Politics


DEMOCRACY! NOT HYPOCRISY!

A screaming problem with our long-hoped-for Democracy is the unlimited Campaign contributions that gives us the “best democracy that money can buy!” This amounts to, instead, an hypocrisy, that needs to be amended! Just think of that! What we have is an hypocrisy! Not a democracy! And wealthy donors have more power to do their bidding than the rest of us!

Please create a Law that limits political spending, and especially verifiable “receiving” by candidates of any campaign money over a certain fixed, maximum amount. This is most important to a Democracy!

Also, please seriously consider this suggested important change!

There is a GIANT FLAW in the traditional 2-Party System that limits the participation of ALL people to bring their concerns to nation wide attention in the Congress. The 2-Party format is a rigged system!

When, out of our values and our ethical concerns, we Vote for a 3rd party that better represents us, our Vote then detracts from a Major Party. In my case, and with many others, this means having to make a painful choice. It means I may NOT VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE, because they don’t YET represent my Cause. I’m actually “wasting” my Vote, thereby, to SATISFY MY CONSCIENCE, still hoping to make a point.

Or, instead, I can grit my teeth, and cast my vote for a candidate and party that doesn’t yet represent my CONCERN OR CAUSE. OI! What a choice!

Parliamentary systems may have a better chance of representing this need for diversity, whereby the various parties will have the right to enter the ring and to duke-it-out, persuasively, hoping to make their point.

Back to my problem…I wish to Vote for a Democratic Socialist like Bernie Sanders! In the 2016 election, he was respectful, and didn’t run on a 3rd party, because of this detrimental detraction factor. He saw that this was problem. He was ethical, but THEY didn’t support HIM!

So, logically, by Voting my conscience for a 3rd Party, and thereby withholding my Vote from the Democrats, this gives a numerical advantage to the opposition! My vote would actually help the Republicans! That’s how they will always benefit from any 3rd party Vote!

We, logical and ethical Voters are automatically TRUMPED by this strange illogical “either-or” (TweedleDum or TweedleDummer) arrangement!

Rather than diminishing the Democrat’s total, our Democratic Socialist Vote can, and must, feed into the Democrat’s total to give them a numerical advantage.

This will necessitate a change to a 2-PART VOTING SYSTEM, so that we would be able to Vote our first and second choices. I could vote: Social Democrat/(slash) Democrat! This 2-PART VOTE will sure beat the hell out of the counter-productive 2-Party system!

Hopefully, there will come a time when this “feed-into” movement becomes so powerful and overwhelming, that it will have to be recognized and be acknowledged by all, and will eventually STAND ALONE! The Democrats will have become the minority, IF THEY DO NOT MAKE A LEFT TURN! The Social Democrats, with THEIR CONCERNS will then represent the prevailing Party!

Republicans may even favor this new system as well, and approve it, because their own minority voters will wish to have their own causes represented, such as Right to Life/(slash) Republican, for instance.

Who do you think might wish to introduce a bill to initiate this change?

I favor Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren! Thanks for your good work!

Best wishes from Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant, and author of Lefties Are In Their Right Minds

Great article on The American Prospect about Pete Seeger and his controversial performance of Waist Deep in the Big Muddy on “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” television show some 50 years ago on February 25, 1968.

Title: Recalling Pete Seeger’s Controversial Performance on the Smothers Brothers Show 50 Years Ago

Author: Peter Dreier

Date: February 28, 2018

Synopsis: Seeger had been blacklisted as a communist and this gutsy defiance of a corporate media giant marked his return to the mainstream cultural scene.

Link: http://prospect.org/node/229671

Pete Seeger-Waist Deep In The Big Muddy & War Songs Medleys (1968)

This article was re-published on Portside.

Beth Recommends This…

Harper’s Magazine Presents: An Evening with Senator Bernie Sanders

Monday, August 28, 2017
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT – Doors open at 6:00 PM

An Evening with Senator Bernie Sanders (event poster).

The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
(212) 870-6700

Tickets are available at Eventbrite and are $25 for General Admission and $20 for Students.
Ticket includes admission, a copy of Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution, and a one-year subscription to Harper’s Magazine (current subscribers will receive a one-year extension).

Photo of Senator Bernie Sanders.

I encourage everyone in the New York City area to attend this event!

Beth Recommends This…

Resistance Manual

Tuesday, January 17, 2017:  Today, we launch the Resistance Manual — an open-source platform to collect information/resources to resist Trump’s agenda and to continue making progress towards equity and justice in America.

Explore the manual to learn about the policies the incoming administration plans to pursue, how they’ll impact our communities, and what you can do to stop them through federal, state, and local advocacy.

Resistance Manual (logo).

The manual will grow over time as more and more people contribute updates, facts and resources to it. As such, we encourage you to contribute important information for others to read.

Get educated. Get organized. Take Action.

Beth Lamont and Corliss Lamont.
Beth Lamont and Corliss Lamont

  

$15. Minimum Wage? Free healthcare? Free education? Equitable income taxation? No longer allowing the US capitalist economic system to dominate the people? Reform the inequitable voting systems? WOW! Bernie! Bless your heart! You have the attention of the distressed American public! We are listening! YES! We, the People, will at last have a say in the governance of our lives! We now have people power! And Bernie is articulating its details! Bernie is feeling our frustration and responding in a marvelously affirmative way!

I would love to see our first woman President, and had long planned to vote for Hillary if she were running. She has been a champion of people’s healthcare even before she was First Lady; I’m proud of her courage. I hear Hillary promoting respect and change for the workers, for education, for health, for all the right things! However both Bernie and Hillary have worrisome baggage to contend with: She, for perhaps being too close to the war machinery and to Wall Street; and He, for inheriting the fearful “Evil Empire” stigma! O my god! Not Socialism! Even prefacing the word with Democratic…hardly lessens the impact to a knee-jerk response!

Come sit by my side and listen to this wise old granny (I’m left-over at 86 because there’s work to be done!) I have a story to tell, and, here’s an innovation! I wish for you good children to check every detail with Google.

