Category Archives: White Supremacy

North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization

The critics had already signaled their strategy for derailing any meaningful move toward normalizing relations between the United States and North Korea. Right-wing neoliberals from CNN, MSNBC and NPR are in perfect alignment with the talking points issued by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and the Democrat Party that took the position that anything short of the North Koreans surrendering their national interests and national dignity to the United States was a win for North Korea.

For much of the foreign policy community, corporate media pundits and leaders of the two imperialist parties, the issue is North Korean de-nuclearization. But for the people in Korea and throughout the global South, the real issue has always been the unfinished business of ending the war and beginning the de-colonization of the Korean peninsula.

The interrelated issues of respecting the dignity and sovereignty of the North Korean nation and engaging in an authentic process of de-colonization are precisely why the U.S.-North Korean initiative will fail without a major intervention on the part of the people in the United States demanding that their leaders commit to diplomacy and peace.

There should be no illusions about U.S. intentions. If U.S. policymakers were really concerned with putting a brake on the North Korean nuclear-weapons program, they would have pursued a different set of policies. Such policies would have created the necessary security conditions to convince the North Koreans that a nuclear deterrence to the United States was unnecessary.

The fact that those conditions were not created were less a result of the evil intentions of the North Koreans than it reflected the need to maintain the justification for continued U.S. military deployment in South Korea and in the region. Being able to point to North Korea as a threat to regional security has provided the justifications for U.S. power projection in the region and the ever-expanding U.S. military budget.

With the growing power of China over the last few decades, the threat of North Korea allowed the United States to continue a physical presence right at the underbelly of China. That is why the “agreed framework” under Clinton was not implemented and then jettisoned by the Bush administration. It is also why the Obama administration’s so-called strategic patience was really about a series of increasingly provocative military exercises and no negotiations.

Full Spectrum Dominance and the Psychopathology of White Supremacy

Korea has historically played a significant role for the U.S. imperial project since the end of the second World war. The emergent forces U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower identified as the military/industrial/complex are still present, but are now exercising hegemonic power, along with the financial sector within the U.S. state. Those forces are not interested in a diplomatic resolution of the Korean colonial question because their interests are more focused on China and maintaining U.S. regional hegemony in East Asia. The tensions in Korea have not only provided them the rationale for increased expenditures for various missile defense systems but also for bolstering public support for the obscene military budgets that are largely transferred straight to their pockets.

That is why the historic record is replete with the United States sabotaging negotiated settlements with the North, but then pointing to North Korean responses to those efforts as evidence of North Korean duplicity.

In addition to the material interests and hegemonic geopolitical objectives, the social-psychological phenomenon of inculcated white supremacy is also a factor and has buttressed imperial policies toward that nation for years.

For example, the psychopathology of white supremacy invisibilizes the absurdity and illegitimacy of the United States being in a position to negotiate the fate of millions of Koreans. The great “white father” and savior complex is not even a point of contestation because it is not even perceived — the rule of whiteness through the dominance of the Western capitalist elite has been naturalized.

Therefore, it is quite understandable that for many, the summit is the space where the North Koreans are essentially supposed to surrender to the United States. It is beyond the comprehension of most policymakers and large sectors of the public that North Koreans would have ever concluded it is not in their national interest to give up their defenses to a reckless and dangerously violent rogue state that sees itself beyond the law.

And it is that strange white-supremacist consciousness that buys into the racist trope that it was Trump’s pressure that brought North Korea to the table. The white-supremacist colonial mentality believes the natives will only respond to force and violence.

As U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the good old boy from South Carolina, argues “The only way North Korea will give up their nuclear program is if they believe military option is real.”\

But as Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s first vice minister for foreign affairs and former nuclear-program negotiator pointed out in relationship to the reasons why North Korea stayed with the process:

The U.S. is miscalculating the magnanimity and broad-minded initiatives of the DPRK as signs of weakness and trying to embellish and advertise as if these are the product of its sanctions and pressure.

Unfortunately, the white-supremacist world-view renders it almost impossible to apprehend reality in any other way. That is why it is inevitable that the Trump administration—like the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations—will mis-read the North Koreans.

The North Korea issue is a classic example of why it is impossible to separate a pro-peace, anti-war position from the issue of anti-imperialism. The concrete, geopolitical objectives of U.S. imperialist interests in the region drives the logic of regional dominance, which means peace, de-colonization and national reconciliation for Korea are counter to U.S. interests. And while we must support the U.S. state’s decision to halt military exercises, we must recognize that without vigorous pressure from the people to support an honest process, the possibility of conflict might be ever more alive now as a result of the purported attempt at diplomacy.

The nature of the North Korean state is not the issue. What is the issue is a process has begun between the two Korean nations that should be respected. Therefore, de-nuclearization should not be the focus—self-determination of the Korean peoples must be the center of our discussions. On that issue, it is time for activists in the United States to demand the United States get out of Korea. The peace and anti-war movement must support a process that will lead to the closure of U.S. military bases, the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the elimination of the nuclear threat.

In short, U.S. based activists must support an end to the Korean war and the start of the de-colonization of South Korea.

The Sleep of Civilization

Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
— Proverbs 19:4″

James “Mad Dog” Mattis spoke this week, at a pentagon press briefing, saying, among other things, that it was a time for all civilized nations to unite. The use of this trope ‘civilized’ echoes colonial sensibility. It is part of general shifting of meaning in the rhetoric of Empire over the last, say, 80 years.

Never mind that the occasion of this speech, as seems increasingly the norm, was based on mostly propaganda. No evidence for a chemical attack was actually provided. Just as the evidence in the Skripal (attempted) murder (sic) is conspicuously lacking.

This is a time when war criminals (unprosecuted, of course) can simply count on the utter amnesia of both the public and the quisling western press.

So let’s go back and check a few boxes on Mattis. This is the man who oversaw the war crimes of Fallujah and then helped cover them up. One can read about it here

So how is it that Mattis can so confidently count on the silence and complicity of the corporate press? Mattis is no doubt sociopathic. He is a lizard eyed lisping sadist and yet he is fawned over and described as the ‘the most revered Marine in a generation’ by the same prostrate press. The adoration of the military in western media is at an all time high. And entertainment today is laden with the most jingoistic and nativist rhetoric imaginable. Hollywood today produces fiction that is uniform in its opinions and values. Watch this season of Designated Survivor. I know that is asking a lot, but do it anyway. Kiefer Sutherland is one of those actors who in middle age has begun to take on the tight lipped appearance of an aggrieved or constipated Quaker. The show is so stunningly reactionary that one finds some difficulty in arriving at the right words. But it is not an anomaly. Half of network prime time drama is military-based in theme. And today Hollywood staff writers can count on CIA or Pentagon “advisors” taking an active part in the creation of scripts. The blurring of fiction and Imperial fiction, as it were. There are ongoing themes in this Sutherland show about Russian interference in US democracy and most recently a story built around a tiny Asian nation with an insane dictatorial leader who wants nuclear weapons. The depictions of the Asian characters is only slightly less cartoon like than Charlie Chan. And always there are the requisite evil Muslim terrorist.

But back to the disturbing figure of Jim Mattis. His call sign is “chaos”. He is reported to be worth in the neighborhood of five million dollars. This is an absurd low ball figure, but whatever. He is a graduate of Central Washington U. and something called the National Defense University. A quick iinternet search reveals this is a special educational institution on the grounds of Fort Leslie in DC and chartered by the Joint Chiefs. One does wonder what a typical class at NDU looks like.

As for the “pacification” of Fallujah. Brett Wilkins wrote…

According to witnesses and survivors of the assault, Marines indiscriminately killed men, women, children, the elderly and disabled alike. Civilians waving white flags of surrender were cut down by snipers, who also targeted ambulances carrying the wounded and dying to the few functioning clinics not destroyed by US bombs. “I see people carrying a white flag and yelling at us, saying, ‘We are here, just try to save us,’ but we could not save them because whenever we opened the ambulance door, the Americans would shoot at us,” Dr. Salam Ismael, head of Iraq’s young doctors association, told American investigative reporter Aaron Glantz, who covered the battle as an unembedded journalist. “We tried to carry food or water; the snipers shoot the containers of food.

No civilizational norms violated there. Nope. Mattis also was the man who had all charges dropped against the soldiers that took part in the rampage at Haditha. Civilians shot point blank, often women and children, and the elderly — in their homes.  Callsign “Chaos”.

Gary Kohls, MD, writing at Veterans Today….

Several of the PEOTUS’ cabinet appointees are high-ranking “lifer” military officers who have an innate disdain for democratic values (as would be expected for anybody whose career has been lived in the bubble of a hierarchical culture whose main junk values are 1) shoot first/ask questions later and 2) the use of dominative power over “enemies” via military violence.

Kohls was primarily writing about Jim Mattis. But honestly, even a cursory examination of ANY four star General will yield similar biographical facts and similar personality disorders. You don’t rise through military ranks without a core ruthlessness, and an innate sadism.
After the bombing of a wedding party in the Iraq desert, Mattis is quoted as saying…

Ten miles from the Syrian border and 80 miles from the nearest city and a wedding party? Don’t be naïve. Plus they had 30 males of military age with them. How many people go to the middle of the desert to have a wedding party?

The rank Orientalism of this comment, the arrogant indifference to the history and culture of Islam, to the Arab world in general, is also the hallmark of the successful military commander. Kill em all and let God sort it out. Of course, at the time of his nomination the NY Times published an op ed whose headline identified Mattis as a “pontential force for restraint”. That crazy old paper of record. And Mattis is routinely described as an intellectual, a ‘warrior monk’, and yet he doesn’t know anything of nomadic desert societies and culture. He didn’t even consider there might be a cultural gap here, or consider he might need to check alternative readings of the Muslim world, ones not provided for by that steller education at National Defense U. Mattis is not an intellectual, not even by the standards of that warped sub phylum of humanity that is the military.

The media coverage of Syria, in the UK and US, is blatantly biased and pro intervention. The fact that FOX news reactionary Tucker Carlson is the sanest voice in mainstream media is very telling. Carlson hasn’t “woke”…. he just saw a niche demographic that might boost his ratings. Still…he was, in fact, correct.

Danny Haiphong wrote

Tucker Carlson understands that he must appeal primarily to Republican voters weary of US interventions they see as products of Democratic Party-led wars even if establishment Republicans are no less hawkish than Democrats. Meanwhile, Goodman and her funders have subtly aligned with the Democrats as the new leaders of the War Party. War is the only tool at the disposal of imperialism, and there isn’t a single voice in Washington or the “liberal” media unwilling to use it.

Under these conditions, infantile leftists and faux socialists in the Democratic Party camp have felt compelled to choose a side in the imperial madhouse. They claim that Democrats are “Presidential” while Putin and Assad are villains of humanity. No criticism is thrown at the Democratic Party, which sent a delegation led by Nancy Pelosi to Israel just days prior to the planned gun down of Palestinian resistance forces in Gaza. It doesn’t seem to matter how many Syrians or Palestinians are killed by the forces of imperialism when the so-called left is under the swoon of the CIA. So-called US leftists have caught anti-Putin fever at the expense of all other political questions.

This includes the murder of Black people by the police in the US. Barely any attention was paid in the US to the murders of Stephon Clark and Saheed Vassell over the last few weeks. Only community members and the usual left organizations made any noise about these state-sanctioned murders. The same goes for Israel’s wonton massacre of participants in Gaza’s Great March for Return. In the absence of a mass movement, people in the US and West are becoming mere onlookers in a changing a world.

This last few months has revealed as never before both the callous cruelty of the ruling class in the U.S. and UK, but also the degrading of education … for lack of a better description. At the UN, British envoy Karen Pierce, mistakenly thought Karl Marx was a Russian. In a prank phone call Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, thought there was a country called Binimo. And Trump himself noted something or other about an imaginary African country called Nambia. Boris Johnson began an extemporaneous recitation of a Kipling poem (Road to Mandalay) in a temple in Myanmar. And then was told it was inappropriate by an aid, trying to save him further embarrassment, and STILL Johnson didn’t understand.

All of these examples are not mere gaffes, amusing mistakes, but rather a general indifference to the cultures of the world, in fact, an indifference to the world beyond their own small corner of it. Indifferent and hostile. Remember when George Bush, now in full rehabilitation mode by his media handlers, mocked Karla Faye Tucker, on death row, who was begging for her life. That is exactly the cruelty one sees across the board in the leaders of the West today. One wonders does Mattis or Bush or Bolton think the use of Agent Orange transgressed civilizational norms? Did Hiroshima?

What strikes me most acutely, these last few months, is the extraordinary cultural chauvinism of the U.S., or rather mostly of white U.S., as well as an institutionalized orientalism. Most White Americans, as a general statement, think they are better than the rest of the world. And most Americans have scant knowledge about the rest of the world. So the belief in cultural (and moral) superiority is based on what? The answer is not simple, but as a general sort of response, this trust in “our” superiority is built on violence. On an ability to be effectively violent. Most British, too, think they are superior to those ‘wogs’ south of their emerald isle. But since the setting of the sun on Empire, ‘officially’, the British hold to both a sense of superiority and a deep panic inducing sense of inferiority — at least to their American cousins. They are still better than those fucking cheese eating frogs or the krauts or whoever, but they accept that the U.S. is the sort of heavyweight champ of the moment. Meanwhile, the tragic and criminal fire at Grenfell Towers in London elicited a public discourse that perfectly reflected the class inequality of the UK, but also reflected, again, the colonialist mentality of the ruling party and their constituency.

Stephen Brenner wrote of the fire and the government response to it..

There is Sir Martin Moore-Bick,** the former High Court Judge, who has been appointed by May to head a board of inquiry. Fears of a protracted inquiry producing an anodyne report were aroused when Moore-Bick went out of his way to declare that the scope of the investigation would be severely limited to determining the immediate cause of the fire and why it spread so rapidly. Answers to both questions already are known. The Sir Inquisitor-to-be has given the game away in adding that “I do not expect everyone to be pleased by the conclusion of the inquiry” – yet to begin. Moore-Bick’s unprompted utterance shows just how pervasive is the Americanization of British political culture. Unnecessary, embarrassing ejaculations like this have become impulsive – defying the dictates of prudent restraint. No one is confused as to who the “everyone” he has in mind refers to. An impression reinforced by the denial of the residents’ right to ask questions in person as to the scope and form of the inquiry. The only open question is the exact tint that the whitewash will take (stitch-up in British dialect). The first testimony will not be heard until mid-September when panel members, as yet unnamed, get back from their holidays.

Graham Peebles adds

Grenfell Tower forms part of the Lancaster Road West Estate in Notting Hill Gate. An area that, like many other parts of the capital, has been subjected to a gentrification assault accompanied by systematic social cleansing that goes back decades and has intensified over the last 10 –15 years. In addition, the Grenfell affair demonstrates that the United States is not alone in its tolerance for actions that should be a national disgrace but are slighted by a political class incapable of feeling shame. The callous, off-hand treatment given the Grenfell victims is reminiscent of how colonial administrators dealt with expendable natives. If a proper criminal process were undertaken, a reasonable verdict would be Involuntary Manslaughter.

But that is exactly it. The colonial template is one etched in acid in the collective imagination of the West. At least the English speaking West. Expendable natives…which is what Jim Mattis sees everywhere that he dumps depleted Unranium and Willy Pete. It is what Madelaine Albright saw in Iraq or Hillary Clinton in Libya or Barack Obama in Sudan, Yemen, and…well… four or five other countries. It is what most U.S. police departments see in neighborhoods ravaged by poverty. As in those old Tarzan films, when the sound of drums is heard, the pith helmeted white man notes…”the natives are restless tonight”. When one discusses Syria, the most acute topic this week, remember that for Mad Dog and Boss Trump, or for the loopy John Bolton, these are just natives in need of pacification. Giving money to ISIS or Daesh, or whoever, as a cynical expression of colonial real politik, is nothing out of the ordinary. It is what the UK and US have done for a long while. It’s Ramar of Jungle handing out beads to the *natives*.

Domestically, take the example of Flint, Michigan. At the drinking water. When the unelected state appointed emergency manager switched from the Detroit River to the Flint River to supply water to the residents of Flint, the result was a spike in all diseases of insanitation. Everyone knew this was going to happen. The General Motors plant had stopped using Flint River water because it was corrosive to the auto parts they were manufacturing. But poor black kids, who cares. The U.S. has a long history of such stuff, from Love Canal, New York, to the chemical dump in the Elk River in West Virginia. You will notice a theme here. It is class. You don’t find ash spills like what happened near the Emery River in Tennessee occurring in Mill Valley or Scarsdale or Bel Air. Inflicting suffering on the poor is perfectly acceptable to the ruling class. To them, privilege is a sign of superiority. And the less deserving are only there to serve.

The problem with the current wave of propaganda from western sources is that very little, if any, evidence is given. The term ‘very likely’ is much in vogue, probably because it leaves such a huge ‘walk it back’ escape route. Except there is less and less effort to even bother. In one sense the solidification of class power came out of neoliberal policies in the 1970s. The top 1% (really, the top half of one percent) increased their wealth dramatically, with the same occurring in the UK. Clinton pushed these principles even further and then Bush and Blair further still. We are now living the dream of the Washington Consensus economists. And it worth noting the founding statement of Hayak’s Mt. Pelerin Society, in 1947. For Hayak was the godfather of neoliberalism and Milton Freidman his heir.

