2012: What’s left to destroy?

August 12, 2012

I squandered my 20s in the terrible 2000s. While I was living it up and wasting my youth in the bottom of beer bottles and glass bongs our leaders were partying like it was 1999. All of the prosperity and peace that had been won by the countless sacrifice of previous generations was completely destroyed in less than a decade.

The decade began with a bang as two jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center and shattered our sense of security. Our illustrious leader, Lil’ Bush calmly read storybooks to school children as buildings burned and lives were lost. When the smoke cleared all he could do was; tell us to shop til’ we drop. By that logic the terrorists would win if we didn’t buy a bunch of shit we didn’t need with money we didn’t have. Like good little children we did what we were told. We bought copious amounts of plastic crap from China at 20% apr.

The terrorists were laughing at us. We played right into their plan. They were, after all agents of terror and we were, and still are terrified of them. The 9/11 attacks were used to justify a war that was worlds away from the perpetrators. We allowed the authorities to completely destroy the Bill of Rights in the name of national security. Habeas Corpus was all but suspended under the atavistic Patriot Act. The DHS, NSA, CIA, FBI, and municipal police forces across the nation were given carte blanche to violate the people’s constitutional rights on a daily basis.

The TSA dutifully stood guard — always at the ready to make your grandmother endure an enhanced pat-down, or to send your perky girlfriend through a porn scanner as they grow a tree trunk in their pants. The Supreme Court ruled that the police may strip search you at any time. According to Justice Stephen G. Breyer the police may strip search you for “violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support.” Oh yes, we were ready to bend over for Uncle Sam, and we took it with a big shit eating grin on our face.

Those of us who had jobs kept on sleepwalking off to work — all the while we were living on borrowed money and borrowed time. Our prosperity was false. Instead of demanding adequate wages we accepted the fact that we would have to borrow more and more just to buy the necessities of life; education, housing, healthcare, food, childcare and transportation.

The credit lines couldn’t go on forever. At some point the bottom had to drop out from under the sub-prime basement, and by the time it was all over America was in the toilet. When we were flushed away we sucked the whole world down the drain with us.

The financial crisis of 2008 culminated in a world wide calamity. The meltdown was the result of decades of wholesale fraud and usury. Cities and towns all across America had dried up and gone bust. The European Union was reduced to a sorry mish mash of sovereign debt. The economic rift separating the 1% from the rest of us had grown enormous, and the only class distinctions left were: the working poor and the independently wealthy. Working class salaries had become stipends that could barely support already anemic bank accounts. The once thriving middle class had sunk into the proletariat.

It was a dark time for America and the rest of the world, however a few glimmers of hope could be seen emerging from the darkness. America elected the first African American President who promised us hope and change. The Arab spring took off, and what started as a tinder fire in Tunisia had burned across the Middle East. The mass-revolt promised to bring true democracy to the long oppressed people of the region. Social Unrest was not limited to the Arab world. Here in the states we saw the rise of the Occupy Movement. Americans were finally taking it to the streets and protesting on a scale not seen since the 1960’s. Europeans weren’t taking it lying down either. They literally set the EU on fire in response to draconian austerity measures imposed upon them by banksters and their dim-witted elected officials. It looked as if the peasants were storming the villas of their callus masters, but looks can be deceiving.

Our knight in shinning armor, Barack Obama turned out to be a bright shining lie. HE left us hopeless and on the street begging for change. The Arab spring dragged on and the power vacuums left behind were quickly filled with warlords who were eager to become tyrants. Here in America peaceful demonstrators were dealt with swiftly and violently. Their picket signs and protest chants were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. In collusion with the DHS police departments all across the nation finally evicted the Occupy Movement with cruel efficiency.

Now it’s 2012 and it looks as if the world may very well be destroyed, but this begs the question; what’s left to destroy? The global economy is in tatters, and the will of the people has been broken. There is no hope for the foreseeable future. The threat of recession looms over the US and the thought of choosing between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for the next president is enough to induce vomiting. The EU is falling apart as one nation after another becomes insolvent. Conflict engulfs the Middle East, and tensions with Iran threaten to start World War Three at any moment.

