Thursday, December 20, 2007

PEACE RALLY October 27, 2007

Why the students believe this is so necessary:

l.) This is about peace more than anything. Yes the politics is is vital to participate if anyone is a member of this society...but i think above all.. the idea of peace needs to be more widespread.
2.) This valley has grown to be very closed minded. There are TONS of information out there about what is REALLY going on in this war, yet people choose to ignore it. I think many of the adults are very set in their ways...not saying that their minds can’t be changed...but i think it is easier and possibly more effective to reach the young people. It is scary to me that even my little sister will get to vote in the next presidential election. I have spoken to some of her friends and many of them don’t even know a single presidential candidate.
3.) I was at a party a week or so ago...and I was of course giving my two cents about politics and what not of today...and I actually heard a fairly intelligent young man tell me that he "was going to vote for Rudy Giuliani, since he's gonna win anyway". Yes those words actually came out of someone's mouth. It terrified me. It's all just fun and games right... it doesn’t even effect us right? WRONG. These are all poor excuses that people today use.
4.)When our boyfriends, and brothers, and sons, start getting drafted...then people will care. But we shouldn’t have to wait until that point...especially when there are so many lives dependent on it. Not just American lives...but the lives of innocent Iraqi's. We are spending our time over there...when it is not our place. What is our excuse? That there are terrorists....well, we all know that is bull. That they need our help? Well then why aren't we helping countries like Darfur...and Niger.... THEY need our help. Why don't we spend billions of dollars to help our OWN citizens that need it. This makes no sense to me. Our debt is growing and these people in power are creating an unsafe and unstable future for our generation and the generations to come...all while claiming that they are doing the complete opposite. I’m scared...and not of terrorism at all.. but of our own government. I want our rights and freedoms that this country was founded on to remain in place. America was a brilliant idea...but it has become so neo-conservative and politics have become so corrupt, and for some reason people choose to look the other way. Here is a statement I wrote about what I feel about peace.

People have spoken so highly about this revolution for peace. I won't speak of revolution, I will speak of evolution. I believe that the evolution of man is to become peaceful. It is to achieve the ability to coexist without threatening our own existence. War is preventing us from evolving, it is keeping us from reaching our full potential, and it is destroying brilliant minds and souls. We have come a long way since the creation of man. We no longer need to be savages against each other to survive. We have come a long way since those times, and we still have a long way to go. Regardless of the long path ahead of us, peace is achievable. Peace is natural. Peace is not created, but destroyed when war is created. My mission is to find peace. The first step is to destroy war, but these wars will continue to thrive as long as we fight fire with fire. We need not fight fire with fire just as we need not fight ignorance with ignorance. We need to fight this ignorance with knowledge. We need to fight war with peace. Knowledge is our weapon, peace is our war, and evolution will overcome.

There really is so much to say. I try to stay as politically active as I possibly can...but it really is hard with the little time I have. I have lived in this country my whole life...and I haven’t lived a sheltered stable life.

(Kendal DeBellis speaking)
My mom was a single mother with four girls...we saw how the system works. We were bankrupt...We were on welfare...We had no home... I know how America works...and I've definitely seen the corruption. I've watched my own mother get screwed over in so many ways by the system...I've seen the lack of support. I left home at 17. I work at least 50 hours a week just so I can go to college because I DO want to get an education and I DO want to make a difference in this world. I just wish that people would wake up to what is really going on all over the world and not just in their own home. I wish they could see how much money is spent on pointless things...when there are kids starving and families struggling.

And of all the things that money is wasted on...war is the biggest.

Agreed upon by: James Lyndsay, Katie Lindsay, Paul Kobayashi, and Britney Wachter.

Review of John Dean's book Private Reading Moments

by Minerva L. Williams

John Dean, the author of Broken Government, was top advisor with the former President Nixon’s administration. His book is published by Penguin Group, New York and copyrighted 2007. ISBN # 978-0-670-01820-8.

