of India.
Jim Hightower says, “Wasteful Management is a refreshing combination of intrigue, humor, camp and serious politics, which fuses the gravitas of a Noam Chomsky or a Bill Moyer with the edgy, stinging social commentary of a Jon Stewart or a Stephen Colbert, into a satirical mystery romp.”
Wasteful Management lampoons the powerful wealthy elite, their practices, their elite clubs (CFR, Skull and Bones, Bilderberg, etc.) and their institutions (WTO, IMF, World Bank, etc.) as well as address their sociopathic behaviors.
Ground-breaking, controversial, uplifting…bring your popcorn and come prepared to “boo, hiss!” the villian and “cheer!” for the hero; sit back, and enjoy the ride!
Book available at Creatspace eStore: https://www.createspace.com/5796614
Below are six excerpts from the book that describe some of my book’s characters, beginning with some esteemed leading representatives of the Church, Industrial, and Military complexes, followed by Simon, Michael Quinn, and Madeline.
(Excerpt from my new novel… Wasteful Management)
NATHANIEL NIGHTSHADE – ETERNAL OBEDIENCE MEGACHURCH MINISTRIES INC.
Nathaniel Nightshade glanced at the large clock that hung over his dressing room mirror. The clock’s rounded frame was gold-leafed 24 carat gold. Its armature midsection was designed to represent the figure of Jesus Christ, his arms and hands simulating the hands of the clock. His present configuration resembled a man hailing a cab.
Nathaniel still had an hour before showtime. His adjacent walls exhibited other similar uniquely designed clocks, each representing a different time zone and religion. The Israeli clock had a rabbi figure and the Islam clock had an Ayatollah figure, each with their arms and hands extended.
He next caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror on the wall, and smiled approvingly. In his late 50s, his facial features were still strong, new teeth glistening white, and only a few distinguishing gray streaks in his otherwise raven colored thick head of hair.
Nathaniel Nightshade, the world’s most prominent ultra conservative evangelical preacher, was preparing himself in his opulent dressing room to give another sermon performance to a crowd of thousands, as well as possibly a million more via satellite.
A large line of cocaine had been neatly arranged on his table along with a crisp hundred dollar bill that a young boy had placed on the table setting. The church leader gave him a wink and a pat on his bottom as the young boy scurried out of the room. Nathaniel, alone, picked up the rolled bill, bent over the alluring white powder, and inhaled the contents in one swift motion. Smiling, he sat back in his chair and reflected upon his life.
In recent years, Nathaniel Nightshade had achieved the evangelical zenith in popularity; his fire and brimstone diatribes branded anyone who defied not only him but also the great pillars of corporate capitalism whom he represented and supported. He would instruct his faithful followers that they must denounce these foul sinners, or they would certainly not make it to the Lord’s pearly gates.
No evangelical preacher before or since Nathaniel’s prominence on the religious scene had so masterfully interwoven Biblical passages with corporate dogma, merging the Bible’s script with multinational CEO’s edicts to perfection, like chocolate and peanut butter in a Reese’s candy cup.
Nathaniel was blessed with a silver tongue. For Nathaniel had even reshaped the Old Testament and the Ten Commandments into a corporate how-to manual, espousing his own unique revisionist interpretation. His most famous Commandments included:
Thou Shalt Not do anything to harm the Free Marketplace.
Thou Shalt Not raise the minimum wage.
Thou Shalt Not reinstate the Glass Seagal Act nor the Anti-Trust Act.
Thou Shalt Not dismiss War as an Alternative Solution.
Thou Shalt Not believe in the US Constitution except for the Right to Bear Arms or Red States’ Rights.
Thou Shalt Not Believe in Evolution or Revolution.
Thou Shalt Smite the Communist, Socialist, College-Educated, Liberal, Union Sympathizers, French sympathizers, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Open-minded, and Tie-Dye Wearers as heathens.
Among his loyal obedient followers, Nathaniel had successfully demonized all present and future human impediments to the Establishment’s goals as well as having paved jingoistic support for any Military Industrial Complex future lucrative endeavor.
“Help us create the enemy, my boy, and they will follow their leaders against them like three blind patriotic mice,” Big Bank’s CEO David Rotburger had assured Nathaniel over an especially fine brandy.
Nathaniel’s natural charisma and persuasive prowess, combined with his well-hewed political connections through his Skull and Bones, Masonic, and Job Bones University associations, had helped him immensely in his meteoric rise up the evangelical ladder. As the unmistakable leader within the ecclesiastical council, Nathaniel had seen to ensuring that all his ministry underlings as well as other evangelical ministers would preach the corporate scripted teachings.
In the 1920s and 30s radio had played a pivotal role for evangelicals. Recognizing the potential large scale influences that a national radio program broadcast could command, early corporate industrialists would bankroll these evangelicals so as to more easily manipulate the devout masses of the American heartland.
Often these early evangelicals would favor Laissez-faire economics and be outspoken critics of the New Deal, and later the Great Society, helping their industrialist sponsors distract and misdirect the religious flock, through fear-mongering fire and brimstone rhetoric.
“Always look toward the man of color, the new immigrant, or the commie sympathizer as your true villain” the evangelical leaders would say, pointing the blame for their followers’ impoverished economic conditions elsewhere.
This invaluable lesson was not lost upon Nathaniel and his corporate cronies by the 1970s, as plans were drawn for similar manipulative tactics to be implemented through new religious TV networks; a reborn, refinanced conservative evangelical radio network was created as well. Notable religious TV networks brought to prominence during this period included the Good Christian Network and the 666 Club.
Nathaniel fondly recalled those early ministry events, when, after a rousing evangelical revival, held primarily across the Southern states, his fellow ministers would get together on a Sunday night for their weekly poker game. The meeting place often was held in an old abandoned Southern Baptist church. The cases of liquor and beer were hauled to the church’s back entrance as well as the near truckload full of money that had been acquired at the collection plates of each minister’s revival meetings.
“Hallelujah, Brothers! God has smiled on us again this week!” Nathaniel would proclaim, broad grin on his face, a cigar dangling from the corner of his mouth. Each evangelical colleague laughed, raised his Jack Daniels bottle, each taking a hard swig in salute to this latest haul from their pigeon parishioners.
To kick off the poker game, Nathaniel would produce a bright pink piggy bank that had been left in his collection plate by a young black boy, at the insistence of his grandmother. He would then ceremoniously break the poor defenseless ceramic piggy into a million pieces, coins flying everywhere on the table.“Alright, boys… let’s ante up!” Nathaniel yelled.
Now, those humble beginnings were distant memories. Today, the collection plate receipts reached over a billion dollars a year. Every member of that original group had become multi-millionaires living in opulent surroundings, and the recreational activities had exponentially expanded as well.
On Nathaniel’s desk sat a family portrait. His wife, a tall sturdy woman with blonde hair, stood erect, hands clasped in a fig leaf pose, as were his five children, also in fig leaf poses. Next to them sat the family dog, he too in a bland fig leaf pose.
Nathaniel hated that dog. He always urinated on his shoes when he entered the mansion. Two children were gay while the other three were on drugs. His wife remained mean and sober at all times, when the spotlight was not on her. Nathaniel remained in constant fear of his wife.
Not too many years ago, The Establishment had decreed that the world’s traditional religions should, for greater economies of scale and control, be merged into one consolidated venture with one corporate religious executive in charge, reporting exclusively to The Establishment. Naturally, such a business arrangement would be completely secret. The reporting traditional religions would be Christianity, Islam and Judaism, and the agreed upon corporate religious executive would be Nathaniel Nightshade.
On Nathaniel’s desk sat a phone shaped like Jesus Christ on the cross that flashed bright blood red when it rang. At that moment the phone began to flash. Only the highest church representatives used this private line, so this incoming call was most unexpected since he rarely received such calls before a performance… religious etiquette. None, outside of himself, his twin brother Daniel, the leader of the Shining Path Megachurch, and Big Bank’s David Rotburger knew the secret behind such calls.
Nathaniel picked up the phone and slowly put it to his ear.
“Hello, this is Nathaniel.”
On the other end of the line, a tired, exasperated voice spoke in broken English, laced with a heavy Italian accent.
“Buona sera, Signor Nightshade. This is Cardinal Giuseppe, speaking from the Vatican, on behalf of the Pope of the Catholic Church.”
“How are things Cardinal Giuseppe?”
“Well… my prostrate has swelled the size of a basketball… that darn foot fungus on my left testicle keeps making me itch during confessional, and I have a rash on my ass the size of Sicily… but hey, other than that… I can’t complain.”
“No, no, Cardinal Giuseppe… I meant how is the situation in the Vatican?”
(end of excerpt 1}
Nathan Harrison CEO – EVICON
“Power has its privileges” Nathan Harrison said to himself, smiling as he gazed out his enormous panoramic office window. Twilight was fast approaching this remote outpost in the former Russian province. Beaming satisfaction, he stared toward the seductive maze of steel beams, refinery tanks, and wispy, toxic steam. Nathan Harrison resembled many men in his executive position: mid-50s, average height, thinning hair. Good living had expanded a once respectable physique. Fortunately, well-tailored suits could mask any physical deficiencies. The office where he stood showed no personal belongings, not even framed family portraits, the type many married men brought with them to assignments in foreign lands, to provide that personal touch. Nathan despised his wife and children. They were a necessary evil for appearances only. Frankly, he enjoyed these getaways; now that he was settled in his new surroundings, he could order the prerequisite prostitutes for his miscreant pleasures.
Nathan picked up his phone, hit speed dial and after several seconds, began to speak.
“Yes, yes, that’s right. You know my usual taste in women. They’re Arabic, or something like that in this forsaken region. Find an exotic looking one. Yeah, lots of veils.”
Turning off his phone, Nathan stepped over to the mahogany bar and poured himself another pre-mixed high ball. Taking a long hard sip, he let his mind playfully reminisce, thinking back over his early years and his pre-ordained rise up the corporate ladder.
“We’re better than the rest,” his father had always told him. “Greatness and supremacy are in our blood.” Nathan always believed that. “Power is the greatest aphrodisiac” was his credo. “Acts of kindness reflect a man’s weakness,” a phrase his father had drilled into his psyche. He really couldn’t remember his father saying anything else.
Nathan had performed all the proper steps necessary to achieve success. He had attended all the appropriate schools, starting with the prestigious East Coast prep school, continuing his education at Yale for his chemical engineering degree. In response to his college major selection his father had remarked, “You always enjoyed blowing up things when you were a kid.”
While attending university Nathan discovered he shared similar traits with his fellow classmates; they all were ambitiously driven and intellectually superior. Few, however, had the prowess to manipulate opportunities to their advantage, at any price… as he did. The end always justified the means. Those who did demonstrate this ability would eventually, as he had, rise to the dizzying height of the tallest towers, guiding the helm of industry toward their ultimate destination…global dominance!
Social Darwinism, he sighed. There were those destined to rule; the rest took the appropriate orders. Those considered the dominant bloodline had defined this distinction in humanity.
