Saturday, March 2, 2013







It's been fun but I'm going to end my Blogging on this site to be a member of a great team of thinkers and writers on The Big Slice and OpEdNews. Please check us out and become a regular reader. You can sign up to receive emails every time an article is published. Or you can visit us when you have the time.
The very best to all my readers,
Bob D 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Is the GOP recovering?

From Alternet.org: February 27, 2013 | Salon / By Alex Seitz-Wald

"The Obnoxious Tea Party Leaders Have Vanished from the Political Stage -- Palin, Beck, DeMint, Paul, Bachmann... Poof! Every single prominent Tea Party leader has either lost their job or abandoned being a voice of the movement.
 
Who are the names that come to mind when you think about leaders of the Tea Party movement? Maybe Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Jim DeMint, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann? Those were the most popular leaders listed by self-identified Tea Party activists in a 2010 Washington Post poll, at the height of the movement. You could add to that list a handful of other congressmen, especially outspoken Reps. Steve King, Allen West and Joe Walsh, among others. 

And then you’d realize that every single one of them either lost their job or abandoned being a voice of the movement."


Too good to be true? Rome wasn't built in a day.

Read more here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Everybody Listen Up! The Deficit Is Actually Shrinking, Despite Beltway Propaganda 94 percent of Americans don't know the deficit is falling.

Found on Alternet.org, Campaign for America's Future / By Dave Johnson February 26, 2013 |


There is no deficit problem. The deficit is down 50 percent as a share of gross domestic product just since President Bush’s fiscal year 2009 deficit and is falling at the fastest rate since the end of World War II. Yet the Washington debate is about how and where to cut us back into recession. Why?

Read more

Monday, February 25, 2013

Are imperfect people evil?


   
    By now, you know I’m an unemployed arm-chair philosopher. That’s no big accomplishment. If you live long enough the title naturally confers itself on you. To be sure, I like to write about philosophers.  Plato is the ancient Greek philosopher who gave us the opposing concepts of “perfection” and “reality”.  He  believed that there is a perfect essence to everything.  And everything that we see, feel, hear, taste and smell is an imperfect variation of that perfect essence.  That was about 2500 years ago and we’re still getting tripped up by his thinking.  We’ve adopted it in everything we do. 
    For example, many of us measure our children by some essential criteria as to what is the perfect child?  Or what about the perfect mate?  Does he need to be over six feet tall, lean and muscular, with a full head of hair and attractive eyes?  Does she need to be slim, have smooth skin, flowing silky hair and attractive bulges in all the right places?  Okay, maybe these are not your criteria for the perfect mate but I would bet that you have your own. 
    It may be a stretch but I think it is at the bottom of our current reign of incivility and polarity in our country.  We have a set of criteria for perfect people that exists in our minds.  That criteria varies from person to person.  When we see someone who doesn’t meet our criteria, we think of him or her as flawed or imperfect.  And guess what?  We are right.  There is no essentially perfect person that matches the criteria we have in our minds. 
    What there is are imperfect people like you and me.  Some of those folks make mistakes and are probably not the evil demons that we think they are.  I would bet that most are decent people caught up in a life that shaped them to be the way they are.  I heard a wonderful radio segment that made me think.  The point was that we often judge people as evil when they don’t meet our expectations.  And maybe we should give them the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe we should think of them as imperfect people and that they are trying to do their best, but not meeting our criteria.  Maybe, just maybe, they are like you and me. 
    I doubt any of us wake up and say, “I think I’ll make as many mistakes as I can today.” None the less, we often do.  Most of us don’t meet our own criteria for perfection.  We muddle through life, getting some things right and some things wrong.  But that doesn’t make us evil.  Now, to be sure, there are evil deeds done in the world.  But I’m not even sure the perpetrators are always evil.  They are often misguided, misinformed, mentally ill but not always evil.  Am I being Pollyannaish?  No, I don’t think so.  Because we have the innate capacity to distinguish real evil from benign personal failings. 
    A good example is our belief about politicians.  It’s so easy to jump to the conclusion that this or that person from the opposite party is evil.  For goodness sake, how could he or she not see the correct political position ? They must be evil.   
    Well, I want to dispel Plato’s myth of perfection.  There is no perfect essence for human beings.  We are the way we are.  And until we can accept this, we’ll use a lot of energy in denial.  Here’s a different thought;  Perfection is the state in which people and things are as they are and are not as they are not.  That’s reality folks.  If we apply that definition, we can ditch the idea of essential perfection that no one meets. 
    And when we quit denying that we don’t meet a state of imagined essential perfection,  we can focus on improving ourselves.
Robert DeFilippis                        

Friday, February 22, 2013

Congressman Says Americans Need Guns To Protect The Nation From Sharia Law

By Igor Volsky on Feb 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

"Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told a conservative radio show on Thursday that the GOP must oppose gun regulations to protect the country from the threat of “Sharia Law.” 

Appearing on The Voice of Freedom, Gohmert said he “hoped and prayed” that Congress rejects gun safety legislation, arguing that Americans may need to use the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment to avoid succumbing to Muslims:

[The Second Amendment] is for our protection and the founders’ quotes make that very very clear and including against a government that would run amuck. We’ve got some people who think Sharia Law should be the law of the land, forget the Constitution. But the guns are there… to make sure all of the rest of the Amendments are followed.