The central values of civilization are in danger. Over large stretches of the earth’s surface the essential conditions of human dignity and freedom have already disappeared.

There is that word again. Of course, this was really only justification for the 1% to expand the reach of Western capital. To exploit labor and extract resources. And when recalcitrant countries did not submit quickly enough, the CIA was always available (ask Iran, or Chile, or Angola. The latter more of a symbolic lesson for those uppity nations even thinking about not following orders. It also marked open U.S. cooperation with apartheid South Africa. And in opposition to the troops Castro sent to assist the MPLA opposition to the ruthless US supported Jonas Savimbi). This restoration of ruling class power, though, was and is always looking over its shoulder. For the reality is that such profound inequality means life becomes unsustainable, even for the top 0.1% is repressed. And such repression takes effort. And that effort is giving birth to the madness one sees today. From Grenfell Tower to Flint Michigan, to Gaza or Libya or Syria — the principles driving the violence are the same. And it matters not if the urbane and articulate Obama is President, or if the troglodyte Trump, if it is Blair or May, for they are only reciting from a small financial Catechism of financial laws, and these laws are breaking down in the face of environmental degradation and an inequality so extreme that its almost impervious to calculation. They are only the voice of their class.

This idea of civilized man has come to be an almost code-word for class hierarchy. The violence against Palestinians is simply inseparable from the violence that killed Stephon Clark. The violence that makes children sick in Michigan is the same one that causes oil spills or disasters such as the Lac-Mégantic train crash near Quebec, Canada. And, it is the same bigoted smug confidence of bourgeoise identity political thinking. The one that demands Islam rid itself of veils, or that ridicules ANY thinking or practice divergent from Western norms. You cannot expect the system to produce change if the system is based on punishing change. The status quo must be protected. For the ownership class world poverty is mostly the fault of the poor.

The admission that neoliberalism has failed in terms of its announced goals has forced its proponents to a tactical retreat—defending the broad thrust of the neoliberal policy agenda under cover of “reform.” The result is an augmented Washington Consensus that blames client states and not international institutions or transnational capital for the failures of neoliberalism. It is the poor who are expected to make still further adjustments along neoliberal lines. From this point of view, what comes after neoliberalism must be more neoliberalism.

— William K. Tabb, “After Neoliberalism“, Monthly Review, June 1, 2003.

This idea of civilizational norms is connected to a deeply rooted assumption about the virtue of Democracy. Israel is described as Democratic but Cuba is not, for example. The reality, of course, is that the CIA and US ruling class spend most of their energy in deterring democracy (to quote Chomsky).

Any real discussion of democracy needs to be extended beyond the undemocratic nature of the global economic institutions to a larger discussion of democracy, one that goes beyond whether votes are counted fairly, opposition candidates allowed to participate on an equal basis, and the voices of ordinary people heard by their elected leaders. Democracy needs finally to be discussed in relation to class rule in capitalist societies.

— William T. Kabb, “After Neoliberalism“, Monthly Review, June 1, 2003.

As Samir Amin pointed out, the “international community” (the G7 plus that bastion of democracy, Saudi Arabia) is utterly unconcerned with the opinions of 85% of the world’s population. So, both on a political/economic level, and on a cultural level, the Imperialist U.S. sees it as an innate right to decide the policies of the global south. It is anti democratic. The ruling class sees the right to enforce inequality as something of a Natural law. The anti Russian propaganda was born when Putin refused to sign off on the Nazi putsch in Ukraine. The US/Japan/NATO alliance is one that demands both economic submission and increasingly a cultural submission as well. And any rejection of this means a military forced submission. Democracy has come to be a shorthand for submission to neo-liberal economic policy dictated by Washington. Freedom is what happens after *we* destroy your country.

That Mattis or May or various other servants of Empire can talk of civilzational norms with a straight face is actually pretty remarkable. The list of crimes is so extensive that one barely knows where to begin. We could ask about Gary Webb and cocaine and the CIA. Or about the School of the Americas, or My Lai or the siege at Waco. Or….but I feel this stuff really should be well known by now. I am more concerned in a sense with the small cultural appropriations and the gestures of an Orientalist sensibility that I see almost daily in western media. And the growing anti-semitism which one finds even on the left. And the seemingly intractable racism of white America. I just stop having the ability to keep track of it all.

How can the white bourgeoisie demand adherence to their values with such tenacity? Do they really see themselves as somehow representative of some ideal? Tolerance means only adherence to their worldview. To their values. It is this nattering about ecological issues while never questioning the US military machine. But these refrains seem to stick in the collective consciousness of the west…”gas your own people” is one. As if gassing someone else were less objectionable. It is a media universe of entrenched meaningless slogans. It always reminds me of the outcry about steroid abuse. Maybe ask why big Pharma manufacture so many steroids. The medical uses for which are very limited. But no, it is easier to punish this or that athlete who in their desperation is looking for an edge, a way to reach that economic pinnacle so few reach. But question Eli Lilly? Never.

The ruling class has always made money, always been ruthless, but again, the 1970s marked the solidification of systematic plunder, a cohesive and seamless river of money upwards. And enforced by the CIA. One should not forget that the CIA was founded by rich white ruling class scions of banking and finance. Allan Dullus, straight out of Wall Street, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, and Bill Donovan. I mean the CIA calls itself “the Company”…bit of a tip off, that. If one struggles to grasp foreign policy decisions, always look at US business interests in the region. Remember these are ruthless people (MK ULTRA, Operation Mockingbird, etc). And the media was always part of this. The Graham family of Washington Post fame were directly linked to the CIA. William Paley, Henry Luce, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, and hundreds other are all intimate with the CIA. And it is no different now. It was the Clinton cartel that spent inordinate energy and time infiltrating Hollywood. The result is House of Cards, Homeland, Designated Survivor, and all the countless rest. Uniformity of message. Uniformity of values.

I do wonder at times the role of Evangelical Christianity as it runs smack into the Catholic stake-outs in the corridors of power. Perhaps they cooperate, I don’t know. Religion is second to money, anyway. And then there is the role of Israel, that anti democratic neo colonial apartheid state in the Middle East. The ascension of the settler fanatic mirrors the ascension of Dominionists in the current US government. Fanatical zealots. Intolerant and profoundly ignorant of most things outside of their narrow set of concerns. And again, anti democratic. Israel serves the U.S. ruling class, not the other way round. There is no global Jewish plot as I keep reading in social media. The feeding of this bit of classic antisemitism is probably sourced by Israel itself. Nothing serves their PR better than spikes in antisemitism. But Israel is, for sure, more powerful than ever before. More influential.

There is, best case scenario, a new Cold War in place. Worst case scenario, well, doesn’t matter. The real danger is the generalized ignorance now on display. Ruthless and sadistic one can predict, but irrational zealotry and stupidity…that is harder to deal with. And this is for certain the Age of Stupid. As for civilization, I’m coming to think we might well do fine without it.

The Punditry of Shithole Thinking

Our capitalist elites have used propaganda, money and the marginalizing of their critics to erase the first three of philosopher John Locke’s elements of the perfect state: liberty, equality and freedom. They exclusively empower the fourth, property. Liberty and freedom in the corporate state mean the liberty and freedom of corporations and the rich to exploit and pillage without government interference or regulatory oversight. And the single most important characteristic of government is its willingness to use force, at home and abroad, to protect the interests of the property classes.

— Chris Hedges, “Corpses of Souls”

Here’s a thought experiment for social workers assisting homeless, recovery (drug, alcohol), re-entry (coming out of prison), and those diagnosed with mental and physical health challenges: Take a college educated “professional,” George, and then a “homeless” person, Julia, and put them in the same tattered clothes, take away phone, ID, money, credit cards, blindfold them, transport them from say Portland, Oregon, and to Toronto, Canada, or Buffalo, NY, and drop them off in an alley in a run-down part of town at 3 am on a Monday. Then challenge them to get back to square “go.”

We know the homeless person, or the former incarcerated person, or the recovering addict will be home — Portland – within 48 hours. The professional, either in FIRE (finance insurance real estate) or any number of elite fields, will tank quickly. Especially if we were to drop that person off outside of town into a homeless camp.

In my field of social work, many employers I talk to would rather have a former inmate, a former felon, who has gotten his or her life back on track, on the job. Really. There are even Harvard (who cares that it’s Ivy League, by the way?) studies to that effect. Of course, the rationale is based on company loyalty; an ex-con would really appreciate his freedoms now; hard work – workaholic – since all that time in the lobotomizing prison system would kick in an obsessiveness toward keeping busy, keeping moving. Then, some employers I talk to think most workers or potential workers are the problem, would steal time, money, goods, and things from the company. So, the felon has already done time, knows the depravity of prison systems, and would stay on the up and up without jeopardizing incarceration. Plus, in the US, companies get a tax break for hiring former felons!

The fields of social work are growing, yet the pay is shrinking, the work conditions are ramped up, the management are bizarre examples of former social workers themselves (very anti worker, very hard on outside-the-box thinkers, and completely blank on what radical social work is and how to even apply the principles of that form of social work). Most non-profits do the dirty work of what a society is looking more and more to not provide for – mental health care for a bigger and bigger share of the USA population; disability services for a larger and larger swath of Americans mentally, psychologically, intellectually, socially, physically, and spiritually broken or disabled; financial, employment, education, housing assistance for an ever-growing population of humans who are not able to work and live and transport and find health care for themselves in this New Gilded Age.

The non-profits I have worked for are top-heavy, have very little money put aside or earmarked or grant-provided for the workers; many of the non-profits hire development associates, upper management shills, PR folk, marketing and events coordinators; many are in shining and remodeled digs while casting shadows on the street people they supposedly care about.

Some of us in social services have come from other professions, and like me, many are former teachers. Very few are radical thinkers, and many are just trying to hang on. When you work in an at-will state, where organizing and workplace coordinating is akin to communism, and when you work for people younger and the same age as yourself who once had their lives more or less put together but who are today on the streets, in shelters, in vans on the side of the road, and who have to pay for legal debts – hospital bills, legal financial obligations, debts coming at them via mean-assed debt collectors and repo men —  the idea of Six Degrees of Separation comes cold like melting glaciers as really Only One Degree of Separation.

Manfred Max Neef calls this country, USA — richest, biggest land rip off abusing, military mightiest, vastest financial thieving, culturally insanest — underdeveloping.

I mean, your country is the most dramatic example that you can find. I have gone as far as saying — and this is a chapter of a book of mine that is published next month in England, the title of which is Economics Unmasked. There is a chapter called “The United States, an Underdeveloping Nation,” which is a new category. We have developed, underdeveloped and developing. Now you have underdeveloping. And your country is an example, in which the one percent of the Americans, you know, are doing better and better and better, and the 99 percent is going down, in all sorts of manifestations. People living in their cars now and sleeping in their cars, you know, parked in front of the house that used to be their house — thousands of people. Millions of people, you know, have lost everything. But the speculators that brought about the whole mess, oh, they are fantastically well off. No problem. No problem.

This short piece – rare for me at DV, LA Progressive,  and other places, since I still believe that concision is not a favorable tool to understanding the complexities of our society and systems thinking – is all tied to really what many Americans WAY WAY before Trump’s family set foot in this country have always believed about Mexico or New Orleans or Dominican Republic or South Africa or Philippines or Afghanistan (just replace a country like Haiti with any number of 120 countries in the world) have said, stated, written and professed undiplomatically and through the Economic Hit Men: They are ALL shitholes.

I have had plenty of people in my 61 years living on this planet, after being in dozens of countries (I have lived and worked in), fellow (sic) Americans (sic) who thought my white skin and my little lists of three college degrees and my male status entitled my fellow Americans to rant on and on about how dirty, backward, primitive, slow-witted, poor, inefficient, shady, criminal this or that country is — countries from which I lived, traveled and worked and those many have not stepped foot in, beyond FOX News and Hollywood propaganda.

That Trump now voices what Americans have believed, and economists have practiced, and our military branches have reflected – America is Great, and the rest of the rabble (well, maybe not Norway or Finland — that’s about it for that pure white race places) are part and particle the shitholes Trump so undiplomatically states the world is.

In reality, though, if we look at the definition of “shit”/”hole,” it all comes back to this warring, militant, earth-killing, global lording over country called the United States of America. Infantilized, lobotomized, one-paycheck/broken bone/auto accident/employment termination/criminal justice involved/foreclosure AWAY from shithole status.

This poor white and now multi-race co-opting country of people who have zero idea how and why its more or less isolated little status among the global actors is set in their minds as “okay . . . Great/Yes We Can/Make It Great Again/Numero Uno” because of the shit we serve up to the rest of the world vis-à-vis military and economic and resource plundering insanity.

While our own country is full of shit-holes– full of systems of penury and debasement and depravity and delusion and destruction and increasing wrath upon its own populations – we see this spasm of protestations from the Liberal Democrats Who Support All Those Democratic Party apparatchiks of regime change and collateral damage carried out on what Bush or Obama see as the “shit hole Iraqis and Afghans and Libyans and Yeminis and Somalis.” Imagine, the democrats crying about Trump and his redneck Americanism.

Which party said we had to bomb them back to the stone age? Which party wrapped up Japanese Americans in barbed wire luxury? Which party helped to wipe out 3 million Vietnamese? Who bombed, razed, illegally mined, economically double-triple tapped the world’s other shit holes? Way-way before two-bit The Apprentice got raves and ratings and millions. It’s Trump who is still on record ranting about the Central Park Five, found to be falsely convicted and held in prison (now released), stating months ago, after the five men were acquitted, found to be innocent and released, that “they are guilty of the rape, man.” His Trump Faulty Towers Corp. paid or two full page ads in the NYT ranting about “their guilty” after they were found innocent.

Again, a reset button is necessary when looking at the big billionaire’s motley mind and fourth grade thinking style: who is he, how did he get here, where did he learn, how did he exist in this country, what is his American soul made of . . . . The who, why, when, what, where and how are questions Americans of all political stripes never ask.

We can tap dance around those “deplorables” voting for George Wallace or Barry Goldwater or George Bush or Donald Trump, or dance around those millionaires who see other shitholes producing other super predators, or two-step into more delusion when Super Rich Hollywood defines You and Me and Success and Failure, or when Amazon dot com comes crashing into your local bricks and mortar, or how the millionaire media or celebrities come into your living rooms via cable or iPhone and kidnap your loved ones, young and old.

Seriously, which shithole shall we concentrate on in the US of A, the engine of shit holes, the Mother of All Shitholes, coming to a neighborhood nearby, or Flint Michigan, or Charlottesville, or Fortune 1000 boardroom or dis-education college faculty and administration?

Who in your group of friends and acquaintances even knows what economics is for? Manfred Max Neef again:

One, the economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy.

Two, development is about people and not about objects.

Three, growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.

Four, no economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.

Five, the economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.

And the fundamental value to sustain a new economy should be that no economic interest, under no circumstance, can be above the reverence of life.

I am sorry to say in my years as a journalist, college teacher, union organizer, social worker, environmentalist, urban planner, etc., I have run into more shithole thinkers in this country than all the countries I’ve been to combined, by far. If you want to run into real thugs, real criminals, real depravity, delusional thinking, disgusting thinking, real retrograde philosophy, real illiteracy, real infantilism, come to a town near me – Pacific Northwest, or Texas or Arizona, or anywhere I have done my time in.

Not many anti-Trump people would question the root cause of his shithole role running this shithole country, and the mirror is not large enough for self-reflection: biggest military in the world, biggest land mass stolen from original nations, biggest area cleared of natural ecosystems, biggest group of la-la-land thinkers. Magical thinkers, the lot of us, really.

Let the knee-jerking go on and on as Americans attempt to parse out who they are in that mirror mirror on the wall! Unless you have ended the mythical belief in this country’s prowess and greatness and stopped hiding from this society’s advanced malignant cancer called predatory and consumer capitalism, then you are the Trump in that mirror, without or without the orange glow!

Max-Neef: First of all, we need cultured economists again, who know the history, where they come from, how the ideas originated, who did what, and so on and so on; second, an economics now that understands itself very clearly as a subsystem of a larger system that is finite, the biosphere, hence economic growth as an impossibility; and third, a system that understands that it cannot function without the seriousness of ecosystems. And economists know nothing about ecosystems. They don’t know nothing about thermodynamics, you know, nothing about biodiversity or anything. I mean, they are totally ignorant in that respect. And I don’t see what harm it would do, you know, to an economist to know that if the beasts would disappear, he would disappear as well, because there wouldn’t be food anymore. But he doesn’t know that, you know, that we depend absolutely from nature. But for these economists we have, nature is a subsystem of the economy. I mean, it’s absolutely crazy.

They Keep Saying: “Hope is the Only Thing Left”

But no matter what environmentalists do, our best efforts are insufficient. We’re losing badly, on every front. Those in power are hell-bent on destroying the planet, and most people don’t care. Frankly, I don’t have much hope. But I think that’s a good thing. Hope is what keeps us chained to the system, the conglomerate of people and ideas and ideals that is causing the destruction of the Earth.

