Archive for the ‘dumbed-down citizens’ Category

Is insanity seriously taking over the United States?

For a while, I’ve had a theory that part of the reason that the right has taken over was due to de-institutionalisation of the mentally ill. I’d need to find out when the Supreme Court decision came about regarding this practise. While the more obvious symptom is the homeless mentally ill sleeping on the streets and parks, a less obvious one would be that rational thinking had begun to vanish.

David Schwartz, a practising psychotherapist from Ithaca, NY, published a piece called The Rise of the Second-String Psychopaths June 5, 2011 at CommonDreams.org. While Dr. Schwartz (he’s a Ph.D) doesn’t confirm my suspicion, he mentions something that Kurt Vonnegut wrote about in his final book A Man without a Country where Vonnegut proposes that the U.S. had been invaded, in the same manner as Martians, by people with a particularly frightening mental illness. People with this illness were termed psychopaths. (The term nowadays is anti-social personality disorder.) These are terms for people who are smart, personable, and engaging, but who have no consciences. They are not guided by a sense of right or wrong. They seem to be unaffected by the feelings of others, including feelings of distress caused by their actions. Straying from a decent way of treating people, or violating ethical codes causes no anxiety, the anxiety which is what causes the rest of us to moderate our more greedy impulses. They suffer no remorse, no guilt, no shame. They are free to do anything, no matter how harmful.

The United States corporate and government spheres have become, Vonnegut suggested, a perfect habitat for psychopaths. What has allowed so many psychopaths to rise so high in corporations, and then government, in Vonnegut’s opinion:

“is that they are so decisive. They are going to do something every fuckin’ day and they are not afraid. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they don’t give a fuck what happens next. Simply can’t. Do this! Do that! Mobilize the reserves! Privatize the public schools! Attack Iraq! Cut health care! Tap everybody’s telephone! Cut taxes on the rich!”

In a country in which much of human culture has been rendered into machines for the manufacture of money, psychopaths are the ideal leaders. They are very focused. They are outcome oriented. They are frequently charming, and usually very bright and able. They can lay off thousands of people, or deny people health care, or have them waterboarded, and it does not disturb their sleep. They can be impressively confident. Psychopaths can be dynamic leaders of enterprises, but are handicapped by their lack of feelings for relationships. They may be accomplished captains of industry, or senators, or surgeons, but their families are frequently abused and miserable. Most psychotherapists have seen the wives or husband or children of such accomplished people.

Since psychopaths are usually very smart, they can be quite competent at impersonating regular human beings in positions of power. Since they don’t care how their actions affect people, they can rise to great height in enterprises dealing with power and money. They can manufacture bombs or run hospitals. Whatever the undertaking, it is all the same to them. It’s just business.

The social environment over the past 30 years has produced an excellent environment for a psychopathic takeover. Unfortunately, this has created an actual labor shortage for psychopaths. Up until recently there has always been a more than sufficient supply of psychopaths of the first intellectual grade to supply corporate suites and their subsidiary, the Congress. Why is there now a downgrade to the dumb ones, like the lowering of standards for military recruits to deal with a shortage of cannon fodder? The only explanation that Dr. Schwartz can find for the rise of the new batch of psychopathic leaders who resemble the usual type in all ways but one: they’re simply not that smart. One has only to look at right-wing not-so-Christian fundamentalists to see the peculiar emergence of a second-string of psychopaths such as Sarah Palin and Christine O’Donnell.

It is no secret that the Koch brothers and others of the super-rich seem to have undertaken a final push to consolidate control through the conversion of a marginally democratic to an essentially fascist state; extreme right-wing, authoritarian, and demagogic. This kind of government is ideal for control of a populace by the moneyed elite. To carry this out requires the employment of many ‘kept’ politicians to excite and misdirect scared and angry, and ignorant, voters. Lest the citizenry realize who stole their money and storm their castles with torches, the rapacious elite need politicians who will carry out the work of re-directing anger at teachers, or labor unions, or the poor. I can only conclude that the people who now own the country couldn’t find any first-rate psychopaths to carry out their work. Or maybe the smart ones were all occupied. So they had to go to second-stringers, people who could actually believe what they were told to say.

