Tulsi Gabbard discusses “government of the people” in the introduction to her speech in Concord, New Hampshire on 16 Feb 2019.
John Norris is running for Iowa Governor with a campaign based on a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. John is a 5th generation Iowan, raised on his family’s farm in southwest Iowa, and a graduate of Simpson College and the University of Iowa College of Law. Take a look at his campaign video below.
John Norris’s experience is phenomenal — Chief of Staff for Tom Vilsack, as both Iowa Governor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture — Chairman of Iowa Utilities Board — Appointed by President Obama to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — State Director of Iowa Farm Unity Coalition — Managed Iowa presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson and John Kerry — Represented the U.S. at the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization and World Food Program in Rome, Italy.
Read about John Norris’s positions on the issues at:
Below are a few photos of John.
As part of a larger project, we’re compiling examples of bi-partisan collaboration. The following is the audio of a discussion with Iowa legislators Jim Ross Lightfoot and Dave Nagle discussing how past cooperation among legislators and civility helped bring progress. This is audio from the Iowa Public Radio show “River to River” with Ben Kieffer and Emily Woodbury on 25 Jan 2017. This content has been placed here in compliance with fair use to provide the ability to embed it for purposes of social commentary and education in a non-commercial context for limited use.
In this video clip, Marco Rubio addresses the recent wave of violence and intolerance in politics. This video is being used for educational purposes and is posted here in compliance with Fair Use guidelines.
Date: 12 March 2016, 10:12 AM ET
Source: NBC News
The following is taken from the website ILikeBernieBut.com.
I Like Bernie, But…
… isn’t he a socialist?
Bernie Sanders is a democratic socialist. He believes that our current economic system isn’t doing enough for poor and middle-class Americans and that democratic change is needed to create a more fair and just America.
But this isn’t radical or scary! Many of the programs instituted by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson that we take for granted today — such as Medicare, the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, and Social Security — can be considered socialist programs.
… I heard he wants to raise taxes!
If you’re one of the 1.5% of Americans making more than $231,450 a year, your marginal tax rate will go up slightly — money you earn above $231,450 will be taxed at 37% instead of 33%.
If you’re one of the 0.6% of Americans making more than $500,000 a year, your marginal rate will go up from 39.6% to 43%. Above $2,000,000 the rate will be 48%, and above $10,000,000 the rate will be 52%. These are tax increases that will only affect the very, verywealthy.
On the other hand, the vast majority of Americans will see significant savings when factoring in tax and healthcare changes under Bernie’s plans.
… is he even electable?
Absolutely. Bernie probably has a better chance in the general election than Hillary would have:
Bernie performs better than Hillary does in all hypothetical match-ups against Republicans in poll after poll(2.4% better against Trump, 4.6% better against Cruz, and 1.5% better against Rubio, on average).
Bernie significantly outperforms Hillary in surveys of independent voters, and with 30-40% of Americans identifying as independents, they will play the deciding role in the general election.
And Bernie has a big lead in favorability, with a +10% net favorability rating among all Americans, compared to Hillary’s -10% net favorability rating. Nopresidential candidate has ever won with a negative favorability rating.
… how could he get anything done with a Republican Congress?
Bernie is actually well-known for his ability to compromise to get things done without sacrificing his values. In the House, he was known as the Amendment King, and passed more amendments — addressing exclusively progressive goals — than any other legislator, by forging cross-party coalitions.
He has earned respect from Republicans ranging from John McCain to the ultra-conservative Jim Inhofe. If any Democratic president can reach across the aisle to work with a stubborn Republican Congress, it’s Bernie Sanders.
… isn’t he too weak on gun control?
His position is that a broad consensus of common-sense gun control measures is possible if neither side is alienated through overly divisive rhetoric.
… I heard he wants to get rid of Obamacare!
Bernie wants to expand health care coverage, not get rid of it!
Obamacare has made things a lot better, but it’s only a step in the right direction: Americans are still paying more for healthcare than any other country, and more than 10% of us still don’t have health insurance.
… does he have any experience with foreign policy?
While Bernie’s main focus is on domestic issues, he has shown remarkable foresight when it comes to foreign policy decisions. He was a member of a small minority voting against the War in Iraq in 2003, arguing in an impassioned speech that overthrowing Saddam Hussein would result in “disaster”. He was right.
… how will he pay for all this?
Every dollar in Bernie Sanders’s proposals is matched by a corresponding dollar raised in revenue — it’s all accounted for.
For example, the $75 billion/year College For All plan will be paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculation, while the $100 billion/year Rebuild America Act will be paid for by taxing corporate offshore income.
… aren’t his supporters all young white men?
This is a false narrative that keeps getting pushed. In reality, Bernie has the support of 50% of young women, is viewed more favorably than Hillary by Hispanics and Asian-Americans nationwide, and does better among African-Americans than whites in Pennsylvania and some other states.
And this is not surprising given Bernie’s unwavering commitment to rights for all Americans throughout his life. He took part in MLK’s March on Washington in 1963, stood up for the rights of LGBT soldiers in 1995, and has maintained a 100% voting record with Planned Parenthood for his entire career.
… he’s too old!
At 74, Bernie Sanders would be the oldest president ever elected to a first term. But so would Donald Trump. And Hillary Clinton would tie for oldest. As medical science improves, people are able to be fit enough, mentally and physically, to run a country well into their 70s in a way that wasn’t possible before. And Bernie is in very good health.
To learn more about Bernie Sanders’s positions on more than 50 different issues, check out FeelTheBern.org.
You can also watch Robert Reich challenge these critiques of Bernie much better than I can in his recent video.
On 12 February 2015, the North Korean government published over 300 nationalistic, socialist, patriotic slogans. The full list is below. You can read the original document on the North Korean government’s website. There’s also a BBC commentary about the sayings.
Here are some that seem to have universal appeal:
- Thoroughly get rid of abuse of authority and bureaucratism!
- Serve the country and people!
- Aid the people!
- Go beyond the cutting edge!
- Let us encourage organic farming on an extensive scale!
- Grow vegetables extensively in greenhouses!
- Railways are the arteries of the country.
- Let us live not merely for today but for tomorrow!
Korea’s New Patriotic Slogans
- Let us all turn out in the general offensive to hasten final victory in the revolutionary spirit of Paektu!
- Let us greet the 70th anniversaries of national liberation and Party founding with high political enthusiasm and brilliant labour feats!
- Let us glorify the 70th anniversaries of national liberation and Party founding as revolutionary, auspicious events noteworthy in the history of Kim Il Sung’s nation and Kim Jong Il’s Korea!
- The great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are the eternal leaders of our revolution, the sun of Juche and the incarnation of the dignified powerful Paektusan nation.
- Let us uphold the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as the eternal leaders of our Party and people and as the sun of Juche!
- The great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il will always be with us!
- Let us glorify the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun eternally as the supreme sanctuary of Juche, as a grand monument to the immortality of the leaders!
- Let us arm ourselves firmly with the revolutionary ideas of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il!
- Long live the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!
- Let us model the whole Party and all society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!
- Let us advance vigorously united firmly with one mind and one will as befit the descendants of Comrade Kim Il Sung and the soldiers and followers of Comrade Kim Jong Il!
- Let us cherish the ties of kinship with Comrade Kim Jong Il as our lifeline!
- Let us glorify the noble revolutionary careers and undying exploits of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il for all generations to come!
- Let us glorify the achievement of national liberation by Generalissimo Kim Il Sung, hero of national resurrection and legendary hero of the anti-Japanese war, for all eternity!
- Long live the great victory in the war against Japan!
- Let us glorify the great Generalissimo Kim Jong Il’s ideas of and achievements in the Songun revolution down through the generations!
- Let us brilliantly inherit and develop the glorious revolutionary traditions of our Party!
- Let us accomplish the Korean revolution in the revolutionary spirit of Paektu, the spirit of the blizzards of Paektu!
- The lines and policies advanced by the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and their instructions are textbooks for the revolution.
- Let us carry out the lifetime instructions of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il whatever the conditions without an inch of deflection and without a step of compromise!
- Let us advance straight along the road of independence, Songun and socialism opened by the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il!
- Let us build our country into the most powerful one in the world, into a people’s fairyland, as wished by the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il!
- Do everything the way the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il did!
