Thursday, June 30, 2011

In Case You've Forgotten What A Democrat Sounds Like

Dear MeanMesa:

The movie Green Lantern opened on Friday, to mixed reviews.  Maybe the reviews would have been better if the movie had included this powerful exchange, from Green Lantern #76:

African-American Man: I’ve been readin’ about you . . . How you work for the blue skins . . . and how on a planet someplace you helped out the orange skins . . . and you done considerable for the purple skins!  Only there’s skins you never bother with – the black skins!  I want to know . . . how come?!  Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!

Green Lantern:  I  . . . can’t . . . .

I may never have the chance to talk to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or any of the other Masters of the Universe who led and misled our country for eight long years.  Nor may I ever have the chance to speak to Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, or any of the other savage right-wing loons who want to finish the job that Bush et al. started.  But if I could, I might say:

Me:  I’ve been readin’ about you . . . How you work for multinational corporations like Big Oil. . . .  And how you say you built all those roads and schools and bridges in some country in Asia.   And in some other country in the Middle East someplace you got rid of some dictator.  Only there’s one country you never bother with – America!  I want to know . . . how come?!  Answer me that, Mr. Flag-Waiving Patriot!

Them:  I  . . . can’t . . . .

Well, I can answer that.  For a generation now, we have seen the heartless, callous erosion and destruction of all the things that make you a member of the middle class in America:

A job.

A home.

A car.

The chance to see a doctor when you are sick.

A pension or retirement account.

Social Security and Medicare.

And we’ve seen them replaced by endless war, falling home values, no pensions, lower wages, and now what Karl Marx called a “reserve army of the unemployed” – to keep wages down forever.

Even after only two years in office, as one out of 435 in the House, I can point to a lot of things that I did to preserve, protect and expand the middle class in America, and to help those of us who were falling through the cracks.

I look at our so-called leaders on the other side of the aisle, and I see nothing like that.  Only a perverse delight in eliminating programs that help my fellow Americans in need.  They’ll lead us, all right – they’ll lead us straight to ruin.

The next time you see one of them -- at a town hall meeting, in their plush offices, or just on the street – ask them this:  “What have you done to help the people?  Answer me that!”

If they’re honest, they’ll say what Green Lantern said:  “I can’t.”

Alan Grayson
    In brightest day, In blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Email from CREDO Re: Susana Martinez and Texas Prayer Meeting

Here's another interesting little "something" from the MeanMesa email bag.

Tell Gov. Martinez: Don't attend discriminatory "Day of Prayer" event.
Gov. Martinez has been invited to attend a Texas prayer event sponsored by a known hate group.
Clicking here will add your name to this petition to Gov. Susana Martinez:
"Tell Texas Governor Rick Perry that you will not attend his discriminatory 'Day of Prayer' event."

Dear MeanMesa,
Texas Governor Rick Perry is exploring a presidential run. And like George W. Bush before him, he's starting by courting the extremist evangelical vote.
Instead of looking for serious solutions to our nation's very real economic problems, Gov. Perry is proposing a conservative, evangelical Christian prayer event, and he's sent a special invitation to every U.S. governor — including Gov. Susana Martinez — to participate.
What's worse, he's put the organization and management of this event firmly in the hands of the American Family Association, a Mississippi-based conservative Christian organization that's so vehemently anti-gay, they've been identified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center.1
Tell Gov. Martinez: Reject your invitation to attend Texas Gov. Rick Perry's discriminatory prayer event. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
This is no ecumenical prayer event that is inclusive of Jews or even progressive Christians. On the event's web site it's noted that the meeting "has adopted the American Family Association statement of faith," which includes the infallibility of the Bible, the centrality of Jesus Christ and the eternal damnation that awaits nonbelievers.2
Gov. Perry's extremist event has raised alarm among religious and non-religious civil liberties groups alike. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State even told the New York Times, "I have followed religion and politics closely for 35 years, and I have never seen a governor initiate and lead this kind of Christians-only prayer rally."3
Tell Gov. Martinez: Reject your invitation to attend Texas Gov. Rick Perry's discriminatory prayer event. Click here to automatically sign the petition.
Let's be clear about Gov. Perry's true intent. It's widely speculated that Gov. Perry wants to throw his name in the hat to become the 2012 Republican nominee for president. It's also widely known that the Republican party's most solid base of supporters are conservative evangelical Christians. Conveniently, this national prayer event is scheduled to take place just one week before the straw poll in Iowa.
Our elected leaders should be working to solve the tough problems facing this country, not participating in a discriminatory event aimed at burnishing Gov. Perry's credentials with the rightwing evangelical base. Only Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas, has indicated publicly that he will attend the event. Your governor needs to hear from you now.
Thank you for standing up to rightwing extremists.
Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Campaign Manager

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Democrats in Congress Fighting Back Against Citizens United

MeanMesa is sharing this letter from NM (D) Congressman Martin Heinrich.  MeanMesa visitors know what I think about the Citizens United Supreme Court Corporate "Loop Hole."  Here's some news from someone who matters!

June 24, 2011

Dear MeanMesa,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission.  I appreciate knowing your thoughts and concerns on this important issue. 

In a 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC invalidated two provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).  It struck down the longstanding prohibition on corporations using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures, and Section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), which prohibited corporations and labor unions from using general treasury funds for "electioneering communications." The Court determined that these restrictions constitute a "ban on speech" in violation of the First Amendment. 

At this critical moment in our nation's history, Members of Congress must dedicate every available moment toward solving our nation's challenges.  Our leaders must have the trust of the American people that their decisions will benefit all Americans, not just the wealthy.

Therefore, I am committed to supporting effective legislative responses to the Citizens United v FEC decision, and I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 5175 and of H.J. Res 74.

Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) introduced H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, which would increase transparency of political expenditures by enacting tough disclosure requirements for corporations.  This legislation requires campaign related commercials to feature the company's chief executive officer or highest-ranking officer to appear on camera to say that he or she "approves this message," just as political candidates must do under current law.  The FEC would release disclosure forms for corporations and labor organizations on campaign-related spending.  Restrictions in this legislation will ensure that foreign companies do not influence our country's elections through unregulated spending.  Finally, it prohibits institutions that received funding from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (P.L. 110-343) from spending these funds in elections. H.R. 5175 passed the House of Representatives on June 24, 2010, by a vote of 219 to 206. 

