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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century, Eureka

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I had to reprint this article from Firedoglake:


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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century

By: masaccio Sunday November 30, 2014 10:57 am

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113014_Damned-to-Hell-Demons Please don’t murder us in the streets. We work hard so we should be paid a living wage. Bankers should be treated as equal before the law. Please stop spying on us. We’ve lived here all our lives, don’t deport us to a foreign country. Please stop killing people everywhere in the world. We are entitled to be treated like other people. Please stop poisoning the dirt that grows our food and the water we drink and the air we breathe. The minimal nature of the demands of millions of protesters measures the decrepit state of our nation. It also tells us that the rich people who run this country loathe and despise us.

We killed your kids with impunity. Take that tiny paycheck, and supplement it with government benefits, and punch out before you clean up your work station. Bankers are the engines of prosperity and if they get a bit greedy, it can’t be prevented without destroying capitalism. We spy on you to protect you from immigrants with Ebola and sharp swords. Get back into that closet. You’ll eat and breathe oil and you’ll love it. OK, you noisy group can get married. Now aren’t you happy? Remember, we have the guns, the tanks, the tear gas, the pepper spray, the kettles, the rifles, the humvees, the assault rifles, the MRAPs, and the drones, and we have your data and your phones and your computers and your emails and your facebook pages and your tweets, and we know who you are. And just ignore those thugs on the roofs, those plain-clothes men with AR-15s, they’re either our regular troops or our irregulars, our vigilantes, just out to protect our private property.

As bad as this is, the worst part is that there are millions of people who aren’t elites, who aren’t rich enough to financially survive a lost job or a divorce or a sick kid, but who think this is just fine. Those people vote for the system not just in elections, but by their hatred for their neighbors. Who could have predicted so many citizens would enjoy watching their neighbors thrown out of their houses rather than figure out some way to help? Who would have thought so many citizens would be thrilled to see families broken up and deported? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to drink oil instead of water for any reason? Who would have thought that so many citizens would prefer not just to let corporations pay so little to their neighbors, but also to support cutting off all government benefits to those workers? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to have some government agent collecting their phones and email and internet search histories?

The optimists among us point to a bunch of liberal issues on which a plurality of citizens agree according to pollsters. That’s great, and it may even be true. But the fact is that our Constitution is set up to prevent government action against the will of a small minority. It gives tiny Red States plenty of 19th Century Senators who under Senate rules can block any action they don’t like. The House is thoroughly gerrymandered, so that the will of the majority isn’t even represented. Presidential candidates must win the money primary, insuring that they will support the interests of the richest and most retrograde among the top .01% who own 11% of the total wealth of the nation. The Supreme Court has always protected property at the expense of every other interest or value, so even if a decent piece of legislation passed, the five conservative hacks on the Court will strike it down.

It seems to me that this nation is infected by a nameless, faceless dread, a fear of something awful just beyond our ability to grasp. The media, right-wing politicians and demagogues, acting on behalf of their filthy rich patrons, actively exploit that fear to get what they want: a divided nation at war with itself. You don’t have to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh or worse to get this; you can feel it in the air, and get all the examples you need from The Daily Show or Colbert or Oliver. Where does this come from? This is a country rich in resources, armed to the teeth, with a powerful technological infrastructure that should allow a lot of material progress and solutions to any real problems. And yet there’s this:

As of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly half of Americans — 49 percent — say natural disasters are a sign of “the end times,” as described in the Bible. That’s up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

How do you explain technological marvels sitting alongside this kind of pre-Enlightenment fright? One explanation comes from @Billmon1, a great Twitter follow. He says that a large part of the US missed the Enlightenment altogether. That part, largely the Red states, but all over the country, is embedded in the 16th/17th centuries:

To be more specific: rooted in 16th/17th century British isles — Scotland, English border lands & Ireland, to be precise. “Celtic fringe.”

About as backwoods, parochial, & religiously bigoted part of W. Europe as you could have found in that era — an era of religious bigotry.

