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 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #143 - February 2016

OpinionBy William Blum

Is Bernie Sanders a socialist?

“Self-described socialist” … How many times have we all read that term in regard to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders? But is he really a socialist? Or is he a “social democrat”, which is what he’d be called in Europe? Or is he a “democratic socialist”, which is the American party he has been a member of (DSA – Democratic Socialists of America)? And does it really matter which one he is? They’re all socialists, are they not?

Why does a person raised in a capitalist society become a socialist? It could be because of a parent or parents who are committed socialists and raise their children that way. But it’s usually because the person has seen capitalism up close for many years, is turned off by it, and is thus receptive to an alternative. All of us know what the ugly side of capitalism looks like. Here are but a few of the countless examples taken from real life:

-Following an earthquake or other natural disaster, businesses raise their prices for basic necessities such as batteries, generators, water pumps, tree-removal services, etc.

-In the face of widespread medical needs, drug and health-care prices soar, while new surgical and medical procedures are patented.

-The cost of rent increases inexorably regardless of tenants’ income.

-Ten thousand types of deception to part the citizens from their hard-earned ages.

What do these examples have in common? It’s their driving force – the profit motive; the desire to maximize profit. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, February 05 @ 16:03:40 EST (30 reads)
(Read More... | 15083 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 0)

 History/Culture: Imbolc

HolidaysBy Rhiannonbrighid

Imbolc is the Pagan festival that celebrates the coming of spring. Imbolc is also known as Candlemas, Oimealg, Imbolg, Brigantia, Lupercus, Disting, and Lupercalia. The festival is celebrated on February 1st or 2nd, or when the sun is at 15 degrees Aquarius.

In Celtic lore, the dark winter months were ruled by a wicked old hag named Cailleach. By the time Imbolc rolls around, she leaves, and the goddess, Brighid, awakens. There is an old myth that the people would pour milk on the ground to put Cailleach to rest and welcome Brighid. February is a very cold month where food ran low, fire wood was harder to obtain, and hunting usually proved to be unsuccessful. Keeping the hearth was very important to families. Brighid, a fire goddess, was a deity that families paid homage to in hopes that she would protect their hearth and fire. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, February 01 @ 16:02:55 EST (37 reads)
(Read More... | 3141 bytes more | Comments? | History/Culture | Score: 0)

 Politics: Why Isn’t the Media Feeling the Bern?

The News


Polls show that Bernie Sanders would trounce Donald Trump, but you’d never know that from watching TV news.

By Jim Hightower

Let’s go to the scoreboard to see who’s winning the exciting presidential election media coverage game.

The Tyndall Report, a non-partisan media monitoring firm that has been tracking the nightly news broadcasts of ABC, CBS, and NBC, found that Trump is tromp, tromp, tromping over the airtime of everyone else.

From last January through November, these dominant flagship news shows devoted 234 minutes of prime-time coverage to the incessant chirping of the yellow-crested birdbrain, with no other contender getting even a fourth of that. ....

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, January 12 @ 18:23:05 EST (104 reads)
(Read More... | 3271 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 0)

 Politics: The Anti-Empire Report #141

InternationalBy William Blum

Questions to ask President Obama the next time (also the last time) you’re invited to one of his press conferences:

Which is most important to you – destroying ISIS, overthrowing Syrian president Assad, or scoring points against Russia?

Do you think that if you pointed out to the American people that Assad has done much more to aid and rescue Christians in the Middle East conflicts than any other area leader that this would lessen the hostility the United States public and media feel toward him? Or do you share the view of the State Department spokesperson who declared in September that “The Assad regime frankly is the root of all evil”?

Why does the United States maintain crippling financial sanctions and a ban on military aid to Syria, Cuba, Iran and other countries but not to Saudi Arabia?

What does Saudi Arabia have to do to lose its strong American support? Increase its torture, beheadings, amputations, whippings, stonings, punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, or forced marriages and other oppression of women and girls? Increase its financial support for ISIS and other jihadist groups? Confess to its role in 9-11? Attack Israel?

What bothers you more: The Saudi bombing of the people of Yemen or the Syrian bombing of the people of Syria?

Does the fact that ISIS never attacks Israel raise any question in your mind? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, December 07 @ 19:30:47 EST (213 reads)
(Read More... | 14707 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 5)

 Screwed Again: The Golden Years Gap

Business News
Just 100 CEOs have as much saved up for retirement as 50 million American families combined.