H.J.Res 74 amends the Constitution to permit Congress and the states to regulate the spending of funds by corporations engaging in political speech. H.J.Res 74 would overrule the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC and would help remove corporate influence from our country's political system. 

You may also be pleased to know that I am an original cosponsor of H.R. 1826, the Fair Elections Now Act.  H.R. 1826 would help restore public confidence in the congressional election process by providing qualified candidates for Congress with grants, matching funds, and vouchers from the Fair Elections Fund to replace campaign fundraising that largely relies on large donors and special interests.  In return, participating candidates would agree to limit their campaign spending to the amounts raised from small dollar donors plus the amounts provided from the Fund.

This voluntary alternative would free participating candidates from the incessant, time-consuming money chase that has tainted public perceptions of elected officials and that has fostered abuses that can undermine our democracy.  H.R. 1826 would allow our leaders to focus on finding solutions to the challenges that all Americans face.

Every two years a new Congress begins and all pending legislation must be reintroduced.  H.R. 1826 and H.J.Res. 74 were introduced in the 111th Congress and have not yet been reintroduced in the 112th Congress.  Rest assured, I remain a strong supporter of public financing, and I will continue to advocate for a political system that allows individuals to contribute and removes the influence of unaccountable corporations. 

As you know, the best ideas do not come from Washington but from thoughtful, caring people like you who take the time to participate in government and the democratic process.  Please rest assured I will keep your thoughts and ideas in mind as I vote on legislation.  I hope you will continue contacting me with your ideas and let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your family. 

Again, thank you for contacting me.  For more information and additional details about legislation, please visit my website,  While you are there, you can also sign up to receive periodic updates on my work in Congress. 

As always, I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues important to you.


Martin Heinrich
Member of Congress

Web Site:

The Value of Things That Work

It Can't Happen Here

Researchers at Stanford University have long been interested in what archaeological conclusions could be drawn from a regression study based on modern forms of DNA.  Although there is very little material evidence such as bodies or camp sites available to provide the sort of clues usually employed for studies of our more modern ancestors, a fairly credible model can be derived by analyzing the nature of the changes to DNA revealed in the "latest chapter" -- that is, the most modern -- chapter of the story.

Put bluntly, DNA "had" to pass through several discernible stages to have developed into what we see now.
It is from precisely this that these researchers have pieced together a highly probable account of something which happened to humans just before the population began to expand during the early stone age.

From Zeitler Web, Human Near-Extinction

Human beings may have had a brush with extinction 70,000 years ago, an extensive genetic study suggests. The human population at that time was reduced to small isolated groups in Africa, apparently because of drought, according to an analysis released Thursday. The report notes that a separate study by researchers at Stanford University estimated the number of early humans may have shrunk as low as 2,000 before numbers began to expand again in the early Stone Age.

Read the entire original article at this link:

"A Brush With Extinction" -- Modern Times

Well, MeanMesa could have effortlessly "jumped on the turnip truck" with the drooling, dirty shirt preacher who recently announced the "end of the world" for St. John the Divine fans, but that "piggy back" approach is too cheap even for MeanMesa.  Facing the constant danger of an overly dramatic "over reach," however, has never stifled the essayist blood in this little blog.

Instead, let's attempt a very ambitious over view which might "size up" both the prospects of a modern version of that extinction in comparison to the modern institutions which we humans have constructed to meet the challenge.

Looking for life -- rain, food and game (image source)

Those ancient humans who successfully responded to that prehistoric drought in Africa probably took a little time to figure out that they needed to pack up their spears and sandals and walk away from it before it killed them.  Importantly, there was no "central commission" for the cave men.  This problem was solved in "little groups," each one of which took the necessary action for its survival.

In our modern world, however, there are far too many people to make a similar response particularly viable.  For one thing, unlike the ancient African humans who finally immigrated to Europe, the modern world offers very few "new places to go" which aren't already well occupied with folks who already intend to stay there.

Teshuinat cave paintings (Libyan Soup's photostream)

So, rather than planning to take this minimalist, survivalist refuge in our "spears and sandals," we modern humans have, in a helter skelter sort of way, gradually established social institutions with the goal of "evening out the bumps" as we wandered forward to our own cultural -- and species -- future.  Now, when we face something unsettlingly similar to what confronted those ancient humans, we must look to these elements of our social culture for the tools we intend to use to solve our own, modern challenge.

In a previous posting on this blog, Managing Global Warming Solutions (, MeanMesa suggests that this over populated planet is now facing a "Malthusian correction" phase where the current, unsustainable population levels will be reduced by the sheer force of Great Nature.  Although we might, at first, consider such forces as famine, pestilence and great wars as the fundamental cause of such a problem, a current newspaper offers a somewhat simpler explanation.

The planet's water is moving from where it used to be to new places where it will be in our future..

Climate Change?  Watch the Water

As a more or less "closed system" when it comes to the amount of water on the planet, we can hardly describe what is happening as a drought.  There's is roughly just as much water now as there has been in our past and will be in our future.  The problem arises from the climate change we have imposed on the system.  The water is migrating.

We humans have invested mightily in the construction of the infrastructure upon which we currently depend.  Further, that infrastructure has been positioned in places already attractive to us because of the nearby presence of water.  This was the case with the civilization on the Nile, the Indus, the Tigris, Euphrates, and for the Biblically inclined, Eden's Orynx and Amu Darya (Pison. Gihon. Hiddekel).

Now, the water has moved, but the extensive infrastructure we have built in its old proximity has revealed itself as, well, not particularly portable.  Although we first think of harbors, hydroelectric damns and sea side villas, we must now add to that list such popular human amenities as productive  agricultural areas and flood prevention levees.  Further, all the stuff we have traditionally fought over, threatened with destruction, violently defended or simply stolen from each other in our previous warfare, is now suffering an almost incomprehensible reduction in value as it is left "way over there," high and dry, valueless, inoperative and irrelevant.

