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Friday, November 17, 2017
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  • Writer Login


    Tom Ferguson

    Tom Ferguson

    Tom is a painter, a cartoonist, a musician, a thinker and more. View some of his web sites:

    • www.thinkspeak.net (Painting)
    • toons.thinkspeak.net (Political Cartoons)
    • thinkspeak.bandcamp.com (Music)
    • tfthinkspeak.blogspot.com (blog)

    Number of posts: 174
    Email address: email
    Facebook: Facebook
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    By Tom Ferguson:


      Southern Funnies

      Hinson & Haze, episode 4

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 2, 2011
      Hinson & Haze, episode 4

      Still at the Grand Canyawn, Haze dreams of nuclear holocaust and instructs Hinson on things cosmic.

      Southern Funnies

      Hinson & Haze, episode 3

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 27, 2011
      Hinson & Haze, episode 3

      Wherein Hinson reads his surroundings and the sun sets over Grand Canyawn as they prepare to spend the night.

      Southern Funnies

      Hinson & Haze, episode 2

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 19, 2011
      Hinson & Haze, episode 2

      Hinson & Haze ride with Rhinestone.

      These two characters hitch-hike around, platonically plodding after whatever comes their way. Hinson’s a book-ish intellectual, Haze a more earthy feminist. Their quest begins in Southern California where they encounter Rhinestone, country music star. I intend to run all 35 episodes (running two per means half that many posts). I leave it to Hinson & Haze to examine received wisdom for this period.

      Southern Views

      Hinson & Haze, episode 1

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 13, 2011
      Hinson & Haze, episode 1

      These two characters hitch-hike around, platonically plodding after whatever comes their way. Hinson’s a book-ish intellectual, Haze a more earthy feminist. Their quest begins in Southern California where they encounter Rhinestone, country music star. I intend to run all 35 episodes (running two per means half that many posts). I leave it to Hinson & Haze to examine received wisdom for this period.

      Southern Views

      Mystery

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 22, 2011
      Mystery

      Imagine waking delighted to a place of astonishing beauty and vast complexity, of infinite micro and macro magnitude gifted with a cosmic capacity to replicate itself, slightly modified, every instant. This would be an impressive locale to visit and of course that is what we are doing, visiting here. Or it could be argued that we are not tourists at all but are intricately woven into a metaphoric tapestry of magnificent interconnection. Here is the root of polarization: the Visiting faction thinks it is separate, the Abiding faction feels  interconnection.

      Southern Views

      The Most Dangerous Moment in History

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 15, 2011
      The Most Dangerous Moment in History

      During the Cuban Missile Crisis U.S. destroyers attacked a Russian submarine. The submarine was given orders to launch its nuclear warheads against the U.S. This would have certainly precipitated a full retaliatory exchange and we would most likely not be here to discuss it. The submarine commander refused the order. I had never heard this story until I read it in one of Noam Chomsky’s articles. Though civilization was spared, the mind-set that brought us to that moment is alive and well. That mind-set is the subject of most of Chomsky’s books.

      Interventions is a collection of short essays aimed at a broad readership, commissioned by the New York Times Syndicate after Noam Chomsky’s 2001 best seller  9 – 11. One of the author’s central claims is that the mainstream media confines debate to a narrow status quo, roughly Hysterical Right to Middle Conservative with few exceptions.

      Southern Views

      Pickpockets at PSC

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 6, 2011
      GA Power

      This is my public comment made 7/6/11 to the GA. Public Service Commission on the occasion of their consideration of Georgia Power’s request for yet another raid on the public treasury in the form of rate hikes to cover anticipated cost over-runs for their nuclear fantasies. They already were granted rate hikes to cover building the new reactors and an additional amount to cover the loss in credit ratings due to pursuing dangerous nuclear technology. You have to hand it to them, they’ve got gall.

      Mulling over what to say for this meeting it occurred to me that the creators of this Commission did not choose GPC – Georgia Power Commission. Words have meaning so I was happy to notice what PSC stands for until I remembered George Orwell and how political bodies sometimes engage a practice that has come to be dubbed Orwellian.