As Nathan poured himself another high ball, he failed to notice on his monitor console the activity taking place just outside the main gate. A delivery truck approached the guard station of the plant’s front entrance. After an obligatory inspection of the linen service van, the guard waved the driver on, then returned to his Absurdistan porn magazine… unaware of the chicken feathers drifting from the back of the truck.
Taking a sizable swig from his drink, Nathan turned his thoughts to more serious issues. The situation had worsened, here in this remote region of Absurdistan, and thus had required his personal attention and finesse. His company, EVICON, the largest multinational oil corporation in the world… had a considerable stake in Absurdistan’s untapped oil resources, which until recent developments, had been a well-kept secret. Absurdistan had of course been included on the United States’ axis of evil terrorist hit list. This political facade, designed for various political and business agendas, had banned all American corporations’ business transactions with the Absurdistan government. Naturally, these restrictions were not really to be imposed or enforced upon EVICON’s current project in this country. Nonetheless, the secret had been exposed.
Nathan had always vehemently disliked the press… those irritating journalists, especially the occasional freelance kind. The obedient journalists, thought Nathan, knew to stay clear… if they wanted to keep their privileged limelight jobs and lucrative paychecks. Nathan made a mental note to himself to contact Carl at Multimedia Conglomerate and insist he accelerate the acquisition of all remaining media outlets.
The civil war in Absurdistan had continued beyond the initial targeted schedule. The combination of Russian military ineptitude and the rebels’ nagging resilience to resist the onslaught of mass destruction weaponry was really trying Nathan’s patience. What would father have thought of all this? He could hear his father now: “Why, in my day, we would have disposed of the pesky peasants and put them in their graves before tea time!” He was a hard man to please.
To prevent the current situation from worsening, damage control had become essential. The word among the Corporate Roundtable Association was that a company named Wasteful Management, a consulting firm that specialized in delicate environmental and political risk management scenarios, was the company to hire for this job. They had successfully eliminated unwanted publicity for several companies accused of alleged environmental and labor violations. Their savvy ability for spinning what might otherwise appear a corporation’s blatant abuse of power… into a benevolent yarn, preaching company goodwill, was rapidly becoming legendary among the Fortune 100. Only the wary environmental activists knew this devious tactic by its real intent…greenwashing.
As part of their conditions for successfully tackling these assignments, the Wasteful Management team required access to top management’s personnel files as well as crucial project documents so that they could better ascertain a counter misinformation strategy to present to the media and the general public.
Such risk management tactics, as they were so benignly referred to, had been applied in the past for EVICON though with less satisfactory results. Before soliciting the services of Wasteful Management, markers were called in to key politicians and various key media personnel executives loyal to the firm, to mitigate public outcry over several delicate situations.
These situations included numerous oil spills along the Alaskan coast, the North Sea oil rig fires, the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve drilling, cozy relationships with African and Indonesian dictators, and the South American offshore drilling operations. The black and white plaque on Nathan’s desk stated to him the obvious, a credo his father and others had taught him well… Oil Is Power. No cost is too high to secure this sanctified philosophy. Global dominance must not be sacrificed for the mere nuisance of ecological damage, the livelihood of a few poor fishermen, tribal genocide or the displacement of some ignorant Indian tribes like the Inupiat in Alaska.
He could not find remorse or sympathy for such complaints. The critics could not understand the big picture that he, and others, saw as the greater good… which was accomplished by their expansion and rule. Humanity needed a strong mother and a stronger father.
Nathan had the brief opportunity to meet with the Wasteful Management team. A very capable, charismatic lot, he thought… though something about their demeanor puzzled him.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted. He heard noises in the hall. No one had authorization to be on the top floor that evening except for his special security guards. In recent weeks, extremists from the Absurdistan rebel group Tar-Tar had threatened harm to EVICON and its chief officers. Hence, executives had been alerted, and traveled under secrecy and protection. Few people currently knew of Nathan’s whereabouts.
Nathan called out to the guards in the hallway. No reply. Feeling a tightening of his nerves, he immediately moved to the bar and poured himself another highball. He downed the drink quickly, hoping to relieve his mounting anxiety. For a brief respite, the alcohol’s seduction had worked its charm.
“Imbecilic guards! You can’t trust anyone to be competent in this world!” he roared. “They are sheep grazing on my land… and I have a good mind to flog them all!” Another noise, this one much closer, swiftly derailed his train of thought; Nathan’s whole body began to tremble. He turned toward the window, at which point his eyes flared wide at seeing what appeared to be the form of a man’s dark shadow moving along the ledge.
Nathan scrambled for the phone on his desk, in hopes of alerting security… but the line was dead. Feigning defiance, he shouted toward the window. No response was returned…only deafening silence. The minutes passed like hours. Nathan could feel the gin oozing from his pores.
He tried to think of pleasant thoughts. He remembered fondly walking the glistening steel corridor in the Zurich bank, and opening up his secret Swiss bank account on Christmas Day. Another memory drifted back to the moment he had first seen his face on the cover of Times as the Best Executive of the Year. That was the year his company had laid off a record number of employees; he could recall his father’s face actually cracking a smile when he heard the news.
Without warning… the bay window shattered with a determined ferocity, shards of glass slicing through the air in every imaginable direction. The impact of this sudden intrusion sent Nathan stumbling for the carpet. As abruptly, two men cloaked in black fatigues and masks hoisted his body upright. Nathan could see only the piercing brown eyes of a masked stranger who was pulling Nathan’s body to within inches of his face. Stating his words in a slow, purposeful manner, in the language of Absurdistan, the masked man decreed, “Your sweet justice has at last arrived!”
This said, the men dragged Nathan outside to the edge of the balcony.
As a stunned, frightened Nathan looked downward, the rising toxic fumes and the eerie wisps of steam from the refinery below seemed less appealing than a few moments previous, almost to the point of making him nauseous. Struggling to no avail, a coating of gooey tar was sprayed over his body. Next, a large fan was placed in front of a box of chicken feathers. The second masked stranger hit the switch, sending a flurry of chicken feathers in Nathan’s direction.
This act represented a classic tar and feathering, a historical method of reprisal enacted upon those charged with dastardly deeds, designed for public humiliation and mockery. Powerful EVICON CEO Nathan Harrison now resembled a black and white feathery buffoon.
Spitting feathers, Nathan shouted hysterically, “Are you satisfied now!”
Judging from the cold, steely stares of his assailants, he realized that he shouldn’t have opened his mouth.
Trapped in the corner of a dangerously high ledge, Nathan had no recourse for escape. His sticky body was lifted high, held for what seemed like an eternity, so as to give Nathan one long last look at his poetic ending: a hot cauldron filled with boiling oil, eagerly awaiting him below.
The other assailant, who had been silent, suddenly spoke softly, this time in clear, specific English. He stepped over, and whispered in Nathan’s ear, “A fitting ending… don’t you think Nathan?”
Before feeling his body being hurled to its demise, Nathan experienced an epiphany, a vision of an early childhood memory: a moment in his room where he had torn to shreds his first stuffed toy; a cuddly replica of a baby seal… the first of many seals that Nathan in his lifetime would be responsible for annihilating. The vision vanished… and Nathan went unconscious.
(end of excerpt 2 )
Koch Brothers — @#$&%@#$!
David Rockefeller — @#$&%@#$!
Dick Cheney ——– @#$%&%@#$!
George “W” ——— Too many big words…. any pictures?
EXCERPT # 3
SCHOOL OF THE PEACEKEEPING KILLERS
Like clockwork, at the crack of dawn, the camp commandant stepped out onto the barrack’s porch to greet the new day as the hot desert sun rose in the east. The colonel sniffed the air, smiled, and said to no one in particular how much he liked the smell of napalm in the morning…and the afternoon…oh heck, he’d admit it: he was a 24/7 napalm man!
His was a striking figure: bald, 6’2”, 210 lbs., wore dark shades, and always maintained a perennial cigar wedged into the corner of his mouth. This training facility had provided him with a lot of fine memories over the years. He thought back to the wonderful bloodthirsty graduates who had been successfully trained under his tutelage. Men that included every military dictator the world had seen over the last thirty years. These were his beloved thugs, mugs, burglars, halfwits, dimwits… he paused in his thoughts, glanced around, observed no one within sight… then proceeded to wipe a small tear from his eye.
Regaining his composure, he continued with his reminiscing. His School of the Peacekeeping Killers had seen a litany of accomplishments under his supervision. The military industrial complex had been well served. The school helped train our future enemies’ generals and colonels to help ensure the money machine of war would stay well lubricated.
Besides military positions, these men would also serve their diplomatic and political positions in their respective countries. Their education, of course, came from American universities, most educated at East Coast Ivy League while the rest were educated at their West Coast equivalents. At these facilities would be trained the future puppet leaders of global war conflicts.
At least the war training ops kept him in the action during those brief doggone peaceful lulls that periodically took place in the world. The Colonel couldn’t help but sneer, thinking about his peers from the military Old School. They had grown too squeamish, too soft under the belly… when it came to the prospect of enduring any personal pain in battle, a little blood spillage on the playing field, a little shrapnel behind the ears.
He spat the remains of his wad of chew. No sir, they delegated those duties to the lower ranks. His fellow graduates who had moved up the military hierarchy to become generals had grown too ambitious as well, kissing wimpy politicians’ ass up on The Hill just so their battle-axe wives could attend those elite cocktail parties.
Sure, they had achieved a higher rank than he. So what! He had ribbons, and proudly carried his shrapnel behind his ears. The metal plate implanted next to his cerebral cortex came in quite handy when predicting a storm.
However, and most important, he had a job to do. There were Commies in the world…and terrorists…and peaceniks…and liberals…and college kids…and smart people…all those who stood in the way of the American way of life! By golly, if he had to train every soldier in the world to kill every one of those bastards in order to preserve that way of life… he’d do it!
His daddy didn’t raise no coward. He remembered how his daddy once dropped him in an open pit filled with wild boars… just to teach him a lesson. All he had to defend himself was his small plastic Playdough knife. An hour later his daddy came out, heard the silence, and saw his boy sitting back up on the grass with a bloated full stomach. His daddy had beamed with pride.
The Colonel was especially proud of their facilities’ top secret terrorist training cells, each equipped with special video equipment for producing their savage videos. The Colonel always got a good chuckle when he’d watch on the evening news channel the alleged terrorist videos our government would anonymously receive from a “known” terrorist organization.
These videos would have the customary Arabic-looking men wearing hoods over their heads, with some poor schmuck tied to a chair, blindfolded, ready to be beheaded. Next, the leader of this group of bearded men would proceed to read a script in Arabic translated into English by someone in the State Department for the American public to hear.
The videos of course would give an air of authenticity to the federal government’s premise that there were indeed Arab terrorists out there in the Islamic world, in countries like Pakistan, Iran, Absurdistan, wherever, that really hated Americans and wanted to systematically severe the heads of all 300 plus million of them. Extrapolated, this premise also implied the necessity for pre-empted warring action for… if not to choose such action… what chance did Americans have against three men with large knives?
