Sunday, July 30, 2006

Some Recommended Reading About Truth

It is imperative that Americans, liberal, conservative or anything in between, read Howard Zinn’s “A People's History Of The United States”. However, that’s a 688 page book and who has time to read 688 pages of truth about how the Former United States of America (the FUSA) was founded and developed?

There is good news, though. Zinn has encapsulated his “People’s History” in an article he calls “America’s Blinders”. This article is a one pager published on The Progressive Media Report web site. Surely, we can take the time to read a one page synopsis of the kinds of truth we ignore when we believe “our presidents’” claims that Americans must go to war, must kill and die in order to basically save the world, if not a portion of the world.

This message and the recommended reading may be preaching to the choir, although I think that the choir must rehearse if it is to stay sharp.

I urge you to read “America’s Blinders” and, then, after you’ve had a taste of truth, read “A People’s History Of The United States”.

Pseudo patriotism is like a religion. Priests, preachers, mullas, elders, whomever, tell you what is evil and warn you to stay away from it. This is why so many right wing individuals were able to criticize “Fahrenheit 911” in great detail without ever seeing it. They were told it’s evil and they believed it.

So, such people will most likely think that they already know that “America’s Blinders” or “A People’s History Of The United States” are evil and will stay away from them. Sadly, these are the people who need to read them the most.

To friendship,
Michael

“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” – Mahatma Gandhi

The Mind Of Michael
Speak Your Mind And Read Mine
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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Letter Sent to Bill Moyers

The following is a letter which I wrote to former PBS reporter and Johnson White House staffer Bill Moyers. The letter was inspired by an article written by Molly Ivins entitled “Run Bill Moyers For President, Seriously”. I read the article on the CommonDreams.org web site.

I’d like to preface the letter by doing something that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and at least one other man I know personally would never think of doing. I admit that I made a mistake.

Senator Barbara Boxer was the only senator to stand with the Congressional Black Caucus in questioning the integrity of the voting in Ohio after the 2004 presidential election. She has also been a strong opponent of our actions in Iraq and, up until recently, didn’t hold back in expressing her opposition.

Why, then, did Senator Boxer travel to Connecticut to support Joe Lieberman, an avid supporter of The Regime’s murderous activities in Iraq? As I write in my letter to Moyers, it is obviously more important for Boxer to “play politician” than it is to legislate honestly.

As troubled as my belief in our Corporacracy run, one party, two division electoral system has been, Boxer has weakened that belief even further.

I’ve removed links to any “Boxer For President” sites. Some sites, I notice, have already been removed.

Finally, as I’ve changed my mind about Senator Boxer, I may very well change my mind about Mr. Moyers. In fact, assuming that my mind is made up may even be a stretch. However, I can say that I will vote in November, but, in cases where there is no “third party” or independent candidate that I trust, I will either be writing in a name or not voting in that contest. As of now, and anything can change, unless Moyers becomes the Democratic candidate for president in 2008, and I truly don’t see that happening, I have no intention of voting for a Democrat or Republican in November of this year or in November of 2008.

I would urge all of you to join me in boycotting the professional politicians, but I know that there are those of you who still believe the process that’s presented to us.

My letter to Bill Moyers:

Dear Mr. Moyers,

My name is Michael Bonanno. I worked for a Fortune 500 multinational chemical manufacturing company for 25 years. I was within three years of being able to retire with full benefits when my employer “delayered” me (Orwell was a genius).

I’ve just read a column written by Molly Ivins. The column is entitled “Run Bill Moyers For President, Seriously”. Although I’m sure that this column appears elsewhere, as Ms Ivins’s columns are syndicated, I happened to read it on the CommonDreams.org web site. I’ve read many columns you’ve written on the CommonDreams.org web site as well.

In her column, Ms. Ivins suggests, “seriously”, that we encourage you to seek the Democratic Party’s 2008 nomination for president. I’ve never thought of that possibility prior to reading Ms Ivins’s column.

As I’m quite sure that every Democrat and every Republican serving in the Senate and most Democrats and Republicans, if not all, serving in the House are far too beholden to multinational corporations, I’ve been racking my brain to think of potential candidates who probably aren’t beholden to corporations.

Aside from being a man of impeccable integrity, you are articulate, composed, lucid and patient. If I knew what the word “brilliant” really meant in describing a human being, I’d probably write that you are brilliant as well.

You, Mr. Moyers, have a Kennedyesque sense of humor. In my 56 years, I’ve never heard a politician deliver a humorous line in a way that was one of the trademarks of both John and Bobby Kennedy. You can easily gain the attention of an audience with that kind of easy going humor and then, with your propensity for convincingly presenting logic that is undeniable, you can enlighten that very same audience.