The United States has become second-best, even in the quality of its psychopaths due to the policies of the last 30 years. Nevertheless, madness has been able to take over what was once the world’s most powerful nation and bring it to its knees.

Never expect sanity when dealing with the insane.

Betcha didn’t know about this–thank corporate censorship!

Two LUV News readers calling themselves The Class Warriors and wishing to remain anonymous, have made a video that should be seen widely.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoKW771tG_Q

Remember when?

OK, this message is making it’s way around the internet and I’m happy to share it:

Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, AmeriCorps, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither. Please share this message.

Why I am particular about people who can comment here.

{ed. This was cross posted at the Man with the Muckrake blog as Sepp, through his ignorance, refers to Obama as a man of principle, envied by rivals}

I was invited to be a guest author on the Man with the Muckrake’s Blog haven’t figured out how to post as a guest author  or I would make this interaction a post on his blog.  I’m hoping someone with those privileges does that since it would be amusing to see sepp see make a fool himself.  But he does that all the time anyway.

Anyway, there is a moron, Sepp, who likes to come by and make idiotic comments which I fact check and show he has no idea of what he is talking about.  In typical “How to talk to Liberals” form, he continues saying the same shit.

Here  sepp, through his ignorance, compliments Barack Obama!

Sepp is too much of a dumbshit to have figured out what was going on.  Anyway…

65 Responses to “Cartoon Characters Headline 2012 GOP Candidates”

-Sepp Says:
03/25/2011 at 10:59 AM | Reply

<snip through right wing nonsense>

A man for all seasons!

  • lacithedog Says:
    03/25/2011 at 2:05 PM | Reply
    A man for all seasons! 

    Naw, that was Sir Thomas More, you twat!

    • lacithedog Says:
      03/26/2011 at 1:31 PM
      Since sepp is too dim to understand this comment, I will further explain that a literary allusion works a whole lot better when you use it correctly.The work a Man for All Seasons was about Sir Thomas More: 

      The plot is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century Chancellor of England, who refused to endorse King Henry VIII’s wish to divorce his aging wife Catherine of Aragon, who could not bear him a son, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, the sister of his former mistress. The play portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell and loved by the common people and by his family.

      As the blurb points out, More was a man of principle.

      Sepp, by not having an idea of what he is talking about is referring to Obama in the same light as Sir Thomas More.

      And he wonders why I think he’s a shit for brains.

Sepp , of course, misses the fact that his literary allusion totally blows the point he is trying to make to anyone with any knowledge of the play “A Man For All Seasons” and says:

So to break my point down for you, and explain the point in it’s most basic meaning so you can understand it, I took the long route in saying that Obama appeals to BOTH party extremes since he talks like Obama and acts like Bush.

My response:

Yeah, but in typical Sepp dumbshit fashion, you torpedo that by saying “A Man for All Seasons” which is a play about Sir Thomas More.

The play shows More as a man of principle envied by rivals and loved by the common people.

Literary allusions work a whole lot better when you have some idea of what you are saying, shit for brains.

Mark Hertsgaard, Climate Cranks, and Stupid Yanks

This little factoid really bothers me:

There is a major paradigm shift in the climate story, in the climate problem. What changed, sometime around the turn of the century, was that global warming triggered outright climate change, and it did so a hundred years sooner than scientists expected. And so that huge shift in the problem – the fact that now we’re locked into a significant amount of climate change, even if we do everything rightMark Hertsgaard



UK Conservative Party (You know, the Party that produced Margaret Thatcher) Policy on Climate Change:

Climate Change and Energy

The Government believes that climate change is one of the gravest threats we face, and that urgent action at home and abroad is required. We need to use a wide range of levers to cut carbon emissions, decarbonise the economy and support the creation of new green jobs and technologies. We will implement a full programme of measures to fulfil our joint ambitions for a low carbon and eco-friendly economy.

