Radiolab episode on jury nullification is less bothered by state abuse of power than public desperation to fight back.

It should come as no surprise that public radio’s RADIOLAB would take government’s side against the growing grassroots effort to awaken citizens to the repressed potential of jury nullification. Any attention to the subject helps inform ordinary jurors of the power they have to stand up to the regular abuses of our judicial system. The benefit is tempered of course when liberal gatekeepers lean in with theatrics to fearmonger about anarchistic challenges to law and order and security. That’s exactly what Radiolab achieved though given plenty of material with which to have taken a more honest tack. Their program “Null and Void” aired May 12 and painted nullifiers as irrational extremists, giving a pass to the judges who purge juries and break the law by having nullifiers arrested.

I had high hopes when contacted by a producer for Radiolab in March. Our federal injunction protecting Denver jury nullification outreach efforts against an order by the Second Judicial District’s Chief Judge Michael Martinez was coming to trial in April. I imagined reporters would be sympathetic to our predicted success making our injunction permanent and the similar likeliness of our prevailing on contempt charges in a hearing which was to follow. I faciliated Radiolab’s access to Mark Iannicelli, who Denver arrested in violation of our injunction, and whose dismissed charges of felony tampering continue to be appealed by our legal adversaries. Thus far it’s a simple story of hoisting a chief justice on his own petard, using the justice system against itself, in defense of the people’s historical power as jurors.

Heicklen
But Radiolab had an alternate narrative in mind. Their story would center on a jury nullification champion who they could characterize as coming off the rails, the celebrated frequent arrestee Julian Heicklen. Septegenarian Heicklen became tired of judges warning him of arrest, despite his continued legal victories. By November 2016, Heicklen issued a manifesto of sorts, asking for armed backup to preempt a judge from making good on his renewed threat to arrest him. Heicklen posted this warning online and called it to everyone’s attention. Presumably it’s what drew Radiolab’s attention. Heicklen had put it out there, hoping to spark a John Brown-esque conflagration, I’d call it a bluff, meant to curtail the court’s continued abuse of power. It’s obvious from Heicklan’s hyperbole. I attach the significant excerpt in the notes below.

Radiolab didn’t reference this tract, nor mention their and the court’s foreknowledge of it. As they interviewed Heicklen, they asked him about his cause and even brought him to tears as he explained his distress about the injustice of the system, which continues to reinforce inequity and deny jurors their prerogative to step in its way. Then Radiolab prodded Heicklen to explain what he anticipated would happen when he showed up at the courthouse in defiance of the judge’s threat. On cue, Heicklen repeated his entreaty that supporters show up with guns to enforce his right to pass out fliers and avert the judge’s illegal threat to arrest him.

Many of us might share the elderly activist’s frustration with being habitually arrested then exhonerated, each time without apparent progress being made. Radiolab’s pretend reaction was to cue ominous silence, let the pin drop, cue indignant alarm, ostracize Heicklen, cue a spontaneous meting of Radiolab minds to elect to call the cops on Heicklen lest law enforcement personnel be shot.

Radiolab didn’t call the Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten to question the irregularity of his repeating an illegal threat. How absolutely insane for a judge, already proven to be in the wrong, to keep asserting his authority to have a citizen falsely arrested?

When Heicklen showed up to the courthouse, with a friend, both without weapons of any kind, and without the backup support of “Tyranny Fighters” he’d hoped to mobilize, Heicklen was arrested for the more serious charges involving threats.

Radiolab may or may to have exacerbated Heicklen’s arrest. They certainly took credit for it, which is the least they could do for having exploited Heicklen as their straw man extremist.

Because Radiolab makes little effort to conceal their liberal bourgeois elitism. FIJA, the Fully Informed Jury Association was founded, according to Radiolab, in a Montana “bunghole”, which they qualify, they are entitled to call Helena, the capitol of Montana, because one of the show’s producers is from Montana.

Wolverine
You might ask, what’s Wolverine got to do with this? Anyone who’s read Ariel Dorfman knows better than to bring superheroes into political discourse. Radiolab didn’t know how better to distinguish between a citizen’s right, as proscribed by the Bill of Rights, and a power, something grown from common law. Whatever, they’re wrong. Juries are guaranteed by the sixth amendment, now commonly understood to be “a jury of your peers.”

Radiolab never uses that phrase, it’s too everyman. But they do riff ad nauseum on Wolverine, who’s a superhero with superpowers, namely CLAWS, which for Radiolab described this aberrant power that jury nullification advocates are promoting. The public as beast, and mutant power threatening elitists like a werewolf’s claws. Someone adds, as a further irrelevance, that Wolverine’s real superpower is regenerative, the power to heal but nevermind. They say that, and it’s the only trivia that actually does apply to jury nullification. Radiolab autistic savants.

They recorded Mark Iannicelli in front of the Denver courthouse, that was our single consolation!

It’s no surprise that Radiolab takes the government’s side against the public’s growing inclination to “burn it down.” Radiolab got great quotes from Mark, but chose to demonize other jury nullification pamphleteers who were so frustrated with being arrested that wanted to deter future arrests with guns.

By the show’s end, the white privileged NPR broadcasters feel more comfortable with the law in the hands of “unelected, white” judges over inexpert jurors described as “twelve random jerk-offs from the street.” They’re taking about your constitutionally protected jury of your peers.

Hopefully listeners will glean the great information offered by this piece and nullify Radiolabs’s privileged condescension.