By Sarah Anderson

Flo, the Progressive insurance pitch woman in the white uniform and headband, is relentlessly perky. She won’t be when she learns about the double standard that lets her CEO sock away millions more for retirement than she can.

Whereas the Flos of the working world face strict limits on how much they can set aside tax-free for their golden years, many of their bosses don’t.

Flo’s boss, Progressive CEO Glenn Renwick, dropped $26,170,569 last year into his deferred compensation account — that’s $26,152,569 more than Flo would’ve been allowed to invest in a 401(k).

Ordinary workers under 50 (like Flo) can contribute no more than $18,000 per year to a 401(k). But most big companies offer special accounts that allow their top brass to set aside unlimited amounts of their pay tax-free until they retire.

Renwick’s stockpiled more than $150 million in such an account during his more than two decades at the company. That’s enough to generate an $850,000 check every month for the rest of his life. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, November 23 @ 19:38:46 EST (285 reads)
(Read More... | 4079 bytes more | Comments? | Screwed Again | Score: 0)

 History/Culture: Samhain/Halloween 2015

HolidaysBy Blue1Moon

I’ve compiled some interesting AlienLove Halloween/Samhain reads for your enjoyment.

A reminder: Daylight Savings Time (DST) was extended in the U.S in 2007. We get a reprieve again this fall, with DST not to end until November 1st! It begins again on March 13th, 2016, allowing us almost an extra month of increased evening light since the extension - hurrah!

First observed during World Wars I & II, Daylight Savings Time’s purpose was to save energy by giving us more light during the evenings.

So don't forget: Sunday morning, November 1, 2015, clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time - though not all places in the United States observe DST, Hawaii and most of Arizona do not reset clocks. While we lose evening light, as the clocks "Fall Back" we will at least get an extra hour's sleep that night (which doesn't quite make up for it, by a long shot, in my mind).

Enjoy these spooky and interesting articles....

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, October 29 @ 17:34:01 EDT (395 reads)
(Read More... | 4795 bytes more | Comments? | History/Culture | Score: 0)

 Screwed Again: DOJ Wants to Arrest You for Terrorism for Not Liking Them

PoliticsBy Larken Rose

Propagandists for the U.S. ruling class—I mean, “spokespersons for the United States government”—usually choose their words carefully, trying to use insinuation to demonize their opponents, euphemisms to deify themselves, and other spin and lies to make freedom sound bad and authoritarian power sound good. But they’re not usually stupid enough to come right out and say, “war is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength” (see George Orwell’s “1984”). In most cases, to see their true agenda, you need to read between the lines. Sometimes, however, their totalitarian mentality is put on display for all to see.

Consider, for example, this CNN article, talking about how the DOJ wants to shift its focus more to domestic “terror groups.”

Just so we’re clear, I’m a voluntaryist myself, who believes in the non-aggression principle. I abhor actual assault, murder and terrorism (which, as it happens, is committed by agents of “government” far more often than by anyone else). So if someone is actually harming or endangering innocents, I hope someone stops them, using whatever it takes. Whether or not the aggressor, or the protector, wears a badge is totally morally irrelevant. Ain’t I just an extreme, dangerous kook? Anyway, back to the story.

The CNN article starts by quoting “government” officials saying that “domestic terror groups” are a greater threat to America than ISIS or al Qaeda. Well, since those (sometimes fictional) groups are no threat at all to America, that isn’t saying much. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Thursday, October 29 @ 17:23:09 EDT (406 reads)
(Read More... | 5393 bytes more | Comments? | Screwed Again | Score: 5)

 Humor/Satire: Bombs of love

Politics
Bombs of love

by: Gary Lindorff


Let us bomb your neighborhood
Guided by our intelligence.
Let us erase your neighbor
Out of love.

Not you, not your children.
Bombs of love!
You should be grateful
After the dust clears
After the evil has been exploded,
After the crater
Has been filled and paved;
We will explode our way into your hearts.


Posted by Blue1moon on Friday, October 16 @ 20:14:09 EDT (432 reads)
(Read More... | 2321 bytes more | Comments? | Humor/Satire | Score: 0)

 Politics: Sometimes a Clock is Just a Clock

HealthBy Rosemarie Jackowski

"They arrested me and accused me of making a hoax bomb." That is what 14 year old Ahmed Mohamed said. He was handcuffed and arrested because of an innocent high school project. Irving, Texas Police Chief Larry Boyd commented: "We live in an age where you can't take things like that to school." This is Islamophobia gone wild. In case you missed it - Ahmed made a clock. He took the clock to school to show his teachers. Then someone mistook the clock for a bomb. "Paranoia runs deep..."