We have a great recent example of this culture in Northern Ireland. After a century of war with itself and its Catholic neighbors, Northern Ireland has turned from religious bigotry to racial bigotry. There are plenty of problems in Ireland, many of which are the result of unbridled capitalism like the short-sighted decisions of the leaders to pay off all depositor loses caused by Irish banks and the outrageous tax schemes that enable the likes of Apple to screw the US out of needed tax revenues. But really, a few immigrants are the problem?

It’s a mirror image of the US. The “Other” is the problem. It isn’t the unjust distribution of wealth, it isn’t the exploitation of the worker by the filthy rich, it isn’t unequal schools, it isn’t poverty or any other structural condition. It’s witches. It’s demons. It’s unholiness. It’s impurity. It’s smoke.

It isn’t fixable. The most you can hope for is bottling up that rage and fear in fewer and fewer people. Instead the media stokes those fires. Self-ordained ministers tell people that it’s sin that cause fires and floods and earthquakes and eclipses. Rage freaks like O’Reilly and Limbaugh and the incomparably stupid Hannity tell their listeners that the end times are coming. Politicians like Lindsey Graham shriek that terrorists are coming to kill them while they sleep. These pre-moderns are now in control of both the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court.

I’m thinking about being a bit fearful myself.

Photo by Georges Jansoone under Creative Commons license


–Joe

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Fred’s Little Piece of Paradise

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082814_Paradise-RedwoodsWhen I read Fred’s latest – Fred and Marcy Sittin’ In a Tree… – and I thought about why I commented on his previous article (Why Repair Brick Chimneys?), it occurred to me why we are where we are in our Democracy. It would be nice to live in a utopian world, especially here on the North Coast. Good, decent, efficient, uncorrupt elected government representatives, just courts, police that protect and serve EVERYONE, an unpolluted bay and rivers, no homeless, no drugs and no bad effects of the decades-long criminal marijuana business. But, then that might be too boring for Paradise.

Thinking about how it is today in Eureka – Humboldt County actually – reminded me of how it was for my parents right after the war. My father was logging in Southern Humboldt, decided to buy a 40 acre piece of land that bordered a county road and build a home. So, he opened up a road to a place with a great view and began. No issues with connecting to the county road. Not long afterwards a PG&E truck pulled up, the driver wanted to know if my father wanted them to run a line to the house, a house he hadn’t even started building yet. Wouldn’t cost him a dime, all he had to do was set a pole for a meter box. Over a period of time my father, with some family and friends help built a beautiful home. He installed his own sewer system, water system and built a two car garage. Not one time that I can remember was he ever hassled by a county building inspector. He paid taxes on the home and property, so they must of signed off on the home at sometime. I don’t remember periodic inspections either. I know he often talked about making sure everything met building codes. Today that would be unthinkable. When I read Fred’s naivete I know why. The Planning Commission has become and institution unto itself.

The problem is that the more laws everyone is subject, not to mention the self-imposed laws the police subject everyone to, the more lawless everyone becomes. Then there are the so-called “good citizens,” like Fred setting standards for everyone with their brilliant opinions. They got their noses in everyone’s business. If they can’t tell you what to do they’ll tell you how to think and what to believe. No one ever grows up. And, so goes Paradise.

In my lifetime, paradise was for my mother’s and father’s generation. Growing up in those years, I can tell you, and you too Fred, IT WAS NOT BORING!

–Joe

The Brownshirt Solution is a Real Life Tragedy

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Where it all starts: The Brownshirt Real Life Tragedy as they touch REAL people with Totalitarian Solutions.

