Falsifying Reality: the Road to Power

[George] Orwell saw, to his credit, that the act of falsifying reality is only secondarily about changing perceptions. It is, above all, a way of asserting power.” – Adam Gopnik.* Here’s an example from my congressional district.

Big money for Erik Paulsen‘s re-election is pouring in from PACs, special interests, and federal lobbyists. Dean Phillips refuses dark money. Ads like the one below are funded by small donations from little guys like me who don’t like falsifying reality.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, courtesy of the coffee shop wifi, 20 minutes away from the cabin by the wetland, September 19, 2018.

*Adam Gopnik is author of “Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Trump’s America” Click the LINK.

Thanks to William (Bill) Britton’s Wisdom from the Margins: Daily Readings for bringing my attention to the quotation, one of several by Gopnik, Thomas Merton, Noam Comsky, and the Apostle Paul (“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind”). Bill’s daily menu is worth the price!

Verse – Just a Common Man

I’m sleeping on sheets with 2,000 thread count.
My cars and my toilets all have heated seats.

My steaks are all prime & my pies are home-made.
My wife is a beauty & loves to be laid.

My pilot, my driver, my cook and my maid
All think I’m as perfect as a boss can be.

I earned what I have the old-fashioned way:
My parents were rich and gave me a start.

They helped when I failed, and cheered when I won.
We bought all the votes in the biggest landslide
Our State ever saw–ain’t democracy great?

  • Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, April 10, 2016

Disingenuous Endorsement Tactic

Video

Moments after posting a proposed list of questions for tonight’s debate moderators, Views from the Edge found this video. This video exposes the corporate lobbying connections of the PAC that claims to speak for the Congressional Black Caucus. Decide for yourself.  Rep. Keith Ellison is a friend who served as Executive Director of the Legal Rights Center in Minneapolis before becoming a Minnesota legislator, U.S. Congressman, and Bernie Sanders supporter.

Moderator questions for tonight’s debate

If we could whisper in the ears of tonight’s Democratic Presidential Primary Debate moderators, we suggest a few questions. Since we don’t have their ear, we print the questions here for the millions who read Views from the Edge.

Question for both Sen. Sanders and Secretary Clinton:

You both support action on climate change. Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court put a halt to President Obama’s climate change regulation, an action that places the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in jeopardy. If you were President today, what actions would you take?

Question for Secretary Clinton:

Senator Sanders’ campaign announced it has raised 6 million dollars following Monday’s win in New Hampshire, all from small donations. During this same period your campaign has sent fundraisers to Mexico City. After all the discussion about campaign finance reform and Senator Sanders’ refusal to accept such money, doesn’t the Mexico fundraising trip substantiate the criticism that your campaign depends upon, and is beholden to, big money?

Question for Senator Sanders:

This week you met with Rev. Al Sharpton in New York. Meanwhile, John Lewis was belittling your claim to involvement in the civil rights movement and announced that the Congressional Black Caucus PAC has endorsed Secretary Clinton. Rep. Keith Ellison, one of Congress’s most progressive African American leaders serving as Vice President of the Congressional Black Caucus, sent out a tweet explaining that the Caucus has NOT endorsed a candidate, and that the action was taken by a PAC separate from the Congressional Black Caucus. What will it take for you to win the votes of African Americans?

Question for Secretary Clinton:

Secretary Clinton, you say that Senator Sanders would undo the Affordable Care Act and start all over to implement a program of universal health care. But Senator Sanders has argued to replace the Affordable Care Act by expanding Medicare to cover all people regardless of age. Medicare already exists. Do you stand by your statement, and if so, why?

Question for both candidates:

Nicholas Kristof’s op-ed piece in the New York Times cites a Gallop Poll from a year ago measuring American biases as they affect electability. According to the poll,  50% said they would not vote for a socialist. Only 60% said they could support an atheist. It’s now one year later and Senator Sanders came from 50 points down in Iowa to a virtual tie, and won the New Hampshire primary by 21 points. How do you explain these results – was the poll mistaken or have we changed that much in one year?

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Moderator, Nobody’s Listening Broadcasting System (NLBS), Chaska, MN, Feb. 11, 2016.