* We will push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling international climate change.
* We will seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.
* We will continue public sector investment in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for four coal-fired power stations.
* We will establish a smart grid and roll out smart meters.
* We will create a green investment bank.
* We will retain energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs.
* We will establish an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient carbon capture and storage.
* We will cancel the third runway at Heathrow and refuse permission for additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
* Through our ‘Green Deal’, we will encourage home energy efficiency improvements paid for by savings from energy bills.
* We will reform energy markets to deliver security of supply and investment in low carbon energy, and ensure fair competition.
* We will give an Annual Energy Statement to Parliament to set strategic energy policy and guide investment.
* We will work towards an ambitious global climate deal that will limit emissions and explore the creation of new international sources of funding for the purpose of climate change adaptation and mitigation.

See also:
Generation Hot
Mark Hertsgaard
Generation Hot on Facebook
Why Are Republicans Against The Science?
The Conservative Party | Policy | Where we stand | Climate Change and Energy

free speech, critical thinking, editing, censorship, and the internet.

A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both–James Madison

I’ve been wanting to write something on this topic for a while. This comment by Susan at Liberality got my mind working:

Two hundred years ago the founders of the republic would have been deliriously happy at the idea of Americans able to be informed by the sheer volume of available facts the digital information age would produce. The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of reinforcing their particular choice of cultural ignorance.

I am thoroughly in agreement with what she says in that the Internet, like Television can be a force for spreading knowledge and culture. On the other hand, it has become a place where opinions tend to be reinforced by similar viewpoints. Dissenting voices are shot down by astroturf posting.

I am well aware that one of the criticisms about this blog is that I moderate comments, which in no way is a violation of someone’s free speech. The problem is that the opinions that I do not publish are repeated across the internet–some are far overrepresented. Additionally, the comments come from someone who also blogs or has a forum in which to voice their opinions. The concept of free speech is to allow for dissenting opinions to be heard. They are not heard if someone comes in and drowns out that opinion with something that is overrepresented.

What Is Censorship? Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons — individuals, groups or government officials — find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it!” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.

Given that definition, and the other ones found here, I am in no manner or form engaging in censorship. Additionally, I have a commenting policy:

These are my opinions and I don’t care if you read this. I blog for myself, but don’t mind if others read what I write. I don’t really want to hear from you–unless you agree with me or unless you can offer intelligent and constructive comments or can say something interesting and informative, don’t waste your time doing such as your comments end up in the electronic dustbin without being read. Quality over quantity is my preference for comments.

Also, any comments left here become the property of this blog for me to do as I wish. So BEWARE!

This takes us back to my comment about astroturf. George Monbiot pretty much sums up my feelings about the repeat, ignorant, and irrelevant comments:

I love debate, and I often wade into the threads beneath my columns. But it’s a depressing experience, as instead of contesting the issues I raise, many of those who disagree bombard me with infantile abuse, or just keep repeating a fiction, however often you discredit it. This ensures that an intelligent discussion is almost impossible – which appears to be the point.

The second pattern is the strong association between this tactic and a certain set of views: pro-corporate, anti-tax, anti-regulation. Both traditional conservatives and traditional progressives tend be more willing to discuss an issue than these right-wing libertarians, many of whom seek instead to shut down debate.

I don’t mind comments if they are truly interested in debate, but as most people who blog about gun-control, climate change, and other controversial topics will tell you, the comments they receive are there to shut down debate. For example, when I made my posts on inalienable rights, it was very clear that most of the posters had no idea of what I was talking about in those posts. Additionally, the tone is that of religious reverence for a philosophical position which is very much up for debate and hardly a “settled matter”.

I routinely delete comments that repeat questions or ask questions about material which can be properly researched. I will also add that I have investigated some of these topics and written blogs posts which outline my conclusions. Again, if the repeat posters would take time to RESEARCH, they will probably find the answers to their questions. I do not force my opinions on anyone and prefer not to have people force theirs upon me.

