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Decentralized and United we stand, Divided We Fail

green face with dollar signs for eyes with the caption selection 2012 with the "s" in "selection" a dollar sign

I want to talk to my democrat friends who are in the fight to help Obama win in 2012. One person, even if he’s the president, can’t really change things in America. But I still believe the work you’re doing is important to do. I also want to talk to my friends in Occupy Wall Street, this involves everyone. We’ve been dealing with a lot of issues lately, particularly the question of whether the 99% spring is a co-opting of the movement,, etc. which has pushed people to having that conversation so I think all this is relevant to the movement as well.

Regardless of the fact I no longer consider myself a democrat and that I think it is important to work outside the system, I am still proud of the fact that I was a significant part of Obama’s election in 2008. I was the head organizer of the Indianapolis ACORN office at that time, I found and trained all the initial people and together we built a GOTV operation that in the end employed almost 400 registrars and registered 24,500 new voters in Indianapolis. The last time Indiana went blue was 1967 and it’s only done that three times. So that isn’t something that I’m going to look back on and think; “What a waste of time…” Organizing is what it is and politics is the art of the possible. I do not think it was foolish. I did what I thought was the right thing. I would do it again because at the time, it seemed like the right choice and in fact I still believe it was.

I want you to know, that I hope Barack Obama wins if the alternative is Mitt Romney if for no other reason than the fact that Mitt will appoint terrible supreme court justices. I think I and many other people will prefer Obama’s pick for the highest court in the nation.

I look at the long haul. I’m willing to fight all your fights with you, I always vote for who I think will be best for the country, not just my own personal views.

On the issue of health care, I’m hopeful and grateful for the work that has been done by everyone but I know there is much more to do. I have serious health issues, reforming this system matters to me personally. I’m of the belief that “some disassembly may be required”, but that doesn’t mean I think we can’t save some parts of the world as we know it. We just have to sort through it all together and see what’s important to us.

So please don’t treat me like a dirty hippie pariah for saying that I’m not happy with Obama. I’m not an “herbal tea bagger”, I don’t think he’s evil, I’m just justifiably dismayed and righteously angry at the failure of so many of his campaign promises. The system seems to have absorbed him.

I’m just sick of being marginalized in my own country for having chosen the safer alternative recreational drugs over alcohol [1].

Obama made a campaign promise he’s not keeping. He promised to leave states alone when it came to medical marijuana [2]. He needs to stop siding with the special interests on the drug war [3] and start listening to his people [4]. We need to end the racism that the war on drugs has become. It is the modern version of jim crow [5][6][7] as well as a monumental failure of public policy. Not to mention the fact that the last three presidents have all done drugs.

If I could have $10 dollars for every time I lost a job, was driven from an activist group, driven from the leadership council, or denied medical care for my being a “dirty hippie”, I would have enough to take all my close friends out to dinner. I’ve known I lived in a police state since I was 12 years old. I realized then that I would eventually be in prison for my beliefs.

It’s time to stop demonizing weed heads as well as addicts, self medicators and responsible users, and recognize these rights and stop the prohibition and demonization of things that should be regarded as either health care issues or protected rights.

And this isn’t limited to just the democrats, it’s happening within Occupy as well. People are using either our beliefs or politics against us in an effort to “purify” occupy so this isn’t a behavior that is at all uncommon, it is in fact the root of our problem. This bullying behavior and taking advantage of the natural lines of marginalization (society’s scapegoats) almost completely without hesitation instead of democratically reaching an inclusive consensus regarding the issue or issues is just the way we do things in America. We’ve forgotten how to even function as a people within a democratic framework. The same things that happen to any group inevitably happens to occupations. Infighting and factioning over the same old tired lines of societal division. The real argument within Occupy now is reform or revolution. Which naturally, depending upon where you are in the world (economically or geographically), is a very good question. I’ve been saying for some time that the answer is both. We need you inside the system and we need us outside the system. I believe that whatever anyone says about the right / left dichotomy, the truth is that this is a battle between compassion and fear. I’m always going to fall on the side of love and inclusiveness and empowering everyone rather than building an economy based upon hoarding and manufactured scarcity.