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You better cut out while you can.

July 9, 2012

Never in a million years did I think that I would still be talking about Mikhail Gorbachev. The last time I saw him I was still playing with Transformers and GI Joe. This begs the question; why bring him up now? The answer ladies and gentlemen is Afghanistan.

Why didn’t we learn from Russia’s misadventures in Afghanistan? The former USSR was embroiled in a quagmire there for nine years. Ultimately the battle bankrupted them and as a result millions of Russians died quietly from austerity, not to mention the 18,000 soldiers they lost on the battlefield.

In 2009 Gorbachev went on record advising the US to withdraw from Afghanistan stating “I think that what’s needed is not additional forces. Withdrawal from Afghanistan should be the goal.” President Obama has ensured the American people that we will be pulling out of the war torn region by next summer. I wish I could believe him, but he also told us that we would pull out of Iraq and that he would close Gitmo.

Afghanistan was the USSR’s Vietnam. We really stuck it to them in our proxy battle there. The thing is; we are getting our asses handed to us over there much like our conflict in Vietnam. Adding insult to injury Afghanistan is not being backed by Russia and we are still getting beaten badly. We have failed to learn our lesson from Vietnam and we have failed to learn from Russia’s defeat in Afghanistan.

We should all be asking why we are still there. Do we have any strategic objectives in Afghanistan or has the battle become it’s own purpose? It’s as if the ghost of General Westmoreland has returned and wants to fight a conventional war against guerrillas all over again.

In a democracy a war cannot be won unless it has the support of the people. Võ Nguyên Giáp and Hồ Chí Minh knew this just as sure as our enemies in Afghanistan know it. The American public has grown tired of incessant conflict, therefore we have already lost the Afghan war. The only sensible thing to do now is to pull out immediately. I can already hear my detractors saying “If we pull out now it will leave Afghanistan in chaos.” My response is; how would that be different from any other day?


Wars and Rumors of Wars

June 20, 2012

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Since the dawn of man the Middle East has been a hotbed of violence and hatred. In the dark ages Europeans entered into a foray in the region that didn’t end so well. You would think that world leaders would have learned from the crusades, but the opposite appears to be the case. The list of failed policies and military catastrophes in the Middle East that the US has been involved in seems to go on forever.

Much like most of our relations with Iran our recent saber rattling with them promises to create a firestorm that could plunge the region into chaos. The Obama administration’s policy seems to be; we already have troops everywhere else in the Middle East so why not Iran? This couples with America’s staunch support of Israel is a recipe for disaster.

The threat of violence in the Straight of Hormuz is making oil speculators very nervous. One fifth of the world’s oil supply flows through the straight. Currently Iranian and American naval forces are conducting operations within spitting distance of each other. We are already paying an arm and a leg for gasoline. If war breaks out with Iran what will happen to already soaring prices?

Israel continues to threaten Iran with attack. They fear that Iran’s nuclear program will lead to weaponization of fissiable materials. If our rivals wish to develop nuclear weapons I do not think we should sit back and allow it to happen, however we’ve heard the weapons of mass destruction song and dance before. If western powers wish to invade Iran we must have concrete evidence before we strike. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey has gone on record stating “It’s not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran.” The general went on to say that striking Iran would be “destabilizing and wouldn’t achieve long-term objectives.”

Unlike our failed counter insurgency operations in Iraq, an attack on Iran could lead to World War Three. Our leaders would do well to approach tensions between Iran and Israel cautiously. According to US Colonel Douglas Macgregor “After an Israeli strike, Tehran won’t need to build nuclear bombs – it will be given them.”