Exaggerated?  Pakistan is flooding, Moscow is burning, China is flooding, the Eastern US is flooding while the Southwestern US is burning.  Tornadoes, typhoons and hurricanes seem to have "changed their faces," at least increased in their ferocity.  As these changes progress, the "big picture" suggests that these previously desirable spots on the planet are becoming, well, significantly less desirable, and all the mushrooming implications of such changes are becoming material.

Water, that is, rainfall, has brought profound flooding to places where infrastructure was never designed to handle such volumes.  Left behind, areas where vegetation previously flourished with abundant rain are now "drying out" to explosive, incendiary conditions as the old vegetation gradually (or, rapidly) dehydrates to become fuel.

Just as the present planetary conditions are showing the migration of water, the correction -- if we survive it -- will be a manifestation of an entirely new understanding of values when it comes to infrastructure.

Taking Refuge in Our Institutions of Civilization?

As we humans march into this uncertain future, we naturally look to the cultural institutions we have laboriously prepared over the millennia in hopes of mitigating such developments.  What we find at hand, however, is a troubling collection of such societal constructs which have fundamentally changed from their old, effective configurations to new, artificially valued, irrelevant replacements.

Let's take a look at a few of the "big picture" items on the list, each one a modern departure from the "sandals and spears" of our brave forebears, each one elevated to a state of necessity by our reckless proclivity to overpopulate our home world.  In the most general possible way, these are the things to which we look for solutions to what lies ahead.

These are the things upon which we will be forced to rely for our survival.  As humans, we have invested so much into these "institutions" of society and culture at the exclusion of other investments in other areas which we might have made, areas which might have been both more durable and more useful, that we now find ourselves facing our fate with these specific tools in our kits and no others.

However, as we return to analyze an overview of these "tools" of ours, we find them in a horrible state of dysfunction.  Whatever their more organic functions might have been as they were being developed through the course of our civilization's history, we have, more recently, indulged ourselves in a reckless transformation of their old utility into all sorts of essentially useless things.

Rather than launching out on a wandering tirade which could include too many editorial comments from MeanMesa, we shall attempt to formulate the information which might be presented to a student of future history in each of the five cases selected for our review.  We can, briefly, generalize the current state of each of these cases, then compare that to what might have been a far more beneficial condition, given what we now face as a species.


Wealth, considered generally, is of interest because it represents what we have bought with the fruits of our human energy.  Further, it's not simply what we have bought recently, either.  We can include the farm lands of ancient Ur, laboriously cleared of stones by centuries of misery by faceless Sumerian slaves.

Perhaps more importantly, we can consider wealth as a commodity defined by what we, as humans, have valued through all this time.  For centuries after the "near brush with extinction" noted above, wealth maintained a track which was closely associated with precisely the things we humans will need the most as we proceed into the dark uncertainty of the coming Malthusian correction.

Of necessity, real wealth will include all the resources dedicated to weapons, irrigation systems, transportation in all forms, education and research, food production and a myriad of similar amenities social culture has found necessary through the centuries.  Coveted items such a gold and jewels might have temporarily joined the "outskirts" of the list, but, in general, cash money has largely served only to complicate matters.

CDO derivatives, securitized mortgage bundles and corrupt stocks and bond markets may seem like wealth at this moment, but their days are numbered.  Likewise, grotesque prosperity may elicit an infatuating attraction in these final days of the "old world," but its continuing, intrinsic value is doomed.

After all, we're headed to a "correction."  In our dreams of survival, wealth -- if it had actually been wealth -- would have served an important role in the outcome.  Instead, wealth has turned its value into itself, serving primarily as the mechanism to protect wealth.  The "correction" will very rapidly, and rather painfully for some,  dissolve artificial values.

The nature of the "wealth" which currently makes the "wealthy" "wealthy" cannot by used to pay for the work lying ahead -- even if the "wealthy" were to ever be interested in helping humanity on the project.  All that "old world" wealth has no value when value is measured by the utility of transforming our world.

By the way, many aspects of "wealth" are founded on the current value of infrastructure.

Most likely, the work ahead, rather than being something which might be bought or traded, will instead turn out to be far more similar to the removal of the Sumerian rocks.


Following naturally after the discussion of the nature of wealth, the general nature of planetary economies must be handled separately.   The reason?  Economies produce outcomes beyond wealth.  Economies represent, in a much larger view, the global mechanisms and processes hosting human cooperation.

Homo sapiens sapiens is a creature with a fundamental reliance on cooperation.

Granted, specific economies have widely varied traits, but this general, common feature is universal.  Further, this conclusion "begs" a few others.  Although encompassing a wide spectrum of activities, this posting views economies as one of the social/cultural structures upon which we humans will have to rely.  As we consider this reliance in the human effort to survive the approaching correction, it becomes a structure upon which we must rely very heavily.

Current economies will dictate the application of resources to our preparation for the changing conditions.  During the correction, the remnants of present economies will determine the allocation and availability of necessary resources.

MeanMesa suspects that once the correction has taken its course, the fundamental concept of the term "economics" will permanently change to a quite new form which reflects the difficulties we have had with the old form. Hindsight will provide compelling evidence for an essentially uncontested rehabilitation for the whole idea.

Modern, overly artificial factors of economy, and, for that matter, wealth, have moved far away from these elemental descriptions of both.

Social Unity

Although volumes might be written about the current demise of unity in general, what is meant here might better be called species unity.  Examples of social division are plentiful ranging from the conflict between Rome and Carthage to the religionist slaughter of the Crusades and finally to the current state of "ideological" separation between nations and, within them, between citizens of a single nation.

At some point between the "brush with extinction" and the present day, individual priorities which included a general, collective value for group cooperation have shifted toward a state more accurately described as opportunism.  Social trends have managed to place the old cooperative impulse at odds with individual prosperity.  Planet-wide, the "cooperative" ideas have been made ideological, and as such, discretionary.

In every case of the resulting divisiveness, an ambitious individual or group has benefited. After those who then suffered from such division have, once again, staggered to their feet, the benefactors quickly reconciled their avarice with whatever form of externalized morals might have, otherwise, been in the way.

However, faced with the approaching "correction," we find our human indulgence in such practices to be especially disadvantageous.  We have enjoyed this foolish acceptance of such a non-human trait while the planet functioned, at least regionally, in a surplus of sorts.  Soon, absent the "plenty" of the passing epochs of that indulgent surplus, humans will realize that the old "opportunity from division" has vanished along with all sorts of other things we cherished.