      Southern Views

      Commonist Nostalgia

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 28, 2011
      Kapital

      Michael Parenti’s book Superpatriotism is an excellent deconstruction of “free market” ideology. He claims that the people of Eastern Europe and Russia had guaranteed jobs, health care, housing, education etc; With the fall of the USSR they entertained visions of suburban McMansion, two car garage etc; but what they got is shit and corruption: gangsters running things in collaboration with dictators, no real political input, more or less fake elections like here, malnutrition, no work, no food, no suburbia…. they become third world… and they wish they had back what they had before the fall. They aren’t idealizing it, they definitely lacked political freedom, due process etc; but they had the basics and the basics are pretty important – try going without’em. The comparison isn’t of “freedom and tyranny but of having the basics and of not.

      Southern Politics

      Fear of Sharing

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 23, 2011
      puppet master

      Just finished The Big Rich by Bryan Burrough. One of the things that struck me about the Texas oil-millionaires, aside from their often ostentatious and outrageous consumption, was that many, despite immense wealth freeing them from the necessity to work for a living, continued to go into the office six days a week like any other working stiff.  Roy Cullen even drove a cheap Chevrolet and brown bagged his lunch. Since they were basically workaholics, why were they so concerned about “big spending liberals” taxing them to death? They could have simply paid the tax owed, say 40% or whatever it was, and still had way more than they knew what to do with. They certainly weren’t working for their salaries, struggling to meet the mortgage, pay the bills.

      Unfortunately these very wealthy individuals were mostly extremist conservatives who shifted the country rightward with their undemocratic money influence.

      Southern Views

      Gimme Some (lots) Denial

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 16, 2011
      Medicine Show

      Journalist Stephanie Cooke was at the Carter Center June 7 to promote her book, In Mortal Hands, a Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age. Her talk emphasized the Fukushima disaster and drew from nuke history to support her view that we need to turn away from this toxic technology. The industry, for example, consistently underplays accidents, waiting until things have cooled off, when people have lost interest, assumed it’s all over, on to other things, when they finally admit the true figures of radiation releases, extent of damage, etc. Even then they hedge with comforting denials of long-term effects, in language that may be technically correct but misleading. This could describe precisely corporate/government PR strategy around the BP oil spill, the Valdez disaster, Katrina, Chernobyl, conditions for cleanup crews at ground zero…. doesn’t seem to matter, those invested in the irresponsible continue to claim, and may even believe, that it’s all safe, under control, no problem. If belief, it’s belief of convenience. When your livelihood depends on believing something chances are you will talk yourself into it. Or at least you will keep your mouth shut. Due to this delay strategy fewer citizens are aware that three of the Fukushima reactors experienced full melt-down and that high levels of radiation are contaminating land and sea. The situation is an on-going catastrophe, which hopefully can be contained. Cooke informs us that contamination from this accident will be around for the rest of our lives. How many of these assaults can our life system withstand, do ya think?

      Southern Nukes

      Carbon & Nuclear-Free Roadmap for Energy Policy

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 3, 2011
      So the $10 Billion, that's the total plant cost? No, that's just for security. We operate for 30 years, close it down and guard it for 100,000 years.

      The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) offers the book as a free download on its website (www.ieer.org). It is a product of IEER and the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. Its author, Dr. Arjun Makhijani, had to be talked into doing the book by S. David Freeman and Dr. Helen Caldicott. He had been so pre-occupied with research on the environmental and health affects of nuclear testing and processing that he was unaware of the advances in technology that had occurred during those years. Thus his skepticism and reluctance were jettisoned by the virtual revolution he discovered when he finally agreed to take on the research.

      Southern Views

      The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, a review

      by | 8, Add your Comment | May 30, 2011
      Law-some

      Richard Dawkins seems to belong to a small “sect” which includes Christopher Hitchens, the former Nation columnist who capitulated to the war-hawks but retains a totally imcompatible (with most war hawks) point of view on religion, expressed in his provocative title, God Is Not Great. I think both books are great fun in their merciless unmasking of those who, with a solemn and perfectly straight face, embrace perfectly nonsensical ideas. They do not spare the “respectable” middle of the road church-goer their mocking analysis as they challenge societal assumptions about belief. Hawkins is particularly annoyed at the near-requirement that we must “respect” those who “faithfully” refuse to question whomever reaches them first, the religion they’re raised under. He even suggests that to indoctrinate children into religious belief is a form of abuse.

