My main intent is to expose the fear-mongering machine; and with any luck, disarm the machine by arming people with information. It's real news that the mainstream ignores, things I consider to be smokescreens, plus a few ideas on what to do about it all. Please see the bottom of the blog for older posts and a wide variety of resources that I consider need-to-know info.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Shams

Just yesterday I heard that the new FISA reform bill for the wiretapping program, or so-called "Protect America Act" is being reported as some sort of success. Dodd & Feingold won their right for their amendment against retroactive immunity to require a mere simple majority to pass, yet the devil is definitely in the details! The problem is what rests with all the numerous law suits pending against telecommunication companies, which many a lawyer and legal expert agrees that they've quite a good case. In the latest version of the bill the liability would now rest with the federal government, not the telecom companies. Meaning, that when all those claims are paid-out it will essentially come out of our tax dollars, even though it was the telecom companies that were clearly the ones that violated our rights by complying without the lawful warrants. Talk about a sham! Who ever thought that was a good thing to agree to, or as is reported, to accept as a bargaining chip in order to pass this bill? Doesn't this just nullify the entire purpose of holding those responsible for violating our rights accountable? Where is their due punishment, and why are our representatives jumping up to defend the "good intent" of the telecom companies by way of excusing their actions because they wanted to aid the government for security? If that were the case, then why bother with the immunity at all? I think this is more like setting precedent for a free pass for many other private companies to violate our rights on down the road! Private companies would now be able to violate us and blame it on the government, and we would essentially be suing ourselves for damages - nice. Last I checked the fed didn't say there would be any legal consequences if they didn't comply, and I certainly didn't ask for them to spy on my fellow citizens - did you? While the media as well as some members of Congress are boasting this agreement as some sort of victory, I have to say that I am far more inclined to agree with the skepticism of Glenn Greenwald on this one. I have to commend him for staying on top of this one with his numerous updates too, as nobody else seems to think this is worth reporting much about. This quick fix is sure to be a rotten deal for Americans if it is allowed to pass, and I highly recommend you contact your senators and tell them you don't want them to support it in its current form! Tell them that there should absolutely NOT be any compromise, and that liability being displaced on the federal government is tantamount to granting blanket immunity for telecommunications companies!!! It would be good to act quickly and spread the word like wildfire too, since they are due to vote on t immediately.

Then we have the sham we call, "elections." I can hardly believe what has been happening over the last couple of weeks, the few truly good candidates on the left have apparently thrown in the towel before 90% of the nation has even had a chance to vote in the primaries. Two out the sole four states that have participated thus far have been a total sham too. Michigan had ONLY Hillary & Gravel on the ballot; and because Florida has early voting available, every last vote cast for Kucinich & Edwards just went straight to the garbage. I was only a bit disappointed with Kucinich because he was doing some great things in fighting the media that is hell-bent on choosing our president FOR us, and I thought he was a great voice to hear in the debates - maybe the only one that actually stirred things up or appeared different from the others (well, since the media scrubbed Gravel from the debates anyway). I liked that Kucinich seemed to be getting his ire up, and was even swayed to his camp because I thought he was the only visible peace candidate left. I personally don't need all that cordial crap in a debate like I've recently been seeing - yeish. I really don't care if they can "play nice" because that doesn't seem to be getting us anything but more of the same, and revolution doesn't happen without some friction. Although we enjoyed a fair amount of prosperity with President Clinton, most Americans aren't aware of how many of his policies made while pandering across the aisle are damaging us today. On the other hand, I don't feel the need to see any schoolyard smearing, but I'd like to see some real differences on some positions on the issues pointed out and some substantive discussions going on! Is that really too much to ask?

I have to say that Edwards was a giant disappointment AND he really owes Florida a giant apology too. I can forgive Kucinich far more easily than I can Edwards because Edwards was still visible. Plus, Edwards swore up and down just the day before he quit that he was going to hang in until the end no matter what. It's reminiscent of Kerry campaigning on his need for campaign dollars so he could have the resources for a recount that he swore he would call if it was tight, and then conceding before the final count was even completely done - LAME. Edwards claimed to be the people's candidate and he was my third hopeful because he was at least more focused on the domestic mess we need to attend to, but didn't even think he could count on the people and based that opinion essentially on a two state primary or less than 10% of the population. Again, LAME. Honestly, I truly believed that Edwards was going to be the big surprise, the one that came out from behind once the rest of the nation had a chance to put in their two cents. It has been rumored that he went out the day after he quit to try and secure a position in the future president's cabinet, and that just may be the case - makes sense anyway. Although I don't know that I can completely trust that he will be for the people if he does get that position, not any more.

