Category Archives: General

The End of the Rules-based International Order Rapidly Approaching

One of the most tiresome phrases uttered by officials of the United States and its loyal acolytes such as Australia is its claim that its foreign policy and adheres to what it repeatedly refers to is the “rules based international order.”  What the Americans (and the secretary of state Anthony Blinken uses the phrase repeatedly) really mean is a system of rules dictated by successive US governments and repeated ad nauseam as though the phrase carried magical properties intended to quell any criticism of their actions.

Blinken use the phrase recently when he tweeted about the NATO meeting in Brussels that he attended. He tweeted “our alliances were created to defend shared values. Retaining our commitment requires reaffirming those values and the foundation of international relations we vow to protect: a free and open rules-based order”

The phrase “the rules-based order” is an open code, telling the rest of the world that the rules are set by America and the rest of the world’s duty is to obey them unquestionably. The origins of the phrase have a history going back to the end of the Second World War. The purpose was twofold. On the one hand it was intended to differentiate the United States from its two major Communist adversaries, Russia and China. Secondly, it was a way of spelling out that in the new world order that followed World War II, the United States was the dominant party that set the rules.

The role of the United States in this new order has always been clear to the Americans, as president Joe Biden recently spelled-out. In a recent speech, Biden advocated “a stable and open international system.” Biden argued that the restoration of this international order “rests on a core strategic proposition. The United States must renew its enduring advantages so that they can meet today’s challenges from a position of strength.”

The Americans are anxious to maintain this order because for many years it has been dominated by them. The collapse of the Cold War with the demise of the Soviet Union in 1990 did not diminish the appetite for continued control. There are two fundamental problems with this worldview however.

The first is that it purports to uphold a system that is dominated by one country; the United States. That is not a position that finds favour with the bulk of the world’s nations. The second problem is that of the concept itself. By the “rules based international order” the United States and its allies actually mean “their rules” and “their system.”

The United States has ruthlessly pursued its notion of international law regardless of the actual legal definition that does not recognise the rights of one nation to impose its will upon the rest and to ignore the rights of other nations with whose policies it finds itself in disagreement.

It is very difficult to locate a respect for the law in the multiple invasions mounted by the United States in the post-World War II period when it has been almost continually at war somewhere in the world. It has violently overthrown governments of all persuasions that failed to pay sufficient regard for the United States’ view of things.

It is impossible to reconcile a belief in International Law with the attempted overthrow of the Cuban government since 1959. Astonishingly the Americans maintain a military prison base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, actually defying the wishes of the Cuban government that they depart.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile a true belief in a rules based international order with the wholly unjustified invasions and occupations of both Iraq and Syria. In the case of the former a patently manufactured excuse of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” was the ostensible reason for the invasion. With the death of Hussein and the failure to discover the existence of any such weapons it should have been the basis for massive apologies, compensation and withdrawal. Instead, nearly 20 years later the United States is still there and showing no hurry to respect the wishes of the Iraqi parliament by leaving.

The invasion of Afghanistan was solely based on a lie with the events of 11 September 2001 providing a fig leaf of justification for a decision actually made months earlier. Again, the original reasons for invading have long since disappeared. Trump’s plan to withdraw during 2021 is currently under review, with American sources suggesting a withdrawal by September of this year. The CIA does not want to have to have the bother of developing a fresh source for the heroin crop that makes such a substantial contribution to its “off the books” funding.

Ironically, it was Trump that also had the least respect for the international rules-based order referring a more blatant, and honest, “America first” approach to imposing his views. The Biden administration is working hard to renew the primacy of its view of international law. In my view that is an impossible task. That ship has long sailed and the bulk of the world’s nations, led by China, are making it very clear that the resumption of United States hegemony is simply unacceptable.

It is an open question as to whether or not the Americans accept that the world has changed and they are unable to re-capture the dominance they enjoyed in the 1990s and earlier this century. Judging by the reported comments of both Biden and Blinken that reality has some way to go before it is accepted. The world does not accept a division between good and evil, with the western democracies personifying the “good” and the rest of the world the “evil”.

Part of that change is reflected in the refusal by an increasing number of countries to conduct their international trade in United States dollars. The previously dominant role of the dollar, apart from propping up the ailing United States economic system with its multi trillion-dollar deficits, also gave the Americans unparalleled influence over the economic structure of multiple countries. Those days are rapidly diminishing, and for an increasing number of countries the end of the dollars hegemony cannot come soon enough.

The United States’ reaction to this diminished role will be interesting to watch. It was an historically unique position for them to be in for the past 75 years. They will undoubtably strive to maintain the hegemony. Therein lies the greatest danger. Unless the United States recognises that the world has changed, we are in for some very rough times.

The post The End of the Rules-based International Order Rapidly Approaching first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Reflecting on Twenty Years of Media Lens

We can hardly count ourselves lucky in the west and particularly Britain, given the level of media corruption and collusion with sites of power.  As Pulitzer Prize Winning journalist Glenn Greenwald put it…

The worst media in the democratic world is the British media, and it’s not even close.  I know it’s hard for people in other countries who hate their own media to believe, but whatever you hate about your country’s media, the UK media has in abundance and worse.

To all extents and purposes in the UK we have lost our mainstream democratic sphere.  But over the last 20 years we can count ourselves fortunate that we have had the work of Media Lens – staffed by David Cromwell and David Edwards – shining a spotlight on the enormous volume of journalistic and professional political caste abuses.

The two Davids have done some quite extraordinary work.  This year they have published two very different articles of great quality.  In Our Indifference To Ourselves’ – Beyond The ‘Virtue’ Of Self-Sacrifice – Part 1 David Edwards debunked the ideology of pro-war propagandists, by allowing readers to experience the horrors of conflict through the eyes of First World War veteran, actor and Playwright Arnold Ridley.  20 Years Of Media Lens: A Selection Of Remarkable Replies From Journalists is a meticulously catalogued historical list of abusive, aggressive, self-serving, self-aggrandising and misleading responses from corporate media journalists, furious at being asked to be held publicly accountable.  Here the two Davids allow the industry to critique itself.

But they haven’t suddenly hit a purple patch of publishing quality out of the blue, as the duos work critiquing the Iraq War and its aftermath demonstrated.  Some readers might recall a Harriet Harman appearance on BBC Question Time, where she repeated the misleading mantra “of course mistakes were made.”  This gives the impression neoliberals popped out to get a book of stamps, tripped on a loose paving stone, and accidentally at the head of an army, violated another country’s borders; facilitated a million civilian deaths, a generation of Iraqi babies born with birth defects, whose pregnant mothers were exposed to western invaders’ depleted uranium ammunition; plus inadvertently colluded with US torture practices.

This nonsense was firmly put to bed in articles such as The Mythology of Mistakes, Hiding Imperialism under a Cloak of ‘Benevolence’, The BBC Buries the Truth with the Dead in Iraq,  and The Liberated and the Dead.  Unsurprisingly, Media Lens count John Pilger and Noam Chomsky among their admirers.

The other facet to Media Lens’ work is that of solidarity.  They have done their utmost to keep Julian Assange’s name and plight in the public’s consciousness and done the same for Chelsea Manning.  They have defended the reputation of the late Robert Fisk.  They have similarly defended Jeremy Corbyn and the values he brought back to the Labour Party.

Their actions either scrutinising the media or defending victims of the new McCarthyism has brought them enemies.  Corporate media faux leftist Owen Jones has even blocked them on twitter.   In summer 2014 Israel bombarded Gaza with “6,000 airstrikes, 14,500 tank shells and 45,000 artillery shells unleashed between July 7 and Aug. 26”.   According to these UN figures, Israel killed 551 children out of a total victim death toll of 2,252 Palestinians.  The response by Owen Jones was to immediately do propaganda on behalf of those who supported the settler aggressors entitled Anti-Jewish hatred is rising- we must see it for what it is (August 2014).  A year later when there was a risk the indigenous victims might be commemorated, Jones’s article response was instead Antisemitism has no place on the left. It is time to confront it (August 2015).  By comparison Media Lens showed solidarity with the Palestinians writing ‘Disgustingly Biased’ – The Corporate Media On The Gaza Massacre and ‘Grievous Censorship’ By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed’s Blog. They have via an evidence-based methodology continued to vigorously defend the Palestinians and those oppressed by the new pro-Israel corporate media McCarthyism.  No wonder Jones daren’t allow them on his twitter feed.

The solidarity of Media Lens is not just restricted to their writings.  On twitter and Facebook, Media Lens has championed countless number of activists, campaigners, young and new writers.  They are an important part of an important network.  Has it really been 20 years?

The post Reflecting on Twenty Years of Media Lens first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Fatuous Defence: Australia’s Guided Missile Plans

Even in times of pandemic crises, some things never change.  While Australia gurgles and bumbles slowly with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, there are other priorities at stake.  Threat inflators are receiving much interest in defence, and the media is feeding on it with a drunken enthusiasm.  We live in a dangerous environment, and think-tankers, parliamentarians and commentators are starting to get a sweet taste for imminent conflict.

The latest instalment in this pitiable train towards conflict was revealed in Canberra last month.  Australia, it seems, wants to make its own guided missiles.  In a joint statement, the Prime Minister and Ministers for Industry and Defence outlined the enterprise.  “The Morrison government will accelerate the creation of a (AU)$1 billion Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise, boosting skilled jobs and helping secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined his views in a media release on March 31.  “Creating our own sovereign capability on Australian soil is essential to keep Australians safe, while also providing thousands of local jobs in business right across the defence supply chain.”

In making the announcement, he opted for a chalk and cheese comparison. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, having the ability for self-reliance, be it in vaccine development or the defence of Australia, is vital to meeting our own requirements in a changing global environment.”  That specious idea ignores the point that the weapons are going to be made, not by Australian arms companies (they can barely even manage any credible local production) but by foreign entities.

Australia’s Department of Defence is on the hunt for a “strategic industry partner”, which, in all likelihood will be one of the giants such as Raytheon Australia, BAE Systems Australia or Lockheed Martin Australia.  The mere fact that such companies have tagged Australia at the end of their antipodean corporate base is no reassurance about a local killing capability.  But the newly appointed Defence Minister Peter Dutton gives the impression that the selection will be somehow competitive and balanced, promising to resort to a “Smart Buyer” process in picking the said partner.  Such smartness is bound to be bereft of any intelligence, as with previous procurement deals that go pear shaped within a matter of months.  (At this writing, the Australian-Naval Group future submarine contract is sinking under incompetence, disagreement and cost.)

Dutton praises the idea of having an Australian base for the manufacture of such guided weapons, as they will “not only benefit and enhance our ADF operational capacity but will ensure we have adequate supply of weapon stock holdings to sustain combat operations if global supply chains are disrupted.”  Given Australia’s poor performance in coping with disruptions to the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, despite the propaganda about sovereign capability in that field, this is actually mildly amusing.

We already know from government mutterings that the US will be crucial (when is it not?) in feathering the Australian project, giving it a faux independence.  The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, heavily commercialised, compromised and bound to the US-Australian insecurity complex, prattles constantly about the need to get involved with useless machinery that only serves to inspire the arms manufacturers of other countries.

Take this number from Andrew Davies from last month, thinking that it might not be such a bad idea to get on board the hypersonic weapons bandwagon.  Australia, he suggested, “might well join” the major powers in acquiring them.  The country, he claims, has “some world class researchers”.  The nub: Australians have been “in joint programs with the US for over 20 years.”

The announcement about guided missiles excited ASPI’s director of defence, strategy and national security, Michael Shoebridge, a man who has been salivating for a proper war for some few years now.  The latest initiative was “being driven by the two Cs, China and COVID.”  Shoebridge fantasises about long-range anti-ship missiles and new vehicles with missile capabilities.  In June last year, he warned of “a glaring gap we must close in our ability to supply the Australian Defence Force with precision munitions – notably missiles.  Advanced missiles give the militaries the edge in combat.”  His nightmare: Australian impotence in the face of supply disruptions; a slow production rate from overseas sources; abandonment.  This is particularly more acute given that Australia is no longer interested in peacekeeping missions.  Blame, he says, “the deteriorating strategic environment in our region” – a real favourite expression in the Prime Minister’s office and ASPI.

With Canberra making it clear that it wishes to continue a hissing and booing campaign against China even as it ingratiates Washington, the entire process has a heavy tang of needless stupidity.  As to whether it actually benefits Australia in any concrete sense, a clue is offered by Dutton.  “We will work closely with the United States on this important initiative to ensure that we understand how our enterprise can best support both Australia’s needs and the growing needs of our most important military partner.”  If that is sovereign capability and independence, one hates to think what vassalage looks like.

The post Fatuous Defence: Australia’s Guided Missile Plans first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment

“There you have it — At-will, AKA at the beckon call, beckon abuse, beckon exploitation, beckon denigration, beckon injurious behavior and workplace environment. These employers are thugs, and from the top down, with their lawyers and MBAs and institutional misleadership yahoos at the executive level, the worker is doomed by this sick system. Forced vaccinations for schools, colleges, workplaces. The systems need to burn!”

Of course, I am asked not to identify the person who wrote this to me. We all are being surveilled by these Stasi folk, whether we work for a governmental agency, school systems, private college, for-profit business, mom and pop lowbrow joint, nonprofit, you name it.

They (bosses, agencies, pre-employment interviewers) sign up for Google search notifications — any time their company is named in the media or on digital platforms, they get notifications. They track what’s said about their business, corporation, nonprofit, agency, school. That is also for anyone they want to put into the Google-Palantir search engine, for a price, monthly rate, be it a person’s name. Like mine, hmm.

This is what these Stasi Americans want in their lives — complete control. Damage control against the truth-sayers speaking truth to power. Damage the messenger, or kill him or her with constant threats of litigation, fines, subpoenas, more. Imagine one writer, me, getting hooked into the Google Gulag, but then, what about anyone with my name? Hmm, children, siblings, spouses? This is how they play their mole game.

See the source image

Below, an example of the blithe and dangerous bullshit fake journalism of the mainstream imbeciles. That the State of Oregon can force vaccinations onto people really is the issue: the state just pushes that onto the overlords running businesses or nonprofits. That’s it, no argument, hands down the policy of the land, man.

The news (sic) story below will not contain push back,  and it will be vacant of civil rights thinkers/libertarians cited, will allude to no one pushing back on these Draconian measures. In fact, the story will not frame these measures as Draconian. The journalist from the Oregon paper of record (Oregonian) is already colonized and co-opted. Then you get some “law” professor (sic) from a for-profit private university pulled into the article, to come on board to yammer on. This is the new normal that’s been pretty old normal — mainstream media faking it, looking like it’s in the hunt for balance, when it’s all false balance, false and manufactured consent. The goal is to question the prevailing party-bureaucratic-company line, and question all governments’ actions. Read here:

“I think ultimately most employers would be able to require it,” said Henry Drummonds, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor specializing in labor and employment law. “But I think most employers probably wouldn’t want to require it. I think employers could first encourage and educate employees about the safety of the vaccine and the desirability of it in terms of protecting yourself and your coworkers.”

Drummonds said that at-will employment standards allow private businesses to dictate and change the terms of employment at any time and fire employees for any reason, as long as they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age or any other protected category.

In practice, this means that employers probably could require employees to receive the vaccine to remain employed or return to the office. Both the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries have released guidance stating that employers can mandate that employees get vaccinated.

