Thursday, February 26, 2015


We did it!!!!

It's been a week to remember.

Just today, February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to preserve Net Neutrality!! It reclassified Internet access under Title II, essentially retaining oversight of the Net rather than let it be devoured and disfigured by the predatory telecommunications companies. And those vultures will pump even more money into Congressional pockets to get Net Neutrality overturned.


If you want to read more about today's events and what the future may hold, check out this Truthout article.

The good news doesn't end there: On Tuesday, Obama did something right and vetoed Congress' bill that approved the environmental Frankenstein known as the Keystone XL pipeline. Again, this isn't something that happened in a vacuum: It's because millions of people like us stood up to be counted. And you know, when we do that, we'll always win the count by a mile. 

But again, that doesn't mean the pipeline issue is just going to go away. There's powerful people/corporations lining pockets as I write this. We must keep fighting! We must be sure to be heard -- constantly.

Check out to get behind the anti-pipeline movement.

The most important issues ebb and flow, swing and sway. What's reality today, can be changed tomorrow -- for good or ill. But what this week shows is that we do hold the real power. And that's the key to a better future.



Friday, February 20, 2015


This guy knows more about Climate Change than the ratbag deniers

I don't know if someone's messing with me but I seem to be on the email list of a lot of right-wing, batshit publications.

Actually, it's a perverse form of education: It's always good to know what the enemy is saying. In this case, they're saying stuff that should just about have them in the cuckoo's nest with an electronic ankle bracelet welded on.

It's more climate change-denial crap. This time a big tiz about Obama's emissions-reduction plan -- which will probably die on life-support anyway. Furthermore, while these knuckle-draggers are saying the plan should be wound back, my take is that the mooted measures don't go nearly far enough, soon enough... IF the measures were ever actually enacted, of course.

The climate thing is like a square dance where lawmakers and other morons in authority do-si-do around and go nowhere. You know the template: "It is agreed we will meet again in two years to decide if we will vote to reduce carbon emissions by up to 5% in the year 2050." Meaningless. Extinction. Dial tone...

Anyway, HERE is the article in question.

And if you want to get a better sense of where the scientific community is at with climate change, and our role in it, Google "climate change consensus" or some such thing and you'll soon see, despite the usual scientific reservations, that things are grim.

Speak up, speak out, make change.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015


"And the award for tidiest desk in a mid-size branch in the Pacific Northwest last Wednesday goes to..."

Is there any adult, white-collar American who hasn't won at least three work awards of some kind?

This culture seems to be addicted to awards. In the work I do, I see a lot of evidence of this. It's like that Woody Allen line from Annie Hall: "All they do here is give out awards. Greatest Fascist Dictator, Adolph Hitler." 

It really has become ridiculous. But it's not hard to see the capitalism behind all these meaningless merits. 

If you decide to give out an award (or awards), it can be good advertising. Let's consider awards at a level that is, say, industry wide. First you stir up some hubbub, try and build prestige for your meaningless award. Then you solicit entries -- it doesn't matter if you only get a handful because nobody has to know that your industry barely gave a shit about your new award.

Then you can have an awards night. That means sponsors and more advertising and lots of promotion of this very "special" award. It also means you can tie it to a two-day conference and charge a shitload for that. Keep drumming up business, baby. Next you select a winner or winners, very possibly using some bogus criteria behind closed doors: "Who will it benefit us most to suck up to?" Advertisers are always special pets.

The awards are given out, everyone networks at the event and gets drunk and tries to hit on some other CEO's wife. The results are published and the "winning" companies take out ads in the award-giver's magazine/website, if applicable, congratulating their stellar, award-winning employee.

In the end, the awards mean nothing. They're good PR for a lot of people. But they just perpetuate another capitalist rort. And don't give me the argument that they stir up business etc. etc. Anybody who takes five minutes to look at poverty figures, unemployment numbers, wages and salaries, the income gap, and so on, knows we're jammed into the wrong socio-economic model anyway.

And you can throw in the Oscars (subjective, political, elitist) and the Nobel Peace Prize (so many tyrants have "won" it -- including Obama -- that it is simply a disgrace).

Of course, awards are also used to motivate workers -- the underlings. Have to throw them a bone now and then. Maybe a crappy citation fresh off the printer and a gift certificate to Denny's. That should fire everyone up to really put in those extra unpaid hours with a smile on their face. Much cheaper than profit sharing!

Sure, there are some awards that have merit. But so often awards are about commerce and celebrity and promotion, not about the people who really contribute to society and help others. 

So if you have a bunch of awards hanging on the wall of your office to impress visitors, don't feel too awesome about it. Everybody's got 'em.

Awards are bullshit.

