Wednesday, December 14, 2016

trump is in, and initial activities suggest the usa, and the planet, are going to be much the worse for his presence.

americans deserve whatever happens, they have had ample time to devise a better society.

the rest of the world will just have to grin and bear it too.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

capitalism doesn't work

you can see it not working. you can see it in the millions unemployed, losing their houses, uninsured, dropping out of education.

the apologists will answer, that there is a temporary glitch, service will return to normal soon.

not good enough.

when one link of an anchor chain fails, and the ship is lost, we don't say, "only one link failed, most of the chain is perfect." when a car works just fine for 100 yards, but then stops until it cools off, you don't say "it works most of the time."

aside from periodic failure, the system doesn't even pretend to work for everone. imagine throwing people into the garbage can, because they are 'unneeded.' america is a nation that views its people as a commodity, to be bought and sold, and thrown away, as required.

an economic system that can't even pretend to work all the time for all the people is no system at all, it's a label for an economic free-fire zone.

the fall-back position for the apologists of capitalism is that it is the best system available. best for what? best for who?

it's not best for the nation, because the lost production and skills can never be replaced, they are a permanent scar on the economy. it may be best for the '1%' to destroy any savings in the lower classes, as it makes them humble and pliable, but it's not best for the 99%.

and there are other, better systems, without even getting into total socialism. many nations in europe achieve better results in the 'civilization indices' by simply injecting some worker control into production and commerce.

this can't be done in america because the sacred constitution flash-froze american society in the legal attitudes and customs of georgian britain. capitalism doesn't work, because it was never meant to. it was just a label applied to a bandit society ruled by looters and exploiters, the 'cosa nostra' of anglophone nations.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

not-voting, as an act of citizenship

i often suggest (demand/plea) that people stop voting for politicians, and i occasionally get the reply that this would result in only the wrong people voting- those who oppose democracy. quite true. if there were not more to it.

nonetheless, you must stop voting, if you are to stop america from sliding into tyranny*. further into tyranny, actually. you were half-way there when the constitution was established. the american people never assented to the imposition of the constitution. it was imposed by the various state governments. only rhode island put the question directly to the people, and the people rejected it. the united states of america, from its first day, was the counter-revolution of the rich against the revolution of 1776.

since then, finding themselves within its confines and yearning to improve their lives by whatever means are at hand, the electorate began voting for the lesser of two evils. this process of voting has a significance much greater than you may imagine: it transfers power from your hand to the winner of the election. by that act you transform yourself from an equal and active member of political society into a passive watcher, from 'citizen' to 'civilian.' office-holders have no right to power from birth, and not yet from direction of military power. their right to power is only in your assent expressed in voting. but by voting, you consent to your own subjugation. the system is unfair from the beginning, even when it works as it imports to. but it doesn't actually work that well:

the winner of the election becomes the wielder of the power of many, and is thereby corrupted: people shower him with bribes in search of favors, and he dispenses favors in search of more votes, and bribes.

what, then, to do? voting cements in place the corruption of society, not-voting allows the 'wrong' people to dominate society.

well, no, it doesn't: not-voting comes in two forms. the common form is the act of the private person, the manifestation of 'hell with politics, it's fixed.' it is common, because voting is nearly useless- it is not connected to getting any particular result beyond putting a particular face in a seat of power. any reasonable person might well shrug the shoulders and say "hell with it!"

but there is another kind of 'not-voting.' public and organized not-voting by a group of people who are united in pursuit of a common goal is much more effective in getting a result than voting for a face. it is voting for a citizen initiative in a society that does not have citizen initiative.

a focused not-voting campaign is vastly more productive than shaking a fist in a street demo. 100,000 people shaking their fist on the street feels good, and looks good on the 6 o'clock news, but if you are not committed to the violent over-throw of the government, then they will wait you out, and turn you into a tourist attraction while you're there. if you want to modify a politician's behavior without shooting, nothing approaches being regularly and frequently presented with a list of 100,000 voters saying in concert: "no mas!" notice, by the way, that initial 'public and organized.' that is the distinguishing mark of political not-voting, and both parts are necessary. (see my post 'democracy, and revolution' for more on this.)

that is the hard part: americans have little experience with any kind of political action beyond assenting to a face to rule over them. it's very easy to raise a demo, brief, emotionally fulfilling, but telling them to send a form email on the first of the month and keep on doing it, in the face of silence, requires a certain amount of character.

but remember gandhi's observation: "first, they ignore you,,,, and then you win." better yet, sending simultaneous emails on the first of the month to interested parties is easy and free: even fast-food, immediate gratification americans may be able to do it.

my estimation is, that a citizen is not a citizen without citizen initiative, anymore than a carpenter is a carpenter without a hammer. that should be the first goal of anyone hoping to reform a society.

