Thursday, November 28, 2013


What does it mean to be thankful – thankful to whom?

Did it not come out of the deeply held religious belief that we should regularly express our appreciation and grateful thanks to Almighty God for all of His rich blessings we enjoy in this life?

As someone that has had more close calls with death than I care to think about, I never, upon awakening, get out of bed without giving thanks for being alive. Second to being alive, is the gift of truly being free. Such freedom is what fully allows thanksgiving, giving thanks, to be meaningful in all aspects of life.

In time, I can affirm, one becomes a living gift of thanksgiving, of giving thanks, that is shared with everyone and in behalf of all peace-loving gracious people.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What Does it Mean to Be Machiavellian?

If any of the readers happened to be following some of the thread conversations conducted in these past weeks with a couple of characters, democratic Jon and bolithio to be specific, on Eric Kirk's SoHum Parlance II, they run across several threads, you can well understand why this article in The Atlantic caught my attention:

 Machiavelli Was Right - The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care.

Once you read this article, you can fairly well see why their wanton bankrupt moral, ethical and spiritual assaults, they dissimulate so well, are justified in their minds and belief structures. Unfortunately, their way of thinking and believing are so well ensconced into the fabric of American society it leaves little hope for the people to right themselves. What's more, this all happens on a practicing lawyer's website without a word from him.

Here are two excerpts, one from the beginning and one from the end - hopefully enough to get you to read the whole article.
Machiavelli Was Right
The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care. 

You remember the photograph: President Obama hunched in a corner of the Situation Room with his national-security staff, including Hillary Clinton with a hand over her mouth, watching the live feed from the compound in Pakistan where the killing of Osama bin Laden is under way. This is a Machiavellian moment: a political leader taking the ultimate risks that go with the exercise of power, now awaiting the judgment of fate. He knows that if the mission fails, his presidency is over, while if it succeeds, no one should ever again question his willingness to risk all.

It’s a Machiavellian moment in a second sense: an instance when public necessity requires actions that private ethics and religious values might condemn as unjust and immoral. We call these moments Machiavellian because it was Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, written in 1513, that first laid bare the moral world of politics and the gulf between private conscience and the demands of public action.

The Prince’s blunt candor has been a scandal for 500 years. The book was placed on the Papal Index of banned books in 1559, and its author was denounced on the Elizabethan stages of London as the “Evil Machiavel.” The outrage has not dimmed with time. The greatest modern conservative political theorist, Leo Strauss, taught his students at the University of Chicago in the 1950s to regard Machiavelli as “a teacher of evil.” Machiavelli’s enduring provocation is to baldly maintain that in politics, evil deeds cease to be evil if urgent public interest makes them necessary.


He insisted that when tough or risky political decisions have to be made, Christian charity or private empathy simply will not serve. In politics, the polestar must be the health of the republic alone. Following the querulous inner voice or tacking to and fro when moralizers on the sidelines object is just weakness, and if your hesitations put the republic at risk, it is contemptible weakness. Machiavelli’s ethics valued judicious decisiveness in politics over the anguished search for rectitude.

So if we return to the Situation Room and to the decisions presidents make there, Machiavelli’s The Prince tells us the question is not whether one human being should have the right to make such terrifying determinations. The essence of power, even in a democracy, is to use violence to protect the republic. It matters to the very soul of a republic, however, that the violence used in its defense never be gratuitous. His is not an ethic that values action for its own sake. Machiavelli praises restraint when it serves the republic. It may even be advisable, for example, for the president to stay the order to dispatch cruise missiles to Syria if he cannot discern a clear target or a defensible strategic objective.

What he refuses to praise is people who value their conscience and their soul more than the interests of the state. What he will not pardon is public displays of indecision. We should not choose leaders who agonize, worrying about the moral hazards of the power they exercise in the people’s name. We should choose leaders who sleep soundly after taking ultimate risks with their own virtue. They are doing what must be done. The Prince’s question about the current president would be: Is he Machiavellian enough?

"Is he Machiavellian enough?" We know democratic Jon, Eric and bolithio are.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What Showed Up on the Internet Today.