NOTES:
1. Julian Heicklen’s post of November 24:

Hi Tyranny Fighters:

Orlando Courthouse: I plan to be at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, FL distributing Fully Informed Jury information from 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, unless arrested earlier, on Monday-Wednesday, December 5-8, 2016. All of you are invited (urged) to join me. Bring your guns. I have requested protection from the Florida Militia, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Governor of Florida. None of them responded to my requests. Copies of the letters to the Department of Homeland Security and the governor were sent to the Clerk of the Orange County Court and to you in my previous report.

I have not received replies from any of these people. However I have received a letter from Frederick J. Lauten, Chief Judge, Ninth Judicial Cicuit of Georgia. Here is his letter:

Dear Mr. Heicklen:

A copy of your letter to Rick Scott dated October 13, 2016, was given to me. In your letter, you stateit is your intent to “distribute flyers regarding the duties of jurors and witnesses at criminal trials” at the Orange County Courthouse during th first week of December.” This letter is a reminder that such conduct continues to be proscribed on courthouse grounds under Administrative Order 2011-03 which governs expressive conduct taward summoned jurors. Enclosed is a copy of Adminiustrative Order 2011-03 for your perusal.

As you know, this Administrative Order is constituional as the Fifth District Court of appeal had “no difficulry upholding Administrative Order No. 2011–03 as reasonable, viewpoint neutral regulation….” Schmidter & Heicklen v. State, 103 So. 3d 2663,270 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012)(a copy of which is enclosed). This Court, as well as the Orange Cpounty Sheriff, qill enforce the provisions of Admionistrative Order No. 2011-03 to ensure the fair and orderly conduct of jury trials and to prevent dissruptions or interference with that basic right.

Based on the Administrative Order’s continuing validity, you may wish to reconsider your intended course of action and find alternative means in which to disseminate your message. If you intend on distributing materials to jurors, you will be issued a trespass notice and if you then remain on courthouse grounds, you could be arrested for trespass.

Sincerely,

Frederick J. Lauten

Chief Judge

____________________________________

Unfortunately there seems to be a disagreement between the Florida court and the United States Federal Court. I was one of the appellants in the Florida case. The decision was based on lies and incorrect information introduced by the state attorneys. The judges should have know this, since I carefully pointed out the errors, but they did not care. They had made up their minds before hearing the case.

Previously I was arrested 5 times for distributing this literature at the the U. S. District Court in Manhattan, NY. I was arrested and charged with jury tampering. After 17 months of trial, Judge Kimba Wood declared that distributing this literature was not jury tampering because I did not discuss any case with a juror sitting on that trial. She dismissed my case. Her decision is at: http://constitution.org/jury/pj/10-cr-01154-KMW_order.pdf This decision was published in many journals. The NY Times publication is at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/nyregion/indictment-against-julian-heicklen-jury-nullification-advocate-is-dismissed.html

Other publications can be found at: http://search.myway.com/search/GGmain.jhtml?p2=%5EC73%5Exdm007%5ETTAB02%5Eus&ptb=304CD70B-562C-491B-9E0F-EEEA96D81532&n=782b17fd&ind=&tpr=hpsb&trs=wtt&cn=us&ln=en&si=CJSjz-LK7s4CFdgQgQodEmkJvA&brwsid=343148da-648b-46c2-8171-a9e312ac5776&searchfor=Jury%20nullification%20case%20of%20Julian%20Heicklen&st=tab

I was invited to Harvard University Law School to give a lecture on my case. Also I have been informed that my case is being taught to all students at Yale Law School. Presumably it is being taught elsewhere as well.

Currently I distribute the same flyers at both state and federal courthouses around the country. None of them arrest me. Three of these courthouses are state courthouses. They are in Fort Lauderdale, Fl; Pittsburgh, PA (last week); and Newark, NJ. The federal courthouses this year have been in Fort Lauderdale, FL; Newark, NJ; Manhattan, NY; Palo Alto, CA; Pittsburgh, PA (last week) and San Jose, CA; The state courthouses do not approach me. The federal courthouse Homeland Security officers at federal courts all threatened to arrest me until I told them to check it with a judge. They did, and none of them made an arrest.

December 5, 2016 will be a critical day in the history of the United States. I will appear at the Orange County Courthouse, 425 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL and distribute “Nullification by Jury” flyers on the public sidewalk leading from the parking lot to the courthouse. I am asking all Tyranny fighters and anyone else to join me armed with loaded guns to shoot any courthouse employee or officer of the court (i.e. guards, Orlando police, State police, Sheriffs, or lawyers) that approach within 15 feet of me. One of 4 things can happen:

Neither the court personnel, the Tyranny Fighters, nor the press will appear. That will be the smoothest, but dullest, situation.

The Court officers only will appear and arrest me.

The Tyranny Fighters only will appear and protect me.

Both the Court officers and the Tyranny Fighters will appear. The gun battle for the return of a free country with a democratic republic will occur.

I am irrelevant. The future of the United States will be determined by the others or by you. Either we will continue the route to the gas chambers as described in the attached document, or we shall backtrack to a democratic republic. In either case I will have died by then.