- Let us step up the building of a prosperous country by applying Kim Jong Il’s patriotism!
- Let us exalt the brilliance of the great Kim Il Sung’s country, General Kim Jong Il’s country, following the leadership of Comrade Kim Jong Un!
- Let us stoutly continue, following the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, the march that started on Paektu!
- The single-hearted unity is the greatest foundation and the most powerful weapon of our revolution.
- Let us defend with our very lives the Party Central Committee headed by the great Comrade Kim Jong Un!
- Let us defend the single-hearted unity of the Party and revolutionary ranks around the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un in a thoroughgoing way and consolidate it rock-solid!
- Let all the service personnel and people form rings and rings of fortress around the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un!
- Long live the glorious Workers’ Party of Korea, which organizes and guides all victories of our people!
- Let us strengthen and develop the Workers’ Party of Korea for all ages to come into a glorious party of Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il!
- Let us set up a new milestone in improving the Party’s leadership ability and fighting efficiency in this year, which marks its 70th founding anniversary!
- Let us establish the Party’s monolithic leadership system more thoroughly across the Party and society!
- Let the whole Party share the ideas, breathe the same air and keep pace with the Party Central Committee!
- Let us establish across the Party rigorous discipline by which it moves as one under the unified leadership of the Party Central Committee!
- Let us defend the prestige of the Party Central Committee in every way possible through the struggle to implement the Party’s ideas and champion its policies!
- Turn your units and areas into places that adjoin the yard of the office of the Party Central Committee, places where the Party’s call, breath and pulse run high!
- Keep up with the implementation of the Party’s lines and policies as the major line of Party work!
- We serve the people!
- Let us make the principle of holding the masses dearest run through Party work as a whole!
- Let us make the climate of respecting, loving and relying on the people prevail across the Party!
- Focus the major effort in Party work on improving the people’s standard of living!
- Let Party organizations and officials work devotedly for the people to live up to their highest expectations!
- Let the whole Party direct its main effort to the work with the people!
- Raise all people into ones strong in idea and faith with the affection and the feeling of kinship as befits a motherly party!
- Even though one may have 99 per cent of demerits and only one per cent of merit or conscience, boldly trust him and lead him to start with a clean slate!
- Regard giving play to the spiritual strength of the masses as the main thing, compulsory path, of Party work!
- Let Party officials learn the Party’s methods of work with the people and become skilful in remoulding them and giving play to their spiritual strength!
- Thoroughly get rid of abuse of authority and bureaucratism!
- Regard supply service work as an important link in the whole chain of Party work!
- Let Party cells become death-defying corps and pioneers in implementing the Party’s policies!
- Let us hasten final victory through a revolutionary ideological offensive!
- Hold fast to ideological work as the top priority!
- Let us raise a strong wind of studying the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!
- Concentrate on education in the greatness of the leaders, Kim Jong Il’s patriotism, faith, anti-imperialist and class consciousness, and morality!
- Keep the revolutionary faith to the death!
- Fight death-defyingly for our country and nation!
- Let us bear deep in mind the lessons from the class struggle and its truth!
- Let the Party’s information officials work as the buglers of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army did!
- Make all well-informed of the Party’s policies as they are of their own family affairs!
- Fire an opening salvo of an ideological campaign and make our fire concentrated, regular and accurate!
- Step up the three-revolution red flag movement!
- Frustrate the imperialist moves for ideological and cultural infiltration by dint of our revolutionary ideology and culture!
- Let the whole Party become information and motivation workers!
- Demonstrate the revolutionary mettle as befit members of the Workers’ Party of Korea in the today’s general offensive true to the pledge taken in front of its flag!
- Our Party’s new line of simultaneously promoting the two fronts is a permanent strategic line that we must pursue as long as there exists the threat of aggression by the imperialists.
- All out for a campaign to implement the Party’s line of simultaneously promoting the two fronts!
- The People’s Army is the pillar and main force of the Songun revolution and a revolutionary armed force of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
- Let us model the entire army on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism!
- Adorn the 70th anniversaries of national liberation and Party founding with proud successes in consolidating the country’s military strength!
- Let the People’s Army remain the reliable vanguard and solid cornerstone of the Songun revolution holding aloft the red flag of the Workers’ Party of Korea as the foremost colours of the revolution!
- Become the props and iron shields that support and defend the lineage of Mt. Paektu alone to the death!
- Establish the respected Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un’s monolithic command system more firmly throughout the army!
- Implement to the letter the four-point strategic line and three major tasks for increasing military strength!
- Make the entire army the leading force of guards who advance straight ahead with their guns levelled only in the direction indicated by the Party!
- Let the People’s Army become an army strong in idea and faith, a pioneer in achieving unity and the first guardian of the unity, which is unfailingly loyal to the Party and the leader!
- Let the entire army become a unit of genuine comrades-in-arms!
- Consolidate in every way the political and military might of Kim Jong Un’s powerful revolutionary army by vigorously conducting the movement of winning the titles of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment and Guards Unit!
- Add brilliance to our revolutionary armed forces’ proud tradition of winning all battles!
- This year is a year of great significance, in which we will mark the 40th anniversary of the publication of the five-point policy for military training by the great Generalissimo Kim Il Sung and the 25th anniversary of the formulation of the four major principles for military training by the great Generalissimo Kim Jong Il.
- Training is also a battle!
- Let the entire army bubble with enthusiasm for intensifying training as anti-Japanese guerrillas did on Mt. Paektu!
- Glorify this significant year as a milestone in improving the quality of combat and political training!
- Let the entire army be prepared as crack shots by raising more fiercely the flames of the movement of becoming accurate riflemen and gunners!
- Should the enemy dare to invade our country, annihilate them to the last man so that none of them will survive to sign the instrument of surrender!
- Be constantly on the alert without a moment’s relaxation!
- Establish iron discipline to develop the People’s Army into an elite revolutionary force to the hilt!
- All officers, become field commanders who are capable of dealing with modern warfare!
- Let us develop battalions and companies into ever-victorious, elite combat units and make them soldiers’ dear villages and homes that adjoin the yard of the office of the Party Central Committee!
- Enrich the life of service personnel by making sustained efforts to develop soy bean farming, fishing and animal husbandry as the main thrusts!
- The supply service officers of the People’s Army, work with devotion for their soldiers like those of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army!
- Give full play to the match-for-a-hundred spirit and fighting efficiency of the People’s Army on the major fronts of building a thriving nation!
- Serve the country and people!
- Aid the people!
- Let the wives of officers become dependable assistants to their husbands!
- Officers and men of the Korean People’s Internal Security Forces, sharpen the sword for defending their leader, system and people!
- Let us become iron shields and red warriors who defend our Party, system and people to the death!
- Let us establish the climate of attaching importance to military affairs more firmly across society!
- The Worker-Peasant Red Guards is a revolutionary armed force of our Party and a reliable wing of the People’s Army.
- The Worker-Peasant Red Guards and the Young Red Guards, be fully prepared for an all-people resistance by intensifying training in a real-war atmosphere!
- Let us turn the whole country into a socialist fairyland by the joint operation of the army and people!
- Let us achieve final victory on the strength of the great army-people unity and all-people resistance based on the revolutionary soldier spirit!
- Always live the way you did as a soldier!
- Let us look after the families of those who fell in action, honoured disabled soldiers, war veterans and soldiers’ families with sincerity!
- Defence industry is the reliable arsenal of the Songun revolution.
- Effect a fresh turn in developing defence industry by giving full play to the spirit of Kunja-ri!
- Proactively develop and perfect powerful cutting-edge military hardware of our own style!
- Step up the efforts to make defence industry Juche-oriented and independent, modern and scientific!
- Let the defence industry sector make a positive contribution to building an economic giant and improving the people’s standard of living!
- Our Party is steadfast in its determination to make our people, who are the best in the world, enjoy all socialist benefits as soon as possible.
- Let us tend the precious seeds sown by the great Comrade Kim Jong Ilfor the building of an economic giant and the improvement of the people’s living standards, in order to make them bear fruit in reality!
- Science and technology is the engine of socialist construction.
- Let the science front stand at the forefront to fire a salvo for the triumph of socialism!
- Let us build a fairyland for the people by dint of science!
- Scientific research is an area of acute confrontation with imperialism!
