Inheritance Lost: Must Baby Turtles Die for Oil Rigs To Live? By Robert S. Becker

by Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
June 29, 2010

Turtle hatchling
photo by Katy Pye
used with permission
© All rights reserved.

South Padre Island, Texas:

Sidestepping this week’s oncoming hurricane, my wife and I just returned from the south Texas coast where we observed 116 soup spoon-sized hatchling sea turtles marching boldly into the Gulf.  It was a heartrending turtle release full of beauty, promise and dread, an emblem of the fierce battle between life and death on the Gulf.  Today’s scorecard favors the grim reaper as spreading oil pollution menaces both our largest shrimp-turtle-fish nursery and up to one-third of the world’s oceans.

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Big Problems, Small President By Robert S. Becker

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by Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
June 14, 2010

In 2004, John Kerry, a genuine war hero with a surprisingly consistent voting record, was mercilessly (and unfairly) ridiculed for his gaffe, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion [Iraq war supplement] before I voted against it.”  Though entirely about Senate procedure, not war support, this celebrated flip-flop did him in, making him appear weak.

Yet compared to today’s president, Kerry is a blaze of consistency, for Obama has been for (or against) nearly every issue of importance he’s now against (or for).  No wonder David M. Green offers his biting wisecrack of a title, “I Can’t Wait For Barack Obama To Become President.” My head swirls just tracking what no longer qualifies as mere flip-flops but an array of upside-down, dipsy-doodle, double reverses.  Any more backsliding and “turnabout is fair play” becomes Obama’s next campaign motto.   Irony on “reform” has its limits.

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Committing “Ecocide:” Tipping Point Between Evolution or Extinction? by Robert S. Becker

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by Robert S. Becker
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Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
June 8, 2010

To echo A. J. Toynbee, civilizations fall not by getting murdered by outsiders: they tend to commit suicide first.  Judging by our example, so do advanced species.  The good news: earthlings need not dread the shocker of meteor collisions, volcanic eruptions, outer space invaders (talk about illegals!), or pernicious, end of times Raptures.  Final Judgment looks more like an epilogue than cause for concern.

Ecocide, the ruination of our ecosystems, is wounding us grievously, the upshot of political and corporate mismanagement, overpopulation, climate dislocation, and collective choices – done with a shocking disregard for how fragile, and exceptional, life is.  Life, at its core defined by sustainability, is the extreme exception in a cosmos of rocks and gases and dark energy.

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Mr. President: Any Moneyback Refunds – on Cash or Hope? By Robert S. Becker

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by Robert S. Becker
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Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
May 28, 2010

I’m all in favor of knowingly jousting at windmills, so good luck to Cenk Uygur for arm-twisting Goldman Sachs to repay (only) $12.9 billion via loans guaranteed by our “reform” government.  Problem is, where’s the public leverage – corporate largesse forced by street marches?  Consumer outrage or feisty editorials?  Targeted, ex post facto penalty taxes?  With this corporate Supreme Court doing the review?

The best protests identify achievable game plans, and Uygur’s tactic withers without endorsement by a business-friendly president, Congress, and Supreme Court.  That row of windmills makes this less a protest than dream quest.  There’s an infinitely simpler, more far-ranging protest, requiring no indirection, Congressional maneuvers or suspect legalisms.  Ask the president to return your campaign contributions – and not for his “pragmatic,” bait-and-policy switches, but simple non-performance, in fact, inept management style reminiscent of Bush-Cheney’s crisis-management.

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A Loser White House, Guilty by Association By Robert S. Becker

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by Robert S. Becker
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Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
May 20, 2010

Long before Year One ended, progressives understood President Obama’s focus was routine wheeling and dealing, not regrowing the New Deal.  Between victory and governance, Obama “reform” switched from promises to make government serve people to insure government serves business.  The result is mounting guilt by association as Obama got himself entrenched only months into power, a speed record for a reform guy, now the establishment president defending every party incumbent.  Does this White House think that’s the reason it won?