 

See the source image

Already, idiocy prevails: just recently, I witnessed a manager of a nonprofit ask her employee in front of another employee in a public place within lots of people’s earshot: “Well, Rick, got his vaccination. So did I. Most everyone in the company has. But John hasn’t.”

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I knew this was a nonprofit this manager was a member of because I was within earshot. I offered an unsolicited response, trying to equate calling someone out in public for not having this experimental and not FDA-approved chemical shot. “How’s your BMI? You looking overweight? How’s your hypertension? You looking pink in the face? How’s your probable lung cancer? You just finished off a cigarette. Come on, shaming people for not agreeing to an untested chemical compound with that jab in the arm is unethical, and in public so I can hear your conversation?” She just clammed up and scooted her two employees away.

Imagine, fewer and fewer tough guys and gals can actually make it in USA (elsewhere too) with the power of what they can and cannot decide upon, that is, what they either want to and do not want to be injected into their bodies. Mind you, the jury is far from out on these chemical shots —

On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it had “issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the third vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” the Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) Covid-19 vaccine.

This announcement is virtually identical to the EUAs previously issued for Covid-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-Biontech and Moderna.

In each of the EUAs, the FDA has been careful to avoid any claim that the vaccines provide protection against infection or transmission of the virus. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have each publicly stated that the vaccines have NOT been shown to prevent infection or transmission.

All of their regulatory documents and commentary addressing the issue state clearly that there is no evidence that the vaccines affect either infection with or transmission of the virus, nor do they prevent symptoms of Covid-19 from appearing.

— Source:  “Covid Vaccine Nonsense” [US-based human rights lawyer breaks down the contradictory claims of “effectiveness”, the incomplete studies and legal minefield of forced use of experimental vaccines] JP Jerome

 

Let’s shift to some compare and contrast between vaccine makers and cigarette makers. I  just read a short but cogent article on the menthol marketing, how 45,000 black Americans die each year from tobacco related illnesses (mostly throat, tongue, and lung cancer). Talk about cool — mentholated cigarettes’ make the poisons go down easier. Everything goes down smoother with a little bit of throat deadening. And this is legal stuff. No massive “take all the cigarettes’ and Juul’s and pipes and cigars and chew cans away.”  “Menthol Marketing Exposes Institutional Racism” by Michael Schwalbe, Counterpunch.

But forced vaccinations, and then this pact with  the devil — at-will, zero protection: screw up and you get the pink slip bullshit about American capitalism. Sort of buyer beware, user beware, consumer beware, worker beware.

In the long run, the solution to the ongoing global pandemic of tobacco-related disease is to abolish tobacco companies. Short of that, we now have an opportunity to significantly curtail the industry’s ability to profit from the destruction of Black lives. If Black lives matter, we must not let the opportunity pass.

— Michael Schwalbe, professor of sociology at North Carolina State University Source.

Low income, lots of working class people, workers in the developing world. Slick multimillion dollar a year ad campaigns: Slick, and Scientific (sic). Data driven.  Imagine, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. Of these deaths, 1.2 million are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Talk about an epidemic, pandemic. You know that every rotting Southern pol and every single tobacco lobbyist and every grower and CEO, they pooh-pooh these stats. “Prove it. If it’s that deadly, then why’s it legal?”

The internet seems great at scrubbing information, but the reality is that when Ray-Gun left his criminal enterprise throne, he did some hucksterism stuff for the tobacco industry. He and Edwin Meese did a talking tour overseas to push cancer sticks.

Talk about killing people from his cold-ass grave, Reagan and the long arm of his contra mentality, still with us:

But the industry did not launch its campaign for new overseas markets alone. The Reagan and Bush administrations used their economic and political clout to pry open markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and China for American cigarettes. At a time when one arm of the government was warning Americans about the dangers of smoking, another was helping the industry recruit a new generation of smokers abroad.

Asia is where tobacco’s search for new horizons began and where the industry came to rely most on Washington’s help. U.S. officials in effect became the industry’s lawyers, agents and collaborators. Prominent politicians such as Robert J. Dole, Jesse Helms, Dan Quayle and Al Gore played a role. “No matter how this process spins itself out,” George Griffin, commercial counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, told Matthew N. Winokur, public affairs manager of Philip Morris Asia, in a “Dear Matt” letter in January 1986, “I want to emphasize that the embassy and the various U.S. government agencies in Washington will keep the interests of Philip Morris and the other American cigarette manufacturers in the forefront of our daily concerns.”  Source.

Why the harangue by yours truly against tobacco in a piece about how rotting the at-will mentality of big, small and loser companies run by bigger losers than anyone following the Peter Principle 2.0 [well, Peter Principle update: the worse you are as a human, with no ethics, no character, well, you go up the ladder, food chain, corporate manure pile!] can imagine forcing vaccines onto workers?

Think hard about an experimental mRNA chemical put into a syringe and then forcefully delivered to the global population. Hmm, would this have been acceptable in 2019? 2001? 1990? The year I was born, 1957?

Of course not, and yet, this is it, with people being shamed or called out for reluctance on an experimental, emergency authorized, untested chemical and DNA morphing drug being forcefully put into one’s body. Not once, but with a booster, and then, now, as the world burns, yearly or bi-yearly boosters for the “new” variants of a corona cold virus.

Here, this is science and capitalism, science/capitalism/politics, like leprosery and it’s host —

One way the tobacco industry has manipulated cigarettes to increase addictiveness is by loading cigarettes with chemical compounds. Bronchodilators were added so that tobacco smoke can more easily enter the lungs. Sugars, flavors and menthol were increased to dull the harshness of smoke and make it easier to inhale. Ammonia was added so that nicotine travels to the brain faster.

Specifically, increasing the amount of nicotine was of paramount importance to tobacco company executives. Experts found that Big Tobacco companies genetically engineered their tobacco crops to contain two times the amount of nicotine and adjusted their cigarette design so that the nicotine delivered to smokers increased by 14.5 percent. As Phillip Morris Principal Scientist W.L. Dunn said in 1972, “No one has ever become a cigarette smoker by smoking cigarettes without nicotine.”  — Source

Bronchodilators and ammonia added? Come on, my students at UTEP were finding more dirt on big tobacco and the collusion with the FDA, keeping secret under governmental lock and key all the ingredients they sprayed on tobacco before becoming the stuff of rolled cigs, cigars, pipe filler and chew. Think of secret doses of anti-convulsant drugs, since the higher nicotine content and the other burning chemicals cause many people to get ticks, minor tremors; i.e., seizures. Best keep the seizures down and the sales up.

Shoot, this is just the minor list of smoke by-products — Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for), Hydrogen cyanide, Formaldehyde, Lead, Arsenic, Ammonia, Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210, Benzene, Carbon monoxide, Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

These Satan’s, these big and little Eichmann types, these Mad Men, these PR spinners, these profiteers and cancer mercenaries, come on, the story is bigger — 600 ingredients can be used in cigarettes, but the actual combustion of the cig produces over 4,000 chemical compounds. And, when burned, these cigarette ingredients mix together and create deadly substances, 69 of which are carcinogenic.

Yeah, how’s that pandemic and pandemic and pandemic on the horizon. SARS-CoV2, 3, 5? Remember, there is no outright statement that declares cigarette smoking causes cancers or any number of other co-occurring diseases or terminal cancers.

So, if Big Tobacco and Gore and Reagan and Clinton and Trump, et al can stump just for this singular felonious Mafia outfit, what do you think might be happening behind closed doors and inside labs and at the top of the heap tied to exactly what this experimental vaccine’s (sic) side effects might do today, next month, a year from now, etc.?

For the good of the world? The economies? For life saving ethos? You got the memo yet? You want life saving? Shit, one product, tobacco, done with, hmm, what’s that life saving factor? Banned from planet earth, more or less. And how much for all the lost labor of huffing and puffing cig smokers . . .  all the flagging physiologies, all the damage, slow and fast, caused by cigs, et al? Ya think there will be a ban tomorrow?

Hmm, NEVER. Now, multiply that a million fold with all the deadly chemicals and toxins and fumigants and fungicides and off-gassing crap in all manner of clothes, combustible materials, food, drinks, drugs. Then multiple one times two, and then factor up. How do these work, hmm, twelve together, the impossibility of really studying the synergistic effects of one chemical interacting with another, or a dozen or 4,000? Hmm, those 4,000 chemicals in one good Marlboro man drag, what’s the toll?

You think there are governmental and private financed studies on that? Think.

According to comments from vaccine scientists in September 2020 (prior to the Covid-19 EUA issuances), no vaccine had ever before been distributed on an EUA basis.

“We don’t do EUAs for vaccines,” [Dr. Peter] Hotez said, “It’s a lesser review, it’s a lower-quality review, and when you’re talking about vaccinating a large chunk of the American population, that’s not acceptable.”

Three months later, the FDA issued EUAs for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but with explicit guidance that the vaccine “has not undergone the same type of review as an FDA- approved or cleared product.”

The idea is that if there are injuries and deaths because of the experimental and untested drugs-chemicals in these shots, well, who foots the bill? Who is responsible? Hmm, in the USA, it’s the US taxpayer.

I have a friend whose niece would not take “death by any other means” as the last answer. She is pushing for an investigation into her father’s death after the vaccine was given to him. He was 74, healthy, but he did have aging issues, like we all do. Blood clots occurred rapidly, hmm, and, then he checked out in a stroke like manner. This is after, right after, vaccination. The county coroner will not do an autopsy, and alas, there are no watchdog agencies in our corner. A simple autopsy would be $6,000. This is a suspicious vaccine-related death, and she has now gone on-line and gotten more people to email her about similar deaths after vaccination. She can’t put it on Facebook, too long or too detailed like, so she is getting contacted through GoFundMe. She’s doing this surreptitiously.  There will be no Ralph Nader’s or RFK, Jr.’s coming to her family’s aid.

Just like you can’t sue successfully the big tobacco and their technicians and chemists and MD’s and lawyers and CEO’s and the politicians and marketers for selling a dangerous product to a billion people, let alone the second and third hand smoke of these cancer sticks.

The post Methanol for the CoV2 Hypodermic Chemical Experiment first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Two Degrees of Separation

Zoom Lockup!

There’s this Zoom thing coming round the corner, once again — Earth Day 2021. The people on the Pacific Coast, Oregon, Central Coast with no industries, winds whipping up air vortices, and air as clean as what it might be in the middle of the ocean, and yet, we have the old white folk planning for some more Zoom Doom fun.

And not only is this a Zoom Doom “same old usual suspects yakking fest,” but, in fact, some local yokel and state yokel politicians get to bullshit their way through five minutes of nonsense.

The rules of Zoom like the rules of Earth Day 2021 are make nice, no contrarians, and alas, no one arguing. No criticism. Keep it upbeat and positive. Yep, we got Biden back in office — [Biden Backs Revival of His Brainchild: Plan Colombia 2.0 Set to Begin Next Month — Colombia is set to return to a massive aerial campaign of spraying Monsanto’s glyphosate across the country, a plan Biden once fought hard with his Republican colleagues to enact.]

That’s it, really, in the fake world of Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Clubhouse, Slack, and Zoom. There are a thousand major software peddlers readying the schmucks for a digital world of work, world of schooling, world of public engagement (disengagement), world of commerce,  world of culture, the world of arts, music, literature, world of medicine and health care.

Earth Day 2021 . . . 2022 . . .  2030!

On the one measly day of the year for celebrating ecosystems, waves, wind, soil, beach, harbor seals, eagles, gulls, cormorants, firs, pines and grasses, the decision to take this one indoors is emblematic of the colonized minds of the, shall I say, liberal class (sic). Neoliberal or demented Democratic minds.

No use asking me to make an alternative earth day for Lincoln County, some gathering on the beach or along a river (we have limitless beaches and thousands of creeks and rivers). In a rural community, in a community based on retirement, and then making dollars from travelers clogging Highway 101, clogging hotels, restaurants, rest stops, you can’t expect any solidarity. The fact that this school system and those white collar jobs are now Zoom Rooms/Jobs, brought to us in the privacy of their closets or garages or fancy offices, that baseline has shifted big time since the lock down of a year ago.

Talk about disruptive and destructive and killer technological shifts. No plan? Right!

Earth Day is Indigenous People’s Year

Yet, on a day of earth benediction, the day of bringing some socialist political zest to the table, a day when Native Americans and First Nations should be front and center, when consumerism-commercialism should be immolated in a symbolic burning of the sales receipts around a big fire, instead we have the Visual Display Terminal (as in terminal disease terminal) as our entry point and end point. One face to the crowd on the 14 inch screen, then our three minutes of Andy Warhol fame, and then, please move on. I am not on it this year, for sure, and last year I dragged myself to the thing.

Again, no expletives, no anti-Americanism, no antiwar, anti-patriotism or anti-politician rhetoric or song or poem. Keep it quaint, upbeat, positive.

I’ve been in this rodeo before — and I polemicized it too, here, at Dissident Voice:  “Zooming Newport’s Climate Awareness Earth Day 2020/April 21st, 2020“.

It is, of course, deja vu, and that’s how the lords of capital want it — triangulation, and fear and, well, push those outliers out. I have found in the past year, more of the jobs, gigs, people I interface/associate with, and other movements I have been a part of have turned into an “us (them) against them (me)” sick Nazi-like defamation of truth. Any critique of the one-party duopoly, any criticism of Harris or Biden, any criticism of the reality of this hegemon, USA, sick before Trump, sick during Trump, sick after Trump, and you not only get ostracized, but penalized. Stitched on Scarlet Letter A for ‘anarchist,’ red being the underpinning of what it means to be a ‘communist-socialist.’

Take the money and run — that’s the motto, and so, before introducing a short animated video about climate heating and those two degrees Celsius, we have a bit of Haeder banter.

Particles in the Atmosphere and Ozone

Don’t let them fool you that 100 or so rocket launches a year (thus far on average, about to go to 200 and then 500) don’t emit much pollution and carbon dioxide in the scheme of things. How much embedded energy to mine that crap, all those wires, metals, plastics, strategic shit, and the electricity, and the transportation? All those human lifetimes expended for Whitey on the Moon, as opposed to stopping the eviscerations of the planet. Right, that isn’t doled out as carbon dioxide emissions. Off-shored, out-sourced, embedded pollution. Forget about the destabilization of those countries where this shit is illegally mined and stolen. Again, science is broken when the capitalists hire scientists to help them steal, pollute, harvest, ruin, destroy, butcher.

See the source image

With that, how can we not rethink a 51-year-old poem, wisdom in a jazz bottle, Gil Scott Heron and Whitey on the Moon. The point of the song-poem runs deeper now than what Gil was alluding to then, because, if you think about cooptation, think about how many other cultures and nationalities are racing for the moon, for the red planet, the song’s updated title might be “Capitalists on the Moon.”

There’s no getting around the fact China and USA are capitalist, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (devolution) is about mastering control of the entire populations of those countries (and that is now Canada, India, EU, Japan, Australia, et al), outside the super-class of folk in the capital dictatorships.

What China or USA or UK or Japan or Musk or DoD or any of them want on the moon or mars, well, it’s not for the good of mankind, womankind, children-kind.