This media elimination of our candidates is a prime example of why we really need to put an end to primaries all together, and implement something truly democratic, like INSTANT RUN-OFF VOTING!!! Imagine if you didn't have only TWO measly choices in November, or a sole one on your side of the aisle when you stepped up to the ballot box. Just imagine if you actually got to vote your conscious instead of the "lesser of two evils." Remember how it was in school, where everybody ran for whatever student council position, and we all just voted for whomever we wanted for each spot? THAT is what Run-Off Voting would be like, and it produces a true majority. It's even better than that because you get to say who your second and third choice would be too! One of my favorite organizations that is campaigning for Run-off voting is There are many industrialized nations that use Run-Off Voting, and there is absolutely no reason why we can't too! The only things I think need to be added to this election reform plan would be to have publicly funded campaigns and abolish the electoral college. Then the lobbyists would be out of the picture too; no more dependency on campaign donations from the mighty corporations for candidates, nor need for them to later be beholden to those corporations once seated in office. More on these two topics on another day...

When I first started blogging on the current "election," naturally, it was about Iowa (being that they are the first). I mentioned that such significance given to a state that literally has one-tenth the population size of mine (California) seemed absolutely absurd. I'll admit that I was feeling burned about the fact that Iowa as well as New Hampshire has heaps of attention poured over them by all the candidates too. A friend of mine said that she was upset about all the smears against Iowa because it was implying their vote was worth less. My reply was that I'm not stupid enough to think such a thing, especially since the electoral college makes my vote worth about a tenth as much as their's is worth. Although, since they had eight candidates to choose from, and I'm supposed to think I'm reduced to just two, I'd say my vote is almost plain garbage! Can anybody tell me why a state that accounts for nearly one third of the entire nation's economy, has little to no say at all in our presidential primary? By the time I will get a chance to vote, my second AND my third choice has already dropped out of the race - nice. What an f'in SHAM we have for a "democracy"!!!

Only "my second and third choices" are gone you ask? Why yes, there is still ONE honorable candidate left in the race - but you'd never know it, thanks to the bought-off propaganda machine posing for the news these days. As it turns out, there is just one man aside from the sole two we see out pimping themselves, and he swears he is in it until the end - no matter what - Senator Mike Gravel.

I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting Senator Gravel today too, here in LA. He held a meet & greet at a local gallery where he also did some Q & A. It was perfectly lovely, and even as a long time supporter I learned some more about his policies too. In the first picture below, where he is speaking, I managed to include the sketch of him (just above him). The show was at Circus Gallery (7062 Lexington), also where the meet & greet was, right in the middle of an exhibit of an artist's entire series of all the candidates.


What was really great about this sketch for me was the reference that Senator Gravel made to it, how it seemed representative of his anger expressed at the televised debates. He recounted how although he was nervous and anxious, just like all the others; but he was also upset about how the coordinators had clearly lied to his face when they claimed that the layout of the candidates was by a random "drawing from a hat" so to speak, and that they would all have equal time. Most of us know that neither was true, considering Gravel and Kucinich were placed on either far end of the stage, and both of them had less than 5 minutes as opposed to the 14 or more minutes that the "tops" placed directly in the center got. When Gravel pointed to the sketch above him he said his wife told him not to get so angry, that people might think he's an angry old man. I had my chance to ask Senator Gravel a question, I started out by thanking him for getting angry, because we have SO MUCH to be angry about - it got some pretty huge applause too, I think we all have good reason to be angry about what has happened to our country. Gravel responded that you would have to be dead not to be angry about what is going on these days. It really was refreshing for me to see him there in the debates, without pussyfooting around and calling candidates out on their votes and behaviors. He was keeping things on the up & up if you ask me. I had planned to shout out, "I'm mad as hell! And I'm not going to take it anymore!!!", but the applause drowned me out and caught me off guard a bit. If you're not familiar with this "Network" reference, please watch that film - it's an absolute MUST. When I had seen the press reporting that he was an angry old man, I instantly thought of the main character in that classic film that made that line infamous.

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have had this picture taken today, this man is seriously a giant American hero! For those of you that don't know; thanks to this man's five month filibuster we haven't had a draft since Vietnam - ALSO, Gravel is the man that worked with the legendary whistle blower, Daniel Ellsberg to put the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record, therefore making the public aware of the corrupt intentions behind the Vietnam war.