Take care,

Monday, February 16, 2015


...and 2014 topped them all

We're fucking the climate -- there simply isn't a pleasant way to put it.

As folks in Boston endure a string of blizzards that see snow records for the city falling one after another, one wonders how many extreme-weather "anomalies" have to blight us before the governments of the world (in particular the major culprit, the U.S.) support meaningful pollution policies. My guess is the clock will just about have to hit midnight before they do. Which means it's up to us to "storm the palace gates" -- in whatever manifestation of that spirit is required to force the issue. 

And in case you missed this piece of news amongst all the "important" stories about the dalliances of idiot celebrities and the misleading reports on our invasions around the globe, 2014 was the hottest year on record for Planet Earth. Another "anomaly"? Methinks nope. "This marks the third time in the 21st century a new record high annual temperature has been set or tied and also marks the 38th consecutive year (since 1977) that the annual temperature has been above the long-term average. To date, including 2014, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred during the 21st century. 1998 currently ranks as the fourth warmest year on record." (Source: National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) 

We've been warned enough: Time is almost up to save the planet.

Boston was shut down. Now imagine the entire world shut down.

 Take care of business,

Friday, February 13, 2015


A free and open Internet is under attack again.

On Feb 26 the FCC will vote to save Net Neutrality or let Comcast and other ISPs create Internet "slow lanes." Some members of Congress, on behalf of their cable donors, are trying to stop the FCC from protecting the Internet as we know it.

If we were to lose Internet equality, it would be disastrous on so many levels.

Go HERE to learn more and to make your voice heard.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve the notorious Keystone XL project which would see the construction of a pipeline that would ship tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada down to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. -- a major danger to the local environs and a massive new contributor to global warming. President Obama has said he will veto the bill and, as the people who employ him, we have to hold him to it. Go HERE to call or email Obama.

Also, Feb. 13-14 is Global Divestment Day. An international protest whereby citizens like us call on institutions of all kinds to divest themselves of fossil fuels as a meaningful step in battling climate change. It's a fantastic thing and shows the unity of "ordinary" people around the world when it comes to fighting for our survival and simply doing what is right. Learn more HERE.

These are crucial issues with fundamental implications for each of us and our future and freedoms. Please play your part.

Take care,

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Alli McCracken of CODEPINK dangles plastic handcuffs in front of Kissinger the Monster

I am especially proud of my friends at CODEPINK right now as they went to a Senate hearing and let Henry Kissinger know exactly where he belongs: in prison. I have watched this lying, genocidal bastard in action for decades. The work of the courageous women of CODEPINK is to be applauded and I urge you to visit their site and, if you can, make a donation as well.

Here is the article they sent out about this great day of activism and the shameful reaction they got...

Who’s the “Low Life Scum:” Kissinger or CODEPINK?
Medea Benjamin

A very angry Senator John McCain denounced CODEPINK activists as “low-life scum” for holding up signs reading “Arrest Kissinger for War Crimes” and dangling handcuffs next to Henry Kissinger’s head during a Senate hearing on January 29. McCain called the demonstration “disgraceful, outrageous and despicable,” accused the protesters of “physically intimidating” Kissinger and apologized profusely to his friend for this “deeply troubling incident.”

But if Senator McCain was really concerned about physical intimidation, perhaps he should have conjured up the memory of the gentle Chilean singer/songwriter Victor Jara. After Kissinger facilitated the September 11, 1973 coup against Salvador Allende that brought the ruthless Augusto Pinochet to power, Victor Jara and 5,000 others were rounded up in Chile’s National Stadium. Jara’s hands were smashed and his nails torn off; the sadistic guards then ordered him to play his guitar. Jara was later found dumped on the street, his dead body riddled with gunshot wounds and signs of torture.

Despite warnings by senior US officials that thousands of Chileans were being tortured and slaughtered, then Secretary of State Kissinger told Pinochet, "You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende."

Rather than calling peaceful protesters “despicable”, perhaps Senator McCain should have used that term to describe Kissinger’s role in the brutal 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which took place just hours after Kissinger and President Ford visited Indonesia. They had given the Indonesian strongman the US green light—and the weapons—for an invasion that led to a 25-year occupation in which over 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed or starved to death. The UN's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) stated that U.S. "political and military support were fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation" of East Timor.

If McCain could stomach it, he could have read the report by the UN Commission on Human Rights describing the horrific consequences of that invasion. It includes gang rape of female detainees following periods of prolonged sexual torture; placing women in tanks of water for prolonged periods, including submerging their heads, before being raped; the use of snakes to instill terror during sexual torture; and the mutilation of women’s sexual organs, including insertion of batteries into vaginas and burning nipples and genitals with cigarettes. Talk about physical intimidation, Senator McCain!