The inverse is the actual affect — more 5 and 6 G, more wasted and polluting energy. More rockets and blasting satellites and millions of human lifetimes spent on this project, and the outcome/outflow are less solutions for the commons here on terra firma. There will be no reversing ocean acidification or ocean inundation or blasting heat waves, or deluges or dwindling snow-pack, or melting ice with these money-drenched projects of megalomania in space.

The fact is, food can be grown agro-dynamically. People can live off a much much smaller energy footprint. Industries can be owned by the people for real durable goods that last, hmm, half a lifetime or more? Public trains and trolleys and light-rail, that’s not what the Musk-DoD-China projects are about.  Fisheries can’t be restored, Fukushima isotopes can’t be corralled in, human global health and universal “correct” education can never be the end product of these space flights. They are a complete and utter contradiction.

We know it, and they know it, and we the people have been bamboozled into disbelieving what we see-hear-touch right in front of us. They (masters of finance) are in it for more money, power, wealth, control.

You can have atom splitters, neutrino collectors, sunspot probes, but, again, don’t try to pull the bullshit capitalist-militarist wool over my eyes: none of that stops the toll of poverty-hunger-war physically weathering billions of people’s lives to the point of lifespans cut down by 10 years or more compared to the stem-cell sucking, human growth hormone eating great white hopes in the Lizard Clan.

Water on mars? Asteroids with ancient ice? Club Meds in orbit?  You know, none of that is for humanity.

[Drifting plumes created by the Space Shuttle Atlantis]

Alumina and black carbon from rockets can stick around in the stratosphere for three to five years. As these materials collect high above the Earth, they can have interesting effects on the air. Black carbon forms a thin layer that intercepts and absorbs the sunlight that hits Earth. “It would act as a thin, black umbrella,” says Martin Ross, a senior project engineer at the Aerospace Corporation who studies the effects of rockets on the atmosphere. That may help keep the lower atmosphere cool, but the intercepted energy from the Sun doesn’t just go away; it gets deposited into the stratosphere, warming it up. This warming ultimately causes chemical reactions that could lead to the depletion of the ozone layer.

The reflective alumina particles can also affect the ozone but in a different way. Whereas the soot acts like a black umbrella, the alumina acts like a white one, reflecting sunlight back into space. However, chemical reactions occur on the surface of these white particles, which, in turn, destroy the ozone layer, Ross says.

Diet for Parasites of Capitalism — 8 by 10 condo on Devils Island

It’s sort of like the anti-diabetes diet — cut down on white food (rice, bread, pasta, potatoes), walk more, drink water, take a few natural herbs, suck on cinnamon, get flavonoids, pig out on leafy vegetables, stop the EMF’s in  your sleeping space, stop the anxiety of TV-Movies-Facebook. Or, what about the real process of land reclamation? It takes removing the trash, the toxins, and then rebuilding the soil, replanting with native plants, readjusting the land to its natural eco-state.

Simple solutions. And, it’s never going to be rocket science that helps the planet, people or others in the animal and plant kingdoms.

Don’t be fooled by Netflix, the Dystopia Stories, the Bizarre Bumbling Cop-Spy-Soldier-Super Hero soap operas. None of that is reality, and, the shortcuts that capitalism has exacted on Mother Earth, well, after more than 300 years of the trillions of lies, here we are, Whitey on the Moon, 51 years after Gil Scott Heron sang it” !!

We have a poem here
It’s called “Whitey on the Moon”
And, uh, it was inspired, it was inspired
By some whiteys on the moon
So I wanna give credit where credit is due

A rat done bit my sister Nell
With whitey on the moon
Her face and arms began to swell
And whitey’s on the moon

I can’t pay no doctor bills
But whitey’s on the moon
Ten years from now, I’ll be paying still
While whitey’s on the moon

You know, the man just upped my rent last night
‘Cause whitey’s on the moon
No hot water, no toilets, no lights
But whitey’s on the moon

I wonder why he’s uppin’ me
‘Cause whitey’s on the moon?
Well I was already given him fifty a week
And now whitey’s on the moon

Taxes takin’ my whole damn check
The junkies make me a nervous wreck
The price of food is goin’ up
And as if all that crap wasn’t enough

A rat done bit my sister Nell
With whitey on the moon
Her face and arms began to swell
And whitey’s on the moon

With all that money I made last year
For whitey on the moon
How come I ain’t got no money here
Hmm, whitey’s on the moon

You know I just about had my fill
Of whitey on the moon
I think I’ll send these doctor bills
Airmail special (to whitey on the moon)

To whitey on the moon
Thank you

Old whitey now ready to build millions of carbon dioxide sucking machines. Old whitey ready for terra-forming on Mars. Old whitey looking to mess with the water cycle, the cloud systems, the first 15 meters of biological life on the oceans with iron shavings. Old whitey and his and her geoengineering.

Whitey is way beyond just blasting to the moon. Old whitey is messing with DNA, genetically engineering not just crops. Welcome the GMO human, a la vaccines.

It’s not such a far cry from Zoom Earth Day to Genetically Modified Humanity.

The Future of Food (2004) is an older documentary, but shit-dog, says it all, says it all:

Again, this is not some super complicated Jungian and Freudian hierarchy of needs intellectual jujitsu. Food, water, shelter, home, hearth, community, safety. Yes, art and communal education. Intergenerational and multi-diverse communities. Again, it is about eating and living, music and art, forests and savannas, mountains and valleys, rivers and wetlands, reefs and mangroves, and, well, you get the picture.

It’s not about 5 or 6 G, or about Whitey on the Moon. Many of us know that, inherently. And, many of us who are devoted followers of democracy on top and socialism as the under girder, we also are in “their house,” that is, as the African slave on Turtle Island stated, “It’s the slave master’s house I’m working in, and not one second of a day do I believe I am in my house, that any aspect of this house negro status puts me in any better position than the field slave who slaves under a hot sun, battles cottonmouths, the toil of an ox.”

The Future of Food is really the future is food!!

The reality is back to those global average rise in temperature, that so-called two degrees Celsius.

Global heating affects ecosystems that provide food.

Oceans  provide people with about 20 percent of their dietary protein. Ocean acidification caused by climate change makes it difficult  for thousands of species, including oysters, crabs and corals, to form protective shells, which in turn disrupts the food web.

On land, an increase of 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) would double our water deficit leading a drop in wheat and maize harvests.

Thermometer on beach

Pat DeLaquil contacted me. I included him in on another piece in DV “Plastic Meets the Road and Capitalism’s Role in Climate Change” with the subtitle, Earth Day & Capitalism Like Vinegar and Oil?

Here’s what Pat stated a year ago —

What drives capitalism to extremes? Two things: this hyper-individualism of the Ayn Rand economic school which purports everyone is unique and must fight for himself or herself to acquire as much as possible. And, two, patriarchy which indoctrinates young children into believing this hierarchy of male control. This belief that males are not caring about social issues, the environment, and females are not supposed to speak their minds when confronted with this apparent destructive system.

He reached out to me just recently:

Public awareness of the climate crisis is growing but support for mitigation efforts is still insufficient to reach the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial.  This is partially due to the fact that some aspects of the science, which are truly alarming for those who are able to understand them, are confusing and mysterious to many others.   Humans all over the planet conduct their daily lives in temperatures that range from -50°F to over 100°F.  So they are understandably confused when scientists describe the dire consequences of a further increase in Earth’s annual average temperature of only 1.8°F (1°C).  The Metro Climate Action Team made this short video to help build understanding of why so little means so much!

I sent Pat a quick email with some softball questions. What follows it the Q & A to: ‘Just a short response for each one. Thanks, Paul!’

Paul Haeder: What was your role in producing this animated film?

Pat DeLaquil: I came up with the concept and bounced the idea around with several MCAT members using clip art.  Then we developed a script with where several of us contributed to editing and refining the message.  Once we were happy with the storyboard and script, I placed the task on a platform called Upwork, and found an artist that did motion graphics, which are much cheaper than real animation.  The entire process took well over 6 months.

PH: Who is the intended audience for this and how does that audience access this?

PDL: We believe we have several target audiences among people who accept that climate change is happening, but don’t realize how bad the crisis can quickly get and why strong action is needed now.  We believe this group broadly includes people with children and grandparents, as well as civic groups and the faith community.

PH: Explain your background in research climate change — two sentences.

PDL: I have been a leader in the commercialization of clean and renewable energy technologies for over 40 years, and for the last 20 years I have run a small business that develops and uses models to perform policy analyses on behalf of donors, governments and the private sector to identify optimal pathways for achieving economic development and environmental goals.   I have lead the formation of two clean energy start-up companies and earlier lead the development of two key solar energy development projects: PV for Utility Scale Applications (PV-USA)  and the 10 MW Solar Two Power Tower Project.

I have a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a B.Sc. in Marine Engineering from the US Merchant Marine Academy, and have authored of over 90 papers, reports, and articles on solar and renewable energy including chapters in two books on renewable energy technology.

PH: Three reasons you believe people in the USA still have difficulty understanding global warming, ocean warming, ice and glacial melting.

PDL: It’s very much like the responses we’ve seen to the pandemic.  Disinformation and deliberate politicization of the issue are strategies used by the right (dominated by fossil fuel interests and their fellow corporate oligarchs).  The second reason is that most people are busy with life – just making end meet between jobs, kids and – even before the pandemic, so it’s easy to ignore or deny the severity of the issue or just hope someone does something.  Third, some people in industries that rely of fossil fuels feel threatened that all this is just a plot to take away their lifestyles.

PH: What do you hope this short animated flick will do to move policy makers, capitalists, businesses and national governments to work on the very difficult issue of ocean level rise, inundation, extreme weather events, crop failures, unlivable conditions in many many tropical or subtropical urban spaces.

PDL: We really hope that this video will motivate people, who are not yet active, to become more engaged in pushing their elected officials to act quickly to combat climate change.

And so another earth day, couched on Zoom (how much energy does a Google search use, how much energy for Facebook servers, how much energy for Bezos and his Global Cloud Server monopoly?).

Pat’s sincere about this short animated PSA, and he wants to do the right thing. Of course, earth day should be indigenous people’s day, farmer-land steward day, animal and ocean day. But we will continue to get “Whitey on Mars” day coming out of the voice boxes of the  masters for this co-opted Bono-DiCaprio Earth Day– financial masters. That Fourth Industrial revolution, that globalized capital blitzkrieg, the eugenics of Gates and the GMO Generals, and  that digital dashboard, the compliancy demanded of the majority of people on earth, all for Whitey on the Moon . . . or Mars.

See the source image

The post Two Degrees of Separation first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Milquetoast for all Three Meals: All’s Dumb in the United States of A

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
— aphorism

There is dumb-downing, cancel culture (I’ve been cancelled since beginning in 1972 in high school, way before the trendy terminology), forced consent, manufactured bifurcation,  false balance, triangulation, perception as reality, equivocation, a host of propaganda techniques unleashed by Edward Bernays and Goebbels,  and the ugly quartet of  Infantilization-McDonaldization–Walmartization-Disneyfication:

George Ritzer introduced the concept of McDonaldization with his 1993 book, The McDonaldization of Society. Since that time the concept has become central within the field of sociology and especially within the sociology of globalization.

According to Ritzer, the McDonaldization of society is a phenomenon that occurs when society, its institutions, and its organizations are adapted to have the same characteristics that are found in fast-food chains. These include efficiency, calculability, predictability and standardization, and control.

Ritzer’s theory of McDonaldization is an update on classical sociologist Max Weber’s theory of how scientific rationality produced bureaucracy, which became the central organizing force of modern societies through much of the twentieth century. According to Weber, the modern bureaucracy was defined by hierarchical roles, compartmentalized knowledge and roles, a perceived merit-based system of employment and advancement, and the legal-rationality authority of the rule of law. These characteristics could be observed (and still can be) throughout many aspects of societies around the world. — Source 

Understanding the Phenomenon of McDonaldization

Now, we know infantilization was once applied just to young people, teenagers and such, giving them the one-two punch of treating them as if they have the mental capacity of a four-year or six-year old (now, the nanny-state, and the SARS-CoV2 paranoia and ignorance, making youth think a virus leaps from the ground outside while running in track by themselves will give them the DARPA virus — even DARPA isn’t that good, hail to virologist bomb makers at Fort Detrick and Plum Island). Underestimating the potential of 16-year-olds to understand “our” adult world, or the complexities of society. You know, give a 16-year-old the right to vote since it is that group most affected by the bad bad brew of politics and electioneering that will effect them the most and longest. Nope. That concept of infant-making of the American mind, of course, has been scaled up to an entire society fed on pabulum, cultivated through mass media that are geared to childish concepts of consumerism, fear, patriotism, and celebrity culture and bowing to the rich and famous.

Patronizing might be just one aspect of infantilization, but believe you me, I have been in many arenas — social work, education (higher and K12), environmentalism, union organizing, politics, journalism, the arts (literary, photography), urban planning …  and then in so many workplaces as an organizer and social services specialist. I’ve seen some dumbdowning and infatalizing and agnotology from supposed brightest and best coming out of elite Ivy Leadure schools. What has happened in the USA is one broad infantilization and massive Collective Stockholm Syndrome. It took 50 years, or 60.

Walmartization is pretty simple and deadly — Large chain stores moving (bulldozing) into a region (neighborhoods) which then not only devastate local businesses driving and then displacing those workers into low paying chain store jobs, but the money made by these national and multinational chains  leaves the community. It could be a bank chain, or hardware chain. That Home Depot is moving profits to shareholders, to the huge monster at the head of the huge serpent that kills local enterprise, local community support. Community of place is replaced by the transnational community of purpose — that purpose being profits anyway possible, and cutting labor costs, benefits, health and safety. Hell, get those workers on state Obama Care, food stamps, and the leftover public assistance. If you work at Amazon, what’s so wrong with three workers living in a beat up RV?  That Walmartization is about economies of scale, eating the soul of small manufacturers, small retail businesses, mom and pop’s, and, alas, the money leaves the community and goes to the highly paid family owners or company roughriders — the Cabal of millionaires, multimillionaires, hedge funds, and billionaires that are to put it kindly, bloodsuckers, and viruses.

NYC Educator: The Walmartization of Education

Disneyfication is a sophisticated intended and unintended set of processes that basically strips a real place (built environment, nature, etc.) or thing of its original character. That is the strip-mall which has boom and busted, and the great 200 acre malls, or the same 7-11 in a million places, as well as those Starbucks shit stores placed everywhere including the bathrooms. It is both a sanitization of real life, of real character, of real communities. Again, anything negative — like telling the real history of this Indian-killing, slave-owning/killing, union-busting/killing, global terror cop propagating country (sic) —  is removed, hidden, and then, here we are, with facts that are dumbed down with the psychological and marketing intention of rendering any negative, truthful, hurtful subject more pleasant and easily grasped. Replacing the real bar, the real bookstore, the real coffee shop, the real bodega, the real restaurant, the real park, the real playground, the real forest, the real wetlands, the real swamp, the real everglades, the real farm, with something either idealized … or giving something tourist-friendly veneer. There is a fake “Main Street, U.S.A.” everywhere,  and then the ugly side of what makes Milquetoast (but globally deadly) United States of Amerigo Vespucci a dying, wasteful, broken, rotting country.

