Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wisconsin Embraces Fascism



Aspiring, Sticky-Sweet Authoritarian Dictator Remains Firmly in Power

June 6, 2012
Personal essay by Dr. Glen Barry

Wisconsin is a less free and decent place this morning. The human right to freely and openly associate and organize with colleagues to negotiate the best price for your labor just barely exists, and people that form unions to do so are villainous thugs. Women are less equal. Gays and blacks are sub-human. Teachers, intellectuals, progressives, atheists, and other knowledgeable, free thinking peoples have less rights and prestige. A sticky-sweet taint lingers in the air.

Largely uneducated yet belligerent rural rednecks, out-of-state billionaires, and white suburban Milwaukee ghetto usurers are firmly in control. They are taking names, coming for what you have, and preparing to force their worldview upon anyone who has not yet drunk the corporatist kool-aid. The air, water, soil and vegetation Wisconsin’s citizens depend upon for life now lie virtually unprotected. Corporations – which we are told are people – are firmly in control. God is in the government and regulates our bodies and bedrooms.

Right-wing, teabagger, nutjob politicians no longer have to campaign on the issues upon which they will actually govern, or even mention the policies they will pursue once in office. Money is speech and anything can be said, or even made up, and stated over and over again, until glassy eyed we fall into line behind the great leader. Our Governor’s boorish past conduct and patterns of election fraud since youth have never mattered, never will, and will be erased along with fascist and illegal union busting tactics from our history.

Neighbors begrudge neighbors their modest health insurance, education and pension – rather than organizing and educating themselves to have them too.  People of all sorts that better themselves by banding together into unions and/or becoming educated are unworthy of deferred compensation they freely negotiated, earned and are owed. Teachers, firefighters, cops, government workers, and their unions caused 911 and the ongoing financial collapse; and they will be punished now and long into the future, until they repent of their socialist ways.

Being smart¸ and training your mind through a process called education, is dumb and no longer valued in Wisconsin. Funds for our formerly world-class schools and Universities have been returned to our state’s elite absentee billionaire slumlords, where because of their great benevolent virtue, they rightly belong. Those who are educated are less than fully American, and their views, especially if fact, data, knowledge, or wisdom based; are not to be trusted. There are no experts on anything, just opinion. Truth comes from a tightened fist.

There will be no salvation from homegrown Wisconsin fascism. The national tea party is bent upon dumbing us down and enslaving us for god and greed. The great black hope and assassin in chief busies himself with nominating alleged terrorists - including American citizens - for the drone kill list in sovereign nations. Our economy was plundered by the elites, who are now the power behind the throne in Wisconsin, and also our commander-in-chief’s top advisors and funders. No one has gone to jail.

Both Wisconsin’s state and national leaders routinely permanently rollback civil liberties and ignore ecological collapse at great peril. Wisconsin’s progressive leadership is overly focused upon preening, posing, celebrity journalist activists – who lead the protests, report upon them, and are followed by their own video crews. Whenever the party of Roosevelt rules it meekly fails to stand for much of anything but re-election. The party of Reagan – led now by a bullying uber-corporatist – overreaches and continually cheapens America’s great democratic traditions.

Rarely are political, universal truths of justice, liberty, fairness, peace, equity, ecology, and human rights spoken courageously any longer – much less enacted. Sensibly caring for the well-being of others, sharing when you have enough, nurturing children and the land are thought to be quaint relicts of an over-taxed era. Others would consider this the price of democracy and civilization, such as it is.

Wisconsinites – like the rest of the nation – are left in the coming Presidential election with picking the lesser of two fascists. Freedom from fascist and corporatist rule – and the scapegoating, sexism, nationalism, militarism, propaganda lies; and gutting of unions, education, environmental protection and civil liberties this implies – is a precondition to living justly, fairly and well; and to sustaining global ecology and social well-being long-term.

