Tag Archives: OWS

Meet the children killed in your name by drone strikes. Be proud, America! Be proud!


PAKISTAN

Name | Age | Gender

Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male

YEMEN

Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
Nasser Salim | 19

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/07/25/us-officials-attack-far-from-authoritative-leaked-drone-report/PAKISTAN

Name | Age | Gender

Noor Aziz | 8 | male
Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
Noor Syed | 8 | male
Wajid Noor | 9 | male
Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
Ayeesha | 3 | female
Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
Shoaib | 8 | male
Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
Maezol Khan | 8 | female
Nasir Khan | male
Naeem Khan | male
Naeemullah | male
Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
Ziauddin | 16 | male
Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
Ilyas | 13 | male
Sohail | 7 | male
Asadullah | 9 | male
khalilullah | 9 | male
Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
Khalid | 12 | male
Saifullah | 9 | male
Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
Nawab | 17 | male
Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
Abdullah | 18 | male
Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
Shahbuddin | 15 | male
Yahya Khan | 16 |male
Rahatullah |17 | male
Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
Shahjehan | 15 | male
Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
Numair | 14 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Taseel Khan | 18 | male
Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
Alam Nabi | 11 | male
Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
Rahmatullah | 14 | male
Abdus Samad | 17 | male
Siraj | 16 | male
Saeedullah | 17 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Salman | 12 | male
Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
Iftikhar | 17 | male
Inayatullah | 15 | male
Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
Ihsanullah | 16 | male
Luqman | 12 | male
Jannatullah | 13 | male
Ismail | 12 | male
Abdul Waris | 16 | male
Darvesh | 13 | male
Ameer Said | 15 | male
Shaukat | 14 | male
Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
Adnan | 16 | male
Najibullah | 13 | male
Naeemullah | 17 | male
Hizbullah | 10 | male
Kitab Gul | 12 | male
Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
Zabihullah | 16 | male
Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
Shabir | 15 | male
Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
Shafiullah | 16 | male
Nimatullah | 14 | male
Shakirullah | 16 | male
Talha | 8 | male

source

Advertisements

Into the Looking Glass


I watched a video this week that I think was very powerful.  I would really like you to take the 7 minutes 37 seconds of your life to watch it, and then let us have an intimate little chat, shall we?

Let me start by saying, I am one of either the lucky ones or the strong ones.  Take your pick.  Either way, I have been through my share, and I do not need anyone’s pity or even sympathy.  At this point, I will give at least as good as I get, and I don’t necessarily say that with any pride.  I simply state it as fact. To be honest, I recognize that sometimes, I can go overboard and tend to escalate the situation, because I simply refuse to back down.  As my father said, I didn’t learn to duck, even when I should.

Understand?

So, yeah, that’s me now.  It wasn’t always so.  In elementary school and all the way up until about half way through the 8th grade even, I was the target of the neighborhood bullies.  Yep.  I was beaten and verbally abused.  I was the nerd.  And, I took it.  I did; I did.  Something happened one day out on the track field, and I am only vaguely aware of the specifics of the events.  It isn’t the haze of time.  I wasn’t entirely certain what happened even on that day.  I remember leaning on the fence out at the track field, and the little shit, neighborhood bully, Marcel, came up behind me.  He grabbed me in a “full Nelson”, locking his arms through mine and behind my head.  From there, I am not sure how, but I got out and the next thing I know, I have him down on the track. I’m using the asphalt as a grater for his face.  A few moments later, after some screaming from the crowd, the coaches were separating us.  I’m not sure who was more shocked – Marcel or I.  I went over and sat under a tree.  And, that, was the end of that shit.

A lot of other kids haven’t found it in themselves to do the same.  That certainly isn’t to say that I haven’t dealt with other situations.  Other people who thought they were going to bully or intimidate me, or others, into control of a situation.  It is only to say, that was the last time that was going to have any effect on me.

Do you grok?

Martin Niemöller

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten,    First they came for

habe ich geschwiegen,                                   the communists,

ich war ja kein Kommunist.                         and I didn’t speak out

.                                                                           because I wasn’t a

.                                                                          communist.

Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, Then they came for the

habe ich geschwiegen,                                     socialists,

ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.                    and I didn’t speak out

.                                                                             because I wasn’t a

.                                                                             socialist.

Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten,                Then they came for the

habe ich geschwiegen,                                     trade unionists,

ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.                     and I didn’t speak out

.                                                                             because I wasn’t a trade

.                                                                             unionist.

Als sie mich holten,                                            Then they came for me,

gab es keinen mehr,                                            and there was no one left

der protestieren konnte.                                   to speak for me.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

When I was 12 in 1984, a full 20 years after the voting rights act that the SCOTUS so injudiciously recently gutted, I was playing in my yard with my brother who was 11.  We lived in a predominately black neighborhood, and we were the minority.  A black family had just moved in next door, with a young daughter.  She was maybe 9 or so.  She came up to the fence tentatively.  Almost fearfully, and asked, “Are you allowed to play with black children?”  Did you read that?!  It brings tears to my eyes as I type it now 28 years later.  “Are you allowed to play with black children?”  That child should never have had that thought much less have had to ask it, and yet, she already knew that in some places, that would have caused problems.  Problems not only for her, but for her family.

How deep does the rabbit hole go?
CONTINUED on PAGE 2


Occupy Every Day


Every once in a while it is important to revisit older topics, that we’ve discussed before.  Today, I would like to come back to a couple of those, because they remain important and relevant.

If we are going to maintain pressure and relevance, then we have to continue to remember to act, right?  One of the major knocks against the Occupy movement, for example, is that it lost focus.  Certainly the occupation of major parks, and the various actions that were taken beginning in September of 2011 were breathtaking and stoked the imagination.  They fired me up.  They captured the hopes of many who were struggling to find “hope and change” in an America that had yet again been lied to and misled.

And, then, they fell apart.  As with most inclusive movements, it fell prey to its own grand ideals.  Instead of staying focused on the financial purposes that it started with, it wanted to be leaderless and then it became amorphous and had so many tentacles and purposes that it lost its relevance.  Oh, to be sure, it still exists.  The movement that is.  I believe that there are still a few active occupations.  Somewhere… Maybe.  Even I have lost track, and interest.  They lost me when they got off track.  And, yes, I admit that I boisterously proclaimed that it was the last great hope for America.  I even went so far in my fervor at the time as to say that if it failed, then I would start voting for the most evil right wing candidate I could find in order to simply hasten the fall of America.  “Bring on the burning,” I said.

I retract those words, and acknowledge my own foolishness in having said them.  I can only say that I was fired up and hopeful.  I was excited and trying to get others equally fired up and motivated.  I do still believe that it had great potential.  Had there been some strong hands to guide it and maintain focus at the core, then it could have accomplished great things.  I do think that it had impact, in changing the focus of the conversation ever so slightly.  It was not the impact though that it could have had, and the damn Tea Partiers are still holding too much sway.  Largely that is because there was too heavy an influence in the Occupy movement that simply felt that they could somehow change the system without actually being participants in the system.

There are only two ways to change a political system.  One can either participate in and change it from with in, or one can violently overthrow it.  That’s it.  There are no other alternatives to changing it.  If you play a pussy-foot, half-in-half-out game then what happens is that you wind up supporting (whole heartedly) the status quo.  That is what happened with the occupy movement.  Too many wanted to try to maintain the illusion that they were above and beyond the system, while still enjoying the benefits of that system.  They wanted the technological benefits (the iPods, the smart phones, the lap top computers, the internet, the wifi, etc), they wanted the Constitutional protections, the responsiveness of the elected representatives, and all that the system had to offer.  They screamed for and demanded their rights.  “Whose park?  Our Park!” and “This is what Democracy looks like” they screamed.  Hell, I screamed, for I took my boys and went down to the streets, too.  But, for all too many of them, they didn’t then want to exercise their responsibilities.  They didn’t want to vote, or participate in the jury pools.  They didn’t want to pay taxes or support that same government that they railed against.  They didn’t want to participate by electing the candidates that would support the views that they wanted supported.  They were only half-in.
CONTINUED on PAGE 2


In for a penny. In for a pound.