The Disneyfication of Edinburgh – Bella Caledonia

Now, below will be a short Opinion piece I penned quickly to help my county to realize we have yet another deficit — lack of a literacy initiative, literacy center, literacy professionals and volunteers to help people learn how to read, learn how to decipher children’s schools’ labyrinthine rules and guidelines. To participate in this 21st century, or the Century before this one and the one before that one: learning how to read, and to critically evaluate all the snake oil labels, all the scams, all the hidden fees-tolls-poles-fines-add-ons, to call spade a spade when PayDay comes to town, or when red-lining rules the roost, or when complete and total neighborhoods are fleeced financially, culturally and environmentally.

1963,1966: Campaigns to Repeal Texas Poll Taxes | South Texas Rabble Rousers History Project

Literacy — And I have been at that game since, well, since my first year of college, University of Arizona. I’ve taught in prisons where lack of literacy is one big reason for many being locked away. I ran a communications program at a large military base (Fort Bliss, El Paso) where privates all the way to five or six striper NCOs had reading grade levels of 4 or 5 or 6. That’s fourth, fifth and sixth grade (if they were lucky).

I’ve written about this before — cartoon instructional manuals (usually with a buxom blonde white woman as the instructor in series after series cartoon strips) bending over to show how to arm a Stinger missile or how to use a Vulcan machine missile gun.

The U.S. Army Had an M-16 Comic Book | by War Is Boring | War Is Boring | Medium

If reading isn’t important, than, I suppose every single law drawn up by ALEC and every single omnibus bill, every war lord’s thousand-page contract for this or that bound-to-be-triple-cost overrun killing systems, whether in the air, on the water, underwater, on land, in space, over the web, inside telephones and computers, or inside a bacteria or virus just is not that important.

To the point where 9 or 11 trillion dollars is missing from DoD, and how many trillions have been shelled out to war lords, bankers, virus mercenaries, poverty profiteers?

That I have to work on getting one person into a volunteer-run literacy program as if I am writing the new laws or formulating something unique is troubling (read my Op-Ed piece below).

Functional or complete illiteracy. Remember Jonathan Kozol:

Kozol believes that liberal education in our inner-city schools has been increasingly replaced by “culturally barren and robotic methods of instruction that would be rejected out of hand by schools that serve the mainstream of society.”

Oh baby, did I have Kozol on speed dial in the college classes I taught —

  • Kozol, Jonathan. Death at an Early Age: The Destruction of the Hearts and Minds of Negro Children in the Boston Public Schools. Houghton, 1967, revised edition, New American Library, 1985.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Illiterate America. Anchor/Doubleday, 1985.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. On Being a Teacher. Continuum, 1981.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope. Crown, 2000.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools. Crown, 1991.
  • Kozol, Jonathan. Shame of the Nation: The restoration of apartheid schooling in America. Crown, 2005.

This is what Studs Terkel said about Kozol’s Illiterate America — “Stunning… with passion and eloquence Kozol reveals a devastating truth… and offers a challenge and remedy.”  Source

If it is any comfort to this man, he should know that he is not alone. Twenty-five million American adults cannot read the poison warnings on a can of pesticide, a letter from their child’s teacher, or the front page of a daily paper. An additional 35 million read only at a level which is less than equal to the full survival needs of our society.

Together, these 60 million people represent more than one third of the entire adult population.

The largest numbers of illiterate adults are white, native-born Americans. In proportion to population, however, the figures are higher for blacks and Hispanics than for whites. Sixteen percent of white adults, 44 percent of blacks, and 56% of Hispanic citizens are functional or marginal illiterates. Figures for the younger generation of black adults are increasing. Forty-seven percent of all black seventeen-year-olds are functionally illiterate. That figure is expected to climb to 50 percent by 1990. — Kozol, Illiterate America

Now, that was from a book Kozol wrote 36 years ago. THIRTY-SIX. Those numbers above pale in comparison to this year’s averages. Since we have 335 million in this country, and alas, functional illiteracy is at an all-time high, a larger percentage of people are duped, fooled, cheated, imprisoned, bankrupted, scammed, and structurally murdered because they can’t read or can’t understand what they are reading. Make that 80 percent of people reading the car-seat instructions for their loved one’s safety, in fact, install the car seat INCORRECTLY after reading a 7th grade level set of simple instructions.

Image below: Jonathan Kozol a long time ago teaching reading

Why do I use milquetoast in the title? Here, Kozol, telling it like it is about Dumb Downed USA, with Sleepy Joe — “Joe Biden’s shameful record on school segregation

Advocates for children and civil rights who have not yet given up entirely on the struggle to break down the walls of racial isolation in our public schools may want to take a good hard look at Joe Biden’s shameful record on school segregation. Despite his recent effort to allay concerns about that record, it cannot be expunged or easily forgiven.

In an education-policy proposal released by his campaign on May 28, Biden briefly spoke of encouraging diversity by giving grants and guidance to districts that are willing to pursue it. But he said nothing to disown his long history as a fierce opponent of school busing and a scathing critic of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Milquetoast to all the idiots who fight me tooth and nail when I explicitly state I never have or never will vote for a democrat or republican for president. That a two-minute scribble exercise called voting does absolutely ZERO for me, and for the causes I fight for, including a literacy center in every rural, suburban, urban community.

Illiteracy is bad all around, but oh is it sweet to the bankers, real estate folk, the doctors, lawyers, accountants, IRS, military, marketers, flimflam folk that rule this country …  as you will read in the short piece I did for the small twice a week rag, Newport News TimesBut what makes this country a house of horrors and run by corporate and war lord whores, is how all of those elites and monsters conspire to make people dumb downed, and that is the McDonaldization-Walmartization-Infantalization-Disneyfication of everything.

Literacy is a matter of life and death, happiness or penury

I used to get my elbows up into many literacy projects as an English and writing faculty member at community colleges, universities, prison school programs and writing/journalism workshops for people who are exploited because of their status as low income or as former felons, and those homeless citizens as well as adults living with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Events like “Banned Books Month” (October) or National Poetry Month (April) I worked hard to promote/support. Big journalism organizations like Project Censored and groups like Reporters without Borders are still in my blood.

I am now working again in a small rural community dotted with small towns. I am not only supporting folks with job development and on-the-job training and coaching, but I am helping two Lincoln County citizens with reading literacy.

In my situation with Shangri-La, these two are adult men in their 30s who are seeking reading literacy programs.

It may come as a surprise to citizens, lawmakers and politicians alike, but Lincoln County does not have a literacy center. There is no one-stop place for people who need literacy tutoring, whether they are functionally illiterate in their English skills as a U.S.-born citizen, or those who are English as a second/third language learners.

I’m working with a Salem group, Mid-Valley Literacy Center (founded in 2009). Vivian Ang is my contact who is helping train Newport and Toledo-based citizens to help tutor my two clients. This is not an easy task, and Vivian, with more than 20 years of tutoring including at Chemeketa Community College, says it’s hit or miss.

“I do not have any experience with assisting an adult with a learning disability (developmental disability) to learn how to read,” she has repeated to me several times.

An adult who drives a car, works at a factory, runs a large piece of construction equipment, lives on his own and presents as a “regular sort of guy” can be in one of the most dire of circumstances — functional and complete illiteracy.

Wanting to learn how to read when you are in your 30s takes guts. There are stigmas for someone who can’t read an insurance form or simple job application.

The need is high in Lincoln County for adults like this client of mine — born in Newport and educated in Newport’s K-12 system, including special education classes — to learn how to read. But we have many from Mexico, Guatemala and other countries in our communities where learning how to read and speak English is more than just a step toward better pay.

Vivian tells me a story about an Oregon woman, from Mexico, illiterate in English, who had a sick daughter who needed medication to improve. The prescription stated, “Take this medication once a day.” In Spanish, once is the word for the number 11, so, tragically, the mother followed the prescription contextualized in her Spanish reading abilities. At 11 times a day, after a few days, the medication killed her two-year-old daughter.

Navigating housing, employment, the legal system, utility companies, landlords, cultural activities, and representative politics are basically off limits to a person who can’t read or write. The amount of exploitation, fines, fees, garnishments, late payments and other penalties is a regular occurrence for people who can’t read and write.

According to the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy (founded 1991), low literacy in the USA costs us as a society $2.2 trillion a year. According to U.S. Department of Education, more than half of U.S. adults aged 16 to 74 years old (54 percent or 130 million people) lack proficiency in literacy, reading below the equivalent of a sixth-grade level.

For my many clients across the board, lack of reading, low reading levels and functional illiteracy can be linked to poorer health, low levels of civic engagement and low earnings in the labor market. On average, more than 70 percent of people following the seventh grade reading level for instructions on how to install an infant car seat fail to follow the proper steps.

I am enlisting tutors for my two clients. I have a librarian and a library technician on board. Three retired women living in Toledo and Newport, too. One of my client’s workplaces is stepping up and paying the nonprofit Vivian runs for the materials and training. That general manager is also providing a private space with internet access to his worker (I’ll call him Samuel) who is illiterate.

He tells me, “I wish I had 22 Samuel’s working for me. He’s an incredible worker, reliable, goes the extra mile.” Source

 

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Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts

The final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concludes that the project has been ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’. Two key claims underpin this narrative: that global poverty has been cut in half, and global hunger nearly in half, since 1990. This good-news narrative has been touted by the United Nations and has been widely repeated by the media. But closer inspection reveals that the UN’s claims about poverty and hunger are misleading, and even intentionally inaccurate. The MDGs have used targeted statistical manipulation to make it seem as though the poverty and hunger trends have been improving when in fact they have worsened. In addition, the MDGs use definitions of poverty and hunger that dramatically underestimate the scale likely of these problems. In reality, around four billion people remain in poverty today, and around two billion remain hungry – more than ever before in history, and between two and four times what the UN would have us believe. The implications of this reality are profound. Worsening poverty and hunger trends indicate that our present model of development is not working and needs to be fundamentally rethought.

— Jason Hickel, Third World Quarterly , Volume 37, 2016 – Issue 5

*–*

How could these two cohorts, the 85 richest and 3.5 billion poorest, have the same amount of wealth? The great majority of the 3.5 billion have no net wealth at all. Hundreds of millions of them have jobs that hardly pay enough to feed their families. Millions of them rely on supplements from private charity and public assistance when they can. Hundreds of millions are undernourished, suffer food insecurity, or go hungry each month, including many among the very poorest in the United States.

Most of the 3.5 billion earn an average of $2.50 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world population accounts for just 5 percent of all global income. About 80 percent of all humanity live on less than $10 a day. And the poorest 50 percent maintain only 7.2 percent of the world’s private consumption. How exactly could they have accumulated an amount of surplus wealth comparable to the 85 filthy richest?

Michael Parenti

Genocide Phnom Penh

Staggering, no,  the memory hole shoveling going on and perpetrated by elites in commerce, weapons, media, education, a la industrial complexes in the second decade of the 21st Century? Like plagues of locusts. Leeches two hundred worth per hominid, and the tapeworm eats the last, next and current generation like a desiccating alien of our nightmares.

The more light shining on the criminals, spotlights onto the military war lords, floodlights on the entire punishment cabal in governments, in corporations, in policing and uniformed military agencies, the more that bearing witness just peters out. It flags the average Yankee, and the doodle dandy is football, flicks and frolicking with furious caloric intent.

Welcome to the West. Then, the mind-numbing retorts to the initiation of discourse, of legitimate discussion about the ails of the world, largely set loose by the captains of industries — the military-media-legal-medical-penal-computing-financial-education-energy-AI-real estate-poison-agriculture COMPLEX. And, boy, is it never really “complex” — it’s about the art of the steal, the art of the scam, the art of the grift, the art of the toll-fine-fee-garnishment-penalty-tax-attachment set forth by the lobbies of the lords of death with the Eichmann’s of Bureaucracy greasing the skids and oiling the wheels. Keep those hedge funds going, the trains running, the profits heaping.

  • “We can only take so much trauma.”
  • “The human brain can’t take so much truth.”
  • “Trigger Warning; The Following Stories About Wealth for the Rich and Poverty for the rest of Us Might Cause Spasms of Collective Amnesia, Anxiety, Animosity.”
  • “There is no meek shall inherit the earth. We are talking about the meek and the poor inheriting the toxins, pollutants, the penury, the profound suffering inflicted upon them generation after generation by the rich and their enablers, the ultimate evil — those turning a blind eye to suffering, raping, razing, murdering.”

I’m getting it from all angles, really, the tired, the over-educated (in terms of college but not in terms of smarts). The tired middle class. Retired and one-trick phony environmentalist ponies. All those huffing and puffing and blowing down the Trump Towers, folk who are self-blinding themselves, as if bearing the truth of Biden et al, as well as bearing the weight of protecting Everything/Anything Empire, while the chorus of War Mongering Democrats a la LGBTQA-+ sing ‘Hallelujah, No More Trump’ puts them right smack where Oedipus was, exposed to the truth and overcome with shame, grief, and remorse. Poking eyes out is the least the people who follow the perverse leaders should do.

Except, their blinding is symbolic, life-long, from womb to cradle to grave, as in turning a blind eye to the roots, the very radical cause of all the suffering, the police no-knocks, the cesium floating in lungs and bellies, and a dozen other micro-particles from this or that nuclear fallout incident. Symbolic and demonstrative of the kill-for-profits Capitalism.

It is too too much for the masses — The Truth —  so we all have to gather round the Zoom screen, tune into Amazon Prime, and sing, Give Peace a Chance while the world is fleeced by the billionaires, but also those millionaires (we tend to give millionaires, multi-millionaires a get-out-of-jail pass, when they too are the culprits helping spread that poisonous fallout).

Professor Bernd Grambow (co-author from IMT Atlantique) added “the present work, using cutting-edge analytical tools, gives only a very small insight in the very large diversity of particles released during the [Fukushima] nuclear accident, much more work is necessary to get a realistic picture of the highly heterogeneous environmental and health impact.”

Lockdowns for a flu virus, lockdowns for free thought, lockups for free speech, lock and loaded for the Empire, shackled to bills-mortgages-policies-ballooning debt…. BUT  for fuck’s sake, we can’t lock-down the fossil fuel monsters, lock-up the Fukushima shills, shutdown the Olympics, punish and quell the military saber rattlers (read: purveyors of nuclear- chemical-bacterial-viral-digital-intergalactic weaponry).

Business as usual is a trillion easy dollars in Pandemic Profits, and a cool several trillion more with mandatory masking, Zooming, SARS-CoV2,3,4,5,6 annual vaccinations and semi-annual boosters.

Passports to their hell. Yet, when you talk to a Kamala Harris floozy, well, they get teary eyed, sing the All Spangled Banner of Buffoonery, and then tell you to hit the road, no more Haeder in their House.

Literally, people want nothing of politics, or the reveal — showing how their own colonized and kettled thinking under the guise of “liberal” looting under the Democrat Vote has always been part of the problem, not any solution to the world thievery or a pathway to  world peace.

So What is The Answer?

It is not a $64,000 question, for sure, since the answer is collectively simple, easily repeated, easily understood, Yet, that is the jig, always looking for the messiah, or having their cake (capitalism) and eating it (profits-profits-profits) too. They are limited and limiting, and they gladly take the Kool-Aide and mix in a shot of Jack Daniels and a jigger of high fructose fizz.

