Eric Verlo , October 20th, 2014
AT BEST “KILL THE MESSENGER” portrays suspiciously deceased journalist Gary Webb as a heroic sleuth who refused to compromise his principles. At best, the film re-reports the enormous crime which Webb exposed in his series DARK ALLIANCE, that the CIA’s support of the Nicaraguan CONTRAs in the 1980s involved facilitating the smuggling of drugs into the US, in such large quantities as to precipitate the crack cocaine epidemic, delivered to our major inner cities by the CIA. UNFORTUNATELY the film muddies the crack connection, as Webb’s detractors did back then. Two deliberate plot omissions suggest this is probably not a coincidence.
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Eric Verlo , October 19th, 2014
Happening upon a Middle Eastern restaurant advertising itself to be Israeli-owned, I wondered, as a BDS-adherant promoting boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure the state of Israel to abandon apartheid and illegal occupation, if this business fell under the BDS dragnet. BDS targets Israel and not just products from the Occupied Territories as moderates might prefer. At times BDS also focuses on prominent Zionist enterprises whether they be Israeli or American. Very likely these proprietors evangelize for Israel, but I thought a broader principle suggested itself: LET’S DO SUPPORT ISRAELIS WHO DON’T LIVE IN ISRAEL! Wouldn’t that be precisely the goal?! But a word about other Israelis for whom BDS is asked to make an exception, the oft-celebrated Israeli Left. Are we supposed to be reassured that many Israelis do not support the ethnic cleansing perpetuated by their right wing government? What of the purported majority of Americans who oppose our continued wars and our drone extrajudicial executions? If populations cannot prevent the crimes perpetrated in their name, indeed the responsibility falls to who other but them, does their objection matter until they act?
Eric Verlo , October 19th, 2014
The two holes left from Buildings 1 and 2 of the pre-911 World Trade Center, figuratively or is it ostensibly, constitute the public area of the September 11 Memorial. Both are square, sunken “reflecting pools” into which water falls. Inside each an inner square hole appears to sink forever, deep enough that the base cannot be seen by even the tallest of visitors standing on tiptoe. Ironically the only location that affords a view into the bottomless mystery is the adjacent One World Trade Center, situated where the former WTC Building 7 stood, which I guess didn’t merit a memorial, the better to erase its memory. It would not surprise me if the fresh Eichmanns who will soon again populate the OWTC will be treated to an inside joke fitting for whichever of them chooses to stare into the abyss. At the base of the bottomless pools, printed in bold letters, shielded from errant-eyes by the post-911 no-fly zone, entrusted only to the exclusive fraternity of the top floor who know it already, read the words “WE DI DI T!”
Eric Verlo , October 14th, 2014
DENVER, COLO.- A jury reviewing the case of Marvin Booker v Denver County Sheriff’s deputies has awarded $4.6 Million to the Booker estate for the excessive force that caused his homocide. Is this justice? Not yet, but it is a huge victory against police brutality at a moment when cities across the nation are errupting in protest and police officers have yet to be charged with wrongdoing. The five deputies who killed Marvin Booker have now been found culpable. The next step would be criminal charges. BTW, after the verdict was read, the five were given an armed escort out the back door away from the courtroom audience. Next time let’s see that happen in shackles.
Eric Verlo , October 13th, 2014
If Christopher Columbus were alive today, I’m positive the murderous opportunist would be the toast of parties hosted by Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, and the many other ignoble perpetrators of conquest, genocide, theft, torture, and crimes against humanity, who today parade their war crimes unchallenged and unpunished. That’s something of the point of protesting Columbus Day, in particular, the WHY NOW.
Eric Verlo , October 9th, 2014
DENVER, COLO- Well, you’ve almost missed the most compelling courtroom drama this side of television. Although even on TV you don’t see a judge having to repeatedly admonish the audience to refrain from reacting with audible incredulity at the clueless ambivalence, awkward dissembling, and brazen lies being told on the stand by sheriff deputies and their witnesses concerning the death of Marvin Booker, 56, in their custody on July 9, 2010. National law enforcement experts have been flown in to defend the Denver Sheriff’s Department policies. It’s been quite a laugh and the jury seems wise to the scheme. Closing arguments begin Friday. If you’ve followed the Denver Post coverage you can skip the next paragraph, but those who’ve been packing the federal courtroom these past three weeks can assure you, you haven’t been treated to the half of it.
