Saturday, July 30, 2011

Public Opinion: Down With Omnipotence

The latest says that 41% approve of Obama's performance in office, a rating that is definitely falling, but still too high for a man who has attacked six countries in two years while picking up a Nobel peace prize. Why hasn't the Nobel committee committed suicide yet?

Seventy-two percent of Democrats still think Obama is doing a good job. If the high approval Bush used to get from Republicans was evidence of their stupidity, then Democrats today are suffering from outright idiocy. Where's the outrage?

But let's keep things in perspective. Only 51% of the people approve of the performance of God, which means that the trend line is definitely down for all-powerful figures that one can do absolutely nothing about.

In other words, people are steadily surrendering illusions . . . good!

Poverty - Bad and Getting Worse

by Michael K. Smith

I worked in a day care center for three years but ended up taking a job in a kennel because it paid better.

-----Former day care worker Denver, 2003

I can tell you that . . . as a black woman who’s been dealing with this forever, it can make you get crazy. Being poor all the time can make you crazy.

-----Crystal, a fifty-year-old health care labor organizer, New York City, 2006

Evil exists. I believe that what the rich have done to the poor people in this city is something that a preacher could call evil. Somebody has power. Pretending that they don’t so they don’t need to use it to help people - that is my idea of evil.

-----South Bronx schoolboy to author Jonathan Kozol

Poverty flourishes while the economy continues to "recover." Sound familiar? It should, because we've been seeing the same phenomenon since the Reagan years, although not always with such a broad cast of victims. In some areas of the country sheriffs deputies are deemed poor enough to qualify for WIC (supplemental food for women, infants, and children), while in others food banks report that teachers are showing up for free food.

Less surprisingly, according to a new report from the Center for Housing Policy, a security guard cannot pay the average costs of a mortgage or lease. The study shows that the most common jobs in the service sector of the economy are incapable of generating sufficient income with which to pay the cost of living. Among those jobs are gardener, janitor, office worker, and security guard. Fast food workers, agricultural workers, home help aides, hotel cleaners, retail clerks, and many other categories of workers are in similar straits. In the 1950s, one in three American workers held manufacturing jobs, which, though physically demanding, generally paid fairly decent wages and provided health-care insurance, unemployment insurance, and a guaranteed pension. Today, only one in ten workers has such a job. And those workers find that their jobs are increasingly outsourced.

Currently the average price of a house in San Francisco is $550,000, in New York and San Jose $425,000, in Honolulu, $400,000. The national minimum wage, the lowest in half a century, stands at $7.25 an hour. In other words, if you work full-time at the minimum wage and save every dollar you earn for 30 years, you'll be within range of buying a home for yourself in New York or California or Hawaii. If President Obama fulfills his campaign pledge to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 (he's got five months left of 2011), which is very unlikely, your house might only cost you 20 years of full-time labor.

Poverty, as usual, amounts to death on the installment plan. A typical poor person’s diet consists of oatmeal for breakfast, and potatoes with gravy and tortillas for dinner. Lunch is a luxury, so don't develop an "entitlement mentality." A varied diet of tasty and nutritious foods is simply impossible for the poor, who find that austerity overrules balanced diet, with food stocks boiling down to potatoes, beans, rice, gravy, bread, dried milk, and Kool-Aid. Fresh fruits and vegetables are as rare as insight from President Obama.

Thanks to the automobile and oil industries, entire communities, lifestyles, job choices, and consumption patterns were built on a foundation of sand: cheap and plentiful gas supplies. Now that gas is no longer cheap, people stranded far from mass transit are forced to prioritize spending on gasoline and vehicle maintenance ahead of food. Without a vehicle and fuel to run it, one cannot gain or hold employment, shop for groceries, or get to the doctor's office. So people spend their last dollars filling (or partially filling) their gas tanks while their empty bellies growl in protest.

While there isn’t mass starvation in the United States, there is certainly a vast amount of chronic hunger, the kind that does not immediately kill, but leaves its victims lethargic and prone to illness, depression, and rage. Keep this in mind the next time you hear a politician urging you to "support our troops," as many of today's hungry are military personnel and their families.

Meanwhile, big business is awash in gargantuan profits (nearly 13% a year), major corporate CEOs got a 23% raise last year, and most working Americans are seeing their incomes stagnate or decline, even though productivity has risen steadily in recent years. Census Bureau numbers show that the median household income for working-age households fell, in 2007 dollars, by $2,010 in the years from 2000 to 2007, that is, BEFORE the crash of 2008. This is the only economic cycle on record in which real income for American workers has fallen.