Resisting for them is not an option. If they can’t converse, frame, contextualize, harmonize, recount, go back in history, recall the scene of the crime(s), then how the hell can these same folk who ask, Well, you sure know how to criticize and go on and on about the ills of Capitalism, but show me any other system that works. Humanity is humanity, whether in the center of Wall Street or out on the Rez?

This is their thinking, their great retort, and so, how do we get to that point where we just get to the basics, the Cornel West basics– Watch his rumble in the jungle: At Harvard, the worst kind of man-eating institution, along with a few hundred elite schools on this side and that side of the pond:

Listen to him, watch him, feel his presence of soul, Dr. West. Not a perfect man, thank god!

So, what is the answer? Justice. Social-spiritual-ecological-cultural-gender-age-racial-ethnic-ecnonmic-educational-food-energy JUSTICE? Using the inverse, the answer is the whole human-whole earth, toward holism, embedded in systems thinking, what it means to have the commons, what it is to be a society among other societies that is ecologically-based, agrarian-centered, humanistic-thriving, environmentally-aware, is, well, the opposite formulation of these Gandhian sins:

Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce (Business) Without Morality (Ethics)
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle

It doesn’t take much K12 education and applied learning to understand that reversing these sins and following the antithesis would illuminate the bearable weight of being a human in the world, triggering change at a global and galactical level. Prometheus steals the fire from the gods and gives it to people. Bound to the mountain. Prometheus grows weary. The future, oh, the future, swallowed up by that lack of hope. Let us all be Prometheus, and help each other take from the thieves, the rich, and give warmth and fire to the world. Unbound us together. Break the chains of the illicit gods and their devils.

Really, though, one person’s hope is another person’s oppression. In capitalism, there is the king of the dung heap, the winner being the one who dies with the most toys. Dog-eat-dog, and survival of the most unfit (using the Seven Sins of Humanity above as illustrative of what makes capitalism really zip along).

In Western culture, it all might seem like a Greek Tragedy of Trailer Park or Mar-a-lago proportions. It might all seem like a hardscrabble blues tribute to American stick-to-it-ness. That hardened soul, as DH Lawrence ascribed —

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.

We know that Western soul is a killer from the womb — those royals and despicable ones from the Old World, those Belgium in the Congo, those Romans, those hard, soldiering, religious zealots, hand in hand with silver chalice and golden rosary, those kings and queens, launching the deplorable ones, the rabble into crusades of raping-ravaging-razing. There is no “American soul” without the British slave traders-merchants-purchasers; no American soul without the French and Spanish interlopers. The American soul is part and parcel those former Nazis and the money-changers, the globalists looking for a micro-penny for every human corpuscle exploited in their gaming humanity. This is Turtle Island, not some chunk of land named for an Italian map maker for the king.

Now that’s a dark dark killer that never melts — Capitalism.  It is now cleaned up, a la Madison Avenue and slick green-blue-pink-white washing, no longer presented as cold, stoic, but happy, illustrious, coopting, brainwashing, gleeful, the ice cream truck coming to serve all the children with gooey goodies. Shifty, slick, liberal, slippery, hip. It is now a virus inside a thousand viruses —

A democratic society shapes itself – by means of the participation of its citizens in discussing and deciding how things should be organised and to what ends.

But, as even their name reveals, the Global Shapers want to “shape” society from above and in their own interests.

This is not the solution to global problems, and, the rockets and payloads of Bezos and Musk and DoD and the rest of the capitalists looking for lucre and gold on Mars and the Moon. Reset is not rebounding. Reset is not reconvening the true holistic way of life. Reset is not returning to a point in time in our civilizations where we come together in mutual aid, live a biodynamic present and future, hold onto sacred tribal principles, understand the soil-air-water. The reset is not a return to sanity, actualization for woman, man, child, ecosystem. This reset is the rich’s bargain basement theft of our agency, our independence, our collective will to strike at them as the felons of our time. Their reset is tracking our every movement, each blink of the eye, each snore and defecation. This reset is about pulling strings, forcing the Faustian Bargain each moment. They will fine-garnish-withhold-penalize-criminalize our unborn, and our dying parents. You get a universal income, but not to be spent on what they do not want you/us to spend it on.

The foregone conclusion is what the teachers teach the children. It is what the media paint around us. Each narrative directed and shot for Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or Vudu, they are set to propagandize for the rich, the resetters, the titans who want mars colonized, who want the moon for their private resort. Orbiting Club Meds in the ionosphere.

Yet, the Lesson is Dead Wolves, Manatees and Turtles

The very place of Trump and Spring Break, Florida, is emblematic of the fall, the disgusting imbalance of the world, of sanity, of thinking. Manatees dying off in unfathomable numbers. Turtles washing up sick and dead. The expansion of the ocean, wiping out much of Florida by 2100. The bastion of Spring Break and lust and speedboats and dream hoarding.

Florida has seen an alarming rise in manatee deaths in 2021.

Something not to be proud of, and to lend pause for humanity, but not more than once, and give it to me once in that 24-hour news cycle, please. At least 432 Florida manatees have already died in 2021, well over double the state’s 5-year average for the same time period.

Hundreds of sea turtles washing up on Southwest Florida beaches this year in a mass mortality event that researchers say will impact the recovery of the protected species is not a good sign of HUMAN health. The Great Reset has nothing to say about the reality of our own commons.

Gray wolves in the North American wilderness.

Then you have Wisconsin, gun-toting AR15-loving murderers taking on a record 216 wolves killed in 60 hours. What does this say about this society, this blood sport society of high powered weapons, radar trackers, dually pick-ups, $340,000 campers, TV, booze, and a quick trip in the woods to murder wolves?

Migrants rescued by Save the Children’s Vos Hestia

Or, the hard cold soul of the European, Italians, putting 20-year sentences on people working with charities to help stranded and sinking and drowning refugees from African countries. Imagine that world of the cold Great Resetters.  Save the Children and MSF among dozens facing sentences of up to 20 years over humanitarian work

Humanitarian organizations are rejecting what they say is an attempt to criminalize lifesaving aid to migrants and refugees at sea after Italian prosecutors charged three groups with aiding and abetting illegal immigration through their rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Over 20 people are facing up to 20 years in prison. — Source.

rescue operation

Each story of injustice is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, demonstrating the insanity of systems — legal systems of punishment-abandonment-unruly laws against the suffering, laws meant to pay the rich, pay off the rotting bureaucrats, the Eichmann’s, big and small, who keep the wheels and the gears of death grinding, whether those wheels are those of the Empire, or the Capitalists, or the Economic Hitmen-Frontmen-Debasers, or all the pigs who make money off the penury and punishment unleashed by Capitalism.

Not me. Not I. Over my dead body.

The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.

Che Guevara Photo

The post Shifty Shifters: Movers and Shapers like a Trillion Locusts first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Washing Away One Trail of Tears After Another

White Washing: According to one Merriam-Webster definition, to whitewash is to “gloss over or cover up,” which, in a sense, is what the racial form of whitewashing does. It creates a White world where sins against people of color, including Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, Latinos, and other minority groups cease to matter because, in revisionist history and reality, those minority groups barely exist.

Here’s one example believe it or not which ties into my neck of the woods on the Central Oregon Coast, and even Portland, OR: ‘Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. With an eye like an eagle and as tall as a mountain was he. Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. He was brave, he was fearless and as tough as a mighty oak tree. The rippin’est roarin’est fightin’est man the frontier ever knew.’

We get to Boone in a moment, and all the mythology and falsified history of his very existence.

There are all sorts of ways to wash away complicity or guilt, and the color wheel is just one way to describe this highly sophisticated form of propaganda-marketing-PR spin-Revisionist history/thinking/mythology. Whitewashing is a form of fabrication.

Part of the fabrication are those scared cows like “we support our men and women in uniform.” I personally have a few hundred examples of going up against many armies of the lie, or battalions of the bullshit.

There are good journalists and good teachers, for sure, but the majority, for the most part, are not sacred or holy or fool-proof agents of democracy. There are many ways I have been hobbled for not supporting the illegal wars of this country, especially Bush’s “declared victory” in the Middle East. Hobbled by fellow journalists and educators.  I was living in El Paso, and Cocaine and Southern Comfort W Bush was the governor of that Tex-ass state. El Paso is a huge arena for military and retired military. The Mexican-Americans (88 percent of the population in El Paso/El Paso County) may have voted straight democrat on their ballots (Bush and other retrograde redneck vicious governors have come to town courting that vote), but many Latinx love their USA flags and military men and women from their ranks. So, going against Reagan’s wars in Central America or Bush I’s against Panama, Malvinas and his Desert Shield, I was up against supposed liberal left fellow teachers and journalists. Even supposedly disenfranchised Latinx.

Once the Prez or Congress or whomever (CIA, NSA) gets us into a war, we all must support the troops, no, tie a yellow ribbon on the chain-link fence sort of thing . . .  support the mission, support whatever the Commander in Chief does with his tin soldiers. How many times have I gone up against college/university presidents and provosts and department chairs and even my own fellow faculty when I questioned the veracity of rationales for bombing other countries. As Kim Peterson illustrates in his recent DV article, “North Korea Steadfastly Resisting US Hegemony,” by illuminating A.B. Abrams “… comprehensive book, Immovable Object: North Korea’s 70 Years at War with American Power, there is a whole lot of rooting for war and destruction by the average North American:

US wars are not only a function of its government and military. It is important to realize that the US carries out it warring and provocations against foreign countries often with overwhelming approval of the American populace. Abrams writes that the majority of American citizens supported using nukes against North Korea. (p 131) American public support for warring was also evident by support for intensified bombing by the US during armistice negotiations. (p 224) That this American public support for militarism was not an anomaly was revealed during the US attacks on Muslim nations following 9-11, with 70% of Americans indicating a belief in Saddam Hussein being connected to Al Qaeda. (p 390)

You can fiddle with terms like illegal alien, positing that no human being is “illegal,” or debating how the term “alien” ascribes more than a negative otherness to the person — it dehumanizes the person.

These are important discussions, especially in politics, in journalism and in educational circles. Yet, these discussions have lingered in academia, and have withered at the root of American enlightenment.

I’ve had to confront people about what it means to be humanistic and abiding by the Earth Charter and Dignity and Rights of All People. You know, that socialistic and humanistic and democratic and communist set of principles of for-by-with-because-of the people:

  • pinko
  • self-loathing white
  • un-American
  • anti-American
  • anti-patriotic
  • traitor
  • love it or leave it
  • bleeding heart liberal

These are terms of vile against me and others for fighting for the simple rights of people — some of the most able, of the land and poor village people and farmers whose lives are torn up, destroyed, disposed of, displaced through the strong arm and long arm of economic-cultural-political-military warfare.

You can be labeled “anti-American/anti-business/anti-poor” for questioning Walmart. You can be called a “traitor” for questioning bombing, chemical spraying, immolating, polluting, imprisoning, permanently displacing people the USA deems enemies, supportive of enemies of the state, or collateral damage.

Proportionality when discussed by the average American is questioning the very fabric of our way of life, our leadership and our own form of enslavement and dictatorship. The military is right, and whatever they need to intervene or overreach, they know the deal.

Proportionality in international law, however,  is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about equality of firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime…. even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality). — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

The above Moreno-Ocampo statement is more or less memory-holed, erased largely from discourse, and hardly every cited in educational circles. This form of washing away knowledge is called agnotology – a concerted effort to wash or erase facts, history. The white wash cited above, as in support the troops right or wrong, is well, pretty obvious in the K12 textbooks, or watching those crocodile-teared GOP or Democrats with their metal USA flag lapel pins, shakily saluting while death jets like F-15, 16, 18 models zoom above inebriated football fans. Hourly fuel costs —

Fighters:
F-15C Eagle Fighter — $41,921
F-16C Viper Fighter — $22,514
F-22A Raptor Fighter — $68,362

$1,500 – Predator drone
$11,500 – A-10
$70,000 – V-22
$32,000 – F-35
$44,000 – F22
$135,000 – B-2
$5,000 – F-16
$17,000-$30,000 – F-15C
$19,000-$30,000 – F-22

VIP transport:
C-20B VIP Plane (Senior Pentagon Officials) — $32,212
C-32A VIP Plane (Vice President, Cabinet Officers) — $42,936
VC-25A Air Force One — $161,591
E-4B Flying Headquarters — $163,485

Operating expenses total $206,337 for every hour the president’s plane is in the air.

Which brings us to more than just white washing, or blood money trading. Imagine the US military is the biggest single source of pollution in the world, and imagine creepy politicians and GS-18’s and highflying ex-four star generals and CEOs of the mercenary companies like Raytheon and Aerodynamics, just getting their free air time spewing lie after lie about a more sustainable US military — mean, green, lean fighting machine.

Greenwashing is a whitewash or green sheening by corporations to promote themselves as “environment friendly.” It also encompasses that environmentally and socially responsibility flim-flam, full of the PT Barnum deceptive promotion to lie through their teeth. Key concepts for all washing it marketing and advertising themselves as environment friendly. Spend money on the Mad Men and Mad Women, rather than actual actions, is called greenwashing.

Add to the wash of the green, blue-washing:  a technique deployed by corporations and companies to form collaborations and associations with various United Nations agencies to portray themselves as being compliant of the ten principles of United Nations Global Compact, while not being so in actuality.

Advertising spin of the blue wash variety is supposedly showing congruence with these principles above, to include actions against child labor, slavery and corruption, safeguarding human rights.

Then, well, we get into the latest arena of washing, bullshitting, lying, mind manipulation, closely linked to the fearful majority who would dare speak out against Zionism as a massively inhumane belief and operating system, one counterpoint to the 10 Principles illustrated above. You are, in a nutshell, pigeon-holed as anti-Semitic if you criticize these aspects of Zionism or the country (sic) of “Israel.” Washed out of existence, another form of washing. Akin to being memory-holed  as a non-human, a nobody.

Who would have thought Pink-washing would be tied to “Israel,” but . . . .

[Below: Anarcho-queer collective Mashpritzot hold a “die-in” protest against Israeli pinkwashing and the perceived homonormative priorities of the LGBT support centre in Tel Aviv]

Over a decade ago, activists adopted the term “pink-washing” to describe the Israeli propaganda tactic of washing away the oppression of Palestinians by painting Israel as a gay-friendly and liberal state. Israeli pink-washing tries to win the hearts and minds of international audiences and prevent solidarity with the Palestinian struggle

white paint overlay over a close up of details of a marble column

Reversing back to this screed’s start

We’ll get to Ralph Nader’s Radio Hour in a second. We’ll get to Daniel Boone too, in a second, tied to the white-washing pulled quote above.

First, a little bit of my work again in social services, a field that is for the most part vastly underpaid, with workers who are dedicated at first, highly motivated to help people, and whose lives are in many cases the epitome of sacrifice — student loan debts, master’s degrees for $17 an hour work, and mandatory several thousand hours of unpaid clinical hours.

Think about that for a moment — pre-Covid-19, a society fraught with trauma, fraught with chronic physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual illnesses. People who are left alone, left out to dry, folks who are traumatized by family, by neighborhoods, by circumstances. People who were already damaged in many ways in utero, and after birth, well, the society in general and at large, eating away at the typical American soul. Tape worms of the soul: Capitalism. Pin worms of the heart: Consumerism. The giant proverbial leech sucking people dry in this economic gulag: Market Driven Madness.

