Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Caution Phenylketonurics!

Beware Phenylketonurics, diet sodas may offer more than you're in for. Yes, that's right, the ingredients which make diet soft drinks 0 calories may cause some a doozy. While visiting a friend, he began to stammer as he attempted to read the ingredient of a bottle of Diet Pepsi MAX. Fen-ee-lik-a-a-torunurics! Contains Phenylalanine! I was immediately intrigued and soon saw the strange ingredients indicated separately from others in bold text.

Upon research, I discovered the Phenylalanine secret was a particular amino acid. Too much can hurt those with PKU syndrome, a protein deficiency disorder. Such is the same product in artificial sweetener. While it may not seem as serious as I imagined at first, the Phenylalanine still holds scary secrets.

I can only imagine what those words signified. I concluded I could not trust such a diet soda, formatted so strikingly, all without much knowledge of the tongue twisting elixir. The 0 calorie feat was still amazing me and I wondered how any non-pure water substance could carry such a trait. The magic of artificial preservation allows it.

As Pepsi Co. introduced a new way to destroy people's arteries with unsafe ingredients, much like the high fructose corn syrup found, heavily used in beverages in the United States. Whether its Phenylalanine or Red Dye #40, a boycott is needed to rid to our nation of soft drinks and artificial beverages!

America's Man on Fire

This recently made film starring Denzel Washington portrays the new American hero as amoral and ruthless in seeking justice. Sure, our nation's had its fair share of Scarface or Robocop films, but Man On Fire, with its hard ball ethnocentric attitude sets a new level of grotesque. Particularly, its glamorization of U.S. government CIA torture sends a chilling message.

Now, Americans are lauded for tortuous actions abroad, and again posited as the real victim in a spree of all-encompassing evil. The film markets violence as cool and necessary to combat evils from the outside, lurking behind our every step. Denzel, "Creasy", is praised for his bold actions in trying to save a kidnapped child he bodyguards. At the same time, he acts harshly and without invoking any due process of law, he tortures and kills suspected crime runners. What kind of message does this send our people? That we should defend our government on the use of torture as a just means of "protecting" the vast and impenetrable continent of America?

Since the USA joined the bad guys' team and lost any moral high-ground once held sacred, we are asked to sign up for a system with little beneficial results and all the risks.

America does not have to accept the Man on Fire wolrd, but perhaps sentiment has already gone ablaze.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Robert Walter & Friends

The great jazz organist Robert Walter lays down some lines with Greyboy Allstars bandmates Chris Stillwell and Aaron Redfield. Recorded at Cervantes', Denver, Colorado, on July 4, 2008.

Ralph Nader Comes to Town

The church hid under a patch of oak trees dipped amidst the rolling hills of Austin, Texas. Little seemed unusual, albeit the few gathering outside and entering the sanctuary to hear a message about spirit without religious invocations. Yes, Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader came to the liberal haven of Texas, and along with his VP mate, former San Francisco City Supervisor, Matt Gonzales, made a poignant pitch for the presidency. The settings were bare; the Trinity Unity Methodist Church hosted the event in the Hyde Park neighborhood north of the University of Texas campus. The 1950s style low ceiling and wide floor plan made the event feel of intimacy and brought the crowd often within bumping distance from another. Such were the conditions for the evening. Some sat patiently while others fidgeted, trying to withstand the anxious wait for the addresses of the balloted Independent team.

Matt Gonzales was introduced and approached the crowd with a sense of pragmatism and intensity around legislation which defined the ever-turning destructive globalist and pro-war faction of the Democratic Party. He frequently painted Barack Obama as a failure of liberal dogma, appeasing corporations while encouraging domestic spying, all the meanwhile claiming he was the "people-funded" candidate with an open mind to change. The event's guests echoed Gonzales' grievances against Obama's continual policy opinion shift, particularly in foreign policy. Obama's muddled strategy but definite position on protecting Israel at all costs from Iran came out as a major point of contempt. Gonzales hit hard with a comprehensive speech about the absurd giveaways of mining rights on federal public lands to major oil companies, as well as the major subsidizing the federal government doles out every year to the highest grossing companies in the world. Furthermore, the young and inspiring Vice Presidential candidate raised in McAllen, Texas, of the Rio Grande Valley, spoke on the military industrial complex and the corrosion of democracy through executive branch power grabs. The skillful pragmatist slowly and carefully spoke, adding reassurance to the crowd, but bafflement at the current state of affairs. He condemned the Democrat Congress for increasing appropriation bills spent for the War in Iraq from $87 billion in 2004 to now more than $180 billion for 2009. Gonzales is a strong advocate for Cindy Sheehan in her independent San Francisco Congressional campaign against Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has continually funded U.S. wars abroad.