Why is this happening? According to JP Morgan Chase, the steady decline of American wages and benefits is due to capital cannibalizing on wages, a phenomenon that accounts for fully 75% of the boom in corporate profit margins. "To state this more simply," Chase recently told its private banking clients, "profits are up because wages are down."

And they will stay down as long as unions remain weak or nonexistent (only 7% of the private sector is unionized), and no politically decisive labor bloc organizes itself against corporate money and power.

We're down, and they're stomping on us. It's time to counter-attack.


Abramsky, Sasha, "Breadline USA - The Hidden Scandal of American Hunger and How to Fix It," (PoliPoint Press, 2009)

Dodson, Lisa, "The Moral Underground - How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy," (New Press, 2009)

"Economic Recovery Misses Latinos," The Opinion (Spanish edition), July 27, 2011

Sklar, Holly, "CEOs to Workers: More for Me, Less for You," July 25, 2011,

Meyerson, Harold, "Corporate America's Chokehold on Wages," Washington Post, July 19, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Recession Still Over! Even More So Than Usual!!

U.S. to Close 800 Computer Data Centers

Office of Management and Budget (OMB), 725 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20503, United States
The federal government plans to shut 40 percent of its computer centers over the next four years to reduce its hefty technology budget and modernize the way it uses computers to manage data and provide services to citizens. Computer centers typically do not employ many people to tend the machines, but analysts estimate that tens of thousands of jobs will most likely be eliminated.

Yes, and wars typically do not employ many people  but tens of thousands  are usually eliminated as their result. Yay?

They Get What They Pay For

President Obama top recipient of News Corp. donations

Political donations by News Corp., its employees and their families were evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, with President Barack Obama the all-time leading recipient, according to a report from the Sunlight Foundation. The transparency watchdog noted that Democrats received 51 percent of contributions while Republicans received 49 percent, despite the firm's highly publicized links to the GOP, such as a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association in August.
"Obama being listed as the company’s top recipient might surprise some people because of its highly publicized involvement with his political rivals, like Sarah Palin who was the vice presidential candidate in 2008 and reportedly still under contract with Murdoch-owned Fox News as a paid commentator," wrote Sunlight's Ryan Sibley.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


They are the most important members of our family.

They are gluttons, devouring gas, oil, corn, sugarcane, and anything else that comes their way.

They own our time: bathing them, feeding and sheltering them, talking about them, and opening the way for them.

They reproduce faster than we do, and are ten times as numerous as they were half a century ago.

They kill more people than do wars, but no one condemns the murders, least of all the newspapers and television channels that live off their advertisements.

They steal our streets. They steal our air.

They laugh when they hear us say: "I drive."

-----Eduardo Galeano, Mirrors

Sad, Sad, Sad...What Have We Come To?

Goldman Sachs Disappoints With Earnings of $1.05 Billion

The entrance to Goldman Sachs on Wall Street.Shannon Stapleton/ReutersThe Wall Street entrance to Goldman Sachs.
8:45 a.m. | Updated Goldman Sachs reported profit of $1.05 billion on Tuesday, a weak showing that reflected the firm’s costly move to reduce risk and cut back trading activities.
The performance of the investment bank, which has largely shed the legacy of the financial meltdown, points to the new reality on Wall Street. Amid regulatory and economic uncertainty, Goldman is struggling to lift its earnings power to precrisis levels.

Earth Shaking Bulletin!

The union of self appointed very important nations has recognized the Tea Party as the official government of the USA and has ordered the Obama regime to vacate its office immediately or face bombing and propaganda attacks until it does so.

Representatives of the Democratic party, the ACLU, NOW, the congressional Black Caucus and AIPAC have entered into private negotiations which they claim will ease hostilities between the two sides. But a spokesperson for the union says the talks are only to make clear that the self appointed very important nations will tolerate nothing less than Obama’s immediate stepping down.

“He can find sanctuary in  Kenya or Israel,” said the representative from Venezuela, as those from China, Russia, Brazil and India nodded their heads in approval.

A formidable group of opponents to the very important nations has begun to form and expressed its undying devotion to the American government, the free market and holocaust movies. These nations, so far including Palau, outer Bimbomia, inner Micronesia and middle Psychoneuralgia, have vowed to see the struggle through to a peaceful outcome or they will declare  holy war against whoever or whatever might then bail them out with financial aid after hostilities.

