THE PLANET PAID A GREAT COMPLIMENT, CALLED A “FREEDOM FIGHTER!” … plus … ALL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHIES WORK GREAT ON PAPER, BUT IN REAL LIFE? THAT’S A DIFFERENT STORY
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI and News and Commentary
ADD #1 EARLY TUESDAY MORNING, TUESDAY, AUG. 13, 2013 — Coming soon! THE PLANET’s review of the Berkshire Theatre Group‘s Cat and the Canary, plus, more info on the Buffis investigation.
The Cat and the Canary represents one of the most popular performance genres, The Whodunit, a type of storytelling fad first popularized in the 1920s by Agatha Christie and G. K. Chesterton. Plot twists, eccentric characters, spooky old country manors, sliding panels, secret passages, thunder, lighting and an entire grab-bag of items associated with the genre can be seen through Aug. 24 at the Unicorn Stage on the BTG’s main campus in Stockbridge. Our review takes on this latest revival, as only it can.
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The investigation in the shocking allegations against the suspended (w/o pay) Lee Police Chief continues. A federal indictment names chief Joe Buffis, charging him with extortion and money laundering in connection with a Christmas toy fund for needy children. THE PLANET will have the latest, including a time-line of our coverage going back to last year, when we first broke the story.
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(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WESTERN BRANCH, MONDAY, AUG. 12, 2013) — Yesterday, on THE PLANET, we were paid the ultimate compliment. One of our posters called us a “terrorist.” Oh, it wasn’t directly stated, making it all the more delectable. It came about in answer to Billy, who suggested that THE PLANET invite Mayor Dan Bianchi to a one-on-one discussion of the issues facing the city.
Actually, that’s an excellent suggestion. The mayor should be able to do it, since he has no opponent and will not be tied down to the claptrap and grind of a tough campaign, as he’s had in ’09 (loss to Ruberto) and ’11 (win over Marchetti). All he has to do is tell us when it would work for him, and he’s got a “chat” on his hands. We’re sure he could squeeze us in between photo-ops, ribbon cutting, and throwing out the first pitch. Baseball and softball season, locally, will soon be at an end.
Billy’s suggestion didn’t sit well with Bobby, who said the mayor “doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.” THE PLANET has to admit that it’s a clever line, and it brought a chuckle or two at this address. Why do we call this a compliment?
All government exists as the byproduct of terrorism. The US of A, with a government so screwed up that its president has labeled a patriot like Eric Snowden a criminal, bears as its seal: “Made by hand by terrorists.” What, you don’t think the Colonists were able to defeat the-then mightiest army in the world by playing fair, do you? Our national ancestors hid behind trees, took pot shots, and ran. They set fire to British warehouses and ammo dumps. They kidnapped. They tarred and feathered.
A “terrorist” is by its true name a freedom fighter. Scratch every so-called terrorist, and underneath you will find some cause’s patriot or martyr. “Terrorism” is politics when it’s played for keeps. THE PLANET, therefore, thanks Bobby for his praise.
Bobby writes as a FOB, Friend of Bianchi, and it warms our hearts that the mayor has loyal subjects. We can understand Bobby’s trepidation at the thought of his hero agreeing to a sit-down with THE PLANET in this, the year, that the mayor has no opponent and thus does not have to face any questioning of his first two years in office. It’s rather king-like, don’t you think, to govern without accountability.
Finally, we remind Bobby that we have interviewed Dan Bianchi countless times over the years on radio, TV, in campaigns, and out of campaigns. And so we extend this invitation to Hizzoner for a sit-down with us.
When the phone doesn’t ring, we’ll know it’s the corner office not calling.
ALL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHIES WORK — UNTIL YOU PUT THEM INTO ACTION
As we pointed out above, if we can separate ourselves from the hurt involved, “terrorism” is just another form of politics. In this form, politics assumes radical action on behalf of its cause. In the abstract, it works every time.
In fact, all political theories work beautifully in the abstract. The problems begin when theory commences its painful gestation into actuality. There, in the vicious jaws of the “real world,” theories get devoured by the biggest, most prevalent, most damaging, and most common element in the spoiling of power. That would be greed. Greed turns capitalism into a voracious, dog-eat-dog money grab. Greed turns communism into totalitarianism. Greed turns the “freedom fighter” into a “terrorist” in the common sense.