Not only will we face the challenges of the meeting the difficulties of the correction, we will necessarily have to overcome centuries of division before we can even begin.  The planetary problems cannot be met by "little groups."  If that is the best we can muster while sustaining our sub-human inclinations for such divisions, the horizon darkens.


Much can be said about technology in general because our present world is filled with so many examples.  Further, the examples around us are potent improvements, the kind which promises to be a constructive influence in meeting the future.

However, just as is the case with other items in this list, prevailing conditions in the social/cultural reality of humans leaves that bright promise out of reach.  Once the initial "bite" of the correction engages, some of these synthetic restraints may be lifted, but then again, maybe not.  At least not until much later, that is, after great pain has been endured during the delay.

Two examples may suffice to explain what's meant here.

The first is the promise and result of technologically increased food production.  The technology at hand includes improvements in irrigation, fertilizers, pest control, education, hybrid genetic seeds and other things.  However, in each of these fields, the value of increasing food production finds itself "shoehorned" into all sorts of cramped limitations for reasons derived from the list so far:  wealth, economy, social unity and so on.

Very few are interested in adopting the larger goal of simply increasing food production.  The possibility of that high borne ambition is mired in opportunities sought from land ownership, politics, commercial equipment and supply sales and the like.  If food production increases as a side effect, the concern becomes one of falling prices.

Humans, generally, have managed to confidently accept the prospect of a family starving to death on the road in front of a commercial warehouse filled with food.  We have been led to quietly presume that such accepting behavior is an organic underpinning of our humanity.  We may have been able to "live" with such profound contradictions in past times of plenty, but, once again, conditions are changing.

The second example is not far removed from the first.  In it we see the imposed dilemma confronting any sort of beneficial new direction in energy production and management here in the United States.  It's no complicated secret that we need to stop burning coal, create a new power distribution system, eliminate gasoline and diesel transportation and so on.  However, our social/cultural instinct toward self-preservation are stymied by synthetic elements of the prevailing culture.

We have managed to prevent ourselves from solving our, more or less, common problems.  The mechanism we have employed and the goals we have pursued are both profoundly culturally irrational.


Aggravating the grave dilemma we face, the contributions of  modern forms of medieval religions which have retained values from that dark past cannot be under stated.  When these ancient mythologies were at each other's throats, reckless population increase became a strategic necessity.  Those old family habits were eventually codified into dogma, and more recently, into the latest , dangerous, grotesquely hybridized forms with only the most tenuous anchors to their alleged origins.

Nonetheless, we see vast areas of the planet where six or nine children are the norm for a family -- even one which fully accepts the likelihood of great difficulty in providing for them.  In the United States we see a fully fabricated religionist abhorrence of abortion, homosexuality, contraception and even divorce.

These admonitions may have been, somehow, suited for the religionist wars of the Dark Ages, but now we find them -- and their lingering damage to our possible preparation for the correction -- to be essentially treasonous to the species.  There is currently no inclination to direct the fervor to any more useful vent.

Worse, the violent ambitions of the religionists breathe deeply even in modern affairs.  Regardless of the particular mythology which drives it, each of these social/cultural phenomena covet control over their respective flocks sufficient to persuade them to sacrifice in battles for strictly adolescent prizes.

A final note concerning the burden of these monstrosities from the past addresses likely events in the time in the midst of the correction.  For all sorts of structured "reasons" ranging from the prospects for salvation and conversion to raw, guilt driven altruism, these religions have inspired both those who follow and those who watch to consider the vast destruction of humans as unacceptable.

Soon, faced with the inevitabilities of a Malthusian population correction, all these indulgences will become both unavoidable and spiritually devastating.  The inclination to intercede will almost certainly continue longer than reason would dictate, all the while allocating scarce resources to "lost causes" and tormenting the believers with what they perceive as the unceasing savagery of the process.

Surviving the correction will not be accomplished by the timid or, perhaps more importantly, the superficially pious.

The Value of Things That Work

Humans are model makers and problem solvers.  We improve things, and we measure that improvement by what it can add to our survivability.  Having solved that basic problem (Planetary Imperative) either robustly or "just barely," we seem to immediately begin a further process which both indulges our fancies and undercuts the fundamental progress we've just made.

The list of examples which are included above in this lumbering post could be fifty instead of just the five.  They are presented here as the modern equivalent to the "sandals and spears" of our brave African ancestors, but in terms of utility, the comparison may well stop there.

Considering the list, we humans have invested mightily in these developments through the centuries of our time here.  Viewed in the larger picture, we might presume to say that we have done all this work to solve problems and increase the prospects for our survivability, but just now, on the cusp of our  species' approaching test, we begin an unsettling new suspicion about the actual, material value of the "tools in our kit."

In the cold light of day, we now must face the fact that much of this stuff simply doesn't work, at least, work well enough to have a value which corresponds to price of its creation and maintenance.

It may have, more or less, worked when the challenge was not so grave, but since then, our indulgences and desires have diluted the purpose of these "labor intensive" efforts into a final condition which hardly promises to offer much assistance at all.  Inebriated by our "progress," somewhere in the past few centuries we homo sapiens seem to have forgotten the non-negotiable fundamentals of the world around us.

We humans have not been tricked or deceived by supernatural forces.  What we face now is the result of our simple lack of interest in developing the quality of the being part of being human beings.  We have, long ago, ceased investing any of our human capital in a feeling of responsibility for our role as humans, and now -- or at least, soon -- we will find ourselves cast as pitiable ninnies amid the litter of our unexamined existence, bewildered by the incomprehensible difficulties we have "suddenly" encountered.

There are moments when the indignities of old age -- now a constant companion to MeanMesa -- seem to comfortably reconcile themselves with one's expectations.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What We Do and How We Do It

The Diminishing Returns of More Revelations

The reactionaries of the wealth redistribution class knew, by the time of the Inauguration of Ronald Reagan, that the country would have to be divided by any means possible if the longer term plans of the oligarchs were to be realized without conflict.  These early "planners" correctly realized that the US standard of living in the days prior to this political reformation by the wealth class would inevitably present a problem.