To start, there is the false hope that suddenly somehow the system may inexplicably change. Or technology will save us. Or the Great Mother. Or beings from Alpha Centauri. Or Jesus Christ. Or Santa Claus. All of these false hopes lead to inaction, or at least to ineffectiveness. One reason my mother stayed with my abusive father was that there were no battered women’s shelters in the ’50s and ’60s, but another was her false hope that he would change. False hopes bind us to unlivable situations, and blind us to real possibilities.

— Derrick Jensen, essay, “Beyond Hope

Life Measured in Gold

What is a life worth in this poisoned pen world of American deception? I have been scouring the depths of this culture for decades, 4.5 to be exact, looking for signs of hope, dredging the bowels of a country that has never been what so many today believe it was/is/will be. Ever.

I also balked for 4.5 decades at the silliness of Americans who hands down (70 percent) give the US Military Killing Machine the highest marks of all humanity coming out of the intestines of this genocidal country. These high school football games now have flyovers from attack jets and commandos from helicopters. Big fat tears for the mercenaries, and oh how this is normalized behavior.

Pretty soon, the camo and drones will be at your favorite daycare center recruiting.

Get this shit about America, ending this 2017, with Trump and friends as the new Kamikazes (all politicians and corporations love what Trump is and how he got there) pushing the national agenda for the more than just simple daft American consumer – offended by kneeling . . . getting a refund:

And if legislation from Indiana State Representative Milo Smith passes, the Colts would be required to offer those fans who feel disrespected refunds if Colts players kneel during the national anthem of home games, according to the Indianapolis Star.

“To me when they take a knee during the national anthem, it’s not respecting the national anthem or our country,” Smith said. “Our government isn’t perfect, but it’s still the best country in the world and I think we need to be respectful of it.”

You have to wonder if the refund includes all taxes paid since this country is run by economic hit men, buggering the people believing in government of, for, by, with the people, so called representational democracy? How many cents on the dollar go to US Military Inc. and the Little Eichmann’s running the complex that is guns-punishment-armaments-high tech tools of enslavement? Is it fifty-five out of every buck? Sixty cents? Do the extractive thugs with their massive externalities paid for by you and me and the rest of the world, is that tax refundable? Up to what, 70 cents of every dollar paid to Uncle Sam’s Killing Machine?

How many of those dollars will get refunded? All those offshore untaxable accounts? We getting refunds on that big fat kneeling of the millionaires/billionaires? Think I can cash it all in because I am offended by the high crimes insulter that is the Mafia Donald Trump for putting his knee into our proverbial groin and up against our children’s children’s proverbial necks?

I am reminded of other people’s writing looking at the blasphemy of a happy new year, let’s hope 2018 is better:

Those in power love it when we hold on to our fake optimism year after year, instead of revolting against these worn out celebrations. They love it when they see millions of mindless consumers storming stores to buy and consume more shiny and glittering gifts, as if they are genuine signs of loving and caring for each other. They love it when we keep quiet and do business as usual while “hoping for a better new year.”

An Angel in Every Household

This Wish for an Angel bullshit is America, all cuddly with Disneyland pudge, all teary-eyed flatulence when the old millionaire hands out Big Macs to the swollen masses who are homeless and dying.

In any case, there are a few bright spots for me coming into this next stage of the electrical storm, 2018 Surveillance-Punishment-Alternative Reality US/White race (sic): a teller (soon to be extinct professional) at my local bank gets it about Facebook and Zio-Zuckerberg selling us all out; and she cancelled her Page, and she understands the surveillance society she is now in, as a 28-something Latina in White-White Portland. She has plans to circumvent the reality of the controllers to her own reality.

Then there’s my buddy who is 64, Jim, and who’s worldly, playing Texas Hold ‘em in several small towns along the Columbia River and making money under the table while collecting social security checks and talking about the history of Switzerland, he’s really happy that his taxes in Washington (where he has 75 acres and a home next to my 20 raw acres) are doing what they should: providing roads, public services, fire control, all the necessary bureaucracy to keep people going and to deliver vital services.

The bright hope is that many significant people in my life knowing they are not living/working/existing in their own house, as my African-American friends say every time we face the hell of incorrigible bosses who berate and pencil-push us into corners at whichever job we find ourselves in. There are people running staffing agencies in my life who try and try to make the lives of their temps more tolerable, and try to hike up hourly wages and act as go-betweens between the employee (temporary) and the outfit bosses, typically as ugly as a Jeff Bezos fulfillment (sic) center, also known as a dead-end hell hole (for the lack of livable wages and the redneck drill sergeant supervision).

Uber fascist, Jeff, forcing journalists to not be, err, real journalists —

Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, has instituted a new policy with regard to employees’ social media behavior… a new social-media policy at the Washington Post prohibits conduct on social media that “adversely affects Post’s customers, advertisers, subscribers, vendors, suppliers or partners.”

In such cases, Post management reserves the right to take disciplinary action “up to and including termination of employment.”

His paper’s new social-media policy specifically lists the following among the types of communications which are now prohibited:

Disparaging the products and services of The Post’s advertisers, subscribers, competitors, business partners or vendors.

Ahh, this perniciousness will engulf all corporations’ policies. Imagine, a journalist who can’t “disparage” things, people, corporations, ideas, products, services. The Age of Bizarre turn into the Age of Dumb and Dumber. The devil’s in the details, and I predict in 2018 Mr. Bezos will be positioning himself to run for POTUS soon — more devils in the White House:

See the source image

See the source image

Will Anyone Really Care in a Hundred Years if There is No Amazon (forest)?

I am attempting to be cogent here coming into 2018, trying to make the deadline for this DV end-of-the-year piece so its fine editor (here, Dissident Voice, going on 17 years or more as a radical news source) can scramble and get pieces ready for that artificial tick of the clockwork. My lamentation is that as each day in 2018 unfolds, the powers will make it more difficult to even launch anything small and terse and dissident like this blog. Imagine doing all this work for free, and the question is when the lights go out because of Verizon and ATT and Comcast, all these great pieces and ideas, more than a decades’ worth, thousands, whoosh, vanished into the digital thin air.

Which brings me to my hook here, one that I will be returning to in other pieces coming up in the year of the dog. I am taking issue with this laborious and loud lament usually stated by non-working class elites, or quasi-elites –

“Well, in a hundred years, what will our great-great grandchildren think how we left the world? In a hundred years, the people will be asking, ‘What the hell was that generation thinking doing/allowing/creating/destroying/ promoting/justifying . . . THAT?”

The “that,” conveniently, is a fill-in-the-blank answer, but the reality is there is no hundred years from now species of man/woman/child/they/it, or archetype of an American who would even have the context or knowledge to ask anything of the sort. The fact is we are on a pathway to completely damaged people, a neo-species of sick, psychologically dented, ethically demented, drawn and quartered spirits, people, youth and old, tied to the giant 24/7 15-minutes of attention on a million stories cycled into the next and the next 15 minutes. Trivial and shallowness, recycled, meaningless, cult of the famous-infamous, proud to know the football scores and the murderers and NYSE’s predictions for another year of gluttony.

People also held by gut diseases, by vaccine injuries, by persistent organic chemicals eating at their mitochondria, their DNA, or the off-gassing grossness in every corner of their lives, cesspools called ponds, eddies of slurry called rivers, black lagoons and gyrating garbage patches as beaches, clear-cut forests, oh, so inundated cities, half water logged.

Do we think in a hundred years there will be memory, human memory, as the kingpins of punishment and debt collude to turn everyone as obsolete. The horror, the horror, Kurtz might say in the Heart of Darkness, not about the white princes of the British Isle, but pointed at the masters of the economics of this universe, those three men owning the wealth of a 150 million, and those thirty titans of obsolescence and greed and exploitation toppling wealth of nations, more in those 30 men’s wallets than 3.5 billion of us collectively.

There will be no teenager in 2080 asking, “Man, what were you thinking killing the great barrier reef?” No millennial in 2100 admonishing, “How could they have allowed every single waking and sleeping and breathing moment be to surveilled by Big Brother Corporation-Government?”

No activists in 2100 running around the country with their big banner drops off the top of buildings stating, “Our grandparents are responsible for the oceans rising, the end of civilization, and my chronic and genetic illness!”

There Will Be Blood and We Do Need those Stinkin’ Badges

This is the same soft-shoe soft-headed thinking that runs Hollywood and Madison Avenue, that ensconces in the hallways of schools and colleges. There is no future world of dystopia and endless rot where a new generation a century from now, or even a few radicals or dissidents, will be admonishing past generations.

What they will have will be how they think. Acceptance is the gulag, now or in a century. Acceptance now is 11 million babies dying a year of treatable diseases. The accepting masses young and old today are here watching mountains explode and insects going extinct and oceans emptying out and accepting the infinite death ray of flat screens and Netflix-HBO-Amazon-20th Century Fox. Entertaining ourselves now into stupidity, and back to the superficiality that so many Americans have that causes them to think they are smart.

It ain’t gonna happen, generations in the future catching on, lamenting, knowing, and admonishing and understanding what each season brings in this madness of pre-post-retrofitting industrialization into the hyper madness of drones-artificial people/intelligence/ecologies/relationships/thinking.

Jeff Bezos and Musk and Google offspring and Zuckerberg zygotes will be the ruling classes of information flow, the arbiters of history found, kept and scrubbed. This is the time of the carnival, the sideshow, the blaring idiot Trump genuflecting to the waitresses and the go-go dancers while his effete sidekicks like Zio-Christian Pence take it all with the glee of televangelists hiding kiddie porn and their rhinestone g-strings.

The spectacle is our own downfall, the spiraling vortex of more and more aberrations turning into regular, every day, every minute events. The homeless wandering, bused from city to city; floating islands of crap, zfor the jobless to pick through; the obsolete, more and more people coughing up spare kidneys, letting the grand illusionists pull skin off of them for the $500 ready in hand entertainment, fun.

There are bigger and more horrific things than the barbarity of the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades or the Nazi pogroms of experimentation with the mammals in their concentration camps. We are now in full-throttle Mengele mode, where each cell in us, the deplorables, the 90 percent, or 80, is bought and sold by the corporatists, the disrupting economists, the evil twins of racism and inequity. Segregation now is based on zip code, decay, urban rot, and the evils of war and profits so lovingly embraced by the elites here and the majority in a place like Israel are quickly transformed into the divide and conquer the rich are so deftly able to promulgate each week, each 24/7 million rip-off deals a day.

Mad-Mad-Mad World of Ad Men

Here, let me explain: It’s the power of marketing the lies of capitalism, of prompting the psychological warfare of USA exceptionalism, of inciting the us against them-isms of a modern age now, teaching the lesser of evils throughout a person’s lifetime that warps memory and erases not only history but humanity. And, unfortunately, what I call the shifting baseline syndrome allows what is happening now, today, to be normalized, and valorized.

Pissing in a cup during a job interview? Sheriff’s deputies protecting repo men and women? Banks getting away with foreclosing on not only homes, but lives? What baseline do I go by? In my time, the cops had no right to ask what was in my glove compartment or trunk on a traffic stop. In my day, people tried stopping someone jumping off a bridge instead of calling 911, after whipping out Smartphones videotaping it and then saying, ‘Jump . . . jump’ right before the selfie.

In my day and age, there was a modicum of interest in learning about ecosystems and how to protect wetlands, mangroves, grasslands, deltas, riparian areas, mountain tops.

In my day and age a healthy reef in the Sea of Cortes was dozens of moray eels and turtles and a hundred fish species by the thousands in one 50 minute dive (scuba) piloted by dolphins and sharks.

In my day, there were reliable journalists – mostly print, sometimes small-town journalists (I was one) – who could tell you about a topic like zoning for a new stadium on many levels, from many perspectives for hours on end!

I won’t even get into details around how pathetically ruined Homo Sapiens will be coming out of this America’s womb in fifty years – chronic illness is now hitting 50 percent of the population, but put that at 90 percent in 20 years, and half of the population will have several chronic illnesses. What’s it going to look like in 80 years?

Count that as auto-immune issues out the rooftop, attention deficit issues, constant brain fog and arterial clogging, aches and autism, abnormal blood draws and diabetes, General Anxiety Disorders and fear of thy neighbor, and a bloody mix of bacteria loads, gut ailments, paranoia, and fear of one’s own shadow. Day to day, the surveillance state ramps up, and the poverty level increases, the one-credit card voucher away from being homeless pervades, digital and computer fatigue sets in, automation and artificial intelligence overtake human relations, and the list goes on and on, so it is hilarious to think there is some Cormac McCarthy world of people wandering the earth looking for that one spit of land or some mossy forest where goblins and fairies will bring back the good old days, a time of human humanity!

The Truths Are in the Eyes of the Billionaires

You’ve got Trump saying, err, tweeting, “Bring on the Global Warming, man, with all this snow in Erie, Pennsylvania, ha-ha-ha,” and you have Purdue University president Mitch Daniels calling those of us who question glyphosate and Golden Rice as immoral:

The attack on GMO technology is the most blatant anti-science of the age. But it’s far worse than that. Lives are at stake, and while scientists, regulators, and business people are naturally reluctant to fight back, it’s morally irresponsible not to.

Daily, in 2018, the fight will be with those who have been brainwashed into thinking mandatory vaccines are legal and ethical, and that anti-GMO activists are loony, and that our food as produced by the chemical industry is more than safe.  Here, the power of those multi-billionaires and the chemical purveyors on planet earth will be tested:

Report on, the food-health nexus!

The World Bank and United Nations funded 900 scientists over three years in order to create an International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). Its conclusions were diametrically opposed, at both philosophical and practical levels, to those espoused by Bill Gates and clearly state that the use of GM crops is not a meaningful solution to the complex situation of world hunger.

Changing Seed and Plant Variety Protection Laws in
Tanzania—Implications for Farmer Managed Seed Systems and Smallholder Farmers

Monsanto Weed-killer Roundup Causes Cancer, California Says

European Union (EU) recently determined that it will renew glyphosate for another five years —a shorter renewal than it could have been, but not ideal when what we really wanted was a rejection of the license renewal altogether.For over two years, this vote was delayed as member states debated whether or not glyphosate is a carcinogen. The World  Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designated glyphosate a probable carcinogen in March 2015, a decision that IARC has continued to defend despite attacks from industry interests on multiple fronts (including from members of the U.S. House of Representatives).

The grand illusion is each community, each unique people’s we might imagine in the future will be covered in more than a trail of tears to the tenth power. More than slaves to debt and confusion, and commerce will be exacting punishment for being a being. More pain than what befell the first nations people, all those abused scoundrels, the immigrants – European illegals coming into a land that was once a nation of people and tribes. This recessive gene pool gave birth to the abused and abuser on a very special scale. This grand deception called America Great Again is more than the PT Barnum scam of credit and debt, land theft, gilded syphilitic ones determining the number of bellies bloated and brains blown away.

The very premise of these 50 states and territories, this country shitting on Puerto Rico while oligarchs and kleptomaniacs stuff billions inside the cadavers of their enemies, isn’t even the real shame.

The reality is Americans are bamboozled into believing they are god’s second chosen people, that the entire mess of this hyper-military society is somehow legitimate, a god-send to the other continents.

I have faced down the scourge and scrooge that is capitalism, credentialism, credit scores, and what one has to demonstrates his or her credence in society – status, money, power and say, and voice. I have failed in 60 years, and turning 61 in the Year of the Dog just militates my points of abject failure of my own voice having any weight.

The reality of who is and who isn’t an outlier forever is determined by how much scratch one accumulates, and how much limelight is shined upon him or her and the weight of digital ink expended.

I have listened to people say my position of precarity is all tied to the gravity of the decisions I’ve made throughout my pittance of a life. Every single decision I have made have put me behind the proverbial eight ball – healthy, both of mind and body, but underemployed, under-developed, under-realized, and precarious: one broken leg from poverty, one motorcycle accident away from institutionalization, or one verbal altercation with a cop from being dead on arrival.

Big Sugar Daddy in the Sky

More and more people are looking at the big daddy in the sky excuse, as if the bad one faces, and the deadly unraveling of one’s life are predestined, ordained a billion big bangs ago, controlled by the drone operator in the sky, the boss, head honcho of heaven.

The talk of the world now is mishmash of billionaire and millionaire sputtering illusions and delusions of grandeur. We have the multi-millionaire Obama interviewed by the ultra multi-millionaire Prince Harry and the world goes a shudder:

Barack Obama Expertly Snubbed Trump in Prince Harry Interview: The prince also couldn’t resist asking the former president some rapid-fire questions about cigarettes, celebrities, sports, and Suits.

We can’t talk about social justice anymore, or talk about the social contract, or the deadly poisoned well that is capitalism. We can’t talk about what might be better, a whole set of better ways to be humane and human, or how socialism and anarchy and humanism and communitarianism and collectiveness might hold some key to sanity and salvation for ones worthy of saving in our hurtling 8 billion human inhumane world.

Worth, value, integrity, something deeper inside the soul than transactional thinking, or this comedy of errors we call American politics. The news is not fit to print, and the Hollywood and Madison Avenue worlds are not real, yet dominate the axiom of perception being THE reality, the show that counts.

Ode to Hope

Oceanic dawn
at the center
of my life,
waves like grapes,
the sky’s solitude,
you fill me
and flood
the complete sea,
the undiminished sky,
tempo
and space,
sea foam’s white
battalions,
the orange earth,
the sun’s
fiery waist
in agony,
so many
gifts and talents,
birds soaring into their dreams,
and the sea, the sea,
suspended
aroma,
chorus of rich, resonant salt,
and meanwhile,
we men,
touch the water,
struggling,
and hoping,
we touch the sea,
hoping.

And the waves tell the firm coast:
‘Everything will be fulfilled.’

— Pablo Neruda

Even Some Rich Know They Are Filthy Rich! 

Celebrity culture, and the cult of money. The destructive nature of capitalism married to Zionism and commerce and automation and digitization is hardly recognized in the very nature of a Jeff Bezos, working hand in hand with CIA, killing the book industry, this purveyor monopoly and headmaster of the watchtower shadowing individualism and uniqueness.

The spoils of the monsters of money will be a handsome extra $1 trillion for 2017. These Storm-troopers of Capital are so filthy and filthy rich that some of their tribe even plead for taxation, plead for the lot of them to give it away. Even in the world of superficiality, sports, the head honcho of one team is lambasting his filthy and illegal gains:

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked why he thinks it’s important to give back to the community: “Because we’re rich as hell and we don’t need it all, and other people need it. Then, you’re an asshole- if you don’t give it. Pretty simple.”

It has nothing to do with the democrats losing the election. It’s got to do with the way one individual conducts himself. And that’s embarrassing, it’s dangerous to our institutions and what we all stand for and what we expect the country to be. But for this individual, he’s in a game show, and everything that happens begins and ends with him, not our people and our country. Every time he talks about those things, that’s just a ruse. That’s disingenuous, cynical and fake.

Or, how about:

Federal prosecutors have requested records related to a $285 million loan that Deutsche Bank gave Jared Kushner’s family real estate company one month before Election Day, the company confirmed this week.

The records were sought by prosecutors in Brooklyn and do not appear related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

A Kushner Cos. spokeswoman said that the firm is cooperating in the review of what it called a “routine” transaction.

Fourteen $ an Hour and the Trumps Laugh All the Way to Bedlam 

Here’s a job announcement, for Portland, Oregon, one I am qualified to perform beyond simple basic skills and experience. This is for $14 an hour!! This is what I have always pointed out in my articles that all big ideas and concepts can be tied to the microcosm — this job for hip, up and coming, California dreaming Portland, Oregon, with a housing crisis, homeless crisis and drug abuse crisis. Get it? A non-profit seeking someone with a master’s, helping disabled people get on their feet, the entire suite of services, and it’s FOURTEEN dollars an hour! In my day and age . . . .!!!

1) An understanding of workforce development programs, policies, and initiatives
2) An understanding of the process by which individuals:
a) define career goals,
b) prepare for, find and retain employment,
and c) build skills for career advancement
3) An understanding of labor market resources and how to access them
4) An understanding of the special employment needs of diverse groups and the ability to make appropriate adaptations to address these needs
5) An ability to both provide and facilitate good customer service
6) An ability to develop and track program outcomes and task analysis
7) An understanding of basic computer technology used in job development

Some Major Responsibilities Include:

• Work side-by-side with a newly placed customer at a job site
• Analyze the job, and break into manageable components
• Identify and solve problems before they become crises for the customer, employer or co-worker
• Teach effective job retaining skills
• Use the least intrusive methods possible on the job
• Gradually reduce the time spent at the job site as the customer becomes better adjusted and more independent • Work closely with local school district

Qualifications: • 1) EOP Training, and 2) APSE (or ARCE) Certification or DHS approved equivalent (can be completed within 6 months of hire)

• At least 1 year of experience working with individuals who experience disability
• At least 1 year of experience working or educated in a specific field that includes supervisory and/or training duties and/or marketing and/or sales
• First Aid certification
• Pass a criminal history background check
• Approved driving record
• Self-motivated, self-directed
• Proficient communication skills, written and oral (i.e., interpersonal skills)
• Ability to work in collaboration with TCP staff, local and state agencies, and businesses

Oh, so, let’s get back to that 100 years down the line, when most people will be unemployed, in clinics as harvest factories, or at-home care facilities, organs harvested, and each blink of the eye counted as a tax. How those Bezos sort of people love killing us with their disruptive technologies of obsolescence:

McKinsey counted more than 70 entire professions in which at least 90% of activities can be automated, ranging from mail clerks to ophthalmic lab technicians, tire-repairers, butchers, food preparers and bakers.

But many Americans don’t think they need to adapt, with 80% saying their job definitely or probably will exist in its current form in 50 years, according to the Pew Research Center.

“We often think about automation as applying to front-line, low-wage, low-skill activities and jobs — and what we’ve discovered is there are some activities that are high-wage, high-skill that are actually very susceptible to automation,” said Michael Chui, a McKinsey Global Institute partner in San Francisco who studies the issue. “Almost every job in the economy has a significant percentage of activities that can be automated.”

The professional service robot industry expects to sell a third more units from 2016 through 2019 — 333,200 in all — than it sold in the past 17 years, says the International Federation of Robotics. They could be used in place of professionals, whether it’s medicine, agriculture, hospitality or even the supermarket down the street.

Consider: —Restaurant workers. In fast-food, San Francisco-based Momentum Machines already makes a hamburger-flipping robot. Several chains are gradually introducing self-ordering stations.

Shelf stockers. In stores, San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics has developed a robot that is checking shelf inventory in a test at Lowe’s, the home-improvement chain.

Journalists. Automated Insights has created a software suite called WordSmith that writes thousands of automated stories every month, including Minor League Baseball game accounts and earnings reports for the Associated Press, basketball game recaps for Yahoo! Sports and financial content for dozens of other clients.

Bookkeepers. Accountants — perceived as a steady 9-to-5 job with an average salary of $67,190 in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — are poised for a total makeover. About one in five people in the finance and insurance sector primarily perform data processing — and about 85% of that work can be automated, McKinsey estimates

Love as Antidote?

Enough said about the coming year, the coming decade, this century. Automatons, and disease. Am I supposed to end the year, 2017, with hope, with something?

Try this out for size:

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

— L.R. Knost

Bury All Fossil Fuel Protesters in the Ground

What do you say about this fellow – practicing to be a Jesuit priest. Yale Law School. His family involved in California politics since the 1930s. His great-grandfather here from Germany for the great California Gold Rush, 1852.

Yes, that genocidal, land-thieving time of California’s history

Gold’s a devilish sort of thing. You lose your sense of values and character changes entirely. Your soul stops being the same as it was before.

— The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

The attacking party rushed upon them, blowing out their brains and splitting their heads with tomahawks. Little children in baskets, even babies had their heads smashed to pieces or cut open. Mothers and infants shared the same phenomenon…many of the fugitives were chased and shot as they ran…The children, scarcely able to run, toddled towards the squaw for protection, crying with fright, but were overtaken, slaughtered like wild animals, and thrown into piles… One woman got into a pond hole, where she hid herself under the grass, and concealed her papoose on the bank in a basket, she was discovered and her head blown to pieces, the muzzle of the gun being placed against her skull and the child was drowned in the pond.

— Captain Jarboe among the Achomawi people of the North-east.

Oh, these bizarre and ignorant politicians, like Brown, yesterday (11/13/17), in Bonn, setting up his philosophy in life, after 79 years on planet earth, 79 years on the stolen lands of native indigenous peoples massacred for gold, for land, and poisoned by the tailings and mercury of the Gold Lust, and, well, the fact that California, thanks to German immigrants like Jerry Brown’s great grandfather, August Schuckman, went from 150,000 Natives right before the Rush down to 16,000 by 1900.

The following are some examples of this mini holocaust.

Clear Lake Massacre ended in disaster as more than a hundred Indians, women, and children were murdered,1852.

The Hayforlk Massacre ended up in even more disaster, following the killing of a white settler, more than one-hundred and fifty Indians were killed, with that they took the three last remaining survivors, most likely to have been a woman and her two children who were sold as slaves.

In 1854 Indian Agent R. McKee plead to the troops to keep peace between the Indians and the settlers, after the Massacre of Klamath River which was the result of forty or fifty brutal Native’s deaths. Any Indians who attempted to seek justice and made amends for their mistakes were rejected by the whites who depended on genocide, or the death to the pleading Indians as the solution to the problem.

The Fresno Massacre of 1854, began when white settlers attempted to bring perpetrators to justice, they invaded and killed an unspecified number of Native Americans, this was the effect of the invasions failure for justice. Klamath County citizens resolved by killing all Indians carrying guns, which most Indians were armed.

Here he was, the great Green Governor, on an 11-day trip around the world, dealing with people – Native Americans and water protectors and those fighting on the front lines of climate change – chanting “keep it in the ground . . . keep it in the ground” (fossil fuels, and the byproducts of fracking) during his speech at the “American Pledge” event.

The protestors had banners, yelled “keep it in the ground” and other chants, as a clear reference to Jerry Brown’s backing of fracking, both offshore and on land in California, and also the governor’s cap-and-trade policies that just might prove catastrophic to the Huni Kui People of Acre, Brazil, and other indigenous communities around the globe.

Brown strongly supports the fossil fuel industry in California, and his recent talk with right-wing, radical anti-climate change activist Ryan Zinke, US Interior Secretary under Trump, belies Brown’s inability to hold on to anything spiritual around this existential threat or critical of these Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Capitalism, War, Climate Warming, Environmental/Cultural Genocide.

As always, these pedicured politicians cannot deal with The People, with the noise that is supposed to be democracy, expression and free speech, even a politician like Brown who once hung around the New Age scene and was called Moonbeam, all of which was parodied in the rock scene in a piece called “California Über Alles”, written by Jello Biafra and performed by him with his punk rock band Dead Kennedys.

Here, the typical capitalist, typical Yale graduate of legal misgivings, Brown, today in Bonn:

I wish we have could have no pollution, but we have to have our automobiles. In the ground, I agree with you. In the ground. Let’s put you in the ground so we can get on with the show here.

This is very California. Thanks for bringing the diversity of dissent here, the visibly disturbed Brown continued.

A video of Brown’s reaction to the protest is available here.

This is the sum total of California’s love of this man (the state has been re-electing him forever), whose family has been riding roughshod over politics, in the legal arena and in the state’s planning for decades. Brown earlier this year went after critics of his oil industry-written cap-and-trade bill, AB 398.

Again, the Governor who wants water protectors and other indigenous groups protesting him “put in the ground,” states it like it is with NPR in July 2017: Critics are using “forms of political terrorism that are conspiring to undermine the American system of governance.” In an interview with David Greene of NPR (National Public Radio).

They can joke, like Weinstein jokes, but, these comments are windows into these devils’ souls. Again, this simple-minded and racist approach to seeing the 80 percent of the world is Brown’s in a nutshell, and all the others in the political arena making pacts with the devil:

“When cities and states combine together and then join with powerful corporations, that’s how we get stuff done,” said Governor Brown at today’s event at the U.S. Climate Action Pavilion, the exhibition space sponsored by U.S. non-federal leaders at COP23. “We’re here, we’re in and we’re not going away.”

Those darn powerful corporations. Tell that to the more than 100 tribes in California before the Spanish invasion, and the Gold Rush a hundred years later:

The estimated number of Indians killed by new diseases passed on by settlers is around 60% of all the Natives living combined. The white settlers killed and sold the scalps and severed heads of Native Americans, at 25 cents for the scalps, and at more than $5 for the severed heads. $1,000,000 were recovered to the government for the selling of these items. An estimated 4,000 Native children were sold as slaves to settlers. The prices the enslaved children were up to $60 for the young boys and up to $200 for young girls.

Brown’s refused to ban fracking, and all that toxic waste from oil companies put into underground water supplies have gotten a green light from the Gov. He’s incentivizing oil and gas big time in California. According to a news release from the Indigenous Environmental Network.

His cap-and-trade extension includes provisions written by oil lobbyists that prevent state and local agencies from directly limiting carbon emissions from oil refineries. He has also failed to shut down the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, where the largest methane leak in U.S. history forced thousands to flee their homes in 2015.

Just five days ago at Bonn, a newly released Center for Biological Diversity report points to more than three-quarters of California’s oil is as “climate-damaging” as Canadian tar sands crude. “Oil Stain: How Dirty Crude Undercuts California’s Climate Progress” pinpoints eight of the state’s 10 largest-producing oil fields that are producing “very dirty crude with greenhouse gas emissions comparable to tar sands oil.”

This is the state of America, calling for Native American environmental groups, indigenous groups from around the world and their non-native allies to be buried in the ground. Funny stuff from old California (not).

Ninawa Nuneshuni Kui, President of the Huni Kui People of Acre, Brazil, told reporters at Bonn yesterday (11/13/17) that Jerry Brown’s “American Pledge” –which is based on this smoke and mirrors and environmentally racist carbon trading deal — would inevitably precipitate destruction and displacement: both of the land and the cultural resources and the people.

I wanted to leave a message here, for humanity and all of planet, that the peoples need to join to defend Mother Nature, the soil, water and air because they are being threatened. And humanity needs Nature to survive. So I want to say that Nature and the air are not a means of commerce for anyone and it’s every human’s right to live in peace. Jerry Brown’s ‘American Pledge’ will lead to the displacement of my people and the destruction of my territory. We need to respect the rights of Nature and humans beings that need her to survive.

The Center for Biological Diversity’s report claims that twenty-six energy companies including the state’s three major investor-owned utilities, Occidental, Chevron, and NRG—all with business before the state—donated $9.8 million to Jerry Brown’s campaigns, causes, and initiatives, and to the California Democratic Party since he ran for Governor.

Download the report here.

Read the report “How Green Is Jerry Brown?” at Consumer Watchdog.

For more information on Jerry Brown’s environmental policies, go here.

In the end, though, these climate summits and all the dickering with the devils — giant multinational outfits in finance, banking, Big energy, Big Military Industrial Complex, Big Ag, Big Medicine, Big Chemicals, Big PR, Big War — will get you the same comments from the same people in power:  “If we don’t extract the minerals and the oil and gas and cut down the timber, then the Chinese and Russians will.”

That’s the folly of this game, this Kabuki Theater, these COP 23’s or COP 30s or COP 99s:

“Most of these critics ride around in cars and fly in airplanes, so what we have to do is get the end goal in sight,” Brown later said of the protesters.

This is how these elites roll, my friend. And until we are serious about the destruction of species and cultures, destruction of land and soil, and until we rip the bowels from the billionaires and the military and financial mercenaries, and until we downsize, retrench, go very local, shift the paradigms, and reinvent humanity to think small and be small, then that’s their bottom line, is it not?

The millionaires and billionaires and their Little Eichmann’s have us trumped: We all drive, we all go on Disney cruises, we all throw away things, we all consume, we all can’t wait for Black Friday, we all invest, we all benefit from war-weapons-weather disruption, we all are Americans, we all are for technology, we all live better lives through chemistry and computing and genetic engineering and nanotechnology; we all are willing to give up our freedoms, our rights, our agency, if we can still get to the all-you-can-eat drive-through after Black Friday’s great consumer orgy.

hallelujah, hhallelujah la olam, masha’allah

Genuine Progress Index Be Damned! Grow, Displace, Submit!!

Rapacious. “They got theirs, so I better get mine. Yes, things change, and, sure this sleepy town is about to boom but that’s the way of the world…. Might as well be part of the winning team – that money making side of things. That’s all you can do.”

I just finished talking to white guy in his late forties, gassing up excavators and huge dump trucks. We’re near the Estacada High School, and he tells me the scrapping is to make room for more ball fields. The school already has fields and a football stadium. This is a town with 3,000.

The day before on the very same spot I was walking with Canada geese lighting on the marshy part of the tract of land. I was with flickers, robins, raptors, and bee catches and swallows and maybe 15 other species of birds, including hummers.

The crows were squawking their disapproval of all the rumbling trucks and blades sawing up plywood and siding for the new crop of homes coming to fruition near the spit of land. These few acres with a creek running through them were their paradise, their wintering quarters.

Foreboding, those corvids rallying their ranks in the sunny bluster, really, for me, living in a county with no native American signs, tributes, museums, nothing, left on the surface, just the name, Clackamas River in Clackamas County. There are 99 percent whites here, and many cruise with American flags and Confederate ones as big as trampolines fluttering behind their jacked up Jeeps and pick-ups.

The California invasion is lamented daily, with now sputtering-to-a-stop superhighway commutes, and the constant building and the housing and rental stock vanished into thin banker’s air.

I’ve had someone recently tell me to stop whining about the cost of housing in Portland . . . . “Try San Francisco out, buddy boy.” Yep, I never whine, and the “buddy boy” is to me like a Harvey Weinstein glowering at his secretary.

In calm terms, the stupidity of his statement is torn apart. First, I am with clients as a social worker who are straddled because of the long-arm of injustice pinching them for Driving While Black or Dealing While Latino or Walking While Young. My client load is trying to do something with their lives and get off the endless hamster wheel and rat pipe of addiction, and many are old, and some are very young.

