You are being told that we must pony up for Wall Street’s mistakes over the past 20 years. You are being told that if you do not it will only cost you more in the long run. You are being told that if you do not do so, the world as we know it will cease to exist. That part, at least, is correct.
For the past twenty years, beginning with the Reagan administration, economic war has been waged on you, the middle class. The champions of the “free market” demanded that all fetters, all regulations, be removed from the market. It was claimed that regulations were bad, that they prevented the market from operating “efficiently”, that the “freer” the market, the more we would all benefit. «Read the rest of this article»
The First Friday Film night will present a viewing of Century of Self this Friday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clarksville’s meeting hall. Century of Self is a four part documentary by BBC producer Adam Curtis that investigates the role of public relations in influencing public opinion. It shows how the ideas of Sigmund Freud on the unconscious were used by his nephew, Edward Bernays, to develop the field of public relations and how public relations is used by corporations and by governments to manipulate and control the masses.
The first two parts of the documentary will be shown this Friday and will be about 2 hours long. The final two parts of Century of Self will be presented next month. The showing will start promptly at 7:00 PM Friday. The UUFC meeting hall is located on Madison Street, 1.9 miles past the bypass headed toward Nashville, on the left side of the street. The address is 3053 Highway 41A South (Madison becomes 41A South) Call 920-5390 with questions. Bring snacks and drinks to share if you wish. Free and open to the public.
We make sense of our lives by telling ourselves stories. The stories explain our role in life and coach our behavior and expectations. They give coherence and meaning to the events that engulf our lives. Stories have great power, because if we truly believe them, they can shape our future.
Political leaders are well aware of the power of stories. They manipulate people by trying to control the story, to force the narrative into the channel they desire. Through modern techniques of psychological manipulation and mind control they have become very good at managing the populace. That has never been more true than today, when the American people seem to have turned over their fate to the Bush regime in Washington.
What is the story used by Bush and his minions to lull the people into mindless obedience? It is the strong daddy protector. In this story, we are innocent, helpless children who are threatened by an evil being that want to destroy us. But the strong daddy protector will not allow this to happen. Where the evil being is all darkness and malevolence, the strong daddy protector is all light and good. «Read the rest of this article»
Do yourself a big favor: watch Ken Burns’ newest documentary, The War.
In it, Burns captures the American experience of WWII in the words of those who actually fought in the war, or who experienced it on the home front. Be forewarned, it intense and, at times, hard to view.
I came away from the first episode with a feeling of pride and sadness. Pride in what we as a nation were back then; in the men and women who sacrificed, fought, and died to preserve freedom in the world. In their dedication and steadfastness in the face of what seemed then like insurmountable odds. Sadness at how far we have come since then.
The overwhelming sense conveyed by the men and women who recounted their experiences in that great conflict was that of being in it together, of shared sacrifice. Not once during the first episode did I hear anyone complain of how hard it was, what an imposition it was on them to have their world turned upside down and, often, to be thrust into what seemed as close to hell on earth as you can come. Some of the things they recounted were horrible, but never did I detect a hint of self-pity.
Our soldiers today are every bit as brave as those who served in WWII. They face danger daily and do not shirk their duty. But they are being let down by those at home. The sacrifice is not shared: rather than urging sacrifice, the president tells us to go shopping. We are told that this is the most important conflict of our time, but our leaders seem intent on waging war on the cheap, sending in too few troops to do the job right, then not supplying them with enough of the right equipment. «Read the rest of this article»
It is past time for us to support the troops. We have allowed our “leaders” to sacrifice them for far too long in this endless occupation of Iraq. There remain a few that still claim that we can “win” in Iraq, but I think that they, too, deep in their hearts know that that will never happen. We have allowed that nation to devolve into a civil war that we are powerless to prevent.