This powerful weapon of fear would be driven into the average American’s psyche. The fearful American taxpayer would then happily give more money to the Federal Government to protect them from these evil terrorists. The perpetual “War on Terrorism” stratagem would become reality, and the Military Industrial Complex would have created their ultimate cash cow enemy…. the ubiquitous terrorist.
Yes, the Colonel was very proud of this successful psyche ops plan, a plan he himself had helped develop.
In reality, these Middle East terrorist videos were produced at the School for Peacekeeping Killers’ Al QAIDA ROOM. The men in the video dressed in Arab clothing were the Colonel’s own soldiers. A special wardrobe department provided the necessary assortment of long beards, robes and hoods. The fake giant Turkish sword had been acquired from a Hollywood prop department that had outfitted such classics as the Arabian Nights. The authentic giant Turkish sword had been acquired from the Colonel’s own weaponry collection.
The compounds’ technical department provided the video equipment and the assorted cassette tapes that contained the various declarative terrorist messages. One of the cassette tapes he had personally lent from his private Debby Boone tape collection.
Of course, as any Madison Avenue executive would tell you, you never rely solely on one product line. Applying this successful corporate principle, the school had seen to providing other similar production needs as well, including the need for a diversified terrorist portfolio. That is why the School for Peacekeeping Killers also had the IRA ROOM, the SHINING PATH ROOM, THE RED BRIGADE ROOM, etc.
For one of the originally produced terrorist videos, his command was ordered to actually behead one of their men acting as a prisoner. The reasoning for this act was to provide that extra touch of realism the video needed.
“Give the American public what they want and what they want is to have the living shit scared out of them!” the General had barked. “Remember… we are competing against the anesthetized effects those violent carnage video games have on young people… so we have to make it real.”
The order was followed and the beheading was done. The next day, at parade grounds, the Colonel commended the soldier who had been picked for this extreme sacrifice for his country. A letter would be mailed to his family, citing their son’s patriotism and heroism (on the battlefield in Absurdistan of course).
The Colonel personally considered this a waste of one of his good soldiers. He would have preferred to sacrifice a real Muslim. There always wanting to sacrifice themselves to Allah anyway… so why not provide them with this opportunity!
In order to be heard over the relentless cacophony of gunfire, heavy machinery and bomb bursts, an alarm system had been rigged around the perimeter of his office to sound the alert any time their facility was receiving an incoming call. The calls usually came from the Pentagon, White House or, in a real emergency… from someplace higher up.
The alarm system started ringing. At first, the Colonel thought the ringing was coming from inside his head, an indication that another storm was approaching. This proved erroneous when he saw his staff sergeant come racing out the front door, yelling something about an urgent call. The Colonel spit out the last of his chew and walked toward the office entryway.
“Yes, this is Colonel Peabody. Yes, general, I do remember seeing something in yesterday’s brief sheet about that CEO Nathan Harrison and his disappearance in Absurdistan. Yes sir, I read the report”. The Colonel paused for the response. “One of OUR training groups in the area? No sir, negative. That operation was not conducted by any group we’re associated with in that area.”
THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
The Joint Chiefs of Staff sat at his desk with a stern look on his face, listening intensely to the voice on the other end of the secure line telephone. His brow furrowed even more than usual.
“Thank you, Colonel. Keep me posted if you hear a word otherwise. Keep up the good work down there.”
The general hung up the phone. “That Peabody is one sick puppy but a hell of a soldier. He says he’s not aware of any organization that may have participated in this operation. How very odd…how very odd indeed.”
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Oh what the heck…. how about three more excerpts from my book, to provide balance to those other guys. Here’s SIMON, Michael Quinn and Madeline!
SIMON – BACK AT THE CIRCUS
Inside his trailer, Simon and his colleague Bob, a fellow circus performer, were watching on Simon’s computer monitor the latest Save the World music extravaganza being broadcast live from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Tens of thousands of cheering fans were swaying to a passionate pulse as the biggest names in the music industry from every continent on the globe… North America, Europe, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica… had banded together to promote the concepts of universal freedom, love and human dignity through their music. While they watched, Bob asked Simon questions pertaining to how their lives had reached their current situation. Simon smiled, brushed back his long blond hair, sat back while propping his floppy clown shoes on the dresser, and began to answer.
“These world music jams had grown over the years, oscillating in intensity and purpose with each peaceful alternative reaction to the world stage. Each event’s founders and promoters were ever hopeful to influence new minds, and change old minds, to communicate through music a path toward a brighter future only to witness the Establishment’s committed ability to become even more entrenched in their pillaging and plundering pursuits.”
“How so?” said Bob.
“Corporate America simply stepped up the volume of mind numbing commercialism, consumerism, and pyrotechnic flag waving war, drowning out the voices of reason and love that briefly resonated in the concert halls and under the clear music venue skies.”
“How did people overcome Corporate America’s influence?” asked Bob.
Simon responded, “Fortunately, that positive energy had not been entirely squelched by the corporate ruling class. The vibes and the thoughtful words left an indelible mark on many good young souls. The revolution evolved in many forms: a greater internal reassessment of one’s own individuality, one’s own values and one’s personal interrelationship with all living things. Changes in life habits spread inward and outward, each awakened soul thumbing his or her metaphysical nose at society’s dictates and oppressive rules.
The revolution became an evolution for many. Inspirational music taps into this human of all human pulses, and nurtures the seeds of internal strength for genuine spiritual growth.
The truly good men and women are still out there among us, floating within the sea of humanity. They are the unsung heroes… the teachers, the mentors, the fire fighters, the farmers, the good father and good mother, the good kid, the hard worker, the artist, the protectors of Nature, the people with genuine smiles, the thoughtful creators, the people who value and respect all living creatures, the ones who make us laugh, and think, and the quiet, compassionate and generous souls.
Fortunately, the farsightedness of our country’s founding fathers saw to providing us with some fairly clever powers of our own. We The People, as a democracy, still have the power of the vote to change our representative leadership. As a republic, we can still challenge the moral validity of our enacted laws. We can still practice civil disobedience. We can laugh at our leaders’ attempts to strike fear into our lives.
We can also rethink our view of the very nature of large institutions. Smaller, decentralized forms of governance and commerce are always more humane methods of disseminating equality and fairness among a society, rather than the utilization of a larger, centralized approach. Our own Constitution and the entrepreneurial aspects of capitalism purport these views. Local utility cooperatives and farmers markets, grass root movements and township politics… are good examples of this school of thought.
We can even collectively rethink the philosophical basis of our economic model and societal values. As Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel once said, ‘Is not the handshake worth more than the dollar?'”
Simon’s words were interrupted with the appearance of a flashing red light on his panel. He had the light rigged so the presidential phone line ring from the movie “Our Man Flint” was duplicated on his sound system. Simon enjoyed its humorous irreverence.
(end of excerpt 4)
Michael Quinn’s Apartment
The large bay window offered Michael a superb view of the San Francisco skyline at night. From his bachelor pad perch, he could easily communicate with that vibrancy, that energy that surged through his favorite city by the bay.
He was compelled to grab his saxophone and let out a few notes of exuberance, still jazzed from the music gig a few hours earlier. He had a short time to relax, reflect over the recent events before returning to work. He poured himself a glass of Malbec wine, a wine produced in a beautiful Argentinean valley near Mendoza where he had visited many years ago. In that region the sun caressed those lustful giant grapes with tender loving care, under the watchfulness of the snow-capped Andean mountains in the distance.
He took a moment to glance at a framed picture he had of his mother. She was so young and beautiful when that picture was taken. He had been just a little boy. Slightly choked up, he said “Here’s to you, Mama!” and raised his glass.
Following his well-spent apprentice days in the circus, Michael had traveled the country and later the world, for several years, years that had helped him fill the emptiness of his sorrow and anger with a newfound love, enlightenment and sense of purpose in life.
Every place he had stayed he discovered kind souls and kindred spirits, from youth hostels and the streets to farm houses, grass shacks and tin roof domiciles. People of modest means would welcome him and adopt him into their extended family.
These were special people who always seemed to have the most compassionate and giving hearts, people who valued love and respect and a passion for living, over the disingenuous virtues of the all mighty dollar.
He had witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the corporate international syndicate of greedy bankers and businessmen: the famine, the poverty, the uprooting of communities for land thefts, the annihilation of crops and forests that once brought food to family tables as well as a proud livelihood and a harmonious relationship with Nature.
Michael had seen the casualties of the military industrial complex’s war machine: the amputated soldiers and children of war zones, the innocent who inevitably get caught in the cross fire of corporate profit pursuits.
These ruthless decisions were made in the boardrooms… boardrooms begat battlefields and battlefields begat blood. Yet, despite the onslaught, the victims somehow remained steadfast, and persevered, some with a shrug and some with a courageous grin, most not knowing why this state of chaos was so common in their lives and in the lives of their past generations.
The developing countries’ citizens seemed to suffer the most, whether in Africa or Asia, South American countries or Middle Eastern ones. Too often the people who maintained the closest relationship with the earth, the worse off their position in life, for the earth where they lived also offered a bounty of valuable natural resources that The Establishment desired. Thanks to the symbiotic relationship of sycophants and toady politicians, The Establishment would devour these natural resources, discarding those who had peacefully been caretakers to the land before them.
The oppressive mix of totalitarian governments and institutional religions, each utilized as controlling mechanisms, served their wealthy masters well.
In the industrialized countries, citizens tended to fare much better financially than their rural counterparts, though too often in worst shape spiritually, for the people in urban areas had become too detached from their earthly roots, and sequestered within the confines of their cemented city mausoleums
Michael wanted to help. He wanted to give back to these people, to all people, to our global community. He wanted to help begin the healing process of the planet and all its creatures. Yes, even those that were rapidly killing its lifeblood. Even they deserved a second chance to redeem themselves.
Having initially been raised among them, Michael knew their “motif operendi”, and he also believed in the credo “Know thine enemy”. He religiously studied the tactics the establishment employed, tactics such as dichotomy and duality, techniques used to pit various groups against one another: black against white, Liberal against Conservative, men against women, even in some cases, dog against cat.
Yes, before the Industrial Revolution, history spoke of the halcyon days when dogs and cats had embraced the world as good friends only to fall prey to the early manipulative feline/canine experiments that the think tank representatives of the 19th century had conducted on their psyche.
Many American institutions that had been set up as “intellectual think tanks” were working solely for the indiscriminate needs of the Establishment, and not the general populace. A well developed arsenal of mind game weaponry was at their disposal. Every subterfuge imaginable was employed to divert attention from the real battle ground… the very rich against all the rest. The Establishment strategists were experts in disinformation and misinformation; the concept of truth was simply obliterated from the people’s vocabulary, and ultimately, their minds.
Without a doubt, Michael had seen his share of injustice, both personally and throughout the global community at large. Through his research and investigations, ironically, Michael discovered there was no great profoundness to the Power Elite’s goals. The Establishment would like the misinformed public to believe it’s all a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma. However, in truth, the actual goals are quite transparent and rudimentary: power, greed, and retaining control of their amassed wealth at all costs. Only the machination that accomplishes these goals appears complex: the interwoven infrastructure, the ability to manipulate, to distort the truth, to polarize groups, always diverting the peoples’ attention from their true nature and identity.