I’ll take you way back to a Christmas time in the last century, almost one hundred years ago; it was in 1917. Likely, you’ve never heard this story before. I’m about to describe a pivotal moment in the history of humankind, and the likelihood of your being unaware of its importance, is in itself, part of the problem! You see, at this time, an Earth shaking decision was being made. Humankind has since been the worse-off because of it!

Corliss Lamont, a child of privilege and of Wall Street, can tell you in his own words, the story of a cable announcing his Father’s unexpected return from Europe, by steamship. (No planes in those day, dearies!) This gentleman, Thomas William Lamont, a man of humble upbringing, who put himself through Harvard, and at that time, as a partner of J. Pierpont Morgan, was representing Wall Street in the Reparations Talks that were determining the amount that aggressive Germany would have to pay to it’s victims of World War I. Tom Lamont was not home for Christmas, he was on an urgent errand to see US President Woodrow Wilson.

In as much as war was still raging, talks of Reparations seemed premature. Tattered, freezing Russians were still defending their borders from German assault, and The Red Cross had been bringing life-saving supplies. Tom’s Harvard classmate, William Boyce Thompson, was a deliverer of supplies, and became quite aware of the Russian people’s movement taking place. It became know as the Bolshevik Revolution. He reasoned that more help to them to sustain their defense against German assault would keep German forces divided between Russia and France, and thereby weaken the German war machine. Britain’s Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, agreed that becoming allies would be a good move. He asked Lamont to secure Wilson’s US pledge.

In spite of Winston Churchill’s admonition that we should “strangle the menacing infant of Socialism in its cradle,” Tom attempted to persuade US President Woodrow Wilson that the US should come to the aide of the Bolsheviks. Tom was not allowed to speak with Wilson, however. He apparently was thwarted by Colonel Edward M. House, an aide to Wilson, (who hated those goddamn atheist Commies) and instead, Wilson was persuaded that it was important to send American troops to thwart them. This was, indeed a pivotal moment!

You can even read about our 1918 invasion of Archangel and Vladivostok in a history of the event that was written by General William Graves, entitled “Our Siberian Adventure.” Alas, we made a wrong choice! And, the fact that our US foreign policy chose at that time to make enemies of the Russians, rather than becoming allies, has reverberated ever since, in Earth shaking decisions from which we may not recover. It is still in the balance, and questionable: NATO was created as a bulwark against the USSR. Why was the Ukraine invited to join it? The US practically went ballistic over such an incursion on our Cuban doorstep! Talk about illogic!

Corliss’s father, Thomas W. Lamont, remained adamant in his support of the Russians, and in 1945 both gentlemen appeared on the same Madison Square podium promoting American-Soviet Friendship! Both courageous in their stands, advocating friendship with what had begun to be called “The Evil Empire”, was truly heroic. So, this bit of history from 1917, that is totally unknown to the general public, and was fearfully propagandized ever since, may have a present day gut-level impact upon this Presidential Election.

Perhaps in academic circles these historical issues may have been clinically diagnosed, and if one is already interested they can research these 1917 happenings, especially in a book:” Ambassador From Wall Street” by Edward M. Lamont, the Grandson of Thomas, but the significance of this history hasn’t filtered into the realm of general knowledge by our populace. This is especially worrisome to potential voters. This is my biggest scare!

This history needs to be known! We’ve truly been sold a bill-of-goods about the original ideals of the Socialist philosophy, and how it was intended to respect and honor the workers, the farmers, the soldiers, the sailors, the peasants of Russia, specifically against heinous injustices, years of atrocities perpetrated by mounted Cossacks riding down, and slashing with sabers, the throngs of hungry protestors in the streets. Always to be considered is: compared to what! What was going on in their world? If we still know nothing of the Bolshevik Revolution, we have no right to judge it harshly! It was a justified expression of “People Power! Read John Reed’s “Ten Days That Shook The World.” The biggest fear was that it would catch-on like wildfire right here!

You may be old enough to have experienced the Red Scare right here in the good ol’ US of A? No? You haven’t heard of the Ludlow Massacre? The Palmer Raids? How about the Socialists who we re elected into office by New York voters, and who were refused acceptance by the NY legislature, because of their “foreign” beliefs? They were elected by their New York constituents, expressing Socialist convictions at the ballot box. Imagine! How about tales of the “Evil Empire” and fearsome Communism? Totalitarianism? What about the House Un- American Activities Committee dedicated to rooting out the frightening cancer of Communism right here in our own communities, then even worse, Joseph McCarthy, on his rabid rampage, who saw a “Commie” under every bed? And who, in a sneering and contemptuous manner, demanded of Corliss Lamont, and so many other American patriots: “Are you now, or have you ever been a Communist?” This in the “Land of the Free?”

Come sit by my knee, and let me tell you another story. It began, way back in the late 1800s , when at the time, the compassionate scholarship of some important whistle-blowers of their time, saw from their research that the powerful industrial revolution that was going on, didn’t filter down to the workers. The great potential for human betterment was being short-stopped at the paycheck, and was overflowing the coffers of the investors. WOW! What a shocking assertion! The ideas of Karl Marx were gaining traction! Surplus value? This should be shared? “Pay the Workers more? Ha! Certainly not! Preposterous! We Captains of Industry certainly have no obligation to benefit workers, much less, all of humankind. Workers are necessary, but they are completely expendable, interchangeable tools toward that end, and plenty more where they came from. Workers should be grateful for the job. How dare they ask for more? Strike? O my god! Call the police!”

The whole point of investing money was for building and creating progress, but ultimately, in the end, it had to…guess what? It had to make profit for the investors! If there were any altruistic aspects of their investment, these had to be sacrificed upon the alter of profit-making. Powerful corporations had the upper hand! So, naturally, they prevailed in their own best interests, and the interests of the entire capitalist enterprise, They must oppose at all costs this mistaken conspiracy that they’re abusing and neglecting the workers. Indeed, capitalism has held this power, for more than a century, at horrendous cost to humankind…in pain and blood. Ever since, in one form or another, corporations and management attempt to vilify, propagandize, thwart, oppose, deride, any move by the workers to gain respect, ensure their safety, and to obtain a more equitable share of the profit, and to this day they have succeeded. Labor strikes must be thwarted at all costs, even to murdering the strikers. Please read about a strike activist murdered by firing squad: his name was Joe Hill.