 

 

 

 

Call it regressive, call it progressive…

….or call it conservative. Call today’s message what you will….:

citizens-united“President Obama is ‘strongly considering’ signing an executive order against secret money in elections – and could announce this action as early as this week!

“This executive order is the single biggest thing the President can do on his own to fight back against Citizens United. With the stroke of a pen, he could require companies that have contracts with the federal government — which include a huge number, if not most, of America’s largest corporations — to disclose their political spending.” -People for the American Way (PFAW).

Taking elections back from big money – PACs that allow dark money to hide in secret contributions that sway voters with costly television, internet and print media campaigns – is a conservative or even a regressive (as in, returning to a former state) agenda that restores the electoral process to the people  themselves. It’s a progressive idea that restores and conserves the integrity of the Constitution.

I signed on the PFAW petition to President Obama. Constitutionally speaking, I may be right or I may be wrong to support the proposed executive order. But it seems like a no-brainer for anyone who cherishes the idea of a real democratic republic of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Thanks for coming by for two cents worth one.

-Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 8, 2016

 

Four Big Questions – I don’t “get” it

I don’t get it. Or maybe I do, but don’t want to.

Some things jade a person’s spirit.  Like the poisonous, partisan punditry that made a lot of noise responding to last night’s State of the Union Address. Blah, blah, blah; blah, blah, blah!

“I don’t get” why, or how, a thoughtful listener could disparage the FOUR BIG QUESTIONS that framed the President’s speech. 

► “How do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in this new economy?”

► “How do we make technology work for us, and not against us – especially when it comes to solving urgent challenges like climate change?”

► “How do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?”

► “How can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?”

In the run up to the 2016 Presidential Election, President Obama’s last State of the Union Address spelled out the philosophical-ethical questions that every candidate should be asking and answering. Will we, the citizens – the voters – take the cue? Will we test every candidate for President, the Senate, and House of Representatives to assure ourselves that they “get it”: governing in the United States of America requires thoughtful reflection on complex matters that do not lend themselves to simple solutions or demonizing an opponent.

If we, the people,  don’t “get that”, it won’t be because we can’t. It will be because we prefer the poison of partisan blah, blah, blah.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Jan. 13, 2016.

 

 

Donald Trump’s Bible

“Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.” —Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.” —Will Rogers

61c82479a4d640ef3fed3bcfaca3cd16“That’s it! You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!” Homer Simpson.

“It takes two to lie: one to lie and one to listen” Homer Simpson.

“It’s not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day.” Homer Simpson.

“When will I learn? The answers to life’s problems aren’t at the bottom of a bottle, they’re on TV!” – Homer Simpson.

Bart: “Grandpa, why don’t you tell a story?” Lisa: “Yeah Grandpa, you lived a long and interesting life.” Grandpa: “That’s a lie and you know it” Grandpa Abraham Simpson [Loser]

“Life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead” – Homer Simpson on his religious neighbor Ned Flanders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shall the meek inherit the earth?

The meek shall inherit the earth, according to the fourth Beatitude of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth” [ Gospel of Matthew 5:5].

Will they?

And, if they will, what kind of earth will they inherit? Will it be worth inheriting?

Will there be….

As in the rest of Jesus’ teachings, the contrary value system of the powerful, the rapacious, and the vested interests is turned on its head. The prevailing fourth beatitude then and now is different, the beatitude that parades under the cover of freedom from government interference:

“Blessed are the indomitable, for they will have title to the planet.”

This morning’s story “Dayton, safety rules get blasted” [StarTribune, p. 1], is a local illustration of the two sets of beatitudes playing themselves out in American public life.

The Minnesota Legislature is muscling in on the power of state agencies in a broad effort to assume more influence on everything from from water quality to health and safety regulations.

A  coalition of Republicans and DFLers from the Iron Range and rural districts say regulators are socking businesses and cities with burdensome, expensive rules in order to keep Minnesota’s water clean of sulfates, phosphorus and other contaminants.

What will be left of the Earth by the indomitable may not be worth inheriting. The StarTribune article goes on to quote a South Saint Paul legislator at a recent hearing, which makes the connection between the need environmental protection and the need for campaign finance reform. “The pollution in the system is money.”

However that may be, one thing is clear. No one owns a planet.

Only the meek deserve the inheritance we’re now wasting — the Earth to which no one owns title.

– Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, Minnesota, March 11, 2015