Stay Tuned as Legalienate correspondents, in the tradition of major media, learn more and reveal less.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Nod to the British On The 4th of July

Our recently concluded Independence Day celebrations glossed over important history associated with the Fourth of July.

Americans like to state that establishing our independent nation was all about freedom. But whose freedom - and at whose expense?

Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, essentially outlawed slavery in Britain in 1772, when he decided that James Somersett, a slave purchased in Virginia, taken to England, where he then escaped, could not be forcibly returned to his master. American slave holders were alarmed and appalled at this, fearing that the decision portended an end to slavery throughout the British colonies. The great British Tory Samuel Johnson noted the hypocrisy in their protests. "How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of Negroes?"

Black slaves weren't the only ones with reason to favor continued British rule. For if the British had won the revolutionary war, the indigenous nations of North America would almost certainly have fared better than they did on the receiving end of unrestrained settler colonialism, which quickly reached genocidal proportions. The British Parliament wanted the colonies to remain a coastal enclave, because small colonies are easier to control, while the American colonists wanted to establish a vast new empire. And they did, wiping out millions of indigenous people in the process.

Our "sweet land of liberty" is soaked in the blood of countless innocent victims, who did their best to teach us the difference between liberty and license. Have we learned the lesson?

Time will tell.

Samuel Johnson quoted in James Boswell's, "The Life of Samuel Johnson," p. 425

Somersett case cited in Ray Raphael's "A People's History of the American Revolution - How Common People Shaped The Fight For Independence," (New Press, 2001) pps. 246-7

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Interest Group Flattery vs. History

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill making California the first state in the U.S. to require lessons about gays and lesbians in public schools. The Democratic-majority Legislature recently passed the bill requiring public schools to include the contributions of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in social studies curriculum.

"History should be honest," the governor said in a statement Thursday. "This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books."

California law already requires schools to teach about women, African Americans, Mexican Americans, entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor. The Legislature over the years also has prescribed specific lessons about the Irish potato famine and the Holocaust, among other topics.

Revisionist history certainly has a rightful place in correcting the distortions imposed by orthodox historians. Here, for example, is an excerpt from widely accepted U.S. history about half a century back, before "political correctness" forced its dogma of racial equality upon us:

"God wanted the white people to live alone. And He wanted colored people to live alone. . . . The white man has always been kind to the Negro . . . Negro people like to live by themselves. Negroes use their own bathrooms. They do not use white people's bathrooms."

No sane person would want to see racist narratives like this restored to a respected place in U.S. history textbooks, which is not to say that the problem of racial bias has been completely overcome in our nation's public school curriculum. Far from it.

So Governor Brown is right, history SHOULD BE honest. But when will the state approve curriculum depicting the U.S. role in overthrowing democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign leaders, and supporting the bloodiest forms of authoritarian rule - all in the name of "democracy"? If the word "never" is on the tip of your tongue, ask yourself how committed the state can ever really be to honest history. Not very.

Still, slightly less dishonest history is better than nothing, IF that's what we end up with.

Heterosexists are already asking why sexual orientation needs to be brought into school in any subject other than sex education. They keep their sex lives private, or so they claim, and they don't care to watch others "flaunt" what they do or don't like in the sack, and certainly don't have any interest in knowing what various historical figures did in bed. In short, sex is as private as anything can be, and should be kept that way.

Of course, this is perfect nonsense. Heterosexuality is the only sexuality considered "normal," and it is constantly glorified, especially in advertising and marketing, which consumes trillions of dollars a year in the United States. A woman's value is relentlessly portrayed as residing exclusively in her physical attractiveness and her willingness to go to bed with men. Sexuality private? You've got to be kidding.

Furthermore, sexuality is hardly confined just to the bedroom, nor does the new law call for discussing what people do in bed. It calls for recognizing the contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and the transgendered, presumably OUTSIDE of the bedroom.

One could, of course, argue that sexual orientation is a purely personal characteristic of no more significance than hair or eye color, and therefore undeserving of a place in the curriculum. But that stance is difficult to square with the longstanding denigration and hatred of sexual minorities. If it's simply a personal matter, why does it engender such frenzied insecurity?

It is the oppression of minorities that makes their history far more than merely personal. But if gays and other sexual minorities are never explicitly mentioned, how can students learn about the SOCIAL issue of sexual stigmatization?