Dean states and gives specific examples in each chapter on how the Republican forty-year rule is impacting the executive, the legislative and the judicial systems of the United States. He concludes that our nation is in need of new Republican players. Dean suggests a massive housecleaning of inappropriate policies and renewed vigilance to reduce the possibility of this happening again.

The thesis of his writing is that the separation of power in the United States is quickly being diminished. His first book “Conservatives without Conscience” was explaining “what the administration was doing”; the second book “Worse than Watergate” was explaining “why they were doing it”. He calls this recent book the trilogy of the “consequences of right authoritarian thinking” and the effects of the government in the United States.

Now, Dean calls himself a registered Independent, having abandoned the Republican Party and cites it is no longer the conservative Republican “thinking party” that it use to be. He believes the party has been high jacked.

Dean warns that the current judicial system is slowly turning into a “federal like thinking clones” who walk in lockstep of the neo-conservative thinking, who know how to thoroughly manipulate the government, the media, the military and any other system that gets in its way. He stresses that the administration embeds “right thinking” authoritative soldiers in every aspect of the American systems. They rationalize any policy deficiency, rather than correct it. Their efforts may reverse a hundred years of civil and human rights written in the Constitution today in order for Bush to complete his ill devised mandates.

Deans’ supporting evidence, researched by an academic team at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln is supported by documents most individuals wouldn’t know how to access. His legal explanations are written in a college-textbook style and reflective of the years of legal counsel and examples he supplied to the leadership of the Republican Party. Citing three out of four Americans surveyed, while writing this book, “know the government is broken (hence the title) but “can’t explain specifics” and he says they base this “it is more of a feeling than the facts”.

Dean’s apparent disgust with the current administration is supported heavily with details designed for the frustrated moderate Republican, who knows U.S. policies are going the wrong way but not understanding exactly why. He believes that even the Moderate Democrat should “read his works not because of books sales” but because they too have a huge stake in our government. Dean believes that true Republicans should be downright disgusted once they acknowledge the details and consequences of the various failed policies this administration has initiated. He believes the current administration is able to propose and to executive their policies because people can’t believe “the blatant, absurdity and “dumbness” of what they are seeing.

Deans gives numerous examples, i.e. the decision leading to going to Iraq in the first place. He says long standing foreign allies, military leaders, CIA, FBI, and republican leadership were publically destroyed to even demonized when they disagreed with the Iraq policies.

He says even Kissinger, who is referred to as “a war monger by the Green political party”, calls this “a dumb war, the dumbest he has ever seen”. Call it Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest group of leaders he has ever witnessed. Dean questions whether or not even Nixon, who Dean counseled and considered the beginning of Republican failed authoritarian policies, would have agreed to going into Iraq. Leading Republicans, academicians, foreign leaders, financial magnates are cited and question where the voices of the American citizens are. And why aren’t the normal Joe and Judy Six Pack enraged? Dean believes the manipulation of the media, the news pundits and supporters of the authoritarian thinking leaders “calling it job security”, “patriotism” and “Christian rationalization” overwhelm protest thinking.

Dean says one of the problems with today’s politics is that it is riddled with “an authoritarian personality and behavioral style which dominates even the Republican leadership. The leaders are often called in and told “it is my way” and “I am the social dominator who will determine the direction of this party”. Those that step outside of this line of thinking will be eliminated. This is seen, Dean adds, whenever any Republican legislature steps out and speaks in opposition to Bush’s policies.

To date, he warns that Rudy Giuliani is the best example of this continuum for the 2008 presidential election and says that another four years of this kind of behavior will devastate the “democracy of United States.” Deans continues that we take a long look at all the Republican candidates and see who would best be a puppet to this neo conservative thinking and “that will be the one that administration will align with,” unless something doesn’t change. If one is questioning this, he asks that we seek the records, the policies, the behaviors and the comments by those who were in New York when Giuliani was mayor and especially the consequences leading up to and after 9/11.