The choice is yours—Julian

The NAFTA Three Amigos are about as funny as their Hollywood namesakes


Barack Obama, Justin Trudeau and Enrique Pena Nieto telling their despairing citizens not to fear free trade –Martin Short couldn’t get a bigger laugh! And I think we’ve got a litmus test for professional integrity. The free trade isn’t cut and dry, principly because it’s too big a lie. The TPP is today’s turbocharged shakedown model and up until just recently the media refused to talk about, and never critically. Trumpish isolationism is a buggaboo by which conservative supporters are being labeled racists protectionist xenophobes. The media can harp on these things and be half right, but the real litmus test for unmasking patronizing condescention is the BREXIT. When amigo leaders, pundits and now counter-culture gadflies on the Comedy Channel are mocking the movement that broke the EU, you can be certain their moral character is being laid bare for you, and it’s rubbish. Now Donald Trump is making statements that the facist media can only pretend are extreme. He wants to withdraw from the TPP and he wants to renegotiate NAFTA. The media have buried Trump’s seven point plan with the spin that he’s likened the TPP to “rape”. Apparently that’s hyperbole, though exactly how unlike rape is it? Don’t say it trivializes sexual violence if you won’t honestly report how free trade, debt, “austerity”, and corporate hegemony ravage democratic economies.

Once more the Hippie Bard takes keyboard in hand..

Some might be asking themselves (as I often do) “Self, just what in Hell is Brother Jonah thinking, ragging on obscure moments in American and British history and raggin’ on the Queen?” Hmmm…

Perhaps it has much ado about something. Like the partitioning of Arabia which has taken an uncounted (by me) number of wars to keep in about the same political and religious boundaries.

Here I should interject the very much related wars on the ol’ Pipeline Grid such as VietNam, Thailand, (they host U.S. Air Farce Bases) (so do about two thirds of the countries around) India in all its manifestations, Ceylon which is now Sri Lanka as per the wishes of the people there, same with Mumbai, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the new yet strangely ancient British and American policies to keep China as a client state rather than a superpower (way too late, fellas, way too late) by encircling them militarily and economically… but let’s start with the partitioning of Arabia. The Saudi, Jordanian, Yemeni, defunct Syrian and Iraqi, Kuwaiti etc Royal Houses have been placed on their thrones not by genuine common consent of the people the Kings and Emirs but by the Armed Forces and on behalf by the British and American 1% oil (and every other marketable commodity) cartels.

By the way Iran is not an Arabic nation. They’re Persian and the muddled inclusion in the Arabian bloc by people who say stupid shit like “well, they’re all alike” just pisses off some people.

While the Queen doesn’t have full political power in England or her royal former colonial empire, she IS a major shareholder in British Petroleum. The ones who screwed up the Gulf of Mexico and told the American/Mexican/Cuban and all other nations to mind our own business, they would take care of everything and we should just run along and play somewhere.

Economic concerns fuel military affairs. In the case oil, fueling is the correct word.

AND.. the 3 leading Protestant churches in America, Methodist, Baptist and AOG, are offspring of the Episcopal Church. And there’s movements in these churches to re-start the Crusades. Taking ISIS and al Qaeda as the excuse.

I have witnessed the Colorado prison and jail system allowing and encouraging volunteer Religious Leaders who spread the Gospel of Hate and exclude as many dissenters to that perverted gospel as possible. I’ll assume here that it’s a nationwide deal. Radicalizing American prisoners, many of whom are actually habitual violent criminals, to continue a war inflamed by the actions in behalf of the 1%.

And insisting all along that every “Ay-rab” meaning every Muslim in the entire world (it hurts my brain to translate Standard English into Standard Redneck) is born with a bomb in his or her hand.

maybe not that extreme, but hyperbole spawns hyperbole.  It doesn’t matter who gets in the way of the bullets or shrapnel, not to the bigpigs at least.

You might remember this…

“Charlie asd Camilla almost got their asses dragged out of their limo and street just would have prevailed, blue blood would have flowed in the gutters of London etc… (sic) the London Anarchists found a neat way to defeat kettling”

Maybe the rich bitch establishment ought to really worry about reprisals.Their gated communities can be kettled and turned into ghettoes in the most real definition of the term.

By volunteers who probably wouldn’t ask a dime in pay, merely a just society for their children.

One in which their kids or siblings or parents won’t be shot down in the street by the cops. Or shot in their own homes. I hadn’t been up here a red hot two months when the Denver cops shot a man to death in his bed, said they saw him “reaching for something” and the evidence at their automatic acquittal hearing was their word against that of a dead man. Then they charged the victim’s nephew for the killing because he wasn’t home when they went in to serve a warrant on him but shot his uncle instead. True Story, from the summer of ’04.

They obviously want war, or think they do. Or at least their masters believe they’ll come out on top.

But their social doctrine is entwined and mirrored in Capitalism. Which is a pyramid scheme, can’t last forever and when it falls, and their social doctrine goes down with the supply of non-existent money, based on resources they don’t actually have… too bad, right? Only we’ll have the privilege of joining them in their misery.

Even the Pope doesn’t want Trump. Uh, who is more status quo than the Pope?

When is the last time the corporate media was on your side? The fact that every news pundit opposes Donald Trump’s candidacy should indicate the real threat his election bid poses to the powers that be. Consider too that you are only seeing Trump through their lens. His lunacy and inanity are colored by their filter. What have you heard beside outlandish hyperbole? Is Trump a racist? In the hospitality business, most of his customers and his workforce cross the border. Fences? Bans? Trump is trolling, he’s saying whatever wins him attention over airwaves throttled and moderated by hostile gatekeepers. Neither Fox nor NPR want to consider Donald Trump “electable”. What does that say?!

What gets me is the left’s kneejerk alarm at Trump’s rise. As if the media’s clarion call rings for them. Alternative media is uncritically amplifying the mainstream fearmongering. Fortunately they’re all underestimating the American public.

