Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The California Primary Debacle: A Must See Documentary

If you are still under the illusion that your vote counts in an American election, I urge you to take 40 minutes out of your day and watch the short documentary "Uncounted." This doc looks at the myriad ways in which California voters were thwarted at the polls, and how (surprise!) it all seemed to benefit Hillary Clinton. It should be shocking to anyone to learn about how unprepared volunteers are at polling places to answer even the simplest questions, to see how many registered voters were given provisional ballots that weren't counted that Tuesday, to try to comprehend how confusing some of the rules were and how frustrating all of this was for voters.

And the scariest part of all this is that this scenario was probably played out in other states as well. Our system of voting in America is not merely antiquated and confusing, it is being clearly manipulated in a variety of ways, through voter suppression tactics, hacked and corrupted voting machines, and partisan players within each state's voting hierarchy. I hope "Uncounted" disturbs you, because it should. We cannot let this stand.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anatomy of a Primary: Sanders Got Screwed

To the surprise of no one who supported Bernie Sanders during his primary run, analysis of the voting results by researchers (including a paper by Axel Geijsel of Tilburg University, The Netherlands and Rudolfo Cortes Barragan of Stanford University) show clearly that Sanders was the victim of a rigged system. From our corporate media that virtually ignored Sanders during the early months of his campaign to the Democratic National Committee’s shameless crowning of Clinton long before the votes were counted to the shady dealings of state democratic parties (such as California’s) that aggressively worked to disenfranchise Sanders voters, the deck was stacked against Bernie from the moment he made his announcement to run for the nomination.

While the press was giving the buffoon Donald Trump billions of dollars in free media exposure, it was ignoring Sanders and the huge, enthusiastic crowds he was drawing all across America. My friends, no one has to tell you that this is not how a democracy works.

Related to this is a documentary I just watched this morning called “Spin.” It was made in 1995, but the theme of how the media manipulates the message is as relevant as ever. The filmmaker who made Spin took a very interesting and revealing approach to his subject matter. I didn’t know this, and I don’t know if it’s still true today, but in 1995, you could use a satellite dish to download feeds of raw video taken during television broadcasts of breaks and downtime not edited for broadcast. For example, the Larry King Show was huge in the nineties, and there are numerous clips of Larry talking to guests during commercial breaks.

Anyway, these off-air segments are very revealing in several ways. They clearly show how our news is both overtly and subtly managed, slanted and sanitized for consumption, often not by outright propaganda, but by what’s omitted. The news we see on television is the news the networks and cable companies want us to see to be good little zombie consumers. Spin also shows how political handlers help politicians “spin” uncomfortable topics or questions as they are coached during breaks. And the documentary exposes the sycophantic relationship between television personalities and politicians. Larry King practically polished George HW Bush’s shoes during an interview.

In the twenty years since Spin was released, the news has gone from bad to worse, democracy in America has died and the possibility exists that Donald Trump could become President of the United States. Have a nice day.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Alien Reptile People Are Real, And They're Voting for Trump

I am now thoroughly convinced that a portion of the world’s population is in fact, made up of reptilians from another planet who are able to take human form and call themselves by various names; Evangelical Christians, political conservatives, Dominianists, white nationalists, Nazis, Islamic fundamentalists and Trump supporters. While advanced enough to reach the Earth from their galaxy, their mission is to destroy our planet from within, using an ability to appear in human skin to sew the seeds of their primitive, hateful beliefs among the people living on this blue marble.

How have I comet to accept this remarkable reality? The reactions expressed by the far Right to the Orlando shooting cannot be coming from actual human beings. No born and bred earthling would spew the callous, disgusting, soulless bile that I am reading on various online comment sections. Lead by the orange lizard himself, Donald Trump, the reptilian far right fringe is infesting the Internet with its poisonous rhetoric, blaming the victims and exposing their rotted, maggot riddled souls to the world.

The hypocrisy is beyond real human understanding. Christian fundamentalists who claim they’d like nothing better than a holy war to wipe Islam from the face of the earth, convey their grateful regards to the Muslim who murdered the gays. Come on, people, you’ve got to decide who you hate more, Muslims or gay people. Your wishy-washy attitude weakens your brand. The reality that you cannot face is that you have far more in common with radical Islamists than you do with the American LGBT community.

The tragedy of Orlando has brought the reptiles out from under their rocks to disrupt the grief of tens of millions with inane, inhuman observations that unmask their cold-blooded, brainless nature. Trump and his hateful minions must be sent back into the darkness this November or the reptile invasion of Earth will be complete, and the future of humans doomed. Oh, and apologies to all home-grown reptiles.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Windmills 1, Democracy 0

A note about yesterday’s primary vote here in California that seems to exemplify the shady nature of the Democratic nomination process. Both Katharine and I are registered to vote in California. We both received confirmation of this, and we were sent a card notifying us of where to vote. Despite this, when we went to our polling place, surprise, we weren’t on the list. We were given “provisional” ballots that, instead of going through the machine and being counted, were stuffed in an envelope and ended up god knows where.

Of course, I can’t say if this was the result of any shenanigans on the part of the Democratic Party, but the result is our votes for Sanders were not counted yesterday. Since the beginning of the campaign for the Democratic Presidential nominee, the process has been compromised, controlled and co-opted by the DNC in conjunction with national media outlets to anoint Hillary Clinton the Party’s champion in November.

It’s a no-win situation for Sander’s supporters. Despite the obvious collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, Sander’s supporters who complain will be labeled as sore losers and conspiracy theorists by the corporate media. Using every dirty trick at their disposal, the establishment has won, as it was ordained long ago by America’s elites.