Even hungry, desperate people can remember the days when things were good.

Worse, for the those in the wealth class, those memories of "better times" were far too recent and fresh to be simply buffered away as exaggerations and "urban legends."  The residue of that recently purloined prosperity offered up a seemingly endless series of reminders as the features of the by-gone society had to be systematically sold off for food, doctors' bills and mortgage payments.

Because even the low end of the middle class had so recently enjoyed all those elements of a healthy economy, a certain difficulty soon appeared on the otherwise blissful "dream horizon" of these ambitious billionaires.  If the endless hordes of previously middle class Americans could not be split into two -- or more -- manageable groups, sheer numbers would spell out the eventual downfall of the oligarchs' regressive "take over" project.

Hence arose the concept of ideological separation.  With a covey of recently purchased and amalgamated media corporations firmly in hand, the hard work of dividing the country along lines which had no possible remedy was begun immediately.  When we closely examine the social trends which transpired with Reagan at the helm, we see the visible advent of FOX News and the incendiary liars masquerading as conservatives while clinging politely to the hand an Australian fascist and a Saudi Prince with questionable loyalties.

Now, MeanMesa visitors have been through all this before on previous posts.  So, what, exactly, is the point in bringing all this up again right here?

Well, there is a point -- in fact, there are two points.

First, the "division of the country" idea, of necessity, had to be executed among this lower and middle class voting population if the larger scheme was going to garner enough "political cover" to deliver the oligarchs to their "ownership of everything" absent an uprising or class war.  As the lower classes gradually noticed that their part of the national economy was being redistributed upward to the "economic war lord" class, having to deal with only a disgruntled half of them was quite desirable when compared to having to deal with all of them.

Second, even though the faux-ideology and artificial political cover would be temporarily necessary until all the national wealth was safely stored away in the oligarchs' "money bins," a durable part of the middle class would have to remain infatuated with the story line long enough to remove any future democratic challenges to the new ruling class.  To solve this part of the problem, a relentless  glacier of misinformation and inflammatory half truths would be required to sustain the propaganda war's successes.

What we have left as this scheme progresses is essentially an end to the idea of political debate.  Representing the product of the oligarch's necessary plot to divide the country, one side of what might have otherwise been a "debate" has been saturated to a point beyond persuasion with the predictable onslaught of constantly repeated "talking points."

As a consequence, no discourse remains particularly relevant in the cycles of American democracy.  Reduced to its lowest common denominator, elections are now decided largely by a simple count of those who have succumbed to the oligarchs' propaganda program and those who haven't.

These hopeful new "masters of the universe" have even left a small nervous "corner" for those who have not yet entirely bought into the gaseously divisive rhetoric.  The precise name provided for the comfort of these "only partially boiled" eggs is The Independents.

Although touted by the propaganda stream as "independent thinkers" whose remarkable grasp of events leads them to a high borne reluctance to support either party, most of them are simply fickle, information challenged voters who are more afraid of making fools of themselves than they are of permanently losing the democracy.

If there remains a recoverable portion of the electorate whose numbers can be added to a rational voting block, it will be those who simply don't vote.

What We Do

As mentioned before, the final outcome of the 2012 election may well rest with these voters who "simply don't vote." 

All sorts of reasons for "simply not voting" could now fill an even longer posting, but rather than dwell on that question, MeanMesa would like to propose a course of action.  After all, we always feel better when we take action.  Right?

So, what's to be done?

Step one will be a firm, progressive embrace of the demographic fact that when lots of people go to the polls and vote, the Republicans lose.  

The reasons for this are hardly rocket science.  There are certainly not enough rich people to carry an election based primarily on a Republican platform of illicit wealth redistribution upward to the oligarch class.  Hopefully, there are also not enough labor class voters who have been swayed by the application of millions of Citizens United dollars to make up the difference.

We can see, as we reflect on the 2010 election which delivered the House of Representatives to the drooling tea baggers, that the fundamental GOPCon strategy will always be founded firmly on the question of "How many will vote?"

The "Party of Lincoln's" strategy in this matter follows two primary vectors. 

First, the GOPCons' masters have devoted immense resources ($) into the careful manipulation of the minds of voters into a state of dire, stoic, desperation and hopelessness.  This cynical tactic is carried out by the servants of the oligarchs as they issue their daily toxin on the radios and televisions of the "faithful."  The field commanders are psychopaths such as Limbaugh and Beck, and the effort is managed by their "handlers" such as the fascist and Arab who own FOX.

Second, the GOPCons have accumulated plenty of experience at outright voter suppression.  We have all heard about Rove's criminal "caging" operations, but now we see brazen voter registration and identification tactics emerging in the unfortunate states which have "elected" reactionary, democracy hating, GOPCon governors and obedient tribes of dottering hill billies in their legislatures.

The "freedom loving" GOPCons began this approach during the Jim Crow days.  Who knows whether these governors and legislators were even actually elected or not?  Republicans have never met an electronic voting machine they didn't like.

However, the work ahead for responsible Americans could not be presented any more clearly.  Protect the voting population from the suppression and psychological war fare.  Make certain that confident, rational minds are marking the ballots in the 2012.

We, on the other hand, must boost voter turn out.

How We Do It

Of course, we will need to be doing all sorts of things.  However, MeanMesa has taken the first step just last Thursday, adding a powerful weapon to further fortify the progressive ideas which must reach a successful consummation in the 2012.

Nothing boosts morale like more firepower.

Firing up the trusty old Plymouth, we made our way to the nearby OFA headquarters to attend a voter registrar meeting.  The twenty or so Americans sitting around the table with MeanMesa listened to the representative of the New Mexico Secretary of State explain the law about voter registration.

At the end of the instruction session, those attending were sworn in as official voter registrars for voters in our local county.  This means that, henceforth, all of us in that room can sign up unregistered voters, making it possible for them to appear on the voter lists and cast ballots in the upcoming elections.

Official NM Voter Registration Agent (confidential areas deleted)

The official from the Secretary of State's Office for the State  of New Mexico then notarized our voter registrar identification forms, making the process official.  Now, whenever MeanMesa encounters a New Mexican who wants to cast a ballot in the upcoming elections, that voter can be signed up and registered!

