Saturday, December 11, 2010

Spanner in the works

Sometimes you look back at those big, old, dumb empires lumbering around embarrassing themselves, kind of like the decrepit old Elvis -- Ottoman mobs smashing an observatory newly built, French royals fleeing as mobs tore apart the Bastille prison, Charles and Camilla sitting shocked in their Rolls Royce as university students in London holler about the 300% hike in tuition that the Liberals voted in after promising during elections not to do so -- and you wonder. How could the imperial heads of state not see the writing on the wall? (You can add your name to the wall here.)

Propaganda and public education are twin subjects of this great Truthout article exploring how we got into the mess we're in today.

Thomas Jefferson, slave owner, had this mission statement for free public education K-grad in Virginia:
1. To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business.
2. To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts in writing.
3. To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties.
4. To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either.
5. To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor and judgment.
6. And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness, all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

Status check, U.S. seat of empire, 2010CE. How are we doing?
Time running out for the rule of the kleptocracies?

In breaking news I see that the U.S. Army has banned the use of thumb drives (or nerd sticks as the kids sometimes call them), USB drives, and writeable CD's on computers. This is a strike against freedom of information, and the best kind of news a counter recruitment worker like me could wish for. Once potential enlistees get wind of the fact that they can't download music and lip synch to Lady Gaga while they toil in the imperial cyber-mines, maybe they will think again about not signing eight years of their life and possible all of their sanity away for the money to buy a new pickup truck or Harley.

Then again, since that news is buried in an obscure technology publication, and news that the House of Representatives just voted 212-206 to pass the FY11 Defense (sic) Appropriations Bill is not so much as mentioned in newspapers of record, much less on the front page...methinks we will continue in ignorance.

Maine's Rep. Chellie Pingree voted yes to spend many more billions for wars. She may not think people are watching. But some of us are. Let's hope an angry mob doesn't surround the private jet she and her boyfriend ride in. If I stumbled on to that kind of opportunity, I would not break any windows or throw any paint. I certainly would not chant "Off with their heads" like the English students did. 

I would urge everybody to link arms and just sit down and stay there. Nonviolent methods are the most effective way to throw a spanner in the works. 

Look for the kickoff to the new season on December 16 at the White House.
art credit: Brian Reeves, Slopart

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