The internets and the air waves are aflame!  But, what is that which is burning?  It’s old news that has come to light, again.  While there is a whole paper to be written on that phenomenon, we’re going to move on to a more important aspect right now.  At least in this case, the news is still relevant, and that is why there are more important aspects that we should focus on.

I previously wrote on the importance of our economic vote.  In short, where you shop does, in fact, matter.  It is a constantly updating list also.  For example, I have recently become aware that I will have to forgo my occasional late night trips to Waffle House , because of their sizable corporate contributions to Karl Rove’s superPAC, American Crossroads.  As we, as consumers, make our choices, our impact will be felt, or our apathy will be shown.  Either way, we are making our stand.

  • Bringing Chick-fil-A back to the forefront of the news this week though are several events:As Equality Matters had reported in March, I linked to in April and we have actually known for at least a decade, Chick-fil-A through their charitable foundation, WinShape has been consistently giving to anti-gay marriage groups.  However, in an interview posted July 16th, the COO, Dan Cathy, acknowledged that, “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.”  (We’ll accept that he’s not talking about all the various biblical definitions of marriage, and only the currently popular one man-one woman definition, since that’s the most likely definition to which he was referring….)  Snopes goes on to add other quotes that are even more damning, but that I can’t validate so I won’t include here.
  • The letter from Mayor Thomas M Menino of Boston to Dan Cathy of Chick-fil-A, strongly suggesting that Chick-fil-A abandon plans to find a location within Boston.
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the statement that Chick-fil-A’s “values are not Chicago values.”
  • San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee tweeted,  “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”

I have a very good friend who grew up going to the original location in Jonesboro, GA.  He maintains that these positions are not consistent with the S. Truett Cathy who founded the chain and that his grandfather introduced him to repeatedly.  Now, the original Mr. Cathy is still alive and kicking and is still, at least titularly, the Chairman and CEO at 91.  Is he actively involved in the company any more?  Who’s to say?  He has not, that I’ve seen, been quoted in the latest flaps.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter.  It is the corporate position.

This same friend has expressed that he feels torn because the 975 franchisees (in 2007) spent years building up the business and wonders if these franchisees should be held accountable for the corporate policies.  Also, he points out that while he worked there in the past, the franchisee that he worked for, hired gay employees.

There is a significant flaw in this reasoning.  It is the same flaw that so many people in American make, and it is such a fundamental flaw that when I was having the conversation with him, it didn’t strike me at first either.  It wasn’t until later that it hit me.

This is precisely the reasoning that comes from the same line as those who would demand their rights without accepting their corresponding responsibilities.

The franchisees have benefited from the marketing and the “good name” of the Chick-fil-A corporation for the last 65 years.  They have benefited from the recipes.  The name recognition.  They’ve benefited in every way possible from the positives – the rights – of being associated with the Chick-fil-A name/brand.  And, now, it’s time to fully pay the piper.

They have certainly paid the franchise fees, which have historically been ridiculously low, by industry standards, thanks to the “cult like” screening process which allowed Chick-fil-A to make sure they were filtering out all of the “undesirables”.  These processes involved literally dozens of interviews over the courses of years.  Then, instead of charging a franchise fee of $25,000, like KFC does, Chick-fil-A would only charge $5,000.  Of course, they also made up for this in other ways.  It was no accident that their franchisees were earning roughly 1/3 what other franchisees were bringing in.  They have paid for their product, of course.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2


Reagan the moderate?


Let me be clear from the outset.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, a fan of Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States of America.  I think that it is very clear that the man did a lot of damage to this country.  Certainly there are a few positive things that can be said of him, but I am sure if we looked hard enough we could find positive things to say about anyone.  And, I am one of those who really does believe that he was really too far gone by the time he was president to actually be making very many decisions himself directly.  I tend to believe him when, during the Iran-Contra disgrace investigations, he repeatedly said, “I don’t recall.”

Having said that, today’s point is to illustrate fairly clearly that the demi-god of the right, Reagan would by today’s standards be considered too liberal to get a seat at the conservative table, much less be considered a conservative leader.  Let’s look at some examples.

Pro-choice/Anti-choice – In today’s world, this is a litmus test for many on the right.  “Are you opposed to a woman’s right to choose?  Would you support all moves to overturn Roe v Wade?”  So, what was Reagan’s record?