Let’s stop pretending that this is all just the silly talk of a burned out, weed head, acid casualty, unless you want to apply that same label to the spate of Latin American and Mexican leaders calling for legalization of drugs[8]. Being thrown under the bus for 35 years, working in social justice for decades, and fighting the real war on poverty all this time, I know the difference between something important, and something we can negotiate away in a compromise. Ending the failed drug war isn’t one of them. Obama’s dismissal of the recent call to begin negotiating the de-escalation of the drug war is a huge failure of statesmanship on his part [9]. Not to mention his refusal to consider pushing to change marijuana from schedule 1 (dangerous drug with no medicinal value) to schedule 2 (having medical uses)[10], a patently false statement. We’ve known for a long time cannabis has many health benefits as well as anti cancer properties[11]. One of the problems politically is that it is inconvenient in that big pharma won’t make much of a profit from legalizing marijuana, farmers will. So they’re against legalization naturally. Obviously the states see it differently, since it is the largest cash crop in California as well as many other states in America.

I’d like to lay to rest the idea that I think the dems and the repubs are the same. They’re not. There is a huge difference between the left / right, brain structures, our ideas, our morality, all of it, very different [12][13][14]. But it’s just not enough. So please understand; I’ve just reached the place where I know that voting will never get the job done.

Will I vote for Obama in November? Probably. Because of the SCOTUS thing… we need more than ever to impeach several activist judges and I do believe that Obama will appoint more impartial judges than Mitt would. That’s pretty important. Does this make me not really an occupier? No. I believe that participating only during presidential or state elections is a way to keep things the same. A fine adjustment upon politics, not entirely useless, just not “sweeping” enough. We won’t change the nearly complete capturing of our government and its agencies by corporations by voting. As Emma Goldman said; “If voting changed anything, they’d make that illegal”. Only a real movement can save us now.

Change is the nature of life

Humans have quite simply, sped the world up just a bit. Its rate of change is increasing to the point that our institutions and maybe even our bodies are unable to keep up [15]. Our bureaucracies, suffering from entrenchment and already painfully slow, are now hopelessly mired in obstructionism, greed and corruption. No one single person is to blame and it pretty nearly doesn’t really matter who is president. Our system of government is just not representative enough, responsive enough, distributed enough. We’ve lived mostly authoritarian lives even though we all believe we’ve been free, it really amounts to a facade. We don’t teach democracy in school. And our workplaces do not foster it. Even our college degrees prepare us to work and live in a mostly authoritarian environment. The attempted purification of occupy of it’s radical’s, weedheads, homeless people, etc. was not surprising really, most of us have no actual experience with democracy or decentralization and so the intolerance at the root of American culture naturally dominates us at a level I would call subconscious. The only way to avoid the “purge” as I like to call it is to stay vigilant. We are prone to witch hunts.

The real truth

We’re all to blame for what is happening and no one person can stop and heal the damage to our earth and our communities. In fact, aside from death, stop is about the only thing we seem unable to do. Life goes on as they say.

But we all know the 1% do not want change. You and I and our children need things to change desperately and quickly and we know that voting is not going to save us from this calamity borne ironically of our viral success. The only thing that has a chance to deliver the change we need is a global movement towards democracy that protects the rights of all people everywhere. In the words of the international workers of the world: “An injury to one, is an injury to all”.

In the future, understand that when I criticize Obama for things like his deplorable record on bringing Wall Street to justice for the mortgage fraud and collapse of the world’s economy in 2008, or not closing Guantanamo, or signing the NDAA legislation, I’m not a hater, I love my freedom but no more than anyone elses. I’m just trying to give the president and all our “elected” officials the vocal majority they need to move further towards the center and really change things. Do I think that will be enough? No. Building a movement, Occupy Wall Street, or the American Spring (or whatever we choose to call this movement) is a critical step we need to take in order to move our society back toward our values. Our organizing and protests have already improved the national conversation and turned our country’s political discussion towards what really matters and this has already helped Obama and will likely continue to do so. And while I think good rhetoric is important, our problem is that it seems that Democrats pay the lip service but have no spine and don’t fight for the policies needed to implement our shared values. But most of us think that the system is hopelessly broken and only a structure built outside the system can ever have any hope of influencing it. Can you see how many decentralized groups working for change will only help?