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Eric Verlo , October 9th, 2014
With crowds still in the streets of Ferguson protesting the murder-by-cop of African American teen Michael Brown, another white officer in neighboring St. Louis has pumped another two digit number of bullets into another black teen. The off-duty policeman was attempting a “pedestrian check” –a term authorities are yet reluctant to explain– when according to him the victim began firing. Insensed residents are again taking to the streets. No confirmation yet on whether video will emerge to prove witness accounts that the victim was holding a sandwich and not the 9mm which the police claim to have found. Community leaders urge calm but fortunately St. Louis locals are undeterred. In Denver, where commuynities of color are still reeling from a string of typical lynchings by police, religious keepers-of-peace are successful at diffusing the outrage. They admonish against misplaced anger, declare we’ve made ourselves heard, laud us for bringing attention to racism, and urge everyone to all go home. Here, have a sandwich.
Eric Verlo , October 9th, 2014
RIP Thomas Eric Duncan. Thankfully there is now some sympathetic coverage of the Ebola victim who traveled to the US from Liberia. It turns out Duncan wasn’t by definition a selfish refugee who lied to immigration officers. He can hardly be tagged “patient zero” unless an outbreak can be traced to him. We have no idea whether Duncan is the only infected traveler to exit West Africa undetected.
Eric Verlo , October 2nd, 2014
NEW YORK, NEW YORK- Alright, just for laughs, here are two photos of the pepper spray escalation at Flood Wall Street, taken Sept 22. Both are cropped for emphasis but below you can see the full images which show the poor NYPD faces wincing after being hit by their own pepper spray. We’ve all heard about IQ-caps in the popo recruiting process, evidently these cops pass/failed the pissing-in-the-wind test. Hong Kong Occupiers are wielding umbrellas against chemical attacks, if pro-democracy pNGOs really want to help, send them leaf blowers.
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Eric Verlo , September 26th, 2014
NEW YORK, NEW YORK- A lot of people took our picture at Sunday’s People’s Climate March, our anti-capitalist banner expressed a popular undercurrent to the greener NGO themes, although many handmade posters singled out Capitalism as the root of climate change. As the 400,000 STRONG march dispersed on 11th Avenue, Vogue Magazine photographer Peter van Agtmael captured this approximate moment for a spread on Vogue.com. Occupiers tire of the admonition “wear a suit” but it proved fruitful this weekend: my suit was interviewed by MSNBC (twice), Washington Post, Irish Times, Salon, Slate, and more, with great photos on USA Today, Vice, and CNN.
Patrick Jay , September 23rd, 2014
#FLOODWALLSTREET calls for climate action to save the polar bear
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Eric Verlo , September 19th, 2014
By now “Stockholm Syndrome” is accepted to be a misnomer, not the behavior but the geographical attribution. But the term fits the Scotish people who have just rejected independence in favor of continued vassalage to the United Kingdom. If Scotland had elected autonomy, Wales might have followed, then Northern Ireland and even England, to pull the rug from under monarchic London, the feudal center of the vampiric British empire. Scotland’s “Glasgow Syndrome” proves London is in charge of the UK no doubt about it.
Eric Verlo , September 17th, 2014
I heard a dispiriting conceit at yesterday’s 350.ORG whistestop rally at Denver’s Union Station to cheer climate activists bording the Amtrak Zephyr destined for the New York City #S21 People’s Climate March. This young, otherwise energetic and charismatic environmentalist told the crowd that she did not expect anything to come of the hoped-to-be-massive demonstration but would attend anyway. Ironically this was addressed to supporters who’d already decided not to join the march based I’m guessing on the same logic. Yet we cheered, chanted about the imperative to act, and applauded a successive speaker who added that if world leaders ignored this people’s march, there would follow another and another, ever larger. Hmm. I doubt it. Activism is already showing diminishing returns and drawing numbers to unsuccessful actions doesn’t help. I appreciate not wanting to seem to hold foolish expectations, but I’d rather accept defeat having believed it was not inevitable. The antiwar movement laments the election of Barack Obama because he herded the populist anti-Bush groundswell toward supporting the other corporate war party. But I blame Obama for a larger malpractice: innoculating Americans against hope. Extended generations of altruists lost their cherry to the hope-change-artist and while they wise up incrementally, I have yet to see hopefulness normalize the defeatism. This doesn’t mean that hopefuls don’t keep falling for smooth promises, but the promises are smaller, to be believable. Bill McKibben’s 350 march for example doesn’t even want to make demands, yet insists that your personal attendence will be the biggest impact you can make against climate change. And if the march doesn’t move UN leaders, come back and do it again. Until what? Until world leaders are convinced that the public is serious. Why are we not serious? Should McKibben admit that traveling to New York could be distracting activists from where their bodies really need to be, in front of coal plants, blocking pipelines, and organizing communities against fossil fuel extraction? Pressuring the UN is similarly immediate but we have to apply veritable pressure. If a march is meant to impress, even as a gesture, it must be more than a parade.