Ralph Nader was greeted by loud applause and fondly received by the crowd for his witty and philosophical oratory. He began by quoting Greek philosopher Cicero on democracy and spoke on the poor standard of justice now held by our federal government. His message focused on morals and the ability of the people to govern as a cohesive and powerful group. He waned about the loss of independent culture, the proliferation of corporate conglomerates controlling American culture, the needless and intrusive deeds of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act and the destruction of our political freedoms. Nader claimed that although Americans have not lost their personal freedoms to travel and spend their time and money how desired, civic freedom is almost now non-existent. Without a fair media and open debates to all candidates, much of what was fought for is now lost, lest the Congress reclaim its uniquely influential power for the people. The consumer rights activist advocated an end to domestic spying, an immediate end to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nader especially fixated on combating corporate corruption and greed, an area he claims has had little accountability under the Bush Administration. As a crusader for the average citizen, Nader passionately argued the abuses of power by the executive branch as well as culpability in the Congress led the nation to the current economic and cultural crisis.

The aging gentleman from Connecticut recounted some of his own battles against corporate abuse and praised the Freedom of Information Act as an extremely important measure of his lifetime. He joked about those who claim his candidacies in the past have spoiled possible Democrat victories. He noted that his ballot appearance in Florida actually helped Al Gore in the amount of votes per precinct. Nader slammed the corporate media as lackeys for the government, and with well articulated remarks lamented the state of American culture, especially in the rise of an uneducated middle and worker class.

His aura emulated of a charming youthful man with a dedicated mission to fight for justice. Unlike President Bush, whose entire political career will only number 14 years by its end next January, Nader brings over 40 years of experience, knowledge and the wherewithal to survive the hardships of the presidency. His message is convincing, his rhetoric is based on principle, and his personality awakens a public hungry for a new attitude of civic participation and the imagination needed to inspire a generation.

While Ralph Nader may carry baggage as a big government advocate, his attitudes on the most crucial issues, mainly the military industrial complex, voting machine fraud, the war on drugs, especially on marijuana, hits well with a crowd tired of backtalk and treasonous disloyalty from Washington. Perhaps our First President, the good George, would have admired Mr. Nader, or even been his friend. While Washington may have not agreed with Nader's socialistic ideas of market regulation, Nader would be trusted and held esteemed by our founder in these times of rampant corruption. A candidate for a scaled back military and fiscal restraint, rule of law, social activism, and peace, the often mislabeled and unfairly slandered Nader continues his crusade.

Nader expressed optimism about his recent 6% polling numbers and conveyed satisfaction at the possibility that he could debate the two major party candidates on Google, this September in New Orleans. Also, the Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Bob Barr, recently polled similar numbers. As for McCain and Obama, not many at this rally saw much difference between the two puppets. Convinced of the loss of the United States' Constitution’s Bill of Rights, this gathering remained somber while still flexing flares of exuberant enthusiasm calling to regain the nation.

Perhaps the whole city of Austin is not yet catching on to the cry to regain our governments from the corrupt centers of back-room dealing, double-talk and the feeding of the media with government lines to be sold as truth. Eerily similar to George Orwell's 1984 reference to the "Ministry of Truth", many now see the corporate-government-media collaborative takeover of our society, Mussolini's preferred model, as the reign of a propagandist regime based on bold faced lies. With such distraught and rampant absence of justice, many ask what is to be done. Ralph Nader may not have all the answers, and certainly leaves out details of his complete plans, but he is an independent progressive voice who can be heard out for his good intentions and can use the opportunity to carve out a more open and active democracy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Annihilation of History and Law

When George W. Bush campaigned for the presidency in 2000, his message of limited government principles overcame one of the time's most primed and polished politicians, Al Gore, to create perhaps the most unlikely presidency ever imaginable, but unfortunately with grave consequences.