This is from The Patriot Post:
'I Will Obey the Constitution'
and this is what turned up about the same time on Firedoglake:
Obama Admin Claims to Support Cellphone Unlocking but TPP Leak Shows Opposite

Here's an excerpt of both pages, first The Patriot Post:
“This is part of the theory of George Bush, that he can make laws as he goes along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution. I will obey the Constitution of the United States.” In case you needed a reminder, these words were spoken by none-other than then-Senator Barack Obama in May of 2008.
and from Firedoglake:

When you buy something from someone you own it, right? Not if President Obama has his way on cellphones. And by his way, I mean the telecom monopolies that pull his strings’ way. Cellphone unlocking, which allows owners to alter the phone they purchased and use it with other carriers should they so desire, is a front line issue on the fight for rational copyright laws. Telecom companies want the practice of unlocking a cellphone to lead to prosecutions and imprisonment because free competition somehow means government granted monopolies.

While the Obama Administration has publicly backed cellphone users rights to unlock their cellphones  – the information published by Wikileaks on the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) tells a different story.
The leaked treaty draft shows that while the White House was championing restoring free market principles to phones, the U.S. proposed that the TPP lock in the process that allowed the Librarian of Congress to rule this technology as illegal through international law. This would make potential reforms like H.R. 1892 impossible.* It should be noted that Canada did submit an amendment proposal that could allow unlocking, but neither the United States nor any other country supported it.
Surprise. The reason the Obama Administration wanted its TPP positions to be a secret is because they are lying to the public about them. The Most Transparent Administration in History© strikes again.

For the rest of the article continue here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not Our Country Anymore

This is a reprint of a letter written to the Times-Standard and published as a My Word on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by Eureka resident Robert Barker:

Our new ways in the right-wing USA nothing to feel patriotic about

That little chapel down the street is replaced by a megachurch. That small hardware store is now closed due to Home Depot or Lowes. That grocery store that was called a mom and pop place is gone and now stands a supermarket from some famous chain, Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, Ralph's, or Piggly Wiggly. 
That shoe repair shop we once went to, is replaced by shoes made cheap enough in China to buy new ones rather than re-sole. That small electronics store is replaced by a Radio Shack. The milkman and bread man, we had in the past is replaced by Stop and Go or convenience stores.

That policeman we once trusted to serve the nation kills first and asks why later.

Our “National Guard” that once defended the nation at home is now deployed with regularity.

Our beloved Postal Service has been put under the gun by right-wing conservatives that hate anything once or currently connected to the government even if it's been reliable for hundreds of years.

Our public school system, once the envy of the globe, is now rated low and unappreciated and underfunded by the right-wingers.

That trickle down we were told would occur to offset the wage freeze never trickled down and the middle class shrinks from that joke of an economic idea.

Racism is still with us even though the Supreme Court struck down much of the Voting Rights Act because they said there was no longer racism. They just needed to show up at a Tea Party rally and see the signs and racism is apparent. The experts said “Head Start” was the best program ever for poor children, but the right killed it or most of it, and the rest is set to die.

Private for-profit prisons where citizens are targeted and sent to jail for lower level crimes are now in vogue. We no longer claim to rehabilitate, we just incarcerate, due to the death of inmate rehabilitation, because the right says “punish, not rehabilitate.”

Our media -- which once held down the lies and propaganda through the “Fairness Doctrine”-- is now allowed to lie and keep us down through false information made to increase controls. Once a citizen was human and many died for this country but with the “Citizens United” decision corporations are considered human even though one has never died for this land in our history.

Welcome to the right-wing America, where billion dollar jets are built for wars, needed or not, but food stamps denied to hungry kids like it's the right thing to do.

Our world, at least here in America, has lost its philanthropic ways and has become more about right-wing religiosity, more about corporate gains and less about people gains, more cruel, stark and hateful.

We are not that country any longer, perhaps we never were, but our fascist, corporate ways are driving us to hell in a social sense faster than a speeding bullet.

We are willing to drone or bomb anyone we see as in our way. This is the New USA, the Koch Brothers' vision, becoming true -- and our populace's vision sinks into oblivion.