The American dream of hyper-consumption for some is over because it couldn’t be sustained ecologically or socially. America can’t expect to reap the ill-gotten benefits – all too often seized at the point of a gun – of 4% of Earth’s people consuming 25% of key global resources any longer. The 2.5 billion people globally living on $2 a day understandably want their fair share too. The natural and painful consequences of downsizing America’s extreme lifestyles and unwinding horrific disparities is sadly leading to demagoguery, a decline in truth telling, and yes, the rise of fascism in the American heartland.

America has lost its way. Our ecosystems and economic system are collapsing, fascism rising, and conflict growing – do we want societal and ecological collapse to come as we are at each other’s throats? Things are heading that way. We are becoming the terrorists we abhor. And all the reasons are evident in microcosm in Wisconsin. Decent, thoughtful folks in Wisconsin tried valiantly but ultimately failed for now to combat the John Birch, KKK, Tea Party inspired rise of hateful and destructive fascism.  But the battle to retake our great state and country from the fascists has just begun.

I hate fascism, and urge you to join together with others and myself to resist a corporate takeover and enslavement of America. Going forward, all thinking reasonable lovers of truth-based liberty, freedom, and the decent essence of America, must come together to form an Anti-Fascist League. Failure means an overtly fascist America, of the sort now destroying Wisconsin.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Is STILL Unfit for Office

Come clean Governor Walker and Marquette University, and tell us why Walker left college under dodgy circumstances


Personal Essay by Dr. Glen Barry

May 22, 2012

The year was 1988 – current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is running for Marquette University student body President. Hoping to shake off the embarrassing loss to a write-in candidate for resident hall President the year before, Walker is pulling out all the charm and hardnosed political tactics at his disposal. Things are going well until the student newspaper retracts its endorsement, calling candidate Walker “unfit for office”, but I am getting ahead of myself.

For the 99% of you reading this essay – who are not from Wisconsin – Scott Walker is the latest tea party right wing, uneducated, superstitious nut job bent upon destroying America with a virulent form of conservatism bordering upon fascism. In early 2011, after only days in office, and without running on the issue, Walker threatened to call out the state national guard to ram through reforms to gut public unions. Over coming months, Wisconsin citizens fought back – coming out by the hundreds of thousands in a “Cheddar Rebellion” to protest and occupy the state capitol. Thus began a year of Walker’s war upon the unions, environment, women, education and basic human decency.

I had the misfortune of being a college classmate of Scott Walker. Walker attended Marquette from 1986 to 1990, two years younger than I. He was a laughable dork – dumb, full of himself, and authoritarian. Being deeply imperfect myself, nonetheless, I have to speak up on how going to college with Walker showed him to be a piece of work. And that his bad conduct, which began there, and led to a harsh and unjust start to his political life, which remains ugly and dangerous to this day, do in fact indicate Walker remains unfit for office.

Fresh from Badger Boys State leadership conference, freshly shorn of his mullet, and in ill-fitting suits; Scott rolled onto campus in 1986 at 18 already running for office. He was constantly speaking in sound bites, with a false sugary sweetness, about taxes and abortion – the only issues which Scott Walker truly cared about other than his personal quest for power.

To put it politely, Walker was not the sharpest tool in the shed, actually amongst the least sharp. With a C average (if that) and never graduating, I am not surprised to see him making up his own math on jobs when the real numbers don’t suit him. This reflects the utter disdain with which he holds truth, knowledge, education, and anything else that clashes with his absolutist worldview of religious and corporate based rule. As a classmate, he displayed a shocking lack of curiosity, original thought, or interest in topics other than his political ascendency.

Walker’s debut in Marquette student politics as a freshman began by stirring up the campus with a McCarthyite investigation into misspending by the Homecoming committee. Despite the President and Vice-President of student government having already resigned over personal expenditures by a larger group of student leaders from student funds (including myself and others unknowingly), no criminal charges of any kind, and no hard evidence of wrong-doing by anyone – Walker grandstands and leads a student government trial of myself and others, that could have been avoided if he so chose.

