Specter's Move to Democrats: So What?

Campaign Buttons

By Grant Lawrence

"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."
Republican, er I mean, Democratic Senator Arlen Specter regarding his reason for leaving the GOP.

Senator Specter is a man of principle or rather principally a political opportunist. Like every politician, Specter is concerned about keeping his political position. So not being a particularly stupid person, Specter obviously looked around, saw the collapse of the Republican Party in the Northeast , and thought that it might be a good idea for him to get on a life boat before the GOP Titanic sinks further into the deep waters of public outrage and animosity.

Specter also would have faced a difficult Republican primary in 2010 because he is seen as too moderate by the glassy eyed religious fanatics and the Teabaggers that still make up of what is left of a dying Republican Party in the United States.

So what does Specter's move to the Democratic Party mean for America?

Not much.

Although the Democrats will soon have enough votes to break a Republican filibuster with 60 seats in the Senate (after Senator Al Franken comes aboard), the difference between both parties are little more than cosmetic. Especially in the Senate, there is not much difference between the agendas of the Republicrat parties. Sure the Democrats will make legislative moves that will give the appearance of populism and change (like the Bill of Rights for Credit Card Holders legislation which merely gives consumers a little more information and notice before they get screwed), but it will be business as usual for the bankers and corporate power interests that actually run America.

Senator Arlen Specter becoming a Democrat, a Green, or resigning will not change the power dynamics in Washington.

In fact, Specter's move from Democrat (in his early career) to Republican and now back to Democrat is representative of power politics in Washington. The Military Industrial Complex power structure merely uses both parties for power and position. They pretend to endorse whichever party has some popularity and momentum, but the power structure always make sure both parties endorse their agenda. Arlen Specter is representative of this process.


The Global Pandemic Coincidence

Henry Kissinger.

By Grant Lawrence

Now the world seems to be in a grip of a pandemic. I find it somewhat coincidental that the swine flu pandemic would arise just as the world is in the grip of a fantastic economic downturn that economists used to call depression.

At this point, know one knows for sure if the flu will be somewhat tame or kill millions of people.

But there are a couple of points worth noting.

In the future, it will be very difficult for the world to sustain a growing human population that is already approaching 7 billion people. To our present global power structure, people are looked upon as resources, just like minerals, plants, and animals. That means that to the global elite that control much of the world, people are not looked upon in terms of caring and human feeling. Rather, decisions are made in terms of costs and benefits.

The global power elite surely has done a cost-benefit analysis on the benefit of keeping so many people around and they have likely come to some understanding that there is no longer the need for that much cheap labor. The downturn in the economy means that there will no longer be a great demand for sweat shop and near slave labor, even when that labor comes at such a small cost.

In fact, a large pool of global labor will no longer be needed to be exploited now or in the long term future when there is such a decline in economic consumption. The cost-benefit analysis has likely shown the owners of the world that a large mass of people are eating more than they are worth. Or to borrow a phrase from Henry Kissinger, billions of people in an economic downturn means that we have a lot of "useless eaters" in the eyes of the global power structure.

Also technology means that less workers are needed for manufacturing, farming, and other formerly labor intensive enterprises. With a bit more ingenuity, technology can be used to make many occupations all but obsolete. This point, I am sure, has not gone unnoticed to the globalists that have mapped out their New World Order.

The solution.

I think that like any good businessmen, the power structure will follow their own cost-benefit analysis and act to reduce the human population.

Now if humanity had a somewhat enlightened and humane leadership, the masters of our world would enact certain governmental policies to help reduce human numbers. An enlightened world elite would enact sweeping social and political agendas to gradually and humanely reduce the numbers of people on the planet. Propaganda techniques would be employed to condition people to act in their own self interest and have less children. The media as well as our so-called religious leaders could be made to join in the movement for greater birth control. The power elite could make it economically difficult for people to have more than a few children. The owners of the world could enact massive education and cultural programs to demonstrate the dangers of a large human population to human survival.

Unfortunately, humanity has a ruthless, greedy, and malevolent leadership that is likely looking to gain greater power, meet their objections in a brutish way, and profit from a crisis.

That is why I am a little suspicious of this likely pandemic. It comes at a time when the world doesn't need the labor and the environmental stress of human activity is degrading the possibilities of planetary survival.

As we have seen for nearly a century, human suffering is big business and there is always a lot of money to be made in it. We have seen how our own military industrial complex has made obscene fortunes off war and war preparation. Nearly half of all of American tax dollars go to pay for past, present, and future wars, war industry, and war readiness. That is a lot of money going into the hands of the bankers and the war profiteers that run the economic machine of globalization or global empire. We have seen an intentional policy of creating and encouraging enemies so that an endless game of war and war preparedness can continue to build a vast wealth for those in power.