The War on Terrorism is not the only war we have on our shores today. We also have a War on Drugs. It is a myth to believe that every patient whoever takes opiates for pain will become an addict. That is like believing that everyone who ever has a glass of wine with dinner will become an alcoholic. Addiction phobia has created some unintended consequences.

These two wars are running parallel and creating serious collateral damage. Prejudice against anyone who might be a Muslim is out in the open. All religions and all non-religious beliefs must be respected. No exceptions.

To law enforcement and Homeland Security, everyone looks like a terrorist. Everything looks like a bomb. To the DEA, everyone looks like a drug addict. Every pain med looks like an illegal drug.

It gets worse. Now respected doctors are being 'watched' - in overt ways and also some subtle ways. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program keeps lists doctors who prescribe opiate pain meds. Many doctors have been prescribing pain meds for decades with no problem, but now the government is 'watching'. Imagine being a doctor and receiving an official letter from the government. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, September 29 @ 22:27:51 EDT (542 reads)
(Read More... | 6787 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 0)

 Politics: Worst president ever?

Opinion
History Should and Probably Will Judge President Obama Harshly

by: Dave Lindorff

President Barack Obama is on track to go down in history as one of the, or perhaps as the worst and most criminal presidents in US history.

He started out, campaigning in 2008, as someone would would restore the rule of law in US international affairs and here at home after eight years of criminality during the Bush and Cheney administration, as saying he would end America’s wars and bring back an era of international cooperation and negotiation, and as saying that he would confront the dire threat of global climate change.

On the basis of that promise, he won a dramatic election victory, raising hopes across the country and across many voting blocks. On that basis, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize -- the first time the award was given before anything had been done by the laureate being honored. And on the basis of that promise, people expected action on climate change and on ending America's wars.

But the president began backpedaling almost instantly. Instead of restoring the rule of law, he almost immediately announced that he would not permit his Justice Department to engage in any prosecutions of CIA, FBI, military of Bush/Cheney administration personnel for violations of international law or of US law (that, for the record, is one of the supreme crimes under the Nuremberg Principles later codified into the UN Charter, to which the US is a signatory). ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, September 05 @ 16:51:46 EDT (697 reads)
(Read More... | 7344 bytes more | Comments? | Politics | Score: 5)

 Stories/Poems: Am I Less Evolved Than a Plant?

Art

Am I Less Evolved Than a Plant?

By Sherlyn Meinz (aka Blue1moon)


One morning while I drank my coffee, I found myself considering:
Could it be that plants are more evolved than humans?

In order to feed me, both animals and plants die.
It may be the way of our world, but somehow I can't feel good about it.

Sadly, to just stop eating,
does not seem a viable alternative. ...



Posted by Blue1moon on Tuesday, August 18 @ 16:53:32 EDT (792 reads)
(Read More... | 1057 bytes more | Comments? | Stories/Poems | Score: 5)

 Opinion: Hillary-Bernie Skirmishes Begin, Can All-Out War Be Far Behind?

PoliticsBy William Boardman

Hillaryite Senator McCaskill shoots from her hip, hits her foot

A month after attacking Game of Thrones, Democratic senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri shifted her attack from fiction to her very real fellow senator, Bernie Sanders. She took the Independent senator from Vermont to task for having the temerity to challenge Hillary Clinton’s divine right to ascend to the American political throne of the presidency. Or as McCaskill put it on MSNBC June 25:

Any other candidate that had the numbers that Hillary Clinton had right now would be talked about as absolutely untouchable….

That’s the first line of Hillary Clinton’s defense, her inevitability, based on polls taken when she was the only Democratic candidate in the race. The argument is more monarchist than democratic and should be offensive to anyone who thinks elections should be about substantive issues.

Team Clinton’s basic tactic of ignoring the Sanders campaign ended with the sacrifice of surrogate pawn McCaskill’s attack on Sanders on MSNBC when she said, quite falsely:

The media is giving Bernie a pass right now, I very rarely read in any coverage of Bernie that he is a socialist.