But even W.'s phony campaign was already drenched in the dousing of history and surely a sign for things to come. His father and grandfather, George Bush and Prescott Bush, two of the most powerful Americans of the 20th century were known committed globalists with an expansive and careless appetite. Prescott Bush is also a known collaborator funding the Nazi regime in Germany, as a shareholder in the financial system which spurred on the devastating world wars of the past century. Those who had any grasp of history surely would have remembered the Bush family dynasty and also their current extremely close connections with the Saudi royalty. Their hands rung in oil and blood, now they find themselves covered from head to toe.

History became completely demolished by the time the media hailed Bush as a "compassionate conservative". And with compliance rising among all facets of the top of American, history stood teetering on the edge, like a porcelain vase, delicate and paused briefly in repose.

It remains hard to tell whether that vase has smashed yet on the floor into thousands of tiny fragmented pieces. When we now know all we know, and nothing has changed. Bush never vetoed a spending bill his first term in office. Our once $400 billion government surplus from the 1990s vanished overnight, only to turn up in the hands of Halliburton, Chevron, BP, and Shell. Now, America faces almost $450 billion deficit, not withstanding the $9 trillion of debt put on the average citizen. Bush hardly turned out to be conservative. He exudes his role as a thief and cold blooded killer. Yet, no one dares to speak of this traitor to our Constitution as a serious felon, rather laughs at his quips, odd smirks, and chuckles in comfort with his disdainful attitude toward humanity. Bush has done much to destroy our nation, economically as well as legally.

Regardless of where the vase lays, it remains in constant danger, as always, from internal enemies. These like Bush and Cheney that push their agenda and well-being over all else, who feed off the blood of others and laud in the drunkenness of their sadistic deeds must be stopped. They are destroying our country.

The Constitution rests faded, obscured from sight. The media attempts to parade the 2nd Amendment ruling as the biggest Constitutional news in years, but the people know better.
The U.S.A. PATRIOT Act has destroyed any resemblance of human rights our nation once briefly possessed. Everyone is tracked, without notice, and often without resistance. Friends have already become informers and even those who stand valiantly are ignored and by entertainment and fashion norms, pushed back from the spotlight they so justly deserve and our nation so desperately needs.

The 1st Amendment is forever gone. Just go to the streets of our cities, college campuses, or the green reserves of our American forests and you will see the destruction of law. Go to the National Party conventions and go to the free speech zones there, and you will see the destruction of law. Held in barbed wire fences patrolled by armed guards, and you will see such zones are destroying our democracy.

The 4th Amendment is forever gone. Nobody's information is ever anymore private. Privacy sits at the foundation of human freedom. The ability to freely live our lives without such unnecessary interference and intimidation from our government is the essence of our freedom.

Dwight Eisenhower once asked,"How far can you go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?" That is one question I would like to see President Bush answer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Barr and The Movement

Entering into a small white walled room with light and cheerful paisley carpet stepped in Mr. Bob Barr, the Libertarian Candidate for President. The room was spare, save some mass made chairs and a black rolling bar, manned by a man with a black mohawk and a black tie. The rest were casual, a group of interested, disparate average Americans without pretensions. The former Congressman from Georgia came in and stopped just beyond the threshold of the room. State Chair Pat Dixon announced his entrance and a line of Libertarians stood in angle from the door with the short-stature Barr quietly but assertively standing at the back of the room.

They finally made their push forward to the other side of the room, once Barr requested shifting the spot where he could speak, ever calmly mindful of proper procedure. As he spoke, the fellow Austin area members stood by quietly and stood as local judges while Barr spoke on about his ideas on limited government and the continuance of the movement. The Party officials most likely had supported the Texan, Dr. Mary Ruwart, the more ideological fit candidate from Burnet, TX (near Austin), who almost beat out Barr for the Libertarian nomination. Nonetheless, the crowd of young and old sat as witnesses to the message which had moved millions around the United States as well as the world for Congressman Ron Paul.