In his section entitled, “Repairing Government, restoring the proper process”, Dean states

Frankly I hoped that Bush would let Libby off, as it would serve as aparticularly egregious conspicuous example of the republic double standard.The authoritarians do as say not as I do mentality voters understandhypocrisy and another solid abuse of process and power could only help the Democrats get back into the White house. Having watched the GOPevolution, as it embraces the radicalism of the authoritarian conservatism,slowly seeding control to most strident faction the authoritarian conservatismI can no longer recognize the party. These new conservative leaders havenot only sought to turn back the clock but to return to a time before theenlightenment when there were no clocks. As former President Al Gorenicely stated republicans have under taken assault on reason. Indeedthey have rejected their own reason philosophy by ignoring conservatismteachings based on well documented history about the dangers ofconcentration on powers. They have done so by focusing on the presidencyas the institution in which they wish to concentrate. The enormous powersof the federal government. Nixon led the way. And Reagan. Bush I andBush II learned from his (Nixon) mistakes. Nixon scowled as he scowledand secretly investigated his opponents in the name of national security;the GOP successors have smiled and reassured Americans they areoperating to protect them as they have proceeded to convert the Americanpresidency into elected monarchy with its own high counsel which was once knownas the federal judiciary.

Dean states that the problem with this kind of thinking is that the current Republican leadership doesn’t factor in the opinions and feelings of their conservative base, let alone the whole United States population. Neo-conservatives have their own agenda; will destroy any and all traditionalists and especially, liberal constituents in order to make their point. It is as though the government is being held hostage.

Dean refers to the 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul as the exception for Republican Party although he doesn’t believe he has a chance of winning the Presidential nomination.
As for the Democrats, he believes the Democrats most authoritarian candidate, Hillary Clinton, doesn’t have anything as strong as the neo-conservative republican equivalent. He doesn’t suggest however, that the Democrats become authoritarians, “Democrats just aren’t good at it and can’t stand the pressure that would ensue.”

So, what is the solution? He is personally effecting change by traveling, lecturing and speaking on “talk radio stations”. “Americans need to become more proactive towards their leaders, write, call, email, and complain about what they are seeing, hearing, reading and believing. Dean asks us to question the leadership’s responsibility toward American values and identify those thinking clones. He says this is not the “Republican way”. And the long term effect, he says, will be a young generation of more progressive issue related voters who will be more liberal abandoning both parties.

I saw this as the implied “Shock and Awe” being played on all Americans. Reading this work caused me to close the book and throw it across the room. I thought that this is a Republican speaking, not a “crazed left winger of the Green Party standing on a street corner in mismatched clothing towing a rusted red Radio wagon full of literature.” I was, however, to finish the read to discover who more about who is calling the shots and who are these members of this fundamentalist movement.

Caution – before reading, I suggest you will need to think about your concept of government and democracy. You will notice that Dean implies that “democracy” and “religion” often as reasons used to defend the current administration’s policies. One seeking an understanding of the political structure will find this a very disheartening but an informative read. This book is like looking into a mirror and seeing ourselves for what we really are. You get to see all the pimples and the ridges in between. I hope this piece will encourage bipartisan “Proactive” approach is key to solving the separation of church, state, federal, legislative and executive powers for those who still believe in democracy.

Minerva L. Williams is a marketing representative for CornerStone America (Encino); event planner for Mighty Thunder Web Design/Marketing. Her career as a journalist (The Voyager, Pensacola Times); an advertising representative, mature market spokesperson, Los Angeles Times; business writer (North Valley Business Journal); a Youth/African American education and outreach coordinator finds her a new resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, living with her fiancé Todd.

Book Review of Klein's 'the Shock Doctrine'

by Minerva L. Williams

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Metropolitan Books, Henry, Holt & Company, NY, NY. 576 pages, released Sept 18, 2007.

 ISBN-10: 0805079831 (hard cover)  ISBN-13: 978-0805079838 (soft cover).