TRUMP IS NOT A FASCIST, he’s a conceited blowhard. Trump is not an idiologue, he’s an ignorant narcissist. Trump is not a dictator, he’s a spoiled bully. AT WORST Trump could run the White House like a syndicate thug. Is that worse or better for the American people? We’ve already got government lawlessness. Let’s unleash absolute power to fight society’s real criminals.

AT WORST Don Trump could order drone strikes on the legislature. At worst he could deploy death squads against Wall Street and Madison Avenue. A gangland don’s ego will only be threatened by his rivals. Those of us without power have nothing he needs. If Trump crowns himself tsar maybe we’ll see bankers and media moguls have their hats nailed to their heads.

The status quo’s worst nightmare could not help but benefit its have-nots. And the American People know it, hense Trump’s unwavering popularity. To our political sages, Trump’s support is incomprehensible. Hardly. Trump is not a populist, he’s dumbo Rambo. Probably more Rambo than Dumbo. Uh oh. No wonder everybody in Who’s Who is terrified the public beast will get its proxy.
 
Now Pope Francis has spoken out against Trump. Figureheads for established power don’t get any bigger than the Pope.

New York prison victims need your help

AT THE VERY LEAST people living near New York State’s now infamous prison break could be getting fresh air in defiance of their governor’s ludicrous warnings to hide from the dangerous felons. Neighbors can exercise their property rights to spectate as they please and take strolls where they can to muck it up for the K9s hounding fugitives David Sweat and Richard Matt. Fellow freedom-loving itinerants could also converge upstate to force multiply the sightings of vagabond pairs crisscrossing the woods around the Clinton Correctional Facility, known in the industry as “Little Siberia”. But most certainly, lawyers of any conscience should assail the Clinton County DA’s office in defense of poor Joyce Mitchell, the prison sweatshop supervisor who may have helped the escapees, whom authorities were waiting to charge until after she’d cooperated with interrogators. Lawyers should be livid that neither authorities nor reporters bat an eyelash at Ms. Mitchell’s lack of proper counsel. Media coverage while constant is marred by omission.

Are fugitives Matt and Sweat dangerous? The media doesn’t want to detail their criminal histories other than to repeat they are murderers. David Sweat and an accomplice plead guilty to first degree murder of a sheriff’s deputy when Sweat was 22. (Who pleads guilty to first degree murder?) The deputy had interrupted a burglary, other accomplices were not charged. When Sweat was 17 he served time for attempted burglary.

While in his twenties Richard Matt killed his boss. Why and what was their line of work? The media won’t say. Matt’s previous record was as a juvenile.

Both appear to be examples of the failure of the correctional industry in handling juveniles. This prison break was the only hope either men had for escaping its clutches. The escape was nonviolent and fears that either men mean harm to others are not grounded in anything but hyperbole about how “evil” they are.

FreddieGray’s spine was severed at the neck. I believe literally that is lynching.

African American Freddie Gray died as a result of his spine being severed at his neck. It’s no hyperbole to describe the continuing police murders of young black men as deputized, mob LYNCHINGS. The overwhelming victims of these extrajudicial executions are people of color. As if to underline this point, Baltimore police made this clear in no uncertain medical terms. I’m not a doctor, but what injury could better support the inference that Freddie Gray was lynched?

TEDx comes to Dumbville, or, Colorado Springs reads Horton Hears a How

COLO. SPRINGS- TED-TalksTM likes to say it offers “a spa for your brain” and when I saw that an X-variant was coming to Colorado Springs (“TEDx”s are unaffiliated affiliates. Yeah, uh-oh.) I wondered if a spa might only be as good as its mineral water. Or its mud, or masseurs, whatever. Yes, I foresaw the inevitability of Dumbass Springs confirming its nature, but the lure of a train wreck was strong. I confess my expectations were lower still because incessent shared posts on Facebook have inoculated me with an aversion to the TED motivational formula, no matter the click-bait hyperbole they are AHA-moments For Dummies.

Typically a TED theme holds water for about as long as it takes to incubate a viral meme, but I wondered if in unedited presentation form, do they permit the scrutiny of live input from the audience? They are popular after all. A complementary pass offered the chance to see, and our local franchise had sold out. Could I gag the reflex of skepticism about TED’s curated plethora of inspirational vehicles? To my mind they never fail to carry water (Let’s cross the metaphors) for the neoliberal false-Left, its outside-of-the-box thinkers never truly asserting a POV remote from Capital’s doomed ship whose last exertions mimick being radically progressive enough to impersonate credibility, cross fingers spark hope. TED’s appearance of being crowd-sourced has already been eroded by its gatekeeping against populist lay disciplines. Its novelty was its social media distribution model, otherwise TED is merely another consent-manufacturing think tank of unchanged spots for the pedestrian academic. Will a local TEDx event outsource its attractions or will it local-source from luminary wattage? I ask because our backwater tradition is to elevate dimbulbs. When we mob Ticketmaster it’s for star talent of our ilk. Upcoming exhibit A: Dennis Miller. Ok TED, a full report to follow.

Plastic as far as you can see and can’t

Plastic barrel encrusted with sea lifeHere’s an interesting exception among the photos accompanying a recent NYT article about the mass of plastic detritus, twice the size of Texas, floating in the Pacific Ocean. This barely buoyant plastic barrel, demonstrates why plastic does not qualify as flotsam.