This is How We Do It.

Hmmm.  Is this posting just another "pretty face," nestled in among all the other  fascinating MeanMesa stuff on this blog?

Not exactly. 

Consider this little posting to the the "gauntlet cast down."  

YOU can also become a voter registrar!  YOU can do much more than simply post the latest GOPCon reactionary outrages on faceBook!  YOU can register your fellow citizens to vote in the next elections!

The more people vote, the fewer Republicans get elected.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What You're Supposed to Believe About NATO

When We Hear It Thirteen Times in Three Days

An over generous, and possibly also overly naive, observer might occasionally be impressed with the meat handed, ideological "conceptual continuity" of thinly disguised GOPCon "hired guns," in fact, make that GOPCon "talking heads."  MeanMesa supposes that "talking heads" is a more relevant title because, in order to penetrate this posting, that's exactly what they have to be doing, day by day, week by week.

Now, this might be yesterday's news if we were discussing the highly consolidated flow of GOPCon "talking points" issuing forth from the heavily soiled FOX radio pundits and the lower echelon "water carriers" of the Republican Congressional Clutch.  The old, road weary phrases already too tired for further repeating from this GOPCon media strategy are familiar to all of us.

"Cut and Run"
"Stay the Course"
"Washington Bureaucrats"
"Tax and Spend Democrats"
"Death Panels"
However, amid the continuing unrest called the "Arab Spring," bright new "talking points" are being added daily.

"Mission Confusion"
"Leadership Failure"

This post concerns one specific "talking point" which has been rolling out of the RNC "talking points factory" as, you guessed it, its most recent effort to undercut any possible successes which might be attributed to the Obama Administration.  A reasonable observer might, at this point, assume that MeanMesa has reverted  to "splitting hairs" in an effort to make the point.

Well, "splitting hairs" is, exactly, the point.

The Types and Varieties of Wing Nut Talking Points

Right.  Suspicious Foreign Entanglements

There seem to be two strata of these "talking points," dividing them, generally, into the "really big, cheap, trailer park" talking points and the slightly more sophisticated "being nibbled to death by ducks" talking points.  Of course, the big, cheap stuff is handed over to throw backs such as Beck and Savage, proffered up, then "gobbled down" by back porch hill billies listening to their radios.

However, the "being nibbled to death by ducks" style talking points must be presented in a much more subtle style.  These, somewhat complicated by the fact that the background credibility for them must be established in smaller increments, are begun in a nice, comfortable, toothless way, then slowly amplified if the initial "bait" seems to have been taken.

In this particular case, the oligarch task masters have assigned the work to a nice little flock of retired Cold War generals, retained to appear on "corporate media news" programs for cozy little "over view, big picture" interviews.  No doubt, aside from the "base pay" these generals are receiving for their appearances, there is some sort of "special commission" added to their pay checks based on the number of times they are able to inject the "authorized innuendo" into their folksy, casual discussion of "military issues."

"Authorized innuendo?"

Sure.  Why not?  This posting has gone on long enough to get down to specifics.

The "Authorized Innuendo"

To set the stage for this last part of the posting, we will have to journey back through time -- at least a few hours -- to yesterday's post.

Further, we will want to focus on the list of "talking points" discussed in that last post -- especially the third one.

1.) The "confused mission" concept has been resurrected, and relentlessly piped through the mouths of a few retired generals.

2.) The implied hypocrisy vector remains on the table.  "If Libya, why not Syria?"  This might have made sense if Syria had been the focus of a UN Resolution, a NATO response and the rest of what precluded intervention in Libya.

3.) The humbling prospect of the US not being "in the lead" in the military action.  The war loving Republicans in the Congress feel, well, cheated, denied the breast beating glory of being the main bully in the conflict.

4.) Finally, the War Powers Act, except this time, from the right instead of from the left.

To exploit the common mistrust in the minds of Americans about treaty obligations with European allies and to rehabilitate the idea that the United States must, essentially almost by Divine Right, be at the head of any global exertion of power, the oligarchs have concluded that the viability of NATO must be undercut in public opinion.

The "mistrust" apparently originated in the national isolationism Roosevelt faced at the beginning of US involvement in WWII.  It arose from WWI.

This artificially sustained necessity of being at the head of international exertion of military power springs from several sources.  Naturally, the weapons industry is already on the phone to Congressional procurement committees, but also, the penchant appetite to reinforce the country's waning position as the world's super power can also be well serviced with "just a bit more" military conflict, here and there.

So, What Did the Generals Say?

One after another, the generals "explained" to the American people that NATO was no more than a bit of an out of date "straw man," unprepared to actually fulfill its role as an American military ally in such conflicts, let alone take the lead in matters such as the conflict in Libya.

The story was that NATO had already "run out of" the ordinance needed to make precision air attacks on targets in Tripoli.  The narrative went on to imply that NATO was "barely" able to find enough jets and bullets to successfully pursue the conflict without an ever increasing amount to a modern version of US equipment and supplies in a modern version of the "lend lease" program?

Can MeanMesa visitors begin to see a suspicious "relevance" being constructed here?

For the younger visitors to MeanMesa, it is suggested that the origin and purpose of NATA be reviewed.  The treaty organization was established to confront the Warsaw Pact nations of the old Soviet Union along the "fire line" of Eastern Europe. None of the four players could have possibly been described as a "toothless straw man."

The Soviet Union
The Warsaw Pact
The United States

The point?

Don't "take the bait."  These out of date old military frauds are simply "following orders."  If this last "talking point" can gain any traction with information challenged Americans, it will join the long list of GOPCon propaganda designed to lubricate additional armament expenditures, more borrowed money and the next stupid war.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Libya and The War Powers Act

Libyan Blood and US Political Realities

With memories as durable as a marble in a mayonaise jar, the initial validity of the country's entry into the Libyan affair has now slipped through the reality horizon into the black hole of domestic politics.  Those high borne ideals manifest in the UN Resolution, the NATO response and the American involvement have been predictably transformed into the equivalent of the missing child appearing on the side of a corn flakes box.

