Friday, August 28, 2009

Letter to a new friend

Sometimes exchanges of ideas with new acquaintences inspire enough of a shift in the kind of everyday thought patterns one has to make one realize there's alot more going on in one's brain that it seems. Like they say, two heads *are* better than one. 

I referred my blog to a new acquaintence, an Irish expat living in The Netherlands, I believe, who expressed the opinon that issues confronting America are best left to that continent. To which I replied (plus additional comments)

I've been in Ireland for almost eight years, and in that time there's been significant upheaval in the structure, adminsitration and oversight execution of the EU with much prognostication, wringing of hands, and gnashing of teeth over the unknown outcomes as issues arose and subsided. Each time my opinion was solicited, I referred to my American History studies of yore, applying what happened from the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation to the Constitutional Convention which resulted in the United States Constitution as a guide to how things would eventually pan out, regardless of the issue at hand. The parallels are striking and almost completely lock step the whole way. 

I think that all the issues, to some degree or another, that are bouncing back and forth over there in America shall eventually rear their ugly heads over here in Europe, either in the context of the challenges to the Irish State as it wends its way through the current financial morass, or the EU at large, it's continued expansion, the civil rights issues hindering some states ascension to the Union, and the myriad cultural clashes among the sometimes-allies-somtimes enemies but perpetual rivals are bourne. 

Considering, also, the HUGE effect immigration and the persistant Irish culture has had on the United States, there is a surprising amount of connection, most recently the American influence on the Irish economy which essentially enabled the Celtic Tiger and is unfortunately leading the current financial malaise. Like it or not: There is, therefore, most definitely something applicable. In lock step parallel.

The similarity of issues surrounding social dynamics are remarkable. Travelers are the Hibernic equivalent to Blacks and include a turmoil of tensions, albeit exclusively cultural rather than also physiological in nature . All the immigrants from newly admitted Eastern European states mirror issues around Mexican and Central/South American immigrants who are accused of robbing citizens' jobs and draining government social welfare resources. The difference being that people who had a short while ago been illegal were suddenly fully vested EU citizens with the same rights and privileges of any Irish Passport holder. But, then there are those Nigerians who perportedly only come here to have their babies and qualify for free housing, free mobile phones, free automobiles, free dole and enjoy an "in-your-face, I don't care, you can't touch me, I have mine you get yours, suckers" attitude. Same old ignorant hogwash. Only the names are changed to affect the innocent.

There's the effect of the Church on Same Sex Unions. Polls show over two thirds, a full 67%, of Irish citizens support Gay Marriage. That is, the full monty, the whole enchilada, the big lebowski, not some half-baked, let-them-eat-cake, separate is not equal, half-assed substitute. But, look at what we're getting instead: codified second class citizenship. And the government and national/corporate media spin is that the gay community is happy and grateful to get that much. Fifteen years ago you queers'd go jail, afterall. Don't make a fuss so we can pat ourselves on the back. We must protect the children!

Don't get me started. Except that's the conservative, merchant class elite dictating public perception in order to maintain the status quo. Oh, jeez, don't get me started.

Regional rivalry, large states v. small states, federalism v. centralized authority, the role and power of state courts, the role and power of appeals courts and courts of last resort, individual sovereignty, statute recognition across state borders, levying taxes, raising-arming-funding defense forces... The list seems endless.

I believe the rise of the European Union is a crucially important counterpoint to American imperialism, multi-arena world domination, especially its financial sector hegemony. The UK is being extremely silly holding out, not joining the Euro monetary standard, especially for such transparently egotisitical reasons. Eventually, they must acquiesce, and the longer they wait, the more humiliating it's going to be.

The older I get, the plainer the simple truth: Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. It really is like deja vu all over again, even if we're doing it again for the first time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

The American Political Right Wing is NOT the friend of middle class America. Consistently luring the gullible conservative and moderate middle class into its boudoir with promises of safety only to find red herrings designed to distract from betrayal of even the most basic middle class needs and ideals, the very fabric of honesty, freedom and liberty continue to be undermined thoughtfully, systematically, wilfully. The Right has worked its magic of public manipulation with well practiced procedures, techniques and machinations established decades ago but made an art form in the first half of the last century, taking cues from a variety of sources.  

Step one: Label the opposition as purveyors of exactly the behaviour in which you first wish to engage to immunize that behaviour from effective criticism. For instance, the Right touts itself as righteous, ordained for blessing, a cut above and uniquely virtuous while labelling those who criticize and in any manner dismiss their claims as elitist. The Right’s spokespeople, like Sarah Palin, admonish the other side to “quit makin’ stuff up,” and then claim Reform is all about undermining middle class, populist ideals, eliminating free choice, “Death Panels” and pulling the plug on Grandma. In blatant denial of reality, mind you. 

Nicolo Machiavelli, in his seminal work, The Prince, posited whether it’s better to be feared or to be loved. Manufacturing gratuitous fear, according to the practices of the political Right, is obviously more effective.

Unable to compete on the merits of any argument, purely because every issue the Right supports is intrinsically corrupt, they ignore the issues outright and throw out misinformation and lies in order to obscure and obfuscate any discussion, undermining any chance of meaningful debate.* An prime example is the Republican Party’s refusal to offer any alternatives to the current Healthcare Reform debate. Healthcare Reform is intrinsically in the interest of the consuming public and counter to Health Industry corporate profits, especially for pharmaceuticals and the Health Insurance Industry, which stands to be eliminated as the superfluous, essentially parasitic middleman that it is. There is absolutely no constructive-to-the-voting-public alternative to Healthcare Reform. 