As sea creatures inhabit this barrel, it becomes encrusted and weighted down causing it to slowly sink. After enough time at great depths the ballast of barnacles is eventually sloughed off, prompting the barrel to rise again to the surface. The scientists call it a “yo-yo effect” which describes only the motion. The living organisms cycle and decay, but the plastic goes nowhere but up and down, all the while leaching its toxins into multiple depths of the food chain. The submerged plastic meanwhile hinders our measure of the inaptly named flotsam. The point being that the collection of garbage which we observe on the surface, whirling in this giant Pacific gyre, is only the proverbial tip of a plastic burg.

It’s worth noting that the article which the NYT picked up, came from a reporter funded by SPOT.US, an innovative journalism collective whose investigation projects are financed by the readers. If novice reporter Lindsay Hoshaw hadn’t made the pitch, and spot.us readers hadn’t advanced the budget, the NYT might never have gotten the story.

The great Pacific gyre, located between Hawaii and the continental US, is estimated to be only one of five such garbage patches in the world. It was encountered only 12 years ago by someone returning from a round-the-world race. We all know plastic can evade airport security metal detectors, who knows, it probably flies under the radar. Plastic surpasses its creators’ hyperbole. Besides having a durability to rival radioactivity, plastic has the power of attraction to morph into masses the size of two lone star states, in 3-D, and cloak itself as successfully as Osama bin Laden.

Obama ate a fish who knew Lincoln

bottom feederFishermen have always called it the Slimehead fish. It’s sorta-scientific name is Darwin’s Slimehead. But when bottom-of-the-barrel scraping began for the ocean’s remaining fisheries, fishmongers created a market for the never-thought-palatable deep bottom feeder by renaming it the Orange Roughy.

That much you’ve probably heard before.

Really, what’s in a name? A fish by any other name will smell too. Is there a fish story without hyperbole, that does not smell fishy? The idiom comes from the experience-honed doubt that the fishmonger’s catch is not fresh. People know steak is dead cow, so does it matter that Orange Roughy is Slimehead, Monkfish is Goosefish, Rock Salmon is Spiny Dogfish, or Tilapia is Mouthbrooder?

Actually Israeli exporters wanted to give Tilapia a biblical makeover, asserting the Tilapia from the Sea of Galilee, should be called St. Peter’s Fish, but US regulators intervened. In the Gospel of Matthew 17:27, apostle Peter tells tax collectors where they can go. In more than that many words he tells them to go fish, and from the mouth of the “first fish they catch,” they will find the four drachmas he owes them. The FDA didn’t buy it either. By the way, if you doubt Wikipedia has Zionist preoccupations, sniff the first paragraph of their entry for Tilapia. Maybe we are about to see whether Wiki momentum can surfeit the vernacular.

The US government also intervened when fish wholesalers wanted to rename the Patagonian Toothfish as Chilean Sea Bass. It’s not a Bass. And the poor Teethfish, like the Slimehead, are now endangered.

Because man’s traditional food fishes have become depleted, we’re having now to make meals of the dregs. And the populations of these deep sea dwellers have less resiliency than the coastal stocks. In the case of the Toothfish and the Slimehead, it’s because they grow very slowly. The Slimehead can grow to be 150 years old. They don’t become sexually reproductive until they are 33, and that’s not in dogfish years. Fishing operations which harvest entire sea mounts decimate every generation at once, leaving none who can spawn.

Would it give you an unsettled feeling to consume something so ancient? If we’re talking a pre-Phylloxera wine, it could be a great thing. But a fish that old has been absorbing mercury from the height of the industrial revolution onwards. So there might be a health benefit for showing deference to your fish elders.

It recently upset me to learn that with modern agriculture we eat cattle before they’re two, when they’re barely adolescent. Now I wonder what’s too old. We revere elephants and tortoises for their longevity, such ancient beings we don’t eat.

I’m old enough to remember learning about the old carp in the fountains of Paris, who also lived quite long. French schoolchildren could marvel that some carp still lived who might have glimpsed Napoleon.

A Slimehead Orange Roughy caught today could have lived in the time of Lincoln. Certainly those fish drag-netted in the 1970s, when the Orange Roughy exotic star was contrived to rise, were contemporaries of John Wilkes Booth. Though swimming many thousand feet below sea level, Roughy might have encountered a fresh shipwreck of Lincoln’s era, carrying gold sent from the west coast to finance the Civil War.

Today finds Americans awaiting their and their fellow man’s emancipation from war, torture, illegal detention, economic enslavement, usury, exploitation, impoverishment, enfeeblement and poisoning. Since just the new millennium Americans learned quick to participate again in their political system. They elected what many thought impossible, an African American president. The voters placed all their hope in Barack Obama, and their faith in party politics foretold that Obama’s majority would deliver the mandate he was given. Obama’s first days were anticipated to rival FDRs. Obama’s legacy could already be measured for laurels because it meant simply reversing the calamity of his predecessor. By such a deliverance alone, it was visualized, Obama would stand beside Abraham Lincoln, America’s greatest president.

Abraham Obama may be an unjustly loft comparison, as wanting to believe Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. But what else was an expectant public to do? They put him in office, they believed his promises. He spoke of change, they wanted change. What swiftly Bush had done, they wanted undone. And Obama assured all that he heard them.

And has it worked out that way? Obama’s speeches begin where the last one ends. They’re long, they’re reasoned, but where at first Americans reveled at a suddenly well-spoken president, now they wish he’d stop talking and start doing. Apparently “yes we can” meant “you can wait” –more likely “hi Mom” or “cheese.” Now the hand which Obama raises so famously to give assurance, is looking more like just the hand.