Libya -- Just More Politics?  (image source)

Returning to the poisoned well of an over developed national cynicism where absolutely nothing the US government might undertake actually amounts to anything similar to what it appears to be, the facts will suffer first, followed by our Constitutionally protected right to act like ninnies in a Pollyanna world suspiciously devoid of both responsibility and consequences.

As a result, while the Libyans are fighting and dying for their chance at freedom, their destinies are reframed into political hay here in this gaseously secure bastion of security and democracy.  It's as if not a single Representative or Senator -- hypnotically infatuated exclusively with the prospects of their own personal  re-election -- had ever so much as seen anything remotely suggestive of the material price of war.

MeanMesa is watching the drawing of the "long knives" from both the right and the left, each case soiled by yet more self-serving, unrealistic maneuvering for a bump in the public opinion polls.  Let's take a look at the prevailing strategies with the hope of seeing through the mist.

From the Left

Democrat Kucinich, an otherwise quite respectable sort of progressive Libertarian, has moved for impeachment of the President based on non-compliance with the War Powers Act which requires Congressional approval of military actions lasting longer than 90 days.  MeanMesa, a personal observer of what happened both with the 20 years war in Viet Nam ($1 Mn per minute)  and the 10 years war in Afghanistan and the 8 years war in Iraq ($6.8 Mn per minute -- each), has no problem with the War Powers Act.

(image source)

(image source)

At least, that is, no problem with the War Powers Act if it actually worked.
However, as we consider the idealistic Kucinich in the harsh light of day, we see a sickening similarity to the alcoholic reaching for the next bottle of whiskey amid the crushing remnants of a life already destroyed by his drinking.  The only lubricant which makes that whiskey seem to make sense is a profound, mortally dangerous state of alcoholic denial.

Democrat Progressive Dennis Kucinich in denial?

Yes.  The horrible denial exposed in Congressman Kucinich's action is straightforward enough.  

Kucinich continues to insist that the democratic process still, somehow, functions in a government which has essentially ceased to function.

His laments and complaints on the House floor would have been rational enough had the fundamental motivations of that House adhered even a little more closely to their traditional values.  However, in this case, the Democrat from Ohio may as well have been reciting Demonsthene's Phillippics in the midst of a riot in the psychiatric wing of a maximum security prison.

This is 2011 AD, not 340 BC.  

Gaddafi's howitzers are firing today.  The shells of his snipers are blowing through the bodies of Libyans as we speak.  The situation is, in reality, what it was presented to be in the UN Resolution.

From the Right

The usual suspects from the 19th Century wing of the neo-cons may have trotted out their traditional love of war for the occasion, but their slightly more modernistic additions in the House have out done even their own thinly disguised obedience to their Obama hating base.  It's as if they have agreed to sacrifice however many Libyan freedom fighters it takes to bump the polls.

Naturally, the oligarch owned, corporate media has rushed to the front, re-introducing the authorized "talking points" in a flurry of semi-convincing arguments of their own.  A quick summary of the latest offerings may be in order.
1.) The "confused mission" concept has been resurrected, and relentlessly piped through the mouths of a few retired generals.

2.) The implied hypocrisy vector remains on the table.  "If Libya, why not Syria?"  This might have made sense if Syria had been the focus of a UN Resolution, a NATO response and the rest of what precluded intervention in Libya.

3.) The humbling prospect of the US not being "in the lead" in the military action.  The war loving Republicans in the Congress feel, well, cheated, denied the breast beating glory of being the main bully in the conflict.

4.) Finally, the War Powers Act, except this time, from the right instead of from the left.

It is this fourth element which we can, perhaps, explore a little further.

The central feature of this faux "Constitution Protecting" gambit is the Congressional "concern" over the extensions of the powers of the Executive Branch during the catastrophic autocracy of the Bush years.  Enjoying all the incendiary intoxication of the FOX radio pundits during those "halcyon days," the  war loving GOPCons predictably reminisce about the days when "They hate our Freedom" was still, sort of, working.

Now, however, the House tea bags have donned a new mask.  The latest fraud is to be centered on "fulfilling the Constitutional mandate" of separated powers.

Actually, of course, what we see is the GOPCon "motiva maxima" which proclaims that any possible success of the Obama Administration must be  undercut and crushed instantly.  Since Osama bin Laden cannot be rehabilitated yet again as a mark of Obama's "failure in leadership," Gaddafi's massacre of a few thousand Libyan civilians will have to serve as the latest evidence of the President's "failure in leadership."

The GOPCons would relish an opportunity for a protracted debate, replete with a few more Sharia Law Prohibitions and a couple of additional anti-abortion laws, while Gaddafi slaughtered Misarata.  Once the pogrom was completed, blame could be rendered.  Oh yeah.

For the GOPCon congregation in the Church of Death, blood means nothing, politics means everything.

For the reactionaries in the Republican Party, foreign blood amounts to the equivalent of WalMart motor oil, cheap, convincing and, at least temporarily, effective.  If it will win a few votes among the hill billies and bigots in the next election, let the Libyans  bleed.

Republican complaints based on the War Powers Act amount to nothing -- especially when the advent of such "idealistic concern" amounts to something so new after what they gleefully accepted at the outset of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Are we supposed to believe that these reactionaries have had some sort of sincere "change of heart?"

Say, for argument's sake, a "change of heart" similar to the one where big spending, big borrowing GOPCons suddenly become obsessed with cutting the budget?

History suggests that the spots on a leopard tend to be more durable than that -- especially when such a case of cosmic hypocrisy is based on nothing more than the fleeting hope that American voters have forgotten what happened only a few  years ago.

MeanMesa stands with the President.  The nation still has what it takes to demonstrate an abiding decency in both words and actions.  

This latest "trailer park" play will get its momentary knee jerk reaction from the uninformed and the uninterested among the stumbling GOPCon base, but it will also be added to the ammunition locker being set aside for the 2012 election.

The GOPCons must pay the full price for their avarice -- both economic and political.

MeanMesa's compliments to the President.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Behind the Scenes: The Palin - Obama Presidential Debate

A MeanMesa Fiction

In our story, the Palin Bus has "caught on" among the information challenged Republicans across the country.  What had begun as an innocent "family vacation" quickly became a veritable glacier of support among the hill billies of the GOPCon base.
In state after state, more traditional Republican primary candidates found themselves unable to counter the political ground swell Sarah seemed to incite at every "bus stop," leaving the word tangled ex-Governess standing alone at the head of the field.  After another gut wrenching Republican Convention with giant venues packed with wheel chairs and plumbers dressed in Revolutionary War costumes, the Palin had boldly marched forth to accept the nomination.