It is this same power structure, the military industrial complex, that controls the pharmaceutical and medical establishment. A good pandemic could not only help to reduce the population a bit but it would also be good for the bottom line. The people of the world would be needing vaccines, medicines, supplies, and medical technology to help ease the crisis. All of this would mean more profit for a very limited few.

Nearly a decade ago, a number of microbiologists began dying at an alarming rate and under strange circumstances. This could have all been coincidence, but it could have had something to do with their level of expertise and knowledge. They might have known too much and for that they may have paid for their knowledge with their lives. Perhaps their skill and knowledge would have been greatly needed during a pandemic or perhaps some helped to develop a strain of virus that could kill millions.

Of course, some of this is conjecture. But what isn't conjecture is that there is a systematic policy by world leaders to exploit and kill for profit. That is what we have seen happening to humanity through our present New World Empire and its economic arm globalization.

During the last century, we have seen around 70 million people killed in wars. Most of this massive human suffering tremendously profited those in positions of power such as the capitalist robber barons and bankers. This power structure has controlled much of human activity and affairs of state for centuries.

I don't think it is too much of stretch to think that the world's power elite would like to see a good pandemic to go with their murderous wars, their exploitive labor, and their environmental degradation for maximum profit.

I guess I am cynical or a bit conspiratorial but when there is money to be made, goals to be met, and greater power to be gained then I have little trust in the present killing machine that runs much of the world. A pandemic might be highly useful to them and they may someday help initiate one. Maybe they did just that down in Mexico City.


The Flow of Life is Found in the Truth of Life

An old Chinese medical chart on acupuncture me...

By Grant Lawrence

We have all experienced it. The times life seems to go in a certain flow. We seem to be moving in the right direction effortlessly. At other times, life seems a terrible struggle. Surely, we would all like to spend more time in that Flow of life that makes us feel so good and so whole.

We exist in a sea of energy. In modern physics there is the understanding that all quantum mechanical systems have a zero point energy or energy that exists in vacuum state. It is believed that the vacuum or ground state is loaded with particles and energy. It is estimated that there is enough zero point energy existing in a cubic centimeter to boil away all of the earth's oceans entirely.

In Asia there is a general understanding of this energy and it is called by some cultures as Qi or Prana. It is a flow of energy that sustains all of life. There is the belief that a blocking of this energy is the source of disease. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine there is the concept that the human body is a small universe composed of interconnected systems. When there is an imbalance (yin/yang) with respect to the life force or Qi then there will not be healthy functioning.

As a mental health professional, I witness daily the damage that the blocking of emotional energy causes to mental and emotional functioning. After establishing trust with the client, it is imperative that therapist facilitate a re-connection to the client's inner and outer world. Often, in an attempt to avoid pain, a client will block certain thoughts and feelings. But there is generally a big price to be paid for this lack of inner awareness and understanding. The psyche finds a way to manifest that which is being blocked and that can result in depression, addictions, dysfunctional behaviors, and breaks with reality.

Clearly, a blocking of this powerful life energy is experienced by living energy systems as pain, discomfort, suffering or some sort of dysfunction. However the opposite is also true. The free flow of Qi, Prana, or life energy is experienced by living systems as happiness, well being, peace, and proper functioning.

So then, this feeling of being in the Flow is actually something that captures the essence of health of body, mind, and spirit. The blocking of the Flow is something that can have deleterious consequences to the total being of a living system.

How is it that we can spend more time in "the Flow" and less time in the struggle of life?

The answer can be found in an understanding of systems. A system is "a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole." Our body is a system that operates from elements working in harmony and balance with each other. The body works in various stages of homeostasis or stability but it functions in some sort of balance until it is overcome with disease or dies. Life is composed of an infinite number of systems.

Systems function as either, more or less, closed or open energy systems. A closed energy system is more isolated from its environment and more constricted from environmental interactions.
A closed system contains limited energies and will run down. In contrast, a more open energy system is an interacting system that is able to gain a potentially unlimited supply of energy from its surrounding environment.

The key to living more of life in the Flow can be found in applying the principles of openness in our own lives. When we are constricted, we have shut down much of our communication and interaction with the rest of life around us. We constrict ourselves by limiting our awareness, our focus, and our feelings to a very narrow range of energies that exist within and without us. But when we are open we have a great interest, care, and feeling for life. We are aware of the life that is going on all around us and we feel energized by it and motivated to share in the life process with other living beings.