It’s hard to say if America will actually get involved in a war with Iran, however congress recently passed a resolution, H.Res.568 that would call for an attack if Iran developed nuclear weapons capability. According to former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”

American forces and their allies seem to be gearing up for a new conflict in the region. An ongoing training operation, Eager Lion simulates a beach landing followed by an inland invasion of fortified bases. Amidst all of this the US has sent two air craft carriers to the gulf. The USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Enterprise have been deployed to the area, and. Gen. Mattis is requesting a third one.

Further increasing our presence in the Middle East are six F22 Raptors. The dubious fighters have been sent less that 200 miles away from the Iranian border.

After a decade of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq the American public has lost it’s taste for war. A recent poll conducted by the New York Times indicates that only 23% of respondents support the war. The Washington Post conducted a poll where 60% of respondents said they believe the war was not even worth fighting. It’s a sad commentary when it takes 10 years for the American people to grow weary of death and destruction.

All of this makes one wonder if anyone in charge remembers Vietnam. That war was started over false pretenses such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident. The cost in human life was staggering and yet our leadership saw fit to invade Afghanistan. Speaking of short memories didn’t anyone in charge take notice when the Russians failed to defeat Afghan insurgents in the 80s? At least that war only lasted 9 years. It doesn’t take an expert in Middle Eastern affairs to know that a war in Afghanistan would have failed.

Fortunately we have a chance not to make the same mistake with Iran. It’s an election year and the last thing Obama wants to do is to look soft on Iran, however deciding to invade would be the worst mistake the administration could make.


Viral Hate

May 24, 2012

Before I get started with this article I need to let all of my readers know that the Blue Scholar Blog supports equal rights across the board for the LGBT community.

North Carolina has dropped the ball on equality by passing the bigoted amendment one earlier this month.

North Carolina is supposed to be a part of the New South, however this recent legislation has set the state back 50 years in terms of social justice. When the world looks at us they see slack-jawed yokels in overalls and for good reason. Anti-gay rhetoric has no place in society in 2012. Passing amendment one is morally incorrect and those who fail to speak out against this atrocity are moral cowards.

Making matters worse there are certain clergy members in the state who take their hatred to a whole new level. Our hero Rev. Charles Worley is bringing bigotry back 1950s style. In his own words

“I figured a way out–a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers. But I couldn’t get it passed through Congress. Build a great big large fence, 150 or 100 miles long. Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed ‘em, and- And you know what? In a few years they’ll die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce.”

You can hear this nonsense for yourself in the video posted below.

Worley preaches his gospel of hate at Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC.

According to the city’s web site Maiden is a warm place that makes it’s visitors feel welcome.

“Nestled away in the foothills of North Carolina, Maiden has qualities that are appealing to both its citizens and visitors alike. From the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area to the hospitable people of our town, you will feel warm, welcome, and at home. “

In the town of Maiden you can expect hospitality unless of course you are a homosexual.

It’s painfully obvious that this preacher hates homosexuals. I wonder how Jesus would feel about his sermon. Was it not Jesus who said love your enemy? I grabbed my copy of the New Testament and I looked for passages where Christ admonishes homosexuality. This is what I found …

… absolutely nothing.

We are all God’s children.

“Early in the morning Jesus came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, ‘Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?’ This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.’ And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus looked up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.'” (John 8:1-11)

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I don’t know about you but I’m the last person that should be throwing stones and I have a feeling that the same applies to Rev. Worley.

I support free speech even in extreme cases like this, however I am gravely concerned about the message being sent to Worley’s congregation. Members of his flock seem to agree with him. Geneva Sims said “He had every right to say what he said about putting them in a pen and giving them food.” Stacey Pritchard said “Sometimes you’ve got to be scared straight.”

I fear that Worley’s message will lead to violence. We cannot forget what happened to Matthew Shepard. That tragedy was rooted in extreme homophobia which lead to Shepard’s untimely death.

This hateful sermon coupled with North Carolina’s recent passage of the bigoted amendment one has created an environment of intolerance and hatred in the state.