- Go beyond the cutting edge!
- Accelerate the industrial revolution in the new century by introducing CNC technology into the production lines and achieving their full automation!
- Launch more cutting-edge sci-tech satellites and applications satellites of our style!
- Raise the level of modernization and scientification in weather survey and forecast!
- There is no border in science, but our scientists and technicians have the socialist motherland of Juche and the great Party.
- Scientists and technicians, stand in the vanguard of the struggle to build a thriving country that is developing, civilizing and advancing at a fast pace!
- Prove the validity and vitality of the Party’s policies in reality by proactively developing cutting-edge science and technology!
- Build “gold mountains” and “treasure mountains” with brilliant scientific and technological achievements!
- To resolve the food problem of the people and improve their dietary life on a higher level with crop cultivation, animal husbandry and fishing as the main thrusts is the most important task facing our Party at present.
- Agriculture is the trench on the first line of the forward echelon of the campaign to defend socialism and the main thrust area for the building of an economic giant!
- Let us glorify through generations the new history of “gold plains” created by the great Comrade Kim Jong Il!
- Let us make our country overflow with rice by boosting cereals production!
- Actively introduce water-saving farming and other scientific farming methods!
- Let us work hard to secure water resources as an all-people campaign!
- Let us encourage organic farming on an extensive scale!
- Establish the food production cycle of crop cultivation and livestock farming, and fruit growing and livestock farming!
- Let us beat the world in fruit farming by making it scientific, modern and intensive!
- Make fruits cascade down and their sweet aroma fill the air on the sea of apple trees at the foot of Chol Pass!
- Grow vegetables extensively in greenhouses!
- Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms by making mushroom cultivation scientific, intensive and industrialized!
- This year we will mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of the sub-workteam management system by the great Comrade Kim Il Sung, which is the advantageous form and method of our style to organize and manage for production.
- Demonstrate the advantages of the sub-workteam management system to the full!
- Properly apply the field responsibility principle within the sub-workteam management system in order to make it pay off in agricultural production!
- Press on with the South Hwanghae Province waterway project in the revolutionary spirit of death-defying implementation and self-reliance!
- Let us carry through the great Generalissimos’ instructions on “grass for meat”!
- Let us expedite the construction of the large-scale livestock farming base in the Sepho area!
- Produce larger quantities of meat, eggs and milk holding high the banner of science-based livestock farming!
- Create a new history of “gold sea” by emulating the fishing sector of the People’s Army!
- Let this socialist country resound with Song of Big Fish Haul and be permeated with the fragrant smell of fish and other seafoods!
- Modernize fishing vessels and implements and actively introduce advanced fishing methods!
- Let the strong wind of fish farming blow across the country!
- Conduct on a large scale fish and other seafood farming in rivers, lakes and seas!
- Resolutely thwart the sanctions schemes of the imperialists by effecting a great upswing in light industry!
- Produce larger quantities of high-quality consumer goods which are favoured by the people and have competitive edge on the world market!
- Speed up the work to make foodstuff factories fully automated, germ- and dust-free!
- Keep the laughter of the children ring by increasing the production of their foodstuffs!
- More stylish school uniforms and quality school things for our dear children!
- Give fullest play to the vitality of the movement of producing August 3 consumer goods!
- Let the Tanchon area make an active contribution to improving the people’s standard of living by boosting up production!
- Let us turn all counties into the people’s fairyland by applying the spirit of the historic Changsong Joint Conference!
- Electricity is the lifeline of the national economy.
- Let the whole Party, the entire army and all the people be enlisted to increase the electric-power generation radically!
- Complete with credit the construction of the multi-tier power stations on the Chongchon River until the 70th anniversary of Party founding!
- Speed up the construction of the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station, Orangchon Power Station, Ryesonggang Power Station and Wonsan Army-People Power Station!
- Raise the efficiency of the generating equipment to the maximum and prevent the loss of power in transmission!
- Let us definitely convert the electricity control system of the country into an electricity-saving one!
- Develop and make effective use of wind, tidal, geothermal and solar energy!
- The height of coal heaps means the increase in electricity generation and the tempo of the building of an economic giant.
- Let us support the Party with increased coal production!
- Concentrate efforts on the production of coal for electricity generation and supply high-quality coal in larger amounts to the thermal power stations!
- Give top priority to the supply of equipment and materials required for coal production!
- The metal and chemical industries are twin buttresses of an economic giant.
- Kindle fierce flames of production upsurge in Songjin and Chollima steel complexes!
- Bring the Juche iron production system to perfection and normalize its production on a high level!
- Send larger quantities of high-grade iron ore to metallurgical factories!
- Fertilizer means rice and socialism.
- Let Hungnam and Namhung produce Juche fertilizer in a larger amount!
- Let the large-scale chemical factories make an active contribution to ensuring domestic production of raw materials for light industry and building materials!
- Railways are the arteries of the country.
- Let the rail transport sector establish rigid discipline as the army does and fully satisfy the demands by the national economy for transport!
- Accelerate the work to make the railways heavy-duty, high-speed and IT-based!
- Bring to completion the rehabilitation of the northern railways as early as possible!
- Let us improve the appearance of the railway stations and the areas adjacent to railways by the concerted efforts of the service personnel and people!
- Develop air transport onto a new high!
- Build the Wonsan Port into a world-class one!
- Develop and manufacture the machines and equipment required for modernization!
- Produce and supply major ordered equipment in time and in a qualitative way!
- Explore and make rational use of valuable underground resources of the country!
- Make foreign trade multilateral and diversified!
- Accelerate the development projects of the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang international tourist zone and economic development parks!
- Let us usher in a great golden age of construction by thoroughly applying the Party’s Juche-oriented idea on architecture!
- Set up in larger numbers monumental structures in which the Juche character, national identity, originality, convenience and formative and artistic beauty form perfect harmony!
- Hold fast to the principle of prioritizing convenience, aesthetic beauty and the outlook on the future in designing and building work!
- Develop zero-energy, zero-carbon and green architectural technologies and introduce geothermal cooling-and-heating system!
- Ensure on the highest level the combination of designing, building work and building materials, the three elements of construction!
- Sustain in construction the features unique to one’s province and region!
- Complete with credit the construction of Mirae Scientists Street and other major projects and thus splendidly adorn the venue of the grand October celebration!
- Land administration is a patriotic undertaking of lasting significance for achieving the prosperity of the country and creating the well-being of the people.
- Let the whole Party, the entire army and all the people turn out in the war to ameliorate nature, in the campaign to restore the forests of the country!
- Vigorously conduct the movement of winning the titles of forest of socialist patriotism and model county in afforestation!
- Let us cover the whole country with fruit and other trees and flowers!
- Introduce scientific, industrial and intensive methods into the production of tree saplings!
- Bring tideland under reclamation on a grand scale so as to widen the land of the country!
- Turn all the rivers into those that give benefits to the country, are full of treasures and bring happiness to the people!
- Work out scrupulous measures to prevent damages from flooding, severe drought, storm and heavy snowfall!
- Hasten the work to build up roads for modern, heavy-duty and high-speed purposes!
- Devote pure conscience to road maintenance like the members of the family workteam on Kubong Pass!
- Let the cosmos flowers bloom all along the roads and railways!
- Let us launch a vigorous society-wide campaign to conserve the environment and nature!
- Let us protect and make use of underground, forest and marine resources in order to add glory to our legendary country full of treasures!
- Let us develop Pyongyang more splendidly into a majestic and picturesque world-class city, as the centre of Songun culture!
- Let us turn the whole country into a socialist fairyland by modelling it on Pyongyang, capital of the revolution!
- Keep streets, villages, mountains and rivers as neat and tidy as one’s own courtyard!
- Plant a large number of flowering and cover plants so that no land is left bare!
- Improving economic management is an urgent requirement for building an economic giant.
- Let us establish an economic management method of our style as demanded by the developing reality!
- Ensure that producers fully discharge their responsibility and role as masters of production in economic management!
- Ensure maximum profit in economic activities while firmly adhering to socialist principles!
- Conduct production and management in conformity to the objective economic laws and as required by modern science and technology!
- Let us strengthen the Cabinet responsibility system, Cabinet-centred system in the economic work!
- Work out a rational and effective strategy for business operation and enterprise management based on the national strategy for economic development!