While you don’t intentionally target the emotions of your listeners/readers, the points that you present and the manner in which you present them do arouse appropriate and constructive passion in the members of your audiences. You’re obviously not a supporter of “wedge issues”.

I disagree with Ms Ivins on one point, however.

I am strongly opposed to The Electoral College. I believe that The Electoral College has a “trickle down” affect. If there were four candidates running for local dog catcher, a Libertarian, a Green, a Democrat and a Republican, the Democrat or the Republican would most likely win. Americans are conditioned to look at so called “third parties” as one would look at someone with a third eye.

When looking at the history of The Electoral College, one would see that either a Republican or a Democrat received the majority of electoral votes in any given presidential election with the exception of the first few elections held in The United States.

One looks at a map shown on any commercial television network on the evening of a presidential election and sees red dots and blue dots. I suggest that red and blue are not the only colors in the spectrum. However, it reinforces the conditioning about which I refer above.

In 1992, Ross Perot garnered 19% of the vote. He was running against a virtual unknown in Bill Clinton and an insider’s insider whose lack of leadership was one of the main reasons for the economic troubles of the time, President George H. W. Bush.

Perot’s speech was entertaining but not particularly articulate. He warned about the adverse consequences of NAFTA. I believe people were too busy “getting a laugh out of” listening to him speak and failed to zone in to his message. Form certainly outweighed substance in the case of Ross Perot.

I have no trust in the Democratic or Republican party.

Dennis Kucinich, who is supposed to be a “maverick”, supported John Kerry in 2004 although Kerry opposed many issues which Kucinich supported and supported many issues, especially the escalation of the war in Iraq, which Kucinich opposed.

If I read the Congressional Record correctly, and, for me, it’s sometimes difficult to understand it clearly, Kucinich recently voted for HR2830 which is the “Pension Reform Bill”. This bill was introduced by John Boehner (R-OH) and can do nothing but hurt retired Americans, present and future. Representative George Miller (D-CA), a so called “liberal”, gave an impassioned speech on the floor of the House opposing HR2830.

One of the two senators from the state in which I live, Senator Barbara Boxer, is another so called “maverick”. She was the only senator to stand with The Congressional Black Caucus in questioning the integrity of the voting process in Ohio in 2004.

She has come out in no uncertain terms as opposing our actions in Iraq. At one point, I supported the idea of her pursuing the presidency in 2008.

Yet, she made it clear that
“playing politician” is more important than legislating honestly when she traveled to Connecticut to support pro war Democrat Joe Lieberman. Her campaigning for Lieberman shocked the support for her potential run for the presidency clear out of me.

Consequently, Ms Ivins may be right in suggesting that you pursue the Democratic Party’s nomination. What Ms Ivins doesn’t suggest and what I do suggest is that, if you aren’t nominated, you should run for the presidency as an independent.

You may not be nominated, Mr. Moyers, because I hope that you’ll make it clear that you won’t play the kind of games that Representative Kucinich or Senator Boxer play.

Mr. Moyers, you are absolutely resplendent when you speak to an issue and, considering the fact that most of the issues facing us today deal with life and death and even deal with the use of “the ultimate force”, the American people need leadership that is strong yet extremely clear in what its plans are and why it believes that those actions are best for The United States. Our president needs to be honest with the American people.

The rest of the world needs to know that The United States of America is a rational nation that reacts rationally because its president is a rational human being.

Mr. Moyers, you are that human being.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Michael Bonanno

If you’re interested in writing to Mr. Moyers and you didn’t happen to catch the Ivins article, the address she gives is P.O. Box 309, Bernardsville, NJ 07924.

To friendship,
Michael

“Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination.” - Bertrand Russell

The Mind Of Michael
“Flameland”

Friday, July 21, 2006

If The Table was Turned - Good Points

I’ve just read an article by Paul Campos entitled "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?" on the CommonDreams.org web site.

Mr. Campos makes several very good points. His points deal with what it may have been like if what happened on September 11, 2001 happened under a Gore Administration. He suspects that there would have been right wing politicians and pundits that would have at least implied that the Gore Administration was complicit in what happened.

It appears to me that Mr. Campos’s further research into 9/11 has given him pause, but has not convinced him that there was complicity by The Regime.

I believe that, as Mr. Campos implies, most of us who theorize about truly plausible scenarios would want exactly what he believes someone like Glenn Reynolds would want. We want a “truly independent investigation of these troubling charges”. What would comprise a “truly independent investigation”?