Walker lost on all counts, but not before destroying a few people’s reputations, and amassing personal power. Sound familiar? Thus began an over 25 year record of bullying to get what he wants, of being insincere and narcissistic, and political grandstanding at the expense of others¸ all for personal self-aggrandizement, and without an ounce of either personal or political virtue.

Later in his freshman year Walker runs for his first campus-wide office – the President of the resident halls – and is beaten by a hastily cobbled together write-in campaign which I helped organize. Already the campus had soured upon a plastic, dishonest, conniving personality.

During Walker’s student body Presidential campaign in his sophomore year, things only worsen. Initially the Marquette Tribune student newspaper endorsed Walker’s opponent – a progressive activist working on social justice issues in the community – but said both would make a good student body president.

But this tepid endorsement changed after Walker was sanctioned for illegal campaigning on numerous occasions, and brutal personal attacks upon his opponent’s character, mocking his commitment to help the poor.  In an unprecedented move, just days before the election, the newspaper retracted itself and declared Walker "unfit for office". In response, Walker’s campaign began secretly and systematically throwing out copies of the newspaper that endorsed his opponent. He lost in a land slide and was deeply humiliated by his poor conduct.

Thus began an early pattern of ridiculing those concerned with social justice, homelessness, militarism, and racism. Forget about it, in his corporatist and religious world, such issues are not of concern. To care for others’ needs is unlikely to further his political power grab. Reducing taxes and ruling women’s bodies is all he cared about then, and all he seems to care passionately about now.

Scott Walker shamed himself by the way he acted at Marquette. His campaign was one of the dirtiest in school history. Walker left the university not long afterward. The fact that Walker has refused to release his transcripts, along with information why he left, raises reasonable questions if Walker left school on his own volition, as he claims, or if there was another reason and he was kicked out.

I wish I could say definitely why he never graduated – it is a closely guarded secret. I believe the general line of thinking – that Scott Walker was caught cheating. Both Walker and Marquette University should end their cover-up of what occurred. Instead Marquette hails Walkers as a “Marquette alumnus” even though he only attended and did not graduate.

I should note that in his junior year, after being pummeled in student politics, Walker seemed a reformed and humbled man, and tried to make amends. For a while he was just himself, and not always conniving to get something with false plastic, creepy insincerity. Indeed, I have fond memories of drinking beers with a more humane Walker, as friendly adversaries. Yet clearly he went back over to the dark side after leaving Marquette, returning to his scorched Earth, divide-and-conquer mentality that got him in so much trouble there, and to this day.

Scott Walker is still unfit for office. During his time as Milwaukee County executive, massive illegal fund-raising went on feet from his office door. In the past year and a half, Governor Walker preemptively threatened not only eerily to call out the National Guard, he threatened to illegally arrest political opponents. He refers to hard working nurses, fire-fighters, cops, teachers, and government workers as union thugs. For months he illegally limited access to the Capitol – the people’s house. Corporate interests were given the keys to the state, and told to go forth and plunder.

And now Governor Walker has sold out the state to the national tea party movement for a 25 to 1 advantage in money for his recall campaign – and is saturating the airwaves with lies, trying to buy the election.

In closing, let me note it is really sad to see a politician taking advantage of the jealousy between those that did not work hard in school, did not get an education, and thus have smaller opportunities; and those that worked hard to build their minds, and now work in professional, yet underpaid public service jobs. His campaign preys upon class jealousy, ignorance and racism in rural areas, kowtowing to the lowest denominator of decency in the populace.

I know a petty tyrant when I see one. Scott Walker is concerned with one thing, power. He has shown time and again that he has a very limited view of the world, and will ram through policies not because they work or he believes in them, but because he is an aspiring tinpot dictator.