Some of the people I serve have head injuries. Traumatic Brain Injuries. That act of “god” or “fate” can alter a person completely for life. In most cases, there is a lot of physical impediment, or some, but the memory is shot-through, many times. Spotty short-term and long-term memory. Swiss cheese of the brain in many cases.

Then a head bash-trauma can also strip away a person’s emotional and empathetic cores. They just can’t feel the normal range of human emotions. No tears when a loved one dies. Little joy. Even brain injured children are considered low on the person’s emotional totem pole.

On the job, a person in this situation needs accommodations, needs personal support workers to help the injured person just do the basic activities of daily living/survival.

It isn’t an easy life — going from a perfectly healthy and active 15-year-old thriving teen, to a paralyzed, comatose and soon recovering brain injured human being.

My job is to support these sorts of people in getting work, and in getting to first base in the first place by coaching interview techniques, by helping contextualize life gaps, such as the years after a brain injury.

The emotional complexities of the human species are many times missing, and so I have to act as the bridge and interpreter as this person attempts to navigate integrated employment.

The problem is that this sort of survival is a growing concern. Emergency Medicine can keep people alive after horrific accidents, accidents which just a few years ago would have been a death sentence.

Now, what do the “recovered” do to survive, to find some niche in society by working and carrying on? When the society in general is still fifty years behind the times?

Many of the people with a TBI live a life surrounded by/surrounding themselves with mythology, sacred cows, propped up belief systems. They many times want to believe in “normal/normalcy” in a world where that — normal — is an ever-moving target.

The “new normal” is no normal.

Which leads us back to the entire white washing of USA, of this country’s past, this country’s under girder and foundations of, well, theft.

Brains and Daniel Boone

I write, participate in revolutionary activism, muckrake, and work in social services, as I have laid out in DV many times in the past 11 years, grappling with many different challenges in those gigs or jobs I’ve had assisting people — people in distress, traumatized, in full-blown crisis, a la PTSD. Brain injured as adults (war time, too), born with Down Syndrome, dementia and Alzheimer’s, mentally retarded (according to various school districts and Special Ed programs), with drug affected conditions leading to all manner of learning and developmental disabilities. Old and young, functional in terms of our “normal” society, or highly impacted by fetal alcohol syndrome or cerebral palsy, and the like.

I’ve worked with folks living with psychological disabilities, like schizophrenia. With full-blown mental breakdown caused by bad families, bad circumstances, bad drugging, bad war experiences, bad people. Everyone of the military women I have worked with were victimized by rape. Brutal. Many women in general I have worked with have been sexually assaulted. And with all of the psychological tears and battering those rapes do, there are also physical issues tied to pounded faces, pounded necks, and, thus, we have bad backs and necks and all the other secondary and tertiary things associated with violent attacks on bodies.

I’m working with what the people who come to me have, helping them enhance the positives and push down some of the barriers. And the barriers are more than just their own, their own families’, their own community’s. The barriers are cultural. Many Americans want “them” to maybe be seen but not heard. Many do not want them to be seen, either.

Another threadbare existence for tens of millions of people. Maybe more. And there will be more on the horizon with more and more people surviving crashes and accidents, left with major mental-psychological-neurological-physical disabilities. The handicapping comes from policies, legislation, lack of housing, lack of real support teams. Just one of a million things lacking in this Corrupt and Criminal Capitalism.

Funny stories arise, though. One fellow I work with read the local paper, Newport News Times. I’ve written for the twice-a-week rag. On homelessness and environmental stuff.

He was excited to know that the Oregon timber town where he lives once had a fellow and his brood there, on an island, whose family line included that fellow, Daniel Boone:

‘The history of McCaffrey Island’ —

Van Daniel first homesteaded the island in 1897 but never owned the property, according to James’ correspondence with Van Daniel’s daughter, Carol Holbrook. The family first moved into an abandoned shed on the island but built a full home there by 1901. Nine of their 10 children were born on the island, and they went to school by rowing to Oysterville.

The family made its living harvesting oysters and raising pigs. On the upper tier of the island was a waterfall and garden. Holbrook said there were no trees on the island when they first moved there, but they later planted many, including an apple and plum tree.

Holbrook said Indigenous people often visited the island, and her father hired them to help the family shuck oysters. One of Van Daniel’s sons also found arrowheads and beads on the island while they lived there.

When Van Daniel’s wife fell ill with tuberculosis in 1917, the family moved from the island to an abandoned house on the mainland. They didn’t sell the island because they didn’t own it. They never learned who owned the abandoned house they moved into on the mainland either.

So, of course, my friend/client got all excited because of that famously present seeding of lies the US school system and Holly-Dirt have perpetuated since that old cherry tree was chopped down, or that first “thanksgiving” with the Puritans and Pokanoket Wampanoag.

We talked about the old TV show the 35-year-old client watches — Fess Parker as Boone in the 1964-1970 TV series. Strange how these racist old series still float around the ether.

“Man, I always wanted to be like Daniel Boone when we watched that show. I watched the show when I was young. What was it, fifteen years or whatever after the show was cancelled.”

So, with his permission, we looked at the Boone myth which was precipitated by an innocuous piece in the local rag on some pioneer (sic) families and others who had that island.

Boone has been portrayed in books and in movies and TV shows as a regular tough guy, all-American, the new Adam paving the way for Manifest Destiny and land claims for a beginning white nation. Here is a decent two paragraphs that put the white washing in the context of Boone and his modern-day worshippers:

In 1992 Native people in KY and allies during the 500th anniversary of Columbus decided to correct local historic monuments to alleged heroes of colonialism in the Ohio Valley. The picture you see above is one example. It was a statue of Daniel Boone at the entrance to? “Cherokee Park”. There are 4 parks in Louisville named after the people driven from this land. Cherokee, Shawnee, Chickasaw, and Iroquois. Of course there are monuments all over this city to Confederate Generals, Indian killers, slave owners, and the like. There are absolutely none to Tecumseh, Blue Jacket, Harriet Tubman, or any native or African-Americans. A couple of streets that is it. So as I was watching Tecumseh’s vision, the PBS special last night, I was reminded of several things that deserve exploring. So once again I am going to poke holes in “American History” and saw the legs off of statues to genocidal murderers. Sorry. — Source.

To begin with let us be clear, the colonial Americans never had any desire to live harmoniously with their Indian hosts and in fact Thomas Jefferson explicitly ordered their removal and extermination, owned slaves, and was aside from his humane policies toward his fellow colonists was a rapist, slaving, ethic cleansing murderer. So was Boone. So let us be exactly and historically honest shall we? Let us start with Daniel Boone as he was the “Indian Fighter” exemplar. Now let us remember Tecumseh was born in 1768. Boone was killing Indians and escorting colonists as Tecumseh drew his first breaths and Boone then became an elected official and presided over the ethnic cleansing of the Delaware, Shawnee, Cherokee, and all the indigenous people in the way of “progress” till his retirement. Many would say he just did what was expected of him in that time. OK? What was expected of him was that he kill Indians and escort colonists to steal lands that belonged to someone else.

The fine line I have to toe is that I am there for my clients on many social services levels — the official duties — but I am also more importantly an advocate, a teacher, a model, a mentor, and someone they can relate to who happens to have years working with “disadvantaged” but who himself thus far has had or currently has none of the disadvantages they have had to bear (yet). Sure, we are all in this predatory, insanity called United Snakes of America together, but unfortunately (and for obvious infantilizing reasons) we do not have the same depth of research, life experiences, multiple perspectives, and worldly views. When I am with the average Biden Boy or Obama Yes We Can Cultist, I know I am with someone who is ultra conservative, ultra pro-money, ultra stupid when it comes to history and facts. That is the very nature of those millions of gears working to “white” wash or “green” wash or “pink” wash the world.

When it comes to sacred cows, well, the discussion turns interesting. And for many people, with or without trauma and disabilities, very uncomfortable.

Weight of Rape, the Weight of Racism

The reality is that the average “dude” or “gal” who may be coming at things with a less severely redneck or reactionary point of view, well, they either can’t fathom the number of people in the USA (no, I am not getting into other societies with just as bad situations) who have been violently raped as adults or sexually assaulted as underage humans. Mostly women, but not exclusively. In 2021, I still get people with or without college degrees, telling me, that “this is not a rape culture.” Telling me “many women are faking it.” Telling me that “Trump is a target because he is famous and has money . . . there is no way he did that . . . he has children, man, and what would his wife say if it was true?”

That white washing is a unique sort of push back against women.

Then, well, many just can’t take the Portland uprising anymore, as if Portland is this huge Fallujah bombed out metropolitan area. They can’t take “black lives matter” anymore. They can’t take the crescendo of news stories of more pigs/cops getting accused and acquitted of murder. The white washing of our murderous men (and women) in uniform is just so complete that the few that want to defund the military and the police, well, they are propagandized into people who are not true Americans, rabble, provocateurs.  “All those statues coming down, what do you think, Haeder? Isn’t that erasing history?” I just got asked this question. Again, people on their duffs, consuming main-line TV as if it’s crack.

So the beat goes on and on, to explain to them, that Andrew Jackson or Daniel Boone or even Honest Abe, coming down, well, isn’t it obvious that the disenfranchised and basically helpless people of this predatory land have to release something symbolic to show their disgust of this country’s white washing? I attempt to explain, yes, a better reaction and process would be to put a mural around each bloody statue, with just the head of the white murderer sticking out as he sits upon his horse. On that mural, well, the real history of this person’s contribution to Indian killing, Slave owning, Black murdering. Of course there are a million teachable moments, but in a country that doesn’t do nuance well, one that is all about flash in the pan, all about spasms of this or that reaction to the zeitgeist, we are not going to see those sorts of responses to the racist monuments. And yes, many of those confederate monuments were put up AFTER the south lost the war. Decades after. Tin monuments for tinhorn racists and rapists. They are not sacred monuments, in the true sense of the word. Sacred Racist Monuments.

Does Anyone Not Get Why a Democrat Would NOT Hire One Nader?

So, I do encourage folks to listen to Black Agenda Report, or to read Mother Jones, In These Times, The Progressive, Mint Press News, Consortium News, Counterpunch, DV, and others, for sure. But for most, I get them to listen to a bastion of powerful knowledge and real on-the-ground activism. Someone who actually ran for president of the US of A. Twice!

Simple stuff, not exactly radical Black Panthers or anarchy —

Ralph welcomes the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, to talk about how this important agency – created in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown and moribund in the Trump years – needs to start protecting consumers again. Plus, Ralph pays tribute to the late great muckraking journalist, James Ridgeway.

Richard Cordray is the founding director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he served from 2011 to 2017. He is the author of Watchdog: How Protecting Consumers Can Save Our Families, Our Economy, and Our Democracy.

“Every aspect of our legal system has been turned around by financial companies to oppress individual consumers. And yet, individual consumers are not permitted (often by these arbitration clauses) to band together to seek collective justice against the company.” [ Richard Cordray].

Cover for Watchdog

So we talk about this issue, with me pointing out that antigovernmental entitlements or antigovernmental this or that is actually anti-public, anti-people thinking. The corporations — all of them, with the unholy facilitation of  banks, credit companies, tech companies — they are the enemy. And each and every politician they have in their back pockets is the enemy, but the public realm, the public potential for true democratic socialism, that is not the enemy. AT& T, Wells Fargo, Safeway, Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, and a few million other corporations are the true enemy. They have cooked the books, stacked the deck, and conspired to rip-off the public. Listen to just this one episode of Ralph, and when I ask people who are skeptical of my criticism of all corporations, they have a bit more to deal with here: Finances.

Listen to the beginning, where Nader talks about the death (and work of) the great American journalist, James Ridgeway. Note that this man was a muckraker, a man who looked for truth, and never tired of investigative reporting, never jading himself to the people’s needs. He did die, as Ralph states, a poor man.

Here’s a Mother Jones article on Jim when he worked for MoJo

Jim Ridgeway—who leaves MoJo’s staff roster this week to become a contributing reporter—is, though he’d never put it this way, one of the legends of modern muckraking. Back in 1965 he helped establish the nascent field of consumer reporting when he revealed that GM had run a dark-ops campaign against a young Ralph Nader, whose book Unsafe at Any Speed detailed how automakers had knowingly sacrificed safety for sales. He went on to break more stories than we can count, digging into everything from energy politics to national security to the sex industry. MoJo co-founder Adam Hochschild remembers becoming a Ridgeway reader in 1968, when Jim and the late Andrew Kopkind started a newsletter called first Mayday and later Hard Times.

‘I still remember the yellow paper it came on, how eagerly I waited for each issue to arrive, and the pleasure of instantly knowing we shared a view of the world if I found that a new acquaintance was also a reader. It is sobering, in a way, to see how many of the problems Jim wrote about half a century ago are still with us. But it’s inspiring to see someone keep the faith all these years, especially someone who could have very easily had a successful and doubtless much more lucrative career writing unthreatening stories for the mainstream media. That, in fact, is where more than of few of the dissenters of the 1960s ended up.’

Most people I interface with do not know of Jim Ridgeway, and those that know about Nader, still incorrectly and stupidly think “he’s the guy that got Bush into office.” More white wash and agnotology:

It is true that approximately 95,000 Florida ballots were cast for Nader in 2000, and assuming every single one of those votes went instead to then-Vice President Al Gore (which is an incorrect assumption, but we’ll get to that later), Gore would have been easily able to supplant the 537 vote differential in the Sunshine State that gave Bush the presidency.

What that oft-cited factoid leaves out are the inconvenient truths laid out by Jim Hightower in Salon way back when, including the fact that only about 24,000 registered Democrats voted for Nader in Florida, whereas about 308,000 Democrats voted for (wait for it…) Bush! Further, approximately 191,000 self-identified “liberals” voted for Bush, as opposed to the fewer than 34,000 who went with Nader.

The conventional thinking goes like this: Nader voters lean left and Gore is to the left of Bush, therefore votes for Nader would have gone to Gore. But leftist academic Tim Wise pushed back on this summation in 2000, writing that “Exit polls in Florida, conducted by MSNBC show that Nader drew almost equally between Gore, Bush, and ‘None of the above,’ meaning his presence there may have been a total wash.” — Anthony Fisher

Covid-19 Fears, Fools, Fascists 

Hyper paranoia, misinformation, one bad leader leading a bunch of bad leaders. One man’s science, isn’t another 10,000 scientists’ and journalists’ science.

Everyday, a few dozen pleas by clients and their charges and their families about what to do next with lockdown A, B and C done, and more cases (maybe) of Covid-19 (many articles being scrubbed from the WWW about faulty tests for CoV2).

Amazing how many bad mask wearers I run into — literally, 90 percent of the masks out there in la-la land do not stop exhales from hitting the common air locations, whether it’s the grocery store, restaurant, liquor store, or on the beach.

The dichotomy of American thinking is the dangerous thing now, and the retribution, the white washing and green washing and blue washing and vaccine washing and the science washing, all of it, now, we have many new normal’s tied to more scrubbing (agnotology) and banning and outright fascistic attacks on people, like, well, Robert Kennedy Junior.

https://youtu.be/MZz8lUniwHM

Agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. It was coined in 1995 by Robert N. Proctor, a Stanford University professor, and linguist Iain Boal. The word is based on the Neoclassical Greek word ἄγνωσις, agnōsis, “not knowing” (cf. Attic Greek ἄγνωτος “unknown”), and -λογία, -logia. Proctor cites as a prime example the tobacco industry’s advertising campaign to manufacture doubt about the cancerous and other adverse health effects of tobacco use. More generally, the term also highlights the condition where more knowledge of a subject leaves one more uncertain than before.