      Southern Books

      Arrival: Crime Fiction set in Atlanta

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 22, 2011
      book front

      Whatever brought musician/artist Mellifluous LaRue fleeing south, alone and embittered, involved heavy drugs. Observing a transaction in a greasy spoon, the Tater Haus, she offers her free-lance services to the police. Betrayed immediately by a bent cop, a serendipitous conversation brings the now gun-shy entrepreneur to Pete Malvasio, an honest Atlanta narcotics officer. Mell begins to bring in those elusive bucks.

      Southern Peace

      Folly part 2. Obama’s War

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 16, 2011
      The Barber

      Parts four and five of Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly deal with British folly leading up to and through the U.S. Revolution and U.S. folly leading up to and through the Vietnam War. The cases are, folly-wise, very similar. In both instances there were those pointing out that costs would far outweigh any possible gains and that the justifications for policy were specious. Some of those pointing this out still supported the folly, in Britain’s case refusing to allow democracy in the colonies and going to war and in the U.S. instance, well… the same.

      In the U.S. case public rhetoric was of the “freedom and democracy” line we all know so well when in fact democracy was thwarted at every turn, from rigging elections, coups and murder to ignoring overwhelming Vietnamese desire for an end to war regardless of which party would be the victor (see Daniel Ellsberg’s memoir, Secrets).

      Southern Vigilance

      Eternal Vigilance

      by | 3, Add your Comment | May 9, 2011
      Drawing, Liberal Media

      The price of liberty? According to Thomas Jefferson, that goes under the heading. eternal vigilance, probably the exact opposite of patriotism, or, depending on definitions, the exact same thing. When President Richard Nixon was getting vigilated he tried to change the subject by using the phrase, “Let’s talk about what’s right with America.” Another phrase comes to mind in response, Patriotism, the last refuge of a scoundrel.

      If we-the-people were to take Jefferson’s admonition serious how would we protect liberty? Would we accept our government:

      • Curtailing liberty in the form of the Orwellian-named Patriot Act?
      • Granting “socialist” bail-outs to Wall Street banks, the very entities that have vigorously opposed “socialism” for the people?
      • Consistently supporting anti-democratic elites abroad behind a wall of patriotic and fear-based rhetoric?

      Southern Views

      Ego and the Nation State

      by | 0, Add your Comment | May 2, 2011
      nuklar

      Eckhart Tolle uses the word Ego to describe a conceptual identity, created in the mind and maintained there by a more or less constant stream of thought, thoughts about past and future events, mundane or extraordinary, triumph and defeat and the positive/negative emotions accompanying them. This is what many people see as themselves, the Ego passing through time grasping for pleasure, attention, praise, acknowledgement, success, fame, money, power, safety, refuge domination and above all thinking thinking thinking.

      Parallel and complementary to this conceptual identity is the Nation-State. We are encouraged to identify with an entity that may exist geographically but is more a communal mental construct marked by a flag, national anthem, economic theory, a story – founding fathers, defining wars of defense or liberation, evolving values, etc.

      Southern Views

      We-the-People-as-vendors

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Apr 24, 2011
      Left Out

      In our Northern American society citizens are vendors, business persons. You have to sell something to make a living. The only product most of us have to market is our time/energy, our labor, which we sell to the highest bidder. Education and skill improve our competitive position as employees. Employers increase profits when they reduce or keep wages low. Most of us drudge away our sales day, at best making the best of it. Failure at or refusal to engage in business has serious consequences – the street being the ultimate enforcer, the bottom line.

      So our life-blood is traded for whatever level of food, shelter, education, health care and entertainment, we can attain. But suppose these were givens, the goal in fact of our society as a whole, for all, instead of enrichment of the few, the clever and the ruthless?

      Southern Views

      Who’s Killing Who This Week, and Why?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Apr 18, 2011
      terrorist-ista

      What is happening in places like Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan, Israel, Ireland, the United States, where people kill each other with casual bravado?

