Archive for Steve Klinger

Bring it on

By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, ailment they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, ailment they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

Police in cities across the country did the Occupy movement a great favor when they raided the mothership Monday night and evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park. In a coordinated series of actions that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted included an 18-city law enforcement conference call, price
police raided encampments from coast to coast, case
using batons, treat
pepper spray, riot gear and whatever it took, short of lethal force, to retake the parks, in the guise of public welfare and safety.

Some, like Bill O’Reilly, calling it a “legitimate political movement” for the first time only in pronouncing its eptitaph, boasted hopefully that “the Occupy movement is dead…and it’s a good thing.”

Not so fast, Bill.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg screwed up big time, and so did his law-and-order buddies with their Gestapo tactics. The camps were actually becoming a major drag on the movement, though they were its necessary and effective beginnings. By mid-November they had drawn influxes of transients, druggies, drifters and grifters, far more interested in free food and lodging as winter began to bear down than in sweeping political change. Increasingly, they had filled the encampments with hard-core homeless and a variety of mentally ill social outcasts, whose tactics of Occupation were based largely on a misplaced sense of entitlement. They were draining energy from the political focus of the movement, sullying the image of the original Occupiers and deflecting focus from economic injustice in this country to stories of petty theft, drug use and assault, and spreading filth and squalor.

If left alone, many of the larger camps especially, in more controversial locations than Occupy Santa Fe, and with far less sympathetic mayors and police forces, would have descended into tent-filled slums in a matter of days or weeks, damaging the movement further and perhaps destroying it.

Instead, the widely broadcast brutality of cops with truncheons and klieg lights, dragging sleeping and nonviolent campers from their tents I the middle of the night, accomplished just the opposite of their objective. This is why the mood in Zuccotti Park the following day, after it reopened once a judge ruled that First Amendment rights did not include sleeping bags and tents, was one of liberation and near-euphoria.

As Gandhi famously noted: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Stage 3 had begun in cities across the United States. The cops and mayors and 1-percenters thought the Occupiers would give up and go home, but they miscalculated, as the forces of oppression always do, after they panic when they realize they have overreached, big time.

There is too much wrong in this country for those who have become aware of it to give up and go home. The Occupy movement changed the dialogue from the trumped-up,  red-herring deficit issue to the real subject of injustice and unfairness in America. The 99 percent are the 99 percent for a reason. The emperors have no clothes, and now everybody knows it.  There is no going home, as the 30,000 or so rallying in New York’s Foley Square tonight and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge are exclaiming, as the thousands more who flooded Wall Street earlier are proclaiming, as the hundreds and thousands in marches and protests in dozens of cities, which will spread to hundreds of cities by this weekend, are reminding those who would continue to oppress and repress them.

We don’t know where exactly it’s all heading, but it is looking more real by the hour. Marches, rallies, teach-ins, move-your-money actions, and why not a nationwide strike, boycotts, flash mobs? If the cops stay violent, and the mayors keep making condescending speeches about the public health and welfare, they become the movement’s best recruiting tool. Bring it on, Bloomberg and your media minions, for you know not what you have unleashed!

Comments (9)

Time to pull up stakes

By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, ailment they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, ailment they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

Police in cities across the country did the Occupy movement a great favor when they raided the mothership Monday night and evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park. In a coordinated series of actions that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted included an 18-city law enforcement conference call, price
police raided encampments from coast to coast, case
using batons, treat
pepper spray, riot gear and whatever it took, short of lethal force, to retake the parks, in the guise of public welfare and safety.

Some, like Bill O’Reilly, calling it a “legitimate political movement” for the first time only in pronouncing its eptitaph, boasted hopefully that “the Occupy movement is dead…and it’s a good thing.”

Not so fast, Bill.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg screwed up big time, and so did his law-and-order buddies with their Gestapo tactics. The camps were actually becoming a major drag on the movement, though they were its necessary and effective beginnings. By mid-November they had drawn influxes of transients, druggies, drifters and grifters, far more interested in free food and lodging as winter began to bear down than in sweeping political change. Increasingly, they had filled the encampments with hard-core homeless and a variety of mentally ill social outcasts, whose tactics of Occupation were based largely on a misplaced sense of entitlement. They were draining energy from the political focus of the movement, sullying the image of the original Occupiers and deflecting focus from economic injustice in this country to stories of petty theft, drug use and assault, and spreading filth and squalor.

If left alone, many of the larger camps especially, in more controversial locations than Occupy Santa Fe, and with far less sympathetic mayors and police forces, would have descended into tent-filled slums in a matter of days or weeks, damaging the movement further and perhaps destroying it.

Instead, the widely broadcast brutality of cops with truncheons and klieg lights, dragging sleeping and nonviolent campers from their tents I the middle of the night, accomplished just the opposite of their objective. This is why the mood in Zuccotti Park the following day, after it reopened once a judge ruled that First Amendment rights did not include sleeping bags and tents, was one of liberation and near-euphoria.

As Gandhi famously noted: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Stage 3 had begun in cities across the United States. The cops and mayors and 1-percenters thought the Occupiers would give up and go home, but they miscalculated, as the forces of oppression always do, after they panic when they realize they have overreached, big time.

There is too much wrong in this country for those who have become aware of it to give up and go home. The Occupy movement changed the dialogue from the trumped-up,  red-herring deficit issue to the real subject of injustice and unfairness in America. The 99 percent are the 99 percent for a reason. The emperors have no clothes, and now everybody knows it.  There is no going home, as the 30,000 or so rallying in New York’s Foley Square tonight and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge are exclaiming, as the thousands more who flooded Wall Street earlier are proclaiming, as the hundreds and thousands in marches and protests in dozens of cities, which will spread to hundreds of cities by this weekend, are reminding those who would continue to oppress and repress them.

We don’t know where exactly it’s all heading, but it is looking more real by the hour. Marches, rallies, teach-ins, move-your-money actions, and why not a nationwide strike, boycotts, flash mobs? If the cops stay violent, and the mayors keep making condescending speeches about the public health and welfare, they become the movement’s best recruiting tool. Bring it on, Bloomberg and your media minions, for you know not what you have unleashed!
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, advice
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, Myocarditis
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, ailment they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

Police in cities across the country did the Occupy movement a great favor when they raided the mothership Monday night and evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park. In a coordinated series of actions that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan admitted included an 18-city law enforcement conference call, price
police raided encampments from coast to coast, case
using batons, treat
pepper spray, riot gear and whatever it took, short of lethal force, to retake the parks, in the guise of public welfare and safety.

Some, like Bill O’Reilly, calling it a “legitimate political movement” for the first time only in pronouncing its eptitaph, boasted hopefully that “the Occupy movement is dead…and it’s a good thing.”

Not so fast, Bill.  New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg screwed up big time, and so did his law-and-order buddies with their Gestapo tactics. The camps were actually becoming a major drag on the movement, though they were its necessary and effective beginnings. By mid-November they had drawn influxes of transients, druggies, drifters and grifters, far more interested in free food and lodging as winter began to bear down than in sweeping political change. Increasingly, they had filled the encampments with hard-core homeless and a variety of mentally ill social outcasts, whose tactics of Occupation were based largely on a misplaced sense of entitlement. They were draining energy from the political focus of the movement, sullying the image of the original Occupiers and deflecting focus from economic injustice in this country to stories of petty theft, drug use and assault, and spreading filth and squalor.

If left alone, many of the larger camps especially, in more controversial locations than Occupy Santa Fe, and with far less sympathetic mayors and police forces, would have descended into tent-filled slums in a matter of days or weeks, damaging the movement further and perhaps destroying it.

Instead, the widely broadcast brutality of cops with truncheons and klieg lights, dragging sleeping and nonviolent campers from their tents I the middle of the night, accomplished just the opposite of their objective. This is why the mood in Zuccotti Park the following day, after it reopened once a judge ruled that First Amendment rights did not include sleeping bags and tents, was one of liberation and near-euphoria.

As Gandhi famously noted: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Stage 3 had begun in cities across the United States. The cops and mayors and 1-percenters thought the Occupiers would give up and go home, but they miscalculated, as the forces of oppression always do, after they panic when they realize they have overreached, big time.

There is too much wrong in this country for those who have become aware of it to give up and go home. The Occupy movement changed the dialogue from the trumped-up,  red-herring deficit issue to the real subject of injustice and unfairness in America. The 99 percent are the 99 percent for a reason. The emperors have no clothes, and now everybody knows it.  There is no going home, as the 30,000 or so rallying in New York’s Foley Square tonight and marching across the Brooklyn Bridge are exclaiming, as the thousands more who flooded Wall Street earlier are proclaiming, as the hundreds and thousands in marches and protests in dozens of cities, which will spread to hundreds of cities by this weekend, are reminding those who would continue to oppress and repress them.

We don’t know where exactly it’s all heading, but it is looking more real by the hour. Marches, rallies, teach-ins, move-your-money actions, and why not a nationwide strike, boycotts, flash mobs? If the cops stay violent, and the mayors keep making condescending speeches about the public health and welfare, they become the movement’s best recruiting tool. Bring it on, Bloomberg and your media minions, for you know not what you have unleashed!
 

In an ironic twist few would have anticipated two months ago, seek the Occupy movement risks being hijacked—not by the cops, pilule
the media or the money of Wall Street, but by the homeless. As wintry weather bears down on Santa Fe and a lot of northern cities and towns, the political activists in tents and sleeping bags are being replaced by transients, drifters, vagabonds, conmen and grifters, druggies and misfits of all kinds, looking for a handout, a tent, a hot meal and a place to hang that isn’t a church- or government-run shelter.

 

Those who are serious members of the OWS movement and have slept at the Railyard encampment here report an increasing number of occupants who have no interest in the movement except what they can gain from it personally. Instead of social or political commitment they have an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. Naturally the mainstream media are picking up on the growing divisiveness, and it won’t play well on Main Street. People who don’t understand the movement or its goals are happy to exploit any perceived weakness or inconsistency. Violence, such that which broke out in Oakland a few nights ago, is the worst setback, especially when it is precipitated by the Occupiers, or appears to be. Camps full of disruptive misfits and social outcasts are nearly as bad.

 

On the one hand, the greed of the 1 percent and a gridlocked, dysfunctional government are largely responsible for the legions of homeless this society produces, and the movement cannot ignore them. On the other hand, parasitic and unstable transients, not the foreclosed and the economically displaced, are the ones filling the camps, and Occupy movements are facing a major strategic decision in one city after another.

 

To launch the movement, physical occupation of a park adjacent to Wall Street was a great political statement and a focal point for drawing participants and media coverage. Though most of the sites occupied in other places weren’t as meaningful, the symbolism of staking out a piece of public property as an act of civil disobedience was still powerful and appropriate. Now some are starting to question whether maintaining the camps is becoming a form of fetishism—an obsessive attachment to something that is not really the heart of the movement.

 

The time has come for Occupy groups to contemplate abandoning their encampments rather than seeing them be held hostage by drifters and grifters. Occupation was always a symbolic act, and more can be accomplished by the process most of the groups have now successfully established, of holding general assemblies and working/action group meetings in a variety of public spaces. Exercises in direct democracy, marches, rallies, picketing, teach-ins, and maybe even flash mobs, are effective tools each group can use, now that adherents have come together and the media are providing coverage. There are many targets on which the 99 percent can focus, and the Occupy sites are no longer essential for that purpose.

 

While the encampments have had a certain historical resonance as well, mirroring the Hoovervilles of the Great Depression, they could not practically speaking be expected to exist in the long term, so why not move beyond them now that they are becoming a logistic and a strategic liability?

 

This doesn’t mean the many outcasts they are drawing should be forgotten by the society that created them, but that is not a new problem or one the Occupy movement can allow to drag it down. America needs a message of unity from OWS and its supporters, not mixed signals, and not the negativity that is waiting to happen the first time a major casualty is reported from some Occupy camp. It won’t take long, it will happen any day now, and it will further undermine the confidence of the public and the image of the movement.

 

Onward, Occupiers—it’s time to break camp.

 

 

—Steve Klinger

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What is it about ‘No’ that you don’t understand?

By Thomas Wark

 

I remember a beautiful end-of-summer in Scotland ten years ago. In lovely sunlight the soft breezes carried the lilt of lassies comin’ through the rye and lovers takin’ th’ high road to Loch Lomond.

Back home unemployment was a rising concern; it had reached 4.9 per cent in August, physiotherapist the highest rate in four years. Private employers had just cut 130,000 jobs, ten times the predicted amount, and shipped nearly 50,000 jobs overseas.

Independent economists said the bad news meant the long-awaited economic recovery still was not in sight. Not to worry, “we’re about where we should be,” said the chief economist at Merrill Lynch, one of the Wall Street firms that was happily selling AAA-rated investment packages that seven years later would be called “sub-prime” and “toxic.”

On a hillside east of a small town in the Scottish highlands, a natural waste-disposal field was in its fifth experimental year. Although toxic slush was deep underfoot somewhere, the air was scented only by a profusion of wildflowers. There’s more than one way to deal with toxic.

The remains of an ancient Roman fortification crested the hill. Later in the afternoon we would stand in its shade and watch Scotsmen sling a haggis in a traditional festival game. A few days later, we took a leisurely drive toward John O’Groat., stopping often to admire rocky shorelines and the occasional sandy beach.

When we stopped for fuel, the attendant for the single pump recognized us as Yanks. “Did y’ hear about the Twin Towers?” he asked. BBC radio told us the latest about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U. S. national debt was just a shade over $5 trillion.

When he finally emerged from hiding, the President of the United States led a campaign of fear, half-truths, outright falsehood and “cooked” intelligence to launch a war against a country that had nothing to do with the September attacks and whose sleazy dictator had nothing to do with those who organized and financed it.

When he left office, that president and his unfunded wars had doubled the national debt.

Unemployment was over 10 per cent.

The toxic assets Wall Street had sold as prime investments went “Poof!” and the richest banks in the world were on their knees, begging.

A new President printed new money and showered it on the bankers who had brought the world to the brink of depression.

The national debt rose to $12 trillion.

The wars went on.

The unemployment rate remained twice what it had been in 2001. That’s not counting millions more jobless who have been unemployed for so long they no longer count as “statistics.”