The current system of wealth extraction the 1% like to call capitalism is fatally flawed without the concept of debt forgiveness[16]. We need a modern equivalent of the biblical jubilee which was specifically designed to prevent the concentration of lands and wealth into a few hands. Even slaves were freed after 7 years[17]. Any president that tries to change this will either not succeed, be absorbed, or be killed trying to do the right thing. Thus the need for a leaderless, decentralized movement [18][19]. Thus the need for all of us to pitch in. No single person has ever made the difference, the system needs to change and I still believe a better world really is possible. To achieve fundamental change it has always taken many of us working together for a long time to move things in the right direction [20]. But there is no doubt in my mind, we can take our lives back from corporate control and guarantee at least the possibility of freedom and prosperity for our children in the future if we work together. It just seems to many of us like there is nothing to do but build alternative ways forward that work. Locally. Outside the “system”. You should help us do that when you’re done working on the election of 2012. It will help all of us recapture the community that we lost quite a while ago.

When November has come and gone and we know who Wall Street voted for and Obama has the bully pulpit for another four years, the work to save our world will remain there for us to do. While you’re doing that, I and many others will be building power at the grassroots in our communities working to take this fight past november. I hope to see you there working with us for the rights that we all know that we have, not by legal decree, but by the fact we are alive. After November the roots of our problem will remain greed, corruption and inequity. No justice? No peace.

Obama can’t do anything without active, vocal, citizens pushing him in the right direction. So let us heal the rift in the left that the war on drugs really is, and join the middle and the moderates on the right in civil debate. Don’t let the vitriol of the far right invade our conversations too. Let’s stop marginalizing people throwing the weed issue and every other important issue under the bus and what ever you do, don’t stop working for a better world in November.

Reposted from: – Decentralized and United we stand, Divided We Fail

Supporting documents and opinions:

[1] – Get the Facts: Marijuana is Safer Than Alcohol

[2] – Obama’s War on Pot

[3] – The Top Five Special Interest Groups Lobbying To Keep Marijuana Illegal

[4] –

[5] – Dyan Ratigan, How Greedy Bastards Turned The War on Drugs Into A Race War

[6] – Occupy the Dream: The Mathematics of Racism

[7] – Hidden History: The DEA, Nixon’s Pills, and Black People

[8] – At Latin America summit, Obama to face push for drug legalization

[9] – Obama Dismisses Latin American Leaders’ Calls for Drug Legalization in Colombia

[10] – Medical Marijuana Group Appeals DEA Rescheduling Decision

[11] – The Feds Finally Recognize The Anti-Cancer Potential Of Cannabis — 36 Years Too Late!

[12] – The Strange Conservative Brain: 3 Reasons Republicans Refuse to Accept Reality About Global Warming

[13] – How the Fundamentalist Mind Compels Conservative Christians to Force Their Beliefs on You

[14] – The Root of the Conservative War on Contraception Comes From a Deep-seated Anxiety

[15] – Transitions and Tipping Points in Complex Environmental Systems – NSF

[16] – What is Debt? – An Interview with Economic Anthropologist David Graeber

[17] – Jubilee (biblical)

[18] – The Starfish and the Spider: 8 Principles of Decentralization

[19] – SOPA/PIPA and the Decentralization of Protest

[20] – 6 People You Need to Start a Revolution

Occupy Cedar Rapids Mic Checks Drone Factory

Should We Militarize Our Domestic Skies?

It was a rainy afternoon for the first Occupy Iowa regional General Assembly. Around 100 occupiers gathered from various places across Iowa primarily to attend the action planned by Occupy Cedar Rapids protesting Air Cover Integrated Solutions possibly moving into the Cherry Building in Cedar Rapids, IA. The buildings owner welcomed us and our debate initially but seemed concerned with our presence. The confusing thing for everyone seemed to be that we just didn’t think that a building, currently the home to many small artist and craft shops, would be a good place to kick off the militarization of our domestic skies here in Iowa.

While we were speaking with the buildings owner, he mentioned that people couldn’t get through so we parted for the patrons which were coming and going as one might expect, it being an open house after all. We conversed for about 20 minutes with the owner and asked him to please not allow the drone facility to become part of his building.