In 1967, Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act while governor of California.  While this was a move he later came to claim to regret, it was significant in that it dramatically increased women’s rights and made abortions safer.  It also increased the number of abortions in the state from approximately 5000 to over 100,000.  This was later followed by a clear recanting of this position, but simply having done this would have disqualified him forever more in today’s conservative world.

Can you imagine a Republican/conservative presidential nominee today who was not, at least publicly, staunchly anti-choice?  I know they’ll call themselves “pro-life”, but they give up the right to that title when they also support the death penalty and the movement as a whole gave up the right to that title in the 1980s when members started killing doctors and there was fairly widespread support of it.  There is still fairly mainstream support for it!

TaxesGrover Norquist is one of the most powerful men on the right of whom most people have never heard.  Since, 1985 Norquist has managed to twist arms and exact a pledge against raising taxes from so many Republicans that he has played King maker.  He has mythologized it to claim that he came up with the pledge when he was 12 years old.  Here’s the list of 2012 candidates that have signed, just to illustrate the reach today.  If a candidate refuses to sign, then Norquist supports his opponent and funnels massive amounts of money and other resources in to defeat the resister.

“In the 112th Congress, 238 House members and 41 Senators have taken the pledge. On the state level, 13 governors and 1249 state legislators have taken the pledge.”

The pledge reads in part:

          ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates

I will leave aside the ridiculousness of this position for another time and discussion, and simply compare this to Reagan’s own positions, as that is my point today.  As we discussed in a previous blog (Abe Lincoln paid $1,296 in income taxes in 1864), the top marginal tax rate when Reagan took office was 70%.  Reagan came into office promising to reduce taxes, and he did.  Dramatically.  He then had to continually raise taxes.  A total of 11 times, and close tax loop holes like he did with the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  The two things that Norquist has squeezed out of the Republican party in the intervening years.

Where are the modern Republicans/conservatives that are willing to raise taxes or close loop holes in order to deal with the mess we’re in?  To pay for the two wars we fought?  To pay for the prescription drug coverage that was needed, “after all, Republicans created it”, and enacted under George Bush, but was not paid for? That would be far too liberal for a modern conservative, but that is precisely what their hero Reagan did.

Immigration – The conservatives have stood firmly against any “amnesty” for the last 20ish years.  They have used this to block every serious attempt at compromise from the center-right (Democrats) to reach a “solution” to the undocumented immigrant “problem” in the US.  At another time we’ll get into the issues surrounding all of that.  However, while the conservatives rallying cry on this issue has been “No amnesty!”, in 1986, Reagan signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act.  This act gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants AND their families that had been in the country prior to 1982.

Again, do you see any modern conservatives being willing to allow for this?  If it is even remotely suggested, then that person is attacked for being “outside the mainstream” and being a liberal.

LGBT Equality – Though we now see the advent of the Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud, it is still very difficult to argue that the modern conservative movement is not solidly and broadly opposed to LGBT equality in any form.  While we cannot argue that Reagan was pro-LGBT equality, we do find interest facts.  For example, Reagan was instrumental in defeating the 1978 Proposition 6 in California which would have allowed the firing of teachers for being gay or lesbian.  He also was the first president to host an openly gay couple at the White house when for Nancy’s 60th birthday party, they hosted Ted Graber and Archie Case in the guest suite.  Hell, he even was the first president to give the highest possible security clearance to an openly gay intelligence officer!  In the days before  Bill Clinton’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was supposed to be such a bit step forward.  All of which are significant for the time.

We do, of course, have to contrast that with his administration’s delayed response to the AIDS epidemic that was coming on at the time, and his own prescription that abstinence was the best way to respond, which were both unacceptable.  As I said, we can’t argue that he was pro-LGBT equality, but he was by comparison a lot further along than most of the right is today.  Compare that to what happened in the last few days with Richard Grenell who was driven out of his position as Mitt Romney’s spokesman on national security and foreign policy issues because he is gay.  We can compare that with Renew America’s statements regarding Romney’s appointment of Grenell:

 Since, as the saying goes in D.C., personnel is policy, this means Gov. Romney has some ‘splaining to do. This clearly is a deliberate and intentional act on his part, since he was well aware of Mr. Grenell’s sexual proclivities and knew it would be problematic for social conservatives. It’s certainly not possible that there are no other potential spokesmen available, men who are experts in foreign policy and who at the same time honor the institution of natural marriage in their personal lives.