Once this knowledge was in Michael’s possession he had to address the next more difficult question: where to start to begin positive change?
Michael concluded that the best place to start was with the environment for without clean air to breathe or clean water to drink or healthy soil and animals for sources of food, we were all in a collective mess together. The symbiotic relationship with our environment must be maintained, he concluded.
Hence, Michael studied and eventually joined the environmental movements and activism. He led campaigns against the multinationals that produced the genetically engineered foods.
He tackled the companies that profiteered from the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, and challenged the companies that lay waste to coastlines with their oil spills. He took on the companies that consistently demonstrated a total disregard toward the air quality they fowled, the water they polluted, and so on… each time making some monetary dents in these corporations’ bottom line. The top management for these multinational corporations received some bad publicity, an occasional judicial slap on the wrist, but never any permanent damage that would reshape the corporate culture.
The Establishment still flourished, protected by an arsenal of legal and political sycophants that protected the interests of the upper class. No single individual was ever held accountable. No single individual was ever found guilty of criminal intent.
Encouraged in some respects, frustrated in others, Michael decided to employ a different tactic. Could the evil dragon be baited from within his own lair? Could not the earlier lessons won by the legend of the Trojan horse be applied against these nefarious men, a way to find their Achilles’ heel?
(end of excerpt 5)
Walking in her usual hurried pace, Madeline glanced at her watch as she approached her building’s front door.
Oh shoot!” she exclaimed, not so silently to herself. She was late for work again. Madeline had been certain that this morning would be different: alarm set to go off precisely 45 and a half minutes before she had to get out of bed, shower, apply her make-up, dry her hair, get dressed, feed the cat, make her morning coffee to go, jump in her car, suffer through the downtown San Francisco morning traffic while catching the latest morning news on the radio, park in her building’s lot, and make it inside her office before her boss, the newspaper’s editor, had entered the same office, with thirty seconds to spare. With precision like that, how could she possibly be late?
Madeline quickly threw on her dark sunglasses, and tucked her head down as she walked past the front desk secretary.
“You’re late again, Madeline,” the elder secretary sneered.
“And what a lovely day it is to you too, Gladys,” Madeline quipped back, flashing a fake saccharine smile.
“He arrived ten minutes ago,” Gladys smiled in return.
“Thanks,” mumbled Madeline.
As usual, chaos ruled the newsroom. Her desk looked like a small twister had danced a merry dance, wreaking havoc upon an innocent sea of paper, pens, pencils, 3-m stickers, folders, Kleenex, and a jar of jelly beans.
The managing editor was ranting and raving, barking orders and deadlines in a choppier sea of mixed metaphors and hyperbole expletives. The newspaper they worked for was called The Clarion, an often forgotten underling of their larger parent corporation.
The Clarion was less favored, compared to its shining star sister rag, The Times, which glimmered in the upscale skyline across town. The managing editor for The Clarion was getting enormous pressure from his superiors to cover the mysterious disappearance of Jack O’ Cassidy, especially since the Harmony Hamlet Retreat where he had vanished was within two hours drive from the big city.
Madeline had been given the assignment to investigate the corporate executive’s mysterious disappearance since, despite her tardiness, disheveled desk, and rebellious independent streak, she was also tenacious as a bulldog, sharp as a tack, and had great journalistic instincts. In short, she was his best reporter.
Madeline slinked to her desk, hoping her boss wouldn’t notice her tardiness. He was quite occupied chewing out other poor working stiffs. Maybe he might miss this opportunity to chastise her. Despite her boss’s gruff exterior, he was a pussycat inside, and she knew she was the rebellious Ace reporter / daughter he never had, so she felt pretty secure in her job. Madeline really enjoyed this job and she knew she was good at it.
Rebellious Ace reporter /daughter was certainly not the daughter her father wanted from her… quite the opposite.
Madeline had been the only child of an extremely wealthy family. She had refused to marry the future husband appointed by her domineering father: a snobbish, ambitious young lawyer fresh from Harvard.
She of course had attended Smith College and had been slated for a journalism career in the fashion magazine industry. Rebellious in spirit since she was a child, she still acquiesced far too often to her parents’ wishes. Her father would scoff, saying her rebellious nature was a gene that neither he nor her mother carried. The longtime loyal head butler who had served her family for many years always winked at her when he passed her around the mansion. Madeline had often amused herself with the notion that he was her REAL father.
Several years ago, a dear friend of hers had provided the opportunity she needed for her grasp at independence, a sensation she remembered as a child riding on that magical carousel, trying to grasp the elusive ring.
And here she was….a budding reporter, exhausted from too much work and not enough sleep, barely afloat financially, and lacking time or an inclination for relationship pursuit; yet, she still loved every minute of her independence and freedom. She knew her craft too, despite the derogatory comments to the contrary that came from her senior colleagues. They were getting soft. Not her. Her tenacious quest for the truth and, if necessary, for the good of the story, an occasional flash of leg and an endearing smile had already put her in good grace with her boss. She had uncovered several stories on local corruption. Yes, she smiled to herself, she was making her mark, without the help of her father, and people were taking notice.
“Madeline! Stop daydreaming, get off your lazy butt and get in here!” hollered her boss from his office across the room. Madeline leaped away from her desk, nearly losing her balance, much to the amusement of her helpful colleagues, but managed to cross the remaining floor without further embarrassment.
“Hey girlie, I hope I haven’t disturbed you from your nap,” gibed her boss.
“Just putting the finishing touches on that city hall story, chief,” Madeline snapped back.
“Jeesus, Madeline, who are you, Lois Lane incarnated! Spare me the archaic “chief” jive and sit down. I have a hot story for you to follow, actually blistering is more like it. You think you’re ready?”
“Absolutely chief, er, I mean Mr. Connors!”
“Yeah, well, my veteran reporter who I’d usually assign is out with the flu today, so you’re all I have at my disposal.”
Thanks for the gushy boast of confidence, Madeline thought to herself.
“The story is about that CEO who vanished at that exclusive Harmony Hamlet retreat. I need leads and I need them yesterday!”
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Have We The People been betrayed by President Obama and his fellow Democrats? Betrayal is a bitter pill to swallow, especially when one as an individual tries to maintain some semblance of hope that his elected officials will do the right thing, only to realize they have done him or her wrong.
Our American lexicon offers several choice terms to describe a betrayal, a subtle indictment to how little attention our cultural lexicon is given to honor and integrity, by men in positions of authority. Backstabbing is one such term. Backstabbing is like, well, being stabbed in the back with a knife, or more appropriately, dozens of daggers that, for a few corporate silver dollars, have been thrust into our working class backsides by our entrusted elected representatives.
We know the Republican Party is in the proverbial pocket of the powerful billionaires and their corporations. That is a given. There is no glimmer of hope or honor within their ranks.
The Libertarians, through the invention of the Tea Party, have been usurped and bastardized by the Koch Brothers’ more insidious plans. Even Ron Paul appears to have sold out many of his principles in order to elevate his son Rand’s presidential ambitions.
Has my hope for President Obama’s best intentions been diminished as well? Since the invigorated promise of his reelection, actions have come to light that do not speak favorably for him or his majority Democrats.
A clear verdict has been difficult to ascertain, the deciphering between the rhetoric and actions often quite murky and convoluted. A ‘when all is said and done” litmus test seems the best tool to apply.
A “when all is said and done” litmus test application to the much hyped and fear-mongered “fiscal cliff” produced this final result: the primary victims of the fiscal cliff resolution were working class Americans, as the payroll tax break was eliminated. The increase in the higher tax bracket for the wealthiest Americans will ultimately have little impact since, with the retention of the preferential tax loopholes, the wealthiest Americans’ effective tax rate still remains low. Did President Obama ultimately agree to do what he said he would not do, which was to raise taxes on working middle class Americans? Yet, we know President Obama to be an honorable man.
Recently, President Obama signed HR 933, the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill that includes a provision that protects egregious agriculture giant Monsanto Corporation from any litigation lawsuits associated with their genetically engineered (GE) seeds and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Included in the bill is a rider, Section 735, dubbed by critics the Monsanto Protection Act, which says federal courts cannot intervene and halt biotech companies from planting and selling GMO goods to the public, even if testing proves them to be potentially hazardous to the greater public. Even after more than 250,000 people signed a petition asking the White House to intervene and ensure the bill was not passed, President Obama nonetheless approved the bill.
Did President Obama side with corporate interests over Americans’ health needs, an act which would question his populous stance? Yet, we know President Obama to be an honorable man. Many of his leading Democrats also endorsed the Monsanto Protection Act provision, an act contrary to their own rhetoric. Yet, we know the Democrats to be honorable men and women.
Also, while the nation was distracted by the Boston bombing incident, the House continued its dismantling of the Fourth Amendment as well as protecting corporate interests by passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA.
Apparently, we can easily get bipartisan congressional support when it comes to protecting corporations.
President Obama has allowed Senator Reid to prevent any progressive legislation changes to pass, by Reid’s refusal to take appropriate action to reform the current filibuster rules, allowing Republicans to stonewall any good, sensible legislation for the average American to be passed. Yet, we know Senator Reid to be an honorable man.
President Obama has allowed his Democratic Senators to cower from doing their elected job and stand up for reasonable gun legislation. One cannot solely blame the obstructive Republicans on this failure. Applying the “when all is said and done” litmus test on this issue to date, President Obama’s attempt at gun control has been a boon for gun sales, and the gun manufacturing companies’ stocks during this period reached record yearly highs. Was this the ultimate goal?
Despite his oath to not raise taxes on our poorest of Americans, President Obama has taken a Koch Bros.’ approved conciliatory stance by stating he is willing to implement financial austerity measures that will punish those Americans who least can afford financial cuts, by reducing social security cost-of-living increases and increasing Medicare payments. Yet, we know President Obama to be an honorable man.
The conciliatory stance is allegedly meant to get the Republicans to also be conciliatory and eliminate their wealthiest patrons’ coveted tax loopholes. The Republican leadership merely laughs in return. The Democrat Senate and House leadership are suspiciously silent concerning this betrayal. Yet, we know them to be honorable men and women.
A reflective review on other important issues the Obama Administration should be addressing reveals the following:
There appears to be no movement on enacting progressive climate change legislation.
After President Obama’s initial opposition to the Keystone pipeline project, his present growing support for the Keystone pipeline project does not bode well, and will not help America become more energy independent. The pipeline is carrying low-grade crude oil that Canada wants to unload and the Koch Brothers stand to make a lot of money refining this low-grade crude oil since they have the exclusive contract for the refining.
In truth, now in his second term, Obama has betrayed his constitutional rhetoric by continuing the Patriot Act provisions, Section 215 in particular, which dismantles our First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment constitutional rights. Yet, we know President Obama to be an honorable man.