Again as energy systems, we cannot be completely open or closed but we can become more or less open or closed. The choice is ours. What type of life do we want to live and how much joy do we wish to have in our own life. We can shut down to much of the energy that Flows as life and become a more closed energy system. Or, we can open up to life's energy Flow by living in greater Awareness and we can experience life as more Loving and complete.

Many believe that Love is impossible to maintain or even have. But that is because there is a blocking of Awareness of the basic principle of life. When we maintain Awareness we come to understand the principle that we could not exist without the rest of life. When we understand that we have our life because of other living beings then we develop a great appreciation and care for that which gives life. This awareness of the truth of our existence opens our minds and hearts to the energy Flow of life (Qi, Prana) and it also heals us. It brings us greater joy and happiness in our lives.

So an Awareness of the reality of our lives will open our hearts and minds and will be felt as the power of Love. What will flower in us will be a great and powerful Love because we will now be a more open system. We will experience the Flow of life that is really nothing more than a restoring or healing energy that allows us to live in a healthy balance within and without ourselves. The blocking of awareness of the Truth of life is constricting and it leads to all manner of physical, emotional, and societal ills.

To live Life more fully and in greater Love then there has to be an openness that arises with awareness of the Truth.

The Truth is simple but hard to comprehend. There is no separation and we all depend on each other for life. Love arises from an understanding and a practice of this Truth in our own life. An understanding and a practice of this will open us to the healing energy of life and make life more happy and joyful. Love is the flowering that comes from a practice and an understanding of Truth. As we become a more open energy system through an Awareness of Truth, the Love will grow in an unlimited blooming that is healing to ourselves and others.

The Flow is found in being open to the Truth of Existence. That nothing can exist on its own and we are all a part of each other. Once we realize that Life is divisible only in our minds then we come to an understanding that in reality there is only Life and we are all that Life. With Understanding arises a great Love for all of life that transfroms us into a more open energy system. That transformation into Openness, we experience as the Flow of Life.

All is Well for the Owners of the Country

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 1:  Keith Hall, Commission...

rose in 46 states during the month, and 12 states plus the District of Columbia posted unemployment rates in March that were significantly higher than the 8.5% nationwide figure the government released earlier this month....

Things are better for the banks so All is Well. In the meantime the rest of the American public are facing an economic catastrophe.
But the good news is that the banks are doing better. In our corporatist system when the banks are in trouble the economy is doing bad and when the banks are making big money the economy is good. It doesn't matter if you have a job or even a way to feed your family.
If you ever wondered who actually controlled the country then just look at where the trillions of dollars went.
All is Well. The banks are doing better.

Grant Lawrence


Obama Practicing P.T. Barnum Politics--A Carnival of Deceit

the 44th President of the United States...Bara...

By Grant Lawrence

"There is a sucker born every minute" Attributed to P.T. Barnum

"Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past." President Obama on why he will not prosecute CIA officers for torture.

This argument makes no sense.

If someone were to shoot or to rob someone then the victims and their families would demand justice.

But the victims and their families, according to President Obama, would be wrong because under Obama's ethical framework there is no sense spending time or energy trying to find blame in wrongdoing.

No, instead all those that commit illegal acts or atrocities should not have to face prosecution or imprisonment for those acts. It just doesn't do any good.

So my suggestion is that all of those in prison for crimes should be let go right now. Prisoners are paying a heavy penalty for something that happened in the past. It doesn't do anyone any good to have them locked in an attempt to place blame. No, the nation needs to move on and all prisoners and those awaiting trial should be free of the "blame game." It is time to move forward and to focus on making things better, so we need to let every prisoner free to move on with their lives so America can move on.

Obama has applied the same twisted reasoning with the economic crisis. The Banksters, according to President Obama, should not be held accountable because that is trying to revisit past errors and that is living in the past. No, the Banksters should be given huge bonuses and bailed out for trillions of dollars so that the financial con people can move on with their lives and so can the nation.

Obama is playing the American people and the world for suckers. He knows he can get by with applying this nonsense because most people don't like to think. Instead they like "Change they can believe in" and "Yes, we can" slogans while they are being lied to and ripped off.

Obama has transformed from a symbol of hope to a type of carnival huckster. The American people and the world are being played by a masterful con man in a carnival of deceit.


If You Are Not on a Terrorist Watch List--Just Wait

Protestor outside the White House

By Grant Lawrence

"Let me be very clear: we monitor the risks of violent extremism taking root here in the United States," Homeland Security Secretary Ms. Napolitano said regarding a recent government report that states Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan need to be watched as possible homegrown terrorists.

