If nothing else, the election of 2010 has taught us that a “third” political party is not the answer. Like the two existing major parties, it too would simply become another political commodity to be purchased by the corporations and wealthy elite for their own purposes, rather than serving the interests of ordinary voters. Political salvation will come when the voters of every party decide to exercise, rather than dissipate, their power.
Political parties have been around ever since the founding of the United States, indeed from the time of ancient Greece and perhaps earlier. There will always be legitimate differences of opinion about the extent and role of government, and the give and take of those differences are the foundation of democracy – at least as long as voters are informed and they are not being manipulated by insidious forces.
In one of the most striking political comebacks in U.S. history, the Republican Party marched in lockstep to victory in the midterm elections and seized control of the House of Representatives and state houses across the nation. Republicans made a battle plan, they disciplined their troops, and the corporations paid for the ammunition.
Unless the Democrats do something drastically differently during the next two years, the rich and powerful will cement their victory around the body of democracy and dump the barrel of freedom into the deep dark waters of cash politics where it will be lost forever.
For almost 40 years, the United States has waged a war on its own citizens who have used marijuana as a part of a drug culture originally encouraged by the government. The war was commenced despite the government’s own findings that marijuana posed less of a risk to American society than alcohol, and that the greatest harm that would result from criminalization would be the injury caused to those arrested for possession and use. The harm caused by the war extends beyond its 15 million prisoners; its cost has exceeded a trillion dollars, and it has benefited only those who profit from the illegal cultivation and sale of marijuana.
The industrial revolution has been driven for the past two centuries by the burning of hydrocarbons, first by coal in the Age of Steam, and then by oil and natural gas in the Age of Petroleum; however, as the flow of these fossil fuels slows down as demand goes up, ever-more-intrusive and massive extraction efforts increasingly threaten the progress of industrialization and the civilization it has produced.
Who cares that millions of children are suffering and dying around the world, in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Gaza, Sudan, the Congo, Colombia, and Mexico, and in the United States?
Why are American voters only given the choice of voting for members of the political, social and economic elite to be their president, rather than for leaders who care for and identify with the needs of ordinary people?
Do presidential candidates supplant their empathy with loyalty to the ruling elites, or do the elites only select pliable candidates with an absence of empathy?
The latest flap over Israeli housing construction in East Jerusalem has caused me to reflect upon the very deep and complicated feelings I have about the city.
I first passed through Jerusalem in December 1979 in an attempt to sneak into Tehran shortly after the American embassy hostages were taken. I returned two years later following the favorable verdict in the Holocaust Denial case and shared morning tea with Prime Minister Begin. In 1992, I testified in a trial there about the publication of the suppressed Dead Sea Scrolls and refused to identify my secret client. My last visit was in 2000 when my wife and I were married at Christ Church in the Old City on Valentine’s Day.
The political issue is not who has the greatest property rights in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Nor, is it whether the Palestinian people are more genetically related to the ancient Israelis who occupied Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, than are the Ashkenazi Jews who now control the Israeli government and who exercise great influence over U.S. policy.
The burden of taxation in the United States has been shifted from those who most benefit from our government to those who work the hardest and earn the least. This shrugging of responsibility is not only unfair, it fails to accomplish public policy goals required to move the economy out of recession and the environment out of crisis.
Uncorrected, the heavy burden of taxation borne by workers and small businesses today for the benefit of corporations and the wealthy elite will certainly lead to chaos and violence tomorrow.
It is time to discard our stupid and complex system of taxation and replace it with a smart and simple tax that balances the burden of taxation with the benefits of government.
Since entering service in 1974 with many technological innovations, such as computerized fly-by-wire control systems, user-friendly cockpits, and extended use of composite materials, 5,717 aircraft have been manufactured by Airbus, an European aerospace company. More than 5,100 Airbuses remain in service.
Not including losses attributable to terrorism, rebellion or military action, Airbuses have been involved in 23 fatal crashes causing the deaths of 2,584 passengers, crew members and people on the ground. In addition, there have been five nonfatal accidents causing 21 serious injuries.
While the overall number of accidents and fatalities are not disproportionate to the crash experience of Boeing aircraft, three of the Airbus crashes involved a separation of the composite vertical stabilizer (tail fin) from the fuselage. Five hundred, or one in five of the Airbus deaths, including 228 from Air France Flight 447, resulted from these three crashes.
What does a shootout at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., the confessions of a Khmer Rouge jailer and the murder of a Kansas medical doctor have in common? The answer is “children,” and how they suffer from being targeted and used by extremists to advance their own hateful agendas.
In 1981, acting as a public interest lawyer, I represented a Holocaust survivor who had been a 17-year-old boy when his entire family was murdered in Nazi concentration camps. We sued a group of radical right-wing organizations that denied the Holocaust and, as a publicity ploy, had offered a reward for proof it had occurred.
During the hearing in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, I asked, “If the Holocaust is a hoax, then where are all the children?” The answer was that the death camps were primarily industrial operations that worked prisoners to death, and children were quickly murdered because they were too young to contribute either their labor or body fat to the enterprise.
As commercial aviation becomes increasingly dependent upon computerized digital technology and less reliant upon hands-on human control, we have to consider the crash of Air France Flight 447 into the Atlantic Ocean, with the loss of all aboard, and other similar disasters in the light of our collective experience and expectations.
First flown in 1949 and introduced into passenger service in1951, the Comet was the first pressurized, jet-propelled commercial aircraft. Powered by four “Ghost” turbojet engines, the Comet was found to be fuel efficient above 30,000 feet and flew at almost 500 miles per hour, far faster than the most advanced piston-powered airplanes in service at the time.
Fear resides in all living creatures. It’s what keeps us alive down at the watering hole or out on the street.
The fear of crime strikes all who live with its dread, as well as those who are personally victimized. Fear keeps us from doing what we want to do; it causes us to distrust friends and to view strangers with prejudice; and it can trick us into trading freedom for a false sense of security.
Many of us have grown up with an expectation that we have the right to a comfortable existence and that with education and hard work we can achieve a better than average life. Such naiveté has been mostly dispelled. Familiar patterns have been disrupted-perhaps forever.
Billions are owed on student loans by graduates who can’t find a job. Millions of hard-working people are suddenly out of work and unable to sustain their dreams. They are saddled with massive credit card debts and unpayable mortgages, and they find little relief in new bankruptcy laws that deny them the chance to obtain a fresh start.
Among the wars currently being fought by the American government is one in which there can be no winners. Our prior law enforcement experiences warn us that the “war on terrorism” has spawned an internal “war on dissent” in which everyone loses.
Author William John Cox’s law enforcement career spanned 40 years, the early part of which was spent as a Los Angeles police officer and which included direct policing of both the riots and terrorist incidents in that city in the late 60’s to early 70’s. One of the first assignments given to author Coleen Rowley as a new FBI agent was to help in the processing and releasing of the numerous files improperly gathered by J. Edgar Hoover after the National Lawyer’s Guild won its FOIA lawsuits against the FBI in the early 1980’s. Continue reading →
When the Big Three CEOs recently descended on Washington in their fancy corporate jets with inflated egos and high hopes for a juicy piece of the government’s $8.6 trillion corporate welfare pie, they were sent home hungry to do their homework and to write an essay about how they plan to spend bailout funds.
Undoubtedly, the executives will travel business class when they come back this week; they will each have a business plan in hand, and Congress will give them $25 billion of taxpayer funds to gamble with. Equally without doubt, the money will be wasted, they will not learn from their mistakes, and they will be back again, and again, and again.
The Big Three have a track record of making really stupid decisions. Manufacturers have recklessly spent thousands of dollars per vehicle on advertising to convince drivers that they really want big gas-guzzling cars and trucks instead of the smaller fuel-efficient vehicles they really need. The car companies have foolishly peddled financing and leasing deals far beyond the financial means of their buyers, and they have vigorously opposed realistic fuel economy standards.