This is evidence that McCaskill doesn’t read much coverage of Bernie, since he regularly self-identifies as a “democratic socialist” and most media coverage follows suit. By implication, McCaskill is calling Sanders out for his policy positions, such as universal health care, universal college education, a living wage, good, affordable childcare, and other policy choices that have been sacrificed to “outrageous tax loopholes for billionaires and large corporations.” (The Hill notes that “Sanders’s ‘socialist’ policies sound a lot like Teddy Roosevelt’s and Reagan’s,” and later adds President Taft.)

These days, the “socialist” label is more meaningless than ever, though for some it serves as a pallid form of Red-baiting (call it Pink-baiting). Calling Sanders a “socialist” is not only redundant and irrelevant, it’s an intellectually dishonest tactic for avoiding the substance of the issues Sanders is running on. ...


Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 06 @ 22:59:48 EDT (1247 reads)
(Read More... | 12659 bytes more | Comments? | Opinion | Score: 5)

 Reviews: Pixar’s Lesson for Kids — and Adults

Art
We need all our emotions to be healthy, even the ones that hurt.

By Jill Richardson

Pixar’s latest flick holds some major life lessons for kids — and adults, too.

Inside Out takes place inside the head of an 11-year-old girl, Riley, as she and her parents move from Minnesota to San Francisco. The main characters are cute personifications of the main characters inside of each of us: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

Joy, played by Amy Poehler, runs the show, attempting to keep Sadness from bringing Riley down as she struggles with her family’s move. As far as Joy’s concerned, Sadness is a downer. And really, what’s the point of being sad anyway?

Riley’s parents pile on by encouraging her to be happy all the time and praising her when she manages a smile.

You might recognize this parental behavior, because it’s a common one.

At one point or another, parenting means finding yourself in a situation when your child’s emotions are really, really inconvenient. Sometimes in a public place, frequently over an issue that — to you, as an adult — is no big deal, and often with loud sobs and crocodile tears.

What do you do? ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Monday, July 06 @ 22:06:46 EDT (1094 reads)
(Read More... | 4401 bytes more | Comments? | Reviews | Score: 0)

 History/Culture: Some Call It Litha - Midsummer/Summer Solstice

HolidaysBlue1Moon
AlienLove Editor

Litha (pronounced LITH-ah) occupies the opposite place on the wheel of the year from Yule. It is celebrated on the Summer Solstice, which falls between June 20th and June 23rd, when the Sun enters zero degrees Cancer. It is also celebrated on the fixed date of June 25th or Old Litha. It is thought that the ancients began holding Druidic celebrations of Summer Solstice at Stonehenge around 2183 BCE.

Litha is a time of abundance, and energy abounds! Can you feel it in the air? Midsummer marks the time of year when the day is longest and the night is shortest. Light is triumphant - take time to absorb some of the Sun’s warming rays. Be joyful and enjoy the fullness of the Earth and her bounty, for after this the sun once again begins slowly to wane – yet there are still many days of long light ahead before thoughts of winter return.

In Pagan tradition, it is the time when the Sun God has reached the pinnacle of his strength. He is often pictured as the Lord of the Forest, wearing masks of leaves and foilage, or perhaps sitting upon his Greenwood Throne. At this time of year the Goddess is with child, having conceived at Beltane. Her body is nurturing the future King, just as the Earth is nurturing the crops that will feed us through the coming winter. So, Litha is much related to nurturing and love. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Sunday, June 21 @ 17:34:55 EDT (1357 reads)
(Read More... | 7463 bytes more | Comments? | History/Culture | Score: 0)

 Screwed Again: Robin Hood in Reverse

Politics
The gap between the rich and the rest is growing partly because we keep electing politicians who promise nothing less.

By Donald Kaul

One of the biggest questions of the day is: Why do the rich keep getting richer and the middle class keep getting poorer?

This also ranks as the dumbest question of the day, week, month, or year. To anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s obvious why economic inequality in our land is growing:

That’s what we asked for.

For at least 35 years, since the reign of King Ronald the Reagan, our democratic society has waged relentless economic war on the middle class and the poor, giving their share of the pie to the rich and the well-to-do.

It didn’t happen in secret. The Republican Party is built on the reverse Robin Hood principle of taking from the less affluent so the rich can have what they think they need — a word that not coincidentally rhymes with “greed.”

Democrats follow the same principle too, but not as openly. Only they throw more scraps to the “disadvantaged” every once in a while than the GOP. ...

Posted by Blue1moon on Saturday, June 20 @ 18:10:16 EDT (1152 reads)
(Read More... | 5284 bytes more | Comments? | Screwed Again | Score: 0)


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