So pompous, pampered, forty-two year old and old enough to know better,Tagg Romney, wants to take a swing at President Obama for calling Mitt a liar. I’ve got news for you, Tagg (and for your brothers, Hide Seek, Catch and Dodge), your father was lying. It’s what he does; it’s a lifestyle for him. You think you were angry because dear old dad finally got called out in real time, I was angry that it took so long. Your father is a human hologram, a shape shifter, quite literally a specter, able to convincingly adopt any position on any subject because he has no true beliefs other than those that give an illusion of substance to his otherwise vacuous persona. He has no values for which he would fight. He has no vision for American that drives his quest for the presidency other than simple ambition and greed.
With less than twenty days until the 2012 election and the the parties presenting as stark a contrast as I can remember seeing, it’s time we take another look at what is at stake. The Republican party has remained a viable force in American politics because its leaders are masters at convincing gullible Americans to vote against their own interests. They are expert propagandists. They talk out of both sides of their mouths and behave in yet a third way and obscure facts enough that a great many of just can’t see that they are not on our side. The Republican party is the party of corporations, industrialists, big banks. They show us daily; we need only look and listen. So then, what are the differences between the two parties. Let’s look at them as individual matters.
A day or two ago Mitt Romney announced his “Energy Plan.” (I really hate calling it a plan-it's much more like a suicide pact) It was anachronistic, condescending and every bit as simplistic as I expected it to be. What I didn’t expect was its corruptness, dishonesty and venality. The “plan “ is so patently payback for the oil barons (today’s equivalent of the 19th century robber barons but without their social conscience) most of whom had given millions of dollars to his campaign, that it is absolutely mind boggling. The twit’s idea of a plan is so absurd and so ill-conceived so ludicrous and irresponsible that it is going to take another entire article to do it justice but one part, his puerile sell-out to carbon based fuels, oil, gas and coal must be discussed alone.
Why do so many Democrats keep trying to paint Paul Ryan, Washington D.C’s most “serious man,” as an Ayn Rand disciple and one whose philosophy was shaped by the queen of Objectivism? Well, it’s probably because he said so more than once.
Well, isn’t this just dandy. The Republicans have picked their team and it’s made up of one man with no conscience and one with no soul. Take that America! We’ve truly become the fabled Emerald City of Oz where the Scarecrow with no brain and the Tin Man with no heart can be considered legitimate contenders for the highest office in the land.
Australia has, for a number of years, been something of a natural laboratory for the study of both melanoma and non-melanoma (NMSC) skin cancer. The pertinent facts for this post are:
Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Invasive melanoma (as opposed to superficial spreading melanoma ), while the most life threatening, is the least common form of skin cancer. About 68,130 new cases of invasive melanoma are diagnosed in the US each year; around 10,300 new cases of invasive melanoma are discovered in Australia annually.
Australia's population is seven percent the size of the US but they experience fifteen percent as many cases of melanoma annually.
These cancerous growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.
Australians are four times more likely to develop a skin cancer than any other form of cancer.
Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.
The cause of this phenomenon is well known. Australia sets directly below an area of the Earths atmosphere where the ozone layer has been depleted.
When the colonies set out to form what would become the United States there was a great deal of controversy about what type of government the newly independent states should create. Alexander Hamilton, for example, argued for a monarchy because he believed that Americans were not intelligent or educated enough to govern themselves. There were long debates on such issues as sovereignty, the exact powers to be given the confederal government, whether to have a judiciary, and voting procedures The first effort resulted in the Articles of Confederation but that effort was generally regarded as a failure. It was a failure because the powers granted to the federal government were too limited. There was no president or executive branch, no judicial branch, congress could not control commerce between the states or foreign powers and congress could not levy taxes to name a few.
Something had to replace the Articles. With that as their goal, each state sent a group of representatives to meet in Philadelphia and hammer out a new, more workable, agreement. The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended, eager to learn what had been produced behind those closed doors. As the delegates left the building, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got?” With no hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
On January 16, 1941, in his State of the Union address, Franklin Roosevelt outlined what he believed were the building blocks necessary for the foundation of and essential to the preservation of a strong democracy: Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of worship, Freedom from want and Freedom from fear. These, he made clear, should be the right of all people, not just Americans and pursuit of them would be the cornerstone of his administration’s foreign policy.