Ms. Napolitano, let me be very clear.

What you are saying is that it is OK for Americans to fight and Die for this country but when they return then they have to be watched as possible terror suspects.

This is some way to treat the veterans that your military industrial complex repeatedly tells us are responsible for preserving our "supposed" freedoms.

Now let' s see. We have possible home grown terrorists of all types here in the US.

Environmental, Religious, Ron Paul Supporters, Veterans, Anti-War, Animal Activists, Anti Abortion, Anti-Immigration, terrorist suspects are just a few of the homegrowns we need to watch.

What about the rest of Americans. Are they possible Homegrown Terrorists that needs to be watched?

If you aren't on a list already, just wait.

Yea, Things are Hopeful: Sales a Big Unexpected Drop

Portrait shows Florence Thompson with several ...

By Grant Lawrence

"Recently we have seen tentative signs that the sharp decline in economic activity may be slowing," Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke on the hopeful signs in a housing, credit, and financial crisis the worst since the Great Depression.

Things are hopeful so don't let the collapse of the American auto market or the deflation reported for the first time in a half century bother you.

Oh, and don't let this other piece of news interfere with the economic rebound we are all beginning to experience.

Stores Suffer Big Drop in March Sales

CNNMoney.com -- Retail sales suffered an unexpected big decline in March which broke two straight months of improving sales, the government reported Tuesday.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales fell 1.1% last month, compared with February's revised gain of 0.3%. Sales in February were originally reported to have dipped 0.1%....

The economy stinks, people are jobless, but Economic Propaganda is working.
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How Social Darwinism and Fundamental Christianity Brought about the Collapse of the American Economy

President Ronald Reagan speaking at a Rally <span class=

By Grant Lawrence

"Decisions on compensation and other actions taken and not taken, particularly at banks that rapidly lost a lot of shareholder value, look self-serving and greedy in hindsight".

Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd C. Blankfein recently stating that that the "appearance" of greed and self serving may not have been good. It is, however, just the "appearance" of greed and self serving that Chairman Blankfein sees as the problem. The Chairman of Goldman Sachs knows that it was the love of money that made this country what it is today.

It was Ronald Reagan, Milton Freedman, and TV Evangelists like Pat Robertson, Tammy Fae and Jim Baker, and Jimmy Swaggert that taught Americans to really Love Money. It was a marriage made in hell. Free Market big business, or modern day Social Darwinians, and Fundamentalist Christians joined forces in one common interest--money. Together they helped bring about another terrible event in disaster capitalism.

Wait a minute.

You might be wondering how it is that the Social Darwinians and Fundamentalist Christians joined forces to bring about our present calamity.

Americans have always loved money but over the last several decades it became an all consuming desire brought on by something seemingly more powerful than God--Greed. Or in the view of Fundamentalist Christians, it was the power of greed that served God.

Americans were taught that acting in self serving ways was what nature or God intended us to do. That was the message of our modern day Social Darwinians (Bankers, CEOs, and Market Capitalists) and their partners the Fundamentalist Christians.

Of course, the marriage might seem a bit odd since Social Darwinism believes in Evolution and the Bible believing Christians think that God created everything in 7 days or 6 or 7000 years (I guess we have a choice here).

It all gets confusing, I know. But let me try to explain.

Social Darwinian Big Business believe that humanity improves when there is less charity and only the strong are able to survive. They believe that our government actually interferes with human evolution by setting up welfare and governmental social programs because it allows the weak to live. To Social Darwinians giving to the poor is seen as a bad thing since it goes against competition, takes money away from corporate welfare, and negates the urge to accumulate vast amounts of wealth. The Love of Money is seen as a good thing because it makes people do anything to get it, which is of course a good thing (circular reasoning but it seemed to make sense to Americans).

Greed, according to the Social Darwinians, is what makes the economy and humanity work so well. It is important to note here that Social Darwinians do believe in charitable giving but only when it comes to bailing themselves and their business enterprises out. Still they can argue that they must be bailed out because they are greedy and that makes them special. Also Social Darwinians would like to help evolution along by getting rid of a few billion of the weak but that is another story.

The Bible believing Christians joined forces with the Social Darwinian business interests because they also think that social programs destroy society and they really love money. They don't like the idea of the government helping people survive because "God helps those that help themselves." God is the go to guy when it comes to getting all of the things needed for survival and much more. The Fundamentalists like the idea of the super rich getting super richer because they believe that the obscene rich deserve their fabulous wealth or "God would not have blessed them." To the Fundamentalists, God really likes you if you have a big house and lots of cars. In fact, God really loves your church if it is as big as a Wal-Mart Super Center. They firmly believe that God loves those that really Love money or else he wouldn't have blessed our "Christian Nation."