Gohmert has a long history of Islamaphobic remarks, most recently joining Rep. Michele Bachmannn’s (R-MN) much maligned effort to investigate the alleged infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into various departments of the U.S. government"

Listen

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Lesson On Race From Mississippi: Slavery Finally Outlawed

From care2.com by Jessica Pieklo February 20, 2013

"This month, Mississippi took one small leap forward and became the last state in the union to officially ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery.

Originally ratified in 1865, it only took the Mississippi legislature 148 years and inspiration from the Oscar-nomiated film “Lincoln” to get it done. According to the Huffington Post, University of Mississippi Medical Center professor Dr. Ranjan Batra saw the film last year and was inspired to find out what happened after states voted on the amendment. His research uncovered that while Mississippi originally voted to reject the 13th Amendment, the state legislature eventually voted to approve the amendment in 1995. Despite the fact that the measure had passed both legislative chambers, nobody ever got around to letting Washington know by forwarding the measure on to the Office of the Federal Register. When Bantra and another Mississippi resident brought the oversight to the attention of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, he filed the paperwork and ratification was official February 7.

Congratulations, Mississippi."

Read more:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Conscious media


     Recently I’ve been reading a white paper on the Conscious Media.  Even though I didn’t know the concept had been formalized until recently, I’ve shared its goals for years.  
     Granted, a great deal of my overall focus has been on the right wing political propaganda machine because that’s where I find the most generous opportunities. They are as easily had as low-hanging fruit.  But make no mistake, the left has its opportunities too.  It’s just that their message is not as coherent and they’re just not as good at packaging it.
     So what is this goal that I share with Conscious Media? An awakened consumer. How does it do this? It naturally questions the status quo and provokes its audience to reconsider the range of possible questions and answers to the world’s problems. Do we need it? Check out the daily news about the condition of the world on any given day.
     Typically, the Conscious Media consumer is on a journey that follows a path.  It starts with being asleep.  Asleep is a condition that feels like being awake because you can interact with others in the same condition and re-state, discuss, and debate traditional interpretations of current events.  For instance, “capitalism has built the most abundant way of life in the history of man. Continuing unabated, it will make our lives even better.  So more consumption will make us happier. The only question that remains is how do I consume more so I can be happier.”
     The next step is awakening. It is a state where you begin to notice that some very qualified people are questioning the future effects of capitalism on the web of life, the planet’s natural resources and the myth of “more is better.”  These may be folks you’ve never heard of but their arguments make good sense to you. You can relate to the unfulfilled promise of happiness from material goods. You know about the trillions of dollars in private retirement funds lost due to unethical financial practices on Wall Street. You’ve become aware that not a single executive has been charged with a crime.   
     Once you begin to awake, it’s a short step to exploring.  This is a state in which you seek out other sources of information rather than the traditional main stream media and favored individual sources like Fox News or MSNBC, capitalist organizations themselves.  In other words, the profit-making machines called “corporate news organizations.”  If you can tolerate the discomfort of consuming news that sounds disagreeable and doesn’t confirm your biases, the next state, transformation, can begin.
     Transformation is a state in which new thinking emerges with the help of new input from the above mentioned non-traditional sources. Your confirmation and disconfirmation biases are challenged. What used to sound like “facts” dissolve into questions. And you begin to realize that higher levels of consciousness come from tolerating the questions and not seeking a new set of doctrinal truths. The fuel of this transformation is the full-body realization that you cannot know anything for sure, regardless of the sources.  
     Finally, you are awake.  Awake is a state in which you will see the same reality as though with new eyes.  For instance, being aware of the simple truth that the core value of capitalism is infinite growth and cannot continue on a planet with finite resources.  Or that our continuing striving for a better life through consumption robs us of appreciating and enjoying the good life we already have. Or there exists a new organization in capitalism called “too big to fail.” And its executives are “too big to prosecute.”
     But beware: Our minds demand certainty and when you think you have it, you’ve regressed into slumber. So although the journey is rigorous, you are always tempted to go back to sleep. It’s so much more familiar and many of your friends will be there to welcome you home.  

Robert DeFilippis



Saturday, February 16, 2013

. Obama Falls Flat on Mortgage Fraud

From the Daily Beast February 16, 2013,

"The Obama administration has talked a good game about prosecuting mortgage fraud, but has done little to demand actual change on Wall Street. David Dayen from Salon reports that a “task force” set up to examine problems in the packaging of residential-mortgage-backed securities during the bubble years isn’t the independent organization it claims to be. “There are no offices, no phones, and no staff dedicated to the non–task force,” Dayen writes. Instead, the “Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force” is essentially a “press release” factory that secretly piggybacks on existing litigation efforts. The president failed to so much as mention the task force in his State of the Union. A telling fact: he has many things on his plate—this doesn’t seem to be one of them."

Read it at Salon

February 15, 2013 12:15 PM

Thursday, February 14, 2013

. Britain: Horsemeat Drug in France

From thedailybeast.com, "British ministers said Thursday that horsemeat containing a harmful drug called bute had entered the food chain in France, carried by horses from British slaughterhouses. Environment Minister David Heath told Parliament that eight horses from British slaughterhouses had tested positive for the equine drug and three may have entered the food chain in France, although frozen lasagna sold by the same manufacturers had tested negative for bute. Meanwhile, the scandal spread on the continent, with tainted lasagna being found in Germany, having been discovered as coming through a middleman in Luxembourg. German retailers said they have started pulling the product from the shelves."

Read it at Associated Press February 14, 2013 6:59 AM


Ya see?  We don't need more government regs in the US, like these good folks in Britain, France and Germany, big business can be relied on to police itself without outside meddlers.