    1. Those investigating this crime would back way up and start with “who did it?” Surely 19 young Middle Eastern “terrorists” were “indicted”, convicted and, ultimately, punished. It’s the swiftness with which the criminals were identified that compels us to wonder how we knew these young men were guilty so quickly.

    2. The commission/committee should include absolutely no one who was ever intimate with The Regime. I refer here to Philip Zelikow.

    3. The investigators would have unfettered subpoena power from which absolutely no one would be exempt. It would carry no caveats, no matter about whom we’re talking. No degree of “indignation” should exempt anyone from being called.

    I’m in no way a fan of Bill “NAFTA” Clinton, but he was forced to testify in public, under oath concerning an accusation of much less significance.

    4. Testimony by everyone and anyone would be public. If there is any evidence that The Regime was complicit, circumstantial as the evidence may be, the testimony should be public.

    5. Anyone involved or whose testimony would shed light on the many unanswered questions, survivors, families, experts, should be allowed to testify.

    6. There should be a polite expression of gratitude to each and everyone who testifies, but the expression should go no further than, “Thank you for being here to testify in this case”, no matter whom the witness is. There should be no politically inspired speech which leans one way or another greeting any witness. Just a simple “thank you” should suffice.
There are other aspects of a truly independent investigation. It certainly should go on as long as The Watergate investigation and the questioning should be as tough.

I’ve read that, no matter how strong one’s faith is or how strongly one doubts the existence of a supreme being, everyone is an agnostic. I hate to think of myself as an agnostic as I can’t believe for a moment that there’s a supreme being, especially one as described in “religious manuals”. However, I have to admit that I really don’t know. That is, after all, the meaning of the word agnostic.

It’s also what the word “theory” means, or, at least, implies. We don’t know, but we suspect strongly based upon evidence, albeit circumstantial.

It’s difficult to convict someone in the lower classes based upon circumstantial evidence and that’s good. Nonetheless, the suspect is usually held in custody until he or she is acquitted. Then the suspect is freed. The suspect is said to be innocent until proven guilty but is held in custody anyway.

It may at first seem unfair to refer to The Regime as a suspect, or group of suspects, based solely upon circumstantial evidence. However, members of The Regime would remain free while awaiting their trial and, in fact, would continue to govern the Former United States of America (the FUSA) until they are convicted. I think that’s a fair trade off.

Those points would comprise a truly independent trial and I believe that’s all we who seriously question the activities of September 11, 2001, that is, those of us who don’t explain it away with holograms, space invaders or other unlikely causes, are seeking – a fair, efficient, impartial and thorough trial/investigation.

Should the investigation clear The Regime, so be it. It will have been done as fairly as it’s done for the lower classes.

On the other hand, if it’s proved that The Regime was complicit in or even planned and carried out “The New Pearl Harbor” to gain support for its colonization of The Middle East and its stealing of its resources, members who were involved should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. It would be the ultimate justice if the punishment was modeled after that which George W. Bush found so easy to mete out while governor of Texas.

I strongly oppose the death penalty, but might make an exception in this case. The mass murder of 3,000 innocent persons to justify the “serial killing” of American soldiers, Afghani and Iraqi civilians is as evil and unthinkable a crime, or combination of crimes, that could ever be carried out.

We need people like Mr. Campos and articles like his to offer some degree of legitimacy to the theory.

This is far from over.

To friendship,
Michael

“The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


The Mind Of Michael
"Flameland"

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Greatest Show on Earth?

I recently heard a comedian, I think it was Lewis Black, talk about Americans’ persistence upon repeating the mantra that America is the “greatest country in the world”. I’ll paraphrase what he said:

Can you imagine working in an office and having some ass-hole come to work every day and announce, “I’d like to remind you today that I’m the greatest worker in this office?”

The joke was funny, but I wonder how the rest of the world feels about this perpetual hubris exhibited by Americans, especially politicians.

What, indeed, does it mean to be the “greatest country in the world”?

Dictionary.com uses the following list of characteristics in their definition of “great” (I’ll note whether a particular characteristic might define the average American’s definition of “the greatest country in the world”):

  1. Very large in size (True, but it’s nothing to brag about.)

  2. Larger in size than others of the same kind (Larger than most. Is this what Americans mean? Others can see on a map that the former United States of America (the FUSA) is large in size. Innocent people were slaughtered on behalf of that “accomplishment”.)

  3. Large in quantity or number (Definitely not the largest population.)

  4. Extensive in time or distance (This just doesn’t seem to fit.)

  5. Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent (This looks like something that might be in the minds of those who repeat that mantra but it’s just an abstract that defines another abstract.)