I’ll tell you, the powers that be, have really done a number on the concept of equitable treatment of workers and of human beings in general, even respect for planet Earth, in convincing us that we Earthlings are not worthy of better treatment and humane considerations for our own health and well being, or for the safety and happiness of our families, or for fair treatment of all of us humans regardless of our heritage.

Many workers, to this day, might automatically respond negatively to the word “Socialism” This is almost an unconscious knee-jerk reaction, with head shaking, disapproving of any thought of those foreign ideas. Alas, the workers of the world are in desperate need of the best protection of the socialist economic ideals. Workers of the World Unite! That was the battle cry in the 1900s! We weren’t able to unite then. The battle still rages! Particularly because of the misunderstanding of it’s origin and its true meaning.

Socialism does NOT automatically mean totalitarianism! This is part of the propaganda against it. It does NOT mean government control of everything, as is asserted. Consider “responsibility” as the operant word! To protect the best interests of the people and the planet is a powerful mandate. Let’s consider these apparently opposing ideas? We fear control, but respect the need to take responsibility. Right? These aren’t necessarily two opposing concepts, but a continuum, sort-of an extension of the level of responsibility. First, the ethical consideration of assuming responsibility, but then in execution, becoming necessary or asserted control. A little picture of this could be seen as taking a child’s hand to help her or him to cross the street safely. Clearly, this is taking logical and compassionate responsibility for the child’s protection. But, if instead, a cruel person would angrily snatch a kid around, smack and drag her or him across the street, all the while berating the child for non-obedience, this would clearly have become, instead, a horrible matter of control and punishment!

Taking responsibility to promote one’s best interests and prevent a danger is clearly a concept that is both humanitarian and of benefit to the people. On the other hand, we can readily recognize in the exercise of control, the similarity to police brutality, inequitable incarceration, thwarting of protestors, and even the withholding of health and educational facilities and the badmouthing of those who object to this control. This can even be extended conceptually to include inequitable taxation at home, and promotion of economic and military domination around the world. Do we believe that might makes right?

We’ve been propagandized to fear the control of “The Evil Empire” but it can happen here, as well. It is only when a government is fierce and controlling in protecting ITSELF, and its secret information, rather than protecting the rights of it’s own people, that it BECOMES totalitarian! Why should a would be democracy even HAVE secrets? What is government doing that its people should NOT know? Is the US totalitarian? Horrors!

Because the average American voter, who may not be aware of our own history, or is steeped in the alluring lore of our own oft touted promotion of equality and justice, may therefore not identify with the actual history of the people’s attempt to have a stronger voice in decisions made in this country, we might be vulnerable to a strong backlash surge of militaristic nationalism in an upcoming election, in which the ideals of “America First” might prevail.

This Strangelovian surge could usher us into a world of fascism that could make the Nazi’s look like Boy Scouts in comparison. Never mind dominating Europe; some fanatics in this country envision global domination. There was a US Website that was so shocking and embarrassing that it was eventually removed…called: “US Space Command.gov.”(Google it!) It purported to dominate space; protect the US interests and it’s investments, and..(get this!)..Zap Naughty Nations!

How is it that the US believes itself to be the World’s Policeman? Why does the US have a military finger in every pie on the face of this Earth? Maybe, more truthfully, it’s a finger in the EYE of almost every Human! This is truly a fearful prospect. We need a peaceful Planet Earth; promoting peace should be our aim.

I fear that passionate nationalism with all of its fearful implications will become the official US stance on the world scene, if not properly grounded in some scholarly (and grand motherly) concerned attention to this segment of our United States history.

On this February Day of 2016, amid the televised angry exhortations as to who should lead this land, I’m so painfully aware of the great dichotomy of political opinion regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this great country. We have certainly confused the concepts of democracy and of capitalism. Recognizing that one is a political ideal and the other is an economic system, we are somehow reluctant to consider that they might not even be compatible. Indeed, this incompatibility has give rise to fact that we now have “the best democracy that money can buy.” How shameful! We workers and citizens are realizing that capitalism isn’t what it’s “cracked-up to be: Matter of fact, it has shown to be counter productive to our best interests!

And, of great concern right now, where on Earth does socialism fit in? Regardless s of our heartfelt passions, we might all assert to be “Patriotic Americans.” Of course. Some will point to the “undisputed fact” that “We’re The Good Guys!” Didn’t we defeat the Nazis, and come to the rescue of the world? My own loving son believes that I’m too critical of US foreign policies. I respect and fully understand his point of view, in that he believes in US economic and military power on the world stage, and with his assigned male role as protector, and that role’s perceived extension as protector and defender of the US, he would naturally wish to champion and exercise that power politically. I champion the 3 Rs: Reason, Respect, and Responsibility!

But, from my own assigned alternate female role as nurturer and as a mother, my focus is more on the well being of the whole human family, not just a few sub-segments of it. After all, the United States of America is just one member of this global human family. We assert to be the most powerful, because we hold, and will not relinquish, the power to respond militarily to any asserted threat that our militarily minded leaders may perceive. This literally scares the hell outta me! I favor negotiations! What tha’Hey! Drop Bread not Bombs!

Why is negotiation and seeking non-military solutions considered wimpish and subject to criticism? I am so concerned that, in the absence of, or the ineffective presentation of a coherent model of world power that is non-military, we Americans will fall prey (let-us-prey?) to the “Military Industrial Complex” of which Dwight Eisenhower warned us, and in the din of electoral politics, in this “best democracy that money can buy,” might choose to confront adversity, as-in: “the Christians against the Muslims” with insanity. I’m hearing screams of: “Go Kill ISIS!” with stabbing upraised fists! This totally denies the fact that Isis is certainly a “blowback” product of our “Shock and Awe” intrusion into Iraq, a war based on lies. Regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, I fear that Dr. Strangelove might be convincingly more powerful. The basic primitive response to perceived aggression is “us against them,” wholly disregarding the truths of our thousands of years of human history and of the sadly earned, but totally ignored, wisdom gained, thereby. We Earthlings All are “us!”