The young are told to go to community college or rip-off trade schools; go get some shitty warehouse job for $12 an hour; and then admonished to find a dozen other Homies and get a two-bedroom crib for the lot of them, anywhere, somewhere and shut the fuck up.

Mr. and Mrs. California, oh, baby, many are leaving their Orange County haunts because they HATE the brown people, the crowds, the traffic, and the cost of living there. Again, the white hoards are the destroyers of entire civilizations (Spain and Inca and Aztec), or the slavers of Puritanical Puerile needs, the entire project of White Hegemony, the white hope for the rest of human kind five hundred years ago, 300, 30 and now.

“Try the roads in LA. You want to see real bad traffic!”

These are cancerous times in a deadening world of people that see barely an inch beyond their noses. I have a graduate degree in urban planning and there is no way in hell I could get a job in that field, one that really doesn’t mean much in the scheme of radical planning, radical design, regional and biological planning. Each entity is vying for those workers, those big ass companies to site in their municipalities or counties, those tax dodgers like Nike, Intel, Apple, Uber, Amazon, you name ‘em, the next big half empty convention center, or how about a casino on every corner . . . . Towns are haphazard, and draining our lives with the noise, the traffic, the same-same sameness.

Back to Estacada and my mind-clearing walk, near a blackberry-plagued stretch of land adjacent to the tract home I live in, in the planned development, HOA included, in a town named after a place in Texas, Spanish of all things, in a county that hosts lots of immigrants from Mexico pounding nails, landscaping and flipping gorditas, but a county where many in the white population support sending “all of ’em” back a la Trump-Obama ICE expressway.

Llano Estacado (staked plain or palisaded plain) is a region in the Southwestern United States that encompasses parts of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas. This ain’t the Southwest, where I spent many years cutting my teeth as reporter, college teacher, writer, and itinerant environmentalist and novelist.

The old acreage to my north is now graded-over for a whopping 350 homes – times 2.5 people per house and you have 875 people, and, well, that’s 875 more vehicles, plus the motor-homes, ATV’s, boats, and 4×4’s.

The white guys grading and paving and setting it up for the next phase of wasps coming in for the footings and framing – Mexicans mostly – they seem slap happy gleeful. One side of mouth, “I hate those Cally-forn-i-cation-ers,” and then other side of mouth, “Man oh man, keep on coming and show me the money.”

My mind clearing is tied to the fascism of our times – I just got sacked (yet again) for my mouth, but this time it was nothing, really, but again, non-profits are all living hell these days, and social workers like myself (former teacher, real journalist and urban planner of sorts) are in high demand but with low regard, and the turnover rates are terrible. Read here, and here about that part of my life.

I’m trying to collect unemployment, and I am busy applying for jobs – employment opportunities all over the map: executive director for a non-profit giving free med services to pets; development director for a street newspaper; tutor at the local community college; and plenty of social worker jobs, too. Even a job with the Center for Biological Diversity on a renewable energy campaign tied to population and sustainability. My chances are a snowball’s chance in the Arctic . . . Hell!

Hitting the streets at 60 years of age is both surreal and bile-drenching – my grandparents from Scotland and Germany never would have thought this great country (neither sets of grandparents really thought of USA as a great country, but we’ll pretend . . . .) would dish it out this hard to one of its own.

No retirement, man, as each billionaire laughs harder and harder at the idea of retirement for the masses at age 65, let alone 70. Health care cut off at the knees three days after getting the AX.

I talk to this fellow grading the land, and he’s paunchy in his forties, the tell-tale signs of engorging beer and whiskey sessions on his face. The big fellow running the excavator is fifty and has a belly and shirt size that could tarp a family of 12 in Haiti. The 25-year-old pushing the gearshift of the huge dump truck is surly looking. These are big times for these fellows — $35 to $75 an hour, easy. They have blood relatives and high school friends and in-laws working with them in this locked-up market.

Sitting on their fat asses (except for the young guy grinding gears) making twice as much an hour or more than that over what I was making running ragged helping homeless and addicts find some pathway out of that shit (many of my homeless addicts were once in the trades, in construction, welding and excavation!) is one aspect of the insanity of wage inequity, wage unfairness, and what the market should bear!

Here, a little ditty on Estacada from some web site:

Estacada’s History has been a wild road of ups and downs some might say is a reflection of the roaring rapids of the adjacent Clackamas River. In the mid 1800’s small communities of pioneers popped up in the foothills of Mount Hood wiping out the Native Clackamas Indians with disease. Then railroad tracks serving the dam builders of the early 20th century pushed through the foot hills up the mountain creating dams that still power Portland to this day. As the building slowed, the workers left and the work camps turned in to a small tourism community that became Portland’s play ground known as Estacada Oregon.

Imagine, “settlers popping up wiping out the Native Clackamas Indians with disease” as the one liner in America’s great forgetting, great amnesia. We walk the land in a daily forgetting!

Imagine, this anti-Mexican-Muslim-Person of Color hysteria stoked up in the flames of the dying white race, the dying capitalist race, and then think hard about the constant lies the youth and the old hold about the land of theft, US of America/Israel. Genocide!

Sir Jeffrey Amherst, commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, wrote to Colonel Henry Bouquet at Fort Pitt: “You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians [with smallpox] by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method, that can serve to extirpate this execrable race.”

A war of extermination will continue to be waged between the two races until the Indian race becomes extinct.
– California Governor Peter H. Burnett, 1851

In 1949, however, the U.S. government took a step back towards 19th century bigotry, as the Hoover Commission urged the assimilation of the Natives, “The basis for historic Indian culture has been swept away. Traditional tribal organization was smashed a generation ago .… Assimilation must be the dominant goal of public policy.”

I talk with the manager of the True Value Hardware store, and his store’s been at it for more than 30 years here, but the council and chamber and economic developers approve of a National Dollar General Store opening up right in the middle of downtown.

The anchor now of the town that was trying to look funky, post logging years. Out in the bushes and the hills there were once progressive back-to-earthers, hippies, and a few shops in town sell artisan stuff, but now the Dollar General is the cancer in downtown Estacada.

The planners and the tax men and the elected officials, again, incapable of looking beyond their noses. True Value Hardware, locally owned, now looking to compete with a shit store with a shit CEO with shit values and shit for brains and shit worker rights and shit locales to store offshore profits.

In the old days, no out-of-towner with Tennessee and NASCAR roots would ever have been accepted, but hell, just hitting Wikipedia, here, the low hanging goods on the company trading $80.50 on NYSE:

Financial irregularities

On April 30, 2001, Dollar General Corp was liable for making false statements or failing to disclose adverse facts about the company’s financial results, and paid $162 million for settlement.

On April 30, 2001, Dollar General announced to restate its earnings for the past three fiscal years, due to accounting irregularities including allegations of fraudulent behavior.

On March 3, 2005, Dollar General announced to restate its results for 2000 through 2003, due to a clarification of lease-accounting matters issued by the SEC.

OSHA 2014 and 2016 fines

In November 2014, Dollar General was fined $51,700 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an inspection of a Brooklyn, MS branch of the store. The statement from OSHA notes that Dollar General has had repeated health and safety violations: “Since 2009, OSHA has conducted 72 inspections of Dollar General nationwide. Of those inspections, 39 have resulted in citations.” In April 2016, OSHA reported that further citations had been given to the store for exposing employees to the risk of electrical hazards due to missing face plates on electrical outlets. The store was fined $107,620.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, unlike many tribes does not have a central reservation, but consists of eight tribal communities in Mississippi. Those communities are on land held in trust by the U.S. Government for the benefit of the tribe.

Beginning in 2000, Dollar General has had a lease from the tribe to operate a store on tribal land, and obtained a business license from the tribe. In 2003, a 13-year-old tribal member, identified as John Doe in court documents, was working at the store as part of a joint tribal-Dollar General internship program. Doe alleged that the store manager sexually abused him in 2003[5] causing “severe mental trauma.” The tribe took action to legally exclude the manager from tribal lands, but the United States Attorney did not criminally prosecute him.

Tribal and District Courts

In 2005, Doe sued the store manager and Dollar General in the tribal court. The defendants tried to get the case dismissed, claiming that the tribal court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over non-Indians. The tribal court refused to dismiss the lawsuit, and the Choctaw Supreme Court affirmed, noting the case of Montana v. United States allowed tribes to exercise civil, as opposed to criminal, jurisdiction over non-Indians on tribal land when the non-Indians had entered into a voluntary relationship with the tribe.

The store manager and Dollar General then sued the Tribe in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, seeking to stop the suit in tribal court. The manager was dropped from the case by the district court but Dollar General was held to have been in a consensual relationship and subject to the tribe’s jurisdiction.

Court of Appeals

The defendants then appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed the decision of the district court. The case was heard by a three-judge panel consisting of Judges Jerry Edwin Smith, Catharina Haynes, and James E. Graves Jr. Judge Graves delivered the opinion of the Court, finding that the facts in the case met the first exception noted in Montana, allowing the tribal court to exercise jurisdiction of Dollar General.

“Unexpected/untamed/unforgettable” is the City of Estacada’s motto, 2017, and the state of the world is in a microcosm, anywhere I go. I have been able to peddle my theses easily since the entire mess of capitalism is tied to the leech, the tick, the parasites, the slimy octopus of hostile takeovers and forced arbitration and tax havens and lobbying.

Could have been a Walmart or Costco — Amazon Fresh — Anything to make a city or township beholding to the transnationals, their blood soaked dollars yanked from the bellies of the rest of us. A town that gets this big cancer in downtown, one giant footprint, and you have to wonder at the lack of creativity, thinking and slight understanding of the history of bad economics. Box Stores. The whole nine yards.

The California Land Rush has been on for a decade up here, reaching into Hillsboro, Estacada, Gresham, Hood River, Wilsonville, Beaverton, up to Vancouver and Longview, WA. They come in with hard real estate cash, and buy up homes – three or four to a family. They do their house flipping and rental hording. These people are California, in every way.

Trucks in a constant black smoke snake, in a Valley already deemed ripe for the taking; and the mythology states that the native tribes called this the Valley of Death, Willamette, but indeed, now, maybe, the “death valley” was meant for when the white man and woman came in with diseases, diseased values, diseased honor, diseased treaties:

In remembrance of the Kalapuyan and Clackamas (lower Columbia Chinook) indians who lived and died here, and in honor of those who still live here; please stop saying “no one lived here.” Please stop saying that Willamette means “the valley of sickness and death.” Please know that if the natives later referred to this valley as one of “sickness and death,” it came from the biological genocide inflicted on the natives by this civilization. Please go to the library, or better yet find a living native, and learn the real history of this place.

This sorry thing called unlimited growth, this Diaspora of whites going back and forth looking for some place to set down roots, this constant fear the white race has of the wild, of undammed rivers, of grizzlies and open plains, and trees and forest fires.

The microcosm I see in El Paso and in Las Cruces, Albuquerque, in Tucson in Phoenix in Spokane in Seattle in Vancouver — every place now that the roiling white race in a constant flurry away from something, away from any place while landing in a new land where the same leeching machines and excavators roam the land like monster metal ungulates.

Earth movers, earth eaters, earth desiccators.

Imagine a city council and rotary club and an American Legion and school board and citizens groups and county agencies and big-players like OHSU and Nike throwing in — those scraped and raped acres turned into some of the most sustainable and strong growing fields. Food . . . . And young and old learning how to grow it and sell it and package it. Imagine a town investing in deep ecology and permacultue. Imagine this little town turning all those old farmsteads and hay operations and wolf-grass filled plots of land into interconnected mushroom farms, cat-fish farms, bonsai centers, kale-broccoli-bean fields. Imagine a city that brings native healers and native educators to their land — cultural centers, and places of social concern. Imagine this town named after the Spanish “stake plain” turned into a going concern, where people come to study real rural and small-town design. Imagine sustainable low impact centers for aging, centers for teaching youth with autism how to live. Among those gardens and fields, all those flickers and stellar jays and black-black crows, alive, yappy, the angels of Native cultures past, a chorus singing about Homo Sapiens  finally doing something right for the now, for the future, for the past.

Imagine.

Postscript: Vortex I was held in Estacada at the state’s expense, where in 1970 100,000 came to a rock concert after the Governor of Oregon, Tom McCall, believed the lies of the FBI saying 50,000 anti-war activists were going to march against the American Legion’s supposed 25,000 attending their convocation in downtown Portland.

Note: Ecological FootprintEcosocialism;   Carrying Capacity; Radical Urban Planning; Marxist Urban Planning;  Redefining Progress

An Open Letter to the White Working Class

I’m writing this letter as the proud son of the working class. My father, who never attended college and was our family’s breadwinner, worked as a Greyhound Bus ticket seller, part-time mail carrier and grocery store stock boy. When he died of a sudden heart attack at age 47, he was working the night shift as a hospital orderly. I was 12 years old and my younger brother was seven.

Because my dad was a World War Two vet, we had a very modest house purchased under the G.I. Bill’s Home Loan Guaranty Program. Under provisions of the Social Security Act’s Aid to Widows with Children, my mother received some scant relief, but never beyond the maximum legal amount of $200 per month. As recipients, single moms were not to work outside the home.  It wasn’t easy but I shudder to imagine our lives without these Federal government programs. It also taught me that a government responsive to its citizens can be a positive, make-or-break difference.

After growing up a poor kid in Fargo, North Dakota, I managed to achieve some success through hard work, sacrifice and determination, but I certainly displayed no more grit than you’ve expended.  Earlier this year, my wife and I retired to a comfortable lifestyle, with all that implies.

Changing Times, Change Outcomes

I mention this background only because I think it conveys an important lesson: Had my “back in the day” working class existence occurred thirty-five years ago instead of sixty years ago, all my determined self-improvement wouldn’t have produced the same positive outcome. Why? Because times changed. A long economic decline occurred and you’ve been working harder for decreasing wages and benefits. Just how bad is it? When you total up their debt and total up their assets, 40% of Americans (4 in 10) have zero dollars. Zilch. They’ve been cheated out of opportunities that once were available to me and other members of the white working class. That America no longer exists. Now, is it possible to determine with precision’s just who’s to blame for this state of affairs? You betcha.

One more thing: had I been the child of a black veteran, my situation would’ve been truly grim. I’m embarrassed to admit that for most my adult life I was ignorant of the fact that racial exclusion provisions of the Social Security Act meant that throughout the South and elsewhere, black mothers were virtually excluded from these benefits. Widows who’d been “working” in the cotton fields or as house maids were legally ineligible. States were allowed to refuse mothers based only on race and routinely did so.

Likewise, African-American vets were denied many of the G.I. Bill’s benefits. They were prevented from gaining access to mortgages, bank loans, and educational opportunities. Formal and informal segregation excluded blacks from the suburbs where most new housing was being built. That’s only the tip of the iceberg that fostered a wealth gap between whites and blacks which continues to this day.

I should add that I’m a recovering Democrat, a longstanding member of Democrats Anonymous. But I haven’t been immune to (very) temporary seductions by smooth-talking presidential candidates, the last being Obama in 2008. In 2016, however, I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in either the primary or general election.

How does race play into our political situation?

If your high school education was similar to mine, you’ll be as surprised as I was to learn that there was no “white race” in our country until the idea was invented by white plantation owners in Virginia around 1676. Before their arrival here, the Europeans had never thought of themselves as white.

Ninety percent of the colonial population in Virginia consisted of Africans, some of them enslaved and others indentured servants, and poor European tenants and laborers. Not only did they share deep grievances against the ruling plantation owners; for three generations, blacks and whites had inter-married, worked, celebrated and mourned together. It may be hard to imagine today, but questioning any of this simply wouldn’t have entered their minds. Notions of mutual aid and common cause was second nature. So what happened?

A small army of poor (black) Africans and poor (white) English frontiersmen realized they were getting their asses whupped by the landed aristocracy. This ragtag militia, led by the Englishman-turned-rebel, Nathanial Bacon, attacked the royal English government and burned Jamestown to the ground. Ultimately, the overmatched uprising failed. Bacon died of illness, but 23 of his followers were hanged as traitors. This is known as Bacon’s Rebellion.

Recognizing that another insurrection was possible and might spread, the now-terrified ruling circle of plantation owners came up with a solution. Their great trick was to drive a wedge between white and black workers. On the one hand, draconian laws were passed that punished whites for associating with blacks. On the other hand, financial rewards were bestowed on whites who captured runaway slaves. Furthermore, perks like owning a tiny plot of land and a few minor legal rights were granted to whites, and their status versus blacks was elevated. Over time, an artificial bond was created between elites and the white working class. This was the genesis and evil genius of creating “white identity” where none had existed. Gradually, poor whites came to believe they were better human beings by virtue of their skin color. This strategy has been working for 400 years even though there’s nothing “natural,” nothing biological about it.

What about the white working class today and Donald Trump?

It’s well known that the white working class makes up one-third of the American adult population and they supported Donald Trump by a margin of two to one.  Their votes in the key electoral states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin tipped the election to Trump. Hillary Clinton had dissed two-thirds of Americans without college degrees, including those in these states.