You might think that McCain, who suffered tremendously in Vietnam, might be more sensitive to Kissinger’s role in prolonging that war. From 1969 through 1973, it was Kissinger, along with President Nixon, who oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos—killing perhaps one million during this period. He was gave the order for the secret bombing of Cambodia. Kissinger is on tape saying, “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn't want to hear anything about it. It's an order, to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves.”  

Senator McCain could have taken the easy route by simply reading the meticulously researched book by the late writer Christopher Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Writing as a prosecutor before an international court of law, Hitchens skewers Kissinger for ordering or sanctioning the destruction of civilian populations, the assassination of “unfriendly” politicians and the kidnapping and disappearance of soldiers, journalists and clerics who got in his way. He holds Kissinger responsible for war crimes that range from the deliberate mass killings of civilian populations in Indochina, to collusion in mass murder and assassination in Bangladesh, the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Chile, and the incitement and enabling of genocide in East Timor.

McCain could have also perused the warrant issued by French Judge Roger Le Loire to have Kissinger appear before his court. When the French served Kissinger with summons in 2001 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, Kissinger fled the country. More indictments followed from Spain, Argentina, Uruguay—even a civil suit in Washington DC.

The late Christopher Hitchens was disgusted by the way Henry Kissinger was treated as a respected statesman. He would have been appalled by Senator McCain’s obsequious attitude. “Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded,” Hitchens said. “No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers.”

Rather than fawning on him, Hitchens suggested, “Why don't you arrest him?”

Hitchens’ words were lost on Senator McCain, who preferred fawning to accountability. That’s where CODEPINK comes in. If we can’t get Kissinger before a court of law, at least we can show—with words and banners—that there are Americans who remember, Americans who empathize with the man’s many victims, Americans who have a conscience.

While McCain called us disgraceful, what is really disgraceful is the Senate calling in a tired old war criminal to testify about “Global Challenges and the U.S. National Security Strategy.” After horribly tragic failed wars, not just in Vietnam but over the last decade in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s time for the US leaders like John McCain to bring in fresh faces and fresh ideas. We owe it to the next generation that will be cleaning up the bloody legacy left behind by Kissinger for years to come.

Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights organization Global Exchange. She is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

Addendum: I wrote the following entry on a message thread of an article that reported this protest soon after it happened:

I support CODEPINK 100%. 1. Kissinger IS a war criminal and the biggest fraud-intellectual of them all; 2. McCain calls the protestors' behavior "despicable" when a true American, a true humanitarian, would have the guts to say the exact same thing of Kissinger; 3. The old argument of "this isn't the time and place" just doesn't wash. The power-mongers want all dissent cordoned off and out of sight. Such "rude interruptions" disrupt the false veneer of civility, decorum and integrity that the criminals in Washington use to cover their greed, deceit and extreme immorality.

Anyone with common sense knows that our body politic is infested with criminals. Kissinger is an arch-criminal. If the U.S. captured someone like him from a "rival" nation, he'd spend his life at Gitmo and be tortured daily. Hypocrisy.



Monday, January 26, 2015


Tell the Government: "This is not what we want!"

Depending on who you listen to, the East Coast is about to be bleached with anywhere from a few inches to 30,000 feet of snow.

The weather people never know, despite their high-tech magic shows. But regardless of the final depth of the dump, it's another reminder that winter in particular is a terrible for the poor and the homeless.

I don't take much for granted, personally. I know what it is to be very very cold for a number of weeks at a time. And I'm glad I know what that's like. When you get that cold, you can't even think because all that keeps pounding into your consciousness is "I'M FREEZING!" And you never forget that kind of cold. Those experiences rammed home to me how harsh life is for millions of people here and abroad. There was meaning in the relatively small suffering I endured and I think we should all look for that in our own lives.*

I wouldn't dare claim I know what real suffering is. It must be torture on the streets, or even in unheated homes or shelters, when the cold bites down. Why is this even permitted in the richest country on the planet? We have gotten things very very wrong. And if you spend more time thinking about the upcoming Super Bowl than you do about these issues, then take a look at that.

And why do we do so little for the Third World? (The great majority of what the U.S. lists as "foreign aid" is in the form of military assistance.) 

Today I've done a couple of small things to help others before the blizzard hits. And every bit does count. But it's a drop in the ocean and I am determined to do more. About homelessness and poverty, about the redistribution of wealth on an institutional level, about societal attitudes, about violence and bigotry, about international unrest, about climate change, about the nuclear threat.............  It's a blizzard of things. And it's our blizzard of shame.

It's the blizzard that we, with the heat on and the fridge stocked, must think about and turn our efforts to. If we don't, it is the blizzard that will bury us all.

Be safe and help others,

* I recommend the book Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl