Archive for December, 2013

Out of the Closet–I’m Green and Proud of It

24 December 2013

While my general political leanings should be obvious to all, I usually avoid personal politics in my posts. Today though, I want to come out of the closet. I’m liberal, yes, but I’m not a progressive and I am no longer a Democrat. I’m Green Party and proud of it.

The change from blue to green started slowly. In the last presidential election, I couldn’t bring myself to vote a second time for Barack Obama, a man I’d had high hopes for. I was adrift as the election season started.

Pretty much by accident and whim, I took an online test on political issues that said it would align my answers with the most appropriate candidate. When I clicked up my results, I was astonished to find I was 93 percent aligned with Jill Stein, a woman whose name I’d never heard. Since then, I’ve become more and more sure that some sort of bipartisan conspiracy may well be going on to keep US citizens unaware of who Jill Stein is and what the Green Party stands for.

Here are a few of links. If your time is limited, hit the Bill Moyers interview.

According to Stein, we need the Green Party to hit 3.5% to make the movement unstoppable. The goal looks reasonable to me. Pass the word.



Quote of the day: Commodification of humor

20 December 2013

eats shoots 'n leaves

From Lewis H. Lapham , writing at Tomgram:

We have today a second Gilded Age more magnificent than the first, but our contemporary brigade of satirists doesn’t play with fire. The marketing directors who produce the commodity of humor for prime-time television aim to amuse the sheep, not shoot the elephants in the room. They prepare the sarcasm-lite in the form of freeze-dried sound bites meant to be dropped into boiling water at Gridiron dinners, Academy Award ceremonies, and Saturday Night Live. “There is a hell of a distance,” said Dorothy Parker, “between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it.” George Bernard Shaw seconded the motion: “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.”

Twain didn’t expect or intend his satire to correct the conduct of Boss Tweed, improve the morals of Commodore Vanderbilt, or stop the same-day deliveries…

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Give Peace a Chance

10 December 2013

A story about the Baltic Republics caught my eye this morning. Back in the 1970s, I worked at a publishing house alongside a good number of Baltic refugees. Considering their intelligence and determination, I’m not surprised by this story:

“When Songs Trumped Rifles”

I’m only surprised I’d never heard of this movement before.

Considering America’s emphasis on individualism and, in the case of my family and many others, total lack of singing ability, I doubt such a movement could ever form here. However, it is a thought to “Imagine.”


Hurrah for Heretics!

3 December 2013

The savviest members in the infamous One Percent spend lavish amounts hiring the best propagandists in the world, making malleable advertising people and politicians quite wealthy in their own right. With such minions at hand, the One Percent deflects the average American away from the country’s real problems onto incendiary but basically inconsequential (to the One Percenter) single issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

This is hardly a secret. Entire college textbooks explain how they do it, e.g. Who Rules America. Unfortunately, the average American is ill read, credulous, and easily led. So these $upermen with their single issue bait and sturdy basket of hooks, lines, and sinker myths continue to rule.

Of course, every now and then some member of the moneyed elite ratfinks on the rest. Here’s one explanation featuring comments by billionaire entrepreneur Nick Hanauer:

“Sorry, Folks, Rich People Actually Don’t ‘Create The Jobs'”

Hanauer is a true heretic: “Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators: Nick Hanauer”

I think I’m in love.


Big Uncle

3 December 2013

George Orwell’s Big Brother is a standard term now, but those of us in the US should look around and start thinking of Big Uncle. Or maybe we should think of Big Google.

In any event, there’s much to be concerned about, and some of those concerns are the topic of this article:

“Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, 1984 Was an Instruction Manual”

When I was in high school, my classmates and I were worried about dystopias like those depicted in Brave New World and 1984. Alas, the world we now live in looks a lot like a combination of both novels. Ironically, of course, fewer of us worry. I mean, what could be wrong with a country with smart phones and the Internet?

Most of us are aware that our email is monitored, our Internet habits tracked–even if only by eager sellers, but how many of us worry that our cars can be hacked? The death of journalist Michael Hastings brought out some conspiracy theorists who claimed he was killed by car hackers. That’s totally crazy, right? Of course, who’d believe that–or this: “Car Hacking: Your Computer-Controlled Vehicle Could Be Manipulated Remotely”

Do you rest easier knowing that should you piss off the wrong people, your new car could be hacked to send you into a tree at high speed? Do you know your new microwave oven comes with a chip to track your cooking activity?

Oh well, just more reasons for those of us left who still worry to use a privacy-oriented search tool like I’m not ready to give up the Internet yet, but I am starting to look over my shoulder.