Clearly, these were goals far too lofty to be attainable in their totality but they were of a nature that just recognizing their value and working toward their implementation was an objective sufficient to set America apart from a 1941 world dominated by German aggression and soon to be vastly altered by Japanese imperialism. It would be four years before we could even begin to consider these as national ideals again. There was a war to be fought and for a good part of those years the question would not be whether America would prevail but whether America would endure.
In January, 1941, the United States was headed toward a conflict that would threaten it’s existence as a nation more than any event since the Civil War and more than any external threat since 1789 when a collection of colonies became the United States. To be sure, we had fought other wars over the roughly one hundred-fifty years of our existence. We had engaged in a significant fight with England (1812), had fought a war in Mexico (1846) and had battled Spain (1896) to establish our preeminence on the American continent and had helped bring World War I to a close. We had engaged in undeclared, small wars, the “Banana Wars”, in and around the Carribean and Central and northern South America but in no case, even the War of 1812, did our enemy threaten our existence as a nation. In less than eleven months, on December 7, 1941, that would change and the world and, more to the point, America would change with it. We would never again be the same county; we would never again be the same people.
In his speech the following day Roosevelt asked for a declaration of war saying:
In the roughly four hour attack the Navy and Marine Corps suffered a total of 2,896 casualties of which 2,117 were deaths. The Army lost 228 killed or died of wounds,. In addition, at least 57 civilians were killed and nearly as many seriously injured.
Four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 11, 1941, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States
It has been 70 years since that calamitous day. Old enmities have given way to new friendships and old enemies are today’s allies. Those we once fought now stand with us in a new war, the war on terror and that is how it should be, how it should be so long as we never forget that this was the war that gave us the greatest generation. Half a million American men and women gave their lives so that we could continue to enjoy Roosevelt’s four freedoms and more and we must be informed and vigilant; we must guard against the temptation to trade those freedoms for the illusion of safety.
“I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance. We have the United Nations in New York, and so we have an entree into the diplomatic world that Washington does not have,”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a speech at MIT, 11/29/2011
A few months ago I wrote an diary on child poverty in America. A new study had just been released and the numbers were distressing. Twenty-five percent of very young children in America were found to be living in poverty, according to an analysis of Census data recently released. Researchers from the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire found that the number of children under six living in poverty had risen to 5.9 million in 2010 from 5.7 million in 2009.
I awakened this morning and, as is my routine, popped on my IPad first thing to check the news. This Huffington Post headline jarred me fully awake:
SHOCK VIDEO: POLICE PEPPER SPRAY COLLEGE STUDENTS
According to the story, about 50 University of California, Davis students were peacefully protesting on the campus quad in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. About 200 bystanders had gathered when the protesters were surrounded by 35 UC Davis Campus police officers. A 42 minute video filmed by a student clearly shows that the students were seated in a group and were not acting in a confrontative or hostile manner. In fact, at one point an officer approached a student, leaned over and had a short conversation with the student. A short while later an officer later identified as Lt John Pike approached the students, calmly displayed and shook his pepper spray canister and then unleashed a heavy cloud of pepper spray on the still seated students.
Later in the day Linda P.B. Katehi, UC Davis Chancellor, released a statement saying, "We deeply regret that many of the protestors today chose not to work with our campus staff and police to remove the encampment as requested. We are even more saddened by the events that subsequently transpired to facilitate their removal."
Chancellor Katihi should be saddened by, “the events that subsequently transpired.” She should be saddened to the point of firing Lt Pike and Chief Spicuzza and then, as her last act of contrition, resigning. We all should be saddened. It’s disgraceful. These students have, as have students all over the country, been largely robbed of their future by criminal activities on Wall Street and by banker leeches who made millions for “processing” student loans and no one has been punished but the students.
UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza spoke out in defense of the assault maintaining that camping on the quad wasn't safe for students. By way of explanation she added, "It's not safe for multiple reasons," Spicuzza said. I’m sorry no one asked her why she believed heavily pepper spraying a large group of peacefully demonstrating students was safe.
The oligarchs minions, mobs of heavily armed militants, indiscriminately spraying tear gas has become the pro forma response to peaceful groups of citizens exercising their first amendment right to express their outrage at the conditions into which the country has fallen and the disinterest of the government in doing anything about it. More and more the people are growing weary of platitudes and political rhetoric from Washington. More and more the people are becoming aware that the government no longer belongs to them; the government, and now the Supreme Court, belong to the corporations and the monied elite. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the people took to the streets to fight for labor rights, in the late1920s they took to the streets over a governments obligation to its citizens’ welfare, in the 1950s and 1960s they took to the streets over civil rights and in the middle to late 1960s over America’s participation in the war in Viet Nam. Each time those in power responded with force and repression and each time the people eventually won. We will eventually win this fight, too. We’ll win because the power brokers never learn. They never learn that you can’t kill an idea with pepper spray; you can’t end a movement with a bulldozer.
Should anyone in Kosland wish to express your thoughts on the attack on the Davis students Lt Pike and Chief Spicuzza can be emailed at:
Lt John Pike
Chief Annette Spicuzza
A message can be sent to Chancellor Katehi through her page in the UC Davis website.
Linda P.B. Katehi, Chancellor
The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued a statement this morning in which they stated;
. . . at least three journalists have been assaulted since October by police officers, and two others by participants, in demonstrations in Nashville, Tennessee, and Oakland, California.In addition, at least a dozen journalists have reportedly been placed under temporary arrest while performing their professional duties, the statement said.The organization pointed to this week's detentions of seven journalists as they covered the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. They are Julie Walker, a freelancer who does work for National Public Radio and The Associated Press; Patrick Hedlund and Paul Lomax of DNAinfo.com; Doug Higginbotham, freelance cameraman for TV New Zealand; Jared Malsin of The Local; Karen Matthews and Seth Wenig of The Associated Press, and Matthew Lysiak of the New York Daily News.”
From the Huffington Post
Yesterday, in response to a report about the arrest of journalist in New York City, Stu Loeser, Mayor Bloomberg’s spokesperson made this statement in the form of an e-mail:
To: Interested Parties
From: Stu Loeser
Re: Just 5 of the “26 arrested reporters” are actually credentialed reportersDate: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Like all of you, I’ve heard and read many reports of reporters who supposedly were wearing valid NYPD press credentials, yet allegedly encountered problems on the streets of New York. Like some of you, I had those stories in mind when I read The Awls’ rundown of “The 25 26 Arrested Reporters and What They Do.”
Not being familiar with many of the media outlets for which The Awl says these reporters work, I had the list of “26 arrested reporters” checked against the roster of reporters who hold valid NYPD press passes.
You can imagine my surprise when we found that only five of the 26 arrested reporters actually have valid NYPD-issued press credentials. Note that we didn’t check – and don’t really care for the sake of this exercise – if the reporter’s credential lists the media outlet for which he or she currently works.
One more thing. Of the five reporters with valid press credentials who were arrested, three were arrested for trespassing and had their arrest voided. As the Associated Press and others reported, there’s no doubt that these personnel – and others – were in fact trespassing. There’s no question that protesters sliced open a chain link fence and tried to take over private property.
From The New York Observer
The striking thing about this memo is, first, it distinguishes between credentialed and non-credentialed reporters meaning that “citizen reporters” with cell phones and video cameras, so much a part of a new wave of information gathering and disseminating, are not, according to Mayor Bloomberg, legitimate contributors to the body of essential public information. As such they are subject to whatever treatment the NYPD deems appropriate. Secondly, the statement implies that only New York City, specifically the NYPD, gets to decided who is a properly credentialed reporter, a subtle but terribly effective way of controlling the content information released. Consider the NYPD requirements for a press pass;
Applicants must be a member of the media who covers, in person, emergency, spot or breaking news events and/or public events of a non-emergency nature, where police, fire lines or other restrictions, limitations, or barriers established by the City of New York have been set up for security or crowd control purposes, within the City of New York; or covers, in person, events sponsored by the City of New York which are open to members of the press.Applicants also must submit one or more articles, commentaries, books, photographs, videos, films or audios published or broadcast within the twenty–four (24) months immediately preceding the Press Card application, sufficient to show that the applicant covered in person six (6) or more events occurring on separate days.
In order to get a press card in New York one must report on the news at a professional level but, one can’t report on the news in New York without a press pass. Whether the NYPD is the proper agency to anoint reporters it deems worthy is another question that should be asked.
The right to a free press is one that must be protected with zeal and the fight to keep is never over just as the war with the plutocrats for class and income equality is never over. It was fought in the late 1800s and early 1900s over labor rights, in the 1930s over a governments obligation to its citizens’ welfare in the 1950s and 1960s over civil rights and in the middle to late 1960s over America’s participation in a profitable but immoral war. Today, as always, our war is with the oligarchs, their hired minions and the mob of armed militants they use to suppress opposition. When the new Centurions become tools of suppression the people have not only a right but a moral obligation to resist.
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