Corliss Lamont, a patriotic champion of civil liberties, wrote in 1952, pamphlets discussing US foreign policies, and titled one pamphlet: “Are We Being Talked Into War?” This man saw , way back then, the dangers of commitment to military “solutions” in response to perceived or imagined threats as insanity!

Let’s consider the progress brought to us by technology. Human creativity and ingenuity have brought us to an amazing never before moment in our human evolution. We now have the power to cause the extinction of this whole human experience! Poof! In a series of nuclear blasts, you know…the “mushroom shaped cloud” bit! Nothing left but, maybe the cockroaches. ON THE OTHER HAND…..tada! We now have, PEOPLE POWER! Thanks to technology, We human beings can communicate with EACH OTHER! Maybe , we can get it together, in the best interest of human survival? If we are truly evolving, and becoming less primitive and more suitably adapted, wouldn’t this be the beautiful and ironic “happily-ever-after” solution to hatred and militarism! YES!

More History: In the 1930s, in Germany, the ideals of socialism and of communism were in opposition, and with adherents of each party competing fiercely, rather than articulating and presenting a coherent and even comprehensive vision, to appeal to the workers and the voters of Germany. They were pretty much rejected as a source of wisdom and power, almost like “You trouble making foreigners go home to the USSR!” It was into this absence of a coherent articulation of the positive ideals of a socialist society, that the powerful surge of German nationalism arose. “Germany Uber Alles!” This led to the promotion and exercise of Nazi power.

It will be coming up soon: Mother’s Day 2016. I worry about all the kids on the face of this Earth who are in danger, and who will benefit from a socialistic and humanistic approach to the complex problems on this planet. Military power will not bring safety, respect, equality, civil liberties, healthcare, education, food and shelter. Our realistic human concerns are more closely aligned with the societal aspects of the all embracing and universal humanist philosophy as promoted by Corliss Lamont and other humanists! The concept, when translated into political terms, is actually pronounced: O my god – Socialism! It must not be feared! We’re very sSocial beings, and we’ve evolved from some of the most compassionate of ancestors: MOTHERS!

If the concept of Social is a good, as in Social Security, then adding those 3 letters…I-S-M…should not be a frightening spectacle! Socialism can mean what we citizens wish for it to mean, by exercising our People Power! Hooray for Bernie Sanders! He is the most courageous man on Earth at this time! His vision and his rousing passion for the plight of the people is the greatest remedy for the woes of the world…for the painful ills of humankind that fear and greed and hate have brought us. May his message prevail and catch fire in the hearts of all American voters! I warily approve of Hillary Clinton and would want for her “negotiating experience” to prevail. I’ve been joking for some time now about him teaching her, and teaming up. This would be powerful!

Here’s my little limerick with that suggestion:
Hey, Hillary! Bernie’s eating your lunch!
You’d better invite him to dinner!
Party at Madison Square!
Discuss issues there!
I have a Hunch………that You’ll BOTH come off Winners!

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Chaplain and widow of Corliss Lamont.

Note: This essay was originally published on Portside on February 24, 2016.

Lefties Are In Their Right Minds - Part One (book cover).HELLO AGAIN to those of you who are concerned with HUMAN VALUES! And here’s a timely election-related 212-page book that you can download and read, called: Lefties Are In Their Right Minds – Part Two, published as an e-book on October 23, 2012 by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc.

But first, here’s a Granny-Blog entry about a most unlikely thing for you to consider: three little letters of the Alphabet ! Just three little letters that make a world of difference, even a life and death difference in our existence. Please read-on to consider their significance…..

“Social” is a GOOD word! Right? We surely agree on this: it means the whole family or the whole community, or our associates, as in Society,…ALL of Society! Maybe even ALL of the people of our whole Country? Maybe of the whole World? OK! I’m pushing it! Next:

“Capital” is a GOOD word! Right? We agree that the investment of Capital…REAL MONEY is desperately needed to create jobs, create industry, large and small businesses, to build schools and hospitals, bridges, highways. new and needed renewable technologies like wind, solar and tidal power! It’s endless! The great and necessary elements of our best, even ideal Human existence depend upon the investment of Capital! Are we still in agreement? OK!

Now, what the hell happens when we add three little letters to these agreed-upon GOOD words?

You’ve probably already guessed what I’m getting at. Those three little letters…by themselves don’t amount to a hill of beans…they are themselves blameless…innocent of any derogatory connotations. Those letters are: I-S-M !

Yegods! Just by adding those three little letters to those two stand alone GOOD words…they have been magically transformed into SOME KIND OF HIDEOUS MONSTERS TO BE FEARED !

First, the word “Social” GOOD is suddenly contaminated with defamatory, propagandized ancient baggage that is no longer relevant! We hear references to Omigod! “Social”-I-S-M, spoken in fear!

Say whatever you like out of your storehouse of experience and information…or quite possibly MIS-information, but that word is STILL a stand-alone potential, originally conceived out of a need to protect and to champion the workers and the ordinary people from domination by ruthless powers! Ring any bells? Did you hear the words unemployment or job growth in the Presidential Debates?

That “Social”-I-S-M was experimental and was challenged, and in SOME instances turned toward totalitarianism, is truly unfortunate, BUT…..not necessarily a consequence of its intention or its ideal, which is still ethical, practical and PURE! Note: Women’s Rights were championed in 1917 in USSR!

Secondly, the word “Capital” GOOD is suddenly transformed…by the addition of the letters: I-S-M, into a whole different ballgame! By adding those three little letters, this GOOD “Capital” becomes a tool, not of benefit to the people, but of domination of the people…the workers, and even a destructive force on our precious Planet Earth.

Those letters I-S-M transform “Capital” into “Capital” I-S-M, an economic system that is designed for the express purpose of creating PROFIT to the investor! It is not designed to enhance “Social” GOOD, or to benefit the workers. In order to extract this profit from the investment of “Capital,” there must be cheap labor, cheap materials, cheap operation, all sacrificing well-being and safety.