Now true Bible believing Christians want to make sure God is getting help in getting his "Will" done, so they do everything they can to make sure that the poor remain poor. They will be happy to offer a prayer for the poor (that doesn't cost anything). But when it comes to actually supporting a just society, Fundamentalist Christians will curse those that promote such anti-Christian views.

Fundamentalists see Greed as God ordained. They believe that God made man greedy and that is why we need capitalism. I guess they don't have much faith in Jesus saving anyone or they might be thinking people could respond to something besides greed. They also believe that if you interfere with man's God given right to be Greedy then you interfere with God's chosen economy--Capitalism. God developed capitalism because Jesus died for our sins. Or something like that. I guess it is all right there in the Bible or at least that is what I am told.

However, there is one thing that Fundamentalist Christians don't like and that is to be poor. So they love it when they themselves or members of their immediate family collect their social security or disability checks. But they get awfully unhappy when someone else collects a social security or disability check. That is because fundamentalist Christians are greedy and they see that as a good thing.

The only thing a Fundamentalist Christian loves as much as Jesus is money. Or at least if you really love Jesus then you will get lots and lots of money, they believe.

That is how the Fundamentalists fell in love with Big Business and the Free Market. They all Love Money and they think Greed is good.

Fundamentalist Christians and Social Darwinians had to bless their marriage so they had a baby, so to speak, and that was George W. Bush.

Bush was a man of God and a greedy creep so he was perfect in the eyes of his parents, the Fundamentalists and the Social Darwinians. They were happy to see him doing the work of God or nature (depending on which way you look at it) by making the super rich super richer, by killing a million or so Non Christians along with thousands of American soldiers, and by making sure the poor and the working poor had a tough time of it.

It was all going so well. But there was one problem. It turns out that the Love of Money is the root of all evil (where did I read that?).

So just as you might expect, the system began collapsing because of Greed. The Fundamentalist Christians began to disown their "Christian President" and the forces of Social Darwinism began looking for another "creature of Nature" to carry out their social engineering. The 2 parents of this evolutionary throwback Bush began questioning the diabolical work that resulted in our present economic collapse. The 2 Lovers of Money began to fall out of love for each other and they disowned their marriage and its progeny.

Today, the 2 former lovers are looking for a new relationship but they will not abandon their great Love--The Love of Money. The Fundamentalist Christians and the Big Business Social Darwinians have abandoned each other but they will not abandon the fundamental principle that united them in the past and that is that Greed is ultimately good. Or, the Love of Money is a rising tide that lifts all boats or something like that.

Perhaps it is a bit confusing this former marriage of Christian Fundamentalism and Social Darwinism, but it could be a bit clearer if you only had more faith....in money that is.
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Teabagging for Change

Conservative women are taking are adopting a new strategy to protest Obama’s tax increase on the top 1% of earners. They are teabagging liberals.

Fox news is urging everyone to attend these teabagging parties. At the teabagging parties the organizers promise a surprise, I’m wondering if that means Lady Liberty will get teabagged on stage?

Image courteously of Confined Space.

Surprisingly women of all walks of life are getting into this movement. I went out to check peoples reaction to the teabagging parties and interview people on the street. I was running a little late and didn’t do my interviews until 2am, but I did find a few women on the street corners.

I approached them and asked them this question. “Could you help me with my poll? I’m wondering if you would teabag for change?”

The answers ranged from $10 to $25. I’m considering those as yeses.

I have asked the organizers to turn it into a contest and have women compete to see who can teabag the most liberals. The top teabagger could get some sort of award and be given the title “Best Teabagger”.

If enough people ask them to run this contest I’m sure it will get national news attention.
Put your request here. http://newamericanteaparty.com/2009/02/26/a-few-updates/comment-page-1/#comment-3259


Why American Workers Remain Docile

Experiences from bank runs during the Great De...Image via Wikipedia

Source: Chris Martinson.com

By Russ B

...Taken together, guilt, shame and individualism undercut any impulse to collective action, then as now, Professor Kennedy said. Noting that Americans felt stunned and desperately insecure during the Depression's early years, he wrote: "What struck most observers, and mystified them, was the eerie docility of the American people, their stoic passivity as the Depression grindstone rolled over them..."

Today the NYT has an article exploring why American workers are so docile in the face of such abusive treatment as they've recieved from the system.