Only a crisis actual or perceived produces real change, when that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depends on the ideas that are lying around--- Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman’s doctrine and the University of Chicago School of Business reference to “trickle down theory”, “free trade” and “shock and awe” are considered unpopular in most democratic circles. Could Klein be right that the fundamental position of “shock and awe” and showing how it is a 35-year old concept introduced in 1973 by international war criminal and dictator Augusto Pinochet’s in his take over of Chile by the consultation with the economist Milton Friedman (working for the CIA) is alive and well in 2007?

Klein, a Canadian author and journalist says she questioned the metaphor “shock and awe” and traced its origin. The theoretical findings lead her to Pinochet realizing that the Friedman had the inside track of overthrowing Salvador Allende, the President of Chile in 1973. The first overthrow had to come from the military guard for the removal from Allende. The second overthrow would come with the removal of power to a limited few and suspending the Constitution and “the way business was conducted” by controlling the handling the raw goods and capital to a controlled few.

Milton Friedman proposed the shock doctrine and it is not being fully revealed by the United State citizens but the Chileans have been aware since 1973.

“Shock and Awe” doctrine is the capacity to cause “disaster capitalism” which represents the privatization core and being an expenditure of before tax dollars to prevent the social and human right benefits to the poor and middle class and denying their availability for the public good. This goes back to the Reagan administration who utilized the extensive expenditures of the military to absorb tax dollars, decrease taxes to the wealthy 10% of the population and referring to this tax base as a process of “trickle down theory”. Reagan didn’t accomplish his mission. The Bush II Administration appears to be accomplishing what Reagan didn’t. Klein says we only have to look at the natural and planned disasters the neo-conservatives have had the opportunities to spend tax dollars to remove tax dollar usage for the public and common good. “You have the expenditure going to the controlled privatization groups who consume tax usage depleting social agencies or programs by referring to them as to ’socialized medicine and programs’,” Klein says. She continues that though the cold war has ended years ago, many Americans don’t want to be associated with the Russian cold war or Marxist policies.

There seems to be a play on words where the neo-conservatives refer to anything that doesn’t follow their doctrine as propaganda. The means to illustrate that we are moving into a “socialized” society often implies to most Americans that to do so is an abomination on democracy and freedom. However when we look more closely we see that these limited few are taking hold of awarded contracts that look more than democratic but socialized when you consider there are a few separate groups or “pirates” who provide the privatized services or products by being “gifted” or “winning” no bid contracts without competition and attaining the monopoly in services through a region. Well by definition alone, if no one else has the ability to bid, there isn’t any competition, and the awardees become the omnipotent supplier of the service or produce at any given price they choose, by definition you are devising a “socialized monopoly”.

With interest, a video that complements her book, made by Klein and Alphonso Cuaron, her co-producer, refers to how the “shock and awe” is found in the recent declassified CIA 1940’s medical and psychology studies funded in 1963 and 1983 interrogation manual on how to break or “softening” prisoners down to a child-like state or socially repressed.

Here I could vouch and say to the recent psychology classes I attended at CSUC, that these electro-shock treatments were used to break a psychologically disturbed person’s mind down to a blank slate allowing the doctor to imprint a more “healthy personality”, by erasing all terrible memories of the past. Shock treatment studies become a vehicle to studying what would it take to “remake” a person by shocking them into “the preferred” viable person.