President Obama continues to allow illegal and immoral practices to be conducted at Guantanamo Bay prison. President Obama says the blame lies with the Republican-controlled Congress who is preventing him from closing the base. Does that excuse after four years in office, still resonate?
The Obama Administration continues to maintain their international drone program which treats innocent civilians that are “accidently” killed in the line of fire as collateral damage.
Five years after the housing financial crisis which nearly destroyed our economy, the Obama Administration still hasn’t sent any of the most egregious financial players involved to jail nor has any legislation been enacted to prevent or make criminal any similar event from reoccurring.
The Obama Administration’s Attorney General Eric Holder recently confessed that our largest banks are too big to be prosecuted. Yet, Attorney General Eric Holder, sanctioned by the Obama Administration, has been willing to prosecute courageous Federal employees who have blown the whistle on several federal programs riddled with waste and fraud, utilizing the WWI-era Espionage Act to prosecute the whistle-blowers.
A Senate committee has found fault and continual lies from JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon on global financial misconduct, yet President Obama continues to play golf with Jamie Dimon, and had considered him as a replacement for Treasury Secretary.
Why can we not find the same courage and conviction among our legislators that is so strong among our brave Occupy Wall Street protestors? Why, with the Democrats in power in the Executive branch and the Senate, do we not hear their progressive voices on the mainstream media outlets; instead only through back channels on alternative media outlets, as they whisper their words to a receptive though miniscule audience?
Yes, we have been betrayed and the disappointment is palpable. What choices are left for us, We The People, the 99 percenters, to be heard over the corporate plutocracy one percenters and their treacherous henchmen and women?
We can’t rely on the system; the corruption is too embedded. We must solve our problems on our own and circumvent our American institutionally-rigged undemocratic system. WE must resurrect the Occupy Wall St. Movement, organically expand its voice, with all participants equally strong and able to lead individually and as one strong collective voice.
For future elections, we could apply a crucial litmus test for governance such as to not elect or select a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, or an executive from Goldman Sachs, J.P.Morgan, Monsanto, Bain Trust, etc.; you get my drift.
I could mention the few strong voices in the Senate and Congress that have the integrity and compassion to represent us properly; however, their uphill battle under the current system appears insurmountable. No, for real structural positive change, we must think outside the box for a solution.
What do the powers that be still need from us to protect their wealthy interest? They need our obedience, our work sweat, our tax dollars and our consumer money, of course. It’s time we took a lesson from Henry David Thoreau and initiate acts of peaceful civil disobedience, a rare remaining Constitutional right we still have. As Americans, as workers, as consumers, we can do this!
Here’s the game plan: Don’t go to work. Don’t buy anything that’s not the bare necessities. Withdraw your bank funds. In solidarity, a social network coordinated nationwide work stoppage en masse. We have all earned a vacation, that’s for certain. Let’s all take one together.
Like those spontaneous flash meetups, when the moment is right, we all receive a text or twitter message to not go to work, or not shop, or withdraw our bank funds. We’ll find out, thanks to the elimination of our protective financial reform Glass Siegel Act, how few funds are actually in our multinational “too big to fail” banks. Bring crony capitalism/ corporate feudalism to a grinding halt. We’ll get the plutocrats’ attention right where it hurts… in the wallet! Then, we have the leverage to negotiate a better future.
Let’s use our critical thinking to establish this critical mass solution, peacefully, joyfully, a festive 99 percenter parade! Unlike Caesar, we shall refuse to be surrounded by betrayers. Nor shall we betray ourselves by giving up on ourselves. We deserve better. We can do this!
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The red-breasted robins are singing in the backyard, the fruit trees are beginning to blossom, and I can actually sit in my yard with my cup of coffee, wearing only a T-shirt and not be freezing to death. These seasonal changes can only mean one thing… Spring’s welcomed arrival has graced us again, which also mean it’s time to start planning our social activist travels for 2013.
Is the daily work grind or the continual schoolwork bringing you down? Is your wanderlust inner voice telling you you’re ready for a travel vacation? Yet this year you want a different travel objective, not the typical vacation, designed around personal pleasure and leisure. This year you also feel a desire to get involved with some worthy cause, to challenge the power elite status quo and make the world a better place to live.
Well, if travel and social activism are your interests, I have the 2013 travel tip solutions that will please both your traveling and social activist desires.
The world’s most influential bankers, industrialists, and politicians enjoy arranging their conferences in beautiful, luxurious surroundings, far from the global commoners they so clearly abhor. This arrangement allows them unobstructed time in which to plot more world domination schemes, while sipping brandy and smoking cigars. Here is your opportunity to take advantage of their grandiose itinerary, while also being a pain in their side…what fun!
1. My first recommended travel destination is calling on London, the site of this year’s Bilderberg conference. In 2012, a worthy turnout of informed, compassionate people picketed outside the Bilderberg meeting held in Chantilly, Virginia, a Washington D.C. suburb.
Earlier this year a feigned attempt at misdirection was conducted that inferred the Bilderberg 2013 meeting would be held at the same location, suggesting the power elite were not ruffled by last year’s dissenting public protest. However, the true location has recently been unearthed and the British Isles has become this year’s privileged class destination.
2013’s Bilderberg Meeting will be held at the Grove Hotel, near Watford, North of London on June 6-9th. Watford is a London suburb within close proximity to London. Britain’s capitol obviously offers the social activist traveler a unique historical and cultural experience as well as a great place to voice dissent!
Fortunately too, for the budget traveler, the London area has numerous youth hostels. Why not book your reservation now, and enjoy the beautiful English countryside and the London cultural activities while also vocalizing your displeasure to a passing banker, politician, or corporate CEO?
Your opinions and discussions may plant the inception seed that, activating a pang of conscience, will eventually lead to less harmful world policies. If you discover the overt sidewalk protests are less successful, may I suggest an alternative, stealth approach: position yourself as a well-dressed hotel patron in the lobby where the Bilderberg members are staying. Act as an unassuming gadfly, listening for telling conversations from Bilderberg meeting attendees.
Granted, such intimate access may prove to be difficult; however, for the determined spirited social activist, the challenge enhances the adventure and the success sweetens the reward.
Are you ready for summer outdoor fun, a freelance journalist’s dream, and a proud sense of moral accomplishment? That’s what I experienced when I planned my fall vacation in Europe in 2000 to coincide with the scheduled IMF / World Bank meeting in Prague. A well-organized anti-globalization protest was waiting for the banking attendees, similar to the successful anti-WTO protest in Seattle, Nov. 1999, which I attended. I wanted to continue being a part of this proud movement.
I’m certain that, at the London youth hostels, and around town, you will meet kindred spirits (an individual global citizen or an NGO member) who are also knowledgeable of this Bilderberg conference. As I had experienced during the 1999 and 2000 protests, you will form lasting friendships with these fellow travelers/ activists.
2. To start your summer season, and only a week after the Bilderberg conference, I recommend planning a visit to the annual G-8 Summit, held June 17th-18th at the Lough Erne golf resort on the shore of Lough Eirne in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Much protest is expected at this event by local Loyalist protest groups, among others, so your stay could get lively. Sample some Irish whiskey and Irish beer, play a round of golf, engage in great conversation with the locals, and express your disapproval at our leading world government’s policies toward the average global citizen.
3. Finishing the summer season, my third recommended travel destination is the G-20 meeting, held Sept 5-6th at St. Petersburg, Russia. Last centuries’ former totalitarian Communist regime headquarters, then known as Leningrad and Stalingrad, is this year’s Capitalist totalitarian global regime headquarters. Could another revolution be in store for the upcoming festivities?
4. Autumn colors are awaiting you in Washington D.C. for my next travel destination recommendation. In October is the IMF/World Bank annual meeting, held Oct. 11-13th, in Washington D.C. Our nation’s capitol also offers a unique historical, cultural experience as well as a great place to voice dissent!
5. Finally, for the year end winter season, my final recommended travel destination for 2013 is the WTO ministerial conference, held Dec. 3-6th, in beautiful Bali, Indonesia. Aside from the obvious beauty and luxurious accommodations, I do find the location puzzling. Bali’s selection for capitalist greed is a curious juxtaposition setting, considering the propensity for harmonious, compassionate Hindu/ Buddhist spiritual practices here in Bali. This may be an opportunity for you, the wise social activist, to express an alternative way of thinking to a misguided banker or businessman in the conference hotel lobby.
While waiting for this opportunity, Bali also offers excellent surfing, spectacular scenery, exotic cultural amenities, and a vibrant nightlife providing the dream vacation for the social activist traveler.
Even though the rich elite will be staying at expensive resorts, there are ample inexpensive lodging options in Bali, including youth hostels. You can even pitch your tent near the beach!
Last, for those planning on traveling through California, I recommend an outdoor excursion north of San Francisco. Besides marvelous vineyards, inspiring redwoods and dramatic coastline, there’s also an elite power broker retreat called Bohemian Grove nestled in the redwoods near the town of Monte Rio and the Russian River. The annual retreat is always held in mid-July, a perfect month to visit the region.
The retreat of course has security (as I discovered many years ago) so an undercover role as a naïve hiker is a good start. While peering through the redwoods, you may find an influential politician or CEO performing some decadent, hedonistic ritual in a yellow chiffon dress! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
I hope you find these travel tips useful for your future 2013 travel plans. You may even find yours truly, the author. Happy travels!
If you’re ready for some rousing evolution / revolution music, please go to my Spotify playlist titled Social Justice Songs
Please feel free to comment by e-mailing me at: email@example.com
Phew! I say, as I symbolically wipe the beads of sweat off my brow.
The Mayans longest cycle calendar has ended and we are still here. The prognosticators of doom have erred again. As some sage minds have suggested from this point forward we enter a new age of awakening, a new beginning for mankind to pursue a path toward a higher consciousness. Could this be a period in our lives that allows us as individuals, and as a collective society to act with more compassion, fairness; to act and think with more sensibility and reason; to behave justly and simply do what is right?
Another symbolic sweat off the brow wipe took place this November 6th. As an American society, did President Obamas reelection illustrate our desire to continue toward an enlightened, rather than darkened path for our future? ‘Tis the season for miracles…
This recent endorsement and affirmation by the majority of the American people for positive changes to take place in our society provide a golden opportunity for President Obamas second term agenda. His vision for America won; the other guys lost. No holds bar time President Obama. Youve received another four years to fully pursue the right course of actions, to get us back on track. You have the momentum; lets get it done!
Besides the appropriate actions President Obama has already undertaken, I would like to seize this opportunity to suggest some more specific course of actions, a laundry list that I think will help us on this progressive path:
Money Out of Politics Legislation
Diffusing the influences of the Koch Bros. and their fellow billionaire cronies is of the utmost importance. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take down that banner at our international airports which waves the slogan “The best government money can buy!”
We truly need to get the tainted money out of politics, if we as a nation are ever to reclaim our democracy for We The People, the 99 percenters, possibly as a first in our living history.