After the mic check on Air Cover and our brief debate the police announced that we needed to move to the north side of the street which we did. While we were there for the next 35 minutes or so we saw the bus come by and drop some patrons off, some of the people riding the bus gave us the thumbs up.

You might argue with us about OWS methods, the confusion of protesting a building full of artists, or the edginess of the direct action in a normally fairly quiet Iowa town. But what you can’t ague with is that people are now talking about this in Cedar Rapids. In that, I would say the action was wildly successful.

Afterward I spoke with a young couple, occupiers that had come from Cedar Valley. Since they’d travelled far and also love small local businesses and are dedicated to shopping with small mom and pop shops at home, they naturally went over to the Cherry Building once things had settled down. Unfortunately they were not well received and ended up leaving because of the rudeness of one of the shop owners.

Another local business supporter who posted on Facebook said that they had in fact purchased something from the very shop owner who was telling us that we were hurting her business. and that she really liked the item, a hand painted and reclaimed piece of furniture.

My take on it is this:

It might be that the owner of the Cherry Building sees more money in the militarization of our domestic skies than in arts and crafts. I get that. Really. But I just wonder how long before the art shops fail in this jobless recovery and the spaces are taken over one by one by the drone factory until the Cherry Building becomes entirely a facility beholden to the military industrial complex?

Certainly there are benign uses for this technology and for that it could be argued that it should be made available. But before we unleash this potentially total violation of privacy upon ourselves, shouldn’t we at least be asking these harder questions instead of talking only about what good they could do?

I believe that it is a lie that these drones represent good jobs. We should discuss how many emergency responder jobs will be displaced and the centralization of police power this represents and what that might look like going forward. Many of us suspect that it will actually reduce the number of emergency responder jobs (a common effect of centralization) and even reduce a community’s ability to properly scale up to respond to natural disasters and other catastrophic events such as a nuclear facility losing electricity. Drones aren’t going to do the real work. These drones are likely to have a high potential for abuse.

Or maybe we could talk about how hackable these eventually armed domestic spy drones will likely be? Or maybe we could talk about the broader implication of this military technology in the hands of police and whether or not the fear based political model is really what we want in our skies (or anyone else’s for that matter)?

Bottom line? Democracy is a messy process. But we should be happy that it is happening at all rather than wondering what was accomplished. What other way forward is there other than together? On our own? That is a the propaganda of the oligarchs.

Occupy Wall Street uses a decentralized methodology that is similar in pattern to open source development on the Internet and in software. We are as a group able to gain the benefit of the wisdom of people like Frank Cordaro, a Catholic Worker, who is certainly a leader but even he knows he’s just one among many as this is more accurately described as leaderful movement rather than leaderless. This is by far the smartest movement in that regards in human history. It’s radical in the sense that it really is of the roots. We are leaderless because anyone who has ever gotten in high office and was really serious about making lasting and positive change in our world on behalf of most of humanity has been killed. But you can’t arrest an idea as occupiers like to say.

While we were talking after the action, a single police officer stopped by to thank Occupiers for a very civil action on our part.

The perception in the mainstream media that Occupy doesn’t know what it wants or that we’re nothing more than the radical left reconstituted are all narratives of the 1% and of an entrenched neo-liberal approach to “change”. Unfortunately it is obvious to all of us within the Occupy movement that the system (whether it be from the “liberal” or “conservative” perspective) is broken so badly that we can’t continue pretending that acting within its constraints will get anything truly meaningful done. However, how this anti corporatism that resides at the core of the Occupy philosophy gets turned into action is to directly support small businesses rather than spending money at a corporate franchise which extracts wealth from our communities and returns the usual low paying jobs and substandard products.

70% of occupiers are employed. Many of us went over to the Cherry Building and patronized the artists after the action. Some of us even bought some things.

Crossposted at

Also see Paul Deaton’s Dec. 3rd post Occupy Iowa Statewide General Assembly

Occupy Wall Street = Love

picture of scott olsen sitting on a rock


After more than ten years of working on front end web development and playing around with html, css, and various other computer languages I had the opportunity to work on a software development project with a local company here in the Quad Cities. Not too long after hiring me the company I worked for hired a network administrator from Wisconsin, Scott Olsen.