In the 150 years or so since the Civil War you would naturally believe, after all the World Wars, all the fighting and dying, all the sacrifices that were paid for the right to be free men and women we would be living in a modern utopia of glutinous freedoms and liberties, with universal justice. Rather than living in a world of barbaric cannibals daily gorging themselves on – eating our rights to be free and independent citizens charting our course in this life to all our unalienable rights, i.e.,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What we get, and this is a good example, of the real time social barbarism and terrorist philosophy that drives or empowers such dark age beliefs. In America the victims are just thrown into solitary confinement for life – a form of tortured murder or execution. It’s called indefinite detention without trial, in some cases. These beliefs are then translated into laws that justified some of the worlds most abhorrent despots and murderous tyrants. Today millions of Americans are incarcerated and for what? Not being white? How many innocent people were forced to plead to a police frame-up that stupid or racist jurors and corrupt judges rubber-stamped into prison?

I’m talking about this blog and this particular article: “Another tragic incident, with a pitiful outcome well short of Justice” – Be sure to read the comments to get the full impact.

It all seems innocuous enough, right. Just conversation trying to work out a reasonable solution.

What makes this serious for everyone is how this kind of conduct extrapolate into real life and dramatically affects our social community to its everlasting detriment. You can’t spit on the sidewalk without committing a felony. The police are lawless in their own right and replicate that attitude when dealing with everyone. When was the last time anyone challenged Humboldt Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen for that position or any other Superior Court Judge?

Knee-jerk justice speaks for itself. Extreme knee-jerk laws tend to create injustice. You can’t cure a disease by trying to treat the symptoms.

When I first read this article I accidentally reblogged it as a test of the feature. When it didn’t show up on my Blogger Page I assumed it didn’t work. WordPress Reblog only works on WordPress Blogs. When I noticed it had worked I decided to leave it with an additional caveat. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was supporting a Brownshirt blog.

–Joe

The “self-appointed PC ayatollahs”

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When I read Tim Martin’s thoughts about a particular class of Arcatans I was struck by how easily he could be writing about a slew of local blogs and their resident commenters.

051614_T_MartinHere’s a thought: What color’s the sky in your world, Arcata?

Tim Martin Eureka – Times Standard
Posted:Sun May 18 01:18:36 MDT 2014 –  Times-Standard.com

I’ve never been accused of being a lackey for the Republican Party. To the contrary, I’ve been a loyal
supporter of Democrats since I was old enough to vote. But what I experienced during the 20 years I lived
in a college town has me wondering if, in the end, liberals are no different than their conservative
counterparts.

Talk to a passionate liberal in Arcata, say, a haughty former mayor or an arrogant ex-newspaper editor or
some like-minded individual with over-sensitive, myopic Pollyanna views and a superior attitude. They will
more than likely offer this lofty opinion of their citizenry: “Democrats are the most rational people in this
country. Republicans only care about themselves. They eat meat, don’t recycle or compost, and drive gas
guzzlers.” Blah, blah, blah, rag, rag, rag, get the picture?

Their complaints have become like Eminem lyrics that way.

Arcata is the most sanctimonious town in Northern California. It’s a hotbed of lofty musings and
self-deception. Many of its residents are as essentially naïve about the real world as George H.W. Bush
was when confronted with his first supermarket scanner.

Of course, not everyone in Arcata is bathed in a fine mist of bias and insensitivity. There are plenty of
residents untouched by HSU’s ivory-tower smugness. Yet a good number of those in charge — city
leaders and self-appointed PC ayatollahs — are mired in a self-righteous rut that runs roughshod over
such heinous criminals as cigarette smokers and tree-fallers and (gasp!) skateboarders. Their list of
dissatisfactions with anything right-wing related is nearly despair-grade.

Case in point: I recently wrote a column about the need for conservationists and the timber industry to
work together. You would have thought I had suggested slaying senior citizens. A few of my Facebook
friends (mostly Arcata residents) were choked with fury. One labeled me a “traitor.” Another person stated
that my recent move to Fortuna had turned me into “just another dumb redneck.”

Arcata government is so hilariously prone to arrogance that it has become immune to any sort of
self-awareness. The most influential among the ruling elite actually feel an obligation to project their
political views, gender bias, and moral authority on everyone else in the county. I have a suspicion that
this kind of snobbery takes place in every college town in the United States.

