Sometimes a picture is indeed worth 1,000 words.
While name calling and obscenities may fill the empty space when the richness of prose fail us, a simple juxtaposition at a bookstore can yield an enjoyable result.
Unfortunately, the diary rules do not count the picture as 1,000 words as upon trying to post I get a box coercing me to be less textually concise. So with the apparent words I must leverage to publish my diary, I must thank Ann. As I work to complete my own book about Corpocracy, I privately think (albeit less so after this post) what do I have to say that hasn't already been said? Why would anyone want to read my collection of thoughts and ideas about politics and economics?
Then, during any casual stroll through a bookstore I see clearly important works by Ann, Rush and others. At such times I'm struck by an Al Franken (or Senator Al Franken as I prefer) thought... "why not me?"
Recently at a bookstore in San Mateo, while wearing a t-shirt indicating my support of Barack Obama for President, a woman approached me and proudly stated that she had been supporting Hillary. I was pleased to meet someone that shared my values for American society -healthcare for all, a cohesive and thoughtful foreign policy, domestic policies that would enhance education, promote environmental protection, encourage resource conservation and return America on a path toward a positive and secure future.
While quickly thinking all of this, her next announcement was stunning, she indicated that she was now on the McCain Palin bandwagon. The contradiction in logic caused a cessation of my ability to form any coherent sentence or stream of thought. I was at a loss of words and opinion a condition which my wife can attest occurs in only the rarest of circumstances.
"Who cares?" asked Nicole Wallace, McCain Campaign Strategist (and formerly a top figure from the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign). Ms. Wallace's response was to a question posed by Time's Washington Bureau Chief Jay Carney. Mr. Carney asked "Can Sarah Palin answer tough questions about foreign and domestic policy?".
As America moves into the center of the holiday season, a time in which we should be celebrating the joy of family, warmth of shelter and appreciating all that we have --John Lennon serves as a reminder of the war, abject poverty, famine, disease and the loss of childhood innocence.
Happy Christmas (War is Over) John Lennon Music Video"
On the rare occasions when I've been forced to respond to the question -"George, you split your time between Austin and San Francisco, you have essentially two more-than full time jobs (see alonovo.com) --what do you do for fun?"
Well, here it is. On a recent trip (away from behind a keyboard) to a mall in Austin at the "encouragement" (ok, strong-armed demand tactics) of my wife and inspiration, I waited patiently for her while beginning to read "The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore (excellent read, by the way!) my mind wandered as it has been known to do, and I found myself inside a bookstore with my camera phone. This has been known in the past to be a more than dangerous confluence of events.
There has been an unprecedented transfer and consolidation of wealth and power to the already wealthy and powerful. We've witnessed this regressive trend which accelerated rapidly in the Reagan years, and again during the Bush I and II era supported by a re-engaged team of recycled Reaganite extremists (who said neocons don't recycle?). Despite this trend and its result (from a national surplus to record deficit and Bush's perpetual, barbaric, illegal unilateral wars, larger numbers of America living in abject poverty while yacht sales flourish) I remain optimistic about the potential of a new progressive path for America. There is a rising wave of spirit embodied in many of my activist friends, peers, mentors and heroes. It is a spirit born of these difficult times.
Several years back (and a lifetime ago) I was deeply involved in applying technology to very large databases to achieve fast responses for database transactions. One technology that was compelling to Larry Ellison (so compelling he bought the company) during my tenure at Oracle was a class of computer which used an innovative design known as "Massively Parallel Processing".
The word tax for many creates a negative connotation. Many of us pay begrudgingly. We have calculators that determine which day each year we are done working for "Uncle Sam".
The right kind of taxation is really an investment we make in our society and our future as an American community. We want security; therefore we must have a well-funded defense capability. We want safe highways that have enough capacity so we don't spend a large part of our lives stuck on Interstates 101, I-5, I-95, I-35, I-10 or whatever is presently the nearest parking lot nearest you. We want great schools with well-paid teachers --schools where future generations can acquire a quality education in a safe environment. We want clear air, clean good tasting drinking water that we don't have to pay Coca Cola or Pepsi for. We want well-paid police, fire, military and others that have dedicated themselves to our safety and freedom. When we pay our taxes, we are investing in all these things.
The occupation of Iraq continues, as the tragic death toll on all sides continue to mount. The president believes the best way to remain a beacon of freedom is to torture others, read everyone's mail and listen in on everyone's phone calls. Tensions continue with Iran while Bush "recommits" to Mideast peace (and we should all know what that means -although the term 'Mideast peace" --well-Bush could be talking about Virginia, which on a U.S. map appears to be roughly in the middle of the east). And despite Mr. Bush's repeated assurance, "we fight them there so we don't fight them here", the latest intelligence suggests that we have created a new generation of radicals and the terrorist threat has grown. With all of the madness around us (and the potential for new madness), it is fairly easy to be distracted from some of the basic issues such as education, opportunity, poverty, security (real security, not "taking infant formula away from new mothers at the airport-type security)and healthcare.
(most of the "ABC's of Corpocracy" series is available here)
My house is bigger than your house. My car is more expensive than your car. My paycheck is bigger than your paycheck. My stock portfolio is bigger than yours. While we know competition is inherent in nature, the method that we use to measure our own value has not evolved much beyond the cave-dwelling era. We choose the easiest milestones to measure ourselves against others. And we continue to ignore intangibles, and most of the real value manifests in that which is not readily seen. If I make more money than you, am I a better person? Do I add more value to society? Will I be missed more than you? Despite America placing a great deal of Judeo-Christian reverence on that which cannot be seen, we seem to readily ignore it outside of our own houses of worship and especially when it comes to defining wealth.
(the entire "ABC's of Corpocracy" series is available here
Here we are in the 21st Century. We've been to the moon (probably, Stephen Colbert has raised some recent doubts), we have developed cures for some horrific diseases (still waiting for AIDS and Cancer cures though) and scientific advances have led to technologies that were once considered improbable fantasy. Yet we still kill and injure each other at an unprecedented rate.
I am no expert on violence or conflict. My own observations are that for most life is a challenging series of events, some moments fill us with contentment and joy, others that can nearly crush our essence under the weight of tragedy they accompany. Apparently life doesn't impose enough hardship, so we heap our own manufactured violence and destruction upon the lives of many, whether the brutality is narrow and focused upon an individual as in the case of domestic violence or well-organized by a government, a gang or a private security force.
(the entire "ABC's of Corpocracy"; series is available here)
Corporations and politicians have relied on us to be uninformed. At least corporations are beginning to awaken. Some are actually changing their behavior with a vision for a balance between people, planet and profit. Others are spending a significant amount on campaigns to make you think they care about anything other than profit. Look at the Phillip Morris commercials -"talk to your children about smoking". Wow, they must really care about us now. Yet, they still manufacture, distribute and sell product that will lead to suffering, disease and death.
(the entire "ABC's of Corpocracy"; series is available here
"Tax and Spend" Liberals. We hear that every election cycle. I find it amusing. The role of government is to provide infrastructure and services to the people it (theoretically) represents. In order to fund these services, the government must raise money. Government raises money through taxation. Government provides services by allocating money and spending for those services. Calling an elected official a tax and spend liberal is idiotic. It would be like trying to denigrate someone by calling them a "breathe-in, breathe-out" conservative.
(the entire "ABC's of Corpocracy" series is available here)