And this domination and exploitation is purely to create PROFIT to be gained in Casino-type betting on the Stock Market, showing no loyalty, no consideration of consequences to human well-being.

Associating necessary government spending with Omygod! Socialism is a totally fabricated ploy. But it’s absolutely nuts to balance the budget by cutting out PEOPLE programs Except for unnecessary military spending, that is! Stop all wars! Negotiate! Spend this money on Humanitarian efforts, instead! Again: Did you hear the words unemployment or job growth in the Presidential Debates?

My mottoes are: “Create Capital With A Conscience!” And “Humanize The In-Humane Economic System!”

And of course, please read the new shorter version of Lefties Are In Their Right Minds, originally a 1939 introduction from Corliss Lamont. Also play my interview with Harold Channer on his show Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer on Manhattan Neighborhood Network in which we debate these issues.

Thanks! from Beth K. Lamont.

PS: Don’t let anyone or anything prevent you from exercising your Right To Vote! Have courage!

Here’s Lefties Are In Their Right Minds – Part Two as a free download (right-click and “Save As…” to download):

Here is the Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer television show:

Guest Beth Lamont on March 22, 2012 (58:23)

Downloadable 480 by 360 (360p29.97) MPEG-4 AVC/AAC-LC video file:
Right-click and Save As… to download (213,302,097 bytes).
Play with your favorite multimedia player program.
VideoLAN VLC media player recommended.

MPEG-4 logo.  Conversations_with_Harold_Hudson_Channer_2012-03-22_Beth_Lamont.mp4

How shall we Protect the Occupy Wall Street Protestors? Here’s a letter to Dennis Kucinich proposing a law to protect peaceful protestors.

Witnessing the over-reaction to peaceful protestors by police across the nation is alarming to concerned citizens who recognize that this response is contrary to the United States’ First Amendment Rights of Free Speech and our Right to Peaceably Assemble in Redress of Grievances that are insured by Law. Our Bill of Rights cannot be repealed!

A new Federal Law is needed to assure that these rights to “Peaceably Assemble” are respected, especially against all threats, abuse, attacks with weapons and pepper spray by local law enforcement, against protest marches, and the endangerment of persons and the blatant destruction of the property of non-violent protest encampments. Here, we are reminding of the Supreme Court Decision favoring Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth whose Civil Rights group marched without a required permit. The Court reversed Shuttlesworth’s conviction because the circumstances indicated that the parade permit was denied not to control traffic, but to censor ideas.

Protection must be reinforced by a Federal “Law of the Land,” such as was necessary during the Civil Rights struggle. This Federal Law must override local options to violate the people’s Rights for any asserted reason, that will and must result in injunction, or punitive action by the Justice Department for local police blatantly violating the Constitutional Rights and the protection of peaceful protestors.

Some of the hazards to the expression of Freedom of Speech have been noted with local police asserting their authority to control crowds; to protect law and order; to presume to protect the public by acting on what often turn out to be blatantly false allegations of protestor’s wrong doings, such as: creating a sanitary hazard with waste products; the creating of a fire hazard with electrical usage and heaters; illicit sexual conduct in a public place, even charges of rape; the use of illegal substances; the blocking of traffic; the interference with normal transaction of local business; etc. Perhaps these are “good reasons” not real reasons? The obvious action here is a basic us/them power assertion over a potential unruly mob!

Upon analyzing many of these assertions and allegations it is learned that, contrary to the declaration of non-violence and non law-breaking dedication of the main constituents of a peaceful protest, there are some who chose to act as provocateurs to purposely, defiantly, or even carelessly bring such disgrace and resultant punishment to the declaredly non-offensive peaceful movement such as “Occupy Wall Street!”.

Such offensive persons or such offensive unsanitary conditions are not welcomed by the majority, and when, and if, someone calls attention to such provocative behavior, it will be dealt with effectively in a democratic, ethical and non-violent manner by consensus and by eviction by the majority. This would amount to a “self-policing policy.” To punish an entire movement for the actions or allegation against one or several offenders is more typical of a totalitarian system and is unconscionable in a democracy.

In extreme cases, where the movement’s banning or shunning or cleaning-up after such an offender or such offenders would not effectively banish them from the group, this would then be seen, paradoxically, as a reason to call upon the local authorities to remove such an offender, who has defied the wishes of the majority and thereby has assumed the position of jeopardizing the well-being of the Movement.

We need Police Departments that are sensitive to and responsive to the varieties of people that a democracy consists of. Police are trained to counter “the enemy.” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in NYC is training Recruits to be wary of Muslims and to infiltrate Mosques. Who is the enemy? Police must be required to respect the needs of the people to engage in non-violent demonstrations, and to not restrict, yea even to protect their Constitutional Rights of Free Speech. Let’s make it a Federal Law!

Thank you, Dennis Kucinich, for your consideration and for your help.

Beth K. Lamont, Humanist Celebrant

The Capitalist Tide Will Lift All Boats!

How I wish that Corliss Lamont were still with us, with his passion about the People’s Right To Know! Corliss would have cheered the recent WikiLeaks publication of Iraq and Afghanistan war documents, as he had with Daniel Ellsberg‘s Pentagon Papers, that exposed in 1968, the blatant lies about reasons for, and the U.S. prosecution of, an immoral war in Southeast Asia. The similarity was ever so obvious, when we stood recently at the Times Square Recruitment Center in support of Bradley Manning, the brave and principled WikiLeaker who is now in U.S. custody, charged with the serious crime of releasing classified documents!

There standing, completely oblivious of the pouring rain, was a brilliant hero of both events, then and now; Leonard Weinglass, who had been a defender, along with William Kunstler, of Daniel Ellsberg. He was quite eloquent in his recounting of the significance of the Pentagon Papers, and comparing the importance of this new revelation and this new exposure of the human rights violations in which our government is engaged, all the while asserting that we are promoting democracy.

Take To The Streets?