What kind of political philosophy could have the best chance of surviving the transition from theory into practice? Let THE PLANET describe it here. This is only the beginning of a discussion. These points are made for you to analyze, digest, think about, pick apart, criticize, enhance, and embellish.
— This manner of government would, above all, be organized not around political philosophy (Democrat-Republican, which are really divisions of One Party) but around workable principles.
This philosophy would:
* Utilize the power of markets.
* Push the necessity of free trade.
* Get rid of tariffs and anything else that restricted free trade.
* Capitalize on the power of competition, especially in public education (allowing charter schools, vouchers, and private competition).
* Reform public spending, especially post-employment benefits of public employees, which are crushing cities and citizens.
* Reel in the cost and size of government.
* Demand “sweat equity” from every citizen on the public dole. No more handouts, which the Democrats, largely, but also their GOP brethren to some extent, have made into a form of buying votes.
* Remove children at birth from any parents, single or otherwise, that cannot demonstrate the ability to support the child financially and emotionally. Give these children to adoptive families that can provide the resources and love that every child needs.
* Reform health care by instituting national health.
* Greatly reduce military spending. Limit our armed capability to defensive purposes only.
* Get rid of the federal Dept. of Education. Return schools to local control.
* Create a fairer tax system by removing taxes from capital gains, payroll, savings, and investing. Institute “green taxes” by taxing pollution. Close loopholes. Have a flat tax of 15%.
* Get rid of the electoral college in presidential elections. Replace it with straight vote totals. The individual vote does not need a collective “electoral” to cast those votes, en masse.
As we said, these are just some of the main points. There are many others, and within them countless subsets.
Always, we must ask two questions:
1.) What are the goals?
2.) How do we best achieve them?
The failing of Pittsfield for the past generation of years (two score and 10) has been its inability to decide on question 1.). The city’s so-called “leaders” essentially crafted in that time a form of sham “democracy,” one that in effect removes ordinary citizens from the process of government by encouraging pandemic apathy. Pittsfield has not in all that time reached an inclusive, let alone a conclusive, answer to the questions: “Where do we want this city to go? What do we want to become?” With no answer, question #2 never arises. If you have no goal, you have no way of determining the best ways to get there. That, in reduction, is the essential problem of the city.
The apathy deliberately created by the Special Interests to ensure the perpetuation of their power has come at an enormous cost. Apathy has forced a tyranny on We The People, in that most elections are decided without the majority’s participation.
We could go on and on. THE PLANET has not the time (in cyberspace, there’s always the “space”) to do this. The largest question would, of course, be the one with which we started: How do we keep greed and selfish ambition from ruining it for everyone?
The most common historical answer has been some form of authoritarian rule. It comes in many forms: Dictatorship, Authoritarianism, Totalitarianism, Fascism, etc. In the abstract, the “strong ruler” government, with one person wielding absolute power, would seem to have the greatest chance of success, but how on earth do you find a man or woman capable of handling such power? Ah, there’s the rub. All other forms of government we can call “cooperative.” In a co-op, the leader shares power. That adds pluralism but the kind of diversity that only adds to the risk of corruption.
In a way, when we examine the possibilities of honest governance, we are probing the human heart. How do we account for what writer Edgar A. Poe called the “imp of the perverse,” that inherent impulse in all of us to selfishness, self-preservation, and avarice? The Catholic faith calls this “original sin.” Can it be done, or is any form of government doomed to fail because we humans have not as yet devised a way in which we can all live together, equitably, on the face of the good earth.
We have many other thoughts on this, but we would much rather hear yours. THE PLANET invites your comments.
“Because there is safety in derision / I talked about an apparition, / I took no trouble to convince, / Or seem plausible to a man of sense, / Distrustful of that popular eye / Whether it be bold or sly. / Fifteen apparitions have I seen; / The worst a coat upon a coat-hanger.” — W. B. Yeats, first stanza, “The Apparitions”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.