All of this is designed to scare the public into supporting policies that are inherently contrary to the public’s-at-large best interest. It’s scaring legislators, too, with threats to their future office seeking viability: corporate campaign contributions. Everybody is saying that the Healthcare Reform issue is complicated and shall inevitably raise concerns and anxiety among everybody potentially involved. 


Absolute, unadulterated bullshit. The ubiquitous anti-reform stories describing negative effects on individuals’ health and security should this reform be enacting are generating the anxiety. They are manufactured inaccuracies, distortions and lies cut from whole cloth perpetrated to protect the profit margins enjoyed by health insurers, pharmaceutical vendors and other Health Industry purveyors who would rather do without competition that’ll drive prices, and their profits, down. Unequivocally, there is no excuse for a single Congressperson or Senator to oppose, in any manner or to any degree, a complete and comprehensive overhaul of how healthcare is paid for and how health care costs are regulated and how distribution of money to cover those costs is handled. 

The way it is now, insurance companies control who gets paid how much and for which procedures, if at all. The insurance companies employ bureaucrats to determine, based on cost benefit analyses, what treatment may and may not be dispensed. This includes procedures and medication dispensing based on how said treatment, procedure or medication affects the insurance companies’ bottom lines. The insurance company clerical workers decide according to the insurer’s own rules that are formulated without their customers’ input. The insurance policy contracts, signed when customers are healthy and in no pain, often allow little or no recourse beyond arbitration, if that, once their bean counters deny benefits to the policy holder. The insurance companies make profit from this, charging a fee for providing the service of arbitrarily limiting what you get in exchange for premiums you pay and what your doctor is allowed to deliver. This is true regardless of how badly you need what your doctor orders.

There is ample documentation describing how each of the Conservative Right’s arguments against populist, progressive and (dare I say it?) liberal changes in society are false, dysfunctional and destructive to America as a nation, the American dream as a philosophy, and the American way of life as a state of being.

Why is Congressional support of Healthcare Reform not proportional to popular support for it from the general voting pool, much less the better informed (and coincidentally better educated) public? Perhaps the time of the Right inspired, anti-intellectual bent afflicting America since the Reagan era has run out. Finally, middle America is speaking out about how they’re fed up with anti-American ideas wrapped in patriotic clothing. Corporate demigods are finding it more and more difficult to pose as ordinary citizens as they rape the citizenry of rights and wealth. 

It’s about time.

Oh, yeah. Does this sound vaguely familiar? Of whom does it remind you?
• National Socialists, aka Nazis, were Germany’s conservative, family values, God and Fatherland party in the 1930s.
• Combining organized violence and political extremism, Nazi supporting, party organized, so called grassroots activists shouted down and otherwise drowned out opposing viewpoints in public to silence alternative viewpoints.
• Intimidation by strength of numbers (mob rule), carrying weapons in public, especially political gatherings, was used to silence dissent.
• Intimidation of dissent by branding it unpatriotic, seditious, anti-country
• Universally ‘anybody but us is a threat’ White Supremacy racists.
• Repeat a lie often enough and it will be believed. –Josef Goebbels

Here’s some documentation on how the Right message delivery system has developed and why it does what it does the way it does and with such efficacy. 

Who's behind the attacks on a health care overhaul?
Obama-Nazi Slur on
Why the Right's Propaganda Works on

All the bits slot in rather nicely, don’t they? For so long, we among the populace didn’t know. This kind of stuff only works in secrecy. We’re only just getting the details, and it’ll take a long time to undo the damage.

Nathan Garcia, 21 August 2009

*This vilification technique brings to mind the Monica Lewinski affair, in which President W. J. Clinton was actually impeached resultant of a blow job in the Oval Office. He didn’t think oral sex was having sex. Republican powers-that-be, namely Richard Mellon Sciafe, who also bankrolled through The Arkansas Project, failed gotcha investigations into Whitewater land deals and Vincent Foster suicide/murder/conspiracy fantasies, and Republican Senators financially beholden to Sciafe and his Right Wing cohort, were behind the effort. The Republican leadership equated their disagreement in the definition of a blow job to “High crimes and misdemeanours” as defined by the United States Constitution. Never mind the issues at hand were not related to his job, his job performance, and were only related to his popularity because the Right hated him so much. Kinda like they hate Obama just ‘cause he ain’t one of ‘us.’

Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, initially funded by Houston home builder, Bob J. Perry, who has also given millions to the Republican party and Republican candidates, mostly in Texas, including President Bush and former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay, whose district was near Houston, were instrumental in neutralizing Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry’s exemplary Viet Nam war record, with VN War Veterans who claimed Kerry had lied to get commendations and medals, every claim which was contrary to eye witness accounts and official DOD records. Never mind that the Republican candidate was a draft dodger, used his father’s political connections to acquire a commission instead in the Texas Air National Guard, was cited for repeated Absence Without Leave, and again used political influence to avoid desertion charges, courts-martial and jail time. This was Conservative payback to Kerry who renounced his decorations and spoke out publicly in protest of that war.

The Right tried that again in the 2008 elections by claiming Obama is closeted Islam, was friendly and supportive of Weather Underground terrorists, and counselling community action organization ACORN to defrauded elections in Illinois. These incidents are the first time this kind of crap didn't stick. 

It's about time.