So this has all the appearances of a deliberate poke in the eye to the pro-family community, and a clumsy one at that, coming right on the heels of endorsements from Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas and the National Organization for Marriage, and right after the governor accepted an invitation to deliver the commencement address at Liberty University.

There was much about Reagan that would still be considered conservative even today.  These positions. though. are so “liberal” by today’s standards (even though they really aren’t), that the Gipper couldn’t even get a seat at the table with those who worship his name.  And, yet, the scariest part is that he has so much more in common with Obama, than their differences.

This is what I mean when I say that the right has been successful at dragging the political center to the right.  So far to the right that the “center” is now buried deep in “enemy” territory!  We have to reclaim the dialogue and let Liberal mean liberal again.  Not continue to allow them define liberal as center right!


The power and importance of the economic vote!


There are many types of voting.  We are typically focused on the political vote where we go into the booth and cast a ballot.  That is important!   It truly is.  However, we must never forget the other types of voting that we engage in much more frequently, and which are equally important.  In fact, for as long as money from corporations and the uber-wealthy can play an unlimited role, then other types of voting are more important.

Our economic vote is the most important.  Ask yourself this question.  Where do the corporations get the money to influence the campaigns and the elections the way that they do?  They get it from us.

We have some fundamental realities to deal with.  Most of us are frequently faced with a situation where a choice must be made and the deciding factor is “Which can I afford?”.  This is our economic need potentially outweighing our principles.

Another issue is that it is often difficult for the average consumer to identify where their dollars are going.  Who are they going to be supporting when they buy this particular item?  However, it is important to be as aware as possible.

Let’s take a few real examples.  From those examples, we can extrapolate out.  And, let me be clear, though it should be by now.  I support buying from small businesses whenever possible, but the same principles apply.  If you know that a small business or its owner violates the principles that you support, then you have the responsibility to shop elsewhere.  As an individual, you’re unlikely to make much impact on your own.  However, if we all do this, then the power of the group boycott comes into play and the impact can be quite large!  (Look for examples throughout history at the Montgomery Bus Boycott that really launched the Civil rights movement of the 50s & 60s, or the Grape Boycott of the 60s and 70s. or others.)

The Koch Brothers , David and Charles, are well known ultra right wing activists.  They are ridiculously wealthy having fortunes tied to manufacturing, trading, and investments.  Their primary activism has been in funding the astroturf Tea Party movement, PACs and in funding SuperPACs.  But, how would one, as an individual consumer, avoid contributing to them?  A lot of their products are industrial products and very hard to trace.  However, their paper products and a few other products are more readily identifiable and therefore avoidable.  You can easily vote with your dollars and keep some of your dollars out of their pockets, and thus start to defund some of their activities.  So, what products do the Koch brothers continue to make their billions off at the retail level?  Some very well known names.  Brands like AngelSoft, Quilted Northern, Brawnie and Dixie, for example.  A longer list can be found here.

Chick-Fil-A with those oh so yummy, and yet, really unhealthy original chicken sandwiches.  Personally, I can’t shop there.  I refuse to support a business which is so openly bigoted.  I do not have an issue with them being true to their Christian founding and thus choosing to not be open on Sundays.  I found that frustrating a few times since I really wanted a sandwich or their nuggets, but I could respect that choice.  However, upon learning that they openly discriminate against gays, I must choose to vote economically against them, by not giving them my dollars.

Zynga Games makes a lot of games that are very popular.  Even some that look like they might be fun to play with my friends.  And, they’re free!  w00t!  They’ve developed almost every game on Facebook these days, haven’t they?  Castleville, Cityville, Farmville, and their latest big hit Words with Friends.  I enjoy Scrabble ®.  However, because I find the business practices of Zynga to be offensive, I won’t play any of their games.  Why?  Because, when trying to build their business up, in order to attract and retain talent, they gave stock out in lieu of better pay.  Then, when preparing to go public, they demanded that stock back and threatened to fire the employees if they failed to comply.  Because, they didn’t want to create a “Google chef” situation.  I find that to be a deplorable example of greed and an unacceptable abuse of their employees, and will not support them in any way.  Particularly, when if I am going to play games, there are many free alternatives.