Hillary Clinton had written off voters like yourselves. Why? Because she had nothing of substance to offer you. Wall Street’s Mistress promised “ladders of opportunity,” but you knew from painful experience that those ladders had been kicked away long ago by leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Members of the posh, immensely privileged, white upper class were reaping all the benefits of policies enacted by the Republicrats.

I may be mistaken but based on my own reading, some Trump voters also found merit in Bernie Sanders’ program. But with Sanders off the ballot, they reasoned – “Hey, what do I have to lose?”  I’m also given to understand that many Trump voters also didn’t believe he would be a great or even good president, but voted for him anyway to poke a finger in the Establishment’s eye. An Ohio voter clarified that it was the middle finger. If so, good for you!

I trust you to correct me, but my take is that Trump offered hope with his “I’m not a politician” maverick outsider status. Policies of both major parties diminished your livelihoods, leaving you unable to afford child care, housing, and education. Many Trump supporters are one medical emergency away from economic disaster. Whatever your household income, the future seemed precarious, headed in an inevitable downward spiral, and prospects of a better future for your kids slipping away. For decades, no one was listening, but Trump seemed different in his pledge to get matters “under control.”

But what has Trump actually done since taking office? Here are just three examples among many: During the campaign he demonized Hillary Clinton for being in bed with Goldman Sachs (she was), the financial firm that “robs our working class” (it does). Yet we’ve recently learned that Trump’s long awaited tax cut plan was written by former Goldman investment bankers now on his team. The tax plan is an obscene giveaway of trillions of dollars that will, in the words of economist Jack Rasmus, “redistribute income massively upward from the middle and working classes to the rich.”

Meanwhile, Trump wants a spending cut of $1 trillion in Medicaid over the next decade and continues to shred what’s left of the social safety net after Bill Clinton’s devastating cuts in 1996.  By any measure, Trump’s economic agenda is “largely Goldman’s agenda.” In fact, I agree with those who argue that Goldman Sachs and the military-industrial complex now administer the presidency. I don’t believe this is what you were voting for.

Further, in explaining his startling decision to reverse a solemn campaign pledge to get the U.S. out of Afghanistan, Trump said, “Decisions look different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.” Indeed. Whatever one’s intentions, one quickly learns to obey the wishes of the deeply imbedded, unelected power structure in Washington, or face daunting consequences.

Finally, you might recall that Trump proclaimed he would be “the greatest jobs’ President that God ever created.” Well, we’re still waiting.  And so are the 1.5 million workers who lost jobs during Obama’s administration, another “jobs creator.” Many of them have fallen into poverty and opiate addition, and have suffered permanent psychic scarring. More and more jobs are being outsourced or converted to part-time, seasonal, and low-wage, while still others are being replaced by robotics.

Just yesterday, here in my hometown of Bethlehem, PA, 460 workers at the Wells Fargo call center were told to report to the cafeteria, where they were abruptly fired. Many left the meeting in tears. Nancy Jenkins, 53, was one of them and told the local newspaper, “We have a lot of single parents who worry they’ll have to take a minimum wage job and aren’t sure how they’ll make it.” Jennings herself recently had a kidney transplant and worries she’ll be unable to pay for anti-rejection meds. Jennings’s starting salary at Wells Fargo: $13.82 per hour. Wells Fargo’s profit just this quarter: $4.47 billion.

You may have seen Trump’s recent late night response to all of this when he tweeted, “Stock Market at an ALL-TIME high!”  How much stock do you own?

But after having reported this, I must add that Trump is not the central problem, but only the predictable outcome of a much deeper crisis, one created by several preceding administrations. I’m suggesting that, consciously or not, Trump (or, really, his media guru, Steve Bannon) sold the white working class a bill of goods, and he encouraged you to scapegoat immigrants and black people for your entirely justified grievances. After poring over this material, I can say that no evidence exists to support these charges and reams of data refute them.

If Trump’s vision succeeds, there will be only one noteworthy change: a different 1% will rule the country. We have no skin in this game. All of this reinforces the conclusion reached by numerous nonpartisan political science studies: ordinary citizens have no influence over the government in Washington. As things stand, voting is essentially meaningless.

So, what’s next?

I’m not the first person to say there is one tiny minority that presents a danger to you. It’s the wealthy, privileged, and overwhelmingly white oligarchy that rules over all of us. Other than worrying that you might catch on that immigrants, Muslims and people of color are not threatening your well-being, they have never given a rat’s ass about us, our children or our grandchildren. All they want from us is our labor, and that only if the price is low enough.

As the late George Carlin famously quipped, “No matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you try, you’re screwed because it’s all fixed. There is a club and you ain’t it.” Tim Wise, a close student of race matters, notes that by virtue of their experience, brown and black people have always known this. The white working class, owing to conditions more recently thrust upon them, has only begun to entertain this truth and the troubling questions and doubts surrounding it.

Given all of the above, I would respectfully ask you to consider the following: the pain and fears of the white working class are real, but the diagnosis is wrong, and, if not corrected, terribly dangerous. This letter was my attempt to offer a second opinion, one which goes beyond symptoms towards pinpointing the actual cause, those who own and benefit from our deeply dysfunctional economic system. I wrote these paragraphs not to cast blame or make judgments about Trump supporters, but to begin a much needed conversation about our country’s future.

There are people, including some I know, who depict Trump sympathizers as bigoted, ignorant, gullible rubes, almost congenitally incapable of empathy. In fact, a few individuals advised me not to bother with this letter because “Trump supporters are fact-resistant and won’t give you the time of day.”

I don’t buy this, and the sweeping claim that all 62 million Trump voters are incapable of thinking and acting in their own interest is not only bullshit, but smugly condescending.

I’ve never doubted that white working class folks, if privy to all the facts, constitute one pillar in constructing the basis for a social movement that — operating outside the hopeless two party system — can fundamentally change our country. For me, that feels like our last and best hope.

My Fate as a Social Worker Sealed by a Vaccine named Gardasil

Largest U.S. Charities for 2016, with private donations received — #37. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, $354 million.

I’m writing about this paid forced paid leave (suspension, administrative leave) leading up to my termination within the last hours of Monday because speaking up about injustice is a core belief. Plus, the loss of a job, one of the big TEN life altering and trauma inducing events, ties into who I am in my life, and for god’s sake, this is my livelihood, and my reputation is on the line, and my word is being maligned, and my caseload of youth in crisis is now being given the short shrift from a very big Portland non-profit. This is also a case of the non-profits in social services here or anywhere that have a super high turnover rate, pay rates that are obscene, worker respect that’s non-existent, and a general feeling that clients are the money trough, and the more on our caseloads, the merrier.

Maybe places that are unionized have a better chance of negating these negatives, or negotiating with the bosses to create sane wages. For the non-profit I currently work for and the previous one, both are in the midst of discontent brewing from within, which always leads to organizing twitches (as in a union).

I also write this piece because mine is a tale of many perspectives, or as the psychologist I am seeing because of the anxiety this administrative leave, says, “we all use filters and have confirmation biases.” It’s a tale of three cities, many cities, really, tied to a huge national birth control and abortion services company, Planned Parenthood, and even a larger player in Big Pharma and its attendant actors. The creators and distributors of Gardasil are directly tied to my sacking from, get this, pennyante wage slaving job as a social worker. Imagine, Merck and Planned Parenthood, both having their hands on my future.

The charge? I dared to voice some concerns (anonymous) that already have been voiced about this vaccine for 10 years on so many platforms, including by medical authorities, international science panels, and the individuals who are suffering disabilities directly associated with the vaccine.

Questioning a Vaccine in an Anonymous Forum Comes Back to Bite Me

I learned yesterday (October 23) that Planned Parenthood told my HR Director that I questioned vaccines – a much different question along those lines was scrawled on the paper PP gave us all to write down issues we wanted addressed, as the trainers emphasized throughout the seven hours. Told “anything you write and put in a box is anonymous.” Comments that were wholeheartedly solicited by the trainers.

Imagine that, I didn’t even get to ask the question in the class – “Why is Planned Parenthood so hooked into the corporate and Western Medicine line about Gardasil being safe when there are countless stories of harm done to young girls by this vaccine – just look them up on the web?” I gave the trainers the benefit of the doubt and expected my anonymous critique of Planned Parenthood to be taken with an adult attitude, with an open mind and with some sense of the issues of the day – not everyone believes one hundred percent of the time the efficacy of Big Pharma’s products. Imagine that!

Instead, I was called on the carpet for my behavior (based on anonymous comments) and now I’m on the ropes because Planned Parenthood has contacted my employer saying I am incorrigible, with all three trainers colluding to say that I am not capable of “giving evidence based birth control information to his [Paul’s] clients using the Planned Parenthood curriculum” (my clients are 16 to 21 years old)!

This is what I found out in my half hour visit with a driveling HR person for L—W, a woman clearly not in the game to help an employee or ally his fears of retaliation, but rather “in it” – this investigation of my behavior — to validate an outside agency’s spurious charges against me. “You don’t go up against Planned Parenthood” is the message, and if you are being trained by them, and even if you are as level headed as anyone in the training, if one iota of doubt leaves the mind of anyone, in my case written down on unsigned notes, supposedly protected space with no fears of reprisal (that’s what the trainers repeated several times), you will be subject to not only censoring, but termination.

This was all carried out through the sacred safe space of a learning environment, in the terminology of social workers, “safe space where what’s said and expressed there stays there.”

Tale of the City Called Unfettered Out-of-Control Capitalism

The next tale of this city is, of course, the concept of Capitalism and the horrors of that abusive system exponentially increased in a non-profit that is not organized (no union) which is run as an outfit supposedly on the premise of helping people. It’s my word against the behemoth’s, secretive Planned Parenthood of America’s, or in my case: the secretive Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and another branch, the Oregon one, the secretive Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette. How is it that my job is on the line because of three trainers colluding to make up a story of my supposed intransigence at a training?

I am being sacked because of the technicality that I did not complete a two-day training because the company, the secretive Planned Parenthood, dis-invited me from Day Two. So, without the day two completed, my place of employment, L—W, states that I am both out of compliance and also suspect because the trainers for Planned Parenthood told her that I am unable to deliver birth control, family planning, STI and contraceptive advice complying with the secretive Planned Parenthood curricula.

There is no evidence I am incapable of informing youth of birth control options and how to deal with Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases. Obviously, there is no evidence, and to predict I am incapable of —  as a double master’s degree holding experienced (34 years) college, university, alternative school, K12 teacher — giving legitimate birth control and family planning information to clients this is not only absurd but Orwellian and defamatory.

We Know – There is No Free Speech at Work, or Even in a Planned Parenthood Training

This tale of another city is all tied to my word in a world that now does not see free speech as part and parcel as integral of the learning process, and if one doubts the mainstream narrative – again in writing with no byline, one I have not admitted to within the HR Director’s investigation – that Gardasil is the best thing since penicillin, with no scientific evidence dispelling this, he gets put on administrative leave.

Imagine, a society – the secretive Planned Parenthood – telling me that I am incapable of talking about condoms, the pill, STDs because I dared question the efficacy of Gardasil. Imagine, this dark society, the secretive Planned Parenthood, telling me and then others (my supervisors) that anyone on our caseloads who might question this vaccine for themselves or loved ones will be told that this vaccine or any product promoted by the secretive Planned Parenthood is beyond reproach or criticism, the evidence be damned!

Imagine, Big Pharma driving this paranoia by my non-profit through the draconian approach to teaching, which is not just a dictatorial pedagogy by the secretive Planned Parenthood but an outright fascist way of dealing with individuals, trained in fields of social work, way beyond the pale of these trainers’ expertise: I’ve worked with homeless, with re-entry adults, with US military, with alternative high school students, with gang-influenced youth, with myriad of youth and adult learners as a community college teacher in five states and two countries, with PK12 rural youth as a substitute teacher, with adults living with developmental disabilities, with agencies managing group homes for youth and adults with developmental disabilities. I have been a journalist with seven daily newspapers and with a monthly magazine and several weeklies. I have traveled and worked in every state in Mexico, every country in Central America.

Imagine this secretive Planned Parenthood which knows zero about me, my background, my socialist roots tied to humanism/communitarianism/anti-Capitalism, my extensive teaching background, proclaiming I am unfit to teach youth about the secretive Planned Parenthood’s birth control, family planning and STD/STI services! Never did I tell anyone that I would not be teaching evidence-based birth control information.

Who Woulda Thunk: Non-profits Are as Mean and Arbitrary and Paranoid of Workers as the For-profits!

Finally, the other tale of another city is how the non-profit social services world is run by a cadre of people who fight transparency at every step. Here we have non-profits – these LLC’s as 501c3’s or quasi-corporations – covering up shady or shoddy balance sheets, and fighting tooth and nail against modest raises while citing economic/funding reasons while at the same time railing against transparency bills before the state legislature to demand an accounting of their big bucks from grants, government sources, corporations, and philanthropies. Exactly how much does the driveling HR director make, or my boss makes, who has 21 years at L—W? And this culture implores us to never ever ask for a raise, an act that also is “concerning” to bosses. A concern these people say, when a human being asks about a raise, as if this is malfeasance or insubordination. ASKING for a hike in pay, how insubordinate!

This constant paranoia by the non-profits to show us the books creates a pay scale that stays consistent throughout the industry (it’s the prevailing wage so all the non-profits collude and say it’s what the market can bear) because they all agree to pay the same low wage. And, here we are – firing employees, or forcing employees to quit or move on. We are in an unethical corporate culture, one where counselors and therapists and social workers move from agency to agency because of the mayhem the non-profits create — antithetical to anything a good social worker practices to create a safe space, anonymity, and a culture of giving and cooperation.

Instead, these leaders in the non-profit world create a culture of secrecy, fear, retaliation and a management style whose precipitous behavior puts employees at risk of trauma and daily workplace harassment/anxiety. This is the fight-flight-stay (freeze) culture where we are in a constant flight-or-stay mode due to overloading our work, the low pay, the lack of voice in corporate policies and caseload management. We love the work but need to be recognized that it involves a lot of traumatized and difficult human cases of mental health, suicidal patients, drug abused youth and adults, and homeless and near-homeless individuals who many times are up against a criminal injustice system that makes innocent citizens pay through legal financial obligations and the threat of imprisonment.

Key Findings — United We Heal campaign

Overworked

Care providers juggle caseloads of 100 clients or more, making it impossible to provide consistent care.

Frequent Burnout

With huge caseloads and very little support, burnout is the norm, resulting in high rates of turnover.

Inconsistent Care

Clients regularly wait months for a follow-up appointment, and they’re forced to start over with new providers as often as every three months.

Underpaid

With stagnant pay and poor benefits, providers earn far less than other workers with similar levels of education.

More Funding, Poor Care

The six largest behavioral health agencies in Multnomah County have seen a 30% increase in funding in the past five years, but this increase in revenue has not resulted in better care.

Problems like these are why Oregon ranks 51st in the country for mental health outcomes, behind every other state and Washington DC.

We need respite, real paid personal time for self-care, and we need managers who care about us, are concerned about their entire workforce, rather than put some funding stream/agency like the secretive Planned Parenthood and their hucksterism tied to Gardasil above all else.  Read the report, The Unheard Voices in the Conversation about Behavioral Health in the Portland Metro Area

It seems nothing can be simple in a world of capitalist abuse, in a world of careerism and bureaucracy tied to a vicious world of HR directors and compliance managers running roughshod over well-educated and experienced workers. We are in a world of non-profits profiting from federal, state, county, and municipal dollars in the form of grants and one where other non-profits like Planned Parenthood send more money into the non-profit pipeline through grants that have some heavy metal strings attached.

In the case of the non-profit I work for – L—W – I have been put on administrative leave since October 17, and now after a half hour visit to the company’s HR director, I am still in limbo, this administrative leave, with a cascading process toward my termination.

I am on leave because of the secretive Planned Parenthood, the trainers at the Seattle event – three of them – and their word is taken over mine, even though I have two colleagues who also attended and who have not been contacted by the L—W HR Director to corroborate my say/story.

In the end, looking at my non-profit’s demographics, I am certainly square jawed now after all of this bullshit to see I am being discriminated against because of my age, my gender and my non-mainstream views against the propagandists of the world, whether they be people calling for poor people to be jailed or health care taken away from undocumented immigrants or bans on people from Muslim countries or Big Pharma’s/Big Medicine’s obscene profits at the expense of real health care or racism-sexism-cultural bias in the workplace.

I espouse cultural practices by Native American healers or indigenous shamanic practices or those in my old workplace, curanderas ( healers). I espouse diversity in thinking, including holistic healing and naturopathic options. I advocate CHOICE. And I advocate FREE speech. I have been put on termination notice for these conceptual and philosophical beliefs.

I promised a second part to yesterday’s (October 22, DV article) which fills in the gaps of where I left off. Unfortunately, a non-profit circling the proverbial wagons fulfills a diversionary tactic that one might expect from lawyers defending a Harvey Weinstein, but instead I am working for a mental health deliverer, more than fifty years in business in Oregon, charging me with insubordination at a Planned Parenthood training. Instead of getting, “Okay, Paul, go back to work and we will ask your co-coworkers their impression of your behavior at this training, and take care of yourself, please,” I get, “We have concerns raised by Planned Parenthood calling us telling L—W you cannot finish the two day sex ed training because they won’t let you attend.”