Sure, everyone does a little innocent judging from time to time, but the high command in Arcata takes it to
the limit. They paint with a broad brush and create feelings of anger and resentment in other Humboldt
residents. They want you to believe that conservatives eat their children, foreclose on your homes, and
put good people out of a job. They chastise anyone who doesn’t fit into their cultish, narrow-minded
perception of the universe that is Arcata.

These folks give higher education a bad name.

According to a poll by the New York Times, conservatives donate more to charity than liberals do. Believe
it or not, they also volunteer their time, give generously to their communities, and help feed the poor. Their
representatives are not immune from taking money from big-wig donors or free from the influence-peddling, but neither are liberal politicians. The truth is people are people. Not everyone who lives in Arcata is a long-haired, unemployed hippy. And not everyone who resides elsewhere in Humboldt County is a white-trash pickup-driving moron with a truck horn that plays “Dixie.”

Liberals and conservatives alike generalize. They are inclined to reduce people who have different
religious, environmental, political, and sexual beliefs into some type of caricature. It’s pathetic that after all
we’ve accomplished in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights and worker’s rights, we’re still divided by a
deep chasm of ignorance and mistrust. Even the most educated among us — those who teach at our local
colleges and lead our nation — are clueless as how to unite the people in this country.

I think it’s time for a call of honesty and wisdom of the heart from everyone. We can start by practicing
humbleness instead of preaching superiority. That’s the sign of a great leader, you know — humility.
Arcata’s most out-of-touch citizens might want to begin by wiping that condescending smirk off their faces,
stepping outside of town once-in-a-while, and developing a better understanding of those in their
community. You know, like blue-collar workers and conservative voters. We’re all negotiating the sea of
life here in Humboldt. And despite what one ex-town mayor might think, we’re not all dumb rednecks.

Tim Martin resides in Fortuna and writes this column for the Times-Standard.

–Joe

Take A Look Into The Future

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Yes, take a look into America’s future with Thomas H. Naylor. His interview printed here: Thomas H. Naylor on Leviathan, Secession and Vermont’s Small Nation Dream on LewRockwell.com is long, but well worth reading and thinking about.

The roots of the Occupy Movement go back a long way.

What he lays out is the ruling Oligarch’s greatest fear as the work assiduously to consolidate their power and control on a society devoid of an sense of practical reality. A society asleep looking for a fight.

[Source]

–Joe

Real Meaning of “Ahimsa” – Punishment

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The Real Meaning of “Ahimsa” – James MacLeod and Mike Flugennock Cartoons

In view of the letter published in the Times-Standard newspaper by Tom Nash, a so-called “OWS supporter” and the picture of the police punishing peaceful protesters published in this article by Kevin Gosztola: UC Davis Chancellor Called to Resign After Police Pepper Spray Students, this is a really appropriate demonstration or representation of reality from James MacLeod and Mike Flugennock. Then there is this from the Daily Kos: America’s Tacit Approval of Police Brutality – that draws the connection or parallel issue with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s history of brutalizing and torturing peaceful people.

What I’d like to know is how any REAL MAN or woman for that matter can stand on the sidelines and watch peaceful people, women in particular, be brutalized by ONE lone thug? No man with even an ounce of dignity, manhood, and honor would not defend his women to the death. That’s the secret Occupy People. Once the Masters of this brutality realize those are the terms or rules of engagement, they will stop. There is no greater force on this Earth than a man committed to defending his family no matter who or what the threat.

Nonviolence…?