It may be dawning on many that this junior senator from Illinois didn’t have to debate Frederick Douglas, build a log cabin, read Aristotle by candlelight, or climb a long leadership ladder to get to Washington DC. It may be occurring to them that Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, was the only accomplishment they’d seen of this unknown senator from the land of Lincoln.

An Orange Roughy served on fine porcelain may turn out to be the only thing our President Obama shares with Abraham Lincoln.

And very likely, you ate one too. So if stone-carvers are already bidding on the project to add someone’s face to Mount Rushmore, your likeness may be as appropriate as any.

Johnny Damon the myth of sports news

Local news on TV gets a scant few minutes of coverage, where the story of the day vies with weather to edge out everything else that isn’t fluff. In national news, interviewees can seldom get an answer in edgewise before they’re rushed off for the commercial break. “That’s all the time we have” ends every news story, yet the day’s sports story is paraded before sport desk after sport center. I used to envy the attention Americans gave to sports, until I saw the scrutiny was illusory. For example, Johnny Damon’s double stolen base in game four of the World Series.

It may stand as the most memorable moment of the series, giving Sunday’s game to the Yankees. Damon beat a tag out at second, but continued running because the ball was behind him and there was no adversary guarding third.

As I write, I already remind myself of the SNL skit about Norwegians staging their own translation of an American TV crime show. In the spirit of being an outsider I’d like to add that Fox Sports has chosen unfortunate replay graphics, featuring stars bursting from the center of the screen. Most cutaways leave closeups of baseball players, almost all of them chewing and spitting. The graphics seem to erupt from their mouths.

The fact that no one was on third wasn’t immediately clear to the television audience, for whom third base was out of camera frame. I thought for a minute I was spectating a Playstation game, where a specialist I know can always rundown the pickle, but Damon strode unchallenged to the abandoned base. None had seen such a thing before, such was the hyperbole. With what looked like impulsive genius, Damon confounded fans and critics who’d been comfortable to agree with Damon’s own self-deprecating image as a dumb jock.

Johnny Damon’s stolen third base was the talk of the post play-by-play. It turns out the Phillies had made a Mark Teixeira shift which left the base exposed. The very semantics offer a clue to the real story, but the jocks dropped it there.

The final analysis for the viewers? I’ll put it in layman’s terms: the Phillies had shifted their players in anticipation of batter Mark Teixeira, who hits to a very consistent hole in the outfield. The shift left the Phillies third baseman to cover second, and the pitcher, if warranted, to watch third. But the pitcher wasn’t watching, and as Damon passed the third baseman on second base, he calculated that he could outrun both of them to the empty base.

Great story, no one is credited an error, New York shorn Johnny Damon emerges a strategist, and the authenticity of the surprise of adrenalin rush which Damon gave the viewers is affirmed. But might not the media team calling the game have served the audience better if they’d called the Phillies’ unusual position shift? The sportcasters deserve the error on this play, but mostly I think for their lack of post game candor.

Both infield and outfield players shift their positions depending on who’s at bat. That’s not news. Apparently when Yankees Mark Teixeira comes up to bat, the adjustment is out of the ordinary. And probably that too doesn’t merit mention. No doubt every team playing against the NY Yankees coordinates itself differently. But can we not surmise that Yankee runners who find themselves on base when Teixeira is hitting, are looking for exactly the opening which Damon took? And if the Yankees batting lineup is fairly consistent, would it seem probable that this opportunity regularly falls to Damon?

It takes nothing away from Damon’s feat, but I think to read his action on second base as improvisational is to pretend the World Series baseball audience was born on game three.

The Famous Oprah Video punks who?

Oprah famous video black eyed peas good day
You find it by searching for FAMOUS + OPRAH + VIDEO. Because hyperbole arcs the hyperlink. Allegedly, the viral clip is being removed as fast as websites are putting it up. I’ll bet the reason would have more to do with James Frey and Augusten Burroughs baldfaced disingenuity than copyright infringement or Oprah being embarrassed by pedestrian plagiarism. The performance by the Black Eyed Peas, taped live in downtown Chicago for the 24th season of Oprah’s talk show, purports to ignite a spontaneous dance, to Oprah’s joyful astonishment. While the video may be a crowd-pleaser, it certifies corporate music’s lack of originality, and the American TV tube’s despicable boobness.

The jubilant TODAY’S GONNA BE A GOOD DAY scenario borrows of course from the T-mobile commercial featuring a dance production taped at a Liverpool train station, set to a medley of powerhouse dance numbers. At first fellow commuters are surprised. By the end we realize the entirety has been choreographed. Youtube viewers would recognize the contrivance from the Belgian train station scene, where ordinary commuters begin dancing to a favorite song from The Sound of Music, until the whole crowd is participating.

Is dance so highly infectious? There’s something people really love about seeing that theme play out. It gives viewers warm fuzzy feelings having to do with belonging to community. There’s nothing wrong with the Black Eyed Peas wanting to reap that same enthusiasm for their pretend live video. Who holds it against pop to imitate from anything?

Their job of commercial entertainment is to popularize, and an Antwerp central station is hardly a setting familiar to Americans. Better a live concert audience, youthful, outside, wearing the usual panoply of Disney colors, living in the moment, attached to no context of exterior lives, a high school musical on a sunny day, reality TV on vivid.

Both predecessors feature onlookers who stare transfixed, some calling friends on their cellphones, others recording what they see. In both sequences, often those standing on the periphery turn out also to be participants, eventually joining in the dance.