Eric Verlo , September 16th, 2014
The US response to Ebola is “Doctors Without Borders” with a cheaper payroll, serving US imperial needs above all. Okay, the US has been rolling out SOLDIERS WITHOUT BORDERS since Manifest Destiny and the Shores of Tripoli, but President Barack Obama’s initiative to send 3,000 soldiers to fight the Ebola-Zaire virus in West Africa marks the ploy’s most farcical disguise: soldiers-as-peacekeepers-passing-as-doctors. Who knew Specialist 1st Class meant health specialist? If your neighborhood doctor doesn’t accept Medicaid, maybe your local garrison will. Poor President Obama. Most of the national budget goes to the Defense Department, so our federal resources are mostly soldiers! When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. In this case, coffin nails, to contain the stricken people of West Africa. They need epidemiologists, we give them boots on the ground.
Eric Verlo , September 16th, 2014
YES, Colorado Springs is so dumb, its local renewable energy fans had to rename themselves green energy advocates after they were called out for promoting NATURAL GAS! UnNatural Gas is not renewable and, guess what, it’s not green either. Of course even the Sierra Club got taken in by the natural gas frackers, and I’m not convinced 350.ORG isn’t equally soft. The upcoming People’s Climate March in New York City features among its speakers President Obama’s faux eco radical Van Jones who tours the country pitching a green jobs revolution equal parts solar panels and fracking rigs. Not only is the gas extraction process more injurious to the atmosphere than coal, on top of the unsustainable contamination of hydraulic fracturing, but “natural gas” is among the fuel reserves which scientists insist must be left untapped if Earth has any hope of mitigating climate change. Eco moderates harp about our economy needing gas as a transition fuel. Ironically the Climate Transition does not need our economy.
Eric Verlo , September 15th, 2014
SO the tail-wagging-dog Twitterverse is aflame with indignation about an Urban Outfitters vintage Kent State University sweatshirt because its stains recall the 1970 bloody attack on antiwar protestors by the Ohio National Guard. As usual, objections of bad taste hinge on the notion that unofficial recollection of the tragedy is disrespectful to the memory of the victims and their families, overlooking that it was official speech stricture that caused the student deaths. How convenient for the state to embrace national tragedies to obscure its murderous role. The memorializing of state murders habitually sheds their context. The term “execution” used to distinguish murders committed by the state, now it encompasses the brutality of point-blank murder, perhaps once a monopoly of the state. Now recalling the “murder” of Fred Hampton for example, and not his execution at the hands of Chicago policemen, truncates accrediting his assassins, as if Hampton was killed by the brutality of his times or the confused racism of law enforcement back then, and not the state. The four students murdered at Kent State were murdered BY THE STATE, by in fact, KENT STATE. Instead of condemning Urban Outfitter’s awkward sweatshirt as obscene, KSU could acknowledge the blood on their logo is INDELIBLE.
Eric Verlo , September 14th, 2014
Western warmongers have caught on to viral videos for scaring up public support for military airstrikes against Iraq and Syria. So far three videos have emerged appearing to show a Western captive being beheaded by a faceless executioner presumed to represent “the Islamic State”. Though viewers are purported to be screaming for Islamic blood, the evidence at hand doesn’t implicate more than one person, himself faceless and of indeterminate identity, nationality and religious preference. It could be Mr. Califate himself, if the video is genuine –as usual we have only the CIA’s word on that– or it could be a mercenary under anyone’s employ. Apparently experts are convinced this is provocation enough to launch a war. I say, let the US and its military allies show the intellectual honesty to release videos of detainees they’ve tortured or of families they’ve executed with drones. If videotaped atrocities are going to govern international policy, let the global viewership determine whose side of the war they want to be on.
Eric Verlo , September 12th, 2014
A Pennsylvania 14-year-old is facing two years in juvenile detention for mounting a statue of a Christian mortal-diety and simulating receiving oral sex. The teen is charged with defacing public property, if merely symbolically. Critics assert authorities are punishing an act of blasphemy, not vandalism, which is probably correct, but I see a teaching moment here beyond a so-called religious offense. I ask: was the teen GAY? I would have chosen to urinate on the prophet-creature if I was going to desecrate it but since this teen invoked an unsolicited blowjob, I’d be more comfortable if I could infer that both participants were homosexual. Involuntary or not, the pose of two males of equal weight suggests they are probably engaged in something consentual. As a scene of heterosexual sex however, I think the posture smacks of male-dominant rape-culture, and doesn’t win any points for humor. For me, the longer this macho emulator can be detained from opportunities to clasp real heads into forced acts with his groin, the better. Especially with his predeliction for casual sidewalk encounters, however long he may have had his eyes on this particular object of his lust. The aspiring blasphemer rapist can be thankful he wasn’t African American or he’d be tried as an adult.