Which gets to critical thinking, which is defined as:

Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

It entails the examination of those structures or elements of thought implicit in all reasoning: purpose, problem, or question-at-issue; assumptions; concepts; empirical grounding; reasoning leading to conclusions; implications and consequences; objections from alternative viewpoints; and frame of reference. Critical thinking — in being responsive to variable subject matter, issues, and purposes — is incorporated in a family of interwoven modes of thinking, among them: scientific thinking, mathematical thinking, historical thinking, anthropological thinking, economic thinking, moral thinking, and philosophical thinking.

Critical thinking can be seen as having two components: 1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills, and 2) the habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior. It is thus to be contrasted with: 1) the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, because it involves a particular way in which information is sought and treated; 2) the mere possession of a set of skills, because it involves the continual use of them; and 3) the mere use of those skills (“as an exercise”) without acceptance of their results.

The founders assumed that people would be properly educated and be able to use critical reasoning skills to assess points of view not merely say:

“It’s all over the internet, it must be true”
“It came from — facts, it must be true”

Part of this is being able to use one’s experience to verify what is being written, and the other is the research skills to further investigate what has been asserted. I will admit that I like going into depth on topics that interest me, which is something you may have noticed if you read this blog on a regular basis.

The Founding fathers were indeed supporters of education, which seems to be lost on the current generation. For example, the two quotes from James Madison can be found on the left side of the main entrance of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress:

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

On the right side of the entrance:

What spectacle can be more edifying or more seasonable, than that of liberty and learning, each leaning on the other for their mutual and surest support?

And these quotes from Thomas Jefferson on the Jefferson Building:

Educate and inform the mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.

Benjamin Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, and John Witherspoon was President and head professor of what would become Princeton University, which demonstrates that education was important to the founders in order to have the type of debate necessary to run the republic. Which is an interesting aside and somewhat germane to the topic since Susan pointed out that “The fatal assumption was that Americans would choose to think and learn, instead of reinforcing their particular choice of cultural ignorance”.

The American War for Independence was an idealistic act, and with most idealistic acts and philosophies, its beliefs have run into hard reality. Beliefs such as Anarchy, Democracy, Communism, Socialism, Libertarianism, and so on sound good in theory, but don’t works so well in reality. For example, Anarchy believes that government is not necessary since people know the rules and pretty much obey them, breaking them only when absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, Anarchy tends to descend into nihilism. I contend that one of the failings of the Independence movement was that the voices of the Tories and more moderate forces of independence were shouted down, which means that the guarantee of free speech was a little too late (but that’s another aside).

Anyway, debate and open discussion is a wonderful thing, but it does seem to be a rare commodity on the internet.

And I just liked this quote:

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.–James Madison 

References:
http://editorsnote.blogs.tuscaloosanews.com/10007/editing-or-censorship/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/whodecides/definitions.html
http://www.monbiot.com/2010/12/13/reclaim-the-cyber-commons/
http://www.criticalthinking.org/
http://www.criticalthinking.org/aboutct/define_critical_thinking.cfm
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/james_madison.html
http://www.loc.gov/loc/legacy/bldgs.html
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/index_1.html

American Idiot

I saw this on Gary: Tank Commander. I wanted to use their clip, but this is probably better.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Posted 24/02/2011 by lacithedog in dumbed-down citizens

Be a good American

From Liberty Underground News Service

I think, therefore, I am not a US Citizen.

Posted 18/02/2011 by lacithedog in dumbed-down citizens

Liberalism and populism in the US.

I have to admit that I find the blog American Creation to be really interesting and informative. Which leads to their credit for having a post about William Hogeland (Hysteriography), which is a name I’ve encountered before since we share interests: in particular, early American insurrections and populism. Although, I have to admit his pieces in the Boston Review, Real Americans, and at New Deal 2.0, Liberals and Populism: An Uneasy History, really struck a chord with me.