So far only one man running for President has offered a plan intended to provide jobs for some of the unemployed. It calls essentially for tax credits to private employers to encourage them to hire more people. (These are the same private employers who cut 130,000 jobs in August of 2010 and shipped 50,000 of them overseas, causing independent economists to warn that we’d better do something soon about unemployment.)

Last month, the U. S. economy did not add one new job. Zero. Zilch. As soon as John Boehner says it’s OK, the President will talk to the nation about jobs.

What he says isn’t likely to do much for the millions without work. Talk doesn’t buy groceries.

Last month, for the first time in ten years, not one American was killed in Iraq in George Bush’s war. However, it was the worst month ever for American deaths in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s war. Nobody reports the losses here and there in the dozen or so clandestine wars we’re fighting.

No politician running for President is talking about ending the wars that put us deeply in debt as a nation. Yet all the politicians say the debt is a crisis.

It is such a big, big crisis that we can’t afford to create public sector jobs fixing a national infrastructure that has been neglected for so long that it’s a risk to life and limb for our common citizens.

But it’s not so big a crisis that we need to end the huge tax cuts we gave to our very richest citizens.

This isn’t a country. It’s a bloody zoo, and the animals are in charge.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

I remember a beautiful end-of-summer in Scotland ten years ago. In lovely sunlight the soft breezes carried the lilt of lassies comin’ through the rye and lovers takin’ th’ high road to Loch Lomond.

Back home unemployment was a rising concern; it had reached 4.9 per cent in August, stuff the highest rate in four years. Private employers had just cut 130, more about 000 jobs, vitamin ten times the predicted amount, and shipped nearly 50,000 jobs overseas.

Independent economists said the bad news meant the long-awaited economic recovery still was not in sight. Not to worry, “we’re about where we should be,” said the chief economist at Merrill Lynch, one of the Wall Street firms that was happily selling AAA-rated investment packages that seven years later would be called “sub-prime” and “toxic.”

On a hillside east of a small town in the Scottish highlands, a natural waste-disposal field was in its fifth experimental year. Although toxic slush was deep underfoot somewhere, the air was scented only by a profusion of wildflowers. There’s more than one way to deal with toxic.

The remains of an ancient Roman fortification crested the hill. Later in the afternoon we would stand in its shade and watch Scotsmen sling a haggis in a traditional festival game. A few days later, we took a leisurely drive toward John O’Groat., stopping often to admire rocky shorelines and the occasional sandy beach.

When we stopped for fuel, the attendant for the single pump recognized us as Yanks. “Did y’ hear about the Twin Towers?” he asked. BBC radio told us the latest about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U. S. national debt was just a shade over $5 trillion.

When he finally emerged from hiding, the President of the United States led a campaign of fear, half-truths, outright falsehood and “cooked” intelligence to launch a war against a country that had nothing to do with the September attacks and whose sleazy dictator had nothing to do with those who organized and financed it.

When he left office, that president and his unfunded wars had doubled the national debt.

Unemployment was over 10 per cent.

The toxic assets Wall Street had sold as prime investments went “Poof!” and the richest banks in the world were on their knees, begging.

A new President printed new money and showered it on the bankers who had brought the world to the brink of depression.

The national debt rose to $12 trillion.

The wars went on.

The unemployment rate remained twice what it had been in 2001. That’s not counting millions more jobless who have been unemployed for so long they no longer count as “statistics.”

So far only one man running for President has offered a plan intended to provide jobs for some of the unemployed. It calls essentially for tax credits to private employers to encourage them to hire more people. (These are the same private employers who cut 130,000 jobs in August of 2010 and shipped 50,000 of them overseas, causing independent economists to warn that we’d better do something soon about unemployment.)

Last month, the U. S. economy did not add one new job. Zero. Zilch. As soon as John Boehner says it’s OK, the President will talk to the nation about jobs.

What he says isn’t likely to do much for the millions without work. Talk doesn’t buy groceries.

Last month, for the first time in ten years, not one American was killed in Iraq in George Bush’s war. However, it was the worst month ever for American deaths in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s war. Nobody reports the losses here and there in the dozen or so clandestine wars we’re fighting.

No politician running for President is talking about ending the wars that put us deeply in debt as a nation. Yet all the politicians say the debt is a crisis.

It is such a big, big crisis that we can’t afford to create public sector jobs fixing a national infrastructure that has been neglected for so long that it’s a risk to life and limb for our common citizens.

But it’s not so big a crisis that we need to end the huge tax cuts we gave to our very richest citizens.

This isn’t a country. It’s a bloody zoo, and the animals are in charge.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

I remember a beautiful end-of-summer in Scotland ten years ago. In lovely sunlight the soft breezes carried the lilt of lassies comin’ through the rye and lovers takin’ th’ high road to Loch Lomond.

Back home unemployment was a rising concern; it had reached 4.9 per cent in August, stuff the highest rate in four years. Private employers had just cut 130, more about 000 jobs, vitamin ten times the predicted amount, and shipped nearly 50,000 jobs overseas.

Independent economists said the bad news meant the long-awaited economic recovery still was not in sight. Not to worry, “we’re about where we should be,” said the chief economist at Merrill Lynch, one of the Wall Street firms that was happily selling AAA-rated investment packages that seven years later would be called “sub-prime” and “toxic.”

On a hillside east of a small town in the Scottish highlands, a natural waste-disposal field was in its fifth experimental year. Although toxic slush was deep underfoot somewhere, the air was scented only by a profusion of wildflowers. There’s more than one way to deal with toxic.

The remains of an ancient Roman fortification crested the hill. Later in the afternoon we would stand in its shade and watch Scotsmen sling a haggis in a traditional festival game. A few days later, we took a leisurely drive toward John O’Groat., stopping often to admire rocky shorelines and the occasional sandy beach.

When we stopped for fuel, the attendant for the single pump recognized us as Yanks. “Did y’ hear about the Twin Towers?” he asked. BBC radio told us the latest about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U. S. national debt was just a shade over $5 trillion.

When he finally emerged from hiding, the President of the United States led a campaign of fear, half-truths, outright falsehood and “cooked” intelligence to launch a war against a country that had nothing to do with the September attacks and whose sleazy dictator had nothing to do with those who organized and financed it.

When he left office, that president and his unfunded wars had doubled the national debt.

Unemployment was over 10 per cent.

The toxic assets Wall Street had sold as prime investments went “Poof!” and the richest banks in the world were on their knees, begging.

A new President printed new money and showered it on the bankers who had brought the world to the brink of depression.

The national debt rose to $12 trillion.

The wars went on.

The unemployment rate remained twice what it had been in 2001. That’s not counting millions more jobless who have been unemployed for so long they no longer count as “statistics.”

So far only one man running for President has offered a plan intended to provide jobs for some of the unemployed. It calls essentially for tax credits to private employers to encourage them to hire more people. (These are the same private employers who cut 130,000 jobs in August of 2010 and shipped 50,000 of them overseas, causing independent economists to warn that we’d better do something soon about unemployment.)

Last month, the U. S. economy did not add one new job. Zero. Zilch. As soon as John Boehner says it’s OK, the President will talk to the nation about jobs.

What he says isn’t likely to do much for the millions without work. Talk doesn’t buy groceries.

Last month, for the first time in ten years, not one American was killed in Iraq in George Bush’s war. However, it was the worst month ever for American deaths in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s war. Nobody reports the losses here and there in the dozen or so clandestine wars we’re fighting.

No politician running for President is talking about ending the wars that put us deeply in debt as a nation. Yet all the politicians say the debt is a crisis.

It is such a big, big crisis that we can’t afford to create public sector jobs fixing a national infrastructure that has been neglected for so long that it’s a risk to life and limb for our common citizens.

But it’s not so big a crisis that we need to end the huge tax cuts we gave to our very richest citizens.

This isn’t a country. It’s a bloody zoo, and the animals are in charge.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, salve
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, herpes
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Thomas Wark

 

I remember a beautiful end-of-summer in Scotland ten years ago. In lovely sunlight the soft breezes carried the lilt of lassies comin’ through the rye and lovers takin’ th’ high road to Loch Lomond.

Back home unemployment was a rising concern; it had reached 4.9 per cent in August, stuff the highest rate in four years. Private employers had just cut 130, more about 000 jobs, vitamin ten times the predicted amount, and shipped nearly 50,000 jobs overseas.

Independent economists said the bad news meant the long-awaited economic recovery still was not in sight. Not to worry, “we’re about where we should be,” said the chief economist at Merrill Lynch, one of the Wall Street firms that was happily selling AAA-rated investment packages that seven years later would be called “sub-prime” and “toxic.”

On a hillside east of a small town in the Scottish highlands, a natural waste-disposal field was in its fifth experimental year. Although toxic slush was deep underfoot somewhere, the air was scented only by a profusion of wildflowers. There’s more than one way to deal with toxic.

The remains of an ancient Roman fortification crested the hill. Later in the afternoon we would stand in its shade and watch Scotsmen sling a haggis in a traditional festival game. A few days later, we took a leisurely drive toward John O’Groat., stopping often to admire rocky shorelines and the occasional sandy beach.

When we stopped for fuel, the attendant for the single pump recognized us as Yanks. “Did y’ hear about the Twin Towers?” he asked. BBC radio told us the latest about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U. S. national debt was just a shade over $5 trillion.

When he finally emerged from hiding, the President of the United States led a campaign of fear, half-truths, outright falsehood and “cooked” intelligence to launch a war against a country that had nothing to do with the September attacks and whose sleazy dictator had nothing to do with those who organized and financed it.

When he left office, that president and his unfunded wars had doubled the national debt.

Unemployment was over 10 per cent.

The toxic assets Wall Street had sold as prime investments went “Poof!” and the richest banks in the world were on their knees, begging.

A new President printed new money and showered it on the bankers who had brought the world to the brink of depression.

The national debt rose to $12 trillion.

The wars went on.

The unemployment rate remained twice what it had been in 2001. That’s not counting millions more jobless who have been unemployed for so long they no longer count as “statistics.”

So far only one man running for President has offered a plan intended to provide jobs for some of the unemployed. It calls essentially for tax credits to private employers to encourage them to hire more people. (These are the same private employers who cut 130,000 jobs in August of 2010 and shipped 50,000 of them overseas, causing independent economists to warn that we’d better do something soon about unemployment.)

Last month, the U. S. economy did not add one new job. Zero. Zilch. As soon as John Boehner says it’s OK, the President will talk to the nation about jobs.

What he says isn’t likely to do much for the millions without work. Talk doesn’t buy groceries.

Last month, for the first time in ten years, not one American was killed in Iraq in George Bush’s war. However, it was the worst month ever for American deaths in Afghanistan, Barack Obama’s war. Nobody reports the losses here and there in the dozen or so clandestine wars we’re fighting.

No politician running for President is talking about ending the wars that put us deeply in debt as a nation. Yet all the politicians say the debt is a crisis.

It is such a big, big crisis that we can’t afford to create public sector jobs fixing a national infrastructure that has been neglected for so long that it’s a risk to life and limb for our common citizens.

But it’s not so big a crisis that we need to end the huge tax cuts we gave to our very richest citizens.

This isn’t a country. It’s a bloody zoo, and the animals are in charge.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

When the protesters are streaked with gray, salve
they say they’re too old to be taken seriously. When they wave signs for peace, herpes
they’re called naïve or treasonous. And now that the left, for the first time since the Vietnam generation, has significant numbers of young people “occupying” Wall Street and its proxies in cities across the country, they call them rag-tag and un-serious.

Older liberals are even more cynical, intoning that nothing, absolutely nothing,  will happen unless there are full-out riots, and then they’ll just get their heads cracked open. Mitt Romney calls the situation dangerous, invoking “class warfare.”

But after three weeks and counting, even the stodgy news anchors with their striped ties are grudgingly beginning to take notice of this phenomenon, which has spread to such unlikely places as Wichita, Kansas. Obama himself observed that the protesters have a valid argument or two, given the unrelenting greed of those who have literally capitalized on the nation’s economic misfortunes. It remains to be seen if the Great Conciliator will use this last chance to reconnect with his populist roots and dust off his campaign rhetoric of hope and change, or if he’ll retreat in some pivotal moment-to-come and cast his lot irrevocably with the fat-cat bankers.

In the downtrodden and disillusioned circles of progressives who have seen their modest gains of many decades battered by the virulent onslaught of the plutocrat-backed Tea Party, by the sweeping reactionary tide abetted by Koch Industries and ALEC, a few voices are beginning to whisper: Could it be, might it be, is there any way, by any stretch it could be, can we dare say we are on the cusp of the counterpoint to Arab Spring: American Fall, both seasonal and empirical?

To which I’d say it looks from here like it could have a fighting chance, despite the lack of a cohesive list of demands, despite the absence of top-down organizational origins—or maybe because of these lacks, for the very reason that the spontaneous inception of this movement had to arise in its own good time, on the very social media that were criticized for addicting and distracting this country’s youth from any useful purpose whatsoever.

The need was stronger, the greed perhaps more blatant in Egypt and Libya and Syria, but the hard times are percolating through the towns and villages of this teetering nation now, and maybe, just maybe, the 99 percent can be awakened to demand the change that only numbers, accompanied by great resolve and youthful enthusiasm, can produce.

Now even MoveOn.org and organized labor are climbing on the bandwagon, and soon a few more prominent mainstream Democrats will forget their invertebrate nature and lavish timid praise on the Occupiers—until some untoward act or comment sends them slithering back into gelatinous retreat.  But true leadership may yet emerge from the ranks of the acolytes themselves—or the weathered activists who have been scouring a somnolent landscape in search of them.

What they will do if and when their ranks swell and the entire nation takes notice I can’t answer, since the solution seems so far-removed from the government that let the problem fester and itself became the problem. Whether the 99 percent will rise up successfully—or at all—I can’t predict, nor whether such an uprising would restore our democracy or rather usher in a disastrous authoritarian retaliation that would doom it. But from here, it seems damn well worth the effort, and I’m going with that demographic that has its own future at stake, and I’m hoping we’ve underestimated them, because they, if anyone must lead the charge.

Rise up, our emerging band.
Rise up and make your stand.
By Steve Klinger

It all boils down to a simple question: Why can’t Obama and the Democrats take the gloves off and expose the Republicans for the sociopathic subversives they really are?