Robert Barker resides in Eureka.

This is about a well said as you can get. In view of the above, it begs the question, what now? More of the same certainly is not the solution. Maybe it's time to innovate.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Time for a Drone Moratorium in Eureka

This is what other cities and localities are doing about drones:

All Drone Politics Is Local
By: David Swanson Thursday November 14, 2013
What Localities and States Can Do About Drones

I'd say our time has come to move on this issue.
[Picture source]

Friday, November 15, 2013

Police War on the People Runs Full-Bore

I was greeted this morning, Friday, November 15, 2013 with following Times-Standard front page headline: Local law cheers feds' focus on Humboldt - Officials: 'High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area' designation to boost shared intel, resources

Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard - The Office of National Drug Control Policy on Thursday designated Humboldt County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, opening the door for more federal dollars and officers.

Once more the "Feds" co-opt the local police by handing out free money and god only knows what else.

Eureka is a town rife with people that, by the most part, drive like they live in a third-world country. And the EPD? Where are they? Call on the EPD for assistance, NOT a 911, call and what do you get? One friendly police officer ready to respond? Hardly. You get two in two patrol cars. Why two? Well, one is there to protect the other, they call it backup. Do they bring a friendly helpful presence with the implied threat? Not hardly. Consistently, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman says:
 "The situation in Humboldt County is critical and this designation will bring federal resources and expertise to the table to help safeguard the safety and welfare of Humboldt County residents." 
In reality, it will bring more violence. Notice this little blurb in the paper: "Officials seem to agree that when it comes to marijuana grows, it's the large-scale operations involving environmental violations and threats of violence that are the enforcement priority." What establishes a viable "threat of violence"? The fact the "Officials" attack these locations like a military special forces unit? That's bringing violence that actually threatens the safety and welfare of Humboldt County residents.
[Picture Source]

Friday, November 8, 2013

Passing the Baton

[UPDATE Below]

The Rest of the Story...

That's what I'd like to know.

All that was in the Thursday, November 7, 2013, Times-Standard newspaper was this picture and it's caption. Here's what it says:
New Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, left, and outgoing Chief Murl Harpham smile after Mills  was sworn in at the Adorni Center on Wednesday afternoon. Nearly all EPD officers and staff were on hand while Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies patrolled the city during the short event Mills thanked Harpham and the city officials and addressed his assembled force. (Emphasis mine)
There he stands, all spiffy in his new uniform. Actually he has about as much authority and legitimacy as Chief Garr Nielsen had as long as Murl Harpham and David Tyson are still around.

What did he say to his assembled force? Knowing what he had to say, should give everyone a fair idea what kind of a police force we should expect. Is he going to carry on enforcing Harpham's policies? The way he's grinning, I wonder if he hasn't already stacked the deck. There's blood on that baton.

So, how about it Times-Standard, what did  he say?

[UPDATE: Saturday, November 9, 2013] 
 It looks like I'm not the only one interested in more information about what we can expect from the EPD. More of the same or something new?

Here's a Letter to the Editor:
New chief warrants more coverage
Thank you for publishing a front page picture of the police chief change of command ceremony ("Passing the baton," Times-Standard, Nov. 7, Page A1). I was very disappointed that you did not have an accompanying story, including the script of the new police chief's remarks. It was an important ceremony for our community and I am sure your readers would have appreciated more coverage of the ceremony. -Minnie Wolf, Eureka

I know I would.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NSA Hammer?

UPDATE:  The link is now up and running. Very interesting article. Barack Obama's future may take a different sense of justice, rather than the "look forward, not backward" kind. He may very well wish he'd look "backward."

Under My Reader Blogs this popped-up:

When you click on the link or try to go to this what you get:

Error establishing a database connection

and this:

Error 503 Service Unavailable

Service Unavailable

Guru Meditation:

XID: 576600309

Varnish cache server

I'm guessing we know why?

Heretics and the Liberal

My thoughts...

I found this on truthdigChris Hedges on Christian Heretics
Sometimes some things are just worth repeating.