David Dunning of Cornell University warns that “the internet is helping propagate ignorance,… which makes [users] prey for powerful interests wishing to deliberately spread ignorance”. Irvin C. Schick refers to unknowledge “to distinguish it from ignorance. He uses the example of “terra incognita” in early maps, noting that “The reconstruction of parts of the globe as uncharted territory is … the production of unknowledge, the transformation of those parts into potential objects of Western political and economic attention. It is the enabling of colonialism. — Source.

Check out Chapter One, Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance. That is, in a nutshell, something I have been battling since day one as a journalist (I was 19) and day one as a college part-time faculty (I was 26).

This is not child’s play, this entire game of narrative framing, myth-making, mind scrubbing, brain washing, collective Stockholm Syndrome, Collective Abused Spouse/Worker/ Student/Consumer/Citizen Syndrome. It infects our culture of words, books, TV, movies, mass education, media, social digital networks, Madison Avenue, history book creation, and the marketing that is the way of Capitalism. Mediums are the Message, but then, how the child is wired in utero, and then right out of the womb. Bombarded by ignorance in the culture and brain washed parents. Bombarded by images and sounds and the smells of consumerism, there to draw in newer and younger and more buyers of the junk, the dangerous products, the more dangerous ideology of the masters in this complex.

Learned helplessness is nothing compared to learned and gloating ignorance. And here we are, even here with the author attempting to be “objective” with a piece in Town and Country Magazine on RFK, Jr. Imagine what this writer says, doubting the veracity and the validity of Kennedy’s research into vaccines over a sordid historical record. Imagine, thousands of journal articles parsed by RFK, Jr., thousands of books annotated, thousands of people interviewed by Kennedy on the many troubling things around pharmaceuticals, drug makers, scientists using people as Guinea pigs and around vaccines. That’s Kennedy, man. Yet, the elite author of the more elitist rag (Town and Country)  has to put in his pretty shallow and sallow two cents.

The room that Kennedy, who is 66, uses as an office is walled with books on shelves stacked six high from floor to ceiling, hundreds and hundreds of books. On top of those: a long line of framed photos like cars on a freight train—old ones, recent ones, black-and-white, color. A sprawling L-shaped sofa with blankets and pillows, a big TV.

On this subject, I think he is dangerously wrong. But that’s not the most interesting thing to talk with him about, nor is it the subject of this story. You can judge his arguments for yourself on your own time. The debate about whether vaccines are safe rages every day, and you can go online and read studies and opinions on every side. You can read almost any story by or about Kennedy and you will encounter the substance of his beliefs in detail. There aren’t many doctors in the world who think it’s a debate at all, of course.

A deeper question than whether he’s right or he’s crazy is why Bobby Kennedy Jr. is doing any of this. There was a time when he was almost universally admired, a fighter for conservation and the environment—perhaps the dominant issue of our time—and a shining figure worthy of his family’s legacy. Now he is shunned by many of his former allies and admirers, ignored by much of the once fawning media, and just tuned out by many who are uncomfortable with his sometimes hectoring obsessiveness.

Look, I am in the process of writing my memoir/anti-memoir (sounds pretentious, but . . . really, does the world need Epstein’s madam’s book, another Trump tell-all, all the creepy stuff from the rich and famous, more crap from actors and musicians?). I have a wheelbarrow’s worth of novels (unpublished but hawked by my deceased NY agent) and plays and a teleplay and other such stuff. I’m 64, and, well, some things in my life have been amazing full circle existential wheels through the magic of ecology and meeting fellow man/woman in fellowship.

Drinking from the spring where Winona LaDuke’s father, Sun Bear, had his gatherings, sure, that was another wheel of life I have written about. I have hundreds of these moments, with a ship-load of connectivity to the circle of life.

For now, though, it’s Kennedy. Our two lives are so different in so many ways, that the circle, the multiple circles of connectivity, well, maybe it takes a working class fool like myself to really drill down on that stuff.

I am not taken by money, and in fact, I am anti-money, anti-rich, anti-famous. Celebrity culture is to me worse than the guys and gals I used to run with who were hooked on lines of coke and drams of Scotch.

However, here’s the interesting thing. Make that a decade ago when I heard RFK, Jr. speak. I got to take him aside, and talked with him, but that is another story. He was in Spokane as President of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. We already got our Spokane Riverkeeper, and Kennedy was in town  helping with fundraising for Spokane Riverkeeper and Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper. Kennedy was at the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane. I also met him afterwards.

Here you go — if you get any sense of Kennedy from the Vanity Fair article cited, you can see a real battler (that’s the epigraph to this essay above). He certainly came from a famous family. Our two lives are diametrically different.

But the circles, man, those five or 10 degrees of separation. I had an aunt who owned– with two other immigrant (Scotland) women — The Whale Inn, in Northampton, Massachusetts. An amazing restaurant and B & B. I had relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) who lived in Short Hills, NJ. My uncle was a well-known surgeon and did stints for Columbia University as an MD. Now, I was back east a few times, spending time at the Whale Inn, and in Short Hills, in the City, in Boston, and at Cape Code. Poor kid of the military man dad, and I got a taste of East Coast.

So, get this, I also had a mother who worked for an advertising agency in Albuquerque and part of that was some publicity for John and Jackie Kennedy when they came to New Mexico.  When we lived in Germany and France, many people thought my mom looked like Jackie.

Okay, so let’s get real — I have worked around people with developmental disabilities for a long time, officially the past decade. RFK, Jr. also spent time around disabled people —  “When not at school Bobby used to spend a lot of time at the house of his Aunt Eunice—his father’s sister, and Bobby’s godmother. She ran a camp for children with intellectual disabilities, and she founded the Special Olympics in 1968, and Bobby remembers there always being people at her house who had Down syndrome, ‘at every meal, virtually. I was always around people with intellectual disabilities.’”

He also to this day does animal rescuing and wildlife recovery. He drives a mini-van that has the stench of pit bull rescue pets and road kill he finds and takes back to boil and articulate or at least display the skull.

rfk pro celebrity tennis tournament august 26, 1972

[Kennedy in 1972, around age 18, at a tennis tournament named for his father. Even in his late teens, Kennedy was battling drug addiction, which he would eventually beat. — Ron Galell photo]

He was hooked on heroin until he was 30. He was and still is an avid adventurer. Much of that above I related to directly. Not heroin, but other drugs. The road kill? Yep. Animal rescue? Yep. Mini-vans? Yep.

environmental lawyer activist robert f kennedy jr l riverkeeper john cronin out on hudson river, revitalized through efforts of their riverkeeper, inc in legal fight against water polluting industries photo by ted thaithe life picture collection via getty images

[In the early 1980s Kennedy teamed with John Cronin, right, to revitalize the Riverkeeper Association, which routinely sued large polluters. The group spurred the creation of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, of which Kennedy is president. — Ted Thai photo]

Here’s my piece on the second Riverkeeper for our Spokane River, after the first one (Mike Chappell, 44) unexpectedly passed away — “A River for Fish, Kayaks, Swimmers”

nyc screening of trace amounts

[In 2014 Kennedy edited Thimerosol: Let the Science Speak, about mercury and vaccines. Cindy Ord photo]

The point I am trying to make in this essay is that the circles I recognize and write about are as real as anything on planet earth. What RFK, Jr. and I talked about back then, well, I will write about at length later. I did mention to RFK, Jr. how burned out I was getting being with the greenie weenies, the so-called sustainability wonks and their pandering to corporations … and not just through green washing. We are talking about eco-pornography. Kennedy got a kick out of that terminology — eco-porn. You know, Shell Oil or Exxon or Monsanto running multimillion dollar ad/PR/public disservice campaigns to sell their idea of snake oil to the global public. That those companies are the best and the brightest hopes for stewardship of the environment. Now that’s pornography of the utmost degree.

I mentioned how another state eco group was taking money from Proctor Gamble or CocaCola, for what I call blood money from those corporations. Lots of blood money in the game of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. We also talked about science gone awry, science for-by-because of  the profit motive, science in the name of Imperialism and Corrupt Capitalism. We also talked about vaccinations.

The circle I am drawing it that I was a young guy who did all sorts of adventurous stuff in the Sonora Desert catching rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, scorpions. Lots of crazy cool stuff scuba diving (roughing it) in the Sea of Cortez. Lots of crazy stuff on my own on Baja, diving and free diving and camping alone.

Another point is, while our lives are so different, there are things that connect us, in my mind. Kennedy was pretty jazzed about my writing, my activism and my ability to go for the underdog over any hubris or placating. He was definitely in favor of my concepts of fighting white washing, green washing and agnotology (he hadn’t heard of that concept).

Here’s the title to that six-month old Town and Country article —

What is Robert Kennedy Jr. Fighting For?

It’s no surprise he gets into battles. Kennedys seem to be born with their chins out. But why does the 66-year-old scion of America’s most prominent political family take his crusades—the environment, vaccines, you name it—to places where very few people want to go?  By Ryan D’Agostino, OCT 19, 2020

Note: Several months after the publication of this story, Instagram deactivated RFK Jr.’s Instagram account. “We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said in a statement.

Here he is, now part of the systematic suppression of debate, discourse, ideas counter to the prevailing winds, the current paradigms. He’s questions Fauci, Gates, 5-G, and the motives of Big Tech and Big Pharma. What we all are supposed to do, no?

And yet, those people I support with developmental/intellectual/TBI disabilities, they want to know, they want answers, they want to understand how someone like me, or someone like Kennedy is looking beyond the parables of propaganda and virtue signaling and systemic silencing of countervailing thought and opinions.

I wish I had Bobby Kennedy’s email or physical mailing address to exchange words and ideas. That is another circle that may or may not come to fruition, though circles are really never complete or ending or beginning, now are they? I know he probably saw this documentary, probably saw my review of it in Hormones Matter — “Injecting Aluminum: Documentary Questions Vaccine Safety” 

The piece also appeared in Dissident Voice“The Jury Has Been Out on Vaccines: Harm to the Brain, Immune System, Limbic System, Life”

2016 deer valley celebrity skifest

[In 2014, Kennedy married the actress Cheryl Hines, whom he met through his friendship with Larry David. “I have an amazing wife and amazing kids,” he says. “I have everything.”  — Emma McInty photo]

In that regard, the circles are still being shaped, huge veronicas in the sky, throughout our collective consciousness. At least for those who are willing to fight for the underdog. RFK, Jr., now counted as one of the underdogs. My whole life, while still in a category of white privilege in this racist country, I too have been an underdog. The grace of rebellion and revolutionary thinking has given me more privilege of knowing when the jig is up than I can actually express in a short essay here.

The post Washing Away One Trail of Tears After Another first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Ring Out The Old: Ring In The Old

While our sacred democracy was allegedly being served by a stupid attempt to unsuccessfully impeach an ex-president for the second time and essentially tell more than 70 million Americans that they might as well vote for Pavlov, FDR, Hitler or Oprah Winfrey since any alleged exercise of supposed freedom on their part would be meaningless in the rape of language we call a democracy. You know, the one with a billionaire class getting richer by the second and Americans across the board sinking lower by the minute. But enough good news, let’s move on to the even better signs of our political economic progress against logic, morality and majority rule, something that vanished in practice the moment our euro ancestors arrived and the people who’d lived here for millennia were brutally forced out of their homelands.

The world’s most expensive medical wealth-care system has killed more than 500,000 Americans while we’re being told that China has only created protection for its people that makes us look like bloodthirsty private profit fanatics because it is run by authoritarians and isn’t a sacred democracy like ours. You know, the one where your vote and mine are equal to the vote of any billionaire, if you believe nose picking is a way to perform a self lobotomy or you are a venture capitalist interested in a start up called Butt Coin which operates on a revolutionary AI system (Amoral Intelligence) called Blockhead. Its stock just went up 23 billion points ten minutes ago so as soon as your Mindlessness class ends, college graduates should start investing and show just how good your education was and how strong your belief is in capitalist democracy. After all, how can any formally indoctrinated American not appreciate the incredible logic of our free market in which milk is more expensive than gasoline. What could make more economic sense? Milk comes from a cow, which produces more of it on a daily basis while petroleum takes millions of years to reproduce its supply. Even without consideration of either ones affect on the environment, that makes at least as much sense as nose picking self-lobotomies.

Or are you one of those deplorables concerned about our environment and the market green profit ventures said to be our only hope for moderate and therefore useless long-term change to save humanity and not just its upper classes? Who is most responsible for creating the destruction of nature reduced to a branding title of Climate Change? A menacing American socialist gang has pointed out that the wealthiest billion people on earth produce 60% of greenhouse gases while the poorest billion produce only 5%. But who can trust a murderous institution like The National Academy of Sciences? Worse, another unholy representative of global communism reports that the tens of trillions of dollars in debt carried by earth residents collectively – whether we like it or not – represent a threat to the entire human race while the 2,000 richest people on earth have amassed more wealth than 4.5 billon human beings combined. But who can believe a communist conglomeration of the richest institutions on earth and calling itself The World Bank?

Both institutions were talking about something much bigger than the egocentric American chosen people mythology since we play a major role in creating that inequality but also suffering it, with a public debt of 19 trillion and private debt of 27 trillion. And if we believe, as too many of us still do, in what consciousness control and its professional staff of mind managers tell us, it’s all due to greedy union labor getting far too much in wages, salaries and pensions while a struggling investor class has to wait anxious moments for their deliveries of pet food, cosmetics, weapons, bitcoins, jewelry, and leisure wear. And this with union membership which has been dwindling for the past forty years under assault by minority capital while the affluent top ten percent has seen its wealth skyrocket with the support of that same minority. Isn’t the free market a marvel of democracy? Yes, if you are among those who find rape a cost effective form of dating that avoids dinner and a movie and gets right to the sex.

While pondering this, be sure to participate in a round of democratic marketing called the 2022 elections with requests for money – the real stuff of our financially sacred democracy – coming along with any and all messages about how we need to elect progressives or regressives to maintain the system of two party politics that makes sure the capitalist market continues setting us against one another to prevent us from ever uniting as a people and not a collection of reduced-to-less-than human minorities who compete with one another across identity groups with common interest hidden by the tiniest minority in the country: the incredibly richest of the rich and their wealthy – and diverse –   servant class.

The warfare state continues without the fiery if intellectually empty rhetoric of the last president replaced by the most recent who quietly, if he had any idea what the hell was going on, presided over another bombing of a foreign country- Syria- to protect American lives. Those not yet reduced to total brain death under the abuse of consciousness by anti-social corporate and personal media might well ask: what the hell are Americans doing in Syria? And if there are Syrians in America does Syria now have the right to bomb America in their defense? But logic has no place in our government market where laws of political supply and demand assure continued profits for the tiny ruling minority and its well-paid servants in corporate business. The real menace, we are warned by the triumphant sector of the ruling class representing the best educated bigots in America, are terrifying groups with names that make them sound like gay dance troupes. Of course, the horrible fears we are taught to react to when told of blood thirsty white supremacist* groups like the “Proud Boys” are nothing compared to the corporate investor class which would never dream of attacking our revered national capital: they already own it.