The theory for the individual state is that the uncooperative individuals are first seized at a loud arousal (awakening) state, unexpectedly and in such a disruptive manner to cause unexpected chaos, confusion and anxiety. The person is immediately blinded with full light and then immediately thrown into darkness, aggressively physically handled, blind-folded, handcuffed, mouth taped, then hooded and rapidly removed from the known setting to another so that their orientation of north, south, east, and west is totally off. Sometimes medication is induced that numbs the captive from voluntarily moving their arms and legs. The person is not allowed to converse with other captors and feared into believing their captors are their enemies. Families are split up. By constantly moving the individual the subject isn’t allowed time to recover from the shock but is left in a state of anguish and frustration not knowing what to anticipate. Food, water, and medical attention are rationed. Constant and abrupt disruptive sleep is induced. Pain administration is intermittent through swats, beatings, fire hoses, pinches, cigarette butts (into the skin) hanging upside down and other awkward physical positions. Eventually the captured experiences mental, “water drowning”, and other psychological torture such as binding the person while hearing, seeing, or being directly near verbal and physical abuse on immediate family members or loved ones. The purpose of all of these administrative acts is to cause immediate resounding compliance from the witness. But how do you apply this to a nation of people?

Elevated through studies by Milton Friedman and his disciples, they recommended a collective trauma that would manipulate an entire nation’s economic outcome. This can be done by war, terrorist attacks, and military coupes, induced and natural disasters. Milton Friedman’s doctrine has been referred to as “trickle down theory”, “shock and awe” although unpopular in most democratic circles, it remains to be seen the overall effect of a countries’ economic long run progression.

According to Klein with larger controlled shocks efforts done simultaneously with the added dimension of fear (the unknown), the gradual diminishing of resources (taking personal property), and the awkward frustration of believing there isn’t any way out (isolation) but those solutions being offered by the “saviors” or leaders who ascend to the level of parent, guardian and protectors as the way of life not previously embraced. What the captors don’t realize is the leaders are causing the disruption of services and products which eventually become difficult to believe or denied by the captors even when revealed. Friedman, she adds, encourages political leaders, “it is then that you push the economic envelope imposing legislation before providing services to replenished people.

Klein doesn’t stop here, she provides historical examples of where these principals have been used: 1989 China "Tiananmen Square" human-civil rights; 1982 Falklands-UK, 1989 Polish-Russian work crisis, 1993 Russia financial crisis, 1994 South African redistribution, Tequila Crisis in Mexico, 2001 New York’s 9/11, 2004 Sri Lanka, 2005 Katrina land redevelopment crisis.

You believe you are reading a histopic future when she refers to the “green zone” in Iraq. You question whether or not it is a working sci-fi experiment going on where soldiers of fortune protect the city which has its own water, gas, electricity, pristine hospitals and living areas built by Bechtel while the area right outside of it is diminished to ruble, decay and desert. You begin to wonder did these residents buy their way out of the disastrous situation within hearing range? She asks as seen in areas of Iraq and in New Orleans, “what are their race and money by survival?” I wondered, “can you buy yours way out of a disaster, at what cost, and how long before the urgent experiment becomes a way of life?

But Klein continues that shock doesn’t last forever. The now late Nobel Prize laureate Friedman knew with time and healing, slowly the human spirit regains memory which is why it is so important to keep the psychological pressure on the population. Klein painfully warns that “that there is an urgent need that ideologies are married for the common good before it is too late”. When I sat back and analyzed all that she said, I too wondered, is the painful experiment taking shape in America while not only Iraq’s were shocked and awed but American are being shocked into a complacency or lulled into believing that there is a tomorrow for the rich, a tomorrow for the poor and a huge squeeze of the middle class and that Bush is really our savior?

I encourage you to read this book with an open mind for yourself and see if you find any parallels in her claims or have we “succumbed to the acute state of intellectual preparedness” that questions our strength of democratic conviction and acceptance of military brutal force for resources that can be diplomatically acquired when one trumpets the values of a free world.

Currently that same question is being raised right here in Castaic where the preservations of very expensive homes were doused with fire retardant so they wouldn’t burn. While lesser valued homes were left to the owners to fend for themselves.

Klein is a columnist for Nation Magazine, a journalist for the London Guardian Newspaper and the author of several other books: No Logo, Fences and Windows and the abridged audio book and audio CD versions of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism 2007 are available at ISBN-10: 1427200882; ISBN-13: 978-1427200884 respectfully.