- Hold fast to the principles of scientific accuracy, viability and enlisting in planning work!
- Radically improve the quality of products and enhance their competitive edge!
- Self-reliance is the only way to survive!
- Put production on a normal footing and speed up the advance of socialism, holding aloft the banner of self-reliance!
- Let us realize modernization, relying on our own strength and technology!
- Get rid of the proclivity to imports and ensure domestic production of raw and other materials and equipment!
- Establish exacting order of regular operation, regular repair and regular maintenance at all units!
- Be in charge of your workplaces and villages, split into square metres, and take good care of them with the attitude as befitting masters!
- Economy means increased production and patriotism.
- Economize on every watt of electricity, every drop of fuel oil and water, and every gramme of coal and cement to the maximum!
- It is a firm will of our Party to create at the fastest speed the highest level of civilization, which would be envied by the world.
- Let us bring about a revolution in education in the new century to develop ours into a country of education, a talented nation!
- Decisively improve the quality of the universal 12-year compulsory education!
- Develop the contents of education into practicable, comprehensive and modern ones!
- Closely combine theoretical education with practical education for students to learn useful knowledge!
- Let us vigorously push forward educational work, viewing it as one of the important national affairs involving the entire Party, the whole country and all the people!
- Let us closely combine family education with social and school education and bring up the coming generations to be honest and sound!
- Let teachers become roots and foundations for the future of the motherland!
- Let us make all the people well versed in science and technology, and develop our country into a scientific and technological power, a talented nation!
- Speed up making the working class well versed in science and technology with the rooms for disseminating sci-tech knowledge as bases!
- Physical culture and sports are important in demonstrating the national strength and preparing all the people for labour and national defence.
- Let us raise the status of our country to that of a sports power at an earliest date possible!
- Let us fiercely raise the sports wind across the country!
- The height of a medal-awarding podium represents the prestige of the motherland!
- Glorify the honour of Songun Korea before the eyes of the world by winning more gold medals!
- Play sports games in an offensive way, the way the anti-Japanese guerrillas did!
- Let us make sports mass-based and part of our everyday life!
- Encourage folk games and sports events participated by the masses and develop physical training for national defence!
- Journalists and other media persons, and creators and artistes!
- Bring about a fresh revolution in mass media!
- Let mass media become a travelling companion dear to the masses and a pathfinder of the times!
- Make larger numbers of ideological “missiles” capable of severely damaging the enemy and instilling firm confidence in victory among our service personnel and people!
- Let us support the Songun-based leadership of the Party by creating large numbers of masterpieces!
- Learn from the revolutionary and militant manner of creating works developed by the Moranbong Band to bring about innovations in creative activities!
- Create excellent works of art and literature that portray the revolutionary careers and immortal exploits of the peerlessly great men of Mt. Paektu!
- Kindle the flames of a fresh revolution in cinema, starting from the production of animations!
- Make the advancing ranks brim over with enthusiasm and optimism by producing large numbers of songs that champion the Party’s policies and enlivening folk songs!
- Let us turn the whole country into a land of the arts and make the arts mass-based!
- Make every workplace overflow with revolutionary and fighting morale by actively conducting mass-based cultural and artistic activities!
- Devotion is the attribute and lifeblood of the socialist public health service.
- Show people utmost devotion the way the medical workers in the Chollima era did!
- Improve the hygiene and anti-epidemic work and preventive and curative medical care so as to give fullest play to the advantages of the socialist public health system!
- Bring to perfection telemedicine and the medical information network!
- Boost the production of highly-efficacious medicines conducive to promoting the people’s health!
- Let us make the whole society pulsate with national sentiments and noble and beautiful lifestyle!
- Let us establish cultured ways in production and life on a high level!
- Let us conserve the excellent cultural heritage of our nation and inherit and develop them!
- The people’s government is a powerful political weapon in building a thriving nation and is responsible for the people’s livelihoods.
- Let us further develop the most advantageous people-centred socialist system of our own style!
- Let us consolidate our people’s power to make it rock-solid!
- Let us give full play to the advantages and might of socialism so as to make socialism as different in all respects from capitalism as heaven is from earth!
- Let the people-oriented policies and favours of the Party and the state reach the people as they are!
- Steadily improve the people’s living standards so as to make the cheering for the Workers’ Party and socialism resound!
- Let us make the laudable traits of taking care of orphaned children, the elderly with no one to support them and people with disabilities a tradition of the country that has become one large family!
- Let us create a thoroughgoing revolutionary atmosphere of law observance throughout society by strengthening obedience to the socialist law!
- Let us all observe the country’s law and order voluntarily with a noble sense of civic duty!
- Let judicial and prosecutorial organs fulfil their sacred mission and duty of defending the leader, the policies, the system and the people!
- Intensify education in law observance and law-based struggle to reliably guarantee the building of a thriving nation by law!
- Let the officials in the law-enforcement organs become fierce tigers for the unsound and hostile elements and faithful and true servants for the people!
- Build up the single-hearted unity of the revolutionary ranks by enforcing law properly as required by the Party’s policies!
- Wage the class struggle dynamically by relying on the masses!
- Establish revolutionary discipline and order and keep the Party, state and military secrets strictly!
- When young people are astir, the whole country becomes astir and a revolutionary upsurge is brought about on all fronts of building a thriving socialist country.
- Let us become young heroes in the worthwhile struggle to glorify the great Kim Jong Un’s era!
- Young people, be vanguard fighters who are unfailingly faithful to the Party’s revolutionary cause of Songun!
- Always advance straight ahead, following the Party!
- Give fullest scope to the heroic spirit and mettle as befit reliable point-men and wing of the Party in the struggle to carry out the revolutionary cause of Songun!
- Towards the trench on the first line of the Songun revolution singing loudly the song Train Bound for the Front!
- Become today’s Ri Su Boks and Jo Kun Sils, who are ready to lay down their youth and lives for the sake of their only motherland!
- Go through fire and water in response to the Party’s call!
- Add brilliance to your youth like your fathers and mothers did!
- Build up the youth league into steely combat ranks strong in the sense of organization, unity and fighting efficiency!
- Enhance the fighting efficiency of the working people’s organizations and give fullest play to the patriotic zeal of their members!
- Launch brisk mass-based movements and make the flames of socialist emulation drive sweep the whole country!
- The general onward march of the new century of the Juche era demands revolutionary and militant fighting spirit and working style with which to make a leap forward while looking out over the world.
- Let us create a new spirit of the times, the speed of Korea, by means of our Party’s revolutionary mode, fighting style and creative way!
- Korea does what it is determined to do!
- All at once!
- Carry out the tasks given by the Party within the time it has set and on the level it requires!
- Let us learn from the fighting spirit, the spirit of carrying out the Party’s lines and policies to the death, and the meticulous working style of the Korean People’s Army Unit 267!
- Let the units visited by the great leaders be exemplary and standard ones in implementing the Party’s policies!
- Let Pyongyang lead the country in all aspects by creating today’s Pyongyang spirit, Pyongyang speed!
- Let us create prototype units in all sectors and effect joint innovations!
- Get rid of stereotypes and formulae and create new things constantly!
- Cover hundreds of kilometres at a stretch when others are taking tenth or one hundredth step!
- Keep your feet firmly planted on this land and look out over the world!
- Let us hold dear and add brilliance to our own things!
- Carry out the Party’s policies as exactly in all aspects as the Chonji Lubricating Oil Factory did!
- The more books we read, the earlier the country prospers; the less books we read, the later the country prospers.
- Let us establish the guerrilla’s way of studying throughout society!
- Overcome thoroughly the manner of working like extinguishing fire after it has broken out, like a flash in the pan and like conducting a shock campaign!
- As long as we are with the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, sorrow and hardship as well as joy are an honour for us!
- Let us live not merely for today but for tomorrow!
- Acquire a noble outlook on the revolution and the future that one year of our hard work means ten years of advance for our motherland!
- Let us make the whole country resound louder with the song We Are the Happiest in the World.
- Forward towards a bright future, filled with confidence in sure victory and optimism!
- The destiny of the Party’s policies rests on the officials’ shoulders.
- Be standard-bearers and vanguard fighters in today’s general offensive!
- Be ardent supporters of the Party’s policies and thoroughgoing fighters who implement them in a do-or-die spirit!