So, here we go again! What did the People learn previously, about the duplicity, the secrecy, especially the untrustworthiness of their own government, and of its military adventures? Of even more concern: what did we do about it then? And, what are we doing about it now? Here we have, in Bradley Manning, another instance of a very courageous person of conscience, who risks all in the interest of the People’s Right to Know, while the majority of the People themselves seem unconcerned, and are not taking comparable risks in exercising their own Rights to Know, and demanding to learn what is actually taking place in our names. In future inquiries into Human Rights violations, how can we pretend that “we didn’t know?” The people of Germany might give us some advice out of their own experience.

Even the brutalization of our military itself is getting more exposure with the proliferation of shared material via the Internet. A vivid description of the indoctrination and intimidation of soldiers who are new to combat, being queried as to their willingness to risk killing civilians in combat, was posted recently. Those ethical persons who valued human life, and who expressed a reluctance to do so, were themselves brutalized until they agreed to comply.

Shocking footage of ruthless, even gleeful killing!

On our Human Values Network Web site as far back as July 2004, we had published a link to an atrocity filmed from an Apache Helicopter, in which civilians were gunned down and the vehicle from which they were trying to flee was “smoked,” I believe was the term used. All the while those excited voices in the helicopter seemed as inured to the deaths that they were dealing as if they were playing a video game. It was so shocking and disgusting. Here are the links to that footage that we feel should be preserved. The files have disappeared from several other sites on which they were hosted and we don’t want them to be gone forever, so we’re hosting copies on this server, using the original file names so that they can be more easily located.

Any respect for Human Values and the preciousness of life itself must necessarily be suppressed in the business of killing for fun and profit, and the pursuit of power and empire! So many of our veterans who are lucky enough to come home are suffering, not just the devastation of broken bodies, but with broken spirits and damaged emotions. Some who are well enough pour their pain and frustration into public witness, as in Veterans for Peace and similar organizations. Many are not. The suicide rate among military and veterans is the highest in history. I wonder how many of them have been sacrificed upon this alter of manly machismo?

I remember reading about the military inviting children to have a grown-up adventure and get the feel of firing at a target. Someone, perhaps from public outcry, had the sense to shut down this unethical operation that equated killing with fun.

Dealing with primitive human emotions

The dehumanization that is necessary to for one to consider “other” human beings as simply enemy to be eliminated reverberates in all directions and permeates our society. The simplistic act of name-calling and using derogatory terms for those who are somehow perceived to be different, should have been outgrown in our childhood, or at least have been called into question in a basic psychology class, upon learning of the instinct to identify with one’s own kind and to shun or fear “the other.” This is the very primitive recognition of the difference between us and them, that leads, unfortunately, to simplistic thinking even on the most powerful levels, with statements like: “If you’re not for us, you’re against us!” Sadly, age or experience doesn’t always bring wisdom in these matters, when otherwise normal appearing adults can spew out hate and vengeance toward others that it deems to be the enemy, or worse, a terrorist! Painting “the other” with a broad categorical brush, assuming that all are the same, or dangerous, or have evil motives, is the same trick that causes the inability to distinguish a freedom fighter from a terrorist. Or a Tea Bagger from a true Patriot!

The shameful animosity, even outright hate, that is being vented upon the Muslim group which plans to build an educational and cultural center a few blocks from the World Trade Center Memorial Site, accusing that this Muslim Center will desecrate a “sacred site,” is an example of such ignorance. The use of the term “sacred” gives the issue religious overtones, and implies a kind of exclusivity. People of all races and religions were victims of the 9/11 attack. Many who worked there and died there were Muslims. They have as much right as you and I do, to express their religious freedom. To attribute evil motives to them, as though they as a group were perpetrators or even sympathizers of the terrorist attacks is false. It is insinuated that they are teaching hatred of Americans or Christians or Jews. This also is false; they are community oriented and ecumenical, reaching out to other faiths and actually teaching respect. The accusation is instead, a reflection in the eye of the beholder, those who are actually spewing out and teaching hatred and fear of them.

The need to speak up renouncing allegations of a religious war

I appreciate President Barak Obama’s reminding of our traditional right to religious freedom, but a stronger and more specific affirmation is desperately needed. Those who are screaming hate and fear of Muslims, as though they as a group were the perpetrators of the World Trade Center disaster, and that we are somehow engaged in a holy war, might benefit from a little refresher course in American history about our dealings with the pirates of the Barbary Coast who were creating havoc with American ships. Negotiations culminated in the 1799 Treaty of Tripoli, in which then President Adams signed statements, affirming that we had no enmity against Muslims or “Mohammedans.” Article 11 of the Treaty is as follows:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,— as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,— and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

The reiteration of this historical statement might go a long way to bring into the consciousness of this Nation the question of why we are bombing Muslims indiscriminately (or collaterally?) in our military campaign of targeted assassination of alleged Al Qaeda leaders. Please Mr. President, if there were indeed an element of revenge in our responses to the attack on the World Trade Center, and you inherited this shameful burden, in the interest of sanity and ethical behavior, and human decency, please Mr. President, let it cease with you! Stop making war! It is counter-productive. If we had in mind to create a terrorist “factory,” so that we had a constant stream of enemies on which to target our war machine, this would be the way to do it. If my village were bombed, and my family members killed, I wonder if I would have the grace to make a fine distinction between the flawed foreign policies of the U.S. and those damn Americans? Walt Kelly may have had it right when he observed that he had seen the enemy and it is us.

What’s our excuse now?

This illogical tendency to lump people together as a class, an ethnic entity, a monolithic religious group or whatever, rather than understanding that they are all individuals, is a very human and simple way of dealing with the unknown. Perhaps more understandable in ancient times than now, but not in this century, when we have at hand the means to research and communicate as never before, and we have access to data that defines our common evolutionary heritage, and our exploration of the cosmos reveals that our Earth is hardly significant in the total scheme of things, much less the center of the universe as the ancients believed. We are indeed all Earth People and how lucky we are to even be here! Picturing our Earth from space was conclusive, in that it showed no artificial boundaries to separate us into numerous varieties of Earthlings. Why is it that so many of the powerful on this Earth persist in promoting a primitive, immature and divisive perspective that asserts that some of us are of more value than others? Perhaps our evolution suffers arrested development?