Eric Verlo , September 11th, 2014
9/11- Could Joseph Goebbels have conceived a more preposterous lie? Modern skyscrapers felled by aluminum aircraft, steel structures melted by mere jet fuel, hijacked planes not intercepted, black boxes vanished, at the Pentagon an entire plane not only vaporized but invisible to surveillance footage, a third WTC building was demolished by no impact at all, conflicting testimony from the authorities involved, air traffic control evidence destroyed, the official investigation foreshortened, and media gatekeepers ensuring that skeptical viewers are marginalized as “truthers.” Does it take an engineer or scientist to understand that the Twin Towers fell to demolition charges and not airliners? Apparently under-educated Americans think so and are willing to outsource all heavy thinking. I don’t subscribe to the theory that “if Americans only knew” our empire could change its stripes, but I do believe that unmasking “9/11″ as a false-flag propaganda event in the mold of the Reichstag Fire could shed light on the fascism behind our Kabuki democracy.
Eric Verlo , September 10th, 2014
We’re AT WAR WITH THE ISLAMIC STATE! ISIS being not merely al-Qaeda in Iraq or Mesopotamia or the Levant, depending on who’s spinning your translation, but terrorists bent on establishing an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria! Someone is going to get an advertising award for the ISIS brand, though it sounds like an episode of Ad Men pitching a concept for Get Smart. What exactly is the West’s objection to an Islamic Califate? We already support the Jewish califate of Israel which has a regular record of far greater atrocities. If Americans are upset by the beheading videos attributed to ISIS it’s because ally Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow its frequent and similarly executed spectacles to be broadcast publically. Well, at least President Obama has abandoned the irrationality of a Global War on Terror, in favor of calling what critics have always known it to be, a War on Islam. When we’re finally candid we can admit we are defending Western imperialism from the forces who oppose usury, exploitation and slavery.
Eric Verlo , September 6th, 2014
and her ill-mannered, egocentric culture of negativity. Her laughs owed to the audience’s surprise that anyone could be so mean spirited and unapologetic. Joan Rivers’ humor both reflected and fed the modern narcissist zeitgeist. And Rivers’ obsessive plastic surgeries ultmately insured her outer beauty matched her inner beauty. Had it happened to someone else, I bet the ugly bat would have found it hyserical.
Eric Verlo , August 9th, 2014
With the developed empire still wildly exploiting Africa’s vast natural resources and pillaging the wealth of its peoples, US Secretary of State John Kerry had the temerity to pretend that the dark continent’s most precious resource is its untapped labor. Globalization means Western Civ doesn’t have to ship slaves to labor intensive ventures across oceans. Now debt slaves can serve world bank masters in sweatshops and maquiadores and plantations situated in their own prison states.
Eric Verlo , August 8th, 2014
NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Not another war on Iraq! Not an intervention, not precision bombing, not saving a minority from massacre. If this rescue of Iraqis was about preventing a massacre, the US would be intervening with airstrikes against Israel. Last week President Obama admited that Bush-era CIA interrogation methods were torture. “We tortured some folks,” spoken with the same expectation of impunity as he now launches another illegal war.
NMT , July 29th, 2014
Eric Verlo , July 7th, 2014
It used to be controversial to call for a ONE STATE SOLUTION to end the fighting over Palestine. Israelis and their American Zionist supporters rightly feared that without bantustans to isolate Palestinians, Israel’s Jews would become the minority and democracy would upend the legitimacy of a Jewish state. To be fair, that’s not only probable, it’s inevitable. But how cavalier to wait confidently as Palestinians continue to suffer reprisals and recently a teenager abducted and burned alive by marauding Jewish settlers incited by Israeli ministers calling for collective punishment and genocide. Nevermind the IDF air strikes burning Gazans alive. Yeah, maybe it’s time to stop pretending a Zionist theocracy can be democratic, and stop pretending that invaders and occupiers want “peace”. They want their conquest and human rights abuses left in peace. End this thinly veiled western colonial adventure. Palestine for Palestinians, not Europeans and Americans claiming a “birthright” that usurps a refugee’s right of return.