A Vision and Mission Statement Only on Paper, Not in Practice

This is a company – the non-profit I work for — that professes on its website and in brochures how it honors all people and takes care of people’s needs, both emotional and mental health needs. This is a company that has put me into the proverbial “one-more-day-sweating-it-out-on-administrative-leave-before-termination” or whatever the HR department conjures up in their antithetical to due process monkey court. I am not being treated in a human or humane way.

“Touch a single life, and make a whole community stronger. We touch nearly 19,000 lives each year—because life works when you get the support you need.”

Our mission at L—W is to promote a healthy community by providing quality and culturally responsive mental health and addiction services across the lifespan.

Our Core Values — L–W values and believes in providing high quality prevention, mental health and addiction services to build a healthy community. Our core values are:
 Recovery and Resilience: We know that life works when people receive the help they need.
 Relationships: We work in partnership with the community and within L—W to improve the lives of those touched by mental health or addiction issues.
 Results: We provide services that we know work to change people’s lives.

Imagine, my life has been torn upside down, and this non-profit’s cavalier attitude that my job is easily terminated and my life even more easier to move on. This company doesn’t care about one of its own; is duplicitous when the secretive Planned Parenthood puts pressure on them to eliminate me from training; is in some dubious alliance with the secretive Planned Parenthood; and this company is freezing me out in this bullshit administrative leave with no resolution solicited by me or my coworkers. I am in the lurch one more day, as of opening today, and this limbo has caused mental duress and hardships beyond some bean counter’s or HR’s directives and hell-bent process to get rid of an employee.

They don’t practice trauma informed care at L—W.

This is a problem of two tales – the tale of the employee – one old male social worker – going up against a non-profit cadre of female upper echelon who have given their employee, me, no recourse, no redress and no way to challenge the secretive Planned Parenthood’s banning. No matter how these people look at this, this is an employer-employee dispute precipitated by an outside entity, the secretive Planned Parenthood. It’s about them not following some sort of sane and tangible due process, and no matter how much the HR Director and this non-profit want to squeeze their eyes shut, and throw caution to the wind this still is a quasi-judicial investigation demanding fair treatment, fair discovery by both parties and a consensus resolution.

This is what I found out October 24:

a. three trainers from the secretive Seattle Planned Parenthood and one of their observers (three females and one male) told the HR director of my company that “we feel Paul cannot deliver evidence-based contraception and birth control information to his youth on his caseload.”

I stated that there was nothing of the sort voiced by me at the classroom that indicated I did not understand the curriculum. What is this projection that they feel I can’t in the future deliver curriculum? Why not ask me what I think: I know condoms work, that STIs are a big issue with the age group I support, and that birth control works, from hormones to IUDs to sponges to condoms.

b. Paul questioned Western Medicine several times.

First, I am science based. It’s clear from my daily activities, my writing and my background. Questioning Western medicine on things like the FDA-approved and deadly Vioxx or over-prescribing of antibiotics and Western Medicine’s role in the opioid crisis is not only scientific, but it’s evidence-based science to challenge a hypothesis. And, having young and old patients question their doctors about x or y procedure or a or b drug regimen is not only evidence-based and practical, it’s in the American Medical Association’s recommendation: get a second or third opinion.

“Paul questioning Western Medicine and vaccines” really wasn’t what happened in the classroom: not out of the blue, and not in some enraged anti-Medicine rant. Here, when asked about other contraception procedures, from one of the trainers, we all put in ideas, and then I spoke up and mentioned Queen Anne’s lace and other abortifacients that native cultures have used time immemorial: Antelope Sage, and other abortifacients such as Pennyroyal, Rosemary, Skullcap, Slippery Elm.

The very idea that this secretive Planned Parenthood team would not honor a culturally important and in so many ways super legitimate thesis about other methods of healing to be both listened to and adopted is a form of overt racism and prejudice, and for me to be singled out because I brought up some other methods of contraception is insanity. I come from a culturally informed background working with Apaches, Navajo, Tigua, Spokane, Colville, Coeur d Alene and other First Nations groups, including Winona La Duke and her White Earth Reservation. To accuse me of insubordination broaching other cultural frames is not only abhorrent, but speaks volumes about this highly secretive, rich white woman run organization called Planned Parenthood.

Imagine my African American colleague and the four others in the training by the secretive Planned Parenthood advancing the Black Community’s abhorrence of Western Medicine and a shaky relationship with this secretive Planned Parenthood:

Sanger was a supporter of now-discredited eugenics movement, which aimed to improve humans by either encouraging or discouraging reproduction based on genetic traits.

At one point, in 1934, she even crafted a proposed law that included this provision: “Feeble-minded persons, habitual congenital criminals, those afflicted with inheritable disease, and others found biologically unfit by authorities qualified judge should be sterilized or, in cases of doubt, should be so isolated as to prevent the perpetuation of their afflictions by breeding.” Sanger said she wanted “to give certain dysgenic groups in our population their choice of segregation or sterilization,” which some have interpreted as a reference to concentration camps.

Yet one of the most thorough looks at the connection between American eugenicists and Germany Nazis, The Nazi Connection, by German professor Stefan Kuehl, makes no mention of Sanger (though Stoddard is featured). Sanger is briefly mentioned in another of one of Kuehl’s books, “For the Betterment of the Race,” mostly in connection with her efforts to assemble an international conference of birth control specialists to combat overpopulation.

“She was very positive about eugenically motivated sterilization,” Kuehl said in an e-mail. But he said “the typical mistake is linking eugenics in general too closely to Nazi race policy. There have been very different strands of eugenics – national socialist, racist, liberal, socialist, Catholic, Jewish, and so on.”

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum says that “Nazi Germany was not the first or only country to sterilize people considered ‘abnormal.’ Before Hitler, the United States led the world in forced sterilizations. Between 1907 and 1939, more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states were sterilized, many of them unknowingly or against their will.”

Sanger in 1938 appeared to speak positively about the German program undertaken by the Nazis. “Reports in medical journals state that the indications laid down in the German law are being carefully observed. These are congenital feeble-mindedness; schizophrenia, circular insanity; heredity epilepsy; hereditary chorea (Huntington’s); hereditary blindness or deafness; grave hereditary bodily deformity and chronic alcoholism,” she said. “The rights of the individual could be equally well safeguarded here, but in no case should the rights of society, or which he or she is a member, be disregarded.”

Of course, this is from the Washington Post, not an honorable publication now owned and operated by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Here is an interesting quote from the creator of this secretive and largely white women-run secretive Planned Parenthood:

The main objectives of the [proposed] Population Congress is to…apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.

— Margaret Sanger, “Plan for Peace”, 1932 Senate hearings

Here, another piece our youth could easily access on the Internet around the Secretive Planned Parenthood questioned by the African American community:

DOCUMENTARY

In 1939, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood announced the organization’s new “Negro Project” in response to requests from southern state public health officials—men not generally known at that time for their racial equanimity. “The mass of Negroes,” her project proposal asserted, particularly in the South, still breed carelessly and disastrously, with the result that the increase among Negroes, even more than among Whites, is from that portion of the population least intelligent and fit.” The proposal went on to say that “Public Health statistics merely hint at the primitive state of civilization in which most Negroes in the South live.”

Imagine if these African American women at the training I was banned from, confronting the secretive Planned Parenthood’s early roots/history and questioning these modern roots pushing Gardasil.

c. Fact three: I was told by my HR director that these three trainers with 50 years of combined sex Ed training all said in unison that I was discounting of western medicine.

I wasn’t, to be sure, discounting Western Medicine by any measure, just the PR campaigns of Big Pharma and For-profit Medicine and this Gardasil — Just look at my uncle the surgeon’s practice, cousin’s urology practice, aunt’s nursing background, cousin’s psychiatric practice, and my own utilization of plenty of Western medicine practices, from MRI’s to ultrasounds to acid reflux meds and on and on. This blanket statement is both not proven in my classroom demeanor, actions and discussion, nor in my life on planet earth.

d. The HR Director with my immediate supervisor in the room with us, mute and fuming as her face signaled, tried to make some larger issue of concerns about my work – I have questioned an undercover county deputy sheriff in a public meeting making jokes about drug addiction and young people, and by doing so, I asked the crowd to also reconsider and refrain from the laughs and giggles in this county presentation by many speakers.

I was told by my supervisor a DHS worker at that meeting with the deputy mentioned my confronting the cop, to her, in an aside (no written complaint). Another concern was that I publicly discounted a Trump supporter social worker who told more than 60 case managers that Trump was responsible for the great employment rates by youth in Oregon. I did it with tact and with confidence.

Here’s how these people work – I was sent to a secretive Planned Parenthood training, had two nights in a hotel at $170 a night paid for, plus 52 cents a mile for my personal vehicle (up to $200 for that drive), plus flex time (seven hours), plus a per diem for food. Now, is that a non-profit that legitimately has concerns with his employee? I was at the training by the secretive Planned Parenthood and did what all participants did – engaged in the material, listened to the trainers and showed composure and decorum. I was then summarily disinvited to the day two training.

This triggered L—W to put me on paid administrative/suspended leave. This triggered an investigation by this driveling HR director, who was on vacation until a week after my forced leave, yesterday. I am now being called into question about “these concerns” only because the secretive Planned Parenthood triggered this brouhaha. Think readers: I am being rejected by the secretive Planned Parenthood and that then this triggers my termination.

e. Unfortunately for L—W, the HR Director stated to me that the secretive Planned Parenthood trainers said I questioned a vaccine. Imagine, I never once stated an objection to a vaccine, the only one of which mentioned by the trainers is the Gardasil HPV vaccine. What this driveling HR Director exposed is that my anonymous written comments were attributed to me, as if no one else in that room would have stated reservations about Gardasil.

I am fighting for my job in a universe created by the secretive Planned Parenthood that is not governed by the laws of physics or humanism or fairness. My driveling HR Director failed to see this reveal. Instead, she has told me that, after I asked her how I might make up the second day of training, “I do not have an answer to that, Paul.” Imagine, no other way for me to sit through another training that would keep me on the job, in compliance.

Moving On Means Filing for Unemployment, Looking for a Lawyer, Looking for Work, and . . . Writing 

Part Three of this piece is titled, The Seal has been Broken on Gardasil – A Story of Incapacitation, Chronic Pain, and Death.

I never thought that an insipid training in Seattle at the secretive Planned Parenthood would open up this Pandora’s Box of a vaccine that is beyond a doubt the cause of many lifelong incapacitating diseases and deaths according to many who tie the HPV virus to their pain and relatives’ deaths.

Part three of this is like a page ripped from eugenics books and a Joseph Mengele nightmare around Gardasil: what the reader might find is both disturbing and indicative of social engineering and medical overreach by anyone’s standards of what the right thing to do for young girls — our sisters, cousins, friends, nieces — and now young boys.

Here, a prelude to Part Three:

Gardasil is Sterilizing Young Women

Scott Field, M.D., FCP, who currently serves on American College of Pediatricians’ board of directors, was the primary author on the warning released on behalf of ACP titled Primary Concerns About the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine which states:

“It has recently come to the attention of the College that one of the recommended vaccines [HPV] could possibly be associated with the very rare but serious condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as premature menopause.”

Although ACP’s paper states that POF is a “very rare but serious condition,” their own investigative findings in the paper seem to hint at a more widespread problem by stating:

“Most primary care physicians are probably unaware of a possible association between HPV4 and POF and may not consider reporting POF cases or prolonged amenorrhea (missing menstrual periods) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).”

ACP’s paper goes on to state that, despite the medical community’s ignorance of a possible association between the HPV shot and POF, there have been 213 cases reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). The report continues by making a case to concluded that:

“The overwhelming majority (76%) of VAERS reports since 2006 with ovarian failure, premature menopause, and/or amenorrhea are associated solely with Gardasil®.”

Is there a possible culprit contributing to POF that is specific only in the Gardasil shot? ACP’s paper stated:

“Few other vaccines besides Gardasil® that are administered in adolescence contain polysorbate 80.”

The Material Safety and Data Sheet (MSDA) does not address the effects of polysorbate through injection. Yet, in MSDA’s toxicology section under special remarks on chronic and toxic effects on humans states that Polysorbate 80:

“May cause adverse reproductive effects based on animal studies.”

A conclusion of ACP’s study states:

“A causal relationship between human papillomavirus vaccines (if not Gardasil® specifically) and ovarian dysfunction cannot be ruled out at this time.”

Additionally, this is another peak into Part Three of my piece upcoming ASAP —  Abnormal Pap Smears, Cervical Dysplasia and Cervical Cancer Spike Post-HPV Vaccination

by Leslie Botha, Women’s Health Freedom Coalition Coordinator, Natural Solutions Foundation, and Janny Stokvis, VAERS Research Analyst

In 2006, the HPV vaccine Gardasil touted to prevent cervical cancer was introduced to a public generally unaware of the Human Papillomavirus or its threat to adolescent girls and women. However, the public was quickly informed of the dangers of the virus when Merck launched an aggressive advertising campaign designed to capture the attention of girls/women ages 9 to 26 with a catchy jingle and their now famous line: “One Less Girl to Get Cervical Cancer.” Adolescent girls were dancing and singing that they will be “one less girl” in unison with the award-winning TV commercial.

According to Neon Tommy, the online publication for the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, USC, the promotion was successful. In 2008 Merck’s marketing techniques even earned Gardasil a “pharmaceutical brand of the year” award from Pharmaceutical Executive for its ‘savvy disease education,” and for building “a market out of thin air.”

Six years later, it appears that “one less” is now turning into “one more” as reports of abnormal pap smears, cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer are appearing in the HPV vaccine targeted market.

As of May 12, 2012 the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) showed there have been 26,050 reports of adverse events (including 849 reports from boys/men ages nine to 26) post-HPV vaccination. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) estimates only 1 to 10% of the vaccine-injured are reporting.

Of concern is the significant increase in reporting for cervical abnormalities reported to VAERS each month. Of even more concern is that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has raised pap testing guidelines to age 21 leaving many adolescents without proper cervical screening tools post-vaccination. Yet a significant number of events are being reported by an age group that typically does not develop cervical cancer until age 50 or older. According to Stokvis, some of the reports of cervical abnormalities are occurring four to five years post-vaccination.

This a tale of both girls and boys, young men and young women, being adversely affected by Gardasil! The voice of the voiceless up against Big Pharma and a Secretive Planned Parenthood.

Dismantling White Supremacy

Last weekend, tens of thousands of people marched in Washington, DC in the combined March for Racial Justice and March for Black Women. Native Americans joined black and brown people to lead the march.

At the march, Rev. Graylan Hagler said:

White Supremacy has been given aid and comfort by a so-called president and so-called administration, and so-called leaders of that ideology are comforted and feel that they are back as a centerpiece of American political life.

From coast to coast, it is true that white supremacists are active and are being more visible than they have in decades. This weekend, Richard Spencer held another torch rally in Charlottesville. In Houston, fascists attacked a left-wing book fair, and the book fair organizers had to take action to protect attendees while police did not respond. Similar events happened in Portland, OR, San Diego, New York and Washington, DC.

Not all events are successful. In San Francisco, International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU Local 10) members and allies prevented a right-wing racist and violent group from holding a rally, thwarting the group at every attempt. And sometimes, white supremacists have to go to great lengths to hide their gatherings. David Lewis reports on how he infiltrated a secret convention in Seattle and saw how fascism is growing in Seattle the liberal city of the Northwest.

White supremacy is not new, and it manifests itself in many ways, not only in overt white supremacists, but also culturally and systemically. With the rise of open white supremacy, there are discussions about and controversy over how to respond.

Is there room for racism in civilized debates?

This issue is particularly pertinent for us right now because a local Baltimore League of Women Voters chapter is holding a series of panel discussions on immigration to which they invited speakers from anti-immigrant white supremacist groups that are listed as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The initial panel was protested by the local Green Party and others after The League refused to dis-invite the speaker and he was prevented from completing his presentation. He left the event.

This sparked discussion in our community and raised many questions: Was this an infringement on his right to free speech? Is this starting a slippery slope to shutting down people’s right to free speech? Should he have been allowed to speak and then challenged during the question and answer period? What is hate speech and should it be prohibited?

We speak about this topic as two white European-Americans who were raised in middle class households that condemned discrimination and bigotry. We have experienced white privilege throughout our lives. We are engaged in ongoing education about white supremacy and how we end it. Our thoughts are:

First, it should be clear that in a legal sense, individuals do not violate another individual’s right to free speech. The right to free speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment, which prevents the government, not individuals, from infringing on a person’s right to free speech. As long as the government protects the First Amendment, there is no slippery slope. Whether the government does protect free speech at present is a whole other conversation.

Second, when it comes to what private organizations do, this is another matter entirely. Organizations and institutions do not have a requirement to include those who espouse hate. They are not required to give a platform to or legitimize white supremacist views. In fact, one could argue that it is anti-social to do so. Professor Matt Pratt Guterl, from Brown University, explains it well in “How American’s Faith in Civilized Debate is Fueling White Supremacy.” when he writes about a debate between WEB DuBois and racist Lothrop Stoddard in 1920′s describing it as based on “the bizarre premise that there are two sides equally deserving our attention.” No, the white supremacist view should not be given legitimacy.