The left is often left wondering why its message is lost on the people. For example, I read a blog which made some wild claims about progressives being against “freedom”. Of course, the blogger in question probably has a different concept of the word freedom than I do if he dislikes the changes that progressivism has brought about: such as the pure food and drug act, the clean air and water acts, child labour laws, laws about safety in the workplace, and so on. Or is it a person’s right and freedom to want to be a slave?

The problem is that there is a strong anti-intellectual streak in the American population. As Hogeland points out “the main populist assault (During William Jennings Bryan’s time), just as today, was on common liberal modes of discussion, debate, and expertise.” There was the disgust with the East Coast, Elites, which today would be termed the “Within the Beltway mindset”. Hogeland takes his premise even further back at Liberals and Populism: An Uneasy History going to the War for American Independence.

Liberals and Populism: An Uneasy History gets me thinking my usual question about how many of the founding fathers would have chosen to incite the masses had they known how hard the mob would be to control? As I said at American Creation, Especially since Samuel Adams wasn’t a populist! That is truly an interesting point. I know that he had made a comment about Shays’ Rebellion which would point to his being a strong denouncer of insurrectionism (“Rebellion against a king may be pardoned or lightly punished, but the man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.”). Given that Sam Adams was prone to stirring up mobs as happened in the Boston Massacre and Philadelphia, this is truly a revelation!

Of course, this post may tend toward the elitism for which overeducated people such as myself, but one has to wonder how much the people who wanted independence at any cost would view the effect on US Politics (as opposed to the Tories who wanted any change to be done through legal means)? The problem is that the mob is not a body which can be controlled or is reasonable. One needs leadership. Or to quote James Madison:

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions. Federalist #10

DISOBEY RUPERT MURDOCH ON THE SECOND OF NOVEMBER

Change the Date to the Coming US election and this is quite appropriate!

I posted the above image from White Rabbit in yesterday’s Beau Bo D’or post where I pointed out that the Tea Party is basically a Fox News creation. And Fox News is a part of Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp empire.

 

It seems that Newscorp is having problems with its political donations in the US. It amazes me that US citizens are as ignorant of who runs their political system as this quote from the Guardian article points out:

In the run-up to the last presidential election in 2008, Murdoch backed Democrat candidates, shifting his support from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. He has since thrown his support firmly behind Obama’s Republican opponents.

Litvack added: “While it is perfectly reasonable for companies to engage in policy debate on specific matters that affect their business, there needs to be a clear and transparent process to ensure that such activities serve the interests of shareholders. There is no evidence of a political contributions policy or process at News Corp.”

So, maybe those Tea Partiers should be rising up against big business that makes them puppets on a string.

Eff Orf, Mike W.!

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Christine O’Donnell is a candiate for high office in his jurisdiction: since people get the government they deserve.

A most appropriate office for Mikey is the Mayor of Simpleton!

BTW, I saw XTC at the Birmingham Odeon in 1981.

Reason, Change, and the progressive mind

In my post: Why People Don’t Believe Scientists Even When There Is ‘Consensus’ (via A Thinking Person) I mentioned that he explained:

the phenomenon of where people accept studies that are poorly supported over those with oodles of support, peer review, etcetera. That is people are more inclined to believe things that fit their worldview. Change requires effort and is uncomfortable, thus people prefer inactivity and status quo.

In the ideal world, people would be logical rather than susceptible to their emotions. Unfortunately, people are more inclined to let their emotions sway them, no matter how irrational that may be.

I am not alone in wondering this as other progressives, such as George Monbiot recently wrote an article in the Guardian, which was posted to his blog about this phenomenon.

We see someone who is Jewish allying herself with neo-nazis or a person who feels free because he can work 62 hours and not have any vacation which are totally irrational positions. George Monbiot points out that:

[we are] forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting.