It’s downright painful to recall the terrible things that we have done to each other in the name of fear and greed and vengeance, and how about chauvinism? Being superior, and above the laws of human decency, is a devastating pitfall. The Nazis called Jews “vermin,” and set about to exterminate them. In our own shameful history in the U.S., slaves were considered less than human, and if they escaped, the return to their rightful owner was required by law. Worse, they were subject to lynching. And in our pioneering push Westward, there was a phrase that reverberated across the plains: “A good Indian is a dead Indian!” How insulting to Native Americans that we had desecrated their own sacred lands, and then had the “nerve” to build upon those same lands, millions of churches that promoted the very faith of the terrorists who had decimated them!

Beware of patriotic and religious zealotry

I’m fearful of the present danger to the People’s Right to Know with this wave of reactionary illogic that seems to be sweeping over the country. I’m seeing a snake-oil huckster selling a cure-all liniment for disparate ailments. Some are in pain over what they see as too much government, while other complainers want more protection and better control. This one-size-fits-all patriotic and religious zealotry will wear thin before election time, and expose itself for the sham that it is. All that it has going for it is a focal point for dissatisfaction and a powerful network mouth that scapegoats and tells outright lies! How I wish that the false allegation that the networks are left-leaning were true. But unfortunately, logic and moderation are not sensational enough; and what is more to the point, they don’t sell enough snake-oil! Ah, would that we more ethical peace persons had our own network! How else can we promote the cooperative efforts that are needed to make productive changes?

How I wish that Corliss Lamont were here to help us promote the People’s Right to Know. Corliss published and promoted needed information that might have remained relatively invisible. The Treaty of Tripoli would be good to publicize. The National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, of which he was Director for many crucial years, became an instrument for pursuing violations of our Bill of Rights. As a champion of Civil Liberties, he would have challenged the so-called Patriot Act, and the abdication of Congress’s responsibility in handing war powers over to the President.

But, Mr. President, your war powers also give you the power to shut it down!

~ ~ ~

Corliss Lamont would have been thrilled with the potential of this amazing new technology. Imagine, writing a blog that thousands of viewers world-wide will see in a matter of minutes! Internet users, especially students, from all over the world visit his Web site, https://www.corliss-lamont.org/, and learn of his landmark court cases in behalf of civil liberties and his successful challenge of Joseph McCarthy. Corliss would have been pleased to learn that his name is remembered and invoked in behalf of The People’s Right to Know.

WHAT: A presentation by Beth K. Lamont
WHEN: Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 7:00 PM

WHERE:

Bluestockings Books, 172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Hello to Friends and lovers of promoting real change in behalf of the people!

You are invited to a presentation at Bluestockings on Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM to hear a bit of history about how the original ideals of creating, within the democratic framework, a system more responsive to the real needs of the people, has been thwarted, maligned, corrupted and distorted, especially by the vested interests of the “powers that be.”

Corliss Lamont’s book called: You Might Like Socialism, describing its benefits and even its detractors, originally published in 1939, has been re-issued with a current update written by his wife, Beth K. Lamont. It is now named: Lefties Are In Their Right Minds.

This is a very timely topic, partly of public indignance, with the bailout of banks that are deemed to be “too big to fail.” Yet the idea of controlling the banking system in the best interests of the people is feared by Congress. And the public is barraged with gross misinformation by the media. Here’s a matter that needs more open discussion: advocacy of Democratic Socialism!

The book is currently available and is being featured at a Bluestockings reading. Please come to the meeting, prepared to discuss the issues, especially those of how we might make beneficial changes in behalf of the people. Hope to see you there!

Good News! The new book, Lefties Are In Their Right Minds, is available at last!

It was published by Half-Moon Foundation, Inc. on May 18, 2009 and is ISBN 978-0-578-00782-3.

This is a re-introduction of Corliss Lamont’s You might Like Socialism that was written in 1939. Many of you, friends and cohorts of Corliss Lamont, may wish to have your own copy. You will find it at Amazon.com if you wish to purchase it.

Folks seem to enjoy the little play on words of the title. The use of the word “Lefties,” of course, is not in the least anatomical; it is strictly political. And how timely is this re-introduction of Corliss’s compilation of historical information describing the ideals and the ordeals of the Socialist Movement in the earliest years of the Twentieth Century, now that the almost forbidden word is on many lips with the election of Barack Obama.

The Rush Limbaugh types speak the word in accusatory tones, citing tax-and-spend tactics of a welfare state, and predicting the end of democracy. Others, in almost prayerful whispers, are daring to say those long discredited and maligned words, “Socialism” or “Democratic Socialism,” believing that now at last we might begin to build a real democracy that includes all of the people, and enjoy a more equitable distribution of this country’s assets, and turn away from counterproductive foreign policies and entrenched warmongering.

I keep reminding that Corliss Lamont had an inside view of the flaws of the Capitalist economic system, having benefited from Wall Street wealth, yet siding with the plight of the working class. His vision for improving the conditions of those who were exploited and abused by the callous indifference of Capitalism developed in the early days of the Bolshevic Revolution. The ideals of this new philosophy that might have taken off like wildfire in this country were inspiring to the working classes; there was respect for the workers; women were equal partners; education for all would be a value; and many of the assets of wealth would belong to the community for all to enjoy.

Corliss tells the story of how the powers of the Church and Wall Street, each fearful of having their own powers eroded, fueled the fears that became a rabid anti-communist hysteria that raged for all of the Twentieth Century and is still a dominant and counterproductive factor that determines U.S. domestic and foreign policy. He was witness to these fitful violations of civil liberties. He saw violence against labor protestors. He saw concerted efforts to rid the educational institutions of “those damn Reds!” He saw J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy in full swing, wielding their fearful powers to destroy, to terrify, to intimidate. And all of this. . . .to root out the evil vestiges of ugh, Communism and Socialism!

There’s so much more to tell, but Corliss Lamont tells it so very well. Please check out this exploration of the ideals of Socialism, which he so innocently and optimistically called: You Might Like Socialism. I promise that for its historical value alone, it is a worthwhile read. Advice from another “Leftie” who loved him, Beth.