Any member of a sexual minority has to deal with the widespread presumption of their deviance in the bedroom, so it's not true to say that one's sexual identity has nothing to do with what one does or doesn't do elsewhere. In the case of demonized minorities, it has everything to do with their behavior everywhere, because the dominant society's rejection of them always calls for a reaction. If the full range of consensual human sexuality were warmly embraced, it might be possible to treat sexual identity as a merely personal matter, but we're obviously a long way from realizing this ideal, so we should get used to the LGBT community "flaunting" its differentness. There is no other way for them to survive.

Should historical treatments extend beyond the issue of stigmatization? This is more problematic, and is likely to usher in an absurdly kaleidoscopic chaos of identity group flattery. This might be marginally better than what is being taught now, but it will still be a long way from the honest history Governor Brown says should be the rule.

Until we can honestly depict the NEGATIVE contributions we have made to history - war, propaganda, exploitation, robbery, etc. - our school textbooks will be more mythological than historical.


"Marin educators offer mixed reaction to landmark gay education law," Marin Independent Journal, July 14, 2011

Michele Bachmann, Obama, and Slavery, Old and New

It's easy to portray Michele Bachmann as ridiculous, since she is ridiculous, although her anti-intervention stance vis-a-vis Libya is preferable to Obama's absurd rationalization of the NATO war. According to him, it's not even a war, because technological slaughter from the skies requires no boots on the ground, and without infantry there isn't really a war. Isn't he clever?

Obama recommends "smart" wars, as opposed to the "dumb" wars of the Bush era, now happily left behind while our Nobel Peace prize winner attacks one country after another with no hint of U.N. or Congressional authorization. If Obama represents intelligence, I'm no longer afraid of the designated idiots like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann recently created quite a stir by signing a political statement that included the following claim: "Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President," the opening statement reads.

As Stephen Colbert pointed out in his July 12 satire, black children born in the slavery era were blessed to have not just African American parents, but also a biological father, who incidentally OWNED them. That, says Colbert, is clear evidence of fathers being INVESTED in their children.

Liberals and conservatives alike have a touching concern for the welfare of black families, which makes one wonder why they never get around to investigating the devastating impact the prison industrial complex has on them. Of course, the theory is that prisoners (of whatever race) are in jail solely because of their criminal conduct, and therefore deserve to be there. Unfortunately for this theory, however, the truth is that reported crime has fallen for the last 40 years, while prison construction has boomed, which makes it difficult to claim that the astonishing growth in the U.S. prison population is a response to crime. More plausible is the idea that blacks and other despised minorities have been declared economically superfluous and are locked up as a means of social control. Many, most, or all of them may be guilty as charged, but that's not why they're in prison.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Contempt Is Natural; Relax and Enjoy It

"They piss on us, and the newspapers say 'rain.'"