The acceptance of a course of action which run contrary to perceived interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. But most Progressives use the enlightenment model of thinking which holds that people make rational decisions by assessing facts. Psychological experiments are showing that it doesn’t work the way we would expect. Instead of performing a rational analysis, people accept information which confirms our identity and values, and reject information that conflicts with those values. We mould our thinking around our social identity, protecting it from serious challenge. Confronting people with inconvenient facts is likely only to harden resistance to the conflicting idea.

The US Tea Party crowd angrily demands that they be left without healthcare, while insisting that millionaires should pay less tax. People in the US insanely demand their “gun rights” and are easily manipulated with wedge issues. Not that they are the only victims of this irrationality as other countries seem set to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest.

Our social identity is shaped by values which psychologists classify as either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic values concern status and self-advancement. People with a strong set of extrinsic values fixate on how others see them. They cherish financial success, image and fame. Intrinsic values concern relationships with friends, family and community, and self-acceptance. Those who have a strong set of intrinsic values are not dependent on praise or rewards from other people. They have beliefs which transcend their self-interest.

We are not born with our values. They are shaped by the social environment. By changing our perception of what is normal and acceptable, politics alters our minds as much as our circumstances. In addition, advertising and the media are used to persuade people by obsessive promotion of celebrity, fashion, fast cars, expensive holidays: all of which inculcate extrinsic values. They also suppress intrinsic goals by generating feelings of insecurity and inadequacy – which means reducing self-acceptance.

George Monbiot
suggests that:

People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them (those who encourage selfishness). We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.

I have to admit a dilema in dealing with the severely brainwashed since I am not sure than anything short of a religious experience would convert them from their positions. It will take quite a bit to change our society so that it values community and family, not just work. We must stand up for those who believe there is more to life than the bottom line.

Perhaps the most important point that George makes is that we shouldn’t rely upon politicians to bring about this change as “their ambition must supplant peace of mind, family life, friendship – even brotherly love.” We must assert the values that we believe in and become the change that we seek.

See this report for more on the concept of reenforcing beliefs:
http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/common_cause_report.pdf

The Destruction of Blair Mountain

For some reason, US Citizens are more than willing to see their history being plowed over.  In the case of Blair Mountain, not only will a historic site be destroyed, so will an entire mountain.  Obviously, Blair Mountain is a mountain and its located in West Virginia.  More importantly, Blair Mountain was the site of the largest Civil rebellion since the Civil War when Miners and the Mine owners clashed in actual armed battle.  Between 10,000 and 15,000 coal miners confronted an army of police and strikebreakers backed by coal operators for five days in late August and early September 1921  The Battle ended only after approximately one million rounds were fired and the US Army intervened by presidential order.

The current “battle” is between Coal interests and those who would preserve this area.  The Battle of Blair Mountain site was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 30, 2009.  Coal Interested contested the designation of the Blair Mountain site and the site was delisted.  Once again, the Big Coal interests demonstrate that they don’t care about the public.  In the comment letter submitted by battlefield archeologist Dr. Harvard Ayers dealt with the records of ownership of battlefield properties and included a legal opinion on title holders by John Kennedy Bailey, real estate attorney of Charleston. After extensive review of the tax, deed, and death records at the Logan County, West Virginia, courthouse, Ayers and Bailey concluded that five of the objectors of record submitted by Mr. Reid-Smith were not legitimate owners. Two were dead, two were Life Estates, and one had sold their property. Of the 10 of 57 properties that he researched in depth, he also discovered 13 additional owners not found by the cursory search of the West Virginia Attorney General’s office. The upshot of this research was that the count shifted to 25 objectors and 37 non-objectors, which would overturn any attempt to de-list the battlesite.

A petition from a long list of some of the nation’s most prominent scholars, historians and archaeologists–including the president of the Society for Historical Archaeology, the former president of the American Historical Society, officers of the Appalachian Studies Association–made a direct appeal to WV Gov. Joe Manchin:

“The Blair Mountain Battlefield is a unique historic and cultural treasure that deserves recognition and protection… No doubt much remains to be discovered, and scholars must be able to continue to study this important chapter in American history..We are concerned that the recent attempt to delist Blair Mountain from the National Register may be a first step toward strip-mining the mountain for coal production, which will destroy the historic site. The National Park Service found that the battlefield is both significant and intact, and we believe it must be preserved for future generations.”