Robert Scheer: We had a debate at UCLA with you and Sam Harris and you’ve debated my old friend Christopher Hitchens on this question. And there’s a complexity to your view. You come out of the mainstream Protestant Church. Your father, who is a minister, is a man you had enormous respect for, championed gay rights, civil rights when it was not popular. And I just wonder, and I know you resent when I say you have a prophetic voice, since I know nothing about scripture I probably don’t know anything about prophetic voices, but nonetheless it does seem to me your strength and clarity comes out of your Christian background.

Chris Hedges: Yeah, without question. And what I’m willing to do, which the mainstream church is not, is to denounce the Christian right as Christian heretics [applause]. You don’t have to, as I did, spend three years at Harvard Divinity School to realize that Jesus didn’t come to make us rich [laughter]. And he certainly didn’t come to make Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen rich. And what they have done is acculturate the worst aspects of American imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, and violence and bigotry into the Christian religion. And again let’s go back to Weimar and the rise of Nazism. We saw the same thing in the so-called German Christian Church, which fused the iconography and language of Christianity with Nazism. It’s not a new phenomenon. It was the minority within that church, Bonhoeffer, Niemoller, Karl Barth, Schweizer who created the underground Confessing Church. And my great mentor at Harvard Divinity School, James Luther Adams [applause], was at the University of Heidelberg in 1935 and 1936 and dropped out and joined the Confessing Church. And when I had him in the early ’80s at Harvard, he used to tell us, he was certainly one of the most brilliant scholars I’ve ever studied with, that when we were his age we would all be fighting the Christian fascists. Because, he understood that the Weimarization of the American working class, essentially pushing your working population into utter despair and hopelessness, coupled with a religious movement that fused national and religious symbols, was a recipe for fascism. And I think the great failure of the liberal tradition that I come out of is they were too frightened and too timid to stand up. I don’t know why they spent all the years in seminary if they didn’t realize that when they walked out the door they were going to have to fight for it. And they didn’t fight for it. (Emphasis mine)


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The City of Eureka and Your Vote

On Friday, November 1, the Times-Standard front page was "Trick or Treat" -- "New chief in town" (Change of command ceremony for Mills slated for Wednesday)

On Saturday, November 2, the Times-Standard front page was "Dia De Los Muertos" -- "A different approach" (As Eureka searches for a new manager, some hope for more thorough vetting)

I thought both title pages were extremely appropriate for what's going on in Eureka. In Mills case as the new "vetted" police chief everyone can fully expect that they are "treat(ed)" to a bonafide "trick". The selection of these two important people for Eureka is proving to be quite appropriate for a Day of the Dead. As I recall after former City Manager David Tyson, EPD Murl Harpham and his cadre of supporting officers managed to get a majority, if not all of the City Council to agree, after a successful campaign, got rid of Police Chief Garr Nielsen we, the citizens of Eureka, were fed a trough of soul-satisfying pablum.  Couple that with the abrupt resignation of the City Manager Bill Panos, leaving no one accountable for the hiring of Andy Mills, another big city cop for Police Chief.

The pablum? Definition: "trite, naive, or simplistic ideas or writings; intellectual pap." That's what we were all fed when the City Council offered to have meetings where we could have some meaningful input about the quality, qualifications and type of new chief. Andy Mills was vetted alright, by Murl Harpham. I think everyone knows what we can expect from Andy Mill, not withstanding all the hype -- status quo.

Same thing goes for the new City Manager. So, Voters, how much say did you have in the selection or future selection of these very important people? Has the City Council demonstrate in any way shape or form to the people of Eureka that they met their concerns in Andy Mills. So he walks the streets, so what? When I call for assistance from the EPD and I'm not talking about a 911 call either I certainly do not want to bring violence to my door and be threatened. But, that's exactly what happens.

I'd say you all had quite a lot of say when you voted in the current crop of council members. You can be sure they all will tell us what to do and how to do it.

So, buckle up! It looks like Eureka is in for quite a ride.

About the picture? I found it on the Humboldt Sentinel - DEA Arrogance and Stupidity. I thought it appropriate for this article, and the current state of affairs.