Over the next year or so Scott and I became friends and even after I left the software project we continued to talk about politics, the state of the world in environmental terms, global warming, Linux server stuff, philosophy, organizing…

When we heard about the Wisconsin 14 that had fled the state to avoid a vote on a draconian piece of legislation that Koch brothers darling Scott Walker was jamming through the Wisconsin state legislature, we had to go see what was up.

This was all happening of course against the back drop of the middle east uprisings, Tunisia and Egypt, so it was pretty exciting to see people in Wisconsin also fed up with the stripping of rights and wealth from the middle class and the poor and the virtual slave class we’ve suddenly find ourselves to be. Just like that, suddenly many of us don’t have homes, students have no future, and people like Scott, having served two tours of duty in Iraq come back to find a difficult job market, not enough health care and a draconian police state if you aren’t a tea partier protesting debt and taxes.

I find it unacceptable to continue living as usual in a world that commits violence against a person like Scott who having been in Iraq twice and who came to view the wars as illegal, was courageous enough to say so and stand peacefully in defiance of tyranny right here at home.

When we were sleeping on the floor of the rotunda in Madison and eating pizza’s purchased by people in Cairo, sending us messages of solidarity from Tahrir square, we had only an inkling of what might happen in the coming months. We hoped the sleeping giant was waking, we saw the police and firemen and teachers and hippies, and everyone you can imagine out protesting the stripping of union rights from public employees, so we thought just maybe…

This past year has been really hard for people that care about this world. I’ve watched as everything sacred was seemingly trampled by greed and the politics of fear. The supreme court decision that corporations had a right to free speech and that restricting the flow of money from them into our politics was against the first amendment right of corporations was really the last straw. We knew that it was going to get ugly but Scott Walker took the cake. Our decision to go up practically every weekend for several months gave me hope that we could really stop this madness.

Scott recently left the Quad Cities for San Francisco working as a systems administrator but when his shift ended he went down to the occupation in San Francisco every night. When the call came from Oakland that they were being raided by police and needed help, I’m sure that Scott didn’t hesitate, I talked with him briefly as he got off the Bart in Oakland, he said the video feed was down at the Oakland Occupation. I found a live feed for him and told him through chat  where I knew there where some sound cannon emplacements. We lost communication right after that, I knew there was something wrong when I didn’t see him on chat the next day, I thought maybe he’d been arrested. Then I saw on twitter that Scott had been injured critically by Oakland police. For the next few days I watched video that literally made me sick. Not only had they critically hurt a friend, but when a group of people tried to help him, a cop lobbed a flash bang into the crowd which exploded and dispersed them momentarily. They rushed back to him and carried him to safety. If there was any doubt as to the perpetrators of the violence in Oakland, the video of the police hindering those trying to help Scott as he lay on the ground should clear things up. The protesters are non-violent, the police, even though they are part of the 99%, are being paid by the 1% to stand in the way of democracy.

Knowing that my friend is unable to speak because of a brain injury that resulted from the control of our government, and culture by the richest 1% in America leaves me no choice at all. I must occupy. In light of what has happened to Scott Olsen, we should all occupy.

Here is what anonymous had to say to Scott:

There will be a benefit held soon to help pay for Scott’s medical costs and to help his family pay for expenses in coming to Oakland to be with their son.

Our facebook page (link below) will have that posted as soon as we have the details. Join us in our occupation efforts, like our page, come to actions. We really can change this world. We must change this world.

Lose your fear, this is all about loving the world and each other enough to do something about it.

Occupy Wall Street = Love

For more info see:



Donations to help with Scott’s medical costs can be made at Ascentra branches in Moline, Bettendorf or Davenport, or by calling (563) 355-0152.

Wisconsin Workers Protest Phony Deficit and the Silencing of American Workers

Wisconsin Protests Phony Deficit and the Silencing of American Workers

By D. VanThournout

I slept on the floor of the rotunda last night. I Intend the same this evening.

