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Friday, April 26, 2013


Something I've been pondering lately: not only the loony right but, it might be, a preponderance of most Americans, proceed and have been proceeding on the assumption that every penny of the money we earn belongs to us and ONLY to us, and, hence, that taxes are burdensome impositions if not, as the Randians at least prate (although when THEY need help it's quite a different story!), outright theft.
I challenge that assumption and throw down the gauntlet to the REALLY aspiring thieves, nearly all of whom do their dirty work under the Private Enterprise colors even while they seek to loot us every which way they can, including buying up OUR government. Not even the Founders believed that ALL anyone's property was theirs alone. In proof of which, read these two quotes from two Founders:

All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a [person], for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is [their] natural Right, which none can justly deprive [them] of:(Nowadays, that would be whatever's necessary for a modest but decent living and to bring up--and educate--one's children in modest comfort and security) But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages.

The protection of a [person] is more sacred than the protection of property; and besides this, the faculty of performing any kind of work or services by which [s/he] acquires a livelihood, or maintaining [their] family, is of the nature of property. It is property to [them], [s/he] has acquired it; and it is as much the object of [their] protection as exterior property, possessed without that faculty, can be the object of protection in another person.

The first was written by Ben Franklin in a letter to Robert Morris on Dec. 25, 1783. The second is from Tom Paine's 'Dissertation on First Principles of Government'.

I don't know about you but I can already hear the whines, "Don't WE know how to spend our own money better than any government revenue hound (modern variation)?"
The answer is, not necessarily. Especially not if you ain't been paying attention, clown! If you barely know what needs doing in your own town, city or region, can we believe you if and when you say YOU know how to spend all your money? I really do wonder.
Mind you, I have my own ideas where our tax dollars should be put to work, but that's another matter. You want roads and bridges safe to drive on? Clean air to breathe and water to drink? Uncontaminated and reasonably fresh food? Not to mention police and fire who serve EVERYONE fairly? The market will do whatever it thinks it can get away with; it's long past time to discipline it and none too gently neither at that!! We can (so far) only monitor the market through the agency of OUR government. You want to know who government is? The same folks as create jobs. THAT means the person you see in the mirror in the morning as you either shave or apply war paint--and his/her neighbors as well, all acting together and deputizing people (representatives; who in turn hire and deputize 'bureaucrats', many of whom actually work not at a desk but either on the road or in physically strenuous jobs) to carry out the things we the people want done!!
Remember: WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. WE ARE ALSO JOB-CREATORS. If anyone tells you the government is your enemy, they say that YOU are your enemy and they seek to sell you for parts!
And I can't repeat often enough that OUR desires and demands create the jobs!!
So--what we need to maintain ourselves, bring up and educate a family in modest comfort is indeed ours, but anything above and beyond that can and should be put to work in ways which benefit ALL of us, benefit the society as a whole. At least, that's what Dr. Franklin said. And he wasn't the only Founder who believed that either.


I've been mulling something over lately: the initial purpose of hijab, niqab, yea even burqa, was to render women INCONSPICUOUS. How well they work, given the stats on abuse of women in Muslim societies, is open to a good deal of questioning.
More than that, though, is the fact that women wearing such clothing in Western or indeed in any non-Muslim societies are ANYTHING BUT inconspicuous; they stick out like sore thumbs! If Muslim men in non-Muslim societies want women to blend in to the scenery, a better costume might be: a cap (in North America, probably a baseball cap) with maybe a pony tail hanging out the back, either t-shirt or sweatshirt depending on the weather, capris or sweatpants ditto, sneakers and a pair of shades if it's a bright day.
And as a Westerner, I can only conclude two things about women who insist (or their menfolk who insist) on wearing niqab or burqa in a non-Muslim society: either they're shutting their eyes to certain things about their 'host' society or they are deliberately raising a battle standard and flaunting it in the faces of the rest of us!
I don't even want to write what I think of males (they don't even deserve to be called 'men' in my opinion) who compel their women to wear clothing which, given the time and place, amounts to a battle flag saying "We-you-coming-to-get, infidel!" except for that where I come from, most men who deserve to be so called would consider such a gesture unconscionably COWARDLY!
Is a combination of both possible? I don't know.
But, as the hijab has a close resemblance to the headscarves which most women still wear at some points or other, it's decidedly different from the other two. Indeed, it can even be a sign of respect for the 'host' society inasmuch as while it says something distinct about the wearer, neither does it hide her face (anyone's most unique feature) and thus enables her to blend into the societal stream as it were.
Besides, I know someone who honors me with the title 'brother' (and I'm delighted to reciprocate) who wears hijabs with more style, class and downright sparkle than I'd have thought possible before! You know who you are, sister! Mwah!
Anyhow, to conclude: if women want to blend in and not stand out, that needs to be sartorial as well. So, ladies, take my 'sister's' advice on how to wear hijabs if that's what you want. Otherwise, go and get the sweatsuits, t-shirts, capris, caps and sneakers. Dressed like that, most males, men and others, will pass you by without a second thought.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