I agree with the basic analysis that it's a combination of top-down suppression and bottom-up character failings endemic to America. Here's a few thoughts on the piece:

But in recent decades, American workers have increasingly steered clear of such militancy, for reasons that range from fear of having their jobs shipped overseas to their self-image as full-fledged members of the middle class, with all its trappings and aspirations.

This sums up the comprehensive carrot/stick social control plan:

1. Seduce the American with get-rich propaganda and visions of materialist hedonism, and actually make alot of this worthless junk "affordable" if you go deep into consumer debt. This is the core of the consumerist ideology.

2. Under globalization (which also is based on and enables the explosion of debt), hold a gun to every worker's head, since almost no one's job isn't offshorable.

3. Now he's afraid to get uppity. He's deeply in debt on account of his SUV, McMansion, and plasma TV, and he trembles for his job.

Certainly no one in such a conformist, self-enslaved position should be called an "individualist". And yet:

David Kennedy, a Stanford historian and author of "Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945," says that America's individualist streak is a major reason for this reluctance to take to the streets. Citing a 1940 study by the social psychologist Mirra Komarovsky, he said her interviews of the Depression-era unemployed found "the psychological reaction was to feel guilty and ashamed, that they had failed personally."

Taken together, guilt, shame and individualism undercut any impulse to collective action, then as now, Professor Kennedy said. Noting that Americans felt stunned and desperately insecure during the Depression's early years, he wrote: "What struck most observers, and mystified them, was the eerie docility of the American people, their stoic passivity as the Depression grindstone rolled over them."

Can we please stop tarnishing the term and concept "individualism" by applying it to conformist louts? An individualist is someone who strikes out on his own path. That he doesn't readily collectivize is on account of his innate divergence from the norm and from material shackles.

But someone who abjectly conforms with every social and materialistic orthodoxy, who is the least self-reliant, most inherently dependent person imaginable, but who is also a jerk who doesn't work well with others and sneers at collective action because that's what pinkos and tree-huggers do, is the radical opposite of an "individualist".

Today, American workers, even those earning $20,000 a year, tend to view themselves as part of an upwardly mobile middle class. In contrast, European workers often still see themselves as proletarians in an enduring class struggle.

Historically, this is the socioeconomic base for fascism - those who are in fact downwardly mobile, but who are indoctrinated into the ideology of middle-class upward mobility and desperately cling to this ideal in the face of reality, and who fear and loathe the notion of "proletarianization". (This class status ideal also contributes to the dynamic I described above, anti-individualist but also anti-collective. Really just confused loutism.)

And American labor leaders, once up-from-the-street rabble-rousers, now often work hand-in-hand with C.E.O.'s to improve corporate competitiveness to protect jobs and pensions, and try to sideline activists who support a hard line.

All too true. We see this in the environmental movement as well. (There have been incidents of it among Peak Oilers too.)

Read More Discussion Here

All War is a Crime and There are No "Good Wars"

All beings tremble before danger, all fear death. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.
All beings fear before danger, life is dear to all. When a man considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.

-The Buddha--
Dhammapada 54

A Chinese soldier, killed by Marines of the 1s...Image via Wikipedia

By Grant Lawrence

It is strange how humanity has been conditioned to accept the idea that there are only certain acts of war that are criminal. When in fact, the act of war is itself is a crime.

Now some may argue that there are good wars and therefore it is important that we accept the term "war crime" to acknowledge the claim that certain acts of state sponsored killing are needed and other acts are too horrific. They usually point to World War 2 as being a good war because ultimately it brought down that mad man Hitler.

The "good war" argument has been used to justify the killing and maiming of tens of millions of people since World War 2. The good war paradigm has brought us the Cold War, the Korean War, Vietnam, the endless wars south of our border, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan. The good war argument is also used around the world to justify the mass killing of people for the sake of humanity.

But war is inhumane and that is all there is to it. Now the fact that a government sanctions the killing of millions doesn't make it a good war.

But what about World War 2, wasn't that a necessary war?

In the case of Germany, the war didn't just spring from a mad man's mind. But it had it
roots in another event of economic "disaster capitalism" called the Great Depression and a punitive Treaty of Versailles leveled against the Germans by the Allied powers. It is not too surprising that a suffering German people would lose their heads and abandon humane principles in an effort to find a solution. Still Hitler never had more than 37% of support among the German people in honest elections. The real support that Hitler had came from corporations in Germany and around the world. Germany was a monster created from disaster capitalism and the leaders of that system. When we look at the rise of fascism in Italy we see similar forces at work.

But what about the Japanese and their attack on Pearl Harbor?