------Anonymous graffiti, quoted by Eduardo Galeano

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Democracy Begins At Home

   When major media echoed Obama’s “winding down” military operations in Afghanistan it merely repeated Viet Nam era lies . As that war became so costly that it could only be continued at bargain rates, the USA removed some of its troops and turned the major killing responsibility over to the Viet Namese. “Changing the color of the bodies” enabled mind managers to proclaim that hostilities were “winding down”. They actually continued for several more years until defeat was so imminent we were forced out before cracking the nation’s social and financial structure.
   Now, we’re told that troops who weren’t there when Obama took office would soon come home, leaving more troops there than before he was elected and switching the policy to automated robot killings. This drone assassination technique has had great success at murdering innocent people when an errant robot hits families having dinner instead of cults plotting terror. Is this change we can believe in or the imperial status quo pursued under a multi-cultural president? We can only shudder at how long it may take a hacker to turn one of these things around and send it back to its point of origin.
   As murderous peace continues in Iraqistan  and the depressing recession continues ending at home, the president of nimble talk and spineless walk proclaims change in policy towards Israel; he will separate his scraping from his bowing. This is wildly lauded by those desperate to find something to praise in a failed regime which owes its future to the nearly imbecilic opposition. When Netanyahu treats the American congress like an AIPAC meeting and that congress behaves as a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate Israel, Americans need to wonder why they put up with such nonsense and how much longer it will be tolerated by the rest of the world, if not nature itself.
   The Libyan slaughter continues as the European hit team trying to perpetuate the white man’s empire are running into the cost of warfare as their societies show signs of crumbling from within. Workers fight savage cuts to public spending while their privately controlled governments kill Libyans to maintain their former control of Africa. Under Khadaffi, the latest in a demonized line of leaders of former colonies , Libya became a prosperous country with the highest standard of living on the continent. It has played a major role in attempting to organize the former European dominated region into an independent member of what passes for an international community controlled by very few nations and even fewer banks. While hagiography may overdo his virtues, the delirious propaganda  about the Libyan  leader should come from people wearing propeller beanies and drooling on themselves. Unfortunately, they look like typical class servants to power as they spout incredible tales of terror that have less relation to reality than do the ravings of a Fox TV commentator. The revival of a Reagan era script that called Khadaffi a madman bent on global destruction should clarify the foreign policy of presidents as allegedly different as arch-conservative Reagan and arch-liberal Obama: There is no difference.
   The system is the same, whether represented by a speech reading flunky from the old all-white school or a speech reading flunky from the new half-white academy.
   The global rule of finance capital has brought the system closer to collapse than it ever was under industrial-productive domination. While the devastation of environments owes its beginning to the profit accumulation lust of private capital, production at least created commerce that benefited some, though always at the expense of others. Nevertheless, the rising material status of a growing middle class in many nations could help cover the blight on global conditions that were the cost of this advance. But under financial rule profiteers greatly decline in numbers as their obscene wealth grows, inequality increases and those formerly able to enjoy some benefits of material production are reduced to buying the goods and services of survival on credit. This contradiction between a shrinking minority that expands its wealth at the expense of a growing majority that pays for it with debt and poverty is leading to social explosions.
   Outside the castles and casinos of affluence masses are beginning to create the most dangerous threat minority rule has ever faced: democratic majorities threatening to take control of political, economic and natural environments. Nothing terrifies the imperial rulers more and present vicious attacks on pubic spending in the developed states and on disobedient regimes in the developing ones are signs of their terror.
   Citizens of the USA are threatened with more devastation of what pitiful social services remain in order to assure growing wealth for a minority and continued wars all over the world. Even supposedly untouchable programs like Social Security are menaced by a president afraid he may be thought not pragmatic enough to be refinanced by his masters. But his disgraceful performance is exactly what they hired him to give.
   In Europe, Africa and across the Arab world social desperation is bringing on an aroused population demanding transformational and not simply rhetorical change. The level of desperation here in the USA has hardly reached a point of total social breakdown, but if  the conscious desire for democracy doesn’t come soon and create a majority out of minorities, it will. Motivated humanitarians who try to reach Gaza with compassionate letters of support would be better advised to descend on Washington DC with letters of contempt. Attention needs to be focused on the imperial center from which not only Israel but the entire axis of domination originates. It is long past time for the American people to take action, and that action should begin and end right here in the USA.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Shocking Bulletins!!

MSNBC Suspends Mark Halperin Indefinitely for Obama Remark

SNBC has suspended political analyst and Time magazine writer Mark Halperin indefinitely over a remark he made about President Obama Thursday morning.
"Mark Halperin's comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable," said MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines in a statement. "We apologize to the President, the White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air."
Appearing on "Morning Joe" this morning, Halperin, senior political analyst at Time and MSNBC and co-author of the 2008 election opus "Game Change," sought to characterize the president's demeanor at a press briefing the previous day. The term Halperin used to characterize the president is vulgar, as the partial transcript shows:
"Are we on the seven-second delay?" Halperin asked.

"We have it. We can use it. Go for it. Let's see what happens," co-anchor Joe Scarborough replied.

"I thought he was a dick yesterday," Halperin replied, sending the hosts into a brief moment of panic.
Legalienate's  Washington insiders claim he meant to say "prick ".

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shocking Bulletin !

Israel Intercepts Gaza Flotilla, Discovers Plans For Extermination Of All Jews In Israel!

After boarding a ship called “ the arrogance of hostility”, Israeli agents discovered files containing plans for the destruction of world Jewry, beginning in Israel. These were headed for Hamas leaders and were written in the original German but with fluent Arabic translations provided. Blueprints for gas ovens and instructions for ethnic cleansing were detailed.

Reaction in the free world was instant as all aid for Palestinians was cancelled and immediate bombing of Gaza was scheduled. “We cannot stand by and watch such indiscriminate brutality after the lessons we learned in World War 2” said the American president. Congress and former presidents, even one previously critical of Israel, all lined up in support of instant annihilation of Palestinians and any other Arabs who may have been party to this sordid plan.

Stay tuned for further details!

Also, write if you find work…

and hang by your thumbs.