      Certainly some killers are acting out their own abuse as children. A particular political, religious or economic situation might be pounced upon as an opportunity for the release of rage. The psychopath sweeps lesser but like souls up in the frenzy, granted permission by a situation of chaos to act out. If the abusers are in authority others go along or risk becoming victims themselves.

      As children we learn to limit who we identify with to those of our own family, neighborhood, expanding then to city, nation, race, class, religion. The them/us mentality is fertile ground for national, ethnic or religious conflict, aggravated by the abusive scenario and exploited by unscrupulous leaders.

      Southern Views

      Panthers and Police, Police and Panthers

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 11, 2011
      race neutral

      The book, Savage City (2011), T.J. English, examines New York City over the period 1963-73, using three individuals as a device for walking us through that period. George Whitmore, a naïve and innocent young black man, is viciously framed by the police and D.A. for crimes he very obviously didn’t commit; Dhoruba Bin Wahad not so innocently is also framed, basically for being a Black Panther; Bill Phillips is a super-corrupt cop who, like his more famous and honest contemporary Serpico, becomes a super-snitch. He is also, ironically, framed. The book’s focus is really massive police corruption and virulent racism. The Panthers would never have existed without the daily harassment, humiliation and routine injustice of the men in blue and their near-impregnable blue wall of silence.

      Southern Views

      Choosing Choices

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 3, 2011
      porky peg

      It’s easy to excuse oneself from the citizen responsibility of voting with the fact that no election is won by a single vote. If large numbers of people follow this line, well, we have what we have now, low voter turn-out. Still, one vote, something comes up, can’t make it, doesn’t really matter. Now with corporations endowed with the status of persons, by the wisdom of our pretty much Reagan-Bush-appointed Supreme Court, is created a whole class of very rich and thus very influential persons. We have a new ball game here, or maybe just an on-steroids version of what we used to have. A topic certainly worthy of exploration and vigorous opposition…

      Southern Views

      Three Threats

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Mar 27, 2011
      cliffhanger

      We face three threats to our longevity as a species and all grow out of the dysfunction of ego: Pollution, Over-Population and Nuclear (and other) WMD

      Global climate change will be minimally very disruptive and could escalate way beyond the worst case scenarios of only a few years ago: rising seas, epidemics of old and new diseases, agricultural catastrophe, shifting currents drastically changing climate, unprecedented refugee dislocations and more. On top of the climate change situation apparently chiefly caused by deforestation and the dumping of carbon into the atmosphere, there is the dumping of toxic chemicals into the air, soil and water, the loss of topsoil, the poisoning and depletion of the oceans, the extinction of species.

      Southern Views

      NRC – Nuclear Regulatory Collusion

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 22, 2011
      nukes de gren

      On Monday 3/21 an official with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) explained to us, via NPR news, that we needn’t worry about radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. NRC’s mission is to protect the public by ensuring that nuclear power plants in the U.S. operate as safely as possible.  There are several worrisome factors that would lead us to question NRC credibility, as much as we’d like to believe their assuring pronouncements:

      • The nuclear industry funds the NRC – can you say collusion of interest?
      • The NRC has never turned down a license extension request…

      Southern Views

      Meditation

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 18, 2011
      improv

      When I first encountered the idea of meditation it piqued my interest, yet I got nowhere when I tried it out. Aside from being boring(!) I found that my mind raced with ideas, memories, things to do, unfinished business, when I was expecting some kind of esoteric experience. Once I even became quite frightened and thought, hey, is that it?, remembering maybe that scary line from my religious indoctrination, that no one can look upon the face of God and live. Understanding the practice, much later, as a means to becoming present, abiding in that deeply rooted state, as Tolle describes it, clarified what I found intuitively appealing. Joi de vivre is the real face of God, not the Biblical projection of fear.

      My most profound experiences, given this understanding, can be explained as having entered into the state of presence.

      Southern Politics

      Jolly Ol’ Folly

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Mar 12, 2011
      BAU (business as Usual)

      I’ve been reading Barbara Tuchman’s March of Folly (1984). Current events too numerous to list would very nicely qualify by her criterion to be included in the pageant: building nuclear power plants on earthquake faults; building nuclear power plants at all when benign alternatives are available and economically competitive; going for the golden greed award in a democracy, expecting people to be fooled all the time; taking actions to address terrorism that increase terrorism (violence begets violence); despoiling the biological system on which we depend for sustenance; seeking permanent psychological and physical safety and security in a corrupt, utterly and patently illusory social-political-religious paradigm.