Walker seeks to consolidate his power with every move he makes. Everything comes down to a cruel calculus of whether it benefits him personally and politically, with no concern regarding the line of victims behind him, or concern with such “socialist” virtues as human rights, economic justice, equity, and sustaining ecology.

Walker’s glib narcissism borders upon sociopathy. If this is the best the right wing nut jobs have we are in profound trouble as ecosystems, rights, justice, and equity are all rolled back in the interest of low paying jobs and corporate rule. In fact, Walker’s conduct meets all the definitions of a classic fascist – authoritarian, gutting unions and education, scapegoating, threatening violence, vilifying critics, being charming yet falsely charismatic, and commitment to corporatist rule.

Scott Walker is a bad and dangerous man. There is something fundamentally wrong with Walker’s personality that makes him unfit for office – both then and now. That’s my and many others’ conclusion after seeing how abusive and ill-tempered he was then, and how bad of political bully he has become.

Let me be clear - I have not a shred of jealousy regarding my former classmate. I would never want to rule over women’s bodies, dismantle Wisconsin’s prized educational system, sell-out the state with massive tax breaks to out-of-state corporations, or wage war upon tribal rice lands and working families. And I recognize unions – the right to associate with others to organize to sell your labor to the highest bidder – to be a fundamental human right.

I am not fit to be governor, and abhor local politics, focusing instead upon issues of global ecological sustainability. And I was no angel in college, partying too much and a caddish oaf towards women, despite graduating with honors. But I am not running for governor, nor misrepresenting myself like Walker, and certainly not untruthfully taking away others’ rights, while again trying to steal an election, in order to cravenly pursue absolute power.

I don’t know who will win the recall, but I do know that if you are expecting things to settle down if Walker wins, you are going to be disappointed. For his whole life Walker has created crises to then divide and conquer opposition in order to consolidate his power.

Though Governor Walker never attained the Marquette student body presidency – he has an awful lot in common with one of Wisconsin’s other infamous politicians who did – Senator Joe McCarthy. Have you no sense of decency, Scottie, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Great Rainforest Heist

EARTH MEANDERS: The Great Rainforest Heist

How environmental groups gone bad greenwash logging Earth’s last primary old forests

Essay by Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet
Earth Meanders come from Earth's Newsdesk


How environmental groups gone bad greenwash logging Earth’s last primary old forestsThe world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.

Rainforest movement corruption is rampant as these big bureaucratic, corporatist NGOs conspire to log Earth's last primary rainforests and other old growth forests. Collectively the “NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs” are greenwashing FSC’s destruction of over 300,000,000 acres of old forests, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests the size of South Africa (two times the size of Texas)! FSC and its members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrially harvested primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – certifying as acceptable murdering old forests and their life for consumption of products ranging from toilet paper to lawn furniture. Some 70% of FSC products contain primary forest timbers, and as little as 10% of any product must be from certified sources.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

They Say It’s My Birthday… and I have a few wishes

EARTH MEANDERS: They Say It’s My Birthday… and I have a few wishes


Support EcoInternet and believe in the wisdom of old trees in ancient forestsToday is my birthday and it’s going to be a good time. So as I craft a day of mirth, free spirit and all my favorite activities, let me ruminate upon what I wish for as gifts on this special day.

I want peace on Earth, real peace, the kind where the armies demobilize and don’t remain standing like it used to be. Peace where trillions aren’t wasted from funding public social needs. I want a real and permanent turning of tanks into ploughshares. War’s obscene waste of energy, materials, human potential and life cannot persist if human and ecological being are to continue. I want it to end now.

The truth is we are one human family, one species, perhaps from different lineages with a crazy uncle, but a family nonetheless. And I want us to start acting like it. Nation state boundaries are a new false construct meant to divide us. As a human family I want our basic universal rights strictly and unconditionally observed. The human condition is absolute freedom as long as we don’t hurt others. I want gods and governments off of and out of my body.

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