In Oprah’s version, she is the lone spectator, watching incredulous from onstage. Like the train station commuters, she holds a cellphone aloft, eager to record the dance epidemic as it spreads throughout her “audience.” Apparently, it’s not enough today to drop your jaw to show surprise, you have to pull out your camera to show how you know when seeing defies believing. What, is Oprah going to Youtube it? Would her television audience worry that the impromptu dance was going to pass without someone recording it for posterity?

Oprah’s spontaneous wonder may have passed for genuine before a television audience who didn’t see the dance coming, but on the instant replay, how will Oprah’s act play? Are we to believe she didn’t know about the Christo scale choreographed event? If the stunt had been planned as a surprise, do you suppose Oprah wouldn’t have noticed her audience was suddenly uniformly younger and more fit, wearing uniformly bright colors evenly distributed across the monitor screens. Failing that, do you imagine someone as skilled as Oprah at communicating with peoples en masse, wouldn’t detect that this audience had something up its sleeve? It’s probably no false flattery to brag that Chicago is not big enough for Oprah and a surprise party of thousands, without invitations coming across her desk.

The Black Eyed Peas dance bomb may have made wonderful television, and it might have been even better if Oprah had winked instead of gasped. Because now the scene is simply contrived. To watch it in hindsight, as has become the norm for television in the Youtube age, there’s Oprah punking us all.

CNN did it with Balloon Boy, FOX does it for politics, and the rest do it for the war: false concern, contrived conclusions. American media nourishes with falsity. Musicians lip-sinc, Yo-Yo Ma faked his performance at the inauguration, as we learned all instrumentalists do in cold weather.

Capitalism, a Love Story, out OCT 2

michael moore 2009 documentaryMichael Moore’s documentary about the bank robber barons behind America’s financial collapse will hit the theaters on October 2. Though the Venice Film Festival gave its premier four screenings, and a ten minute standing ovation, American editorials have of course begun to cut Moore down. The fimmaker’s tweets that the LA audience rose from their seats with torches and pitchforks, were quickly doused as hyperbole. Really? The celebrity theatergoers were really just rushing the catering tables. REALLY? That’s less probable.

Ludlow Massacre or unhappy incident?

Ludlow Tent Colony 1914
COLORADO COLLEGE- CC is holding a symposium on the 1914 Ludlow Massacre. Actually, it’s only called the Ludlow Symposium. True to Colorado Springs form, several among the audience want to call it an “incidence,” instead of a “massacre.” One of the participants, author Scott Martelle, is willing to oblige, explaining that if the militia hadn’t known that women and children were taking shelter beneath the tents which they were putting to the torch, then the soldiers were guilty only of criminally negligent homicide.

(*Note 4/12/09: this article has been revised in light of helpful comments offered by symposium participants. Also: Differences of opinion aside, I am remiss if I do not praise the scholars who were very generous with their time and encyclopedic memories to enrich this symposium.
1. CC’s own Professor David Mason authored an evocative narrative of lives caught up in the 1914 events, written in verse, entitled Ludlow.
2. Journalist Scott Thomas researched the most recent definitive account to date, the 2007 Blood Passion: the Ludlow Massacre and Class War in the American West.
3. Thomas Andrews, Associate Professor at CU Denver, enlarged the context in 2008 with his award winning Killing For Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War.
4. Zeese Papanikolas represented his authorative Buried Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre, written in 1984.)

Does it matter what it’s called, or with what certainty? The symposium is filled with public school system educators looking for an angle with which to approach Ludlow with their kids. One of them expresses her doubt about teaching about Mother Jones, having just heard from the panelists a probably too-nuanced assessment of the labor hero’s tactics. The political climate of our age can’t find any purchase with moral nuance.

I’m stuck thinking that in recording social history, scholars cannot avoid writing the victor’s narrative. In particular as regards the history of labor, because neither academics nor even middle class hobbyists in the symposium’s audience can look at the events from the perspective of the working class.

Even the scholar’s objectivity is middle class. The opinion was expressed by the panel that the Ludlow aftermath was one of the few occasions when the story was spun to the benefit of labor interests. But this does not account for why authors and educators find themselves having to resurrect the tale of Ludlow these many years later. When it occurred, Americans may have swallowed the hyperbole, but since that time they’ve internalized its internment, effaced by a corporate culture so as to have disappeared from even our school textbooks.

I think this may have been something of the question posed by symposium organizer Jaime Stevensen to the panel, when she asked how the authors insulated themselves from the fictions woven into their own perspectives of history. She didn’t get any takers.

The very concept that history adds up to only so much trivial pursuit, is inherently a view from the ivory tower. BLOOD PASSION by Scott Martelle Do the Ludlow scholars not recognize that common people today face the same foes as did the miners of Ludlow? With the added impediment of a corporate PR system erasing its malevolent deeds. Have not American unions been maligned to the point of extinction? Yet at the same time, capitalists have thoroughly reprised their Machiavellian ways. History can be a tool, not only for statecraft, but for the common American to protect his hard-fought democratic gains.

The United Mine Workers of America having successfully spun the deaths of the striking miner families as a “massacre” may have made an unmerited impact on the public’s sympathies, but likewise, deciding to call Ludlow “not a massacre” will be falsely charged as well. Is there a valuable lesson in unlearning that unbridled corporate greed can be unthinkably inhumane?