This ugly coronation called a campaign only serves to reinforce the sad reality that America is an oligarchy, a country governed by the rich for the rich, and Clinton is a bona fide, card-carrying member of the ruling class. So far have we fallen that the choice given to us on election day will be between a narcissistic, racist dictator-in-waiting and a morally bankrupt, money-worshipping tool of the elites.

I thank Bernie Sanders for taking on the hapless job of attacking the windmills. Though the odds were always against you, you fought courageously and for all the right reasons.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

I Understand the Futility of Voting in a Rigged System

So this morning I went through the motions of voting.  I say, “went through the motions” because yesterday, one of the major news services made the announcement that, based on information from the nefarious and undemocratic Superdelegates, Hillary Clinton had wrapped up the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. The announcement, timed conveniently the Monday night before the California and other primaries, is one more example of the political establishment hijacking the democratic process to essentially install their candidate as the nominee.

This Presidential campaign cycle has already shown a glaring light on our broken electoral system. Yes there’s Donald Trump, but the problems I’m talking about are systemic issues that run across party lines to rig the election in favor of America’s elites, whatever their party. This campaign season the DNC has pulled out all the stops to assure Wall Street, K Street and every street lined with multi-million dollar homes that they will have one of their own sitting in the White House come January.  The one percent can let out a sigh of relief knowing it will be business as usual for the next four years under Clinton, that greed will be rewarded and short-term profits over long-term stability will still be the order of the day.

The only hope is that the Sanders revolution will continue rolling on past the election, and that it will have energized young people to stay in the trenches and fight for progressive ideals and candidates. We need to cultivate younger candidates to run for offices at all levels of government around the country and start making inroads into the old boy’s network that has a stranglehold on our democratic institutions. Had this been a truly democratic election, Sanders would have won, but the fight can’t stop here in defeat, but must move on and grow stronger and smarter for the next battle.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Humanity’s Way Forward: Competition or Contributionism?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been sliding down the rabbit hole of some very esoteric and controversial subject matter – the Sumerians, alternative history, the origins of religious texts – and I came across a very interesting guy named Michael Tellinger.  A South African, Tellinger is an author, researcher and speaker whose area of exploration is extremely controversial and includes a mysterious tenth planet called Niburu, actual giants on earth in our ancient past and the incredibly advanced Sumerians, who were responsible for such “firsts” as the first schools, the first proverbs and sayings, the first messiahs, the first Noah and the Flood stories, the first legal precedents in court cases, the first tale of a dying and resurrected god, the first funeral chants, first moral ideas and the first concept of time, among other achievements.

If you haven’t already rolled your eyes and moved on at this point, I appreciate your openness and thank you for hanging in there. Let’s set aside Tellinger’s more controversial historical conclusions for a moment, because out of his research and studies, he has created an organization called the Ubuntu Liberation Movement. I’m new to this, and if you want to know more about it just google the name, but the movement’s goals as I understand them are to create societies from the ground up designed to release humans from the systems and traditions that keep us more or less emotionally and spiritually enslaved (to the benefit of the worlds elites), and this includes money.

Tellinger argues that money, which also originated in Sumeria, was created as a way to control and suppress human interaction and, as we can clearly see today, is the force that allows the one percent, a tiny fraction of the population, to control the wealth of the world, and our quality of life. Tellinger envisions communities that do not use money, but rely on the latent and learned talents of all community members for success, and are guided by the simple principal, “if it’s not good for everyone, it’s not good at all.” Anyway, if it’s of interest to you, check out their site. What I want to discuss further is Tellinger’s (and my own) views on competition.

In Western societies, the idea that competition is a normal and natural aspect of human life has been drilled into us for ages. War is the ultimate competition, deciding who gets what plot of land and ruling rights. From Gladiator fights to Darwin to baseball’s World Series to who gets the corner office, the concept that competition is normal and necessary to human progress is now simply taken for granted today. Tellinger, however, says no, competition is actually destructive and demeaning, and is counterproductive to real human progress. He argues that collaboration that incorporates contributionism, not competition, is the key to our future survival.

Tellinger is certainly not the first person to point out the problems with competition, but it still seems like a revolutionary idea to many people. Just one look at the current situation on planet Earth, however, should convince anyone that this is not really a controversial concept at all.

A major problem with competition versus contributionism is that when you compete for something, you are far more likely to fail than to win. Just as in Vegas, the odds are always against you. In most cases, there’s only one winner who gets the coveted job, who can hold up the gold trophy, who is able to deposit the big check. The vast majority of us are simply expected to accept our status as losers and move on with our lives. In addition, what we face under present day capitalism is not a level playing field where everyone gets an equal chance to succeed, but a highly rigged system where past winners already have tremendous advantages over the rest of us. The elites who control things – the banks, Wall Street, world capitals – are continuously perpetuating the myth that competition is the natural order of the world, all to their continuing advantage, and our continuing enslavement.

Contributionism, according to Tellinger, is the way to break the cycle of oppression and truly realize what it means to be human. And what are our options? Our current course is leading the human race to self-destruction. Can we put any hope in the idea that our ruling elites with their powerful institutions will somehow have a change of heart and begin working in the interests of the masses? We all know the answer to that.

Tellinger’s ideas are radical, and his Ubuntu Liberation Movement is certainly below the radar of most people, but I believe there are only two paths humans can take at this point in history: One is to continue on our current march of endless war and conflict perpetuated by the elites for their own gain or two, start from scratch. A new way forward for humanity has to come from the bottom up, one community at a time. Tellinger’s idea of a collaborative society unshackled from money and competition may not be the answer, but to me it seems like a compelling start.