For some reason Asra Nomani's piece today in the Washington Post brought this idea back to my mind: on the one hand liberal, progressive and 'secularized' Muslims, and on the other liberal, progressive and 'secularized' Christians (myself among the progressives)--and nearly all Jews with brains befitting them--are fighting the same battle, although not at the same stage.
The progressive, etc. Muslims are now fighting to separate mosque from state, both here in the West and in their native countries. We now fight to maintain and strengthen the separation we have between church and state. I at least like to think that those of us who are God-, or religiously, oriented understand that separation to be absolutely vital, not only for human freedom of mind (also necessary for technological progress) but also to allow real religion to flourish as it does here where no religious body has been (since 1833) nor will ever be again part of the state establishment. Upwards of four centuries before our First Amendment stated, "Congress shall make no law..." a poet who was himself a friar wrote these words:

When the kindness of Constantine gave Holy Church endowments
In lands and leases, lordships and servants,
The Romans heard an angel cry on high above them
"This day has[the church] drunk venom
And all who have Peter's power are poisoned forever."

If Will Langland could see the corrupting nature of religion and state in the same bed in a time when a different arrangement could hardly be imagined, what excuse do any of us have, with most of the European churches now being near-empty shells as a consequence of that very connection?!
No, those who fear such separation are not afraid on God's account nor for fear of not saving we innocent sheeple but for fear that they won't be able to terrify and enrage their 'flocks' into giving them hefty incomes for doing nothing but terrifying and/or enraging them--that is, with no more reason to 'fleece' the sheeple they actually may have to go and figure out how to earn more honest livings! I say this is so for both Islamist rulers and imams on the one hand and for the far-right Christendomist (new word) preachers, publicists and noisemakers on the other!!
One distinguishing characteristic for them all seems to be a reluctance to 1) use their imagination, especially on behalf of anyone without bursting purses and/or pockets and 2) to use, still less encourage others to use, the rest of their minds except what's necessary to pull the plows so that the massas can keep making money!. Minds awake tend to ask so many seditious and blasphemous (really meaning 'inconvenient' and/or 'difficult for me') questions, don't you know? So they fight tooth and nail against having to actually engage new information and ideas and lie to their flocks that they must consider even such thoughts as blasphemous and possibly damning!
Maybe, Asra, you remind me of these things because self-criticism is also a necessity for engaging the new information, which in turn gives rise to growth and progress for both individuals and societies as a whole.
As for all the should-be hedgerow (or sand-dune?) hollerers, listen up: the hands of many of you are stained, yea, caked (for some) with the blood of others you have either urged to bloodshed or whose blood you have goaded others to shed and that blood will, without your repentances, drag you down to the lake of fire!
And when you stand before the Throne, what will you say to the God Whom we have all been commanded to love with all our hearts, souls, strengths and minds?! Think about it and I hope you charlatans lose plenty of sleep over it!!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


This is actually a series of posts put together on this post for (I hope) the benefit of all progressives campaigning for any office on any level from local on up to federal for this year, next year (2014) and beyond! And as I am a 'channeler' of Harry among others, I'm putting myself more firmly at the head of a hopeful progressive Democratic ticket for 2016--unless another 'conviction' pol like, say, Alan Grayson is interested in the top spot!

  Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri . His wife had inherited the house from her mother and father and other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952 his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them.
When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, "You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise."

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.
Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!"

I say dig him up and clone him!

I think the more Harrys and Harriets we can find to run for offices at all levels, the better. Weigh in, all!

I cannot concur heartily enough with this article. To those listening, I also say that NO ONE who calls him/herself a progressive of any kind should support anyone, for any office on any level from local on up to federal, who does NOT agree to throw private money OUT of ALL elections! If we can't find such candidates, then let's either find them or run for those offices ourselves! Let's get moving on this NOW!!!