Intrigued, yet inquisitive, the crowd felt Barr out slowly after his stump was given. The crowd began to ask questions often not touched on by the press, but rather the real problems that America is concerned about. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on our liberties, and the complete defilement of the U.S. Constitution. The questions ranged from Barr's philosophy on a classically liberal limited government, the ballot access process for independents and third party candidates, his ideas on solutions to the energy crunch and the unaccountable rise in the amount of federal police in the past decade. A tense moment occurred when one audience member asked the million dollar question, confronting Barr on his yea votes on the Patriot Act and the Iraq war. Barr took this inquiry thoughtfully and deliberately as he told of his conversion from a CIA agent and a federal prosecutor who waged the War on Drugs, to an ACLU member and confidant who strongly touts personal freedoms and has assisted on several cases. His ability to take in an audience and win their trust despite those ominous marks proves not only, his finesse as a politician, but also his communicability as a person. He vows to cut the Department of Education as well as the Department of Commerce, which he sees as a mere statistics bureau eating up billions of taxpayer dollars. And while he may not have the panache of Paul, he is often right. Only his voting record on those two crucial issues fail him.

But the excitement around his campaign falls short of what we saw in the Revolution. Only three of his yard signs adorned a blank beige wall beaming of low-funding while he spoke to the crowd. His ability to raise funds lags far behind Paul's record breaking effort. Perhaps his style does not match up to the fervor his potential supporters hold. Nonetheless, his message is strong, it is only a question of whether he effectively can, as well as physically get enough air time come this fall and challenge the two-party system and allow the people to discredit it.Barr sticks to the principles, and it may work for him. While he no where near excites like the wise and apt Dr. Paul, he brings in the audience with a soft but firm demeanor that exudes confidence and makes the average questioner feel included and in thought. But regardless of Barr's ability to score an improbable spot in the fall debates, he still, without any major push, could easily grab 10% of the vote.

The debates will be key to his real chances to getting elected. But, regardless, the American public certainly feels the need to reform government, its only a matter of time before the nation gets educated and the Revolution spreads to a new and higher ground.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Government and Taxes

The following is a speech given by President Calvin Coolidge in 1924.

"The country needs every ounce of its energy to restore itself. The costs of government are all assessed upon the people. This means that the farmer is doomed to provide a certain amount of money, out of the sale of his produce, no matter how low the price is, to pay his taxes. The manufacturer, the professional man, the clerk must do the same from their income. The wage earner, often at a higher rate when compared with his earning, makes his contribution perhaps not directly, but indirectly in the advanced course of everything he buys. The expenses of the government reach everybody. Taxes take from everyone a part of his earnings, and force everyone to work part of his time for the government. When we come to realize that the yearly expenses of the governments of this contrast the stupendous sum of about 7,500,000,000 that is needed by national government. And the remainder, by local governments. Such a sum is difficult to comprehend. It represents all the pay of five million wage-earners receiving five dollars a day, working 300 days in the year. If the government should add 100 million dollars of expense, it would represent four days more work of these wage-earners. These are some of the reasons why I want to cut public expense. I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government, and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can restablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty. These results are not fanciful, they are not imaginary, they are grimly actual and real. Reaching into everyhousehold in the land, they take annually an average of over 300 dollars and taxes must be paid. They are not a voluntary contribution, to be met out of surplus earnings, they are a bare necessity. They come first. It is only out of what is left, after they are paid, that the necessities of food, clothing, and shelter can be provided and the comforts of home secured. Are the yearnings of the soul for a broader and more abundant life gratified. When the government affects a new economy, it grants everybody a life pension, with which to raise the standard of existence. It increases the value of everybody's property, raises the scale of everybody's wages. One of the greatest favors that can be bestowed upon the American people is economy in government."

-Calvin Coolidge, 1924

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Safer Europe?