- Let us live and work like the officials in the 1970s, the period of laying the Party’s foundation for carrying forward the cause of Juche!
- Organize and guide undertakings dynamically like the commanding officers of the revolutionary army on the frontline!
- Intensify on-site guidance and political work!
- Planning, command and review, all in a three-dimensional way and at lightning speed!
- Make tireless efforts with an extraordinary determination to resolve the problems of the people’s living at any cost!
- Do everything in an innovative and scientific way!
- Read the minds of producers first before measuring the quantity of their products!
- Supply service work is immediately the struggle to defend socialism!
- Sweep away defeatism, self-preservation, expediency and self-centeredness!
- It is a long-cherished desire of all the fellow countrymen and urgent task of the nation to put an end to the tragedy of national division that has lasted 70 years.
- Let us build a dignified and prosperous reunified country on this land without fail true to the lifetime wishes of the great Comrades Kim Il Sungand Kim Jong Il.
- Let us hold high the three charters for national reunification and the north-south declarations as charters and great programmes for national reunification common to the nation!
- Let the whole nation join efforts to open up a broad avenue to independent reunification in this year which marks the 70th anniversary of national liberation!
- Let us put an end to interference by outside forces and achieve national reunification independently under the unfurled banner of By Our Nation Itself!
- Let us bring about a great turn in the inter-Korean relations in this year that marks the 15th anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration!
- Let the whole nation turn out and write a new chapter in the history of inter-Korean relations in hearty response to the peerlessly great man’s patriotic call!
- Let us determinedly thwart the military provocations and schemes of war games by the US and south Korean warmongers!
- Let us rise up in the nationwide struggle to drive the US imperialist aggressive forces, the root cause of national misfortune and war, out of south Korea!
- Let us resolutely frustrate the anti-DPRK “human rights” schemes by the US and its vassal forces!
- Let us hold fast to the principles of our foreign policy-independence, peace and friendship!
- Let us maintain the revolutionary principles and independent stand with all consistency in foreign relations!
- Let us develop foreign relations in a multilateral and proactive way, giving top priority to the dignity and interests of the country!
- Let us develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries that respect the sovereignty of our nation and are friendly to us!
- All Party members, officers and men of the People’s Army and people!
- An opening salvo of the general offensive for the 70th anniversaries of national liberation and Party founding has been fired.
- The revolutionary spirit of Paektu, the spirit of the blizzards of Paektu and the anti-Japanese revolutionary forerunners’ call to keep the revolutionary faith even if one may die, stir up further the confidence in sure victory and fighting spirit of our service personnel and people, who are charging forward along the road of Juche against all odds, and inspire loyalty and passion in the advancing ranks.
- No force can check this sweeping advance of the service personnel and people, who are marching in fine array arm-in-arm, shoulder-to-shoulder, following the leadership of the respected Comrade Kim Jong Un, a great man of Paektu.
- The flags bearing the beaming images of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il will fly forever in the van of our revolutionary ranks that achieve only victory and glory, and always inspire us to fresh victories.
- All forward towards the venue of victory celebration!
- Long live the great victory in the anti-Japanese war and the 70th anniversary of national liberation!
- Long live the 70th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea!
The article below is being reposted here as it relates to geopolitical relations and the proper role of self-censorship when it comes to freedom of speech. Did the movie “The Interview” go to far in its portrayal of the assassination of a foreign leader? Read the article and post a response below.
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The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rates movies based on a variety of criteria and determines an acceptable viewing audience. According to FilmRatings.com (the MPAA rating site), The Interview, by featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is rated as ‘R’ due to “pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence.” Colombia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment were in the news due to conflicts with North Korea over the movie.
This article isn’t intended to be a review of the movie, but instead an assessment of how it has been promoted, and what the impact has been.
The Interview seems out of place with game titles like Club Penguin, Gummy Drop!, My Emma, and Pop Bugs. It’s like advertising cigarettes to children. In this case, it’s literally true since the film shows people smoking. There’s a legal disclaimer at the end of the film stating that the use of tobacco in the film wasn’t a paid endorsement (just a free one).
A Popular Genre of Cinema
There’s unarguably a popular genre of vulgar and gross teen comedy films like The Interview that have a cult following — even among adults. Just as comedian Sarah Silverman draws crowds of people to be entertained and offended by her shocking and often ‘inappropriate’ style of vulgar humor, films like The Interview are praised for their shock value and intentional offensiveness.
Such content seems to be increasingly in demand. Just as people pay to go on a roller coaster ride at an amusement park, people are equally willing to pay to be shocked by entertainment that is offensive. They want to be offended. This explains the popularity of films like American Pie, The Hangover, Jackass, Superbad, and others.
However, the promotion of The Interview is problematic. First, the movie received world-wide attention by the news media. Capitalizing on this, Google is promoting the movie in a way intended to reach a wider general audience than these films are generally intended for. Of course, the original news stories weren’t part of the formal promotion of the movie (unless the news media was manipulated by the entertainment industry for promotional reasons).
Unlike a movie theatre where people can be easily ID’d prior to entering, or accompanied by an adult, streamed movies on the Internet are delivered to millions of homes with little or no restriction to who might viewing.
When you watch the movie, there is no clear rating declaration at the beginning. So, many viewers, young and old alike, who might otherwise avoid such content, will be lured into viewing the movie based on the trailer and numerous fluff reviews.
The Ramping Up Effect
The movie ramps up the levels of bloody violence, vulgarity, and nudity toward the middle and end, so that parents watching the beginning of the film to preview it will conclude that it’s typical teen humor.
Similarly, the average viewer will be drawn in as far as they are willing to go, and like the frog in the kettle, will find toward the end they are taking in images and content they might otherwise have avoided.
It may seem a little nit-picky to bring up such points. To those who are immersed in the violent visuals of today’s ‘first person’ video games and fully acclimated to vulgarity on television, in the movies, in music, and in comedy, The Interview probably seems fairly normal. To those who aren’t regularly exposed to that kind of content, the film probably seems inappropriate and culturally insensitive.
Lack of Targeted Promotion is a Disservice
Ultimately, Sony and Google do a disservice to the film and the genre by not limiting its promotion and release to a warm market. When this happens, reviews are skewed. Rather than having a film watched by and rated by the people who might most enjoy it and appreciate it, the film is released to people who aren’t acclimated to that particular brand of humor — and possibly never will embrace it.
The film is now being pushed to a world market, that’s already primed with interest, yet perhaps unaware that the movie contains crude humor and graphic bloody violence.
What’s unfortunate is that the film could have just as easily been produced in a way to meet PG-13 standards and been much more successful, and more widely appreciated.
Cultural Sensitivity and Global Response
At the time of this writing, the film has earned nearly $18M and is Sony’s top online film ever. (Source: NPR). So, American’s have spoken, and they’ve said, “We like this kind of humor, and indeed this kind of movie, more than anything else presently available.”
The film is perceived in the U.S. to be an act of demonstrating free speech, a criticism of North Korea, and in this case, a victory over those who would threaten to censor the film.
To foreigners watching the film, it is perceived as an example of American humor and the content produced by the U.S. film industry. It’s become our ambassador to world community (at least during its 15 minutes of fame).
Because of its content, the film serves to embolden those who advocate censorship of content from “the West.” In this regard, it provides an abundance of examples showing why anti-American jihadists should continue their struggle through war and censorship, concluding “If this is what America has to offer, we don’t want it.” The film is a Christmas gift to those who want to portray Americans as vulgar.
Google Blocked in China Days After Film Launch
While The Interview intends to be about North Korea, the potentially offensive jokes could just as easily be poorly received by people in other countries such as China, for example.
Drawing from bigoted caricatures, the movie pokes fun at portraying how Asians sound when speaking English. This is an outdated trope that is viewed by some as funny, but perceived by others as borderline offensive. At one point in the movie, someone holding a cute puppy proclaims, “Guess who’s going back to America where they don’t eat doggies?” Making fun of people with Asian accents, and making derogatory references to the animals eaten in Asian countries, might make some people laugh, but other people could very well take offense at these jokes.
It’s not surprising that only a few days after the heavy promotion of this film by Google on their search page, in the Play Store, and through a direct email campaigns. China has now blocked Google Gmail and Google’s search page.