  6. Of outstanding significance or importance (The number of nukes we possess surely makes us important. Other than that, it’s, yet, another abstract.)

  7. Chief or principal (This also looks like it fits, what ever “chief or principle” means when comparing America to other nations. Does the rest of the world consider America “chief or principle”? If so, why? It is the nukes?)

  8. Superior in quality or character; noble (Another abstract.)

  9. Powerful; influential: one of the great nations of the West ( Pass on this one.)

  10. Eminent; distinguished: a great leader (American research has led to technological advances. We’ve put people on the moon. What has that done for us? Are there positive affects almost 40 years later? If this is what Americans mean, then we have to find another reason because this one has to be tapped out by now .

    If we looked to the rest of the world, would we find any other nations that have helped advance human kind technologically?

    Is technological advancement the “greatest kind” of advancement? What have we done with our technology? It was not used for the good of human kind in Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
    It may be used in the not too distant future in Iran or North Korea, but it won’t be for the good of human kind no matter who’s at fault or who “starts it”.)

  11. Grand; aristocratic. (Are all Americans “aristocratic”? Don’t class and wealth present problems in the FUSA, although not only in the FUSA?)

  12. Informal Enthusiastic (Americans can be enthusiastic. They seem most enthused about war. When America is at war, that was during 60% of the 20th century, many Americans start waving flags and putting “patriotic” paraphernalia where ever they can stick it. War, indeed, helps to bring out America’s enthusiasm. Does enthusiasm for war make us great?

    Let’s go back to the comedian. “I’m the greatest worker in this office and I can kick all of your asses.”

    That would not describe a person who’s popular around the water cooler)

  13. Informal Very skillful (We used to be but American owned multinational corporations obviously don’t believe that anymore.

    They’re sending jobs to other nations because the labor is cheaper. Do they admit Americans are more skillful but they’d rather sacrifice quality in favor of labor costs? That flies in the face of Americans’ enthusiasm.)

  14. Informal Very good; first-rate (“First-rate” is yet another abstract.)
Are we the “greatest country in the world” because we have the most deadly military in the world, especially if technology is considered? We have the most nuclear weapons, those things that we don’t want anyone else to possess. That makes us the most militarily powerful country in the world and, if we have a mind to, we can obliterate other nations. It also makes us hypocrites.

Are we the most democratic, free, all inclusive country in the world?

In 1965, one hundred years after the American government said it was illegal to own human beings, Congress passed a law stating that those “newly” freed black human beings could not be denied work, housing, voting rights or other civil rights simply because of the color of their skin. That law will be up for renewal soon and there are actually politicians who want to debate The Civil Rights Act!

From Irish to Italians to Greeks to Jews, America has never warmly welcomed immigrants. Each group had to go through insult, disparagement and physical abuse before it “melted into the pot”.

Disdain for and exclusion of other “immigrants”, like Native Americans, sub-Saharan Africans, Orientals and Latinos, because of ever present physical features, have been perpetuated and are still strong today. The FUSA is not the most inclusive country in the world.

Our economic system, capitalism, actually encourages exclusion by emphasizing competition. Competition almost always has a winner and a loser and that fact is painfully obvious in the FUSA. Under capitalism, someone has to win and someone has to lose. When the “losers” turn to the state to aid them in their subsistence, the “winners” complain. Inclusion is virtually impossible under these conditions.

What is it about America that ultimately compels Americans to constantly repeat the mantra that America is “the greatest country in the world”?

To friendship,
Michael

“America is not a country, it is a world”. - Alexis de Tocqueville


The Mind Of Michael
“Flameland”

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Independence Day Wish

Posting this has become a yearly tradition for me.

I wish for independence from the past,
might overruling right,
white men encountering
their new world,
slaughtering
its true inhabitants.

I wish for independence from the arrogance,
fostering false license
to hawk,
redeem extensions
of our own humanity
to dance attendance
upon the burdens
of wealth.

I wish for independence from the blindness
guiding us westward,
turning nature
into dirt interruptions
without offering notice
to peace,
upon which we trampled.

I wish for independence from the gluttony
which continued
to swallow whole
territories suitable
for planting white seeds,
pulverizing cultures.

I wish for independence from conformity,
born of urban sprawl,
away from cities,
conceiving jealousy
of blood pumping
within mere feet
of white picket fences.

I wish for independence from The Corporacracy,
governing body
governing bodies,
stratifying rich from poor,
life from death,
blending earth with destruction.

To friendship,
Michael

“I’d rather die than have someone tortured to save my life.” – Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan.


The Mind Of Michael