      Southern Politics

      Big ‘D’ Democracy

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Mar 8, 2011
      oligarchy

      When you lay out a continuum of possible political points of view and compare it to the range of opinion in U.S. mainstream media it is clear that a narrow spectrum dominates, roughly Center or Corporate-right to Hysterical Right. Another way of saying it is that the greater, or at least a significant band of opinion, is excluded from the national dialogue. What then can only be called a propaganda system insists, relentlessly, that freedom and democracy are inseparable. What is meant by freedom in this sleight of hand, is capitalism, the favored value, trumping at all times democracy, which term is utilized not for its actual practice but in order to coopt its prestige. An obvious instance of this deception is in the workplace. If democracy is our highest value why is it not practiced where most of us spend half of our waking time? This question of course never arises in mainstream “debate”, chief proselytizer for the free market.

      Southern Politics

      Health Care or Health Scam?

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Feb 28, 2011
      Health Care or Health Scam?

      In a 4/27 meeting at Atlanta Friends Meeting House, organized by Healthcare Now, Philadelphian Katie Robbins spoke and led a spirited discussion on the state of organizing for Single-Payer healthcare. Vermont is in the lead nation-wide, a bill there being very close to passage but without a funding mechanism as yet. California has twice passed a single payer bill, twice vetoed by former Governor Schwarzcoph… or is that Schwarzenegger? With a new Governor, Jerry Brown, there could be hope in California, though Brown may have succumbed to the lure of born-again fiscal conservativism since his last term.

      Katie introduced the acronym PISD (private insurance-induced stress disorder) offering the antidote, National Health Insurance. The situation is one of crisis to which Republicans offer denial and the Democrats tend to go along with their timid party head in the White House. House Bill 676 would expand and improve medicare, improving by eliminating co-pays, deductibles and expanding by eliminating the millions of uninsured by lowering the age requirements to minus 9 months – medicare for all, in a word.

      Southern Politics

      Classy Catering

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Feb 22, 2011
      Classy Catering

      The billionaires and other wealthy ideologues who fund right-wing think tanks, Karl Rove, the Tea Party etc., seem to be experimenting, curious as to how far they can push their agenda before encountering real opposition. Not so long ago I would have ventured that they would envy dictators their free hand. There might be a little nervousness these days in U.S. country clubs, given Egyptian developments, though it may be reasoned that, what with owning the media where the majority of people get their information, and funding (owning) most politicians of both parties there seems little reason for alarm. Even if all else fails, they’ve still got the police and military, right? The governor of Wisconsin has threatened to call out the National Guard to quell resistance to his anti-worker policies. Perhaps he should consider the Egyptian military response to similar demands and also the fact that most national guard troops are themselves workers.

      Southern Views

      Consciousness

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Feb 17, 2011
      Substance/Gravity oil on canvas, Tom Ferguson 1980

      Consciousness consists of thoughts and emotions, the latter often triggered by thoughts but also coming from accumulated negative or positive energy from our personal and social environment. Mild, or not, traumatic or unresolved experiences can hang around as energy packets awaiting release, triggering. The other factor in consciousness is awareness.

      The world as we know it, drifting toward extinction – threatened by over-population, consumption/pollution and war (nukes et al.) is captained by this consciousness with its imbalance of the three components, favoring thoughts/emotions over awareness.

      Southern Politics

      Manic Logic

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Feb 10, 2011
      Chasing the Bottom Line

      Distilling William Greider’s dense, 573-page book, One World, Ready or Not, down into a few words: we live in an economy that requires that we chase money, one way or the other. Those most successful in this chase get to make the rules, or at least they use their considerable influence to arrange things so that they and theirs remain on top of this game.

      The compulsory climb seems to be entirely captivating but it unfortunately occurs to very few of those achieving the peaks that a rule change toward sharing and equality could end massive suffering. Those who lack elementary needs – food, clean water, shelter – are compelled to join the chase or perish …

      Southern Views

      The Shrewdest of Bargainers

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Feb 4, 2011
      Shrewd by Tom Ferguson

      Some pundits explain away U.S. installation and/or support for heinous criminal dictators all over the planet as just the goofy bumbling of well-meaning good ol’ boys. Others recognize that the policies are deliberately crafted decisions meant to further U.S. (read corporate) interests. Just so, some consider Obama a poor and naïve bargainer outmaneuvered by right wing Republicans and bankers.

      Southern Money

      Capitalism: An Illicit Love Story

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jan 29, 2011
      Political Cartoon by Tom Ferguson

      Michael Moore’s film, Capitalism: A Love Story, is just as funny as its title and just as veil-lifting as his previous films have been on their subjects.

      Wrapping crime-scene tape around Goldman-Sachs and other Wall Street Pirates is a hilarious and incisive gesture and looking closely at some of the victims of the predator culture brings home the criminality of some of what happens when the bottom line is all that matters. An interview excerpt with an influential columnist with the Wall Street Journal pretty much says it all – the writer takes the usual propaganda device of associating capitalism with democracy and drops the latter component as unnecessary and in-the-way. The Constitutional guarantee and exhortation to seek happiness can apparently be completely satisfied by chasing money.

      Southern Politics

      Tabling a Jackson Browne Concert

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jan 21, 2011
      Dr. Frankenstein

      Members of Nuclear Watch South, three of us, were invited to do an information table at a Jackson Brown concert in Columbus, GA. We set up early, before the crowds, and attracted ushers, who were mostly retired military (Fort Benning is nearby). They were friendly and their views were about what you’d expect: pro-nuke, both weapons and energy, pro-war, both Iraq and Afghanistan (though Obama was too slow in deciding to send more troops). Of course they were anti-Obama in general (they were all white).

      Unfortunately they merely paced about during the concert so didn’t hear the lyrics to some of Jackson’s songs that would have challenged their received wisdom. None had heard of him except one retired firefighter from NY who was I suppose Libertarian. He was anxious to distinguish himself from the other vets. He commented that Europeans are laughing at our healthcare debate. They know that single-payer is off the table, the system they have in place that serves them well.

      Southern Views

      Hawks & Doves

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 14, 2011
      no child left behind

      I looked down at the affluent California cities from an airplane taking me to Fresno, just mustered out of Vietnam in 1965, by the skin of me teeth. I’m embarrassed to report that these maudlin thoughts were running through my mind, “Gee, if only those communists could see this, they would abandon communism.” Only a few months later, back in the Midwest, I watched television reporters mildly quiz Johnson Administration officials on the war. Though I knew these officials were lying I cheered them on, concerned predictably if unconsciously, not with the truth of the situation but with our side winning the argument. Had I this mindset during Contra-gate, I would have been with the myopic faction that saw Oliver North as a hero. And given that I was such an easy victim of the propaganda machine, one would expect me to be patient with those who still are. Well… […]

      Tea Time

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Jan 6, 2011
      Tea Time

      Serve some crumpets with that unreality virus hitting our congress. A mixed metaphor but in zany times like this there are new rules. Orwell would be amused. Grassroots now means any number of people recruited by public relations experts hired by billionaires to convince said persons that their interests align with the funders. Some focus-group derived rhetoric required. Any gathering no matter how small will have first rate sound systems, local right-wing celebrities, sometimes national versions of same, tuned to the focus-group data, and lavish media promotion and coverage. The slogan Take Back Our Country appeals to a certain brand of disenfranchised and argues at the same time that our country has indeed been taken, implying that we had it in the previous administration which again would impress Orwell.

      Commonist Health Care

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jan 1, 2011
      Commonist Health Care

      The ruling elite has taken, over the years, great pains to stigmatize the word communism, deliberately associating it with rapacious world conquest, gulag, tyranny etc; and to fold socialism neatly in with the same knee-jerk associations. When a proposal characterized by sharing and compassion arises it can thus be labeled “socialist”! – with an accusing exclamation point and thus be discredited. So successful was this campaign that the same forces turned their skills to the word Liberal, with nearly the same results.