For additional information on Lefties Are In Their Right Minds, please visit the following Web page.

https://www.corliss-lamont.org/lefties/

Here’s an interview that aired on WBAI FM radio in New York yesterday, January 25, in which I was invited to discuss the relevance of my new book, Lefties Are In Their Right Minds. The interviewer, Barry F. Seidman, is a Humanist cohort who is Executive Producer/Host of the Equal Time For Freethought program that is heard regularly at 6:30 PM every Sunday night.

Our discussion covered current events and historical Humanism and just about everything in between. If you enjoy this Podcast version of the interview, available below, you might wish to hear an unedited, longer version that’s available at the following URL.

https://www.corliss-lamont.org/lefties/

Thanks for your interest.

Beth K. Lamont

Podcast.   HumanValuesWeblog20090126-Post38.mp3
  29 minutes 26 seconds – 14,140,978 bytes

Hello and thank you for checking out this Podcast. I’d like to tell you about a new book that speaks to the dilemma in which we voters find ourselves at the moment. We need to bring about a real Ballot Box Revolution that will tilt this Democracy toward its working class citizens. If this really is a nation of,… for, and by its People, why have we allowed the so-called Free Market system to become more powerful than ourselves? How can it be allowed to dominate us? What are we, chopped liver?

How is it that the system that is “too large to fail,” got that large? And without proper oversight? How is it that this faulty system must be saved by the hard-earned tax money of its victims? We, who are small, are allowed to fail, to loose our homes, our jobs, and who gives a damn? The People should be served by the market, not the other way around. We are not here to serve the market! It should be working in our behalf!

This Nation was conceived in Liberty, and this ideal of personal freedom was not designed for the freedom of its market system that would become so powerful as to allow its People to be ground-up in its machinery. This is another case of the tail wagging the dog!

Lefties Are In Their Right Minds

The book that I’m introducing is called Lefties Are In Their Right Minds. I’m going to say that again: Lefties Are In Their Right Minds! Do you like that title? No? You are shocked by that assertion? You recently heard our Democratic Candidate accused of being a Socialist, and denying it vehemently. Those gathered around him also were expressing their own disdain of such a possibility. But, ladies and Gentlemen, guess what we’ve got? Not only do we have Socialized Militarism, but now we have Socialized Capitalism! The exploitive Capitalist Free Market can’t stand on its own but has to be propped up by the Government and the tax-payer’s money! What a surprising development this is! Maybe if there had been a little Socialized Government regulation in behalf of the people, we wouldn’t have been left to be doubly victimized by the so-called Free Market.

Lefties Are In Their Right Minds (book cover).I want to tell you who I am and why I’ve written Lefties Are In Their Right Minds. The story starts more than a hundred years ago, way back in 1902. A young man born of Wall Street wealth grew up learning of the flaws of this Democracy right at the Family dining table. He heard of plant closings that put people out of work; he heard of the thwarting of labor unions. Being an ethical person, he began to champion the underdog, the victims. He believed in worker’s Rights and even went to jail for supporting strikers. That young man was Corliss Lamont, you may have heard of him? I was honored to have been his wife. I’m sad to be his widow. He would be making some fiery speeches in support of a Democracy that would not betray its own people.

When he learned of the Bolshevik Revolution he identified with the workers, the soldiers, the sailors, the farmers who were throwing off the Czar, like we, in the U.S. threw off the King and declared our own independence. He proceeded to study and write and visit the new Socialist Democracy and he believed that we in the U.S. might be inspired and that the same ideas could take root in this country as well, and the people would benefit thereby. He wrote and published in 1939 the book entitled You Might Like Socialism: A Way of Life for Modern Man. I quip the following: Sorry, Corliss. They didn’t like it then and they don’t like it now, but who the hell are the theys? It turns out to be the Fat Cats who profit by uncontrolled Capitalism. And, hold your hats for this comment: you might not believe it, but I’ll say it anyway! It’s the American People themselves who don’t even understand that they are getting screwed! We have been totally brainwashed!

We have been conditioned to fear and be repulsed by the dreaded S-word, or worse, the C-word, and even the L-word is a no-no. We have been brainwashed for over a century. And do you know where it all started? No? Well, it started on Wall Street. Capitalism was scared spitless with the idea that workers would have a right to demand a share of the profits and to have a voice in the management of their own industries or factories. The church was terrified of those godless Atheists who were throwing off the blood-sucking Russian church, and refusing to be docile and obedient anymore! So here you have a collusion of church and state to stop the spread of dangerous ideas…which could possibly spread like wildfire.

President Woodrow Wilson was persuaded to invade the new Soviet Union. So, there we were in 1918 sending troops to Vladavastok and Archangel in Siberia to protect the White Russians from these Bolsheviks. The rationale was, and I quote: “To strangle the dangerous infant of Socialism in its cradle.” I’ll just bet that you’ve never heard of that before! The ideal of Socialism started out just that way…as an ideal…the same way that our ideal of Democracy started out as an ideal. But we all know what happens when power runs rampant and tramples those ideals. We end up with a totalitarian system that thwarts the will of the people and simply perpetuates its own power. So, this is what the book is all about: urging the people to regain their power.

If you unite in your purpose you can create a true Revolution at the Ballot Box. Throw out the perpetual warmongers, put some Democrats in office who will actually respond to your needs and your wishes. We can have good schools, real health care, secure jobs that don’t migrate overseas; we will rebuild our infrastructure; we will create new industries for non-toxic renewable energy. We will create a peaceful relationship with other nations and provide ethical leadership. Afghanis and Iraqis will actually applaud us when we leave.

I say that Socialists are called Lefties because on the left is where the heart is located.

We need heartfelt compassion and concern for all of Humankind. This is the only way that Americans can be safe and become the truly great nation that we like to believe we already are. We can work together and make changes. Please visit the Web site and read the whole book if you like. Later there’ll be paperback copies sponsored by Half-Moon Foundation. The Web page is located at https://www.corliss-lamont.org/lefties/.

P.S. You might notice that this is my first blog post for many months. I’ve been blogging for the book. And here it is!

Podcast.   HumanValuesWeblog20081025-Post37.mp3
  8 minutes 22 seconds – 8,041,673 bytes

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