These are just some examples.  It is important though to be aware of who and what we are supporting with our dollars.  Pay attention to the companies where you shop.  Always shop locally when possible.  Always avoid the mega-super big box stores when possible!  Always share information with others to make sure that they know about the evils of the businesses that you’re aware of, so that they too can stop contributing to the madness.

The contrary is true also.  When you find out about businesses that are exhibiting the kinds of policies that you expect from a business, then take your dollars there, and spread the word.  We must use our economic vote and social networking as a tool to change the world in which we live.

We have to get the money out of politics, and we have to act directly to achieve that.  However, we have to act indirectly to achieve that also.  This is one of those ways.

Whatever others do, be the change you want to see in the world.


The One Party Road Show


President Obama was “swept” into office in 2008 on a “wave of hope and change”.  Except that wave turned out to be another mirage.  This is truly not at all surprising.  It really shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has been paying attention.  It returns us back to a point that I have been making for years.

The POTUS recently made the point so eloquently, I’d like to let him do so because he was speaking to a bunch of reporters at the  Associated Press Luncheon on April 3, 2012, and we all know that means it wasn’t actually reported!  My reference is the official transcript from the White House, which can be found here.  Video for your viewing pleasure below.

Our POTUS has a habit of comparing himself to others.  He has compared himself to Eisenhower, his change to Gandhi and Mandela’s struggles, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, and to Ronald Reagan.  And, in this speech he has reiterated a shared belief with all of these and more, though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a comparison with them.

What is interesting is that in doing so he often makes the point that there is no significant difference remaining between the Republican and Democratic parties.  As I have said in the past, both parties have done great things for the country, and we should never forget that, but now, they have both become so corrupt that there is no saving either party.  The belief that voting for a third party candidate is throwing away your vote is what allows these two factions of the great beast to maintain their systemic abuse of the country and its people, but we have to recognize our own complicity in that abuse!

Okay, back on track.  Mike Lux blogging on Huffington Post was just thrilled to see Obama “explicitly tie Ryan and Romney to their Social Darwinist ancestors”.  I grant that Obama talks a great game.  Much like Ronald Reagan, he is a great communicator.  Unfortunately, his actions have belied his words.  Apparently, like so many people, Mr. Lux has only been listening and not watching.

This is not just another run-of-the-mill political debate.  I’ve said it’s the defining issue of our time, and I believe it. It’s why I ran in 2008.  It’s what my presidency has been about. It’s why I’m running again.  I believe this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I can’t remember a time when the choice between competing visions of our future has been so unambiguously clear.

The problem, of course, is that we are not shown an actual competing difference in visions.  Obama campaigned on ending Bush’s policies on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, yet when he had the opportunity to do so, he essentially carried out the precise same time table that the dear ol’ Shrub cabal had been proposing.  He campaigned on getting us out of Guantanamo, and yet, here we are, still in Guantanamo.  His “signature” legislative piece, the Affordable Care Act, he sat on the sidelines for until the very end, and then, caved on almost every significant part of.  He caved so badly that the vast majority of it doesn’t even go into effect until after he would have to be re-elected.  In other words, there is a very good chance it might never go into effect, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, because subsequent congresses and the next president, if he isn’t re-elected, may pull the plug on it.

So, the really telling part of POTUS’s comments come in the Q&A at the end.

 And so I think it’s important to put the current debate in some historical context.  It’s not just true, by the way, of the budget.  It’s true of a lot of the debates that we’re having out here.

I agree, Mr. President.  Lets.  I’ll allow you.

Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems.  The first President to talk about cap and trade was George H.W. Bush.  Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection; let’s gut the EPA.

Right.  So, the so-called Democrats, essentially admit taking the Republican idea and running with it.  Part of the conservatives dragging the entire political center to the right and the political “left” not having a backbone to stand up and say no.  But, let’s continue.


%d bloggers like this: