Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fighting Corporate Power
Jim Hightower, photo by Robin Holland
Jim Hightower

April 30, 2010--Jim Hightower's homepage lists him as "America's #1 Populist" and he likes to be known for his actions as a "populist agitator."

Hightower wants America to regain the strength of those populist agitators who fought corporate power in the late 19th century:
"We owe them imitation.
We owe them the continuation of that spirit that we do not have to just accept what is handed to us.
We can battle back against the powers.
But it's not just going to a rally and shouting.
It's organizing and it's thinking.
And reaching out to others.
And building a real people's movement."
But what is populism?

When it's defined as grassroots democracy at its best, both sides of the political spectrum are happy to grab the mantle.

But both sides run from the label when it signifies rabid, unreasoned anger.

The COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW lambasted the term's use in the 2008 campaign season: "Before this gets out of hand, big media needs to stop using the word 'populist' to describe Democrats' economic programs and their appeals to voters....

Reporters and headline writers don't need to be historians-on-deadline to know that the word 'populist' has no widely agreed-upon definition, but plenty of negative associations."

 Those associations include negatives, "anti-capitalist and backward-looking," and perhaps positives, "reformist, anti-elitist, and yes, anti-big business."

The label populist has only grown in use since the election. David Broder praised Sarah Palin for "her pitch-perfect populism" on the op-ed pages of THE WASHINGTON POST.

A recent NEWSWEEK photo essay on American Conservative Movements used the word populist in its introduction but didn't actually include the 19th century movement among the Know-Nothings, Dixiecrats and Tea Parties.

The progressive magazine MOTHER JONES, also evaluated the movements labeled populism in "Why Bank Rage Is Not Populism."

What passes for populism today, says author James Ridgeway is way too weak for the label because "It's directed at the worst excesses of the system, not at the system itself."

In 2008 Bill Moyers talked with historian Nell Irvin Painter about the Gilded Age of the late 19th century—and what some contend is the second Gilded Age of today.

In the 19th century discrepancies in income and power fostered the populist movement. In her conversation Nell Painter talked about populism then and now—and how the image it suggests is more often than not, off the mark:
It sounds as if people who are throwing "populism" around are throwing it around as a dirty word.
And if it is a dirty word, they don't know what they're talking about.
I think they think it's a dirty word, because it pits Americans against each other, as if we would all be hand in hand if it weren't for populist agitators..
They're probably talking in very veiled terms about class issues. Class is the dirty little secret in the United States.
Populist cartoon WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY defines "populism" as "a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people."

THE COLUMBIA ENCYCLOPEDIA traces the term more narrowly to "U.S. history, political party formed primarily to express the agrarian protest of the late 19th century."

A party with goals of: "free coinage of silver, abolition of national banks, a subtreasury scheme or some similar system, a graduated income tax, plenty of paper money, government ownership of all forms of transportation and communication, election of Senators by direct vote of the people, nonownership of land by foreigners, civil service reform, a working day of eight hours, postal banks, pensions, revision of the law of contracts, and reform of immigration regulations."

Famed "people's historian" Howard Zinn also portrayed the actual populists as examples well worth following:
"The word Populism came into being in the late 1800s, 1880, 1890, when great corporations dominated the country, the railroads, and the banks, and these farmers were victims of them.
And these farmers got together and they organized north and south, and they formed the Populist movement. It was a great people's movement. And they sent orators around the country, and they published thousands of pamphlets. And it was, I would say, a high moment for American democracy."
Find out more about Jim Hightower and populism now and then below and tell us on the blog: Are you a populist?

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, SWIM AGAINST THE CURRENT: EVEN A DEAD FISH CAN GO WITH THE FLOW, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be—consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International.

Each month, he publishes a populist political newsletter, "The Hightower Lowdown," which now has more than 135,000 subscribers and is the fastest growing political publication in America.

The hard-hitting Lowdown has received both the Alternative Press Award and the Independent Press Association Award for best national newsletter.

He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places:They've Stolen Our Country And It's Time To Take It Back; If The  Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Given Us Candidates; and There's Nothing In The Middle Of The Road But Yellow Stripes And Dead Armadillos.

His newspaper column is distributed nationally.

Hightower was raised in Denison, Texas, in a family of small business people, tenant farmers, and working folks.

A graduate of the University of North Texas, he worked in Washington as legislative aide to Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas; he then co-founded the Agribusiness Accountability Project, a public interest project that focused on corporate power in the food economy; and he was national coordinator of the 1976 "Fred Harris for President" campaign.

Hightower then returned to his home state, where he became editor of the feisty biweekly, The Texas Obsever.

He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before running for statewide office and being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).

Fox News Rallying Cry:
Get your facts first, then you can
distort them as you please.
Mark Twain


Friday, September 19, 2014


OMG! Congress! You went freaken 
 But, what about your instructions
 to watch that guy in the

Thursday, September 18, 2014

         Hey, police!
         Quit killing all our UNARMED black teens.

        You're killing our profits!
               --U.S. Prison-Industrial Complex

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dot Calm's shadow here...

Have you heard that Missouri is imposing a 72-hour waiting period on women seeking abortions?

No exceptions for rape or incest.

Why don't we impose the same restrictions on buying a gun that we do on abortion?

Here are three:

1. You wait 72 hours before you can get a background check to buy a gun.

2. You can only buy a gun from a doctor with hospital admitting privileges in a clinic that virtually qualifies as a hospital.

There may only be one such facility in your state (e.g., Mississippi); if you're too poor or too young to drive or fly elsewhere, try a coat hanger.

3. You undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound (i.e., first, we slut shame you; then, we stick the probe up your arse to see if we can find your brain).

Add your own; then go lobby Congress!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Wow! Look at this! The armed services sharing their crap with local law enforcement.

That's how we got to see that tank rolling down Main Street in Ferguson, an average American small town.

This should put an end to any thought of demonstrating for anything. Women's Rights? Send a letter. Gay Rights? Don't try it. Middle class rights? Sorry. And any other rights you think you're entitled to...don't demonstrate! Not unless you own a gas mask. You just know noxious gasses were part of the cache.

So, it looks like the next move is up to armed America.

They don't have tanks...yet!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What is the 1033 program?

The Department of Defense launched the 1033 program in 1997 as a way to let state and local law enforcement stock up on excess US military equipment, free of charge. 

Among the items available are vehicles (land, air, and sea), weapons, computer equipment, fingerprint equipment, and night-vision equipment.

“If your law enforcement agency chooses to participate, it may become one of the more than 8,000 participating agencies to increase its capabilities, expand its patrol coverage, reduce response times, and save the American taxpayer’s investment,” the Pentagon’s Law Enforcement Support Office says on its website.

Ferguson: How Pentagon’s '1033 program' helped militarize small-town police

The Pentagon’s ‘1033 program’ has provided billions of dollars in military equipment to law enforcement agencies across the country. Critics say this militarization of local police needs to change.

By Linda Feldmann, Staff writer

WASHINGTON—September 11, 2014--The images out of Ferguson, Mo., population 21,000, have been stark: heavily armed officers in combat gear, some atop armored vehicles, firing rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.

The rioting this week over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager has subsided, after the  Missouri State Highway Patrol took over security operations.

But public focus remains on why the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death spiraled into mayhem, and on how it could have been prevented.

Exhibit A is a phenomenon widely criticized across the political spectrum, from the Heritage Foundation to the American Civil Liberties Union: the militarization of policing in America.

A key element of that trend is the Pentagon's “1033 program,” which allows police forces to acquire excess military equipment.

Here’s an explanation of how the program works, and a proposal to change it.

What’s behind creation of 1033?

The program was originally launched to aid communities in the “war on drugs.”

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, local law enforcement could also receive grants from the new Department of Homeland Security to help communities defend against terrorist threats.

What’s the value of the equipment?

Since the program’s inception, DOD has transferred more than $5.1 billion worth of property to state and local law enforcement.

Last year alone, almost $450 million worth of equipment was transferred.

What has Ferguson received from 1033?

Ferguson police last October received “nontactical” equipment via the 1033 program, including two unarmored Humvees, a trailer, and a generator, according to a Pentagon official speaking to ABC News.

The armored vehicle seen in many images out of Ferguson on Wednesday was not a military vehicle and did not come from DOD, the official told ABC.

“There’s no information yet about what other tactical equipment the Ferguson Police Department may have received, the official said, but a complete list of the equipment provided to St. Louis County by the DOD shows the types of weapons being distributed: six .45-caliber pistols, 12 rifles, two sight reflexes, one explosive ordnance disposal robot, one helicopter, seven utility trucks, three trailers, one motorized cart, one pair of elbow pads, one pair of knee pads, one industrial strength face shield, two night-vision viewers, and computers,” ABC reports.

Ferguson is located in St. Louis County.

What have other communities received from 1033?

Last October, Oxford County in rural western Maine agreed to take a “bulletproof, explosive-resistant armored personnel carrier, courtesy of the US military,” according to the Bangor Daily News.

Six other law enforcement agencies in Maine were also set to receive Navstar Defense MaxxPro Mine Resistant Armor Protected vehicles.

“The Western Foothills of the State of Maine, primarily the Oxford County area as well as the area surrounding Oxford County, currently face a previously unimaginable threat from terrorist activities,” Oxford County Sheriff George Cayer said in a six-page memo cited by the newspaper.

Last August, police in Lewiston, Me., had a gathering in a park for National Night Out to show residents the department’s newest acquisitions: a robot and an armor personnel carrier.

A police sergeant said the new vehicle would be useful in rescue and hazardous-materials situations, the Lewiston Sun Journal reported.

Isn’t it smart to recycle?

“Taken at face value the program makes a certain degree of sense,” writes Christopher Ingraham in the Washington Post.

“Military equipment that would otherwise be destroyed instead gets diverted to cash-strapped local law enforcement agencies.”

But in some cases, the program may be a money loser.

Heavily armored tactical vehicles known as MRAPs cost about $10,000 each to destroy where they are–say, Afghanistan–but $50,000 to transport to the US, the Post reports.

How do members of Congress want to change the 1033 program?

Rep. Hank Johnson (D) of Georgia plans to introduce legislation changing 1033 in September, when Congress gets back from recess.

For starters, he wants to decouple the program from the war on drugs, which is in flux.

Congressman Johnson would also limit the transfers of certain types of military equipment that he believes are not appropriate for local law enforcement, such as armored vehicles and large-caliber weapons.

“It's not yet clear how much support Johnson's proposal will receive,” writes Philip Bump in the Washington Post.

“If it passes, however, it could mean a gradual scaling back of military-grade equipment owned–and therefore used–by local police forces.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

She ran into his fist.


Have a bunch of towel heads brought us to our knees?

Can't we throw some of the crap at them we have left over from the cold war?

The Palin family was asked to leave the party after Track Palin, 21, allegedly attacked another party guest who had previously dated his younger sister, Willow Palin, Thompson said.
Was that Trick...Track...or Truck? Nevermind.

“I heard Sarah Palin yell do you know who I am?
Pray tell, you moron, just who do you think you freaken are?

All of us could not believe it.
What? That she could have been our Vice President? Scary, eh?

We thought we were watching an episode of Jerry Springer,” he added.
Oh, don't bad mouth Jerry's show.

Anchorage police said members of the Palin family were attending a party at the home Saturday night when a fight erupted outside.
Was liquor involved?

They declined to provide further details.
Was our Sarah finally speechless?

“I gave a statement to police; my wife did and like 10 other people did,” Thompson said.

Sarah Palin made no mention of the alleged altercation in an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity Show” Thursday night.
It wasn't alleged to those licking their wounds.
Don'tcha just gotta love the world according to Fox?

The Palin family could not be reached for comment.
They sat huddled in their igloo.
Thanks, McCain, ever so much for loosing this moron on us!

Why on earth did you ALL vote against the
What part of the Act do you object to?

Governor McDonnell...

Some helpful advice once you get to the BIG HOUSE.

On group shower day, DON'T DROP THE SOAP!

And if you do,

You're much too pretty
and you don't want to become some inmate's