      Moderation in all things

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Dec 22, 2010
      Moderation in all things

      On one end of a continuum of theories of governance is Democracy, where the People rule. On the other is Plutocracy where the wealthy class calls the shots. In the public discussion of this polarization in the United States there are those who take a sort of middle position and confusedly think of themselves then as moderates. But is it a “moderate” position to compromise Democracy?

      The argument might be clarified if we put it in these terms: Democracy demands one person, one vote, Plutocracy demands rule by the rich, and “moderation” offers a compromise where the vote is based on dollars, that is, one dollar, one vote. Somehow I don’t think this is what the Greek Philosopher had in mind, that moderation consists in taking a position sort of half way between the extremes.

      Taxpayers at Work

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Dec 16, 2010
      Taxpayers at Work

      The local versions of mainstream media highlight easy targets like street crime… keeps us all frightened, hunkered down in our homes and cars. Can’t get organized there… can’t do street demos from the bunker.

      The storm trooper Right and many advertisers will get on their case if media strays beyond the permitted parameters and individual journalists labor under the threat of termination or transfer for “over-inquisitive” reporting. The Washington, D.C. New York Times bureau chief found that out when he accepted the position of editor for the AJC and tried to poke around where he dasn’t poke.

      Support the Troops

      by | 5, Add your Comment | Dec 10, 2010
      Support the Troops

      The drawing came out of an experience I had at a night club. A Nashville singer-songwriter had a Support Our Troops sticker on his guitar and stated how proud he was of his nephew for serving in Iraq and urged us to Support the troops – I wanted to shout, “Bring’em home!” but I allowed myself to be intimidated into silence. That failure haunted me enough to try to compensate with the drawing.

      The text below was printed on the flip-side of the drawing, a pocket-sized flyer I would hand out to folks at demonstrations. When I saw Bush or Support our Troops bumper stickers in parking lots I’d leave one under the windshield wiper. The situation has changed somewhat with Obama’s ascendancy to the throne but the pressure to exercise the violence option is pretty intense, whether that pressure comes from the defense industry, patriarchal ideologues or from within one’s own psyche.

      Classy Society

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Dec 2, 2010
      Classy Society

      Michael Parenti’s America Besieged turns the idea that the U.S. is threatened by foreign enemies on its head. His notion is that a politically active segment of the  privileged and wealthy class is intent on maintaining their privilege at whatever cost.  The freedoms the rest of us enjoy are thus under siege to the extent that those freedoms threaten that privilege. His chapter on distribution of wealth confirms what Chomsky and others have said in various of their books and lectures … Parenti’s book was published in 1998 so it can be safely assumed (recall which administration presided over the period since, leaving the current administration with a paralyzing mess, assuming it is not complicit – a big assumption) that the trends he cites have gotten even more pronounced.

      Know Thyself

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Nov 25, 2010
      Know Thyself

      Some 2,500 years ago a city smaller than Atlanta produced painting, sculpture, architecture, theater, poetry, literature and pottery which stand as monumental foundation for the Art we experience around us in the west today. In 1982 I stood before the Acropolis in Athens, awed at the sophistication of a people whose technology was mightily primitive compared to what has developed since. Yet they were able to construct an incredibly advanced civilization which despite our tools, we merely echo. Another aspect that we mirror is a missed opportunity: Instead of building a just and gentle society providing all with basic necessities and leisure to enjoy a creative, celebratory life, they constructed impressive art and implements of war and domination (I know, I know, Sparta was only a stone’s throw west).

      Disaster Capitalism – I’m Shocked!

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Nov 20, 2010
      Disaster Capitalism – I’m Shocked!

      Naomi Klein has done us all a favor and lifted the veil that has hidden the manipulators of the levers of power, revealing a very disturbing reality. The ruling economic theory from the great depression to Reagan was Keynesian, a theory characterized by the notion that government should intervene to protect the people from the worst excesses of capitalism.

      Addiction?

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Nov 16, 2010
      Pick your poison, by Tom Ferguson, LikeTheDew.com

      What’s on offer from the powers that be? Reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the U.S., one encounters a chronicle of class warfare – extremely wealthy individuals and, now, corporations, using their cash flow to distort democracy, targeting “liberals” and supporting “conservatives.”

      Those who might question or oppose, however mildly, complete domination by these funders, the “liberals,” and those who will zealously by-any-means-necessary pursue their agenda, the “conservatives” are locked in battle, with one side, the former, having support of the people they represent and the latter having the advantage of lavish funding.