Mike Flugennock: “After a decade of observing police thuggery against protests in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City along with the recent police attacks on unarmed protesters at Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Oakland, and comparing it against similar scenes I witnessed in video from Athens, Bahrain and Cairo, I can’t help but conclude that Nonviolence™ is an ideological luxury affordable only to the cushy-living white middle-class activists of the United States.” [Emphasis added]

YET, the reality of the Occupy Movement is caught here by James MacLeod:

James MacLeod adds:

“Super piece by the great Chris Hedges here and a typically spot-on take by Glenn Greenwald is here.”
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The physical or defacto reality of the so-called doctrine “Ahisma,” as practiced is actually granting permission for the police to criminally brutalize and punish non-compliant, disobedient, peaceful people. Tom Nash’s letter misrepresents Gandhi’s teachings and practice as somehow being subservient, slavish, abjectly obedient and call that: “Non-Violence.” The very kind of passive stance as defined by Tom Nash, in his misbegotten belief that the “movement” needs “large segments of the 99% to be “sympathetic” clearly demonstrates his lack of cognitive understanding of this worldwide movement. Perhaps he should read this very good explanation by Glenn Greenwald: Here’s what attempted co-option of OWS looks likeHere you can get a hint of what’s really going on with the Occupy Movement. To quote: “[B]ut the U.S. desperately needs a citizen movement devoted to working outside of political and legal institutions and that is designed to be a place of dissent against it.”

Continuing to operate according to “rote learning” based upon contaminated “self-serving distortions and preconceived ideas” IS the sure way to fail. Martin Luther King’s interpretation of Gandhi stems from an abundantly American way of thinking rooted solidly in a feminine belief system. This, of course, is exactly how the dominant female way of thinking wants their masculine counterpart to perform. Since the end of World War II this form of Non-Violence is what’s been practice all over the world by all peoples that bowed down and willingly subjugated themselves and their families to a whole generation of authoritarian, dictatorial, top-down rule. What Gandhi taught and actually practiced was NON-COOPERATION.

If there is one thing that the United States of America has established in stone – it’s total legitimate right to exist as an independent nation rest totally upon this established legal right – is the inherent legitimate, legal rights of people, most particularly American citizens, the individual’s right to SELF-DEFENSE. Which is consistent with Gandhi’s teachings. For reference, Wikipedia makes note: “Avoidance of verbal and physical violence is also a part of this principle, although ahimsa recognizes self-defense when necessary, as a sign of a strong spirit.” The belief that husbands had the right to physically beat their spouses anytime and in anyway for whatever they judged them guilty, ended in America a long time ago.

Everyone should keep in mind the words of Swellsman. What he says is extremely important and probably should be printed out and posted on all would-be Occupy Movement people’s walls so everyone can see. And Tom Nash and all those that support his way of thinking or believing, they should take a lesson:

And, yeah . . . the rest of us might want to think about trying to undo some of the power and public relations imbalance that we have allowed to creep into law enforcement’s favor by our past apathy in the face of public abuses.

Despite what they’ll tell you, and what we’ve been conditioned to believe, the cops are not the law. The law resides in a system, not in a person, not even in a group of people. Cops are merely citizens – just like you and me – who have been given special dispensation to arrest people under certain circumstances and then turn them over to that system . . . and nothing more.

And it seems to me that America would be a lot better off trying to keep that basic fact in mind.

Real Meaning of “Ahimsa” – NON-COOPERATION


[Picture Source] – [Update :: From the Swellsman’s Blog about how the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies were on the cutting edge of torturing peaceful people with impunity. (Always a link to Digby on the Joe Blow Report on Blogspot)

Update: Like me, Digby also was reminded of the Humboldt County pepper-spray incident from the late 90s. She has a post up at her joint that fleshes out what happened there, including the fact that one sheriff deputy apparently was recorded telling the young woman whose eyeballs he had coated with pepper spray: “We’re done torturing you now.” Additional fun fact: it took 12 years and 3 separate trials (the first two, apparently, ended in deadlock) but the protesters did eventually win their suit against the county and its deputies for use of excessive force. Each plaintiff was awarded $1 in nominal damages.

Tom Nash’s letter to the Times-Standard is offered in “Read the rest…


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A Sad Reminder – MacLeod Cartoon

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Police Violence at Occupy Oakland

–Joe

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