In 2005, United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts declared:

“The UMWA has always believed the Blair Mountain battle site should be preserved, and I began publicly calling for it back in the 1980’s. We believe a monument should be erected at the site explaining what happened there, and that the road running through the site should be renamed Blizzard Highway, in honor of Bill Blizzard, the miners’ leader at Blair Mountain. We support preserving the land immediately around the battle site, because we believe it’s important for future generations to stand on that ground, and understand the importance of what happened there. This is also a personal issue for me and thousands of others from coal mining families who have relatives and ancestors who fought at Blair Mountain. What they did is a source of pride and inspiration to our families, and helps give us the strength to carry on their fight for justice. We will never forget it, nor should America.”

Before the ink was dry on the National Registry, lawyers representing three out-of-state coal companies, including Massey Energy, somehow managed to round up new “objectors” to the Registry status, and asked the WV Division of Culture and History to issue a recount of the objectors vs. non-objectors. According to their own company report, “Jackson Kelly’s lawyers aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty…”  For those not in the know, Massey Energy Co.’s sprawling Upper Big Branch mine was the location where an underground explosion blamed on methane gas killed 25 coal miners in the worst U.S. mining disaster in more than two decades.

Anyway, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Class War is alive and kicking in the US, but the American public can be easily distracted with wedge issues. The Working class can be deluded into believing they are “middle class” and made to believe that their interests lie with the rich and powerful. It’s a shame that the struggles of the workers for their rights have not only been forgotten, but the worker’s rights have been successfully rolled back.

Blair Mountain should be preserved for both its historic significance and its being the last vestige of scenic beauty. The De-listing of the Blair Mountain Battlefield must be reversed!

Please write a letter asking that the Blair Mountain Battlefield site be relisted on the Historic Register using the model from the Friends of Blair Mountain Site and spread the word to your friends that they should ask that this site is relisted.

And sign the petition here http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/saveblairmountain

See also:
http://www.pawv.org/news/blair.htm
http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2010/08/05/blair-mountain-news-petition-to-reconsider-historic-de-listing-denied-but-the-battle-goes-on/
http://ilovemountains.org/
http://ilovemountains.org/webbadges/bloggers_toolbar1c.php?id=48071

Something I read on another blog reminded me of this…

Monty Python’s “The Idiot in Society”:

Someplace such as the Faculty of Idiocy at the University of East Anglia is the only place I can imagine this person receiving an education. Of course, the village idiot is a part of the old village system, and as such has a vital role to play in a modern rural society, because there is this very real need in society for someone whom almost anyone can look down on and ridicule. And this is the role that this person and members of his family have fulfilled in his village for the past four hundred years.

Unfortunately, I can’t see this person having lucid moments: he’s a full time idiot. Although the post that provoked this one had me thinking of this idiot being a lecturer in idiocy: something he’s well qualified.

It’s nice to know that after three years of study this idiot received a diploma of idiocy, a handful of mud and a kick on the head.

He is still a glutton for punishment which is why he enjoys making idiotic comments on people’s blogs.

The Liberal Media are as Liberal as the large corporations that control them.

This rant was caused by a comment made elsewhere about my So much to be pissed at post as well as a shitload of other things.

” I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. ”
Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805 – 1859, French political thinker and author of Democracy in America

I am curious about why the founders put the First Amendment in the Constitution in light of the de Tocqueville quote above:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It pisses me off that the first time I came to Philadelphia in 1980 and went to Independence Hall to see the US version of “speaker’s Corner” that (a) no one was speaking, and even more disappointing, (b) a young lady made a comment that “if anyone said anything bad about the US she would punch them in the nose”.