1. Overturning Supreme Courts Citizens United ruling.
The corporately biased Supreme Court struck a huge blow against our democracy by their 2010 ruling in favor of Citizens United, allowing unlimited spending by large corporations and billionaires, anonymously, on advertisements designed to unduly influence political elections. There is no reasonable way our Founding Fathers believed that money is free speech; quite the contrary . one person, one vote republic.
There are current efforts by the following organizations, founder Ralph Naders Common Cause organization and former Senator Russ Feingold’s organization www.ProgressivesUnited.org, that are petitioning to make this happen. Similar efforts are being conducted by Senators Bernie Sanders (I VT) and Al Franken (D- MINN).
2. Passing Legislation for Public Financing of Presidential, Congressional and State Elections.
A fairer, more democratic alternative to our current election system would be to establish public financed elections.
Current organizations advocating this position include Common Cause, www.publiccampaign.org, and an organization called www.washclean.org which supported a public financing bill titled Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) in 2011.
I propose the public financed elections legislation should include a provision for a public radio and TV channel open to all candidates. No advertising; just their message. All political parties as well as qualified independent candidates will have equal access to the airwaves. This action would also greatly reduce the cost of campaigning.
No additional taxpayer funds would be required to accomplish this financing. The federal government has numerous unnecessary funding sources in which to draw the appropriate funds. For instance, to finance public campaigns, we could eliminate the unnecessary two billion dollar corporate welfare subsidy oil companies receive AND eliminate the unnecessary five billion dollar annual non-payback loan we give to the Israeli government. This would easily allow the federal government and the state governments to fund public financed elections, leaving a billion dollars or so left over.
3. Passing Legislation to Eliminate all Lobbying Organizations.
Lets get our democracy back in the hands of the people. This effort will help reestablish the principle of one person, one vote, whether youre a powerful CEO or average Joe. Our Constitution provides no guarantee for a corporation to form a lobbying firm. Let’s get our legislators to pass the necessary legislation to eliminate lobbying. Current efforts underway to accomplish this democratic change are being championed by the organization www.change.org
Social, Progressive and Civil Liberty Legislation
4. Repeal Patriot Act
Lets be honest; there are no terrorist threats. President Obama should know this fact. We should not have to relinquish our civil liberties anymore under the guise of a false sense of security. As Benjamin Franklin stated so eloquently those who give up their liberties for security shall deserve neither. As a Constitutional lawyer, President Obama should know better than to endorse these totalitarian measures which dismantles our Bill of Rights. He, and Congress, should do the right thing and restore our dignity and civil liberties on this matter. Eliminate TSA mandatory searches at our airports. Eliminate Homeland Security Department. Repeal the Patriot Act.
5. A Ban on Assault Guns
The recent horrific tragedy in Connecticut may finally be the tipping point that drives a sensible dialogue and action toward resolving or at least mitigating future tragedies like this mass shooting from happening.
Senator Feinstein has stated that on the first day of Congresss new session, she will introduce a bill to ban assault guns.
In the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy will continue to champion stricter gun control laws. Other appropriate pragmatic actions should also include expanding our gun purchasing background checks, cracking down on secondary gun purchasing outlets, and creating greater treatment access for people who have mental health problems. A societal campaign designed to deter the sale and use of violent video games werent hurt either.
6. Eliminate Fed interference with States Marijuana Laws and pursue a course toward Federal Decriminalization of our Marijuana Laws.
Last year Barney Frank and Ron Paul introduced a bill to repeal the federal ban on marijuana, leaving the decision up to States to decide. The bill never made it to committee and there is currently no such proposal in the works.
However, after the recent legalization passage for smoking marijuana by the states of Washington and Colorado, the federal government may now be more compliant.
The Obama administration has taken the position that users of medical marijuana in states where it is legal should not be prosecuted; only large scale producers are being targeted.
And, most recently, President Obama is asking for Congress to reconcile the Federal law with the new state law; an emphasis on decriminalization and regulation as an alternative to the failed “War On Drugs”.
Senator Patrick Leahy has said he will address the issue in January with a proposal to amend the Federal law to allow small amounts of marijuana use. President Obama says he will also ask Attorney General Holder to examine the issue.
7. Reintroduce Cap and Trade Bill
Give a hoot, dont pollute. This may have to wait until 2014, when those remaining pesky Koch Bros.-sponsored Tea Party Republicans are voted out of the House of Representatives and the Democrats reclaim their House majority control. Still, theres no time like the present to begin working again on passing this important environmental legislation.
Economic Fairness Legislation
8. Bring Tax Rates on the Wealthy One Percent back to Fair Levels
President Obama is adamant that this will be part of the final negotiated agreement for our fiscal debt reduction solution.
Recent surveys show that the wealthy support higher taxes as part of a balanced solution to the government debt problem that includes spending cuts.
Still, a majority support for tax increases on themselves, presumably for the sake of the broader economy. For many of the wealthy, the possible reductions in asset values stemming from problems in Washington far outweigh the potential reduction in their income.
9. Eliminate High Income Social Security CAP.
Keep the FICA payroll tax reduction for the average working American. To cover these reductions in revenues to the Social Security System, raise the income limit (CAP) on those making over $100,000 and deduct their FICA payroll tax at the same rate as those making less than $100,000. Also, as a fairer way to reduce Social Securitys burgeoning cost, apply a needs test to Social Security recipients. Warren Buffett has agreed to this reasonable measure. Those who dont need social security as a retirement supplement should be paid back what they contributed, and no more. Implementing this change to the Social Security System would save billions.
10. Eliminate IMF loans including international loans to Israel.
Reduce the debt and eliminate taxpayer funded freebies to foreign governments. Help and assistance begins at home, not abroad.
11. Negotiate the Interest on Debt Paid to Federal Reserve.
Of course we know the bankers are the ones who really rule the world so this may be the toughest issue for President Obama to address; just ask Lincoln and Kennedy. Still, with the public behind him for support, there may be room for change here. Renegotiate the interest rate terms the Treasury pays the Federal Reserve on the national debt. The middle class are always be asked to make sacrifices for the good of the country. The bankers should too. Billions can be saved here!
Social Justice Investigations
12. Begin federal investigation into possible Koch Industries illegal business transactions with Iran.
A Bloomberg Market magazine article broke the story that strongly suggests Koch Industries may have committed criminal acts including bribing foreign governments and illegal sales to Iran. Upon a thorough read of this report, it would appear the Koch Bros. may have technically tip-toed their way out of prosecution on both these matters at present however where there is smoke there is fire. Turn up the federal investigation heat on these fellows President Obama. It too would be the right thing to do.
There are of course other suggestions such as a Federal law reinstating Wednesday is Ladies Night at the bars and nightclubs, but for now, implementing these twelve items would do our society a lot of good which is of course the whole point, and a good beginning!
Really people?! Here we are, one week after the first October debate, less than a month before the presidential election and some arrogant bullying phony named Mitt Romney suddenly declares he cares about the average American citizen and he likes education! and some folks now start trusting his word???
Well, since the president was too polite a gentleman to point out the obvious AND since apparently a fair amount of the American public couldnt immediately recognize the obvious let me provide a friendly reality check reminder
Heres the real deal Mitt Romney is a liar. What specific type of liar may be debatable; chronic liar, habitual liar, consummate liar, the net result is the same Mitt lies, which means he cant be trusted. Just ask Newt Gingrich who called him such at the primary debates. Romneys a shapeshifter, a flip-flopper, a political chameleon who will say whatever he thinks will get the current people hes trying to get to vote for him to believe him. Romneys a liberal when hes running for the Senate or the governorship in Massachusetts. Hes an ultraconservative when trying to win the Republican primary and now shapeshift transformation again hes lying about being a moderate to win over Independent voters. Hes lying about his concern for the American middle class, a demographic of our society he never even mentioned during the Republican primary; only tax cuts for his wealthy friends has been ultra-conservative Mitts true mantra prior to the recent debate.
The real Mitt Romney is the arrogant country club elitist who behind closed doors with his equally arrogant millionaire/ billionaire cronies, very comfortably articulated his disdain for 47 percent of the American populace. Romneys insulting freeloader reference to 47 percent of the American public was most ironic since most of the rich gentlemen in the room, including Romney, have benefited greatly from preferential government tax breaks, no-bid government contracts and the occasional taxpayer bailout and corporate welfare from hard-working Americans who subsidize their poorly managed companies. Could the real freeloaders, including Romney, be these same men at the closed door fund-raising meeting?
How about that recent phony attempt by Romney at the debate to pretend to care about Americas middle class and job creation? Mitt Romneys company Bain Capital under his tutelage helped initiate the outsourcing of American jobs overseas as well as buying companies, raiding their pension funds and gutting the companies for a quick turn of profit. Remember during the primary debates when Romney said he liked firing people. That was the real Romney. Vulture capitalism is Romneys favorite form of capitalism. Just ask Rick Perry who called him on this subject at the primary debates. When Mitt Romney was asked what he thought about the Occupy Wall St. protest his first gut response was he wanted to occupy the White House.
During two presidential campaigns Romney has never advocated for any policy that would help the middle class. Romneys primary goal is to avenge his fathers failed attempt at occupying the White House by occupying the White House himself. Im sure he assumes its his divine privileged right, a viewpoint not too dissimilar to the Divine Right of Kings mentality.
Of course his other goal is to reward his one percenter cronies who are helping to put him in the White House. And of course, we the 99 per centers American public will be rewarded with nothing; only our pre-ordained peasant status. That is the real Mitt Romneys vision for America.
Thus, for those of you out there in America land that are remotely considering voting for Romney and his Republican corporate elitist cronies, here is a collection of song and writings I hope will make you pause and reconsider: (song originally written after Dubyas 2004 reelection with the change of Mitt instead of Bush the lyrics still apply to the Romney and friends Republican Party agenda; some things never change.)
Yo farmers voting for Mitt
Bank foreclosures, urban sprawl takeovers
Land lost to republican agri-companies
Who receive taxpayer funds through farm subsidies
Yeah baby, lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby, Lick The HAND
Yo religious zealots voting for Mitt
Relinquishing all freedoms to your false prophet
Would Jesus bomb the innocent
Sending your kids to die for war profits
Yeah baby, lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby, Lick The Hand
Yo jingoists voting for Mitt
Job outsourced, wife too big
Viagra doesnt even twitch your twig
Wars a hard-on just for you
Raise it to the Massa whose screwin you
Yeah baby, lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby, Lick The Hand
Yo middleamerica voting for Mitt
Wrought with fear from the latest bogeyman
Terrorist in the closet, terrorist under the bed
Cant see the real ones in front of your head
Yeah baby, lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby, Lick The HAND
Yo married couples voting for Mitt
Squeezed and squeezed by the corporate machine
Moral value hypocrisy at its extreme
Such obedient lemmings, you dont need a push
Yeah baby, lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby, Lick The HAND
Yo women voting for Mitt
Barefoot and pregnant backward mentality
This will be your new reality
No Planned Parenthood no more voice
Apparently misogynistic is your women’s choice
Yeah baby, Lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby, Lick The HAND
Yo everybody voting for Mitt
Will you feel a sense of buyers remorse
Youve opened the door for life to get worse
Ignorance is bliss or is it a curse
Yeah baby, lick the hand that slaps ya
Yeah baby ..LICK THE HAND
Theres frequent debate these days over existing political labels. For instance, what is a conservative? The encyclopedia definition for a conservative is: one favoring traditional views and values, tending to oppose change, traditional or restrained in style. Lets review some of our conservative generations traditions and contributions over the course of our American history: Slavery, indentured servitude, Manifest Destiny, American Indian genocide, Ku Klux Klan, bigotry, sweat shops, child labor, class warfare, Social Darwinism, unsafe working conditions, foreclosure, war profiteering, union busting, internment camps, Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare, censorship, prudes, bad haircuts, conformity, a silent tolerance for domestic violence, environmental destruction, deforestation, nuclear waste, DDT, evangelical preachers, restrictions on civil liberties, gay bashing, gag orders, Enron, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Delay, job outsourcing, torture, and of course dark suit and tie.