It is do or die for the Democratic party, and ground zero is in Wisconsin where unions fought for and won things like weekends, workers compensation, the 40 hour work week, workplace safety, this list goes on. Rights that were paid for by the blood, sweat and tears of American workers who organized and won these rights.

Most important in this is the right to collectively bargain.

This is what Governor Scott Walker wants: no more collective bargaining rights for American workers. None. He’s lying about a budget deficit that he himself manufactured by giving big tax breaks to large corporations. Now he wants us to believe that if the people only give up their right to collectively bargain the budget will be fixed. These are the people who teach our children, who we call when we’re in trouble and the people who do the everyday seemingly thankless job of making sure we live in a society that is there for each other when the chips are down.

The people of Wisconsin are coming out in great numbers to say NO to Scott Walker and his manufactured deficit and in solidarity with workers protesting the silencing of their voices in American politics.

14 democratic senators have fled Wisconsin denying a quorum vote on this draconian bill. A bill that literally turns American workers back into the wage slaves we were to the moneyed elite in the time of the robber barons.

This is also about the ability that workers have to put money behind liberal democrats. Once labor is killed in Wisconsin, the conservative theory goes, the rest of the states will fall like dominoes. They may be right. We can’t let this happen.

There were 70,000 people surrounding the capitol building today. The rotunda is filled with yet more people who have come from all over to testify before the senate on behalf of family members and fellow workers this evening regarding the importance of collective bargaining rights. It’s been going on for almost a week now.

And it isn’t getting any smaller.

(crossposted at

VanThournout lives on the Mississippi river in Rock Island. He plays
guitar, writes poetry and music, designs websites, and organizes for a
more just and peaceful world. More than a decade ago David began
demanding meaningful employment rather than mindless work making
widgets. David now requires that he loves what he does and that it
actually makes the world a better place in a way that is sustainable.
  Follow David on Twitter at
. E-mail David Van Thournout.

Bob Vander Plaats: Anti-Civil Rights Hate Mongering

Bob Vander Plaats: Anti-Civil Rights Hate Mongering

By D. VanThournout

Civil rights are something that we have to pay for with blood, sweat and tears. And fear based hate speech is something we not only have to listen to, but respond passionately and articulately to. We cannot let our government’s policies, constructed by the people to ensure the common good, to dispense hate and lies via constitutional amendment. If we did, it wouldn’t be the Iowa I know and love.

But that is just what Bob Vander Plaats wants. Hate and lies masquerading as legislation.

There is always a civil rights battle being waged. Slavery, Jim Crow, heterosexism, the war on drugs, all of these are rooted in intolerance. It is fear based politics.

Iowa is being inundated with money and hate leading up to the 2012 elections. As an organizer I understand how this works. The more time on the ground with your message, the more likely you will win the election. Over the course of the next couple of years Iowa will be flooded with insane amounts of (Koch brother) money spent lying about everything from gay rights to global warming and beyond. This isn’t just about unseating Obama (though that is part of their agenda), it’s also about health care, liberals in general, tolerance and most currently equality for the LGBT community (and of course anything else good that I left out).

It’s All About Equality

Lets think about that for a moment. What in this word is so hard for people that claim to be Christians to understand? Who do they think has any more right to be home to dinner with their family? Who is born into this world illegally, in gods eyes? Not that I’m a believer, I’m an atheist. But still, I’ve been steeped in religious culture and I know there is a great lie going on when people that profess to be followers of Jesus (love your enemy anyone?) spew hateful rhetoric about how gay people are less than human, are killing themselves and us, are perverts, are curable, or the best one, that gays are why god is going to destroy the world.

After considering this for many years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only real fight is the fight for equality. It lies at the root of every important social issue. Hunger, poverty, education, jobs, women’s rights, the environment, gay rights, prohibition (you name it), I believe they’re all rooted in in-equality (or keeping us un-equal).

Bob and the others drumming up the hate for the 2012 elections have recently re-branded themselves as a “family” advocacy group called (of all things) The Family Leader…If you ask me, Bob protests too loudly. I don’t think he trusts himself to live in a society that is tolerant of each others differences. He’s certainly not ready for my dream world where we actually work in loving cooperation with each other to help each other realize our collective visions. Too bad, It’s a nice vision.