Now, the day had arrived for the first of the Palin - Obama Presidential Debates.  For our story here, we move to the "green room" where President Obama and a few of his top political aides were busy, preparing for the first Presidential debate.

In The Green Room

The first aide spoke with a hidden agitation as the make up man put the final touches on the President's face.  "I don't know how they did it, but this place is packed with GOPCon base.  Hell, there are more than three thousand buses circling through the parking lot and then into town and back."

The second aide added, speaking to Obama, "There aren't more than a couple dozen Democrats out there, a couple of stragglers from the White House staff and a few Blue Dogs from the Congress.  They've got 'em cornered in a little patch where the cameras can pan over them.  The rest of that mob is straight tea bags, thousands of them."

The first aide broke in again, "The GOPCons have collected every neo-con who wasn't bolted down or locked up in an old folks home.  Man, what a budget they must have."

Obama, staring into the mirror offered by the make-up technician, responded, "They didn't even flinch when it came to spending their Citizens United money to pack this place, but that's all right.  I think I can handle this debate well enough to persuade some of them to vote for me."

The first aide, receiving an email on his lap top, sighed heavily.  "They're not taking any chances.  I just got word that thousands of television stations won't be broadcasting the debate.  The official reason is that they don't want any under age children to accidentally watch it."

Sighing, Obama spoke calmly.  "That scheme didn't work out that well for them when I gave the education message to school kids.  On the other hand, the push back didn't get started for a couple of weeks.  By that time, no one was particularly interested.  Still, we have to be hopeful.  There will still be millions of American adults watching."

The first aide, shuffling through a stack of papers in his hand, changed the subject.  "Okay.  We've been through the debate rules.  Are there any points you're not familiar with before this thing starts?"

Obama's eyes rolled back.  "I think I've got all the points.  I have to avoid answers about economic policy details, geography, American history or foreign affairs.  I've memorized all the authorized 'talking points' about socialism, taking the country back and 'noodle backs.'  How did we ever get into this mess in the first place?"

The second aide spoke with a determined acceptance.  "We've been over that already.  The billionaires got all the other media to schedule football games in this time slot.  All that was left was FOX.  Then New Corps  corporate thugs picked the venue, the moderator and set up the rules.  Hell, they even comped the tickets to all the throw backs they shipped in here on the buses."

The first aide broke into the conversation, "You said that there will be millions of American voters watching.  Well, you're probably right, except that the millions will be regular FOX viewers -- no one else watches that network -- and right after this train wreck is finished, FOX contest judges are going to say that Palin cleaned your clock.  They'll say that regardless of how the debate comes off -- we all knew that coming into this."

Obama breathed deeply.  "At least we got them to exclude the failed Republican candidates from being on the moderator panel.  That's something.  Maybe the questions will be a little more relevant.  You know that I'm anxious to talk about the issues, to put our proposals out to the American public."

A third aide slipped into the green room.  "They are still trying to teach the crowd about how to respond to the 'applause' and 'boo' cards.  It turns out that lots of the audience can't really read that well.  They're trying some crowd management cards with cartoon characters on them, you know, applauding and booing.  It looks like a lot of the audience has fallen asleep."

The first aide broke into the conversation.  "Excuse me, Mr. President.  FOX has just sent another memo with more debate rules.  It looks like they have agreed to removed the 'Colored' sign that was hung over this hallway, but they've installed a 'Gotcha Gong' out on the debate stage.  There will be a team of FOX radio pundits who will judge if one of your answers amounts to a 'gotcha' question for Ms. Palin."

The President looked troubled.  "I'm going to be answering questions, not asking them.  How can an answer be a question?  A 'gotcha' question?"

The second aide piped in, "We prepped you on every Rove/Norquist gimmick we could think of, but I'm beginning to think that this debate isn't even going to be about any of that stuff.  FOX can't actually ask any complicated questions or they will destroy their candidate.  And Ms. Palin sure isn't going to say anything particularly complicated, or she'll destroy herself."

The first aide offered a suggestion.  "We could leak a rumor about an international emergency and cancel this train wreck before it gets started.  You would have to rush off to the White House or something.  We need to get you out of here."

Obama turned to face the aide.  "You know that it's not my style to just run away from things like this.  I need a better solution.  We're running out of time."

The second aide smiled briefly.  "Well, I have made plans for a 'fall back' position here.  Anyone interested?"

The voices in the room answered in chorus.  "Yes!  What have you got?"

The second aide was already sending an email through secured channels.

A minute later, someone knocked at the Green Room door.  The Secret Service agent looked at those in the room.  The aide spoke at once.  "Let him in, let him in."

A young black man in heavy dark glasses and an outrageous costume ambled into the room.  Jaws dropped.

The aide immediately moved to introduce the young man.  "Please meet Mr. Jackson, everyone.  He is a post doctoral researcher in theory of communications and aberrent psychology.  He's putting himself through college with a part time job as a Stevie Wonder impersonator."

"We'll just send him out to the debate.  Later on, we'll say that we thought Ms. Palin was Tina Fey and that the whole thing was just a put on -- SNL or something."

Stevie Wonder (image source)
Obama, shaking the young man's hand, asked "Won't the audience know that it's not me?"

The aide answered at once.  "I've already thought about that.  The neo-con wingnuts will definitely think he's you because Jackson is exactly who they want you to be.  The token Blue Dog Democrats will want to act like they've never so much as laid eyes on you.  Plus, Jackson isn't particularly good at debating, but he's an expert at stand up comedy.  I think this is going to work out just fine."

The President was warming to the idea.  "You know, the scheme is a little breathtaking, but I like it!  Let's go with it."

Jackson, speaking to the President, said, "Sir, I'm one of your biggest fans.  I am so ready for this gig, I can hardly wait."

Obama, chuckling, patted the youth on the back and added one last comment, "Try to stumble a little as you walk out to the podium."

The Green Room was filled with laughter.