Yes, page
Dr. Kidglove, as blogger Tom Wark likes to call him, gave a forceful speech and presented a jobs program larger than many expected. But as Robert Reich quickly calculated (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/american-jobs-act-obama-_b_955250.html) it would not make a big difference in reducing unemployment or otherwise stimulating the economy or avoiding a likely double-dip recession. At $200-300 billion of new spending it’s just not big enough, and many of the tax cuts are extensions of what’s already in place.

I said “would” because it will not become law. The Republicans will block it, using Mitch McConnell’s cynical talking point, no doubt coined long before Obama opened his mouth:
“This isn’t a job plan. It’s a reelection plan.”

Except the shoe is really on the other foot. To the Republicans, everything is about the election and nothing is about human suffering and national priorities. Obama has hesitated, procrastinated, accommodated and capitulated for the better part of three years, naively hoping for bipartisanship. His self-deluded attempts at leadership have repeatedly met with solid and unrelenting GOP resistance – no, flat-out obstructionism. Unlike some leftists who believe he is bought and paid for, I think he has simply shown himself to be overmatched  and incapable of necessary confrontation. So once again, abandoning principle for the sake of perceived expediency, he has presented a program he thinks/hopes/prays will get enough Republican support to be enacted as a half-measure.

But it won’t be good enough to matter if it does, and anyway, it will not, precisely because Obama again underestimates the cold-blooded ruthlessness of his opponents, who do not put country ahead of politics, and certainly not ordinary working people (or those who wish they were working people). This is what he and every Democrat and every sentient media commentator should be saying, over and over, until voters get the message: How can you trust the Republicans to help ordinary folks when they are constantly demonstrating they’re willing to ruin the country for the sake of reclaiming power?

As many have pointed out, the Republicans would say day was night if they thought it would give them an electoral victory in 2012. And they would, and do, watch millions suffer while pretending to act in their interest. Using their own past proposals to get their support did not work with health care or the debt ceiling,  and it will not work with jobs.  Maybe someone on Obama’s re-election team is planning to exploit GOP opposition to this plan once the campaign season starts in earnest. But in that case, as Reich asks, why not push the program that’s really needed so you can make a persuasive argument about how the right is selling the country down the river?

Take the gloves off and swing back. What is it about ‘No’ that you don’t understand?

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One more cave job

By Steve Klinger

This blog has been fulminating for a couple of months (or maybe since the midterm elections) as I watch the spectacle in Washington that the President elevates by describing as a three-ring circus. As any circusgoer or participant well knows, patient
meticulous planning and coordination go into every circus stop at every town, ed
and every act, from trapeze to juggling to animal routines. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional frenzy in the Beltway.

The debt-ceiling crisis has in common with the circus that it is built on role-playing and enacted to mesmerize the audience, but the Washington version goes beyond entertainment and has no logical script other than the objective of maximizing political gain on behalf of those seeking financial gain.

In the final days of this trumped-up crisis, an artificial day of reckoning that only further denigrates government in the eyes of the populace, extemporaneous grandstanding rules the show. Republicans hold government, the President, the Democrats in Congress and the America people hostage in a cynical and hypocritical game of brinksmanship, alleged to be about controlling deficit spending but in reality about completing the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the plutocracy.

Democrats have made strategic mistakes; for far too long they have lost the media-driven battle of public opinion, as usual being unable to match the Republicans’ ability to manipulate the victims themselves (Tea partiers, blue-collar workers, retirees, struggling homeowners) into orchestrating their own economic and political demolition.

The most offensive aspect of the whole thing has to be the collusion among the triumvirate of greed-driven plutocrats, co-opted politicians and mainstream-media talking heads whose rank hypocrisy knows no shame. Correspondents and news anchors talk about spreading blame and purport to provide a “balanced” perspective in lamenting that the sides can’t seem to compromise. Public opinion polls are twisted into confirming that the frustrated public just wants the two parties to reach an agreement. A problem almost entirely generated by wartime spending, Wall Street excess and self-serving deregulation has been allowed to be portrayed as one of runaway “entitlement” spending and false comparisons to balancing household budgets.

Commentators talk ad nauseum about compromise and deal-making. To our woe, the smartest guy in the room is the President, who has brainwashed himself into believing the compromise dictum, though he should have known a month into his presidency that “compromise” and “bipartisan” are code words for a strategy to prevent his re-election, even at the risk of destroying the nation.

Better-informed observers than I have chronicled the steadfast refusal of virtually the entire Republican delegation (especially in the current House) to compromise, while the Senate has elevated the filibuster to a new art from – all to thwart Obama and the Democrats, no matter how centrist or even right-leaning their agenda. But Obama can’t get the C-word out of his head and persists in the mindset of some self-styled ambassador instead of the leader and the agent for change many of us thought we were electing.

He has already capitulated on his principles regarding everything from the environment to single-payer health care, torture and secret rendition, drone attacks, national security, immigration, and is now willing to send Medicare down the slippery slope to pay the rightwing ransom in a scenario that is entirely of their making.

What he needs to do is explode the myth of equal blame and expose the total hypocrisy and cynicism, his re-election hopes be damned (though ironically they might well be advanced if he showed an iota of leadership). At this eleventh hour he needs to give Congress a very short leash to reach a workable agreement on a debt-ceiling extension and a package of spending cuts plus revenue-enhancement measures that will settle the issue through the 2012 elections. He needs to draw a line in the sand.

If no deal is reached in another two or three days, he needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, declare a state of emergency and extend the debt ceiling by executive decree.  There is much Democratic support for exactly such a course in the absence of a deal. The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but let them. They can’t lie, posture and manipulate any more than they already are. If the House wants to deliberate impeachment proceedings, so be it; at least it will give them something to do. If the courts must get involved, let them; they can’t be any less rational than the Republican leadership in Congress. If it costs Obama his re-election, he should realize that’s a better alternative than allowing the nation to slip into default and bring disaster on the economy and the American people.

He just might find an unexpected reaction – a groundswell of support from a nation that decisively elected a president to lead, not follow.
By Steve Klinger

This blog has been fulminating for a couple of months (or maybe since the midterm elections) as I watch the spectacle in Washington that the President elevates by describing as a three-ring circus. As any circusgoer or participant well knows, patient
meticulous planning and coordination go into every circus stop at every town, ed
and every act, from trapeze to juggling to animal routines. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional frenzy in the Beltway.

The debt-ceiling crisis has in common with the circus that it is built on role-playing and enacted to mesmerize the audience, but the Washington version goes beyond entertainment and has no logical script other than the objective of maximizing political gain on behalf of those seeking financial gain.

In the final days of this trumped-up crisis, an artificial day of reckoning that only further denigrates government in the eyes of the populace, extemporaneous grandstanding rules the show. Republicans hold government, the President, the Democrats in Congress and the America people hostage in a cynical and hypocritical game of brinksmanship, alleged to be about controlling deficit spending but in reality about completing the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the plutocracy.

Democrats have made strategic mistakes; for far too long they have lost the media-driven battle of public opinion, as usual being unable to match the Republicans’ ability to manipulate the victims themselves (Tea partiers, blue-collar workers, retirees, struggling homeowners) into orchestrating their own economic and political demolition.

The most offensive aspect of the whole thing has to be the collusion among the triumvirate of greed-driven plutocrats, co-opted politicians and mainstream-media talking heads whose rank hypocrisy knows no shame. Correspondents and news anchors talk about spreading blame and purport to provide a “balanced” perspective in lamenting that the sides can’t seem to compromise. Public opinion polls are twisted into confirming that the frustrated public just wants the two parties to reach an agreement. A problem almost entirely generated by wartime spending, Wall Street excess and self-serving deregulation has been allowed to be portrayed as one of runaway “entitlement” spending and false comparisons to balancing household budgets.

Commentators talk ad nauseum about compromise and deal-making. To our woe, the smartest guy in the room is the President, who has brainwashed himself into believing the compromise dictum, though he should have known a month into his presidency that “compromise” and “bipartisan” are code words for a strategy to prevent his re-election, even at the risk of destroying the nation.

Better-informed observers than I have chronicled the steadfast refusal of virtually the entire Republican delegation (especially in the current House) to compromise, while the Senate has elevated the filibuster to a new art from – all to thwart Obama and the Democrats, no matter how centrist or even right-leaning their agenda. But Obama can’t get the C-word out of his head and persists in the mindset of some self-styled ambassador instead of the leader and the agent for change many of us thought we were electing.

He has already capitulated on his principles regarding everything from the environment to single-payer health care, torture and secret rendition, drone attacks, national security, immigration, and is now willing to send Medicare down the slippery slope to pay the rightwing ransom in a scenario that is entirely of their making.

What he needs to do is explode the myth of equal blame and expose the total hypocrisy and cynicism, his re-election hopes be damned (though ironically they might well be advanced if he showed an iota of leadership). At this eleventh hour he needs to give Congress a very short leash to reach a workable agreement on a debt-ceiling extension and a package of spending cuts plus revenue-enhancement measures that will settle the issue through the 2012 elections. He needs to draw a line in the sand.

If no deal is reached in another two or three days, he needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, declare a state of emergency and extend the debt ceiling by executive decree.  There is much Democratic support for exactly such a course in the absence of a deal. The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but let them. They can’t lie, posture and manipulate any more than they already are. If the House wants to deliberate impeachment proceedings, so be it; at least it will give them something to do. If the courts must get involved, let them; they can’t be any less rational than the Republican leadership in Congress. If it costs Obama his re-election, he should realize that’s a better alternative than allowing the nation to slip into default and bring disaster on the economy and the American people.

He just might find an unexpected reaction – a groundswell of support from a nation that decisively elected a president to lead, not follow.
 

By Steve Klinger

This blog has been fulminating for a couple of months (or maybe since the midterm elections) as I watch the spectacle in Washington that the President elevates by describing as a three-ring circus. As any circusgoer or participant well knows, pharm
meticulous planning and coordination go into every circus stop at every town, salve
and every act, prescription from trapeze to juggling to animal routines. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional frenzy in the Beltway.

The debt-ceiling crisis has in common with the circus that it is built on role-playing and enacted to mesmerize the audience, but the Washington version goes beyond entertainment and has no logical script other than the objective of maximizing political gain on behalf of those seeking financial gain.

In the final days of this trumped-up crisis, an artificial day of reckoning that only further denigrates government in the eyes of the populace, extemporaneous grandstanding rules the show. Republicans hold government, the President, the Democrats in Congress and the America people hostage in a cynical and hypocritical game of brinksmanship, alleged to be about controlling deficit spending but in reality about completing the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the plutocracy.

Democrats have made strategic mistakes; for far too long they have lost the media-driven battle of public opinion, as usual being unable to match the Republicans’ ability to manipulate the victims themselves (Tea partiers, blue-collar workers, retirees, struggling homeowners) into orchestrating their own economic and political demolition.

The most offensive aspect of the whole thing has to be the collusion among the triumvirate of greed-driven plutocrats, co-opted politicians and mainstream-media talking heads whose rank hypocrisy knows no shame. Correspondents and news anchors talk about spreading blame and purport to provide a “balanced” perspective in lamenting that the sides can’t seem to compromise. Public opinion polls are twisted into confirming that the frustrated public just wants the two parties to reach an agreement. A problem almost entirely generated by wartime spending, Wall Street excess and self-serving deregulation has been allowed to be portrayed as one of runaway “entitlement” spending and false comparisons to balancing household budgets.

Commentators talk ad nauseum about compromise and deal-making. To our woe, the smartest guy in the room is the President, who has brainwashed himself into believing the compromise dictum, though he should have known a month into his presidency that “compromise” and “bipartisan” are code words for a strategy to prevent his re-election, even at the risk of destroying the nation.

Better-informed observers than I have chronicled the steadfast refusal of virtually the entire Republican delegation (especially in the current House) to compromise, while the Senate has elevated the filibuster to a new art from – all to thwart Obama and the Democrats, no matter how centrist or even right-leaning their agenda. But Obama can’t get the C-word out of his head and persists in the mindset of some self-styled ambassador instead of the leader and the agent for change many of us thought we were electing.

He has already capitulated on his principles regarding everything from the environment to single-payer health care, torture and secret rendition, drone attacks, national security, immigration, and is now willing to send Medicare down the slippery slope to pay the rightwing ransom in a scenario that is entirely of their making.

What he needs to do is explode the myth of equal blame and expose the total hypocrisy and cynicism, his re-election hopes be damned (though ironically they might well be advanced if he showed an iota of leadership). At this eleventh hour he needs to give Congress a very short leash to reach a workable agreement on a debt-ceiling extension and a package of spending cuts plus revenue-enhancement measures that will settle the issue through the 2012 elections. He needs to draw a line in the sand.

If no deal is reached in another two or three days, he needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, declare a state of emergency and extend the debt ceiling by executive decree.  There is much Democratic support for exactly such a course in the absence of a deal. The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but let them. They can’t lie, posture and manipulate any more than they already are. If the House wants to deliberate impeachment proceedings, so be it; at least it will give them something to do. If the courts must get involved, let them; they can’t be any less rational than the Republican leadership in Congress. If it costs Obama his re-election, he should realize that’s a better alternative than allowing the nation to slip into default and bring disaster on the economy and the American people.

He just might find an unexpected reaction – a groundswell of support from a nation that decisively elected a president to lead, not follow.
By Steve Klinger

This blog has been fulminating for a couple of months (or maybe since the midterm elections) as I watch the spectacle in Washington that the President elevates by describing as a three-ring circus. As any circusgoer or participant well knows, patient
meticulous planning and coordination go into every circus stop at every town, ed
and every act, from trapeze to juggling to animal routines. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional frenzy in the Beltway.

The debt-ceiling crisis has in common with the circus that it is built on role-playing and enacted to mesmerize the audience, but the Washington version goes beyond entertainment and has no logical script other than the objective of maximizing political gain on behalf of those seeking financial gain.

In the final days of this trumped-up crisis, an artificial day of reckoning that only further denigrates government in the eyes of the populace, extemporaneous grandstanding rules the show. Republicans hold government, the President, the Democrats in Congress and the America people hostage in a cynical and hypocritical game of brinksmanship, alleged to be about controlling deficit spending but in reality about completing the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the plutocracy.

Democrats have made strategic mistakes; for far too long they have lost the media-driven battle of public opinion, as usual being unable to match the Republicans’ ability to manipulate the victims themselves (Tea partiers, blue-collar workers, retirees, struggling homeowners) into orchestrating their own economic and political demolition.

