Thursday, February 11, 2016

GO, BERNIE!


Yesterday, while I was on the treadmill at my gym, I made the mistake of tuning my earphones to WGBH, one of Boston's National Public Radio outlets. WGBH was among the first non-commercial educational media outlets in the U.S..  It had a proud tradition as a source of alternative TV and radio for decades. However, it is now more lauded as the American home of Downton Abbey, a program which excuses and sentimentalizes aristocratic privilege in 20th-century England.

WGBH has mimicked the worst of AM talk radio with a morning show, hosted by locals with suitable Boston accents. Yesterday's discussion was an autopsy of Tuesday's presidential primary election in New Hampshire, which was won by Trump, the apparently bipolar Republican, and Bernie Sanders, the progressive Democrat. 

The guest talking heads were both women, allegedly representative of the two respective parties. The Democrat was the first woman elected to Massachusetts state-wide (executive branch) office in 1999. She has subsequently become a talking head since she was defeated in the gubernatorial race by Republican Mitt Romney in 2002. Let it be known that getting beaten by a Mormon Republican in a major race in Massachusetts is like losing with two good legs in a race against people on crutches. 

Both 'political analysts' equated Bernie Sanders with Donald Trump as marginal candidates, despite Sanders' 20-point lead over Hillary Clinton in the final New Hampshire tally. They have no credibility as political analysts, in my opinion. They are sexist women who would support Hillary Clinton purely on the basis of genitalia. Their discussion of the differences between Sanders and Clinton revealed this. The shows hosts, one a man and the other a woman, were ineffectual at bring intelligent balance to the commentary. 

I sincerely hope Bernie Sanders does what Obama was unable to do, despite his history-making rise to the U.S. Presidency. Obama's "Yes We Can" became "We Could Have But...". I don't think Bernie Sanders would retreat from his obstacles in this fashion. I believe he would look directly at Americans and challenge them to support his ideas for their better interests. I believe Bernie would not fold to Wall Street, big banks, insurance conglomerates and the military-industrial complex. This may never work, since corporate power is becoming globally consolidated against the individual needs of average citizens. But I truly believe Bernie would give it his best shot without excuses if he fails.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

YES, WE ARE ANIMALS


Well performed science can strip away delusions and illusions which impede human progress. We live in an era of mixed blessings within the realm of science. Science has not yet evolved to the point of being a unified force for good. In fact, most scientific inquiry has evolved due to war and human suffering. In other words, science is still stuck in reactive mode. 

Why is science still so reactionary? Part of the answer may include the effects of capitalism on science. Science is funded for profits in most cases. Profits for manufacturers of weaponry, producers of electricity, manufacturers of cars, manufacturers of drugs, vendors of medical technology. Science is funded as remedy. 

Preventative science is rare. Look at the difficulty governments have had trying to deal with cigarettes, alcohol and poisonous food as a preventative measure to decrease disease. Capitalism stands shamelessly in the way under the slogan of "freedom of choice". The same capitalism which eliminates healthy choices and narrows freedom of choice in the political process of many nations employs advertising (mind manipulation) to convince customers to buy their products. This is not "freedom of choice". This is subjugation of the masses by money for money, and it will lead to eventual catastrophe.

The same intelligent people who will watch documentaries about other species with avid interest often fail to apply the lessons of those species to their own lives. The human frontal lobe can be a dangerous weapon of denial. We know bee colonies are collapsing under environmental stress, but there are the inevitable bee-collapse deniers. We know the planet is overpopulated by humans, yet wealthy, educated people defy Nature's message and employ IVF methods which produce twins, triplets and quadruplets. 

Yes, we are animals. We are becoming a dysfunctional species. Science, practiced ethically and preemptively for social good, is our way back to becoming a functional species. Religion, culture and egoism stand squarely and violently in the way of our own salvation. Predators among us still deny the needs of the many with money and guns. Opportunists among us bow to the predators. They finagle and aspire to join the predator class. The socially conscious scramble amidst the endless carnage produced by war, ignorance and poverty. The indigent wallow in whatever addiction eases their pain. 

Ethically applied science tells us there is a better way forward. It shines the light on the value of generalized public education. It shows us that free market capitalism which is unregulated by social conscience is a mindless greed grab by predators who subjugate whole societies. It has shown our potential to travel through our universe as opposed to killing each other with weapons. It offers clear alternatives to the destructive path we as a species have taken against Nature itself. 


Monday, February 8, 2016

IT'S A CHOICE.


As I hear the BBC broadcasting a piece on Muslims in the U.S., I wonder at the entitlement of the Muslims interviewed, mostly women. Media in Europe and U.S. have allowed a fusion between religion and genetic identity, such as skin color or sexual identity. The myth of "Islamophobia" is an intentional hijacking of "homophobia" by a religion which is highly and violently misogynist and homophobic worldwide. This is a cynical attempt to deny the outmoded and harmful beliefs promoted under the name of Islam. 

Religion is a choice. If you identify yourself as an adult adherent to a religion which inspires suspicion or fear, you must accept the consequences in whatever society you inhabit. This applies equally to Fundamentalist Christians, Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Catholics, etc.. Declaring your right to be honored and respected by everyone for your voluntary beliefs is simply ridiculous. To expect basic nonviolent civility under secular law in the U.S. is your right. But you are not entitled to approval or respect of your beliefs in misogyny, homophobia or moral superiority, worthy of enforcement with violence. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

IT ISN'T ABOUT YOUR GUILT


Migration is one obvious symptom of human overpopulation and its results, war and environmental deterioration. Fat populations in Europe and other wealthy areas of the world are scrambling to deal with invasion by the war-weary and desperate. Judeo-Christian ethics, which are seldom the guiding lights of real political policy anywhere, have suddenly inspired well-intentioned leaders and migrant advocates to throw open the doors to migrants in some parts of the world. Good motivation perhaps, but bad policy.