One thing which we ABSOLUTELY MUST DO in ALL ELECTIONS this year, next year, to 2016 and probably beyond that is PIN every person running for office at ANY level with 'Republican' after his/her name about their party's 1) professional-style gerrymandering at ALL governmental levels and 2) scheme to RIG the Electoral College in their favor.
'Everybody does it' is a LIE and any candidate who uses that as an excuse deserves spit in their eye!
This can hardly be more serious, ladies and gentlemen! We are talking about schemes to vitiate our democracy and also the very republican form of government most of us cherish!!
For anyone running for office, NOTHING LESS THAN AN EXPRESS ATTACK AND/OR DISAVOWAL OF SUCH ANTI-DEMOCRACY MEASURES SHOULD SUFFICE!! If anyone tries to shuffle or fudge this question, or worse, that should earn them a sentence of PERMANENT ELECTORAL DEATH!!!
Let NO ONE forget this and let's keep on throwing it at every single 'Republican' candidate for ANY federal, state or local office!!
Don't be dissuaded by anything, including phony pleas to 'let's move on from this' or 'why dwell on this?' Well, there's an A1 reason for 'dwelling' on it: it endangers our democracy at its very foundation, that's why!!
Again, let none forget this and let's all POUND the GOP with it!!

Something to say about campaigning: if I'm right, most legislative districts, both for Congress and both houses of state legislatures, are compact enough to be well-covered by candidates going around those districts--WITHOUT KOWTOWING TO LOCAL BIG MONEY INTERESTS.
This is important, so I need feedback from this.
For those on the other side, we already know that kowtowing to big money and petty tyrants of nearly all kinds (except experts who really do know their stuff) is what they're about anyway. But we are different. Let me then ask a question: I'm pretty sure none of US like the idea of grovelling before possible campaign contributors because we're under the illusion that it's an 'easier' thing to do than, say, to cover the whole district ourselves even if we do it in church/synagogue basements and local diners.
Think about it: it may take more time (but probably not much more) and more gas, but which is more encouraging and indeed more nourishing to the soul of anyone who really wants to serve the people?
And isn't the purported need for moremoremore moneymoneymoney allallall the g.d. time incredibly corrosive to those same souls? So, really, what is better, at least on the levels up to congressional--collecting money for media spots or going out among the people with a series of 'townhalls' throughout the districts?! Not to mention how, once one is elected, that same need eats up time far better spent on the people's business? Am I not onto something here? If not, let's hear it now!
But on the offchance I am, well, maybe it's time for progressive candidates and incumbents (again, at least up to congressional level) to forgo the pricey crapola and git down with the real people! I suggest that both people and representatives will be happier when THEIR representatives have more time to listen to them and attend to THEIR business! Doesn't this make sense? I think it does. Let's do it!

Some facts of political life necessary to take into account.
If a progressive wins the presidency in 2016, it may well be for nought UNLESS we organize to also elect progressives to as many seats in Congress as might be humanly possible. If we can elect more progressives in 2014, so much the better. But that victory, too, can be rendered relatively trifling UNLESS we also find, and elect, progressives to the state legislatures in both upcoming election years and thereafter. Those so elected must know that they owe their places to a progressive majority in their states or districts--and ONLY to that progressive majority, not to any big-money contributor or contributors!! Better still if our candidates and officeholders have a strong sense of themselves apart from holding office, but as Mick would sing, we can't always get what we want and that last might be asking a bit much as we are just beginning to organize.
But let's begin looking for people whose progressive politics we can trust and who we think would be good legislators, representatives, or senators--and let's start telling our friends and neighbors about them!! Let's organize in such a way that billionaire would-be contributors become irrelevant!
For those who have doubts about the possibility of such a thing, I ask this: how much more time does it really take to cover either a state legislative or senatorial district, or a congressional district--and to speak with as many real people as possible--than it would to beg fat cats for contributions? And which is more satisfying to the soul of any conviction progressive politician?
So, folks, let's keep rolling as we look for and find good people to run for office or to keep in office! And remember--we need progressives at EVERY level of government!!
Beginning NOW, we need to do a both-sides strategy around at least two issues: 1) we ask ourselves whether we should support already-extant officeholders and openly aspiring candidates OR find our own candidates and stay independent of the two-party system. We need to do BOTH--fight the progressive battle within the Democratic party AND build a literally INDEPENDENT network of progressives which may ally itself with, but without being swallowed by, that same Democratic party! 2) We know that GOP will double and triple efforts to suppress voters. This too needs to be fought two ways: frontally through the courts, legislatures and direct protest action--but we also need to look at the 47% of Americans who voted for Mitt and figure out how, and how many, can be turned away from the GOP to the Democrats or other progressives. If we can erode that number by at least 20 percent, that 20 percent can encourage others until the GOP is left with only the billionaires and their sectarian stooges. And at that point our renewal of America may be unstoppable!!
Anyone with any ideas about the vulnerable points of the 47 percent, please share them now! 2014 and 2016 start NOW, brothers and sisters!!!