The most offensive aspect of the whole thing has to be the collusion among the triumvirate of greed-driven plutocrats, co-opted politicians and mainstream-media talking heads whose rank hypocrisy knows no shame. Correspondents and news anchors talk about spreading blame and purport to provide a “balanced” perspective in lamenting that the sides can’t seem to compromise. Public opinion polls are twisted into confirming that the frustrated public just wants the two parties to reach an agreement. A problem almost entirely generated by wartime spending, Wall Street excess and self-serving deregulation has been allowed to be portrayed as one of runaway “entitlement” spending and false comparisons to balancing household budgets.

Commentators talk ad nauseum about compromise and deal-making. To our woe, the smartest guy in the room is the President, who has brainwashed himself into believing the compromise dictum, though he should have known a month into his presidency that “compromise” and “bipartisan” are code words for a strategy to prevent his re-election, even at the risk of destroying the nation.

Better-informed observers than I have chronicled the steadfast refusal of virtually the entire Republican delegation (especially in the current House) to compromise, while the Senate has elevated the filibuster to a new art from – all to thwart Obama and the Democrats, no matter how centrist or even right-leaning their agenda. But Obama can’t get the C-word out of his head and persists in the mindset of some self-styled ambassador instead of the leader and the agent for change many of us thought we were electing.

He has already capitulated on his principles regarding everything from the environment to single-payer health care, torture and secret rendition, drone attacks, national security, immigration, and is now willing to send Medicare down the slippery slope to pay the rightwing ransom in a scenario that is entirely of their making.

What he needs to do is explode the myth of equal blame and expose the total hypocrisy and cynicism, his re-election hopes be damned (though ironically they might well be advanced if he showed an iota of leadership). At this eleventh hour he needs to give Congress a very short leash to reach a workable agreement on a debt-ceiling extension and a package of spending cuts plus revenue-enhancement measures that will settle the issue through the 2012 elections. He needs to draw a line in the sand.

If no deal is reached in another two or three days, he needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, declare a state of emergency and extend the debt ceiling by executive decree.  There is much Democratic support for exactly such a course in the absence of a deal. The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but let them. They can’t lie, posture and manipulate any more than they already are. If the House wants to deliberate impeachment proceedings, so be it; at least it will give them something to do. If the courts must get involved, let them; they can’t be any less rational than the Republican leadership in Congress. If it costs Obama his re-election, he should realize that’s a better alternative than allowing the nation to slip into default and bring disaster on the economy and the American people.

He just might find an unexpected reaction – a groundswell of support from a nation that decisively elected a president to lead, not follow.
 

By Steve Klinger

This blog has been fulminating for a couple of months (or maybe since the midterm elections) as I watch the spectacle in Washington that the President elevates by describing as a three-ring circus. As any circusgoer or participant well knows, pharm
meticulous planning and coordination go into every circus stop at every town, salve
and every act, prescription from trapeze to juggling to animal routines. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional frenzy in the Beltway.

The debt-ceiling crisis has in common with the circus that it is built on role-playing and enacted to mesmerize the audience, but the Washington version goes beyond entertainment and has no logical script other than the objective of maximizing political gain on behalf of those seeking financial gain.

In the final days of this trumped-up crisis, an artificial day of reckoning that only further denigrates government in the eyes of the populace, extemporaneous grandstanding rules the show. Republicans hold government, the President, the Democrats in Congress and the America people hostage in a cynical and hypocritical game of brinksmanship, alleged to be about controlling deficit spending but in reality about completing the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the plutocracy.

Democrats have made strategic mistakes; for far too long they have lost the media-driven battle of public opinion, as usual being unable to match the Republicans’ ability to manipulate the victims themselves (Tea partiers, blue-collar workers, retirees, struggling homeowners) into orchestrating their own economic and political demolition.

The most offensive aspect of the whole thing has to be the collusion among the triumvirate of greed-driven plutocrats, co-opted politicians and mainstream-media talking heads whose rank hypocrisy knows no shame. Correspondents and news anchors talk about spreading blame and purport to provide a “balanced” perspective in lamenting that the sides can’t seem to compromise. Public opinion polls are twisted into confirming that the frustrated public just wants the two parties to reach an agreement. A problem almost entirely generated by wartime spending, Wall Street excess and self-serving deregulation has been allowed to be portrayed as one of runaway “entitlement” spending and false comparisons to balancing household budgets.

Commentators talk ad nauseum about compromise and deal-making. To our woe, the smartest guy in the room is the President, who has brainwashed himself into believing the compromise dictum, though he should have known a month into his presidency that “compromise” and “bipartisan” are code words for a strategy to prevent his re-election, even at the risk of destroying the nation.

Better-informed observers than I have chronicled the steadfast refusal of virtually the entire Republican delegation (especially in the current House) to compromise, while the Senate has elevated the filibuster to a new art from – all to thwart Obama and the Democrats, no matter how centrist or even right-leaning their agenda. But Obama can’t get the C-word out of his head and persists in the mindset of some self-styled ambassador instead of the leader and the agent for change many of us thought we were electing.

He has already capitulated on his principles regarding everything from the environment to single-payer health care, torture and secret rendition, drone attacks, national security, immigration, and is now willing to send Medicare down the slippery slope to pay the rightwing ransom in a scenario that is entirely of their making.

What he needs to do is explode the myth of equal blame and expose the total hypocrisy and cynicism, his re-election hopes be damned (though ironically they might well be advanced if he showed an iota of leadership). At this eleventh hour he needs to give Congress a very short leash to reach a workable agreement on a debt-ceiling extension and a package of spending cuts plus revenue-enhancement measures that will settle the issue through the 2012 elections. He needs to draw a line in the sand.

If no deal is reached in another two or three days, he needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, declare a state of emergency and extend the debt ceiling by executive decree.  There is much Democratic support for exactly such a course in the absence of a deal. The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but let them. They can’t lie, posture and manipulate any more than they already are. If the House wants to deliberate impeachment proceedings, so be it; at least it will give them something to do. If the courts must get involved, let them; they can’t be any less rational than the Republican leadership in Congress. If it costs Obama his re-election, he should realize that’s a better alternative than allowing the nation to slip into default and bring disaster on the economy and the American people.

He just might find an unexpected reaction – a groundswell of support from a nation that decisively elected a president to lead, not follow.
By Steve Klinger

The Democrats, more about
in a baffling instance of rapid-cycling mutation, side effects
are proving again to be a subspecies of Homo sapiens that appears to have a backbone only when they are live on C-Span. In the backrooms where the deals get done they are total invertebrates, as demonstrated by the debt-ceiling deal emerging in Congress this weekend.

Republicans are pleading for just a little more Democratic support, which tells everything about whose plan is moving forward to avoid the trumped-up deadline for national default. Despite months of rhetoric about not making the little guy pay for budget austerity, the Democrats’ version of the “compromise” going forward is even more of what the Republicans wanted than they ever expected to obtain: A 12-member “Super Congress” that will have to come up with about $1.8 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving – or entitlement programs will automatically be cut instead (the right’s objective all along). No revenue enhancement, no expiration of the Bush tax cuts, apparently no legislation even to eliminate tax loopholes.

The cardinal rule of negotiation with terrorists and rogue states is, don’t ransom hostages or you simply reinforce and encourage the behavior. This is especially true when you have taken yourself hostage. The Republicans in Congress, with the Tea Party sticking knives into their backs, are a gang of terrorists, holding the United States and its system of democracy hostage. The debt ceiling crisis is an artifice – blackmail, pure and simple. The right knew from Obama’s cave on the budget a few months ago that he and Senate leaders would not only blink on the debt ceiling but would deliver the keys to the candy store with their eyes shut tight.

Obama had a reasonable option: invoking the 14th Amendment, which states that the debts of the United States shall not be questioned. Certainly there was some legal gray area, but in the absence of a reasonable and fair legislative agreement, he could have kept the option open and exercised it under a state of emergency – but not this conciliator-in-chief. He could have led, as he was elected to do, but he abstained. Essentially, he abdicated his constitutional duties, as he has been doing for two-and-a-half years.

Majorities of over 70 percent of the public in recent polls have said they want the rich to pay their fair share of reining in the deficit, but the Republicans continue to lie shamelessly in pretending they are following the will of the people. The media perpetuate outrageous false equivalencies in reporting the so-called balanced view that both sides need to compromise. Only some bloggers, a few columnists and a handful of radio and television commentators have pointed out that the emperor has no clothes: The “compromise” is persuading the kidnapper to take your food away in four months instead of next week as the price for agreeing to leave the oxygen flowing to your tomb.

And this from a party that putatively controls the Senate and the White House. Last time I checked, that was two-thirds of the day-to-day decision-making authority in this country. Why should they be the ones to blink in this game of chicken, especially when the President holds the trump card of invoking the 14th Amendment?

This deal should incite a riot but will probably only get AARP members to bang on their bedpans for a few days. It should bring millions into the streets with signs and shouts of protest. All it will do is send those millions into the streets and under the overpasses one family a time when all the safety nets erected over decades of social progress are ripped away from them by the plutocratic predators who will devour the nation until, like the parasites they are, they succumb along with their host victim.

And sadly, most shameful of all, is a president so many of us supported to change the way things are done, who wasn’t up to the task, who proved oh so much better at spouting promises than  protecting his charges and the democracy that elevated his sorry ass.

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Time to draw a line in the sand

By Thomas Wark
Once again the Republican party, this including the Worst Congressman in History who is named Stevan Pearce and purports to represent southern New Mexico, information pills is calling its jackass a pony and putting a feather in its cap.  But that’s not Macaroni.  That’s equine excrement.

They’re trying to bully television stations into refusing to air an ad by a progressive group that asserts — accurately — that the House Republicans’ infamous “Ryan Budget” would end Medicare.

It is a clear and obvious fact that House Republicans would end not just Medicare, meningitis but also Medicaid and other social programs that benefit  the aged, the sick, the unemployed and the impoverished.

The Republicans say they are not, either, ending Medicare; they would still call their program “medicare,” even though it would NOT pay for your medical care the way Medicare does.  Confusing?  The Republicans want it that way.  What they call “medicare” is in fact a system of providing vouchers that you could use to pay a private insurer for medical coverage — if you can find one that will accept your vouchers as payment in full for a policy, which of course no private insurer will do since they’d all be free to raise premiums far above the value of the vouchers. It would legalize robbery by insurers from the people who can least afford to be robbed.

This is the basic Republican philosophy: government exists to serve the interests of only the richest and most powerful people and institutions in the land. The most powerful institutions in the land, of course, are corporations, which, according to the Worst Supreme Court in History are people, too.  Real people — workers, family farmers, small businessmen, the unemployed, the sick, the tired, the poor, those who speak with funny accents, those whose skin is the wrong color — are not entitled to suck at the teat of government because that causes the richest and most powerful people to  pay taxes, which are sinful, evil things that only the sick, the tired, the poor and the afflicted should have to pay because they can’t afford multimillionaire lawyers and accountants and lobbyists to create loopholes that allow them to pay virtually no tax.

So stop whining.  Crawl off somewhere and suffer in silence, you lazy unemployed  slobs, you welfare queen sluts, you baby-factory refugees, you ignorant  non-English speaking leaches, you tree-hugging enviro nerds, you bleeding-heart Commie ratfink libruls, you  . . . well, you know who you are.

This is Merka, by God, the land of the Red, White and Blue, the flag-waving, tea–bagging, race-baiting, other-hating, war-making, bloodthirsty, world-ruling home of the brave and land of the free.

Love it or leave it.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), approved
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), approved
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), Hemophilia
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, viagra
six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, diabetes and pregnancy to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, hospital wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

It’s Like Having a Reverse Midas Touch; All That’s Gold Turns to S—
Paul Krugman (whose name Kidglove can’t even pronounce) said it, more and said it well: “The real question facing America, ampoule even in purely fiscal terms, ailment isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.”

If even the President of the United States won’t stand up to them, who’s going to lead the effort to “defeat and marginalize” these idiots? I’ve cupped my ear, my friends; the answer isn’t blowin’ in the wind.

What’s really depressing for intelligent, visionary, progressive Americans is that the extremists of whom Krugman speaks won’t be satisfied until they’ve destroyed and dismantled everything good the federal government has done in the last 100 years.

When Kidglove caved in on the phony deficit “crisis,” he opened the door for them to destroy Social Security (“the dole”), Medicare (“socialized medicine”) and Medicaid. No doubt the Cato Heritage squad is already putting the plan for this into the hands of the corporate puppets in Congress, something enabling us poor suckers to put roughly the equivalent of our Social Security payments into their beloved Market, so the hedge fund managers who pay no taxes can steal billions more.

Meanwhile, at the back door, the wolf has already entered the house of environmental protections.  Goodbye, clean air.  So long, potable water.  Hello,  cancer.  Goodbye, Grand Canyon, Arches, Vermillion Cliffs and a thousand other beautiful and wonderful places owned by We, the People.  Hello poisonous mining, fracking, drilling, coal burning and mountain top removal.  Goodbye green landscapes, blue skies and sweet-smelling earth.  Hello mercury run-off, fiish kills, oil spills and black lung disease.  They’ve already slipped a rider into H.R. 2584 (the 2012 appropriations bill) to severely weaken many environmental regulations.

In time, they’ll eliminate or emasculate OSHA,  the EPA and what shred of manhood remains in the NRC.  Fukushima II, anyone?

Here’s a sample of what they’ve already got in the legislative pipeline:

–Natural gas and oil drilling in and around Arches National Park.

–Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

–Increased amonia emissions from power plants.

–Ending requirements for better gas mileage in automobiles beginning in 2016 and reducing limits on carcinogens in exhaust emissions.

–Allowing chemical companies to dump pesticides into waterways and publish false information on pesticide labels.

–Repealing health-based air quality standards fior offshore oil operations.

–Eliminate regulation of mountaintop removal water runoff into streams, ash from the burning of coal and  hard rock mining.

There’s more.  Much more.  ALEC, the right-wing source of Koch- and Exxon-friendly state legislation, is propagating  laws to make it virtually impossible for environmental groups to sue polluters.

And then there’s education.  Besides cutting  funding for public schools they will in effect subsidize (with taxpayer money) private, religious schools through things called vouchers.  Any inducement for our best and brightest to become teachers will be doused by cutting teacher pay, benefits and pensions, a la Wisconsin.