Gee, no wonder todays Conservatives are so proud of their values!
Weve seen the recent definition for a conservative. How about a liberal? The combined dictionary definitions for a liberal are: one willing to respect and accept behaviors or opinions different from ones own; favoring individual liberty; democratic reforms and protection from arbitrary authority; free trade; is generous, tolerant, broadminded, not literal or strict.
Lets review some of our liberal generations traditions and contributions over the course of our American history: child labor laws, the labor movement, womens rights, civil rights, clean air and water standards, meat packing standards, workplace safety standards, workmens compensation, social security, 40 hour work week, Farmers HA loans, bank deposit insurance, union pensions, rural electrification, GI Bill, environmental protections, hippies, long hair, free speech advocacy, non-conformity, anti-globalization and anti-war movements, and, of course, tie-dye.
Where would we be without these true American values and contributions a corporate world of indentured servitude no doubt.
Is the daily work grind or the continual schoolwork bringing you down? Is your wanderlust inner voice telling you youre ready for a travel vacation? Yet this year you want a different travel objective, not the typical vacation, designed around personal pleasure and leisure. This year you also feel a desire to get involved with some worthy cause, to challenge the power elite status quo and make the world a better place to live. Well, if travel and social activism are your interests, I have the 2012 travel tip solutions that will please both your traveling and social activist desires.
The worlds most influential bankers, industrialists, and politicians enjoy arranging their conferences in beautiful, luxurious surroundings, far from the global commoners they so clearly abhor. This arrangement allows them unobstructed time in which to plot more world domination schemes, while sipping brandy and smoking cigars. Here is your opportunity to take advantage of their grandiose itinerary, while also being a pain in their side what fun!
1. My first recommended travel destination for 2012 is Chantilly, Virginia, USA host to this years annual Bilderberg meeting May 31st June 3rd. Chantilly, Virginia, at the Westfield Marriot Hotel, was the host for the 2008 Bilderberg meeting.
Chantilly, Virginia is within close proximity to Washington, D.C.; the nations capitol offers a unique historical, cultural experience as well as a great place to voice dissent! Fortunately too, for the budget traveler, Chantilly has a youth hostel on the outskirts of the Washington, D.C. area. Why not book your reservation now, and enjoy the beautiful Virginia countryside and Washington, D.C. cultural actvities while also vocalizing your displeasure to a passing banker, politician, or corporate CEO? Your opinions and discussions may plant the inception seed that activates a pang of conscience that will eventually lead to less harmful world policies. If you discover the overt sidewalk protests are less successful, may I suggest an alternative, stealth approach: position yourself as a well-dressed hotel patron in the lobby where the Bilderberg members are staying. Act as an unassuming gadfly, listening for telling conversations from Bilderberg meeting attendees.
Granted, such intimate access may prove to be difficult however, for the determined spirited social activist, the challenge enhances the adventure and the success sweetens the reward.
Are you ready for summer outdoor fun, a freelance journalists dream, and a proud sense of moral accomplishment? Thats what I experienced when I planned my fall vacation in Europe in 2000 to coincide with the scheduled IMF / World Bank meeting in Prague. A well-organized anti-globalization protest was waiting for the banking attendees, similar to the successful anti-WTO protest in Seattle, Nov. 1999, which I attended. I wanted to continue being a part of this proud movement.
Im certain at the Washington, D.C. youth hostel, and around town, you will meet kindred spirits who are also knowledgeable of this Bilderberg meeting event (an individual global citizen or an NGO member). As I had experienced during the 1999 and 2000 protests, you will form lasting friendships with these fellow travelers/ activists.
2. To start your summer season, I recommend planning a visit to Los Cabos, Baja California, Mexico for the annual G-20 meeting, June 18-19. What fun you will have mixing summer outdoor fun with social activism. Cabo San Lucas offers scuba diving, fishing, nightlife, and so much more. Even though the rich elite will be staying at expensive resorts, there are ample inexpensive lodging options to Los Cabos, including youth hostels. You can even pitch your tent near the beach!
3. To start your fall season, I recommend a trip to Switzerland for the WTO public forum meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, September 24-26. A good central location for fine nearby skiing, autumn color hiking, and a piping hot cappuccino next to a roaring hotel fireplace as you listen in to some powerful bankers insidious plan.
4. Continuing your fall season travels, , I recommend visiting Tokyo, Japan for the IMF / World Bank meeting, Oct 12-14.
For budget accommodations, Los Cabos, Geneva, and Tokyo all have several hostels in the city and nearby vicinities.
Last, for those planning on traveling through California, I recommend an outdoor excursion north of San Francisco. Besides marvelous vineyards, inspiring redwoods and dramatic coastline, theres also an elite power broker retreat called Bohemian Grove nestled in the redwoods near the town of Guerneville and the Russian River.
The retreat of course has security (as I discovered many years ago) so an undercover role as a naïve hiker is a good start. While peering through the redwoods, you may find an influential politician or CEO performing some decadent, hedonistic ritual in a yellow chiffon dress. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
I hope you find these travel tips useful for your future 2012 travel plans. You may even come across yours truly, the author. Happy travels!
If you’re ready now for some rousing evolution / revolution style music, please visit my Spotify playlist:
Is the daily work grind or the continual schoolwork bringing you down? Is your wanderlust inner voice telling you you’re ready for a travel vacation? Yet this year you want a different travel objective, not the typical vacation, designed around personal pleasure and leisure. This year you also feel a desire to get involved with some worthy cause, to challenge the power elite status quo and make the world a better place to live. Well, if travel AND social activism are your interests, I have the 2011 travel tip solutions that will please both your traveling and social activist desires.
1. My first recommended travel destination for 2011 is beautiful St. Moritz, Switzerland, host to this year’s annual Bilderberg meeting June 9th-12th. (For information on the Bilderberg Group, please click this link to my expose article on the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, and the Bilderberg Group: www.pecoskid.com/my-writings/ This link is also located on right side of this web site called Pecoskid Essays – CFR ).
St. Moritz is a beautiful remote Swiss village, nestled between the majestic Swiss Alp mountains, situated along a crystalline alpine lake. Fortunately for you, the world’s most influential bankers, industrialists, and politicians enjoy arranging their conferences in beautiful, luxurious surroundings, far from the global commoners they so clearly abhor, allowing themselves unobstructed time in which to plot more world domination schemes, while sipping brandy and smoking cigars.
Fortunately too, for the budget traveler, St. Moritz has a youth hostel on the outskirts of the Swiss village. Why not book your reservations now, and enjoy this beautiful remote Swiss village’s outdoor activities while also vocalizing your displeasure to a passing banker, politician, or corporate CEO? Who knows, your opinions and discussions may plant inside a power broker’s mind the inception seed that activate a pang of conscience that leads to less harmful world policies. While in St. Moritz, if you discover overt sidewalk protests are less successful, may I suggest an alternative, stealth approach by positioning yourself as a well-dressed hotel patron inside a hotel lobby where the Bilderberg members are staying, acting as an unassuming gadfly, listening for telling conversations from Bilderberg meeting attendees.
Granted, such intimate access may prove to be difficult; however, for the determined spirited social activist, the challenge enhances the adventure and the success sweetens the reward.
Are you ready for summer outdoor fun, a freelance journalist’s dream, and a proud sense of moral accomplishment? That’s what I experienced when I planned my fall 2000 vacation in Europe to coincide with the scheduled IMF / World Bank meeting in Prague. A well organized anti-globalization protest was waiting for the banking attendees, similar to the successful anti-WTO protest in Seattle, November ’99, which I attended, and I wanted to continue being a part of this proud movement. (For more details on my experience, please read my articles at these page links:
These pages are also located on the right side of the web site under the heading Pecoskid Essays – CFR)
I’m certain at the St. Moritz youth hostel, and around town, you will meet fellow kindred spirits who are also knowledgeable of this Bilderberg meeting event (global citizen individuals and various NGO members) and, as I experienced during the Seattle ’99 and Prague 2000 protests, form friends for life bonds with these fellow travelers / activists.
2. To start your fall season, I recommend plannign a visit to washington DC for the annual IMF / World Bank meeting, Sept. 23-25th. The United States’ nation capitol offers a unique historical, cultural experience as well as a great place to voice dissent!
3. As 2011 comes to an end, in November, why not visit the French Riviera, at Cannes, France where the year’s G-20 meeting takes place.
4. Finally, in December, I recommend a return to Switzerland for the WTO meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, December 15 – 17th. A good central location for fine nearby skiing, and a piping hot cappuccino next to a roaring fireplace as you listen in to some powerful banker’s insidious plan.
For budget accommodations, Washington DC, Cannes, and Geneva, all have several hostels in the city and nearby vicinities.
Last, for those planning on traveling through California, I recommend an outdoor excursion to Northern California, where, besides marvelous vineyards, inspiring redwoods and dramatic coastline, there’s also an elite power broker retreat called Bohemian grove, nestled in the redwoods, near the town of Guerneville and the Russian River.
The retreat of course has security ( as I discovered many years ago) so an undercover role as a naive hiker is a good start. Who knows, peering through the redwoods you may find some influencial politician or CEO performing some decadent, hedonistic ritual in a yellow chifon dress! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
I hope you find these travel tips useful for your future 2011 travel plans. You may even come across yours truly, the author. Happy travels!
While pondering your travel plans, here’s some thoughts for the day to also ponder:
Question Me An Answer – Answer Me A Question
Philosophical appetizers from Mike’s soul food kitchen
Which direction does a person set their compass when planning his journey through life?
Which deeds merit the most satisfaction, the most joy: the creation of a family, the invention of something new, the construction of something lasting, or the ability to tell stories that speak of something meaningful and true?
Do raw adventure memories and rauscous pleasure treasuries leavea more lasting sense of accomplishment than pleasant comforts and accumulation?
Sexual triumphs or finding one great love, which do you prefer? Can multiple orgasms by one or by many keep your sexual appetite secure?
Where do you set your twilight sights, alone atop a mountain once revered yet soon forgotten or immersed in a sea of friendly faces, remembered fondly after you have gone?