While Condoleeza Rice rested in the posh and indulgent Bubenec neighborhood of Prague to be delivered to the highest foreign affairs minister, Mr. Karel Schwarzenberg at Prague Castle, thousands had taken to the streets. To the cultural heart of the city, the now tourist-vamped Wenceslas Square, where once the benevolent and powerful ruler Karel IV sanctioned the area a horse market in the fourteenth century. Those citizens shouted against American imperialism and their own nation's current government, whose attitdue towards their people is apathetic and contemptable. The Czech government entered into the treaty with the Americans to base a missile radar in the Czech Rep. The purpose? To protect Europe and America from nuclear weapons from Iran. Negotiations went on in government offices, in luxury resorts and at international meetings. Despite the fact most Czechs desire a nationwide referendum on the matter, the government shows little regard for its people. And to top it off, Mrs. Rice was to remark during the signing of the treaty that this agreement was as crucial to Europe now, as the Marshall Plan was after World War II. Little did Condoleeza realize, that her own country had offered the Czechoslovak government aid. However, with the increase of Soviet meddling in Czech political affairs, it was later turned down. Her ignorance and shallow understanding of history can be taken as an insult to both the Czech and American public.

July 8th, 2008 will be remembered by many Czechs as another heist of their homeland's sovereignty and another mockery of democracy. For the third time in 100 years, the Czech nation's autonomy has been smashed by an advancing empire, this time from across the Atlantic. 1938 was the year of the Munich Agreement, which would effectively dissolve Czechoslovakia and doom many of its people. Nazi Germany would hold the country in its jaws until liberation in 1945. And in 1968, when Prague Spring initiated a movement for free speech, openness and "socialism with a human face", Soviets barrelled through the streets of the Golden City with tanks, leaving blood stained streets and a new backlash which would encase many of people's whole lives, wishes, and hopes encapsulated in a people paid-for government jar with the letters KSCM stamped on the outside.

Yet, unlike these previous dissolutions of autonomy, this new richly invested alliance now known as the U.S.-Czech Radar Base Agreement hardly tweaks the noses of the Czech government, they grin openly behind closed doors. And the American public, well, we did hear a squeak out of our own news once all was said and done, but the public is likely to remain in the dark for years. Similarly, the Czech people have been left in the dark, but this time its own government turned out the light and left the room. 80% of Czechs polled are vehemently against any foreign troops on Czech territory. However, their politicians do not care, and the state of distrust in government is extremely high consdiering the history of fascist and dictatorial regimes in citizens' memories. Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign affairs minister, is better known for his family's role in the development of the Czech lands. Throughout South Bohemia, Schwarzenberg's name is more often thought with their family's abandoned and depcrepit baroque chapels that dot the landscape atop seclusive small town mountaintops. Their ruling dynasty replays the ethnic tale of the German minority ruling the Czech people. However, the new foreign nation with the largest amount of illegal immigrants in the Czech country is the United States, and its strength does not go unfelt.

Jiri Paroubek rules with an iron fist. First employed in the political scene with the Communist Party food services in South Bohemia, Paroubek must have learned some hard nosed lessons. His anger is infamous, his remarks caustic and rude, his figure, uncomfortable, and his face, like a wax plate of grease and grime. His government was the same that sent riot geared armed state police to a largely attended impromptu techno music festival, called CzechTek in 2005. After the goring of several attendees by state riot agents and the loss of control at the festival, the Czech public was shocked. Yet, Paroubek would still continue if not in a visible position of power, in the dark shadows of the underneath. He largely prepared the beginninng stages of the radar agreement in 2005 and 2006. With his friend, the extravagant Euro-final hopping Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek set the calm and flat out deceptive news briefs to the public of the progress of a once secret program to base an American radar in Czech territory with 10 nuclear missile interceptors in neighboring Poland. It was decided long ago by the international elite, and in particular the United States under Bill Clinton, that Central Europe would figure in the new umbrella of American and European joint nuclear deterrance.