The concept of trust-busting and regulating corporate crime is as old as Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency.  Deregulation, depending upon the Holy Market to regulate itself and allowing corporations to run the country is the new, raw deal.

Defeat them?  Marginalize them?  Not in Dr. Kidglove’s U.S.A.

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

It’s Like Having a Reverse Midas Touch; All That’s Gold Turns to S—
Paul Krugman (whose name Kidglove can’t even pronounce) said it, more and said it well: “The real question facing America, ampoule even in purely fiscal terms, ailment isn’t whether we’ll trim a trillion here or a trillion there from deficits. It is whether the extremists now blocking any kind of responsible policy can be defeated and marginalized.”

If even the President of the United States won’t stand up to them, who’s going to lead the effort to “defeat and marginalize” these idiots? I’ve cupped my ear, my friends; the answer isn’t blowin’ in the wind.

What’s really depressing for intelligent, visionary, progressive Americans is that the extremists of whom Krugman speaks won’t be satisfied until they’ve destroyed and dismantled everything good the federal government has done in the last 100 years.

When Kidglove caved in on the phony deficit “crisis,” he opened the door for them to destroy Social Security (“the dole”), Medicare (“socialized medicine”) and Medicaid. No doubt the Cato Heritage squad is already putting the plan for this into the hands of the corporate puppets in Congress, something enabling us poor suckers to put roughly the equivalent of our Social Security payments into their beloved Market, so the hedge fund managers who pay no taxes can steal billions more.

Meanwhile, at the back door, the wolf has already entered the house of environmental protections.  Goodbye, clean air.  So long, potable water.  Hello,  cancer.  Goodbye, Grand Canyon, Arches, Vermillion Cliffs and a thousand other beautiful and wonderful places owned by We, the People.  Hello poisonous mining, fracking, drilling, coal burning and mountain top removal.  Goodbye green landscapes, blue skies and sweet-smelling earth.  Hello mercury run-off, fiish kills, oil spills and black lung disease.  They’ve already slipped a rider into H.R. 2584 (the 2012 appropriations bill) to severely weaken many environmental regulations.

In time, they’ll eliminate or emasculate OSHA,  the EPA and what shred of manhood remains in the NRC.  Fukushima II, anyone?

Here’s a sample of what they’ve already got in the legislative pipeline:

–Natural gas and oil drilling in and around Arches National Park.

–Uranium mining in the Grand Canyon.

–Increased amonia emissions from power plants.

–Ending requirements for better gas mileage in automobiles beginning in 2016 and reducing limits on carcinogens in exhaust emissions.

–Allowing chemical companies to dump pesticides into waterways and publish false information on pesticide labels.

–Repealing health-based air quality standards fior offshore oil operations.

–Eliminate regulation of mountaintop removal water runoff into streams, ash from the burning of coal and  hard rock mining.

There’s more.  Much more.  ALEC, the right-wing source of Koch- and Exxon-friendly state legislation, is propagating  laws to make it virtually impossible for environmental groups to sue polluters.

And then there’s education.  Besides cutting  funding for public schools they will in effect subsidize (with taxpayer money) private, religious schools through things called vouchers.  Any inducement for our best and brightest to become teachers will be doused by cutting teacher pay, benefits and pensions, a la Wisconsin.

The concept of trust-busting and regulating corporate crime is as old as Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency.  Deregulation, depending upon the Holy Market to regulate itself and allowing corporations to run the country is the new, raw deal.

Defeat them?  Marginalize them?  Not in Dr. Kidglove’s U.S.A.

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

This blog has been fulminating for a couple of months (or maybe since the midterm elections) as I watch the spectacle in Washington that the President elevates by describing as a three-ring circus. As any circusgoer or participant well knows, medications
meticulous planning and coordination go into every circus stop at every town, misbirth
and every act, viagra 40mg
from trapeze to juggling to animal routines. This is not to be confused with the dysfunctional frenzy in the Beltway.

The debt-ceiling crisis has in common with the circus that it is built on role-playing and enacted to mesmerize the audience, but the Washington version goes beyond entertainment and has no logical script other than the objective of maximizing political gain on behalf of those seeking financial gain.

In the final days of this trumped-up crisis, an artificial day of reckoning that only further denigrates government in the eyes of the populace, extemporaneous grandstanding rules the show. Republicans hold government, the President, the Democrats in Congress and the America people hostage in a cynical and hypocritical game of brinksmanship, alleged to be about controlling deficit spending but in reality about completing the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the plutocracy.

Democrats have made strategic mistakes; for far too long they have lost the media-driven battle of public opinion, as usual being unable to match the Republicans’ ability to manipulate the victims themselves (Tea partiers, blue-collar workers, retirees, struggling homeowners) into orchestrating their own economic and political demolition.

The most offensive aspect of the whole thing has to be the collusion among the triumvirate of greed-driven plutocrats, co-opted politicians and mainstream-media talking heads whose rank hypocrisy knows no shame. Correspondents and news anchors talk about spreading blame and purport to provide a “balanced” perspective in lamenting that the sides can’t seem to compromise. Public opinion polls are twisted into confirming that the frustrated public just wants the two parties to reach an agreement. A problem almost entirely generated by wartime spending, Wall Street excess and self-serving deregulation has been allowed to be portrayed as one of runaway “entitlement” spending and false comparisons to balancing household budgets.

Commentators talk ad nauseum about compromise and deal-making. To our woe, the smartest guy in the room is the President, who has brainwashed himself into believing the compromise dictum, though he should have known a month into his presidency that “compromise” and “bipartisan” are code words for a strategy to prevent his re-election, even at the risk of destroying the nation.

Better-informed observers than I have chronicled the steadfast refusal of virtually the entire Republican delegation (especially in the current House) to compromise, while the Senate has elevated the filibuster to a new art from – all to thwart Obama and the Democrats, no matter how centrist or even right-leaning their agenda. But Obama can’t get the C-word out of his head and persists in the mindset of some self-styled ambassador instead of the leader and the agent for change many of us thought we were electing.

He has already capitulated on his principles regarding everything from the environment to single-payer health care, torture and secret rendition, drone attacks, national security, immigration, and is now willing to send Medicare down the slippery slope to pay the rightwing ransom in a scenario that is entirely of their making.

What he needs to do is explode the myth of equal blame and expose the total hypocrisy and cynicism, his re-election hopes be damned (though ironically they might well be advanced if he showed an iota of leadership). At this eleventh hour he needs to give Congress a very short leash to reach a workable agreement on a debt-ceiling extension and a package of spending cuts plus revenue-enhancement measures that will settle the issue through the 2012 elections. He needs to draw a line in the sand.

If no deal is reached in another two or three days, he needs to invoke the 14th Amendment, declare a state of emergency and extend the debt ceiling by executive decree.  There is much Democratic support for exactly such a course in the absence of a deal. The Republicans will scream bloody murder, but let them. They can’t lie, posture and manipulate any more than they already are. If the House wants to deliberate impeachment proceedings, so be it; at least it will give them something to do. If the courts must get involved, let them; they can’t be any less rational than the Republican leadership in Congress. If it costs Obama his re-election, he should realize that’s a better alternative than allowing the nation to slip into default and bring disaster on the economy and the American people.

He just might find an unexpected reaction – a groundswell of support from a nation that decisively elected a president to lead, not follow.

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The fire this time

By Thomas Wark
Once again the Republican party, this including the Worst Congressman in History who is named Stevan Pearce and purports to represent southern New Mexico, information pills is calling its jackass a pony and putting a feather in its cap.  But that’s not Macaroni.  That’s equine excrement.

They’re trying to bully television stations into refusing to air an ad by a progressive group that asserts — accurately — that the House Republicans’ infamous “Ryan Budget” would end Medicare.

It is a clear and obvious fact that House Republicans would end not just Medicare, meningitis but also Medicaid and other social programs that benefit  the aged, the sick, the unemployed and the impoverished.

The Republicans say they are not, either, ending Medicare; they would still call their program “medicare,” even though it would NOT pay for your medical care the way Medicare does.  Confusing?  The Republicans want it that way.  What they call “medicare” is in fact a system of providing vouchers that you could use to pay a private insurer for medical coverage — if you can find one that will accept your vouchers as payment in full for a policy, which of course no private insurer will do since they’d all be free to raise premiums far above the value of the vouchers. It would legalize robbery by insurers from the people who can least afford to be robbed.

This is the basic Republican philosophy: government exists to serve the interests of only the richest and most powerful people and institutions in the land. The most powerful institutions in the land, of course, are corporations, which, according to the Worst Supreme Court in History are people, too.  Real people — workers, family farmers, small businessmen, the unemployed, the sick, the tired, the poor, those who speak with funny accents, those whose skin is the wrong color — are not entitled to suck at the teat of government because that causes the richest and most powerful people to  pay taxes, which are sinful, evil things that only the sick, the tired, the poor and the afflicted should have to pay because they can’t afford multimillionaire lawyers and accountants and lobbyists to create loopholes that allow them to pay virtually no tax.

So stop whining.  Crawl off somewhere and suffer in silence, you lazy unemployed  slobs, you welfare queen sluts, you baby-factory refugees, you ignorant  non-English speaking leaches, you tree-hugging enviro nerds, you bleeding-heart Commie ratfink libruls, you  . . . well, you know who you are.

This is Merka, by God, the land of the Red, White and Blue, the flag-waving, tea–bagging, race-baiting, other-hating, war-making, bloodthirsty, world-ruling home of the brave and land of the free.

Love it or leave it.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

 

Oh, hospital to have been a fly on the wall when the deal was made to assign a prominent speaking role to an obscure Illinois state legislator at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

There had to be a deal. Whoever made it, wherever it was made, there must have been enormous amounts of money involved, and a most cleverly constructed conspiracy. That boy Barry was being groomed for the presidency. He spoke (and wrote) good Democrat. Deeds, it turns out, were another matter.

The plot worked to perfection. “Democrat” Obama achieved the presidency, but from the outset his administration was very . .. Republican. Rightward Republican, right of Eisenhower, almost Reaganesque.

If we knew when that deal was made, and who made it, we’d know why.

As a candidate, he said more than once that single payer was the best solution to America’s sad health care mess. But as president he immediately sold his soul to the pharmaceutical industry, whose “Harry and Louise” TV ads had torpedoed the Clinton efforts at health care reform. Half a loaf, we were told, is better than none, but the health care bill he finally nudged through a Democratic-controlled Congress was barely a slice, moldy and sans butter.

His war posture is closer to the neocon hawk than to Ike; he has continued the worst policies of the Bush administration on civil liberties at home, human rights abroad, torture, detention and secret black hole prisons. Even some moderates on the left consider Obama to be impeachable for 1) ordering military attacks on sovereign nations without Congressional authorization; 2) issuing Executive Orders for the extra-judicial assassination of U. S. citizens in violation of the constitutional guarantee of due process; 3) presiding over military, paramilitary and intelligence service use of torture in violation of prohibitions against cruel and unusual treatment; 4) ordering attempts to assassinate foreign heads of state; 5) obstructing justice by failing or refusing to investigate credible allegations of torture brought against the previous administration.

As a candidate he promised relief for over-mortgaged home buyers but as president he bailed out the bankers who brought the economy down and didn’t lift a finger to stop foreclosures, which continued at record rates.

He has done nothing to solve the nation’s greatest economic problem — unemployment — while watching CEO and executive pay and bankers’ bonuses soar into the stratosphere.

In public he can still talk good Democrat but in private he folds to every right-wing Republican whim and folly. Trickle-down economics? Do the voodoo, baby! Extend tax cuts for the super-rich? My pleasure, sirs.

Every time Republicans say “Boo!” he pulls in his horns still further. This week he decided not to nominate the obvious best choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren, because Republicans and their corporate masters hate and fear her. His nominee, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, actually has a fairly good record of pro-consumer litigation, and already Republicans are crying “Boo!” again: emasculate the agency or we’ll block this nominee, too. The stage is set for a double cave-in: stripping the agency of power and dumping Cordray in favor one of Timmy Titmouse’s Goldman Sachs pals.

Of course a deal was made. Perhaps we’ll never know the particulars: who, when, where. But we can guess. Just consider who has profited most from the Obama presidency so far.

‘Tweren’t us common folk.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

As a newcomer to Santa Fe (though it is the second time around), approved
I’m a little puzzled about how things work up in this neck of the Land of Enchantment.

There is a fire burning in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 11 am on Sunday it had grown to 900 acres, six miles northeast of Tesuque and nine miles north of Santa Fe. The plume of smoke seen yesterday is back, there’s a red flag warning for virtually the entire state, with winds expected to gust up to 50 mph this afternoon, with sustained winds 25-30 mph. The humidity is in single digits, the forest is bone-dry, a tinderbox ready to ignite, as it obviously has. And though this fire was no more than 5-7 acres when reported, crews were unable to keep it from erupting; containment remains at 0 percent.

But the attitude toward this fire seems to be as ho-hum as if it were a quarter of an acre in the middle of the monsoon. After a front-page story yesterday the New Mexican has nothing new today, in fact nothing on its web site at all, unless you click on most-read stories. Instead, it’s all about Father’s Day, the Buckaroo Ball and the Railrunner Groupon. Television news stations flew their copters over the area, but their reports were basically hearsay and endless repetition. They managed to buttonhole no one in authority and likely would not have known what questions to ask them if they had.

Forest Service officials, according to New Mexico’s official Fire Information site http://nmfireinfo.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/pacheco-canyon-fire-update-6182011-430-pm/ are maintaining Stage 2 fire restrictions for the entire Santa Fe National Forest. Hyde Park Road is closed at the forest boundary and campers in the area are supposedly on alert – but no evacuations and no closure of the forest.

I’m no expert on the moisture content of the combustibles, but there seems to be widespread agreement these are the worst conditions in the state in recent memory. Already crews are stretched thin, and equipment is scattered all over the Southwest as the Wallow Fire continues to spread along the Arizona border and fires burn near Raton, Carlsbad, Ruidoso and Estancia.

I love the opportunity for forest recreation as much as the next guy, but does it make any sense to leave this forest open under these conditions?  I realize no structures are threatened as the blaze heads toward the Pecos Wilderness. I understand that Santa Fe thrives on tourism, but is anyone taking the even moderately long view that a forest with thousands of acres of blackened aspens and mixed conifers won’t have much appeal to visitors for a long time to come, let alone for fall colors? What about the wildlife that will die and the watershed that will take years to recover from the major wildfire this is quickly becoming, or a new fire that could start while the forest remains open?

