Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Truth From the Street


–Apologies to W.B. Yeats / The Second Coming

Turning and Spinning in the Widening Mire
The Congress cannot hear the Precedent;
Things fall apart; the Party cannot hold;
Sheer Conarchy is loosed upon Democracy,

The freedom-gouging tide is loosed, and everywhere
The Standing of America is downed;
The best convictions are too polite, while the worst
Are full of obtuse intensity;
Surely some Reason is at hand.

Yet there instead, the Patriot “Act”!
The “Patriot” Act!

Hardly are those words out
When an Orwelled image out of Posse Comitatus
Troubles my sight:

Somewhere in the martial curfews of this seminal Treachery
A shape with Oz-lion body and the head of a borne-again fool:
An ‘Aye’ blank and clueless as the GOP itself
Is moving its leaky Trojan Agenda, but who knew?
While overhearing guffaws & careless cheering
from the belly of the beast, that all about it now should
gather threats of patriotic fillibuster, lighting & passing torchfire.

…Wounded cowardice drops again; but indignant courage
finds unexpected stride, in the edifying irony
that a Sitting President was on his Game after all,
as if afloat, fishing! entirely untorn,
glued from National Nightmare to “My Pet Goat.”

And what Hellbent Vision Thing,
its Truthless Power come round at last,
$louches towards Liberty to be Borne?

--Artist General Michael Masley

Berkeley street musician Michael Masley has appointed himself "the Artist General." [http://ArtistGeneral.com] He is an accomplished player of the large hammered dulcimer and was grand marshal of the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade... "Patriots for a Fair Contract with America" [http://LieJinx.com] asks "Martial Planners"... http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/11/03/MN19057.DTL

Cal's Straight Talk -- Jumping Off the Change Train

Okay, maybe I am over-analyzing here but has anyone noticed a "change"?

I'm talking about the change in how the dem "establishment" has changed the campaign issues. For six or more years the number-one complaint of the public has been about the political and government system -- the corruption that led to Iraq and most other problems. This public complaint and disgust put the dems in the majority in the last elections.

It has made no difference. Now we are even angrier.

Realizing this, the dem candidates all hit the 2008 campaign trail talking about change. That is getting a big response from the public because, having once voted for change and not gotten any, we're even more determined to get some change...

But the dems have changed the definition of change.

It's very clear that the dem establishment has gotten firmly behind Obama's "hope" campaign. Ted Kennedy's endorsement made that clear. "Obama is going to make America good again -- from sea to shining sea," Kennedy yelled to an ecstatic crowd. "I feel ch-a-a-a-a-nge in the air!" Since Kennedy has the oldest and biggest and most far-reaching political machine of anyone in congress, this resonated. Candidates heavy on specific issue details like Edwards and even Hillary have been either shut down by the establishment and the media or, in Hillary's case, are in the process of being beat up.

So now the Obama message of change is emphasizing even more heavily that it is "society" that must change. "We the people" must change for the better. When "we" get better, then we will have better government. All the change now talked about is a change in the "public attitude," not a change in the political system. The Obama onus is on us as a society to be better, not for the government to be better. Then after 'we" become a better society we can "take control" of our government.

So how do we do take control after we become better? Will the same politicians in DC listen to us any better after we become better? Will the disapproval ratings the public has given congress, the lowest in history, be taken seriously after "we" become a better society? Will the sit-in's, the petitions, the calls, the protests, the pleas, the votes millions of Americans have already cast be taken seriously when "we" and not "they" become better?

What is going on here by the dem establishment, considering how the repub party has imploded, is the failings of the dem party -- the corruption of the system that has been our main complaint -- is being tossed back to the public like a hot potato. Now, we discover that all our problems are caused by our failings as a society, not by the politicians' own corruption and failures.

Neat trick...I am not falling for it.

Cal 45

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Traffic Jam on the Highway to Hell

By Sheila Samples

"When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil."~~- Thomas Jefferson

Each new year ushers in a myriad of "Top Ten" lists -- 10 best things, 10 worst things, things we need to do, things we did but shouldn't have -- and this year, even a hilarious list of WTF? things popped up. I'll admit I'm not as well organized as those who progress in 10-step increments. My problem is narrowing the atrocities down to 10 -- and then narrowing those 10 down to a single year. I'm confident I could compile a really neat list if I could decide which in the tangle of loathsome assaults should be Number One.

It can't be done. Everything that happened in 2007 is a direct result of events in 2006, a continuation of 2005 crimes, the bloody mess of 2004, the shock and awe of 2003 and the vicious, ruthless lies of 2001 that led us to where we are today. It's impossible to appraise the malignant nature of this administration in any intelligible way. From the outset, it came at us -- at the world -- on all fours with fangs bared. Whether ripping the humanity from our Constitution or drowning the innocent in a sea of blood, its appetite is insatiable. It rises from each feast hungrier than before.

I used to think Americans had been whipped by 9-11 terror confusion into some sort of national stupor. That's not so. We're trapped in a massive spiritual paralysis. Normal people are simply not equipped to deal with remorseless psychopaths. We were not prepared to come face to face with evil, nor to be manipulated by lies and controlled through stark fear. Our refusal to address the mounting list of Bush-Cheney war crimes could be because we cannot force ourselves to admit our "one nation under God" spies upon its citizens, imprisons them without due process, engages in grotesque acts of torture and delights in mass murder. And so we stand here on the precipice of our own destruction, waiting for evil to run its course.

No Mercy

Evil never runs its course. With each success, it grows stronger, more ghastly and, like Dick Cheney, emerges a bit more from the shadows. Never doubt for a minute that these unfeeling creatures are not evil. They are incapable of compassion, of empathy, of mercy. Their eyes are on the prize of One World rule, and they will have it in spite of -- or as a result of -- all the chaos and carnage it takes to achieve it. There are no "Imps of the Perverse" among them who will be so overcome with guilt they will break from the pack and run through the populace shrieking, "We're guilty! We did it! We are murderers!"

Cheney and his destructive little sidekick, George Bush, have brazenly committed treasonous acts -- left piles of corpses in their wake since the 2000 election coup. If there is a God, they are bound straight for Hell. But they are not alone. They're protected by a merciless axis of courts, congressional conspirators and corporate media who cover up their crimes by issuing a steady barrage of terror threats and a relentless fog of twisted disinformation.

Our government is nothing but a Good Ol' Boys and Girls club, with judges, journalists, legislators and administration jesters whooping it up while pillaging the Treasury, ignoring the cries of their victims, turning a blind eye to millions of slaughtered and displaced innocents, and sending thousands of their own citizens to their deaths. They have mauled, raped and obstructed Justice until that once noble Lady is no longer recognizable.

Author Kurt Vonnegut, who died last April after a fall in his home, warned that corruption in this government must be removed and the perpetrators must pay for their crimes or our Republic is dead. In an October 2005 PBS interview, as his last book, "A Man Without a Country," soared to the top of best-seller lists, Vonnegut said, "...we have only a one-party government. It's the winners. And then everybody else is the losers. And the winners are divided into two parties. The Republicans and the Democrats...that's what a charade the combat between the Republicans and the Democrats is. It's rich kids. Winners on both sides. So the winners can't lose. And, of course, the losers have no representation in Congress..." Vonnegut said members of Congress, regardless of party, represent only those who bankroll their political campaigns; those making tons of money from Bush and Cheney's illegal war.

Enough is Enough

The 2006 elections, which gave the Democrats control of both houses of Congress, was a clear imperative to govern according to the will of the people. No Congress in history has ever been elected who knew better what that will was -- primarily to stop an immoral war, but also to hold accountable those responsible for the lies, torture, loss of freedoms, spying on their own citizens, and the relentless slaughter of US military as well as innocent Iraqi and Afghanistani citizens.

Nancy Pelosi, quivering at the thought of becoming the nation's first female Speaker of the House, said on Nov 9, 2006, "This new Democratic majority has heard the voices of the American people." She added, while apparently attempting to stifle a burst of wild, maniacal laughter, "Americans placed their trust in Democrats. We will honor that trust. We will not disappoint.”

Pelosi's counterpart in the Senate, Harry Reid, bowed his head and mumbled that “The days of the do-nothing Congress are over." He looked around furtively before whispering that Americans spoke “clearly and decisively in favor of Democrats leading this country in a new direction.” Reid then scurried off to crouch behind Bush, who smirked good naturedly while giving him a "good thumpin.."

They knew they were elected to stop the madness, to stem the onslaught of tyranny and to protect and defend the Constitution, but chose instead to fall on their knees before those who scorned them, threatened them, or perhaps offered them a "piece of the action." By choosing to suspend, rather than defend, the Constitution, they are guilty of high crimes.

We can no longer stand on the sidelines waiting for the evil to subside. They must go -- all of them -- starting at the top with the impeachment of the mad Cheney and Bush and continuing through both houses of Congress where all 435 House seats and 35 Senate seats are up for election this year.

The majority of Americans are demanding that both Bush and Cheney be impeached and removed from office, and those like David Swanson, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and now Fla Rep. Robert Wexler, are working tirelessly to make that happen.

We've had enough. We not only agree with Vonnegut, but with Lee Iacocca, who pulls no punches in his April 2007 book, "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?" Iacocca asks, "Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.' Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!"

Yes. Throw the bums out and watch them scatter. And when they do, there will be a traffic jam on the highway to Hell.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cal's Straight Talk -- Middle East Can of Worms

Something is definitely going on in the Middle East. Bush stressed quite hard in his speeches that Israelis should keep Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in power. Because inside Israel the Likud Party is gaining even more power and Binyamin Netanyahu is pushing to oust Olmert and assume power. There are growing calls in their parliament and among the public for Olmert to resign. Everyone knows if Olmert is out and Netanyahu and his Lukid party ascended, they would without doubt launch an attack on Iran, fully expecting the US to have to then back them up.

So some of what Bush says or tells the Israelis and Arabs is most likely a balancing game. Say something to make Olmert look good, say something in favor of Palestine, say something to Netanyahu to let him think you agree with him to stall him, say something else to the Arab countries. Telling is that Bush has not said he was going to discard the NIE on Iran but only that it isn't his "view." It is sort of like a "well I don't agree but..."

I am interested in watching Condi because she isn't going to do or say anything without Bush's blessing. Now, whether her tough talk to Israel of late is nothing but bull or if there is something behind it, we will have to wait to see. But her words have impact on the general populations in Israel and Palestine even if they are a wink and nod between those in the inside.

Most likely, the changes in Bush's rhetoric are influenced by members of the old gang who don't like Israel, plus the insider doings in Israel regarding the chances of Netanyahu replacing Olmert, which would up the chances of an Israeli attack, plus the Iraq situation, plus the obvious Saudi and gulf council coolness toward the US, plus a few other countries going along with Bush's sanctions on Iran -- Italy just signed a new oil deal with Iran -- plus Russia's announcement that an attack on Iran would be considered an attack on their interest...

Maybe it all boils down to just trying to keep the lid on the can of worms until Bush is out of office.

Cal 45

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cal's Straight Talk -- Campaign Buffoonery

Nothing personal, but it appears to me that the Democrats endorsing Obama so we can get some "change and unity" in the country are trying to slip the country a mickey. The establishment is running scared because they see the public wants change, so much so that candidates like Ron Paul get 10% of a mixture of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and John Edwards keeps peeling off 17%. So they think they can play like they're giving us "change" in the form of a new "personality." However, it isn't a real "change" in the political system the dems and repubs have set up for themselves, you know -- the system that serves them so well they can stay in congress for decades no matter how much they fail or how little they actually do for the people.

What do you think it would do to "establishment" politicians if real change hit, if some real change agent got elected they hadn't endorsed? They would be back on the interstate headed home after their current terms were up. The incest reunion would be over. Whatever one thinks of Edwards he has said he would nail shut the revolving door between politicians and lobbyists; he has said he would name names...expose corruption. Ron Paul has said the same thing. Therefore, Edwards and Paul must be margalinized or shut out because they might be real change agents.

Which is exactly what has happened.

If you investigate some of the current meetings and groups of big wigs, you will see that a lot of former long-time congressional good ol' boys have formed and convened all these "meetings" to discuss our dire straits. The dire straits they talk about are not Iraq or Iran or our plummeting economy, but how the two parties are being destroyed. I saw a whole gaggle of them on C-span spouting this line -- and the entire group was made up of all the well-known, go along to get along, self-servicing names from the past -- Sam Nunn, Christi Todd Whitman, Dan Burton, David Boren, and on and on, ad nauseam.

Hillary takes no prisoners, Edwards takes no prisoners, Paul takes no prisoners. They all have semi-enemies from their experiences and positions they fought for or advocated in the past. Obama has no enemies...it that a clue? If you don't have any enemies, it's likely you haven't done anything good or bad.

Obama may be a good guy but he is not his own guy. Look beneath the surface, look at the groups I am talking about, you will get the picture. Now, maybe Obama is the kind who will ignore his benefactors and "mentor club" and go against the establishment trait of collusion between the parties that they all practice so they can stay in DC, all comfy together. But I doubt it, it's never happened yet.


Cal's Straight Talk -- It Pays to be Paranoid

A small, but interesting thing...I went online to pay my Citibank card and noticed they have suddenly changed the layout of their site. Previously, it was a simple procedure -- you accessed your current "statement" and clicked to pay it if you have it on bank draft. Now, you have to go through several steps to get your actual current statement.

First they show your current "balance" with the pay button to click -- meaning charges since the billing cycle ended that aren't due yet. If you don't look closely, you don't see that it's not really your current statement. If you click the pay button out of habit, you will realize too late that you have paid "in advance" or "forward" on your charges. On mine, the difference was about $200 -- so if enough customers make that same mistake, Citibank gets money not due yet. Let's say that even 10% of their customers make that mistake -- Citibank would be upping their "cash flow" considerably.

It pays to be paraniod....they all have their little tricks.



By Mary Pitt

Rise up! Ye heroes of the past,
Tear down these whited walls
Where once great leaders, brave and true,
Trod the marbled halls!

Purge out the pompous peacocks
Who pollute the public scene,
Parade in your golden mantles
For purpose far from clean,

Who take your honors as their own,
Bask in your reflected rays,
And try to use the glow to hide
Their cruel, mendacious ways!

They corrupt your sacred sacrifice
To exploit it and then
They pad their purses with putrid pelf
And take power over other men.

Rise up! Restore this benighted land
To the home of the free and the brave
So that you can rest, once more at peace
Within that hallowed grave.

Mary Pitt is a very "with-it" ol' lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and commom sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for societal "perfection."