*i use tyranny here in its modern sense.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

democracy, and revolution

(time for the annual exhortation to get up on your hind hooves and act like citizens)

politicians rule america, not the people. it is no accident, the constitution writers, the sainted founding fathers, were contemptuous of democracy. they were determined that america would be ruled by men of property. they have been brilliantly successful. the 'men,' have become men and women, and occasionally colored, too. property has become stock holdings rather than slave plantations, or the ships that prospered in service to the slave/cotton trade. even so, america remains in thrall to money. better still, it is 'unamerican,' to suggest that the wealthy are bandits.

lincoln said, at gettysburg, that the war was fought to preserve a society ruled 'by the people.' lincoln lied, for it has never been that.

politicians rule, for the rich.

this has brought the richest nation in the world into grave debt to what was once one of the poorest. it has enslaved the ordinary people to the wishes of the richest, who own the politicians. it has made munitions the only viable manufacturing industry in the nation, achieved by selling arms to most of the world's dictatorships. it has created many of those dictatorships in pursuit of markets. it has put america into 3 wars, which in modern america are not the struggle of nations for dominance or survival, merely sinkholes into which money can be thrown, to the enrichment of the munitions corporations.

the rule by politicians has looted the environment, threatens ecological collapse, has transformed the most prosperous nation in the world into a land of 'mcjobs' and poverty. this rule must stop, if america is to stop its decay.

i present to you a plan to change the course of history: it's embarrassing, i know, but i'm not here to whine, i'm here to change things. if you are tired of whining, here's a plan which may work, and costs very little:

we can begin a revolution to democracy. i say begin, for this is not a quick fix. it has taken more than 200 years for america to get this far into the mire, it will take several years to get out. revolution? yes, genuine revolution. not a violent activity, a little keyboard activity once a month will be your basic duty. but a revolution, nonetheless. it will be a transfer of the ultimate decisions, major policy, from those few hundred politicians to the electorate, a transfer of power from the few to the many.

will the people's decisions be good ones? yes, for the collective judgment of millions is certainly better than the rule of a few who will always put their private interest ahead of the national interest. in particular, the people who will suffer will be little inclined to send jobs or their soldiers overseas, not at all inclined to let wall street and the banks play 'go fish' with the nation's treasure.

how to get there? the first step is to get citizen initiative, in every state, and in the federal government. it will need a constitutional amendment, similar to the one extending the vote to women. citizen initiative is not a magic wand, but it will have a profound effect, even if seldom used: it's existence is material proof that politicians are not master of the nation. it will always be a reminder that politicians who do not work for the good of the majority can find themselves overruled. they can even find themselves in court, with no 'get out of jail' card from their guild brothers.

how to get citizen initiative? there's only one way: politely threaten politicians with loss of employment if they do not enact the enabling legislation for initiative.

here's how: on the first of every month, send an email to the democrat national committee, and to your state committee if you don't have initiative in your state. send it also to sitting office holders, and candidates in your electoral district. send it to your local newspapers too.

in this email, say: " i will not again vote for any democrat candidate until establishing citizen initiative is at the head of the democrat platform, in the federal government, and in the state."

that's all it takes. first time 1000 such emails hit on the first of the month, the democrat party will smile and forget it. when 10,000 hit they will start to think. when 100,000 arrive, they will act.

incidentally, i have no particular respect for the democrat party. however, the republican party is the champion of wealth. the democrats are the party of the 'others.' the others include 'progressives,' who must be kept in the tent if democrats are to hope for success.

will this result in a tsunami of republican victories? no. the minute some state official loses his job while getting a pile of these emails, the democrat party will discover they are the natural champions of democracy. before the first federal legislator loses his seat, initiative will be prominent in democrat promises. this will actually lead to greater success for democrat candidates, for at last they will have a promise that inspires the youth of the nation, and is affordable to their elders.

initiative and democracy should have some appeal for libertarians, btw.

will having initiative bring paradise overnight? sorry. but it will put into the hands of ordinary voters the means to direct the broad policies of the nation. america will gradually become as good as the people, instead of as bad as the politicians. that's all human beings can hope for, and it's a goal worth a little effort.

i present to you a way to make a citizen's contribution to the political strength of the nation. while civilians, consumers, couch potatos will say something like 'too much trouble,' or 'never work' or 'those grapes were sour,' citizens will act. i hope you will prefer to be a citizen.

that's that's the key: no one is going to give you democracy. first, you must want it. second, you must act like a citizen so that you can become a citizen. to change the nation, begin by changing yourself: allow yourself to hope for success.

i am publishing a few comments from my 'open salon' blog, because my reply re-enforces an important aspect of being a citizen.

Is anyone with me in trying this plan??? I would like to try it, but I am only 1 and I need many. I will email my friends and plead with them to help me in this...but we will need many, many more. I will try al loomis... I want true democracy!

Mid-Sized Diva
November 28, 2011 07:49 PM

Thanks for the call for action...

Algis Kemezys
November 29, 2011 04:05 AM

This will also require a better education system that encourages informed participation without indoctrination. I assume your "citizens initiative' would include ballot questions and much more direct influence over the decision making process. For those things that continue to be done by elected representatives they should be forced to answer questions on applications and in interviews in order to qualify for the ballot. No job applicant would be3 acceptable if they applied the way our politicians do; why should our so-called leaders play by different rules?

November 29, 2011 10:23 AM

msd: i wish i could guarantee success, money-back if no democracy in 30 days.

it doesn't work that way. democracies only work when there are a significant percentage of citizen personalities in the electorate. a citizen of democracy must be willing to make and hold a decision because it's 'the right thing to do,' not because others are doing it.

of course, if others consistently refuse to join a movement to democracy, then it will not happen.

i have been arguing for democracy for about 40 years now, with nearly no success. increasing poverty, ever more visible corruption and inequality, may improve the chance that people will listen. but even if they do, it won't happen over-night, just to put the matter in perspective, consider two things:

the swiss constitution formally established citizen initiative in 1850, but some cantons did not even allow women to vote until 1970's.

female suffrage in america took three generations of struggle, including some violent protest marches, as well as endless published letters and lobbying of legislators.

modern communication and education technology can speed this process up, but you don't change national culture over-night. you have to reach a decision, and prepare a program of sustained pressure. it's much easier nowadays, the web and email take the drudgery out of revolution. but patience and determination are still needed.

i have sketched out a way to bring democracy to public discussion. with 10 million unemployed, with 1 in 4 children dependent on government food assistance, you would think the material is there for democratic revolution.

if you think it's right, there's no copyright. get started...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

voting for the devil

are you a 'choose the lesser of evils' voter?

then you are a supporter of the greater evil.

first, by participating in the election process, you legitimize the winner. your vote for either or any candidate is implicit acceptance that whoever gets the most votes should rule america. doesn't matter what kind of murderous creep he turns out to be, you made it possible for the murderous creep to say, "hey, you voted..."

worse than that, by accepting your role as a 'captive lefty,' you make it possible and desirable for the democrat party to seek votes on the right, since the votes on the left are sewn up. this is why the democrats have been drifting left for the last 40 years- you made it possible. why has the republican party been able to get away with blatantly esposing right wing nonsense? because the democrats are following them to the right, in search of votes they don't have 'sewn up.' so when you read some 'progressive's' complaint about obama being a closet republican, laugh at him. it's his own fault.

if you want to do something about it, i wrote a brief sketch of (nonviolent) revolution in my post called: 'revolution, and democracy' , or come up with a better plan.

one thing though, the only way you can be sure you are wrong, sure you are part of the problem, is to go on voting for politicians.

Monday, August 1, 2011

you were warned...

the founding fathers are treated as the final authority in american political discussion. they have that role because americans do not approach politics as a science, or even a real concern of ordinary people. for americans, politics is a religion and they are permanently outside the bar of practice. they watch the priesthood of politicians practice their arcane rituals without any thought of participation, any more than a medieval serf would have dreamed of joining the table where the lords disposed of life and death, war and peace.

politics does not have to be a religion, it could be simply be the rules and practices agreed to by the adults of a society. but james madison was determined that americans would remain children:

"The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa, or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe; when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. The checks and balances ought to be so constituted as to protect the [privatized property of the] minority of the opulent against the [will of the] majority."

think about this, and you will see that the constitution has been brilliantly successful in the aims of its principal writer. he was frank and determined that wealth would rule the nation, so that the will of the minority could protect itself from the rule of the majority.

much is made of the 'tyranny of the majority,' yet nothing is ever heard about the 'tyranny of the minority.' so we have the spectacle of 1% owning more of america than all the rest, of the agents of the rich crying against the injustice of having to pay taxes.

the truly dispiriting fact is that the warnings in orwell's '1984' fell on deaf ears. it is perfectly possible to train people to see 'white' and report 'black.' it is in fact characteristic of human society, a tranquilizer which allows the elite to rule without constant gunfire. just consider the constant soporific use of the word 'democracy' in societies that not only are not democratic, but, when needed, are willing to explain that actual democracy is not a good thing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

evil in a commercial society

Central & South Asia
'US drone strike' claims lives
The attack is the first since Friday's protest rally in Pakistan condemning civilian deaths in US drone strikes.
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2011 04:40 GMT

The Pakistani public sees the drone attacks as a breach of national sovereignty [EPA]

the pakistanis kill one another with great ease, and are probably not comfortable neighbors. but they live there. that makes the americans murderers.

A US drone attack has killed at least five armed fighters in the North Waziristan tribal district in Pakistan, officials said.

how would they know? would they tell the truth if they knew it? they never have.

According to intelligence officials, the unmanned aircraft launched the missiles on Sunday, in Datta Khel, located 40km west of North Waziristan's main town of Miranshah.

The town is a frequent target of the strikes, and the country's tribal region bordering Afghanistan, is increasingly seen as battleground in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

"The US drone hit a car immediately after it parked outside a house," an intelligence official in Miranshah said.

A second intelligence official said that the drone fired two missiles.

As a policy, the United States does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy them in the region.

A similar strike killed at least three people in North Waziristan on January 12.

On January 1, a string of attacks killed at least 15 people and destroyed a Taliban compound, according to Pakistani officials.

The latest attack is the first since a rally by hundreds of Pakistani tribesmen who gathered to protest against the drone strikes on Friday.


They demanded an end to the operations, which they said were killing civilians including women and children in the tribal areas.

More than 1,000 protesters staged the demonstration in Miranshah, shouting slogans against the United States and the CIA. The strikes are deeply unpopular among the public, who also see military action on Pakistani soil as a breach of their sovereignty.

According to a tally conducted by the AFP news agency, the covert campaign doubled missile attacks in the tribal area last year, where more than 100 drone strikes killed over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009.

Pakistan tacitly co-operates with the bombing campaign, which US officials say has badly damaged al-Qaeda's leadership. But it has stalled launching a ground offensive in North Waziristan, saying its troops are overstretched.

war on the cheap. not mad enough to declare war and occupy the country. not honest enough to explain why they are killing afghans, not smart enough to get out of there, and out of war. the insanity of the american elite is only possible due to the supine submission of the american sheep. 'ozymandias' was just a poem, but i think it may turn out to be prophetic of america's destiny. first they make war as a commercial goal, the sink into which munitions are poured so that there is never a glut of produce in the market. when the taxes are no longer sufficient, they pawn the schools, the hospitals, the roads and phone lines. when they can no longer fool anyone into taking american iou's, the nation will be faced with collapse or mass war.

Washington says the strikes have killed a number of high-value targets, including Baitullah Mehsud, the former head of the Pakistani Taliban.

more 'body count.' the americans never understand that the people of the country they are abusing resent it. it is never a matter of killing leaders, for they are in great supply. but the cia doesn't get paid for long view pacifism, they get paid for taking scalps. the fact that each scalp will grow ten more fighters may not penetrate, and doesn't matter, as someone else will pay the price.