Fortunately the state’s cultural center, Charlotte voted against amendment one. Not everyone in the South is full of hate. There are those of us who are willing to take a public stand against racism, sexism, and homophobia. There are many North Carolinians who are appalled by Worley’s hate speech. A concerned citizen of Charlotte, Cannie Osborne had this to say about the reverend’s blatant homophobia “People are entitled to their opinions, but it’s none of your business who people choose to love. Charlotte loves it’s diversity.”

It’s like my father always said “Everyone has a right to breathe air.”

We have enough problems as a nation rather than worrying about who is fucking who. It’s 2012 not 1912. It’s time to grow up and practice tolerance. I encourage all of you to join me in my stand against bigotry.

Untied we stand divided we fall. One nation under god with liberty and justice for ALL.


Have You Heard the Good News?

May 17, 2012

I spend a lot of time dealing with depressing subjects. With corruption at epidemic levels sometimes it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today is different. There are several news stories going around right now that are absolutely positive. These stores are a sign that America can get back on track and truly be the land of the free again.

As many of you know Obama has signed the NDAA. The legislation is highly controversial because it could allow for the indefinite detention of US citizens for being belligerent to the central government or for providing significant support to those engaged in hostilities towards he government. This is a very frightening prospect. Belligerent and hostile could mean anything. I myself have grave concern over this. Could my blog be considered belligerent and hostile to the government?

Clearly this provision of the NDAA is unconstitutional as it utterly violates several constitutional amendments. Fortunately for us US District Judge, Katherine Forrest agrees. According to Forrest the NDAA “failed to pass constitutional muster.” The Judge went on to say “There is a strong public interest in protecting rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. There is also a strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention.”

In short Forrest has halted the NDAA’s most chilling effect by barring the military from detaining US citizens pending an order from the court or an amendment to the statute by Congress. In other words that dog don’t hunt!

The good news does not end there. The NYPD has garnered a bad reputation for itself. Their brutality and callous disregard for the people’s right to free assembly has come under fire in the court of public opinion. I have written several articles criticizing the department for their overall misconduct (I loved you in Wall Street. Fried Bologna and NYPD Public Enemy #1). The NYPD has arrested hundreds of people since the Occupy Wall Street protests began. On New Year’s day a photographer, Alexander Arbuckle was arrested for disorderly conduct for allegedly blocking traffic during a protest march.

Fortunately Tim Pool, a well known journalist  was shooting video at the time Arbuckle was apprehended. The video clearly exonerates Arbuckle who was consequently acquitted of the charge of disorderly conduct. Arbuckle along with several protesters was standing on the sidewalk. The only people blocking traffic were NYPD officers. Arbuckle’s defense insisted that this video proved  the NYPD’s testimony was patently false. Fortunately the judge agreed.

Ironically Arbuckle was on the scene to show the NYPD’s side of the OWS story. He felt that they were being misrepresented in the media, however his acquittal coupled with Tim Pool’s video proves that the NYPD by and large is a fascist para-military organization. I am counting this as a major victory for the Occupy movement and hopefully this will be the first of many acquittals. Justice will not be served however until the NYPD officers who provided false testimony are charged with perjury.

Good things can happen if we the people stand up and demand change. We cannot rely on elected officials to do the right thing on their own. It is our patriotic duty to affect these changes ourselves.


Charlottetown Rebellion

May 15, 2012

After the Bank of America shareholders meeting protest it is clear to the world that Occupy Charlotte and Occupy Wall Street are alive and well. They never went away. They have regrouped and now they are stronger than ever.

I had the opportunity to catch up with one of Occupy Charlotte’s organizers, Craig Glisson and discuss the recent protest and the future of Occupy Charlotte.

Jeremiah: Last week’s protest at the Bank of America shareholders meeting went very well. I’m counting it as a victory for Occupy Charlotte. In light of this what’s next for Occupy Charlotte?