Compare that to Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park which has a vibrant history of oratory, discussion, debate, humour and madness. Rarely do people make comments about punching others in the nose no matter how much they may disagree in London. Of course the remark about London’s Speakers’ Corner that “the older generation of Socialists who have battled for their ideas here many for more than half a century” might go a long way to explain why the US version of Speakers’ Corner is silent.

While looking up material on Media Control and Propaganda I came upon the Third World Traveler’s Media Control and Censorship page. THIRD WORLD TRAVELER

is an archive of articles and book excerpts that seek to tell the truth about American democracy, media, and foreign policy, and about the impact of the actions of the United States government, transnational corporations, global trade and financial institutions, and the corporate media, on democracy, social and economic justice, human rights, and war and peace, in the Third World, and in the developed world.

My interest is the point that the US media are controlled by a very small group of people. Five companies control 80% of what you see on TV, and 10 companies control two-thirds of what you hear on the radio in the United States! We can get into how this affect the accuracy of US Commercial media, but you can find that in very fine detail at this site.

“As long as people are marginalized and distracted [they] have no way to organize or articulate their sentiments, or even know that others have these sentiments. People assume that they are the only people with a crazy idea in their heads. They never hear it from anywhere else. Nobody’s supposed to think that. … Since there’s no way to get together with other people who share or reinforce that view and help you articulate it, you feel like an oddity, an oddball. So you just stay on the side and you don’t pay any attention to what’s going on. You look at something else, like the Superbowl.”
Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

The concept of freedom of speech is to get out ideas which normally wouldn’t be heard. Unfortunately, the US media tends to play up and dwell on stories that are sensational – murders, car crashes, kidnappings, sex scandals, and so on. This is why the idiot preacher in Florida was able to get a vastly disproportionate amount of attention. Likewise, the Media chooses who it wants to support. As I mentioned in my Feeling “Left” out post:

the Tea Party Convention this February received more coverage than the U.S. Social Forum convention held last June, five days of strategizing, organizing and activism inspired by the 2001 World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The Social Forum, in Detroit, drew an estimated 15,000–20,000 progressive activists from around the country, while the Tea Party Convention in Nashville hosted a meager 600 attendees. Compare the two “activist” gatherings striving for political and social change, one at least 25 times larger than the other—but the smaller one received the larger share of the media coverage. Across 10 major national outlets in the two weeks surrounding each event, the Tea Party got 177 mentions to the Social Forum’s three. Per participant, the Tea Party got 1,500 times as many mentions!

The Internet, in some ways, is just as bad since googling “gun control” nets you more pro-gun sites than ones that address the issue of gun control. The amazing thing is that the “gun rights” message is heard vastly out of proportion to its level of support.

“You have presented to stations around the world a model for freedom of speech and the unhindered availability of information… You have shown that despite media monopolies and manipulations it is possible to preserve a spirit of tolerance, freedom and truth and to allow dissenting voices to be heard… Your struggle to preserve your autonomy… has revealed an unexpected similarity between the media in the US and Serbia today, the freedom of speech is being stifled in a similar manner, journalists are being .. intimidated and progressive radio stations are prevented from operating. The character of media repression is virtually the same under openly totalitarian dictatorships as it is under democratic systems which are increasingly influenced by conservative structures.”

A message of solidarity from banned independent radio station B92 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia to Pacifica Radio Stations in the US, expressing support in their struggle to preserve progressive community radio in the United States – July 1999

The problem is that with media control in the hands of a few and no outlet for opposing viewpoints, the First Amendment guarantees are basically shit blotter. It’s roughly like the Second and Third Amendment guarantees against a standing army being trampled by an out of control military machine. One wonders in retrospect why did the founders bother to write all this down if it would become meaningless in a few years?

There’s quite a lot to be angry about here, but I am not sure of where to direct all this anger.

I will add a couple of links here for non MSM news:
http://www.pacifica.org/
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Independent_Media/Internet_News_Information.html