Instead, Vander Plaats starts his 99-county tour of Iowa in Leon and spoke to half a dozen people there about various and sundry flavors of hate to carry us through to 2012. Impeach the judges that “forced” equality upon Iowans he says in so many words.

We liberals and supporters of equality need to be active in this conversation starting right now.  We need an organization that dogs every step The Family Leader takes on its campaign to make the LGBT community into second class citizens.

Where I got my information:

Jeremey Hooper of has assembled a movie that explains these people very well.

Iowa group stooping to junk science and hate groups to smear lgbts

Vander Plaats seeks support for family advocacy group – Newton Daily News

Bob kicks off the hate campaign – Des Moines Register

(click here to read the entire article)

VanThournout lives on the Mississippi river in Rock Island. He plays
guitar, writes poetry and music, designs websites, and organizes for a
more just and peaceful world. More than a decade ago David began
demanding meaningful employment rather than mindless work making
widgets. David now requires that he loves what he does and that it
actually makes the world a better place in a way that is sustainable.
  Follow David on Twitter at
. E-mail David Van Thournout.

WikiLeak’s Truth Lost In This American Noise Machine

WikiLeak’s Truth Lost In This American Noise Machine

By David VanThournout

I only write because of all the lying. I don’t think I’m a good writer at all. I think I’m terrible. What I’m convinced of is that my viewpoint is one of the few sane and objective views left in America or on the Internet.

I read so much non-fiction that I’m chronically depressed these days. The massive de-funding of the left that has occurred in this country started long before we even began to be America. At least that's what I gathered from reading history professor Thadeus Russell's new book “A Renegade History Of the United States.”

Do you know what they used to call us Irishmen before we stopped dancing and fiddling around and became white? They called us white niggers. That’s right, look it up if you doubt me. According to professor Russell, our founding fathers were puritanical prudes that didn't think a bunch of drunks, slackers, pirates, homosexuals, Indians, Blacks and prostitutes could ever win a revolution. Maybe if they hadn't purged the fun stuff we wouldn't have our panties all in a knot over a few spilled secrets today.

Eventually fear and hate reached a fever pitch with Sen. Joseph McCarthy and the purging of communists from the labor unions. More recently I could hear them shouting; “Cut your F%@#ing hair and join the human race you F%#*ing hippie!

This marginalization of liberals and our politically informed art over the last century or more has continued into my own era at such a pace that in hindsight, I realize that my own life and the lives of so many others have been squelched by poverty and right wing marginalization and fear mongering from the very beginning. It’s as if I’ve been in a kind of prison all my life. Never having enough money to quite realize your dreams has taken a huge toll upon not only myself but every man woman and child in this country. If you don’t believe me, just sit and think for a while about what we could do, and what we could have done with the annual pentagon budget for the last 60 years.

We’ve all been ripped off, liberals, conservatives and independents alike! Worse than that, they’ve stolen our children’s future for mere billions and for all intents and purposes, crowned themselves kings of the world. In fact no kings in the history of the world held nearly as much power as feudal lords David and Charles Koch hold over us today. Their tyranny is based in corporate personhood and their stranglehold upon America’s politics could mean the death of half the world by war or by climate change driven famine.

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VanThournout lives on the Mississippi river in Rock Island. He plays
guitar, writes poetry and music, designs websites, and organizes for a
more just and peaceful world. More than a decade ago David began
demanding meaningful employment rather than mindless work making
widgets. David now requires that he loves what he does and that it
actually makes the world a better place in a way that is sustainable.
  E-mail  David.  Follow David on twitter at

We All Live In A Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Society

We All Live In A Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Society

By David VanThournout

Now that we’ve improved the civil rights of those serving their country in the most dangerous capacity, as soldiers defending our constitution, don’t you think it’s time we extended this acceptance of who we are to the cvilian population?

If you are gay and an employee of a conservative company, coming out can be dangerous to your career. Or your life even. This I believe is effectively a form of don’t ask don’t tell in action.

If you are among the more than 40% of Americans that have used cannabis at least once, you probably live in a don’t ask, don’t tell situation as well.

If you’re an atheist and you say proudly, I’m an atheist, you can rest assured you will not win any elections from then on.