The essential idea is that the question of whether or not racism and white supremacy should exist has been answered. We have already agreed that we have equal human rights, even though we have not yet achieved them. Guterl writes that “Institutions should remember, though, that they exist to foster new ideas and better understandings” and that “mindfulness, civility, and respect are more closely aligned with oft-celebrated concepts like diversity and inclusion.”

Guterl writes about a public debate between W.E.B. Du Bois and a racist, Lothrop Stoddard. He concludes, “We should hear this story and think, with horror, of the obscene false equivalency at the heart of this confrontation – the bizarre premise that there are two sides equally deserving our attention. We should think it a travesty that a man of Du Bois’s erudition and intellect should have to prove that his race deserved to survive.”

Hate speech is legally defined as “speech that is intended to insult, offend, or intimidate a person because of some trait (as race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability).” A Supreme Court ruling earlier this year found that hate speech is protected from government repression under the First Amendment. Yet, while many injustices are technically legal, that does not mean we should defend them.

The International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted by the United Nations in 1965, clearly states that “all propaganda and all organizations” based on ideas or theories of racial or ethnic superiority should be illegal and that states should take “positive steps to eliminate them.” We would do better as a society to debate the best ways to eliminate white supremacy.

What is white supremacy?

Of course, to eliminate white supremacy, we must understand what it is. Van R. Newkirk discusses this in “The Language of White Supremacy.” White supremacy is not limited to those people who identify as such or who behave in a certain way. He writes that the definition is much more expansive, and he quotes Frances Lee Ansley:

I refer instead to a political, economic and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and material resources, conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement are widespread, and relations of white dominance and non-white subordination are daily reenacted across a broad array of institutions and social settings.

White supremacy is the state of Mississippi taking control of Jackson’s schools away from the people of Jackson. It is policies designed to break up and destroy black communities in Baltimore (Cliff DuRand expands on this here). It is families in Flint, MI that lack clean water or in Detroit that have their water shut off for being a few hundred dollars behind in their bills while just down the road Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle and sell public water.

White supremacy is the attack on public sector unions when it is public jobs that have brought greater prosperity to black families. It is a system of college admissions that favors the wealthy when blacks have much less wealth than whites through centuries of policies that denied them. It is economic inequality in St. Louis that is maintained through racist and violent policing.

It is policies that perpetuate environmental injustice, which Basav Sen explains are just as devastating to communities as the overt white supremacy witnessed in places like Charlottesville. And it is not only the disgraceful lack of action to bring timely aid to our people in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, similar to what happened after Hurricane Katrina, but also blatant discrimination by the US in the Marshall Islands.

And it is evident in US foreign policy, which devalues the lives of black and brown people all over the world. Medea Benjamin describes the justifiable outrage over the murder victims in Las Vegas but the silence on the anniversary of the murder of even more Yemenis at a funeral last year. Another example is the brutal ethnic cleansing in West Papua under Indonesian occupation that was made possible more than fifty years ago by the New York Agreement, which left out participation by West Papuan people. They are still bravely fighting for their right to independence.

Jason Stoakley protests St LouisDismantling White Supremacy

In our recent experience with the League of Women Voters in Maryland, we were accused of “falling for identity politics that are being used to divide and weaken people.” So, as we work to dismantle white supremacy, let’s recognize that there is already a wide racial divide in the United States. It is obvious every day through the examples given above and more. A powerful way to resist being divided is to unite around efforts to end institutions and policies of white supremacy. We cannot hope to unite as equals and as a strong society until that is accomplished.

To do that, we need to move past allowing white supremacist ideas and theories to have a legitimate place in public debates. They have no place in our society except in textbooks so that future generations understand how destructive they were once upon a time.

Bill Bigelow of Rethinking Schools has an article for “Columbus Day,” which many cities and states celebrate as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Bigelow writes that in his review of children’s textbooks, he found “these books teach young readers that colonialism and racism are normal.” There is a long history of mis-education in the United States. Indeed, one candidate at the League of Women Voters’ panel informed us that we had open borders hundreds of years ago when “nobody was here,” completely ignoring the tens of millions of indigenous people in North America before settlers came.

Peter Saudek describes his journey from being a child surrounded by lessons and symbols that warped his perception of Native Americans to his awakening to the realities of settler-colonialism.

Bigelow leaves us with excellent advice this holiday weekend:

Let’s pull down the monuments, let’s make the holidays more inclusive, let’s rewrite the textbooks and children’s literature. But let’s also challenge the fundamental structures of ownership, power, and privilege that have given us such a skewed constellation of heroes and holidays.

Notes on National Security

Winston Churchill’s definition of history was simple but true: “One damn thing after another.” That’s the way the summer has unfolded, particularly the sticky and steamy month of August, historically a month when nerves are frayed and conflict simmers underneath an oppressive sun. So many events. So many angry voices. So little time spent on self-reflection. American fascism is back in the public eye, flaunting its wares and waking up the domestic population, which tends to snooze through the application of its imperial variant to all variety of freethinkers abroad. But the two are joined at the hip, fascism being the enforcement of exploitation by subjecting the many to the control of the few backed the rationales of racism.

Charlottesville chaos

If free speech is the lynch pin of American freedoms, then without it, hopes for democracy are eclipsed. A couple of weeks ago, the ACLU defended the right of the “Unite the Right” rally to organize in Charlottesville. Then, after intense pressure to prejudice their universal defense of free speech, including an intellectually porous article in the New York Times, they appear to have caved. Seeing signs from supposedly left protesters in Boston calling for no free speech for racists is, to employ the hackneyed idiom of the pulseless press, a ‘troubling development.’

There also appears to be a concerted effort in the mainstream to yoke the so-called ‘alt-left’ with the ‘alt-right’. The liberal class blames the invention and popularization of the term on the right, an attempt to bring the left under the same cultural animus as the white supremacist movement, which is broadly applied to the right. It was invented on the right, but its popularization can be credited to both political poles. Yet to equate the terms would have the effect of minimizing the fact that the preponderance of political violence is produced by the right, not the left. It would also disguise the contrast between a side infected by violent ethno-nationalism and a side opposing it, even if the minority antifa movement appears to be violently intolerant of the alt-right, a kind of anti-fascist fascism. Trump’s unwillingness to draw this contrast as it expressed itself in Charlottesville has only deepened the liberal community’s hatred for the president, even as the Mueller investigation chugs along silently under cover of night. Those on the right might argue that the president’s subsequent denunciation of Nazis and the KKK clarified his position. Indeed, he has on numberless occasions rejected white supremacist organizations. But liberals regard Trump’s public statements with the same contempt that conservatives regarded Barack Obama’s rhetoric. They disbelieve it. People are wont to read between the lines, ascribe intent to gesture. For the opposition, the apercu is often gleaned from the facial tic and the pregnant pause, less than the scripted apologia or cursory condemnation. Reading Trump by his demeanor and timing rather than words is nothing new. When Burgundy writes a letter of his defection to France to Henry in Henry VI, the court immediately reads into the style of the letter:

What means his grace that he hath changed his style?
No more but plain and bluntly “To the king”?
Hath he forgot he is his sovereign?
Or doth this churlish superscription
Pretend some alteration in good will?  
(Henry VI 4.1.50-54)

More often than not the style betrays the substance. That’s why so many believed President Obama when he assured the public that we had dealt with our surveillance problem. And we see it on both sides now, the simmering contempt leeching into the wordplay of the proles. He is always “Trump” in the bi-coastal enclave, just as he was “Obama” or worse in the heartland. The dropping of the presidential honorific denotes a loss of respect. A War of the Roses is developing with each side hardening into its intransigent certainties. If I were a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission, a rich globalist with stakes in four continents, say, I would be pleased by this development. Let the plebes duke it out amongst themselves. The pitting of brainwashed identitarians whose sole concern is racism against feral white ethno-nationalists who believe whites are threatened with eradication, is a convenient pretext by which to divert attention from the ruling class and divide the working class against itself, or perhaps pit the professional class against workers. Each side believes the other is the cause of all of our problems, while neither side points at the imperial state as the fulcrum of global unrest.

And a side note on the statues: the president asked, “Where does it stop?” If we’re out to eradicate racism, then it’s not just the crass Confederates that have got to go, but most of the founding fathers, too. They owned slaves. They sexually exploited slaves. They built the empire on the backs of slaves. All this after a genocidal ethnic cleansing of the continent. If Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report is right, that American fascism always includes the “Oppression of an internal “Other” as an organizing principle,” then we have always been and must still be a fascistic state. After all, according to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), white households in 2011 had 111k in wealth, while blacks had just 7k and Latinos 8k. And it doesn’t take long to enumerate a long list of racial disparities that carve the specter of institutional racism into the plinth of American history.

The crucial connection to make is this: that same demonization of the internal ‘other’ was also aimed at the external ‘other’ in Latin America via the Monroe Doctrine, in Eurasia via the Truman Doctrine, and worldwide via the doctrine of Full Spectrum Dominance (built on the Brzezinksi and Wolfowitz concept of no rivals). These resulted in a never-ending program of imperial conquest, all under the auspices of democracy promotion and helping those that, due to their inferiority, couldn’t help themselves. Emancipation Park? For who?

Nattering nabobs and North Korea  

As if there wasn’t enough to rattle the average observer, President Trump’s ongoing saga of hysterical threats toward North Korea are being amplified by another apish exercise in teeth-baring hostility, otherwise known as “war games.” This alpha male spectacle, a needlessly large event featuring 80,000 soldiers between the U.S. and South Korea, will evidently include nuclear-capable aircraft flyovers. It has drawn protest in Seoul. South Korea, like dozens of other countries, is occupied territory, and South Koreans know it. Sleepwalking scribes at stateside corporate media ask questions everyone already know the answer to (will mock violence raise tensions?).

North Korean state is rightly paranoid about U.S. intervention. It does not want to go the way of Libya when it ceased to seek nukes, an act of peacemaking that was rewarded with a wanton NATO/al-Qaeda invasion in which Libya was destroyed and transformed into a terrorist backwater, an event celebrated in western media, even as Madame Secretary cackled in the background. The U.S. armed forces killed some 20 percent of the North Korean population in the Korean War. Societies don’t just recover from that kind of trauma. Russia is still alarmed about NATO moves eastward thanks in large part to their history of being invaded three times from the west in the 20th century. We lost just under 3,000 citizens on 9/11, and look how it traumatized and transformed the United States. Russia lost 26 million in the Second World War. Imagine the psychic impact on that country.

These war games punctuate what we already know: that the U.S. is hostile toward making peace with Pyongyang. North Korea is an independent state, therefore they must be brought to heel, sadistically punished, and subjected to the yoke of imperial serfdom. Of course, North Korea, in conjunction with China, have offered to freeze their missile and nuclear weapons in exchange for a cessation of “threatening military maneuvers on North Korea’s borders.” No can do, says the imperial kingpin. In makes no difference whether that kingpin is Trump or Obama. They both rejected the offer. You see, Washington’s idea of negotiation is to give nothing in return for the fulfilment of its demands. It believes that, as the supreme military power on earth, it should have its demands met as a form of tribute. Empire brooks no concession. Perhaps this is not quite accurate, though. It does give something in return: an unreliable promise not to attack. Small consolation for those within range of Washington’s nuclear-equipped bombers. Of course, we know what happens to presidents that are not sufficiently tigerish or untamed in their comments. They are reviled like Obama and the legendarily despised Michael Dukakis for their perceived pacifism. The press portrays them as latter day Chamberlains willing to pacify and appease and abet until North Korean warships are sailing unopposed into San Diego Harbor. As a rule of thumb, the more farcical the threat, the more column inches it receives. Sometimes only hysteria can suppress rational thought.

Afghani amnesia

After 16 years of fighting, the Taliban now controls 50 percent of Afghanistan. The fragile state we’ve propped up doesn’t want us to leave; they depend on our largesse. The military-industrial complex (MIC) doesn’t want to leave, since the craggy no-man’s land evidently serves the same purpose as South Pacific atolls used to–nice places to test megaton bombs and fancy drones. The mercenary industry doesn’t want us to leave, since for every soldier there are three mercs. It’s a straight occupation. Some 50k soldiers/mercs on our payroll. President Trump has decided not to fight this fight, even though he knows we hemorrhage men and women and money to a lost cause. So the president says our goals are to kill terrorists, obliterate ISIS, stop terrorist attacks before they hatch, and so on. As Gareth Porter noted, Trump employed same frayed logic of recent administrations, “If we don’t defeat the Taliban, the terrorists will attack us.” National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem, briefing the American public on CNN, said that our primary interests are “of course, al-Qaeda and counter-terrorism efforts.” This is all nonsense. Terrorist attacks in Europe and here are usually homegrown efforts, ‘inspired’ by ISIS or often the sight of NATO raining bombs of somebody’s ancestral land. Then there’s the core cause of the occupation: there are huge revenue streams tied to this war. The interests of the mercs, the Afghani state, the CIA and Pentagon and defense industry, and potentially mineral concerns, are all enabled by continuing the war. It says something about the state of American resistance that the plutocracy need only reiterate the same policies of the last two administrations to pacify the somniferous populace. Afghanistan is on autopilot, and will be so long as the revenues flow.

Barca and the sleepwalkers

The Barcelona attacks revived the terror news cycle, with its disturbing footage of weaponized cars and trucks plowing into crowds of protestors or tourists. Bodies fly, strollers race, sirens light the urban field, officers and gawkers stand in stony silence. Then the televisions screech, the news hour comes alive with its dazzling graphics and fulminating pundits. Onsite reporters enumerate the latest numbers, turning carnage into data. Former officers of state sit gravely on set awaiting their cue, globe-trotting terror analysts hustle to makeshift mikes in distant lands, and finally the totality devolves into partisan carping and vilification.

Yet where are the pundits drawing the barefaced connection between wars of aggression and terror in the “homeland”? Where are the analysts unpacking the conspicuous fact that we are not fighting humanitarian wars but wars of conquest? Where are the journalists disclaiming on the infinite extensibility of ‘national security’? The corporate media will forever maintain their fraudulent faith in the good intentions of Washington politicians, perhaps the most counterintuitive attitude of all these biddable scribes, since the evidence of history says otherwise (as it piles like a coastal shelf before their shuttered stare).

This is also why there will never be long mainstream essays questioning whether the various terrorist attacks in the West were false-flag attacks staged by western intelligence agencies. Even the majority of readers decry such speculation, themselves still subject to the hypnotic pull of patriotism which precludes self-criticism. That cheaply adorned tribalism that declares one’s own people intrinsically superior to another. It is beyond the pale of patriotism to ask about disturbing coincidences, like the fact that many of the attackers had been linked to domestic intelligence agencies prior to their attacks. Or that in at least six western terrorist attacks by migrants, passports or identification cards had been found at the scene of the crime, a strange pattern of self-incrimination. In light of what we know about Operation Gladio in post-war Europe, not to mention the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Syrian chemical attacks, false flags are a real tactic employed by numerous governments and militaries to provoke conflict. Why are false flags out of the question in Nice, Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid, Manchester, and Barcelona–or even New York? Why can’t we even raise the question without being tarred as conspiracy theorists, a term invented by the CIA? Whether there is government complicity through outright planning, collusion, provocation, or looking the other way, these are valid questions that even the progressive community can’t seem to stomach. But to reject the notion of western complicity out of hand is naïve at best, and otherwise craven.

Whether inside the country or abroad, we’re witnessing class war. Racism can certainly factor as a major feature. White supremacists have been tricked into believing they are on the same team as white elites in their tall towers. They are not. They are actually fighting the people of their own class, the very people who suffer from the same oppression that white manufacturing workers have faced in recent decades. But minorities always have it worse, which makes fears of white genocide all the more obtuse. Abroad the general principle is the same: the lower classes must be kept low. Wherever an alternative to capitalism arises, that place instantly enters the crosshairs of American violence. Wherever the underclass raises its head from a posture of subjection, that place, people, nation, continent, must be branded as a menace to American security. Moral and existential panic is whipped up. The nation falls into a frenzy. And of all this permits aggression in the name of self-defense, which is the goal. It enables western governments to impose stricter, more authoritarian rule and allot even more taxpayer dollars to the fake fight against terrorism in the name of national security. War on non-capitalists at home and abroad, all in the name of securing our freedoms. Scare the population and watch them acquiesce. Create a defeatable enemy and a cauldron of chaos right atop the resources and territorial touch-points that you need to control. Then attack the enemy in the name of national security and democracy promotion. Let the battle drift in the fog of war. Let the haze of crossfire disguise scope creep. Let the metastasizing mayhem rationalize the next special appropriations bill. Blast the pacifists and escalate the annual military budget. Ratchet up domestic repression. Keep talking peace. Keep talking values. Keep talking valor. And keep funding war. Here, there, and everywhere. As Rhys Ifans’ villainous mentor in Snowden hisses to his pupil, “Where’s the modern battlefield, soldier?” Snowden replies, “Everywhere.” It was ever thus.