Anyway, the questions I asked Senator Gravel were as follows... First, what did he think about Run-Off voting, and without hesitation he basically said that it was a no-brainer, and that he would absolutely support it - that it wasn't the full reform we need, but that he was in favor of it. Second, I asked him to comment on Fair Trade verses "free" trade, adding that I thought the deregulation that started with Reagan is destroying our country. This got a little more interesting reply, and I'm looking forward to reading more about it in his book that was just released! Yes sir, it's aptly called "Citizen Power." What I found interesting about his response to my second question was that he said we needed global governance to achieve true peace, but this is a pretty touchy subject - if not downright unpopular notion - for those of us that are hip to the NWO. However, his version certainly was a different take on it. The main difference he pointed out was that the structure of the current global governance (the UN) is all wrong because of the structure. In order to better understand how this would work, you can explore Gravel's revolutionary proposal to make American citizens the lawmakers, otherwise known as "direct democracy" and technically called, "The National Initiative". His idea for a global governance is based upon the same principle, and would simply be the same for all people everywhere in the interest of all life on earth. There is a pretty good synopsis of the initiative on Gravel's campaign site too, and the title is well put; "A Populist Concept of Democracy"

Essentially it's all about the people conducting the business of lawmaking, in conjunction with an administrative body that we would elect to manage the system (of holding hearings and coordinating voting), and it would include a life-long, permanent voters' registration for all citizens nationwide. The premise is that the real power in a democracy is in lawmaking, and without the ability for citizens to make federal laws we will never be able to make the desired and needed changes. Gravel also pointed out that there are several states that already allow people to make state laws, but that the power to make federal laws are what will eliminate the disparity between demographics and so forth. This IS the truly revolutionary change that we all desire, no joke! As for the nay-sayers that I have run into since I discovered Gravel, their total lack of faith in the people isn't warranted in my opinion. The best way I can explain it is that we are all experts by our own experience, and who better to determine what we need to live than ourselves? Think about it, when somebody in your family is diagnosed with cancer, you suddenly become an expert on cancer treatments - it's human nature to want to do whatever we can about the things that devastate us. If we had that kind of power in decision making, do you really think we would still be in Iraq, or even have gone there in the first place? Honestly, bureaucracy is just a scare tactic designed to keep us out of the process. I'd like to add that almost any parent would agree that when you give responsibilities to a child they tend to behave more responsibly, and when you don't allow children to make decisions they tend to act out - I think adults aren't so different.

So we may have to settle for a bought-out corporate shill that we call president once again, IF all the supporters for the other candidates that have dropped out can't get themselves together to vote Gravel, and imagine how incredible THAT would be, if everybody on the left that lost their chosen candidate got behind Gravel - that could seriously turn out to be an incredible surprise. FYI: If you are as tired as I have become with the warm-fuzzy "debates" that have been going on, know that you have an alternative too! Every time there is a Democratic debate, Senator Gravel holds a congruent "alternative debate" where he watches the broadcast and pauses it occassionally so he can put in his two cents. I like it because at least there is a voice that can be heard that isn't just "politics as usual."

Personally, I'm just very gratful to have the ability to vote my conscious in the primary, because my number one choice isn't a quitter! But no matter what... we still have the power to make real change if we want it, and we don't even need our "elected" officials to agree with us to make it happen either! According to the seventh amendment, we have the power to change the way our system works if we can get over 50 million signatures on that initiative, it will simply BECOME THE LAW OF THE LAND.

It's all about Power to the People!!!


Anok said...

Wow, I haven't been here in a bit, and Wham! New format...

OK then...I was just stopping in, I see you are still on top of things...

And I watched Dodd stop the retroactive immunity bill by talking - yup - by talking. Of course, load of good that will do now, in March that the Decider in Chief has decided that he'd rather the telecommunications companies get immunity...


Infensus Mentis said...

Great work, Lefty. You haven't dropped by in a while now, where've you been?

Gravel kicks arse. I'm jealous that you got to meet the man. Anyway it's all good, I'll just photoshop my head over yours, and be happy with that.

With regard to the topic of elections, have you seen Uncounted yet? It's an excellent documentary. You can view it here.

Drop by my blog and say hi sometime. Cheers.

About Me

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I had been writing a News & Politics column for an online magazine for a little over three years, and just last fall opened this blog to continue publication. I also had the pleasure of being the associate producer for a progressive talk radio host for about a year. Alittle of everything... I've advised small businesses, and I paint all kinds of things (boxes, figurines, greeting cards, personalized children's and other dish-wares, decor...). I still paint when I can, but mainly I'm manage a wholesale company for a Fair Trade, eco-friendly Jewelry & Homewares designer/producer out of Bali called, Verlu. You can see a full catalog of our line on the website, and there is now a list of our retailers for you to visit too. "Wear in everybody's Good Health!"
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