Havel had signed the NATO accords in 1997, bringing the Czech Rep. into a military alliance with the United States. The most beloved living statesman and playwright, President of the nation from 1990-2003, after decades of fighting the communist regime now supports the US radar in Czech lands. After fighting for twenty years after 1968 to send Russian troops home from the Czech, Moravian and Slovak lands, now the former president and hero had to tell his own to accept American troops. Havel is worthy of his accolades and will always remain a great figure in Czech history and in the triumph of populism and the will of the people. However, it is all too ominous that the true emotional leader of the great nation has not used this moment to stand with his citizens. In 1937, Tomas Masaryk, first president of the Republic from 1918 died before the signing fo the Munich Agreement. The inability of the nation to protect its own democracy, mainly due to its small territorial size, may knell its death once more.

Dobry Den Radare -

But why should we care? Isn't the Czech Republic a small European country with little importance in world affairs and only good for as a tourist destination? Most Americans could not probably even locate the Czech Republic on a map. Its location in the very center of Europe has told its story of empire, conquered from neighbors East and West, and always a point of meeting, trade, and community. Its position historically in the 20th century as a buffer zone between large empires like Germany and Russia and transformation to a site for Soviet nukes during the 1970s and 80s and a land guarded by rifles and barbed wire. Then we should ask, why would the American people desire to fund such an operation to tear apart a democratic partner and destabilize the whole of Europe? Well, the answer is simple. The American people have nothing to do with this agreement. Neither the Czechs. The new age of democracy is written and administered from above.

With the signing of the radar agreement, and further negotiations between the United States and Poland, it appears that the US government will have its way with Central Europe as a detection and firing point against nuclear weapons hurled from beyond. The day after the signing of the treaty, Iran was reported to have fired tests of their long-range missiles which are capable of hitting neighboring countries in the Middle East. US Intelligence reported in October 07 that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003, a success of the tough talk of the Bush administration. But, the hype of Iranian military strength along with some evidence that these missile tests had been photoshoped for the media, this event can be only taken with a grain of salt. However, it does not bode well for the Czech people, now in the sights of nuclear giants across the world.

Last Friday, Russia state energy decided to increase the price the Czech Republic pays for their oil which is transported into the country from pipelines across Russia through Poland. Already, the Kremlin has responded and Putin has squeezed his fist harder and jabbed his fingers closer to the red button. Unfortunately, the Czech people will suffer the brunt of the burden of the American radar.

These sorts of events often set precedents for the future. Precedents for how the world leaders' games will be played out. And while it all whizzes by a distracted world community, the future of fate has licked the seal. The US-Czech agreement will be up for approval in the Czech legislature soon. Its passage is unclear, but it is not encouraging that the people's will most likely be subverted. Isn't it finally time for a stand?

First President of Czechoslovakia, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, was a strong believer in American style democracy. His affections toward American culture were famous, his wife Marie Garrigue was American, and he looked to the US Constitution as a document of liberty. He often wrote on the subject and once warned his fellow countrymen,

"Democracy is not only a state form, it is not only what is written in the institutions, democracy is the opinion on life, which counts on the trust of the people, in humanity, in humanness and [democracy] is not opinions without love, and not love without opinions.

Masaryk's words hold the same significance today and at an even more crucial time in world affairs. Much like Munich in 1938, this agreement rings of injustice. We must hold steadfast that it is our duty to hold accountable our representatives, that in order to ensure democracy in a republic, they must follow their duty and uphold its values to be sacred and stand without compromise.

Ron Paul rallies 20,000 in DC

Ron Paul speaks to 20,000 in Washington, DC at The Freedom March - July 12

The Members of the Party

They meet together on the free days, pulling up with pride in their chariots upon the glistening morning sun. They arise before the others are hardly out of bed and venture into the halls of warehouses, where they can better organize and plot. Some come proud, others tepid, but all know what they must do for The Party. First, second, and third choices don't matter, everyone's liable to be called out. The number one reason for such is unity, the party leads the way. Some call it an ideological struggle, others think in practice, but all go beyond themselves, to feel the warmth of home. Like the Prussian General out on the field, the instructions are amplified out, and poured over screens. Yet, no one is wrong, everyone is right, and The Party gets to gleam.