The Search Page Campaign
Below is Google’s home search page as of Christmas morning. With the power of reaching approximately 210 million people every month (about 7 million people per day), Google chose to promote The Interview on Christmas day with a direct link to the streaming movie in their Play store. Click the image for a larger view.
The Email Campaign
The screen snip below shows an example of the direct email campaign launched by Google to promote the movie on Christmas day.
At the end of The Interview, during the final moments of the credits, a legal disclaimer from Sony and the film’s affiliates states:
“The characters, incidents, and locations portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity to or identification with the location, name, character or history of any person, product or entity is entirely coincidental and unintentional.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. So, it’s entirely coincidental that there’s a country called North Korea and political leader called Kim Jong-un. Did the producers really say, “Oh, really? Wow, we had no idea when making the film that these places and people actually exist! What a coincidence!”
That’s like someone slapping you in the face, and then saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I just slapped you in the face. (slap again) Was that your face? Oh, I’m sorry. (slap again).”
It would have been more sincere to say something like, “We intentionally spent millions of dollars making fun of another country’s leader, and joking about his assassination, and we knew full well we were doing it.” At least that would be honest. So, now we’re offensive and misleading. Great. This should generate lots of support and goodwill.
Movie Review of The Interview
This is likely a film that is destined to win the “Worst Movie Ever” and “Best Movie Ever” awards in the same year. For further reading, you can click here for a thoughtful movie review of The Interview.
Below is the movie poster for The Interview.
North Korean Reaction
For those unfamiliar with the controversy surrounding the film, here is a brief excerpt from the Wikipedia page about the movie and North Korea’s response to it — which suggests they didn’t find the humor in the movie.
On June 20, 2014, Kim Myong-chol, an unofficial spokesman for the North Korean government, said The Interview “shows the desperation of the US government and American society … a film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.”
On June 25, 2014, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state-run news agency of North Korea, reported that the government promised “stern” and “merciless” retaliation if the film were released, stating that “making and releasing a film that portrays an attack on our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated.” The Guardian wrote that the film premise “touched a nerve inside the regime, which takes a dim view of satirical treatment of its leaders and is notoriously paranoid about perceived threats to their safety” and that North Korea had a “long history of sabre-rattling and of issuing harsh threats that it does not act upon.”
On July 11, 2014, North Korea’s United Nations ambassador Ja Song-nam condemned The Interview, saying that “the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war.” The Guardian remarked that his comments were “all perfect publicity for the movie.” On July 17, 2014, the KCNA wrote to U.S. president Barack Obama, asking to have the film pulled.
In August 2014, shortly after The Interview ’s release was delayed to December 25, it was reported that Sony had made post-production alterations to the film to reduce its insensitivity to North Korea. These changes included modifying the designs of buttons worn by characters, originally modelled after real North Korean military buttons praising the country’s leaders, and plans to cut a portion of Kim Jong-un’s death scene.
Rogen predicted that the film would make its way to North Korea, stating that “we were told one of the reasons they’re so against the movie is that they’re afraid it’ll actually get into North Korea. They do have bootlegs and stuff. Maybe the tapes will make their way to North Korea and cause a revolution.” Business Insider reported via Free North Korea Radio that there was high demand for bootleg copies of the film in North Korea. The human rights organizations Fighters for a Free North Korea and Human Rights Foundation, which previously air-dropped offline copies of the Korean Wikipedia into North Korea on a bootable USB memory device, plan to distribute DVD copies of The Interview via balloon drops.
Update: 31 December 2014
As of 12:30 AM on 31 December 2014, Google has modified their promotion of The Interview in the Google Play store so that it is no longer listed adjacent to video games for kids. We applaud Google for their prompt corrective action in this matter.
In this Senate floor speech from 10 Apr 2014, Senator Bernie Sanders discusses oligarchy in America.
The following text is the transcript of a public speech delivered by Jim Leach on Veterans Day, 11 November 2013 in Iowa City. Header descriptions and links have been added to make the text more accessible.
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All People are Created Equal
As this is Veterans Day, I would like to begin with an historical perspective on the citizen soldier.
Our system of government emanated from war — a revolutionary war against the then mightiest army and navy in the world. The war was precipitated by a radical idea: that all men are created equal and endowed by a Creator with inalienable rights.
Rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
I mention the intertwining of the idea framework with war for a number of reasons, the most important being that we owe our freedom to the army of George Washington and the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who followed in war -making and peace-preserving. The rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been protected in a myriad of ways. For instance, in the 20th century our armed forces fought in two world wars, stood up to Communist aggression in two Asian conflicts, and over eight presidencies — from Harry Truman to George H.W. Bush — kept the peace during the Cold War in Europe. And at home in a traumatic moment, Dwight David Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to protect seven young black students entering a segregated high school.
Leaders and Public Servants Must Be Selfless
We owe particular respect to those who wore and continue to wear the uniform in combat, especially those who have served in circumstances where domestic dissent has been greatest. We can disagree with political decision makers but we are obligated to respect those in the armed forces who sacrificed so much for so many. Just think how much more dangerous a world we would live in if our military was as dysfunctionally organized as today’s politics and if our soldiers cared more for their self-interest than the national interest.
Two Famous Iowa City Residents
World War II ended 68 years ago, and because so few veterans of that war are still with us, I would like to reference two Iowa City residents who symbolize the greatest generation.
James Van Allen
The first is James Van Allen, the great space pioneer for whom the Van Allen Radiation Belt is named. But few in this town where he lived and worked for more than half a century knew anything about Jim’s role in World War II until a celebration of life ceremony took place at Hancher Auditorium a decade ago. Four people were asked to speak about segments of Jim’s life. The first was an elderly physicist at Johns Hopkins who surprised the packed audience by announcing that he wanted to address Jim’s time working for and then within the United States Navy, a time that he had simply noted in his c.v. had been spent as an “assistant gunnery officer.” It was a bit more than that.
The scientist told how after war broke out in Europe, Jim as research fellow at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. with a recently minted Iowa Ph.D. joined a top secret technology group called Section T of the Department of Terrestial Magnetism. Section T was part of the work associated with the National Defense Research Committee where atomic research also was supervised. The Navy had a serious problem with the effectiveness of shells shot from its shipboard cannons, and Section T was tasked to improve naval firepower capacities.
Of the shells fired from U.S. ships, fully a third either ignited in flight or failed to go off on striking a target. The German and Japanese navies had a similar but somewhat less intense problem. So Jim’s Section T group rented an abandoned Chevrolet garage in Silver Spring, Maryland and proceeded to experiment with developing a proximity fuze. Upgrading work that had commenced a few years earlier in Great Britain, the Section T group advanced the technology and solved the ruggedness problem (Jim’s principal contribution) of transferring theoretical methodology to usable weaponry. To test for ruggedness, Jim determined that he needed land to experiment upon, so he rented 40 acres of farm land in a suburban Washington county. Upon being told he should carry a firearm (in this case a .45 automatic) because of the presumed possibility that spies might be interested in his work, he was sworn in as a deputy sheriff of Montgomery County.
Working with others, he developed a proximity fuze, a key component of which he patented, that increased the effectiveness of shells from 67 percent to more than 99 percent — thereby increasing the firepower of the U.S. Navy by 50 percent.
The researchers in Section T eventually developed a ruggedly sophisticated proximity fuze, a key component of which Jim patented, that increased the effectiveness of shells shot from the navy’s long guns from 67 percent to over 99 percent —thereby increasing the firepower of the United States Navy by 50 percent. Jim’s group then turned to investigating the prospect of applying upgraded technology to anti-aircraft shells to replace the “ack-ack” we see in old World War II movies. Using radio signals to sense the presence of a plane, Jim and his Secton T colleagues developed the first “smart” precision weapon in the history of warfare.
Initially, gunners in the Pacific theater refused to use these new anti-aircraft shells. They loved their “ack-ack” because they could see how close they were coming to their targets. The problem was that the “ack-ack” pops that they could follow registered misses rather than hits. Understanding that the shells with the new detonation fuze represented a quantum improvement in anti-aircraft capacities, Jim accepted a commission as a Naval officer so that he could “commandeer” a vessel and hopscotch from ship to ship in the Pacific to persuade forces at sea to use the new technology. An inventor turned salesman, he eventually persuaded the captains and skeptical gunners to put their trust in the shells with the proximity fuze. At the same time he organized a Pacific Island supply train for the new shells and for the replacement of faulty batteries in older ones.