Does integrity pursued at evey turn yield greater wealth than a compromised wealthy return?
Do pleasing one’s parents, peers or populace bring sustainable nourishment for your soul or does nourishing the individual within provide the parts for the whole?
Is home where the roots run deep or can home be where the heart steadily beats?
Can a person at twenty know which course to set and can a man at fifty tack into the wind and alter his course before the sun sets?
Is it better to try and fail than to play safe and never have tried, to always tell the truth or the occasioanl lie, to pursue fame and fortune and potential poverty or live a modest life under the radar in total anonymity?
Should one live life to the fullest or a life fulfilled, devout to the holy or a justifiable cause, a life without restrictions, no need to pause, or a life in moderation, a happy Hotai Santa Claus?
Do we hope to be rewarded, respected, or remembered at the end of the day?
“From out of nowhere the smallest kid came. Nobody knew him, not even his name. These mean guys laughed and ripped the kid’s shirt but this little kid refused to be hurt. He stood and looked ’em straight in the eye, daring those bullies to even come try. There was no way they could hurt his pride. If he would find his strength from inside. Something happened no one could expect. By finding courage, he’d found his respect. Stand up, stand up for yourself.”
Excerpt lyrics from the children’s song Stand Up (to Bullies) by Caroline Figiel and Danny Jones
In recent weeks the Obama Administration reiterated its position to address the serious issue of kid bullying within our schools and communities. This is a fine gesture. I’m sure when we were kids, we’ve all suffered some humiliating experience in school in which “a schoolyard bully” has taunted us; picked upon us for being small, weak, different, or smart. Often these experiences leave an emotional scar that is more difficult to heal than any physical scar. I think we can all agree that cruelty to others should be reprimanded whereas civility and common decency toward others should be praised. However, does this political gesture truly address the root source of bullying in our American society? After all, where do kids learn these harmful habits? Might there be negative influences within our adult society? Before we focus on those influences however let me first define what is meant by bullying.
Bullying is a form of abuse. It involves repeated acts that attempt to create or enforce one person’s (or group’s) power over another person (or group), thus an “imbalance of power” is established. The “imbalance of power” may be social power and/or physical power. Bullying type of behaviors are often rooted in a bully’s inability to empathize with those whom he or she would target.
Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse – emotional, verbal and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as psychological manipulation.
Bullying ranges from simple one on one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more “lieutenants” who assist the primary bully in his bullying activities. This bullying technique in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.
So, what does a child learn when they observe a parent bullying a child, a spouse, or a neighbor, with impunity? What lessons are taught our children when they personally witness or hear their parents talking about certain government and/or business leaders who bully/harass their constituencies, their employees, their competitors, threatening retribution if they don’t get their way?
Bullying can occur in any context in which human beings interact with each other. That includes school, church, family, the workplace, home and neighborhoods. A 2007 WBI-Zogby survey found that nearly half of all workers (49%) have been affected by workplace bullying, either being a target themselves or having witnessed abusive behavior against a co-worker. In the majority of cases reported workplace bullying was perpetrated by management. This is often called corporate bullying where an employer abuses an employee with impunity, knowing the law is weak and the job market is soft.
Bullying is even a common instigative factor in coerced ethnic migration. Bullying can exist between social groups, social classes and even between countries, in the form of jingoism.
On an international scale, perceived or real imbalances of power between nations, in both economic systems and in treaty systems, are often cited as some of the primary causes of both World War I and World War II.
If children in school were allowed to study our true American history, they would discover that our nation has often employed a bullying style, whether through “manifest destiny” or recent neoliberal foreign policies, compelling lessor nations to do our bidding or suffer the consequences.
Today, bullying takes a world stage when America and Western European countries coerce developing countries to agree to policies set by the world institutions like the WTO, IMF and World Bank that are not in their citizens’ interest but in the international banks and multinational corporations’ financial interests.
Terrorizing is also a form of bullying for to terrorize is to coerce by using threats or violence, or to inspire with fear. Our War on Terrorism is a great distracter (as well as a great Military Industrial Complex money maker) from the true terrorists that reside within our country. Who promotes fear mongering in this country? Is it not bullying, or terrorizing, our citizenry when banking, oil and insurance corporations hold Americans hostage, employing their “lieutenants” such as Fox News and talk radio pundits, as well as bank-rolled politicians and lobbyists, to manipulate the American public through fabricated threats to national economic interest and fear mongering diatribes in order to extract more money from Americans, or get them to vote against their own common interests such as corporate abuse reform.
In truth, tyranny, intimidation and terrorism are forms of bullying and our adult society rewards this behavior. During last year’s televised political debates, did our children receive a valuable lesson in civil discourse or rather a lesson that he or she who shouts the loudest, most abusive vitriolic language toward their opponent achieves the winning edge. This certainly was the case in last year’s election in which Republican candidates emphasized fear mongering, a form of psychological manipulation bullying, over any constructive solutions to American society issues, in order to get elected.
What our society calls “successful capitalism” is often strong arm bullying tactics. Corporate press will shower accolades upon the “pillars of capitalism” CEOs who most successfuly embrace Carnegie’s philosophy Social Darwinism, or survival of the fittest, without empathy or thought given toward those harmed in their wake.
Now you may ask yourself, how does one fight back against the bully? What recourse can an individual take?
In the schoolyard, sometimes the art of self-defense, such as a solid first punch to the bully’s nose or stomach will achieve justice, successfuly silencing the bully. Other situations might require a strong person to stand tall in peaceful defiance, ultimately winning the bully’s respect and eventual acquiescence.
In the adult world, the means available for an individual to stand up against the bully may be more complex and more difficult, yet achievable.
Solely relying on legal recourse in our society as a means may prove futile. Remember, it’s OUR legal system that allows government institutions to coercively collect fees and taxes from its citizens. The only difference between federal, state, county and city agencies who utilize police agencies as bully enforcers to collect their inequitable fees and taxes, and the developing nations’ police who extort money from you directly is, in the United States its legal.
In the United States, comprehensive workplace bullying legislation has yet to be passed by the Federal Government or by any state governments, though, as of April 2009, 16 states have prepared legislation. The proposed anti-bullying bills typically allow employees to sue their employers for creating an “abusive work environment”, supported by the rationale that laws are necessary to protect public health. A strong support for these bills, putting pressure on legislators to advocate such legislation, would certainly be to the workers’ benefit. Maintaining vigilance toward continual enforcement would also be needed since even existing employee whistle-blowing laws are often halfheartedly enforced, creating vulnerability for the employee’s necessary protection from management retaliation.
Sometimes the individual alone must seek remedy. Since David challenged Goliath, our cultural myths and legends, here in the US and around the world, are often based on the many courageous individuals who have stood up against the oppressive tyrant, their tales admirably told through books and films.
Their heroic stories are legendary; Robin Hood and Joan of Arc to the lone brave sheriff who confronts the wealthy cattle rancher and his hired gunmen.
Less known yet no less brave, are these other individuals’ stories: Sid Hatfield and the Battle of Matewan in 1920 West Virginia in which Sid Hatfield stood up against the mining company and their hired police; Rosa Park’s peaceful defiance against The American South’s bully bigotry; Norma Rae’s heroic protest against her company’s poor working conditions, and Harvey Milk’s courageous peaceful defiance against San Francisco’s sexual discriminators.
Seattle’s downtown streets bore witness in November ’99 to the anti-globalization movement where people from all walks of life gathered to peacefully protest the World Trade Organization (WTO) bullying policies known as globalization, a laudable stance that would ultimately provide the moral backbone for the developing nations delegates to stand up against their intimidating American and Western European counterparts.
And of course, we can’t forget the heroic Nerds in Revenge of the Nerds and Bluto (John Belushi’s character) in the movie Animal House who stood up against their respective bullies, the Jocks and Faber College’s Dean Werner.
Challenging tyrant’s bullying power is no easy task. In recent weeks, from the Middle East to Middle America, Egypt to Wisconsin, citizens have taken to the streets; Wisconsin where teachers have been protesting their Republican Governor’s proposal to eliminate their right to collective bargaining.
In Egypt and Tunisia, motivated by poverty, lack of jobs, the people have had enough. Their dictator’s bullying tactics, coupled with deplorable living conditions, would be tolerated no longer. The protests were widespread among the citizens and largely non-violent; gaining support from such needed allies as the dictators’ military personnel, in order to achieve a successful revolution, with little bloodshed.
During the Egyptian protest, when President Obama stated this proclamation that “peaceful protest leads to dialogue, leads to reform, and ultimately leads to democracy” was Wisconsin Governor Walker listening?
As the poster boys for avaricious audacity, the billionaires Koch Brothers (Koch Industries) seem to have a grudge against working class Americans and any “will of the people” effort to limit their corporate hubris to pollute the planet for maximum profit. They are the predominant financial muscle behind numerous Republican Party and Tea Party member’s efforts, including Wisconsin Gov. Walker, to roll back social services for the working class under the guise to reduce state budgets. The coordinated, insidious plan however is to not reduce deficits so much as to transfer savings from reduced public servant’s pay and benefits and transfer the funds to wealthy interests like the Koch Bros. in the form of industrial tax breaks and reduced tax rates. The Koch Brothers are also the puppet master influence behind the recent effort in California, Prop 23, to reverse the state’s Clean Air Act passed by the majority of Californians.
Fortunately, defiant citizenry groups such as the California student sustainability coalition, through conducting peaceful demonstrations, educating the public and getting out the vote, helped defeat Prop 23 in California last year; a non-violent, symbolic punch-to-the bully’s nose victory!
Regretfully, the Obama Administration’s gesture toward stopping bullying may be more symbolic than substantial. At the state level, states such as Florida and Georgia have in recent years passed successful anti-bullying laws to protect children in school. One can hope that with a legal recourse established a gradual deterrence and intolerance to the bullying atmosphere, from the schoolyards to cyberspace, will prevail in schools and in the minds among our future generations.
Still, what justice awaits them in adult society? What real change can occur if our societal bullying problem is not also addressed? In a country overwrought with unnecessary rules and regulations, why does workplace or corporate bullying go largely unpunished? Why does our American vernacular have ample words to describe the bully (miscreant, tyrant, tormenter, oppressor, intimidator, villian, corruptor, spoiled brat, etc.) yet no words to describe the action “getting one’s way”? Are these subtle cultural signs our current institutions protect the bully, especially at the highest levels?
Societal institutions’ authorities can also bully, creating an underlining cultural atmosphere that intimidates, subtlely and not so subtlely, the individual to conform, to obey societal demands or suffer the consequences. Who stands up for the individual who chooses his own peaceful path?
I leave you the reader with much to ponder and end this article with a song by the rock group Supertramp, a song that stands up for that individual.
THE LOGICAL SONG by Supetramp
When I was young seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical. And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so joyfully, playfully, watching me. But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical.
There are times when all the world’s asleep, the questions run so deep for such a simple man. Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned. I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am.
Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, crimianl. Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!
At night when all the world’s asleep, the questions run too deep for such a simple man. Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned. I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am!”
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