We told them to overthrow Sadaam Hussein, which they did. They won the war that Bush decided to wage. But then we left them there. As the years dragged on, we sent them back again and again — into a situation that got worse with each passing year. And they went back, again, and again, tempting fate each time. Some did not return to us and those who did were wounded in body or soul or both. «Read the rest of this article»
The shootings on this 16th of April, 2007, should give pause to us all. Yet another in a long line of senseless violence. But today was notable in a number of ways. First, there is the sheer number of victims — 33 dead, over 30 wounded. Then there is the fact that this was probably perpetrated by one disturbed individual. Finally, there is the types of weapons involved, two pistols; a twenty-two caliber and a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol.
I am not unfamiliar with guns. I lived for 5 years on a farm and owned several guns, a 22 semiautomatic rifle, a Ruger Mini14 semiautomatic rifle, and two pistols, a Ruger 357 magnum and a Colt 45 semiautomatic that I used for target practice. None of my weapons were ever fired in anger, but I had an intimate knowledge of firearms. So I was surprised when I learned that 33 lives were claimed by a single individual with two pistols. When I first learned about the shootings, I envisioned at least a couple of people roaming the campus with military style high powered rifles. Not so, just a single nut with two pistols.
We can expect to shortly hear from the gun nuts that we shouldn’t make it about guns and that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. «Read the rest of this article»
As I listen to the arguments against impeaching George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the whole lot of the contemptible bastards who have done so much damage over the past 6 years, I can’t help but consider what was said when they were considering impeaching Bill Clinton. Back then it was “no one is above the law”, “we have to do it for the children”, and “we must restore dignity to the office of the presidency”. And that was all over a sexual impropriety.
And what do they say now, given a rogue president who lied us into a war that has claimed the lives of over 3,000 of our soldiers and who knows how many Iraqis? A president who has declared war on the middle class and done everything he can to empty the national treasury into the pockets of the uber-wealthy. A president who not only tolerates incompetence, but rewards it with the “Medal of Freedom”. A president who stands idly by while a great city in the United States is reduced to rubble. «Read the rest of this article»
Shortly, with Der Fuerer’s signing of the torture bill passed this week by congress, the United States will become a fascist state in all but name. No longer will be subject to the rule of law, but rather to the caprice of a man who I judge to be amoral and immoral. Habeus corpus has been done away with. The right to to a speedy and fair trial by a jury of your peers has been done away with. The right to be apprised of the charges brought against you and to confront your accusers has been done away with. The right to legal counsel has been done away with.
Instead, the chief executive of the United States reserves to himself the right to designate whomever he wishes as an “enemy combatant”. Once so designated, the president has the right to dispose of you in any manner he sees fit. You will be “disappeared”. No one will be told where you have been take or what has been done to you. You will be held incognito so long as the president wishes. And while being held, they may use any technique they desire to extract information from you. Nor can they be held liable for their actions, this bill gives them a get out of jail free card for all such actions performed in the past, present or future. You will be unable to do ANYTHING to them or ANYTHING to get yourself out of their clutches. «Read the rest of this article»
Today our “wartime president” reiterated for the umpteenth time that we are not getting out of Iraq while he is president. He tells us that the result of withdrawal would be catastrophic, would result in a failed state in Iraq. Well, I have news for our fearless leader, Iraq was a failed state from the day we invaded it. It was inevitable that it would fail, given the incompetence of this administration. Aside from billions in no-bid contracts for Haliburton, our invasion of that troubled nation has done nothing for either the Iraqis or for us -aside from getting over 2,500 of our troops killed and thousands more maimed for life (and we won’t mention the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed). «Read the rest of this article»
It’s not often that I vent on a business — I know how hard it can be in this competitive world to satisfy ever more demanding customers. But I am about over Charter Communications. For over a month now, we have had missing channels and bad reception. We made an appointment and they never showed up, which doesn’t leave you feeling particularly good about having wasted a day to be there for them. Nor were they particularly apologetic about not showing up.
And every time you try to get a response from them, you are back to square one: you have to navigate a phone menu that resembles chinese water torture more than anything else. If and when you do get a human being, it’s a whole new world — you have to explain all over again what the problem is. And they will want you to make yet another appointment. «Read the rest of this article»