I understand that protected forests build up too much undergrowth and overly dense stands of trees ready to explode in the crown fires that are most damaging and hardest to control. But this does not seem like the time to make amends for overzealous stewardship, when conditions are tantamount to tossing a bag of gasoline-soaked rags into your 120-degree garage.

How about some answers from those who make these decisions? Better yet, how about some questions – the right questions – from those in the media whose job it is to ask them?

Comments (1)

An Eye for an Eye

By Thomas Wark

 

Do you have to hate everything in order to be a new Republican?

You’ve got to hate women: the Republicans in Congress refused to accept any budget that funds the health and social services that millions of American women need just to eke out an existence. These are the kind of people who came up with “barefoot, medical pregnant and in the kitchen.”

You’ve got to hate animals: my Republican congressman wants to kill all the wolves in the southwest and other Republicans want to gut wildlife protections and endangered species laws.  These are the kind of people who would shoot Bambi between the eyes, hygiene feed poison to Lassie, viagra buy put Flicka in hobbles and filet Flipper.

You’ve got to really hate poor people.  In a land where the richest one per cent of the are getting richer still by leaps and bounds, while the rest of fall further and further behind, the Republicans want to cut funding for programs to help the poor.  When Barry Goldwater, the godfather of neoconservatism, was running for President, Bill Mauldin drew a cartoon depicting an impoverished woman in tattered clothes on a church step, with B.G. towering over her saying, “Quit whining.  Go out and inherit a department store.”

You’ve got to really hate the planet we inhabit.  Let the filthy rich mining companies turn Grand Canyon and Arches National Parks into slag-filled swamps of bile and rot.  Drill, baby, drill!  Put the tree-huggers in concentration camps and make them drink from the streams befouled by mountain-top removal.  These people never met a landscape they didn’t want to defile.

You’ve got to really hate good health.  The Republicans want to destroy the Environmental Protection Agency.  Never mind that it prevents the polluters from causing cancer, diabetes, asthma and emphysema in millions of Americans.  It’s a damned nuisance for industries with billion dollar profits that don’t pay a nickel of income tax. These are the kind of people who would make matchsticks out of Tiny Tim’s crutch.

You’ve got to really hate the old and the sick.  Republicans want to end Medicare and Medicaid as we know it.  They detest what they call Obamacare.  They think primitive tribes had it right: when you’re old, infirm or sick, you should just crawl off into the wilderness and die.  Except that if the Republicans had their way, there’d be no wilderness to crawl off into.

You’ve got to hate real people and love corporations.  (See Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.) No wonder women are beginning to incorporate their uteruses: “It’s a person, not a choice.”

You’ve got to really hate liberals. Liberals, by definition, are open to new opinions and progress; they favor  individual liberty in political and social affairs.  Next thing you know they’ll be wanting to inflict stuff like  habeas corpus on us.

You’ve got to really hate working people.  Republicans have already put 27 million Americans out of work, and now they’re zeroing in on  the unions that protect workers’ rights.  A variation on the idea in the Mauldin cartoon. These are the kind of people who would strangle the canary in the coal mine because it costs too much for birdseed.

But Republicans still love motherhood and apple pie.  Unless, of course, mother is a liberal.  Then, well, send her out into the wilderness!

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark
Once again the Republican party, anesthetist including the Worst Congressman in History who is named Stevan Pearce and purports to represent southern New Mexico, is calling its jackass a pony and putting a feather in its cap.  But that’s not Macaroni.  That’s equine excrement.

They’re trying to bully television stations into refusing to air an ad by a progressive group that asserts — accurately — that the House Republicans’ infamous “Ryan Budget” would end Medicare.

It is a clear and obvious fact that House Republicans would end not just Medicare, but also Medicaid and other social programs that benefit  the aged, the sick, the unemployed and the impoverished.

The Republicans say they are not, either, ending Medicare; they would still call their program “medicare,” even though it would NOT pay for your medical care the way Medicare does.  Confusing?  The Republicans want it that way.  What they call “medicare” is in fact a system of providing vouchers that you could use to pay a private insurer for medical coverage — if you can find one that will accept your vouchers as payment in full for a policy, which of course no private insurer will do since they’d all be free to raise premiums far above the value of the vouchers. It would legalize robbery by insurers from the people who can least afford to be robbed.

This is the basic Republican philosophy: government exists to serve the interests of only the richest and most powerful people and institutions in the land. The most powerful institutions in the land, of course, are corporations, which, according to the Worst Supreme Court in History are people, too.  Real people — workers, family farmers, small businessmen, the unemployed, the sick, the tired, the poor, those who speak with funny accents, those whose skin is the wrong color — are not entitled to suck at the teat of government because that causes the richest and most powerful people to  pay taxes, which are sinful, evil things that only the sick, the tired, the poor and the afflicted should have to pay because they can’t afford multimillionaire lawyers and accountants and lobbyists to create loopholes that allow them to pay virtually no tax.

So stop whining.  Crawl off somewhere and suffer in silence, you lazy unemployed  slobs, you welfare queen sluts, you baby-factory refugees, you ignorant  non-English speaking leaches, you tree-hugging enviro nerds, you bleeding-heart Commie ratfink libruls, you  . . . well, you know who you are.

This is Merka, by God, the land of the Red, White and Blue, the flag-waving, tea–bagging, race-baiting, other-hating, war-making, bloodthirsty, world-ruling home of the brave and land of the free.

Love it or leave it.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark
Once again the Republican party, anesthetist including the Worst Congressman in History who is named Stevan Pearce and purports to represent southern New Mexico, is calling its jackass a pony and putting a feather in its cap.  But that’s not Macaroni.  That’s equine excrement.

They’re trying to bully television stations into refusing to air an ad by a progressive group that asserts — accurately — that the House Republicans’ infamous “Ryan Budget” would end Medicare.

It is a clear and obvious fact that House Republicans would end not just Medicare, but also Medicaid and other social programs that benefit  the aged, the sick, the unemployed and the impoverished.

The Republicans say they are not, either, ending Medicare; they would still call their program “medicare,” even though it would NOT pay for your medical care the way Medicare does.  Confusing?  The Republicans want it that way.  What they call “medicare” is in fact a system of providing vouchers that you could use to pay a private insurer for medical coverage — if you can find one that will accept your vouchers as payment in full for a policy, which of course no private insurer will do since they’d all be free to raise premiums far above the value of the vouchers. It would legalize robbery by insurers from the people who can least afford to be robbed.

This is the basic Republican philosophy: government exists to serve the interests of only the richest and most powerful people and institutions in the land. The most powerful institutions in the land, of course, are corporations, which, according to the Worst Supreme Court in History are people, too.  Real people — workers, family farmers, small businessmen, the unemployed, the sick, the tired, the poor, those who speak with funny accents, those whose skin is the wrong color — are not entitled to suck at the teat of government because that causes the richest and most powerful people to  pay taxes, which are sinful, evil things that only the sick, the tired, the poor and the afflicted should have to pay because they can’t afford multimillionaire lawyers and accountants and lobbyists to create loopholes that allow them to pay virtually no tax.

So stop whining.  Crawl off somewhere and suffer in silence, you lazy unemployed  slobs, you welfare queen sluts, you baby-factory refugees, you ignorant  non-English speaking leaches, you tree-hugging enviro nerds, you bleeding-heart Commie ratfink libruls, you  . . . well, you know who you are.

This is Merka, by God, the land of the Red, White and Blue, the flag-waving, tea–bagging, race-baiting, other-hating, war-making, bloodthirsty, world-ruling home of the brave and land of the free.

Love it or leave it.

 

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, viagra approved
but I will not rejoice in the death of one, illness

not even an enemy.”
–Martin Luther King, Jr.

By Steve Klinger

“Today we are reminded that as a nation there is nothing we can’t do,” a gloating Barack Obama said last night after a team of Navy SEALS gunned down Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout. I beg to differ.

We may be able spend billions of dollars to fight al Qaeda and track the mastermind of the 9-11 attacks. Obviously, we can engage in at least three wars at the same time. We can rationalize the need to hold anyone accountable for torture and extraordinary rendition. Clearly we can continue the Bush policy of targeted assassination, as demonstrated yesterday in a gambit Reuters described this morning as a pure “kill operation” with no attempt to capture. (Obama administration officials said we’d have captured bin Laden if he hadn’t resisted.)

On the home front, we can bail out Wall Street, sell out Main Street and cop out of holding anyone accountable for the rapacious corporate excesses that are destroying the middle class.  In fact we can anoint corporations with the rights of human beings and then watch as the megabucks of the former methodically dismantle two centuries of social progress to protect the latter.

But what we can’t seem to do, and Obama should remind himself of it once in a while as he gazes fondly on his Nobel Peace Prize, is rise above the perpetuation of violence.

The rhetoric of U.S. political leaders and the voices emanating from the lamestream media are dripping today with patriotic fervor, übernationalism and vengeance of biblical proportions. “Justice has been done,” Obama proclaimed in his television address late last night, concluding his address with numerous references to God. Said South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, “The message of this event is that if you choose to do harm to the American people and try to destroy our way of life, there is no place to hide and no passage of time will keep you safe.”

The sanctimonious high-fiving extended all the way to Rush Limbaugh, who gushed at one point, “Thank God for President Obama.”

I would like to inquire, how many of the 2974 Americans killed on Sept. 11, 2001 were brought back by the assassination of bin Laden? How quickly will we now disengage our forces from Afghanistan, having eradicated the object of our invasion? How soon will our human dignity be restored in airports and border crossings, where treating everyone as a potential terrorist only underscores the victories terror and violence continue to win on a daily basis at the expense of civil liberties?

Glasses will be raised by the millions this evening as even Republicans begrudgingly acknowledge this triumphant moment when our Special Forces showed the world you don’t mess with America. Obama will no doubt get a boost in the polls as he heads into his re-election campaign. But in the minds of hate-filled fanatics who see their own bloody self-sacrifice as the most exalted path to heaven, there will be no panic and no stampede to lay down their arms. Not only did we hand them the master martyr’s death to avenge, we taught them a lesson about western civilization and Christianity. How sweet a victory it is when your enemy can no longer claim the high ground, having shown he is just as barbaric as you are!

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Long live the Duke

By Steve Klinger

A grown man is not supposed to cry when a retired baseball player of 84 dies in a convalescent hospital in southern California, seek but this wasn’t just any old baseball player, asthma
it was Duke Snider, prostate and I can still remember hearing the cheers in the apartment where I grew up, eight block from Ebbets Field, when the Brooklyn Dodgers mounted a rally back in the mid-50s, and the wind was blowing right.

This was the graceful, gliding centerfielder who rivaled Mays and Mantle in his heyday, before he stepped in a hole in Wrigley Field and tore up his knee, who was described by one sportswriter as having “steel springs in his legs.”  There was even greater torque in his hips and shoulders as he drove the ball out of the park on 407 occasions – or perchance struck out, which he did a lot as well.

But he was the Duke, probably the greatest of the Boys of Summer, and I kept a scrapbook of his exploits, only to leave it behind when I went away to college and my parents moved to Florida. It wound up, like most of my belongings, flooded in my aunt’s suburban basement a couple of years later.

The memories of Snider’s heroics in the 1955 World Series and numerous pennant races of that era were strong, however, and I couldn’t forsake the Duke and his cohorts even after Walter O’Malley uprooted them for more lucrative pastures in Los Angeles. While some of my friends became Yankee or, later, Met fans, I finessed the AM radio dial late into the night, searching for an LA Dodger broadcast. I even wrote to Vin Scully, who actually answered me, to relate that there were no radio stations from LA sending Dodger games back to Brooklyn. Where was MLB.com when I needed it?

About 15 years ago, I happened to be driving up the Florida coast on my way to the Orlando airport during spring training, and on an impulse I stopped at the Dodgers’ fabled training camp in Vero Beach to take in a Grapefruit League game. The crowd was sparse that day, but I spotted Snider, then about 70, sitting all by himself in the stands up behind third base. It took all the courage  I could muster, but I approached him and introduced myself. He was gracious and willing enough to talk about the Dodgers’ days in Brooklyn and their controversial departure, which he blamed not on O’Malley but on Robert Moses, a New York City official with great power over land use in those days.

Be that as it may, we had a pleasant chat and I drove off to the airport, tearful then as I was today, with those innocent days of baseball hero worship fresh in my heart.

I can’t think of anything more traumatic in my childhood than the day the New York Post announced the Dodgers were abandoning Ebbets Field — not for Jersey City, which would have been bad enough, but for California, and taking the Giants with them!

A couple of years later, the wrecking ball smashed into the 50-year-old bricks of that hallowed ballpark so that a man named Marvin Kratter could demolish it to build apartments.  I clipped out the photo and put it in my scrapbook.

Snider grew slow and fat and mercifully retired after a year with the Mets and another, inconceivably, with the San Francisco Giants.

But my boyhood bond was strong, and I was elated when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.  In retrospect, his career statistics don’t measure up to those posted by the other New York centerfielders of his day, but for a few seasons he could run and field and throw with the best of them and blast the ball as high and far as anyone. In fact, he hit more home runs than anyone in the National League in the decade of the 1950s.

He was the Duke of Flatbush, and today I wept for him and, I suppose, for the dreams of childhood, so irrevocably replaced with adult realities, where greed trumps glory every time.

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Time for a new direction

By Steve Klinger

A grown man is not supposed to cry when a retired baseball player of 84 dies in a convalescent hospital in southern California, seek but this wasn’t just any old baseball player, asthma
it was Duke Snider, prostate and I can still remember hearing the cheers in the apartment where I grew up, eight block from Ebbets Field, when the Brooklyn Dodgers mounted a rally back in the mid-50s, and the wind was blowing right.

This was the graceful, gliding centerfielder who rivaled Mays and Mantle in his heyday, before he stepped in a hole in Wrigley Field and tore up his knee, who was described by one sportswriter as having “steel springs in his legs.”  There was even greater torque in his hips and shoulders as he drove the ball out of the park on 407 occasions – or perchance struck out, which he did a lot as well.

But he was the Duke, probably the greatest of the Boys of Summer, and I kept a scrapbook of his exploits, only to leave it behind when I went away to college and my parents moved to Florida. It wound up, like most of my belongings, flooded in my aunt’s suburban basement a couple of years later.