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Devil’s Master Plan Triumphant: Disorder, Delusion, Distrust and Paranoia Abound

Passed on by Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
May 3, 2010

Note: Who knew “d-mail” existed (“d” for demonic?), let alone actual demons wreaking havoc upon our species (like we need help).  Surfacing by chance in my e-mail, one Uncle Screwtape, with nothing less than gleeful abandon, discloses how Devilish chicanery favoring chaos and against authority is coming to fruition.  Apparently, there’s no point just blaming liberal elitists or Tea Party sputtering, not Goldman Sachs, manipulation by rightwing billionaires, not even residual Bush-Cheney machinations. There are foreigners among us without birth certificates.

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Real Sustainability Not Advanced by One Earth Day By Robert S. Becker

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By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
April 26, 2010

With all the Earth Day brouhaha, you’d think the old planet would be out of the endangered, environmental woods – at least those few healthy, sustainable ones not under siege.  Media venues small and large declared all the “great progress,” implying light at the end of the eco-tunnel.  But Earth Day didn’t come close to the macro bedrock, focusing instead on positive but micro dimensions, like recycling, select endangered species, or buying greener products.

All good, all not close to enough.  When do we in earnest confront what once was called the “Population Bomb,” now linked to an equally dire problem, the Climate Control Bomb, itself spawned by the ever-growing Industrial Pollution-Eternal Growth Bombs?

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Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Phoniness By Robert S. Becker

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By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
April 19, 2010

Holden Caulfield, the self-described if suspect expert on phoniness in The Catcher in the Rye, would have a field day.  Phoniness abounds, shredding a sense of fair play, from predatory lending, Ponzi schemes, gouging credit card companies, greedy medical insurers, insider trading, egregious campaign betrayals, sports steroid usage, mock journalism, doctored government agency reports or disgrace for the west’s most durable institution, the Catholic Church, inadvertently teaching by negative example – how not to deal with its own pedophilia.

Every week breaks new thresholds for backsliding, subterfuge, and hypocrisy.  Phoniness undermines hope, especially remaining correlated with wealth and fame.  Karl Rove, the master of guile, is revered, with his own soapbox; W., who mouthed his every deception, is a well-heeled stage monkey; and my favorite, one Alberto Gonzales, the amnesiac attorney general who infected our Justice Dept. with criminal schemes, well, okay, he’s a shyster lawyer having trouble finding work.

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Political Execution, Obama-style Shock & Awe – Hit Squads To Believe in By Robert S. Becker

NOTE: New tag for all new posts/videos on Dandelion Salad: Dandelion Salad Posts News Politics and-or Videos 2

By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
April 13, 2010

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Aligning himself with presidents Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, and at least one Bushwhacker, President Obama joined an American pantheon that has sanctioned all sorts of overseas shenanigans in the name of national security.  Now that’s legacy bipartisanship with a vengeance.  Literally.

What sets Obama apart from these notables is not just deciding to terminate an American citizen, a nasty terrorist hiding out in Yemen, but making the endgame so public.  Even the notorious Bush staffer John Yoo never explicitly defended political murder by design.  The ex-Constitutional law teacher promised transparency – and here it is.  I for one endorse taking the fight over there, and without those costly, labor-intensive, endless wars.  Behold the empty Bush boast rewritten: “Wanted: Dead or Dead.”

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Shocker! Elections Bestow Legitimacy – Not Birther Hallucinations By Robert S. Becker

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By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
April 1, 2010

Non-patriots can concoct their own opinions, not their own facts – nor get away with denunciation of what drives democratic legitimacy, namely elections.  When rage, victimhood and racism fuse, mass hysteria will embrace not just preposterous conspiracies, but lunacy and violence against the very values phony patriots extoll.

In fact, the word “rage” comes from the Latin for madness (rabere to be mad) and the Sanskrit for violence (rabhas).  Root meanings fit today perfectly, merging “violent or unrestrained anger – fury, ire, wrath” with with mania and passion.   Perhaps we shouldn’t be stunned when rage produces mania, then violence, a cocktail today that begins with delusions of illegitimacy.