Only after hours of Jim’s signature low-key persuasiveness and months of trial in combat engagements in which Jim participated were the new anti-aircraft shells fully accepted by the Pacific fleet. Then, when the Japanese launched a massive kamikaze attack in the largest naval engagement in history — the Battle of Leyte Gulf — the shells with the newly developed proximity fuse helped knock down thirty-eight of the forty-one attacking planes. Until this point, any ship without air cover was a sitting duck to air attack. And when the Germans started attacking London with V-1 buzz bombs, shells with the new detonation fuze dramatically upgraded British capacities to defend the city.
In a recent biography of Jim by Abigail Foerstner, the author cites reports that the radio proximity fuze worked so well that it allowed British anti-aircraft gunners in one instance to shoot down 35 German planes in 30 minutes and in another to destroy 68 of 72 buzz bombs bound for London. The fuze was first used in land artillery in Europe by allied forces in December, 1944, at the Battle of the Bulge. The shells which were set to explode 10 feet or so above ground rather than on contact with earth were far more devastating than earlier generation shells. General George Patten later observed that “the funny fuze” had been so effective at the Battle of the Bulge that its use required a full revision of the tactics of land warfare.
At Hancher, the Johns Hopkins physicist ended his talk by reading a sentence from a citation signed by the Secretary of the Navy in 1946. It read: No one is more responsible for the success of the United States Navy in World War II than Lieutenant Commander James Van Allen.
In her biography of Jim (available on Amazon), Foerstner cites recent World War II histories noting that in the war the United States benefitted from four science and mathematical break-throughs. The first was the a-bomb; the second, upgraded radar capacities; the third, the breaking of the German and Japanese codes; and the fourth, the proximity fuse. The reason so few in Iowa City or the public ever knew about Jim’s role in the war was that the technology associated with the proximity fuse was kept top secret through the Cold War.
Jim Van Allen was Iowa-modest. And, arguably, the single most important combatant in World War II.
The second Iowa City resident I would like to reference is Donald (Mac) Showers. This afternoon, a close friend of Showers, a classmate of his at City High and the University of Iowa, and fellow hero of the war in the Pacific — Col. Richard Feddersen — dropped by my office to ask if I would mention Showers’ contribution to the war effort in this Veterans Day talk. I am honored to do so.
Showers was an intelligence officer who was part of a small group responsible for breaking the Japanese code. It was the breaking of the code that made possible, for example, a preemptive strike against the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway where four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk. Showers eventually rose to admiral rank and became chief of staff of the Defense Intelligence Agency and later a senior officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. He received a Distinguished Service Medal from both the Navy and the CIA.
There was a second aspect of the breaking of the German and Japanese codes that stands out. That being that we not only knew in advance about much of the key planning of our adversaries but we also knew that they didn’t know how much we knew. This knowledge was a key to strategies in the Pacific and for the landing in Normandy.
My father, for instance, a graduate of this great university and the law school where I now teach, was Executive Officer of a regiment that in its trek from Omaha Beach through Normandy and the Bulge to the Elbe came to be the fourth most casualty inflicted regiment of the war. Like so many others, Dad never spoke much of the war, but I’ll never forget the time he commented while watching a news analysis of a breaking revelation in Washington, that hundreds of Americans, including some press, must have known that Ike was planning a Normandy landing. But that secret was kept, just as was the Manhattan Project, the upgraded radar, the proximity fuse, and the code breaking. Lives were at issue, including his and so many others. Now we live in a world of wiki-leaks.
I mention these men and what they went through because we have to ask ourselves: are we letting them down?
The founders envisioned a political system that divided power between branches and levels of government in order to circumscribe power and ensure that a kaleidoscope of perspectives would be considered in decision making. But no founder ever suggested that dysfunctional governance was a worthy goal. And no soldier who serves in the greatest equal opportunity employer in the world deserves to see our government shut down as life and limb is risked in combat.
Yet today we have a House divided and a Senate “snafued” by rules of its own making. These 20th-century rules do not deserve hallowed status. They were not envisioned in the Constitution. Indeed, the filibuster was originally designed to block civil rights legislation — i.e., undercut the intent of the Constitution as amended in the wake of the Civil War. In addition, various rules that are designed to enhance the prerogatives of individual senators have the effect not only of thwarting the will of the Senate but undercutting the relative position of the House of Representatives and the ability of the Executive branch to function effectively.
It is no mystery why gridlock exists and why dysfunction seems to rein. Nor is it a mystery why it matters.
Public angst is understandable. After all, we have been immersed in our two longest and most debilitating wars. We have witnessed an avoidable recession and now find ourselves with high unemployment and tepid growth. Public debt has mushroomed and disparities in income grown. These circumstances have been manipulated by influence wielders who have exacerbated polarizing political trends for several decades. Now, rather suddenly, polarization is the order of the day. Matters of degree have become matters of kind.
Short Courses on Governance
To elaborate on the changing background of American politics, I developed a series of what I call two-minute courses in democratic governance when I left Congress for a teaching career.
Political Science 101
The first course I call Political Science 101. It has a mathematical dimension. Over the past generation America has been approximately one-third Democratic, one-third Republican and one-third no party. Half of a third is one-sixth. So one-sixth of America controls each of the two major parties. But in primaries where the real weakness in our democracy resides, at most one in four eligible voters participate in legislative races and often only one in eight or even less. Accordingly, if one multiplies 1/4th times 1/6th, it becomes evident that in a legislative primary with participation rates larger than average 1/24th of the electorate controls the choice of nominees.
Who is this 1/24th? In the Democratic Party it is rather liberal with consistent leadership coming from teachers, academics and union members. In the Republican Party, it is rather conservative with this philosophical term undergoing substantial change over the past generation.
When I entered politics conservatism was of a Goldwater bent — i.e, concern for military preparedness and opposition to high taxes and large social expenditures. But Goldwater’s brand of individual rights conservatism was pro-choice and pro-gay rights, views which would make him a liberal Republican outlier today.
In recent years the activism in the Republican Party has become more of a social conservative nature – i.e., pro-life, anti-gay rights, anti-U.N., with an infusion of global warming deniers. In addition, there has been a remarkable increase in the last half dozen years of libertarians who often but not always are pro-choice, pro-hemp, and less inclined to military options than either old-fashioned conservatives or liberals.
What these figures mean is that the largest group that is suddenly under-represented in Congress and increasingly state legislative chambers is the center-left and center-right who traditionally, although perhaps not now, are the largest segment of the electorate.
Political Science 102
Political Science 102 is a course about which everyone knows half, but many haven’t thought about the other half. The first half relates to presidential elections. It is generally understood that a Democratic candidate in a primary can be expected to attempt to appeal to the liberal voter and a Republican vice-versa. Once nominated, however, both can be expected to scoot a bit to the center to attract the undecided and philosophically more moderate.
But in Congressional races where 85 percent or so of all seats are safe for one party or the other, the first phenomenon (the candidate effort to appeal to the left if a Democrat and right if a Republican) also exists in a primary setting. But there is no scoot to the center in the general election or moderating in Congress because if such a movement occurs, a candidate or elected representative can expect a stiff primary opponent with significant organization and fundraising capacity to emerge. It is now primaries rather than the general election where many incumbents are most vulnerable.
Physics 101. Sir Isaac Newton once set forth three laws of nature, the third of which was that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. One day on the House floor I discovered as a pun a fourth Newt-onian Law. Watching the then Speaker of the House deliver a blistering critique of the opposition and then watching the Democratic reaction, it dawned on me that in social physics unlike natural physics reaction could be greater than action. I initially considered this was a law of partisan politics but I soon realized it also applied to relations between people in general and countries at large. If, for instance, someone calls someone else a “bum,” the chances are not insignificant that an escalated response of one kind or another may result. Likewise, if a leader calls another country “evil,” one can expect escalation of verbiage and possibly actions on the other side.
Words are Important
Why does all this matter? The health of politics in a democratic society as well as peaceful relations between nation-states is often related to the temperance of statecraft. It is also related to basic policies and governmental stability. Inability to work together and resolve inevitable differences affects reputation. Today reputation risk is high on Wall Street and in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.