The memories of Snider’s heroics in the 1955 World Series and numerous pennant races of that era were strong, however, and I couldn’t forsake the Duke and his cohorts even after Walter O’Malley uprooted them for more lucrative pastures in Los Angeles. While some of my friends became Yankee or, later, Met fans, I finessed the AM radio dial late into the night, searching for an LA Dodger broadcast. I even wrote to Vin Scully, who actually answered me, to relate that there were no radio stations from LA sending Dodger games back to Brooklyn. Where was MLB.com when I needed it?

About 15 years ago, I happened to be driving up the Florida coast on my way to the Orlando airport during spring training, and on an impulse I stopped at the Dodgers’ fabled training camp in Vero Beach to take in a Grapefruit League game. The crowd was sparse that day, but I spotted Snider, then about 70, sitting all by himself in the stands up behind third base. It took all the courage  I could muster, but I approached him and introduced myself. He was gracious and willing enough to talk about the Dodgers’ days in Brooklyn and their controversial departure, which he blamed not on O’Malley but on Robert Moses, a New York City official with great power over land use in those days.

Be that as it may, we had a pleasant chat and I drove off to the airport, tearful then as I was today, with those innocent days of baseball hero worship fresh in my heart.

I can’t think of anything more traumatic in my childhood than the day the New York Post announced the Dodgers were abandoning Ebbets Field — not for Jersey City, which would have been bad enough, but for California, and taking the Giants with them!

A couple of years later, the wrecking ball smashed into the 50-year-old bricks of that hallowed ballpark so that a man named Marvin Kratter could demolish it to build apartments.  I clipped out the photo and put it in my scrapbook.

Snider grew slow and fat and mercifully retired after a year with the Mets and another, inconceivably, with the San Francisco Giants.

But my boyhood bond was strong, and I was elated when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.  In retrospect, his career statistics don’t measure up to those posted by the other New York centerfielders of his day, but for a few seasons he could run and field and throw with the best of them and blast the ball as high and far as anyone. In fact, he hit more home runs than anyone in the National League in the decade of the 1950s.

He was the Duke of Flatbush, and today I wept for him and, I suppose, for the dreams of childhood, so irrevocably replaced with adult realities, where greed trumps glory every time.
By Steve Klinger

A grown man is not supposed to cry when a retired baseball player of 84 dies in a convalescent hospital in southern California, seek but this wasn’t just any old baseball player, asthma
it was Duke Snider, prostate and I can still remember hearing the cheers in the apartment where I grew up, eight block from Ebbets Field, when the Brooklyn Dodgers mounted a rally back in the mid-50s, and the wind was blowing right.

This was the graceful, gliding centerfielder who rivaled Mays and Mantle in his heyday, before he stepped in a hole in Wrigley Field and tore up his knee, who was described by one sportswriter as having “steel springs in his legs.”  There was even greater torque in his hips and shoulders as he drove the ball out of the park on 407 occasions – or perchance struck out, which he did a lot as well.

But he was the Duke, probably the greatest of the Boys of Summer, and I kept a scrapbook of his exploits, only to leave it behind when I went away to college and my parents moved to Florida. It wound up, like most of my belongings, flooded in my aunt’s suburban basement a couple of years later.

The memories of Snider’s heroics in the 1955 World Series and numerous pennant races of that era were strong, however, and I couldn’t forsake the Duke and his cohorts even after Walter O’Malley uprooted them for more lucrative pastures in Los Angeles. While some of my friends became Yankee or, later, Met fans, I finessed the AM radio dial late into the night, searching for an LA Dodger broadcast. I even wrote to Vin Scully, who actually answered me, to relate that there were no radio stations from LA sending Dodger games back to Brooklyn. Where was MLB.com when I needed it?

About 15 years ago, I happened to be driving up the Florida coast on my way to the Orlando airport during spring training, and on an impulse I stopped at the Dodgers’ fabled training camp in Vero Beach to take in a Grapefruit League game. The crowd was sparse that day, but I spotted Snider, then about 70, sitting all by himself in the stands up behind third base. It took all the courage  I could muster, but I approached him and introduced myself. He was gracious and willing enough to talk about the Dodgers’ days in Brooklyn and their controversial departure, which he blamed not on O’Malley but on Robert Moses, a New York City official with great power over land use in those days.

Be that as it may, we had a pleasant chat and I drove off to the airport, tearful then as I was today, with those innocent days of baseball hero worship fresh in my heart.

I can’t think of anything more traumatic in my childhood than the day the New York Post announced the Dodgers were abandoning Ebbets Field — not for Jersey City, which would have been bad enough, but for California, and taking the Giants with them!

A couple of years later, the wrecking ball smashed into the 50-year-old bricks of that hallowed ballpark so that a man named Marvin Kratter could demolish it to build apartments.  I clipped out the photo and put it in my scrapbook.

Snider grew slow and fat and mercifully retired after a year with the Mets and another, inconceivably, with the San Francisco Giants.

But my boyhood bond was strong, and I was elated when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1980.  In retrospect, his career statistics don’t measure up to those posted by the other New York centerfielders of his day, but for a few seasons he could run and field and throw with the best of them and blast the ball as high and far as anyone. In fact, he hit more home runs than anyone in the National League in the decade of the 1950s.

He was the Duke of Flatbush, and today I wept for him and, I suppose, for the dreams of childhood, so irrevocably replaced with adult realities, where greed trumps glory every time.
“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”
Robert C. Gallagher

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
Anonymous

By Steve Klinger

Almost eight years ago, physiotherapy
the United States had just begun visiting “Shock and Awe” upon Iraq. Less than two years removed from 9-11, pancreatitis
the mainstream media were waving the flag as vigorously as the Bush administration, prosthesis
but even more sanctimoniously.  Those of us protesting the war and the crackdown on free speech couldn’t get our rallies covered by area newspapers or television stations. We couldn’t even get a letter to the editor published.

So with an idea I had, and some generous help from a local group called PeaceAware and a few individuals, we published a little tabloid called Grassroots Press. The lead story and photographs were done by Thomas Wark, a retired editor with national credentials and a Pulitzer Prize to his name. The first issue, which might just as easily have been the last for all we knew, covered a university solidarity event and the growing peace movement in southern New Mexico and featured an article on the new “’peace candidate” for president, Dennis Kucinich. There was plenty of commentary on the stifling media atmosphere surrounding the war, a discussion of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of America, a warning about developmental threats to the Otero Mesa ecosystem. The centerspread featured photos and comments from community activists and why they were keeping vigil against the war – exactly the stuff the Sun-News and my former paper, the Bulletin, wouldn’t touch. On the back page was a People’s Guide to Internet Resources, an amazing URL list of alternative news and opinion sites, government agencies, social and economic justice sites and what we would soon be calling blogs.

Grassroots Press never grew very large, but we did find a way to keep it going, with a little advertising from local progressive businesses and candidates, subscriptions and some generous donations. Other than the printers and an underpaid graphic designer, the rest of us donated our services, though over time we were able to pay writers occasionally and sometimes find a little gas money for those who helped distribute the paper.  I’ll confess, I became the benevolent dictator in charge of whipping up the bimonthly mix of articles, photos, ads and directories.

Over those eight years we tracked the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and increasingly turned our attention to the growing social injustice and burgeoning violence on the border, and the resistance efforts of groups on either side, from the women’s weaving cooperatives in Chiapas to the besieged and bloodied residents of Lomas del Poleo and the victims of the violence in Juarez. We exposed military recruitment tactics in local public schools; we warned of the dangers of electronic voting machines; we examined the growing threats to civil liberties. Frequently we looked at the growth of militarism in New Mexico and threats to our environmental treasures. Increasingly, we documented efforts at localism, food security, recycling and sustainable energy practices in southern New Mexico.

A few years ago we explored the unsavory circumstances involving the State Land Office, a growth-oriented City Council and a local developer that led to the annexation of Vistas at Presidio. Soon we were in the thick of local political battles that, over a few election cycles, brought a progressive city government to Las Cruces. We supported progressive candidates on state and county levels and watched their efforts also meet with success.

The problems with accountability and transparency in local government have abated somewhat, and sustainability initiatives have increased. But the economy and the national political climate, not to mention the corruption in Santa Fe, brought a backlash at the polls last November and increasingly heated rhetoric on key issues in a divided state.

All the while, looming beyond the day-to-day stuff, the American empire continues its incremental implosion, the corporatists extend their malignant reach into every cranny of government, and the planet continues its slide toward eventual demise as a habitable environment – at least for Homo sapiens.

I won’t pretend there is no further need for the beacon we’ve tried to shine, but I will acknowledge that the time has arrived for me personally to go in a different direction, and thus this current issue will be the last print edition of Grassroots Press (unless a successor should step forward). The entire newspaper industry is shifting away from print as the Internet, computers, tablets, mobile and personal devices remake the media landscape. We will continue the Grassroots Press website from our new home in Santa Fe (no, we’re not going just to be near Susana), and we urge you to visit us at www.grass-roots-press.com and to continue sending your commentary, your articles, your letters and your announcements as we attempt to exert more of a statewide presence.  I believe totally that legitimate grassroots journalism and political activism are the only avenues we have to defend and nurture what is left of our democracy, but I need to do my part in a different way.

There are far too many people to thank for me to list by name. You made it all possible, and you know who you are. Thank you, each and every one. Keep the torch burning.

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One More Gun

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, here
Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, capsule Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, injection
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, link
assignments to be made, healing
facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, here
Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

Silent night . . .

Before they can be hired, healthful
Fox News “journalists” have to pass a beliefs test designed by the network’s top boss, right-wing Republican Roger Ailes, to prove their political conservatism.  Recently, a management memo ordered  all “news” employees  not to mention “climate change”  or warming temperatures without immediately stating that critics dispute the data on which these notions are based.  They are not permitted to state that climate change data are peer reviewed by other qualified scientists; or that their “critics”  either lack suitable scientific credentials or are bankrolled by Exxon-Mobil and other major extraction industries  with an implicit understanding that their “science” will produce company-friendly conclusions.

Holy night . . . .

On Christmas Day, a child-soldier, who has never been convicted of a crime, will be held in solitary confinement for 23 hours, and not permitted proper exercise for the hour outside his cell  in a military prison.  This will mark his seventh month of such confinement, which physicians and experts in international law have defined as torture. Acting  on his belief that every citizen has a moral obligation to shed light on immoral actions of his government, Pvt. Bradley Manning  allegedly gave electronic data to WikiLeaks that the government wanted to hide. Manning is being force-fed anti-depressant medication in the hope that it will prevent his committing suicide. He has not been tried on any charges; he has not even been granted the pre-trial hearing that is mandated by  Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is neither uniform, nor just.

All is calm . . .

The Justice Department has acknowledged it plans to increase the number of its Gestapo-style raids on the homes and offices of peace activists and critics of government policy. Such raids allegedly were legalized by the 6-3 Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.  It held that speech and advocacy otherwise protected by the First Amendment was a crime if government agencies found it to be “coordinated with or under the direction of a foreign group listed by the Secretary of State as ‘terrorist.’”

All is bright. . . .

As of Dec. 16, at least 293,685 people have been killed in warfare around the world this year. The United States incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be among the leading killers of civilians, along with the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan, and the drug cartel wars in Mexico.

Round yon Virgin, mother and child . . .

One in six Americans will go hungry this Christmas, or have to forego other necessities such as heat or medicine, in order to buy food.

Holy infant so tender and mild . . .

For eight years our government has held detainees at Guantanamo without charge or prospect of trial, while administering to them a dangerous drug that an Army doctor characterized as “pharmacological waterboarding.”

Sleep in heavenly peace . . .

While gloating Republicans watched, President Obama signed into law legislation that provides:
$1.1 million in personal tax cuts for the heads of five banks that required $142 billion of taxpayer bailout money;
$1.3 million in personal tax relief for Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire who owns Fox “News” and other media cash cows;
$400 a year tax increases for America’s poorest workers;
tax cuts totaling $35.41 billion for the 400 wealthiest Americans;
slashes in funding for Social Security and Medicare, the only sources of income and health care for millions of elderly Americans;
and massive tax cuts for the corporations that ship American jobs overseas.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Americans bought 1.2 million greeting cards this holiday season that contained images of polar bears.  That’s about five times as many images as there are living polar bears in the entire world. The bears are an endangered species whose habitat has been reduced more than 21 per cent by the global warming that Rupert Murdoch’s media empire denies is happening.  Now the wealthiest corporations in history — American energy companies — are about to begin massive drilling in the Arctic Wildlife refuge, which will destroy a critical habitat of the bear.

Silent night, holy night . . .

Nearly 20,000 people have been killed in the last five years in Somalia, many of them with some of the 40 tons of weapons the United States has shipped into the country.  Somalia  has not had an effective government since 1991.  This year, the warring factions have begun exporting violence to neighboring countries like Uganda, where a series of July bombings killed 70 civilians.

Shepherds quake  . . .

In the Darfur region of Sudan,  more than 1.5 million people will spend Christmas lacking the outside assistance they need for basic survival — food, shelter, water and sanitation facilities.  Several hundred thousand have died either as the result of combat between rival insurgents, or from starvation and disease caused by the fighting.  International aid agencies have been expelled.

, , , at the sight . . .

In April an explosion at a British Petroleum drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men,  injured 17 and set off the worst oil spill in American history.  The environmental damage was incalculable; the extent of despoilation of marine and wildlife habitat may never be known.  After months of accepting at face value BP’s propaganda about the leak, the U.S. government finally filed a lawsuit on Dec. 15 against BP and eight other companies involved in the disaster.

Glories stream from heaven afar .  .  .

Already one of the poorest, least developed nations in the world, Haiti was struck on Jan. 12 by the worst earthquake in the hemisphere in 200 years.  More than 300,000 people died.  Port au Prince, the capital, was virtually destroyed.   International aid has largely failed to reach the people who need it, many of whom are homeless refugees, because of crime, corruption and inept management.  Later in the year a cholera epidemic killed at least a thousand more Haitians.

Heavenly hosts sing hallelujah . . .

The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations are people with unlimited powers of free speech, including the right to spend whatever it takes to rig elections and put only corporate-friendly hacks into office at every level of government.   Sixty-one per cent of the Roberts court’s rulings have been pro-business, as opposed to 42 per cent for all of the courts that preceded it.