You can be a liberal and since we don’t generally wear our religion on our sleeves we might be safely ensconced within the confines of a work environment populated mostly by conservatives and if you start wearing your progressive spirituality on your sleeve like the others, you’ll find out pretty quickly that you shouldn’t talk about religion or politics at work (or anyplace else for that matter). But only because you’re a liberal.

So it appears the military is a comparative liberal paradise when held against the backdrop of the rest of the fairly conservative whole of American culture. If you ask me, the military is way ahead of the rest of us on social issues.

Every single issue I just listed are civil rights issues. Gays, weed heads, atheists, progressive Christians, etc., all are wrongly and manipulatively marginalized. Marginalized within our communities, our churches, our schools, and even our families. Marginalized by a vocal minority who have nothing to offer the conversation but fear. Fear of the other.

It often leaves a gay person today in a situation where they feel completely alone and unable to find anyone to reach out to. They suffer disenfranchisement and depression. They sometimes in despair even take their own lives.

Weed head parents sometimes are charged with child endangerment when they get caught growing a few plants. That seems more than a little extreme to me.

Think of what the parents must feel that find out their son or daughter is gay when they receive a telephone call from the police informing them that their child has killed themselves because of bullying in school.

I’m not normally taken by nationalistic tendencies and I do say that I love my country. I love America not because I think it’s better than other places because it isn’t. America to me means diversity. Diversity of people means we will never want for interesting conversation, food, and there is always a celebration going on. Our collective knowledge of solutions from so many cultures coming together and working toward the common good of everyone is something to be proud of. That’s what I think of when I think of America. And this vision of ours is alive and well.

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VanThournout lives on the Mississippi river in Rock Island. He plays
guitar, writes poetry and music, designs websites, and organizes for a
more just and peaceful world. More than a decade ago David began
demanding meaningful employment rather than mindless work making
widgets. David now requires that he loves what he does and that it
actually makes the world a better place in a way that is sustainable.
  E-mail  David.  Follow David on twitter at

Obama Plays It Cool, American Left Contemplates Suicide

Obama Plays It Cool, American Left Contemplates Suicide

By David VanThournout

I think that if President Obama wants to try and use tax cuts to win hearts and minds out there it has some traction. I'm not entirely convinced but I do believe having a black president is a new thing for America. I'm not at all surprised that it appears that our first black president does things differently; he is a shrewd negotiator and anyone that doesn't understand that has not been paying attention.

If the left thinks that Obama has made a mistake, fine, but progressives will lose big in 2012 if we think we can field a democratic candidate that will win in a primary against Obama.

Just wanted to clarify that point. So let's just put this talk of lefty suicide in 2012 all the way to rest. Sorry, politics is the art of the possible. And we need unity going all the way out to 2012. So even though I'm not happy at all about various details of the Obama Administration, I like to do a little thought experiment to make sure I and all American progressives are awake… Imagine you're only a heart beat away from having Sarah Palin as your president… Now imagine it's 2012 and we've cratered our own support for Obama who was certainly able to win against Palin but because we attempted to “keep Obama's feet to the fire” by running an alternative in the Democratic primary… After the massive sucking sound from the siphoning of Obama votes, we wake up on the Wednesday following the election with not vice president Palin but President Palin….

Because that thought experiment was so damn scary, I highly recommend understanding that President Obama is smarter than we think. I'm convinced that We needed to hear from Bernie Sanders about how bad these tax cuts really are and the fact that on capitol hill they're “all worried about the deficit” but not enough to stop giving rich people free money they don't even need.

I will vote for President Obama in 2012 and that is 99.9% certain. The only way I won't vote for Obama is if I am completely incapacitated for an entire month prior to the election. I would have to be in a coma, if I'm laying on my death bed I will have already voted early no doubt.

VanThournout lives on the Mississippi river in Rock Island. He plays
guitar, writes poetry and music, designs websites, and organizes for a
more just and peaceful world. More than a decade ago David began
demanding meaningful employment rather than mindless work making
widgets. David now requires that he loves what he does and that it
actually makes the world a better place in a way that is sustainable.
  Follow David on twitter at
. E-mail David Van Thournout.