Words are important.
Thomas Jefferson in the 1800 election hired a journalist who labeled John Adams a “hermaphrodite.” Our last president, George W. Bush, was called a “fascist” and our current resident has been termed a “fascist” and a “communist,” often by the same people at the same time.
What is the matter with hyperbole? Plenty.
In Adams’ case the description was intended as a character slur. In the case of both Bush and Obama the criticism is more dangerous because the words “fascist” and “communist” have warring implications.
Four hundred thousand American patriots lost their lives defeating fascism. Tens of thousands fell and trillions of dollars were spent holding communism at bay. As for the “birther” denial that President Obama was born in Hawaii, at issue becomes the Constitutional legitimacy of the presidency.
What kind of tragic action might commence from someone who holds these kinds of views?
If all men are created equal, doesn’t if follow that it is important to respect someone else’s views even if one thoroughly disagrees? And doesn’t it follow that a better perspective can be had if one looks at anything from more than one set of eyes?
When I was in college, a fashionable set of books to read was the Alexandria Quartet by the British author Lawrence Durrell. Durrell wrote four books, each titled with an individual’s name, set in the years between World War I and II in Alexandria, Egypt.
Each book was about the same, rather minor happenings in an exotically vibrant city. One might wonder why read about the same events four different times.
It ends up that all four stories are dramatically different. The literary moral is that each participant witnessed happenings of the day in a different way and that to get a sense for reality it is helpful to see things from a variety of perspectives.
This is why two people in a court room may testify truthfully but quite differently to the same events. It is why it may be helpful at a dinner table, in a legislature, or in international relations to listen to what others think and say.
Understanding other perspectives is particularly important today because the challenges of mankind have undergone radical change in the capacities of warfare. In the profoundest political observation of the last century, Einstein observed that splitting the atom had changed everything except our way of thinking.
What Einstein meant was that man suddenly has developed the capacity not just to wage war but destroy all life forms. We have no choice except to change our way of thinking, and this surely begins with trying to understand how and why others think the way they do.
In Western civilization’s most prophetic poem, “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats observed that the center cannot hold when the best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.
Yeats was reacting to the seemingly senseless carnage of World War I trench warfare. But the chaos of modernity has produced a crisis of perspective as well as values that give his words contemporary relevance.
Corporate Personhood Threatens Democracy
I stray into the politics of politics because political gridlock poses a challenge to national security just as it does to domestic tranquility and because the institutional shock of our times is the undercutting of our governance ethic by the principal balancing institution in our constitutional system: the Supreme Court.
In the most irresponsible decision since the 1857 Dred Scott ruling held that a class of human beings (those of color) could be bought and treated as property, the court in Citizens United determined that a class of property (corporations) had the rights of human beings and could invest directly in politics.
The court’s grant of massive new power to corporations changes the chemistry of governmental decision-making. Based on the frail assumptions that corporations are individuals and that money is speech with its use therefore protected by the First Amendment, Citizens United genetically alters our democratic DNA, pushing American politics in an oligarchic, corporatist direction.
Governance is about choice making: how to tax, what to spend, how to protect the national interest. Because the how of democratic processes impacts the what of policy (and vice-versa), changes in political dynamics are of extraordinary consequence in the determination of public priorities.
Tax policy and all areas of federal spending from education and research to national security are vulnerable to significant change due to the Citizens United ruling.
Debt is a Threat to National Security
The build-up of debt has reduced federal options. Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has gone so far as to suggest that our debt may currently be our greatest national security threat.
The debt issue is aggravated by the fact that the wars we have been fighting and the interventions we have been making in this new century are unique in history. No shared sacrifice by the American people was called upon.
As citizens of the first country that has ever opted to finance war with tax cuts, we have passed on to future generations the obligation to absorb the multi-trillion dollar costs of an interventionist foreign policy. We forget the lessons of the “Greatest Generation” which not only won the greatest war in history but accepted financial and strategic responsibility to help re-energize Europe and prevail in the Cold War.
Debt — its existence and management — involves two dynamic paradigms of clashing economic theory:
- John Maynard Keynes and his most vocal modern day disciple Paul Krugman point out that in times of weak economic growth and national emergency, deficit financing can boost economic output.
- Friedrich Hayek and his modern day disciple Milton Friedman argue that monetary stimulus is preferable to fiscal and that whatever the circumstances, care must be taken to keep taxes low.
In the crisis we have just gone through, both monetary and fiscal policies have been pressed. Federal spending has vastly exceeded revenues, federal taxes have been kept lower relative to the GDP than in the Reagan administration, and monetary policy has been expanded in unprecedented ways.
The question is now one of balance.
A modicum of consensus may be developing that the debt issue cannot be ignored. But no consensus has developed on how to constrain it and pay for everything from health care, whether or not “Obamacare” stands, to the hanging burden of our multi-trillion dollar interventionist foreign policy.
The challenge for the public is thus to galvanize a new governance ethic that recognizes that elected representatives of both parties have a mutual obligation to foster balanced decision-making without sophistically jeopardizing our debt obligations and causing government shut-downs.
Here let me mention a historical anecdote and presume a contemporary speculation.
The father of Republican economics is Alexander Hamilton. Against a populist tide, he insisted, and George Washington concurred, that we honor our Revolutionary War debt. How could a Hamiltonian not be offended by aspects of this year’s national politics?
Likewise, it is difficult to conceive how a serious disciple of either Keynes or Friedman would believe it wise to toy with bond markets with political strategies that imply that the full faith and credit of the U.S. government are in jeopardy.
Introducing uncertainty into public debt obligations has the inevitable effect of increasing the likelihood that interest rates — i.e., the costs of borrowing — will go up in the public sector with probable spiking implications for private sector borrowing as well.
Citizens could be faced with a more expensive government that delivers fewer services in an economy that supports fewer jobs. This is why the turmoil of the last month seemed so irrational to many traditional conservatives as well as modern liberals.
The moral is simple: Debt reduction is a credible, perhaps even imperative, goal, but it remains a national obligation to honor debt once undertaken and ensure that government is a stabilizing force in the economy.
The dilemma of today’s politics is that America has an abundance of leadership in commerce, science, the arts and every facet of the academy but the political system is hamstrung by ideological cleavages.
The Political Ideological Complex
President Eisenhower warned years ago of a military-industrial complex. Today my worry is more about the rise of a “political-ideological complex.” Ideologues use politicians as pawns while politicians use ideologues, especially those with deep pockets, as enablers of personal ambition. This reinforcing set of mutual interests has little to do with the common good and much to do with the break-down in civility in public life.
Basketball as an Allegory of Functional Government
Let me conclude with an observation about another element of American society that is highly competitive: sports. On Sunday, like many in this room, I went to a women’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye arena. Iowa was playing the 14th ranked team in the country and it was a terrifically competitive contest which the Hawkeyes won in overtime.
What stood out was the character of the individual players and how well they played together. Everyone in the home town audience admired the Hawkeye coaches and rooted for the Iowa players, but by the end of the game deep respect had also developed for the opposing team.
It was hard not to be reminded of the words that used to be oft-quoted of a long passed sportswriter named Grantland Rice who once observed that winning and losing weren’t the most important thing; what mattered most was how the game was played.
Likewise, in politics. The temper and integrity of political discourse is often more important than the precise outcome of an election or issue.
When I first entered politics I used to make one-to-one analogies between sports and politics. As time went on, these analogies broke down. Despite the publicized misbehavior of a few, sports have a far higher competitive ethic than politics.
This may be the case because most sports have referees whereas politics have none. It also relates to coaches who teach athletes how to work together and respect their opponents. In politics the analogue to coaches are campaign advisers.
There is hardly a campaign adviser in the country who doesn’t urge a candidate in a close election to go negative. But how do people and political parties come together after accentuating the negative? In the wake of so many modern elections, how does a public respect the processes, the winners as well as losers?
Putting the Common Good First
Soldiers learn that working as a unit increases the chance of prevailing in combat. Athletes learn that team effort trumps individual stardom.
Should not the common good in politics come before self, the country before party?
Jim Leach represented Eastern Iowa in the U.S. Congress from 1976-2006. He is a visiting professor of law at the University of Iowa College of Law.
Endnotes. Below are links to additional resources referenced above.