Make no mistake, the new team at the helm of our titanic ship of state isn’t nearly as dumb, domestically, as the last egotist led cabal with a leader who at least spoke like a populist while acting like a pampered rich brat. But the warfare state in which Israel exercises far more power in our sacred democracy than the average American citizen, will continue and hundreds of billions of our tax dollars will be rubber stamped by a hired staff of corporadoes in order to fend off alleged menaces like China, which has ended urban poverty in a population of more than 850 million, three times greater than our total, while we suffer rising poverty among millions of families in a population of less than 330 million. Quick, more bombs, death rays, drones, and especially propaganda from our free press which is available for a price, like the bombs, pet food, health care, entertainment, sports and democracy like no other in the world.

We have a new board of directors which still serves the same corporation with an experienced if nearly addle pated leader replacing the most dangerous one ever in that he bluntly acted as the boorish at best murderous at worst executive of an imperial danger to humanity masked as a democracy by psycho-neurotic therapists and other professionals. Every few years we are indulged in moving from fundamentalist theologians of the market-church to fundamentalist economists of the church-market and we call that belief system our democracy. Who else can perform self-lobotomies and pay more for milk than gasoline? Just wait until the pandemic is overcome, more likely if we asked China to help us organize a more cooperative than individualistic gang of identity groups, each with beliefs that it transcends humanity and will best be served by accepting slavery as long as it works in the house and not in the fields. No wonder China is such a menace to the gods of capital when it ought to be a lesson to the people of earth. Especially Americans who are propagandized by their mind managers to mind too many other people’s business in imperial fashion while being told it’s all about democracy. You know, like cheap gas, self-lobotomies and all that other good stuff. The real thing and the demand for it is growing, worldwide, and the sooner we end our alienated domination and begin working together as members of the one and only human race, the better for the future.

And that future cannot be run, as it still is, for the benefit of private profit but for the public good.

* White supremacist and white privilege are among the favorite all-encompassing labels attached to lesser beings by people of higher intellectual and moral awareness made obvious by the fact that they are all members of the more privileged bigot class.

The post Ring Out The Old: Ring In The Old first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The Pine-eyed Boy Escapes from the Belly of the Dark Night in the Fish’s Tale

Then the story gets silently disclosed as we live it, even though most of us don’t tell it until later, if we can find our tongues.  But when we tell it we are in another story, often nostalgic for the future but finding the creative past pulling us back down and deep to illuminate the present.

Life is dangerous; we can end at any time.  We can also be swallowed by the inarticulate, find ourselves tongue-tied in the face of simple truth, especially the personal kind and how our small-world stories are intertwined with the larger social ones. How there is no escaping that.

There are many, of course, for whom the bell tolls before they end. As Bob Dylan sings it so beautifully in Chimes of Freedom, a song about being caught in a thunder and lightning rain storm:

In the wild cathedral evening the rain unraveled tales
For the disrobed faceless forms of no position
Tolling for the tongues with no place to bring their thoughts
All down in taken-for granted situations
Tolling for the deaf an’ blind, tolling for the mute
For the mistreated, mateless mother, the mistitled prostitute
For the misdemeanor outlaw, chased an’ cheated by pursuit
An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

We are now living in a world where freedom’s flashing lightning bolts have been replaced by dim grim grimaces of widespread depression and resignation as the shroud of solicitous neofascism descends on much of the world.

Human freedom is under widespread assault. Free speech is being attacked. Censorship is widespread and growing. Flesh and blood life is being sucked into a whirlpool of what John Steppling calls “a universe of disembodied data.”  Mediated reality is replacing physical reality as the world’s elites attempt to sell their packaged and commodified stories to publics ensnared and enamored by the technology that is entrapping them.  All tradition, the good and the bad, is gutted out by elites determined to create chaos and digital dementia as they coordinate their power under the banner of the “reasonable center” as distinct from the left and the right.  It’s an old story that many can’t hear because they can no longer listen.

But lightning never dies since it is only in flashing that it exists, like us, and here and there you can still see and hear its messages of freedom and revolt. It comes unexpectedly.  Out of the blue.  It lurks in the shadowy clouds as an invisible force, always ready to strike.  You have to be alert and know where to look. Listen. You have to want to see it, to catch its energy.

A year ago, right before the world was locked-down into a devastating hell, my then eleven-year-old granddaughter Sophie, who is a writer, starred in the lead role of a big production of Matilda, the play based on the book of the same name by the mischievous writer Roald Dahl, who wrote so many books extolling freedom for children – aka adults.  Matilda is about a girl who refuses to be bullied by the headmistress of her school or her parents.  When Sophie stepped forward boldly and defiantly looked at the audience and sang her first solo, Naughty, a shiver went down my spine, what Coomaraswamy called “the aesthetic shock.”  Bold and fearless, she sang these words that flashed like Dylan’s chimes of freedom to a rapt audience wondering who this Matilda might be:

Like Romeo and Juliet
T’was written in the stars before they even met
That love and fate, and a touch of stupidity
Would rob them of their hope of living happily
The endings are often a little bit gory
I wonder why they didn’t just change their story?
We’re told we have to do what we’re told but surely
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty

As the historian Howard Zinn has said: Our greatest problem is civil obedience.  Zinn tried to change the story but few have heeded his advice.  The American story is the embrace of endless war and violence, often justified under the alibi of “the lesser of two evils,” as if lesser evil were not evil. Such evil is always presented as reasonable, the center between two extremes.

A hundred years ago, D. H. Lawrence wrote of Americans that “All the other stuff, the love, the democracy, the floundering into lust, is a sort of by-play. The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer. It has never yet melted.” 

In their wish to obey, so many, unlike Matilda, accede to endings that are very gory, echoing Melville’s Captain Ahab in Moby Dick: “Fool! I am the Fates’ lieutenant; I act under orders,” sometimes not knowing that they are doing so but finding comfort in their obeisance since the leaders and experts and authority figures know what’s best – just do what you’re told, as a current sage recently said.  Obey orders.

Yes, these experts are the light-bringers, like Prometheus and his brother Lucifer, they bring the fire.  Under orders from Lucifer whom he embodies, Ahab insanely hunts Moby Dick for three days until the great white whale rises from the depths and drags him down to hell, “and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”  So it goes.  It’s an old story worth remembering, whether the whale be huge or invisible.  To resist, you have to be a little bit naughty, and brave, for we are on a journey without maps and are now in a very dark place.

Our stories enclose one another, the largest being the story of the social world we always live within, a big story that usually eludes our understanding or focus until one day we realize it has always been the womb we have been swimming in all our lives.  We are always inside one whale or another, but the biggest whale is the social story about external “realities” told by those who control the media that encloses all our smaller tales.  It is crucial to understand this story through discernment and not to let the media monsters convince us of their versions, for they are not our friends. They lie for their masters.

Referring specifically to novelists, but by extension to everyone since we are the novelists of our own lives, George Orwell, in his essay “Inside the Whale,” whose primary focus was the writing of Henry Miller, wrote:

Get inside the whale – or rather, admit that you are inside the whale (for you are, of course.)

By which he meant the feeling that external forces are out of control and that as society disintegrates and the autonomous individual is stamped out of existence, “the increasing helplessness of all decent people” becomes a widespread feeling.  He was not endorsing such quietism and resignation, but was describing it.

Such a feeling is clearly far more widespread today, long after Orwell penned those words.  He was praising Miller for saying what regular people (his phrase was “ordinary man,” a phrase he held was accurate but “denied by some people” who believe all generalizations are piffle) thought and felt despite it being taboo to say it.  It is why Miller’s books were banned; they were too truthful.  He dragged “the real-politik of the inner mind into the open.”

The establishment always prefers refined bullshit to the secret thoughts of regular people, those who are fed up with the endless lies that that pour forth from the official narrators’ mouths.

My entire life has been framed by the story of America’s constant wars, their glorification and justification.  From the first detonation of the nuclear device in the New Mexican desert, blasphemously called “Trinity” by Robert Oppenheimer, until this very day in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Yemen, etc., I could not understand my story without situating it within the belly of this beast called the U.S.A.  This is true for most people alive today.  Stories within stories.

Peel the American onion and at its heart you’ll find a bomb. “Fat Man” or “Little Boy” or whatever sick name you choose to give it.

Our smaller tales nestled in the private recesses of our minds are seemingly sometimes boring to many but illuminating to those telling them.  They can and often do appear when one is bored by the repetitive nature of the screaming, fear-mongering political headlines meant to reduce people to quivering victims of false narratives“Boredom,” wrote Walter Benjamin in The Storyteller, “is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.  A rustling in the leaves drives him away.” 

Far more than a rustling, we are living in a digital media world of cacophonous lies that drown out the silence necessary for independent thinking or dreaming.

So here I sit in the silence and try to conjure up the Pine-eyed Boy.

The boy was five or six, he can’t remember which, when his father took him to the movie theater to see Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. Just the two of them, a father with his only son, the boy’s five sisters left at home.  By the time two more sisters had arrived, this intimate dream experience had penetrated deep into him. His father followed up the movie by entertaining the boy and lulling him to sleep many nights by telling him improvised Pinocchio tales, none of which the boy could remember but could never forget. These stories became the penumbra of his life.

He always remembered Thoreau saying that “it is so hard to forget what it is worse than useless to remember.”  But while nodding assent to that truth, he always felt Pinocchio was different.  Pinocchio must be remembered, not so much the Disney version, but the stories his father told on the theme; but more importantly, why he told them. He knew that it is so easy to forget what is important to remember, and that we often use our forgetteres to do just that.

Like most small children or adults, the complexity of this Disney film eluded him.  He remembered being mesmerized and frightened and delighted in turn.  The cricket, the whale, the puppet maker, his pine-eyed creation, and the Blue Fairy – all of these seemed so real to him, images that would drift through his unknowing mind unattached to words, like images in an inner mirror.  Fleeting and fascinating.  Moving.

When the kidnapped boys were taken with Pinocchio on the dark sea journey to Pleasure Island, he was frightened.  He had no words for it, but the Coachman Barker, the kidnapper, seemed to ooze menace.  But his father’s large protective presence in the aisle seat to his left seemed to enclose his fear and tell him all would be fine. He felt contained in his protective love. His father felt like a counterweight to the satanic looking Barker with the pedophile’s red laugh and demeanor.  His father was his protector.

The man the boy became spent decades meditating on the meaning of his youthful encounter with Pinocchio’s story.  Or was it his relationship with his father, or perhaps his relationship with his father’s encounter with Pinocchio, or maybe his father’s relationship with his father without Pinocchio but with the feeling the boy must save his father after the father wishes the boy to life and his mother dies and leaves the father all alone, trapped in the belly of a dark life.

My father’s father, my grandfather, was the Deputy Chief of the New York Fire Department, which was the highest rank for a uniformed firefighter.  He had battled many dangerous fires to save people’s lives. Defeating the fire “devil” was his calling. But when my father was eighteen years old, his mother died, and my grandfather was left alone.  I never asked him, but I am wondering now if my father, then aged 18, felt it was his duty to save his father from the monster of loneliness, the feeling of being shipwrecked, abandoned by God. And if that sense of obligation was connected to Pinocchio’s story, where the puppet boy is first nearly killed by putting his finger into a candle flame but is saved by his father, Geppetto, the wife-less toy maker, who puts out the fire with water, and then at the end, in a role reversal, when Pinocchio saves his father from the belly of Monstro the whale by using fire to make the whale sneeze them up to the shore.

Such an ending evokes the terrible heavy  burden felt by any child whose “cricket” tells them that they must save a parent.  Such role reversal exacts a heavy price.

In the Biblical story, Jonah surely felt obligated that way after he was spit up on the shore by the great fish whose belly had saved him.  He did not want to do his father Yahweh’s will and tell the people of Nineveh that they must repent their ways. So he fled, only to find himself thrown overboard but saved by the God he didn’t obey.

I once asked my father to tell me about his father, whom I knew as a young child, but my memories were few and scattered and he died when I was ten-years-old.  This was after my father had sent me many letters describing in detail his father’s and mother’s relatives, what some might call genealogy but which were actually mini-short stories. To my father and to me, it was the stories that counted, not the bloodline; exquisite writer that he was, my father knew that it was the gift of stories that would allow me to shape my own, and that he was, to use Benjamin’s words, starting a “web which all stories form in the end.”

Despite these detailed epistles about our family history, my father seemed hesitant to describe his father.  I kept pressing him.  He finally wrote that he would get the bio sketch of Pop in the works for me.  “I’m afraid,” he wrote, “it will be like the closing words of St. John’s Gospel though: ‘And many other things did Dennis of Woodlawn do that are not written in this book; but these are written so that reading you may believe that Dennis was quite a man.”

My father knew his Bible, for these are the closing words of John’s Gospel: “There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.”

He never said another word about his father. I knew the comparison to Jesus was farfetched, but beside that, I was left in the lurch, except to realize that my father idolized his father, and I had learned from experience that idolization was not good, for it leads to blind obedience. I had idolized my own father, but it was only until I knew his human weaknesses and faults that I came to love him even more and idolization turned to deeper gratitude.

Ever since my father’s death and up until recently, I have felt that this missing piece of his story was a result of my father’s fear to convey the full truth about his father, despite my repeated requests to him to do so. I have changed my literal mind. I now see it as a brilliant extension of the improvised Pinocchio stories he told me as a child. Just as they always left me wondering why they never had a clear ending as I fell sleeping into the belly of the night,  I see this absence of his father’s story as a present, a gift like a fairy tale. “The fairy tale tells us,” wrote Benjamin, “of the earliest arrangements that mankind made to shake off the nightmare which the myth had placed upon its chest.”

One such myth, the one that I have long felt true and that has informed much of my life is that I could save others.  It is sheer arrogance. It is violence.  It is a mythic nightmare that I have carried on my chest.  Fr. Walter Brown, S.J., who was a guiding light in my life, once told my parents when they were visiting my high school for parents’ night: “Eddie will be fine once he gets the world off his shoulders.”  And Fr. Brown didn’t know the half of it, but, being an artist of deep intuition, knew enough.

All my efforts to “save” others in the personal realm have failed, as I should have expected.  No one really wants advice or counsel; to be saved; they want to be free to create or destroy their own stories.

I have also written and published many things trying to convince people through logic and facts that this is true and that isn’t; that they need to change their beliefs.  I have tried to light a fire in the belly of Monstro the whale to save others from the descending shroud of solicitous neofascism that is upon us. To alert others to the overarching American story of violence that is consuming us.

In all of this, I was missing the story in the story.  The absence that is the present.  The transformative gift that keeps circulating because it is freely given to us by the spirit to pass on in the telling.

“It is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it,” said Benjamin.  I have tried.

Or as Nietzsche said of the chorus in Greek tragedy:

With this chorus, the profound Hellene, uniquely susceptible to the tenderest and deepest suffering, comforts himself, having looked boldly right into the terrible destructiveness of so-called world history as well as the cruelty of nature, and being in danger of longing for a Buddhistic negation of the will.  Art saves him, and through art – life.

It’s still the same old story, especially when you know what’s missing.

The post The Pine-eyed Boy Escapes from the Belly of the Dark Night in the Fish’s Tale first appeared on Dissident Voice.