How do you treat a planet diseased by overpopulation by encouraging the spread of populations which are still having too many children with too few resources? How do you encourage people to question their choices and ideologies if you allow them to escape the consequences of those choices and ideologies? 

The sentimental religious types hold up small children as the justification for no scientific processing or design of effective planning. The poster child is used as a moralist shield and a political weapon. However, this manner of exploiting children who have already been victimized from birth into poverty is hardly humane or effective at getting to the roots of the problem. 

Australia has been re-implementing a border security measure since 2012 in reaction to the increasing flood of migrants into that country from its neighboring nations. This is a basic outline:

Australia's 'stop the boats' policy:

The previous Labor government reintroduced offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea in September 2012 - a policy it had ended in 2008 - whereby it pays outsourced contractors to operate and provide security at temporary detention camps for asylum seekers on the Pacific islands

It also reached a deal with Papua New Guinea that any asylum seekers judged to be genuine refugees would be resettled in Papua New Guinea, not Australia

The current Liberal-National coalition government adopted Labor's policies and expanded them, introducing Operation Sovereign Borders, which put the military in control of asylum operations

Under this policy military vessels patrol Australian waters and intercept migrant boats, towing them back to Indonesia or sending asylum seekers back in inflatable dinghies or lifeboats

In 2013 some 300 boats carrying illegal migrants reached Australia. In 2014 the number was just one

_________________

The obvious and immediate effectiveness of this policy is undeniable. Yet, some international NGO's and some political leaders have denounced the policy as cruel and inhumane. Why? I speculate that this form of hand-wringing liberalism is the surfacing of an underlying guilt in some human minds for the human history of colonial exploitation, slavery, racism, child abuse, etc.. In my opinion, the guiltier the nation, such as Germany, the louder the outcry, but hand-wringing does not produce solutions. 

Religious blabber about "justice' and "compassion" have done nothing to solve the root problems of current migration patterns. In fact, religion and ignorance have combined to guarantee that more and more migration will occur from undeveloped nations to wealthier nations. And that migration may morph into armed aggression and invasion. The misconceived model of developing nations by creating a wealthy diaspora abroad has failed miserably. Look at Somalia and Guatemala as glaring examples. 

The Australian approach has been scientific and effective within the limitations of capitalist greed, which most likely accounts for the poor conditions in some of the off-shore refugee processing camps. It is an experiment which has proven a working hypothesis: Don't open the door wide and they will stop pushing in. Australia has not stopped accepting legitimate refugees. It is processing those applications off-shore. Ideally, this will allow more legitimate political refugees to gain asylum as opposed to being overlooked in the mass of opportunistic economic migrants. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

ARTFUL SMEAR?


Hillary Clinton, who has openly stated that War Criminal Henry Kissinger is a good friend of hers, cannot be smeared. She has been at the heart of corrupt Arkansas and Washington politics for decades. Her husband, a philanderer and liar (to an entire nation), deregulated Wall Street, abandoned health care reform, abandoned LGBT rights, pushed through NAFTA. She and Bill Clinton flew to Manhattan after the presidency where they became entangled with the financial elite while operating under the guise of their Harlem/non-profit cover. As a Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton supported the war policies of the Bush era, as carried on by Obama. She did nothing notable in the face of the meltdown in North Africa and Middle East. Instead, she was then running for the office she is now pursuing. Hillary Clinton is not a progressive. Yes, she is a woman, but, if you vote for the leader of our country on his/her gender above issues or ethics, you too are a mindless sexist. 

DATING


Thursday, February 4, 2016

CLASS, NOT GLASS, CEILING.


Hillary Clinton's most die-hard fans are now reverting to the absolute baseline position concerning her candidacy: Hillary can break the glass ceiling to the U.S. presidency for women. This position sounds reasonable, but it is actually both sexist and irrational. It would not be, if Hillary were the most dedicated progressive candidate for the people. 

Hillary Clinton is a woman. Granted. However, she is also a wealthy woman who broke the class ceiling from modest middle class origins to the heights of Washington and Manhattan elite society. I do not doubt this took hard work, perseverance and a fair amount of finagling. White Water is an example of the later. I have read Hillary's version of this rise. 

Bernie Sanders represents the ability of some to break the class ceiling in the U.S.. He is the son and grandson of Polish Jewish immigrants, whose Polish family were eliminated in The Nazi Holocaust. Senator Sanders ran for office repeatedly in Yankee Vermont before becoming Mayor of Burlington. He has maintained his sensibilities from his work in the 1960's Civil Rights Movement, the Ant-War Movement and as co-founder of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. But Bernie Sanders doesn't beat his own drum based on his resume as a progressive, independent politician. He does not have to. 

Anyone who calls him/herself a progressive Democrat cannot deny that Bernie Sanders represents all the core values of The Left, while working successful in The Middle. Unlike, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Bernie has not swerved his ideals to The Right to gain and maintain power and personal profile. He has worked hard as a Senator for Vermont and for the American people. 

Bernie Sanders obviously wishes to pull others through the hole in the rather thick class ceiling here in 21st century America. Universal health care, taxing corporations, taxing the billionaires, funding public education in all communities to functional levels...these are the hammers aimed at insurance companies, banks and international corporations which will shatter a larger hole in the class ceiling in the U.S. and beyond. 

Hillary, I'm afraid, is too entranced with the elite world she has entered. She is not likely to make too many waves at the top of society. One glaring example is her badly concealed protection of health insurance companies when pressed on universal single-payer health care. Yes, she is a woman, a rich and famous Manhattan woman to the core. Perhaps she would fit in better as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N..