Japan was a colonial power and that was something it learned from Europe. Still, even after a US steel and oil embargo that was crippling the island:

....Prime Minister Konoye called in Ambassador Joseph Grew and secretly offered to meet FDR in Juneau or anywhere in the Pacific. According to Grew, Konoye was willing to give up Indochina and China, except a buffer region in the north to protect her from Stalin, in return for the U.S. brokering a peace with China and opening up the oil pipeline. Konoye told Grew that Emperor Hirohito knew of his initiative and was ready to give the order for Japan's retreat.

Fearful of a "second Munich," America spurned the offer. Konoye fell from power and was replaced by Hideki Tojo. Still, war was not inevitable. U.S. diplomats prepared to offer Japan a "modus vivendi." If Japan withdrew from southern Indochina, the United States would partially lift the oil embargo. But Chiang Kai-shek became "hysterical," and his American adviser, one Owen Lattimore, intervened to abort the proposal....From the American Cause, Founder Patrick Buchanon

So Japan chose to attack the United States rather than face a brutal economic end to empire from a US oil embargo.

As we can see, if we decide to look with open eyes, wars don't just arise from nothing or even the mind of a mad man. Even if we examine supposedly good wars, we see that they arise from acts of injustice, dehumanization, and intransigence from all sides. Wars have roots and if we were to strike at the roots we could avoid even supposedly "good wars."

The truth about war is much as the Nazi General Hermann Goering Declared it.

"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country. quote verified at snopes.com"

As long as people believe in "good wars" then they will be doomed to face the evils of war. There are no good wars and all war is a crime. Unless most of the world's population begin to look at war itself as a crime against humanity, we will be doomed to continue in an endless round of wars for good causes.

Today, Americans are once again being fed a heavy dose of lies that we have finally gotten it right. We are now fighting the good war. All of the past wars, except for World War 2, were not the really good wars. But now Americans and our European allies have finally found a war that we know is good.

How do we know it is good?

Well we have a new President. He proclaims to be a man of the people and he is telling us that we finally have the right war.

But in the end, our Afghanistan war will be like all of the rest. Just a vicious killing spree that will cause a great deal of suffering to a large number of people. It won't be a good war for the people because there is no such thing as a good war. There won't be some incidences of war crimes because all war is a crime.

This Afghanistan war will, however, continue grow vast fortunes and increase power for a very few war profiteers that actually run much of the world. That makes it a good war for them and that is why we will continue to fight it.

Living in a place I was taught didn’t exist in America

I just got my taxes back; I had a badly paying job where I earned a whopping $2,469 for the year. Included in that was two months of unpaid training 100 miles away, it cost me roughly $1,000 in gas and a few hundred in maintenance on my car. So according to the tax tables I had over $5,000 in deductions or more than what I earned so my taxable income was $0.00.

I filed (even though I was below the reporting threshold) to get my stimulus check and earned income credit. Money I desperately need as on my current job I am called in when needed and because of the recession they haven’t needed me for more than a couple days a month.

According to the IRS I didn’t make enough money last year to qualify for help and I owe them $186.14. If I had made $531 more last year I would have been entitled to a rebate but because my income was so low ($0.00 taxable income) I owe them money.

If they had given me the rebate and I could count it on my gross income it would have put me over the threshold.

Growing up I had been taught that in America we had a safety net, so that if someone is hit with a string a bad luck they won’t be tossed out on the street. Now that I’ve been hit by two years of incredibly bad luck I’ve found out that it isn’t true.

In the past two years I had my good paying Securities Broker job disappear when the owner of the company disappeared with the all the companies money, only to read in the paper a few weeks later that he was arrested for selling Crystal Meth to a minor.

I went to work for a competing business that was in bad shape and after a few months things were picking up and it looked like the company would be stable. Then the owner of that business disappeared with my commission check.

After those great experiences I went to work for an Insurance company, for that I needed to go through two months unpaid training and I miscalculated my money (my bad this time), and after all the hard work and expense going to training I didn’t have money to make the 30 mile drive to work every day leaving me in a dire financial position.

Going to the various government agencies I found out that the only government assistance available was food stamps. It helps but it’s not enough to feed me and my wife, we’ve lost over 20 lbs each.

I found out that the energy assistance program through our local utility company, that I had been giving money to for the last 10 years, doesn’t help people pay their electric bill. I’ve got no clue where that money I sent went.

To try and survive, I donated plasma and delivered pizzas. The pizza place could only use me a couple days a week until sales dropped and now they only call me in when someone is sick. The machine broke at the donor center while I was donating, making me unable to give for 3 months. So my luck continues.