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Does Triumph Redeem the ‘Health Care’ President? By Robert S. Becker

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By Robert S. Becker
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Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
March 22, 2010

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Instead of cheering or jeering the House passage of the Health – I mean, the lobbyist-corporate – Insurance Reform bill, let’s assess winners and losers.  Others have depicted the relative, rather delayed strengths (wider coverage, no life-time limits, added users) and weaknesses (no cost control, no public option, thus no competition, four long years for insurance lawyers to get around onerous aspects, no incentives to expand medical worker/doctor services).

Big Winners:

1)    Obama and his right-leaning, centrist White House.  Specific provisions aside, the bill shows the party in power can execute – political symbolism always precedes real-world changes, with surer electoral impact.  Honor is due: this is the first big political win for the first pro-government, big-city, northern president since Jack Kennedy, that is, in living memory.  Note, I didn’t say “liberal” or “progressive” president, for that’s now less likely.  Whatever Rahm Emanuel lost in reputation by pushing a fragmented approach (enemy to the public option) gets offset by corralling House Blue Dogs, reinforcing his Congressional clout and cementing his job.  The status quo is unshaken; Rahm rules still.

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Defiant Slogans Drive Rightwing Mission – Where’s the Obama Mission – or Slogans? By Robert S. Becker

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By Robert S. Becker
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Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
March 19, 2010

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Like pre-tested, pre-packaged junk food, rightwing slogans ooze from 24/7 media, cable and wireless spigots. What salt, sugar, and fat do for snacks, the GOP smear machine does to the addicted body politic, driving the country rightward, reigning in legislation, blocking appointments, and framing what gets debated and how.  Imagine if Republicans won.  Oh, we did that.

Where are President Obama’s fetching slogans that grab media eyeballs? And, more importantly, where’s the winning Obama mission for his presidency and the country?  The definition of a one-term president: no clear mission, no identifying slogans, and no collective enthusiasm to shake the status quo.  Yes, we can — do what?  Emphasis on the “do.”

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Best Picture No Shill for War Hubris, Invasion or Empire – Robert Scheer Better at Politics than Film Criticism

By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
March 12, 2010

Too bad neither art, nor life answers to misdirected pigeonholing from admirable leftwing voices like Robert Scheer.  Must outstanding movies to be reduced to partisan “messages” or platforms that reinforce our prejudices, whether about politics or art?  “Disappointed” with “Hurt Locker’s” seeming apolitical stance, the ideological Scheer balks because a less than overtly anti-Iraq war film won Best Picture.

If “Hurt Locker” so clearly promotes this war or the hubris of imperial occupation, then why isn’t there one scene or one main character that establishes this theme, let alone defends this position?  In fact, the movie experience itself, not Scheer’s distortion, suggests otherwise.  Director Bigelow fashions a story, not a sermon, knowing full well how fixed positions, either way, impede her mission: to bypass defenses and create significant emotional experiences.

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Dilemma: Best Nations Really Are the Brightest – Solution: Close the Reason Gap By Robert S. Becker

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By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
March 10, 2010

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What most jeopardizes every American, curiously enough, is wholly within our control.  100%.  Better still, substantial solutions are affordable, may be sequenced, and every dollar stays home – a bargain at half the cost of endless Iraq.  Vs. killing machines, we just have to value rationality and intellectual capital, “national resources” more put upon than compromised farmland, rivers, clean air or water.   Echoing the Cold War on missiles, we have a Reason Gap.

Yet this galactic, infrastructure task  – to revitalize education and discovery from top to bottom – remains invisible, off the media radar.  In the real world, there’s nary more from the Obama crew, beside reversing stem cell and a modicum for alternative energy.

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Pride, Prejudice, and Propaganda: Salvaging the American Dream By Robert S. Becker

By Robert S. Becker
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
rbecker@cal.net
March 2, 2010

It is a truth universally acknowledged that predatory bankers in possession of great fortunes are in want of media lackeys, especially after savaging the American Dream.  Actually not, considering the corporate media outlets reinforcing the clownish social gospel from Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs: conglomerates do good, indeed “God’s work.” Continue reading