Christ the savior is come . . .

June of 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record globally. Temperatures were 1.25 degrees F. above average, 2.2 degrees F. in the northern hemisphere.  In Moscow alone, 11,000 people died of hyperrthermia, edema, or other heat-related causes. A consensus of scientists held that these weather events could not have taken place if atmospheric carbon dioxide  had been at pre-industrial levels.

Christ the savior is come.

In 2010, The State of Texas required sweeping changes in textbooks for the state’s schools.  They will reflect that no Hispanic American ever achieved anything worth recording in history texts, but Phyllis Schlafly and the National Rifle Association did.  That the civil rights movement was rooted in the violent philosophy of the Black Panthers, not the non-violence of Martin Luther King.  That the Founding Fathers intended the United States to be a Christian country.  But because Thomas Jefferson, a leading Founder, coined the phrase, “Separation of church and state,” his name has been stricken from the list of “figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century,” replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. And science teachers must teach the creation myth as an alternative to real science.

Merry Christmas!  God bless us, every one.

Read more by Thomas Wark at http://bordellopianist.blogspot.com

By Thomas Wark

In these United States, melanoma the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.

No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.

Illustrations abound. Nay, life they inundate us daily. They flood us, case overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.

A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde’s; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.

I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.

Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.

Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, “stakeholders” were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.

At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico’s senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.

The legislation, which had already passed the U. S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.

But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.

The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.

By the time a new people’s movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed — IF such can ever be re-formed — the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.

Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.

The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don’t have any opposition.

No sweat, right?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

In these United States, vitamin the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.

No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.

Illustrations abound. Nay, approved they inundate us daily. They flood us, overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.

A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde’s; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.

I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.

Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.

Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, “stakeholders” were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.

At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico’s senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.

The legislation, which had already passed the U. S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.

But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.

The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.

By the time a new people’s movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed — IF such can ever be re-formed — the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.

Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.

The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don’t have any opposition.

No sweat, right?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Thomas Wark

In these United States, ailment the bad guys are relentless and have unlimited funding. The good guys dislike the smell of their own sweat and still believe that virtue has amorphous power to prevail against all odds.

No wonder the democratic republic founded on a thesis of checks and balances died a dozen years ago and nobody noticed.

Illustrations abound. Nay, buy they inundate us daily. They flood us, overwhelm us, numb our senses, beat us into a miasmic mass of helpless resignation.

A microcosm: southern New Mexico is blessed with public lands whose unique characteristics are less spectacularly beautiful than, say, the Grand Canyon; whose historical importance is less obvious than, say, Mesa Verde’s; whose archeological value is less self-evident than, say, the great pyramids; whose thundering silence, unchanged openness, vistaed hopes and majestic instancy feed only souls hungering after solace, not not egos bottomless with greed. They deserve preservation, these lands; protection from the predations of the land-rapers, a license of passage to generations unborn.

I came to live here because of these lands. They are my church, my place to recover from wounds, to think, to simply be. I want to share them with anyone and everyone who will respect them, cherish them, leave them simply to be.

Of course I joined the movement to protect them in perpetuity from from human abuse.

Proposals were written, hearings were held, viewpoints were aired, money was spent, alliances were formed, lies were told, facts were presented, “stakeholders” were asked to comment, experts were called to pontificate, ignoramuses were allowed to prattle, legislation was written and more hearings were held.

At the last of these, the same old well-funded prevaricators, distorters and transmogrifiers turned out in force, spewing the same old bilge that had been refuted many times before. Sen. Tom Udall, the junior of New Mexico’s senators, both of whom supported the wilderness legislation, played prosecuting attorney. His skilled cross-examination stripped each of the nay-sayers of any remaining vestige of credibility.

The legislation, which had already passed the U. S. House of Representatives, seemed headed toward passage by the Senate and signature into law by the President.

But the corporate and private interests that control us do their real work not in public hearings; they work behind the closed doors of the inner offices inside the Beltway. There the pressures were brought to bear upon our gutless public servants that caused the wilderness bill to languish unvoted on. The lame duck congressional session ended and decades of dedicated citizen legwork within the system died.

The lemmings of Teabagistan are chortling with glee in the usual venues of ignorance: call-in radio and ungrammatical letters to local rags that purport to be newspapers, bumper stickers and bill boards, church message boards and crude trade association pamphlets.

By the time a new people’s movement of enlightened conservationists can be formed — IF such can ever be re-formed — the lands will have been devastated, raped of their historic, cultural and natural beneficence.

Just on the matter of public land management alone, similar dramas of dreams deferred are playing out in Utah, Idaho, Montana and throughout the west. Take Utah: some of our most precious heritage lands have long been coveted by the Midases of extraction and the Huns of off-roading. A death-bed sell-out in the last days of Bush II gave the destroyers license to do their worst; it has taken nearly two years for the Dr. Kidglove administration to reverse the Interior Department rules that allowed their criminal acts. But without supportive action by the whores of Congress, this will come to naught.

The bad guys will win, as they always do in these United States, simply because they do not relent, and they have unlimited finances. And because they really don’t have any opposition.

No sweat, right?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
Roundtables are held on Sundays from 10:30 – 11:30 am in the library of the Unitarian Universalist Church, more about 2000 S. Solano.
Jan 02 Dr. Jack Soules: Population Prediction for the year 2050
The year 2050 promises that the population will be flat, apoplexy even through the world is round. Jack will
discuss the demography from which he draws this conclusion.
Jack is a retired college professor and physicist.
Jan 09 Dr. Donald F. Neidig: Factors that will influence the discussion about climate change in the coming decades
Despite the preponderance of scientific evidence for global climate change and its attribution to human
activity, this site public and media attention in the U.S. continues to focus mainly on arguments whether global
warming is real. This controversy is more political than factual, and eventually will give way to
practical discussions about impacts and mitigation as the reality of climate change becomes more
apparent in the public mind. Discussions in the future will likely center on three areas: (1) prospects for
stopping or reversing climate change (the difficulty of which is of a magnitude presently unrealized by
the public and political leaders as well), (2) near-term cost of mitigation vs. long-term cost of doing
nothing (the comparison of which is poorly quantified and has been given little public exposure), and
(3) solutions in common between the problems of climate change and energy security (about which the
public is only vaguely aware). A bit of forewarning for future generations: fasten your seatbelts!
Don’s credentials are:
• Emeritus Astronomer, National Solar Observatory
• Principal Astrophysicist (retired), Air Force Research Laboratory
• Formerly faculty member, Alliance College, and Adjunct Professor NMSU
Jan 16 Olga Elena Bashbush: Activities of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez
Olga Elena Bashbush, from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez, will speak
about the U.S. Consulate General, the Merida Initiative, the Pillar Four activities being carried out by
the Public Affairs Section, and the U.S. Foreign Service. This is a session you won’t want to miss.
Note: The time of this meeting will be 12 noon to 1:00. It will take place in the church sanctuary
to accommodate a lager auciance.
Jan 23 Gordon Hill: Religion of Ordinary Life
Gordon will give a presentation and lead a discussion of Don Cupitt’s Religion of Ordinary Life as
detailed in his book “Above Us Only Sky” (2008) and on his website
www.doncupitt.com/philosophylife/don-cupitt-philosophy-of-life-religion-of-ordinary-life.html
Gordon is a retired engineer and motivational speaker.
Jan 30 James Peckham: “Deeper Causes of Mexican Immigration Crisis and What We Can Do Now.”
I will discuss the background of devastating US and Mexican policies of Vicente Fox and show how
this has affected thousands of Mexicans and caused them to try to immigrate to the US in order to
survive. I will also provide updates on the Dream Act and suggest practical responses, in light of record
numbers of deportations and repression during the Obama Administration.
James brings us a view of Mexico and the U.S. from a unique perspective. He has a Masters degree in
Mexican history and has lived in many areas of Mexico. Coming from a family with 5 generations of
protestant missionaries, he has traveled extensively; including as a teenager, spending a year living in
the Amazon Basin, among indigenous peoples in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
Roundtables are held on Sundays from 10:30 – 11:30 am in the library of the Unitarian Universalist Church, more about 2000 S. Solano.
Jan 02 Dr. Jack Soules: Population Prediction for the year 2050
The year 2050 promises that the population will be flat, apoplexy even through the world is round. Jack will
discuss the demography from which he draws this conclusion.
Jack is a retired college professor and physicist.
Jan 09 Dr. Donald F. Neidig: Factors that will influence the discussion about climate change in the coming decades
Despite the preponderance of scientific evidence for global climate change and its attribution to human
activity, this site public and media attention in the U.S. continues to focus mainly on arguments whether global
warming is real. This controversy is more political than factual, and eventually will give way to
practical discussions about impacts and mitigation as the reality of climate change becomes more
apparent in the public mind. Discussions in the future will likely center on three areas: (1) prospects for
stopping or reversing climate change (the difficulty of which is of a magnitude presently unrealized by
the public and political leaders as well), (2) near-term cost of mitigation vs. long-term cost of doing
nothing (the comparison of which is poorly quantified and has been given little public exposure), and
(3) solutions in common between the problems of climate change and energy security (about which the
public is only vaguely aware). A bit of forewarning for future generations: fasten your seatbelts!
Don’s credentials are:
• Emeritus Astronomer, National Solar Observatory
• Principal Astrophysicist (retired), Air Force Research Laboratory
• Formerly faculty member, Alliance College, and Adjunct Professor NMSU
Jan 16 Olga Elena Bashbush: Activities of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez
Olga Elena Bashbush, from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ciudad Juarez, will speak
about the U.S. Consulate General, the Merida Initiative, the Pillar Four activities being carried out by
the Public Affairs Section, and the U.S. Foreign Service. This is a session you won’t want to miss.
Note: The time of this meeting will be 12 noon to 1:00. It will take place in the church sanctuary
to accommodate a lager auciance.
Jan 23 Gordon Hill: Religion of Ordinary Life
Gordon will give a presentation and lead a discussion of Don Cupitt’s Religion of Ordinary Life as
detailed in his book “Above Us Only Sky” (2008) and on his website
www.doncupitt.com/philosophylife/don-cupitt-philosophy-of-life-religion-of-ordinary-life.html
Gordon is a retired engineer and motivational speaker.
Jan 30 James Peckham: “Deeper Causes of Mexican Immigration Crisis and What We Can Do Now.”
I will discuss the background of devastating US and Mexican policies of Vicente Fox and show how
this has affected thousands of Mexicans and caused them to try to immigrate to the US in order to
survive. I will also provide updates on the Dream Act and suggest practical responses, in light of record
numbers of deportations and repression during the Obama Administration.
James brings us a view of Mexico and the U.S. from a unique perspective. He has a Masters degree in
Mexican history and has lived in many areas of Mexico. Coming from a family with 5 generations of
protestant missionaries, he has traveled extensively; including as a teenager, spending a year living in
the Amazon Basin, among indigenous peoples in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
By Thomas Wark

I remember how it was, viagra 40mg
covering this kind of breaking news. We had to anesthetize ourselves against normal human emotional pain.

Where were you when you first heard about the assassination of John Kennedy? About the planes flying into the twin towers?

There were reporters to be dispatched, assignments to be made, facts to be double-checked, directories to be consulted, neighbors to be found, experts and authorities to be interviewed. There was no time for tears.

Old habits die hard.

Today the numbness has worn off. Others have dispatched reporters, made assignments, interviewed neighbors and authorities, made their reports.

Today I am weeping.

My tears were triggered by, and are especially for, a little girl. She was the youngest and most innocent of the victims in the Tucson madness yesterday.

Christina Taylor Greene was born on September 11, 2001. She was part of the Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 project. Her entry reads: ” I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

The tears began the moment I read that.

The profound, simple poetry of hope, written by a little girl.

Back in the numbness, I read the pious prattling of the politicians: Palin, Boehner, McCain, Obama. Verbal Novacaine.

And then I read, “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

Through the tears I saw, dimly, but I saw it. I saw the old vision of hope, before the likes of Obama turned the word into a parody of itself, into the cheap talky-talk of our sound byte world.

Hope is not audacious.

Hope is a rain puddle.

A little girl taught us this profound truth. Will it die with her? Will the insanity that ended her life continue to fester and grow in this brutalized country of ours?

Is there still a thing called hope?

Can we actually join hands and jump in rain puddles together?

Can we? Will we?

Read more by Thomas Wark at www.bordellopianist.blogspot.com
By Steve Klinger

Rep. Trent Franks, sildenafil an Arizona Republican who has been outspoken in remembrance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the wake of the shooting, more about said he wishes there was one more gun in Tucson, Ariz., the day of the massacre. “I wish there had been one more gun there that day in the hands of a responsible person, that’s all I have to say,” Franks said, visibly irritated at a question about increased gun control.

Spoken just like a freedom-loving American NRA champion. One more gun.

That’s what we need. How dare these liberal freedom-tamperers vilify the Second Amerndment and the right to bear a Glock 19 or an AK-47 by talking gun control when a fellow wants to go hunting or defend his family – or get heroic in front of a Tucson grocery store?

So what if the background-check system failed miserably because, while everyone knew Jared Loughner was crazy, no one reported him or did anything to stop him? If we’d had one more gun in Tucson we’d have erased the vermin before he could have shot all 20 of those innocent people. Oh, he might have gotten a few, but that’s just collateral damage for freedom American-style.

So what if the overturned ban on assault weapons has helped pour thousands of automatic firearms into Mexico, where over 30,000 have died of gunshot wounds in the last three or four years?

One more gun and the Virginia Tech shootings wouldn’t have left 27 dead…maybe only half a dozen.

One more gun (or maybe two) and we could have stopped the Columbine killers early on in their spree.

One more gun and there’d be no need to worry about pistol-packing Tea Partiers demonstrating near the President.

One more gun and we could shut up all the Brady bill supporters and the assault-weapon ban supporters and anyone complaining about the plan to allow open carry for Texas college students.

One more gun and someone would have nailed George Tiller’s murderer right in the act.

One more gun and someone might have taken out Lee Harvey Oswald or Sirhan Sirhan or James Earl Ray.

Come to think of it, why stop at guns? The world is a dangerous place, and God wants us to defend it in the name of freedom.  One more fighter jet. One more tank. One more killer drone. One more nuke.

Because as Rep. Franks would have it, one good weapon deserves another.

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