Craig: That was the first time Occupy Charlotte was involved on a march in the streets so I would definitely consider that to be a victory, but we still have to battle war, injustice and inequality. Occupy Charlotte has several plans moving forward. We plan on being more involved in the community. Occupy Charlotte will be doing a lot more community service and community outreach. We want to be more than just a protest group or a social program. We will be going more into community building. The Charlotte community is the most important thing to Occupy Charlotte.

Jeremiah: Relations between the CMPD and Occupy Charlotte seemed to be tenable last week. How do you think that will effect the upcoming DNC?

Craig: Personally I’m not concerned about the CMPD. I’m concerned with the police around the Charlotte area and also some of the federal agents that will be inhabiting the city during that time period. The CMPD has been very professional with their relationships with activists and protest groups in the Charlotte area. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I plan on building a more professional relationship with the CMPD so we can work together and so our interactions with the police won’t overshadow the actual events we are protesting.

Jeremiah: During the DNC Obama will be speaking at the Bank of America Stadium. If you could ask him one question or if you wanted him to address one issue affecting  the Charlotte community what would that be?

Craig: There are many issues I would want him to address,but the main question I would ask him is; what happened to the change he promised in 2008 and why did you promote changing the face of Washington when you hired so many Washington insiders to your staff.

Jeremiah: Was there anything else you wanted to add? Did I miss anything?

Craig:The BofA shareholders meeting protest shows that Occupy Charlotte is alive. We were preoccupied with this very important event so that people can realize the problems that the big corporations like Bank of America have placed on Charlotte, North Carolina, the United States, and the world. They’ve had a huge hand in the economic mess of 2008. Going forward we have to stand as citizens so that corporations won’t ruin our future or the present that we live in.

When I asked Craig how people could get involved he directed me to the links posted below.

Occupy Charlotte’s Homepage

Occupy Charlotte’s Calendar

Occupy is going strong but it needs the support of the people to stay alive. I urge all of my readers to get involved. This is our future and together we can make it a brighter one.

(Photos by Cannie Osborne)


Duke of Hurl

May 3, 2012

Today demonstrators marched on the Duke Energy shareholders meeting. There were about 50 people at the protest. They chided the energy company chanting “Dirty coal has got to go”.

Many of the denizens of Charlotte take issue with Duke Energy because of their widespread use of coal-fired electric power plants. In the article Mayday Mayday Mayday I sited two organizations that criticize the use of coal.

According to the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League Duke Energy has seven coal-fired electric power plants in North Carolina. Burning coal has enormous environmental impacts. The Union of Concerned Scientists have also come out against the use of coal.

I spoke to demonstrators earlier this week who claim that coal plants emit the same co2 as a million cars. Sourcewatch.org is in agreement with the demonstrators stating

Coal-fired power plants are responsible for one-third of America’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions—about the same amount as all transportation sources — cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, planes, ships, and trains — combined.

According to my partner and camera-woman Cannie Osborne

There seems to be a real reason for concern (about the burning of fossil fuels) since there is an agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions called the Kyoto Protocol. The United States refuses to sign the agreement because of political issues that have controversial ways of calculating the greenhouse gases that each country contributes. The United States should not think that it is not our problem. We are one world and share the same air.

Although the city of Charlotte declared the meeting an extraordinary event no arrest were made. One poster on Occupy Charlotte’s Facebook page joked that it was an ordinary event.

Southern charm is alive and well in the city of Charlotte. Demonstrators are committed to non violent resistance. The Charlotte observer spoke with the field organizer for the N.C. Coalition Against Corporate Power, Roxana Bendezu who said “Our events are going to be very peaceful. We just want a real good visual of people raising their voices.”

It would seem that for now the CMPD is also avoiding violence against protesters. In my experience the CMPD is nothing like the NYPD. I suspect that the DHS encouraged the CMPD to evict Occupy Charlotte, but I do not believe that the Charlotte police want to be known as uniformed thugs and as such they are avoiding negative publicity.