      Pickpockets and con artists

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Nov 11, 2010
      Pickpockets and con artists

      This is my citizen comment to the Georgia Public Service Commission, 11/8/2010, in opposition to a Georgia Power rate increase request of one Billion dollars, on top of recent increases they’ve already been granted. Part of the reason for the request is that Georgia Power’s Moody’s credit rating has been downgraded because of its decision to build dangerous, expensive new nuclear plants. My comment focuses on the nuclear argument:

      There are many reasons to oppose pouring scarce public resources into nuclear projects:

      1. The high cost of nuclear reactors, the long lead time to operation and the unacceptably high water usage and thermal pollution.
      2. The fact that a nuclear plant to a terrorist, is a pre-positioned nuclear device that can create a sacrificial population and an immense dead zone.

      Utopia Anyone?

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Nov 4, 2010
      Utopia Anyone?

      The city of Atlanta, along with the downtown business association, has been accused of conspiring to close the Task Force for the Homeless, a facility that as many as 700 homeless men depend on. The Task Force backs up and takes overflow from other shelters. Criticism of the Task Force includes, in my experience, “They’re not a good neighbor, they enable criminality…”, “They only warehouse the homeless.”, implying that the other facilities do more though, not mentioned, is for fewer and never addressed is what would become of 700 men if the facility closed. Some argue that business interests covet the valuable property. Others emphasize the negative effect on tourism and downtown business of hundreds of homeless men in various states ranging from simply “unsightly” to in-your-face panhandling to mugging, intoxication and mental and physical illness.

      Yeelections

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 31, 2010
      Not

      Come Tuesday we’ll see if Georgians have shaken off the long-enduring custom of voting against their own interests. I throw out this post/drawing as a desperate act, like calling upon the Gods to intercede or sticking a pin in a voodoo doll. I want to believe it is only a fringe group susceptible to the hysterical rantings of highly paid hucksters, clever and diabolical, or merely emotionally disturbed recruits in the class war (which they deny exists except when some naive soul asks for justice and fairness). Then I note that Fox News has a lion’s share of the ratings and I reacquaint with the meaning of REACTION.

      Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dumb

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 27, 2010
      Tweedle Dee/Tweedle Dumb

      I find it discouraging sometimes, the choices we are presented with at the ballot box. A parliamentary system would allow one to vote their real choice and, since it is not winner take all as here, your choice, green party for example, would be represented to the degree that it got votes.

      North Carolina, I’m told, is instituting an instant run-off system which is a really good idea: you vote first and second choices and if your first choice doesn’t win and there’s no clear winner your second choice is counted… opens up the process – though I’ve heard the e-voting machines don’t know how to handle this so we’ll see what happens.

      Juggling Priorities

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Oct 22, 2010
      Juggling Priorities in the New Deal

      Juggling Priorities in the New Deal: cut citizen services; tax cuts for the rich; corporate privilege; atomic energy; stomping on justice and the law – A political cartoon by Tom Ferguson.

      Tea Time

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Oct 15, 2010
      The Mad Hatter

      Just drink this tea and you will see the enlightment of the G.O.P. so you will vote for me.

      Review: ‘Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA’

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 8, 2010
      CIA

      The fact that the author of a book about the CIA writes for the New York Times raises skepticism in some quarters, the ones where I live for example… confirmed in the writer’s ambivalence about the CIA’s mission and in his failure to highlight the Bush/Cheney role in having intelligence fabricated and tailored to suit their intention to attack Iraq, blaming instead the agency itself, and in his acceptance of “U.S. interests”, security “needs” and “enemies”. The “need” for intelligence on and operations against other countries is never questioned and the idea of conducting straight-forward, transparent relations with other nations seems never to occur to the writer. He accepts the use of the word “we” as if it refers to the people rather than a ruling elite. Despite these misgivings Tim Weiner exposes many unsavory CIA projects.

      The Fair Deal

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Oct 4, 2010
      The Fair Deal

      All’s fair…

      “We’ll call my administration, ‘the fair deal’!”

      “Ya, that’d be funny, zero for them, all for us!”

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