Now the IRS wants $186.14; that is not the idea of a safety net that I had learned about growing up. Taxing someone more because they are broke isn’t a safety net, it is down right cruel.

The worst part about being in my current situation is that I’ve always considered myself a charitable person, when I had a decent salary I would give a few thousand a year to different charities. If I had known how little support there actually was in this country for people who have a turn of bad luck I would have given more.

In a shameless attempt to raise money to pay my phone bill so I can continue posting I’m asking everyone to click here Associated Content to help me out.


100 Hours of Astronomy

2009 is the International year of Astronomy, so what better way to kick it off than with 100 Hours of Astronomy.

For three days from April 2-5 astronomers around the world will be reaching out to the public to in an effort to get people interested in the Universe.

To find an event near you check out 100 Hours of Astronomy.


Ants and Bees Too Advanced--No Politicians, Bankers, or Lawyers

Digital mock-up of human evolution display for...Image by Colin Purrington via Flickr

Ants and bees have long been recognized as tireless workers, but now new research suggests they behave like model citizens, too.
Recent News
that certain animals and insects really do have the interests of the group at heart.

By Grant Lawrence

Maybe it is just me. I would like to think that human evolution is progressing. But then I get a bit down when I read that ants and bees have done a really great job learning to cooperate and we humans are still wanting to blow each other up, steal from each other, and exploit each other.

But our chaotic human selfishness isn't what it is like in a beehive. "In a beehive, the workers are happy to help the community, even to die, because the queen carries and passes on their genes," according to Science Daily

Maybe things are so great in a beehive because the Queen bee is an enlightened monarch who really cares about her subjects. Maybe all the bees are working together and cooperating because they understand that the survival of the hive and future generations depend on them cooperating with each other. Maybe humans could someday learn from the bees.

Maybe, but not likely.

When I consider the ants and the bees, I think that we must be dealing with an enlightened bunch. But then I think about humans and it all goes down hill from there. Human beings are always looking to get one over on each other. Worse, humans don't like to give resources to the poor and needy because they call that socialism. Humans think the poor and needy are lazy and don't deserve to survive. It isn't the way of freedom. Instead humans like to give their resources to the super rich because they call that a free market.

Now human wealth distribution may not make sense to bees and ants, but somehow it sure makes sense to humans. Just look at America and the recent giving of trillions of dollars to the banksters which does little but to protect the wealth of the super wealthy. At the same time, millions of workers depend on the auto industry and government leaders don't want to support that industry and plans to let it go bankrupt.

But it gets worse, worldwide there are a billion people underfed or starving but nearly half of the wealth of the planet is controlled by 2% of the population.

Now the human defense industry wouldn't make a lot of sense to ants and bees either. Humans think that only the "lazy" poor and needy should die defending their countries. Of course, it is the super rich that actually benefit from the human wealth distribution system so you would think that very rich would be the first in line to protect their system. But a defense system in which everyone actually fights to protect the group evidently would only work for bees and ants.

Not only do the human rich never fight in the wars. They are the ones that actually start them and then get rich off of them. In the human way of freedom, it is the rich that own the guns and bombs that blow up all the rest of the people. The human super rich then make vast fortunes watching the poor and needy fight and die for them.

So the human way wouldn't make much sense to a bee or an ant. If a couple bees or ants tried to take advantage of the rest of their group. If they were cowardly, greedy, and wouldn't fight in the defense of the group, well you could imagine what the bees and ants would do. They would probably all ban together and eat the greedy ones for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Now I don't advocate bee and ant justice but then again I am not a bee or an ant. We humans are more evolved than that.

Humans are the most highly advanced of the earth's creatures. Or at least that is what we are told. Humans don't think a system of exploitation and environmental destruction for the wealthy is a bad idea. Instead, advanced humanity likes to support a destructive system so a very few humans can have it all.

You see humans have this idea that only a very few humans deserve decent lives. They also have this idea that only a very few humans are loved by their God. That is why it is that humans see the suffering and exploitation of so many billions of humans as freedom and progress.

I know a lot of you are going to call me a human hater or worse but I do see a certain beauty and harmony to the way of the bee and the ant. Maybe some of you will even label me a communist or a freedom hater. But somehow I think the ants and the bees have the better idea. They built their society on cooperation and caring for all of their members. That to me just makes good sense.

But then maybe I haven't evolved enough to understand the human way of freedom and progress. Or maybe long after the humans have blown themselves up or choked to death on their own filth and pollution, there will be ants and bees or some other cooperative animals sharing and surviving on a revived, lush planet earth.