OUT OF THE DEPTHS by Barron BeshoarHistorians can fancy themselves objective to ambivalence, but is that a luxury their readers and in particular the schoolchildren can afford? As we witness today the gloves coming off of the globalisation taskmasters?

How I prefer the emotional truth of earlier chroniclers like Barron Beshoar, author of OUT OF THE DEPTHS, a 1942 account of Ludlow, whose preface included this gem:

“If the mine guards and detectives, the mercenaries who served as the Gestapo and the coal districts appear to be scoundrels who sold themselves and their fellowmen for a few corporation dollars, the author will consider them adequately presented.”

KILLING FOR COAL by Thomas AndrewsAt Colorado College the consensus of contemporary historical synthesis, embodied by CU Denver’s Thomas Andrews‘ excellent book KILLING FOR COAL, seems to conclude about Ludlow, “we may never know exactly what happened.” This may reflect the Factual Truth, but it does so at the expense of unrecorded oral accounts, by depreciating their traditional path to us through of folklore.

Buried UnsungAnother author made pains to debunk the lyrics “Sixteen tons, and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt,” a cultural indictment of the “company store,” which was one of the grievances of the Ludlow strikers. He postulated that modern readers could be prone to let folklore color a predisposition against the company store. Perhaps a company store was in fact a convenience, derided because it was an arbitrary restriction against which human nature bucked. Trying to be helpful, another panelist suggested: “Imagine if the company store was 7-11, and you were told you could only shop there.” I believe both of these gentlemen are overlooking the much grosser complaint which the miners were protesting, that of insurmountable debt, systematically forced on them by their employers. That’s a phenomena on the rise today, if maybe not among college professors. Around the world, indentured servitude has never abated.

In our ivory tower we can debate which side, the union or the militia, fired the first shots on April 20. Who was at fault, seemed to be what that question would decide. At least panelist Anne Hyde had the presence of mind to lay some of the responsibility on the mine owners, who weren’t there of course, but whose stubborn greed played a not unsubstantial part in what the other panelists were attributing to “macho intransigence.”

That expression was in vogue to describe Cowboy presidencies. What an effete put down of militant activism. Are we to blame the striking miners for holding firm to their demands?

Thank goodness someone in the audience brought up recent efforts to deny the Sand Creek Massacre, which two panelists quickly weighed in to say “that was a real massacre,” discrediting Ludlow, obviously, and failing to grasp her point that indeed some Colorado Springs locals are rewriting Sand Creek as a battle, and not a massacre.

Another isolationist luxury has become to judge every action as it compares to a nonviolent ideal. It was noted that UMWA union leader John Lawson always recused himself from violent tactics. During the symposium’s opening reception, someone performed a song dedicated to the Ludlow martyr Louis Tikas, which lauded him for choosing to fight with words not guns, as if guns would discredit him.

I’ll play devil’s advocate and suggest that the miners fired the first shots. They saw Louis Tikas bludgeoned in the back of the head and then executed as he lay on the ground unconscious, they saw the National Guard move a machine gun into position above their tent city, and they probably began to fire at the soldiers lest a rain of bullets descend on miners’ wives and children before they had a chance to flee the camp.

The miners were asking that their union be recognized, that the Colorado eight hour work day be enforced, that the scales which determined their pay be verified, that their full hours be compensated, etc. The mine owners clung to their profits, and ordered the miners’ tent city, their only shelter and all their worldly possessions burned to the ground. Women and children were hiding in underground pits dug to escape the sniper fire which the mine guards sporadically aimed at the tents. The guards drove an armored car around the perimeter of the union camp, at all hours, for that purpose.

Ultimately this climate erupted into the violent clash on April 20, 1914, in which the miners battled with the far better equipped soldiers. The casualties were 25 to 1. I call that a massacre.

ADDENDUM: Photographs from visit to the Ludlow Memorial.
Site of Ludlow Massacre, photographed 2009
LUDLOW MEMORIAL, COLORADO- Day three of the Colorado College Ludlow Symposium featured a bus ride to the site of the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, then on to Trinidad to the grave of Union leader Louis Tikas. A reporter for Colorado Public Radio interviewed the symposium panelists at the U.M.W.A. memorial grounds.

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site
David Mason is interviewed by a freelance reporter for Colorado Public Radio.

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site
Scott Martelle and Thomas Andrews are interviewed above the fatal cellar.

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site

April 2009 Visit to Ludlow site

TRINIDAD, COLORADO- Masonic Cemetary.
April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site

April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site
Zeese Papanikolas spoke about his protagonist’s gravestone and its reference to Tikas as a “Patriot.”

April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site

April 2009 Visit to Louis Tikas grave site

The shipping news

container shipThe whining and hang-wringing about the “credit crunch” is getting on my nerves. It was this supposed crisis that led to the $700 billion bailout and we’re told every day that it must be solved quickly, no matter the cost, or we’re toast. But why? How many of us are actively seeking credit right now? Surely the developers and retailers want us to have lots and lots of it so we can keep hyper-consuming their goods; the bankers want us to have it so they can collect their interest and fees but, seriously, is free-flowing credit what the American public needs right now? Living beyond our means is what caused the credit meltdown in the first place!

Here’s a meaty statistic: the Baltic Dry Index, which measures the demand for global shipping capacity, dropped from 11,793 last May to, get this, an inconceivable zero. The complexity of the BDI is beyond the scope of this post but, suffice it to say, there are lots of cargo ships sitting at anchor today. The collapse of the BDI augurs a rapidly evaporating demand for foreign goods. Combine this with the massive deterioration in domestic consumption during the fourth quarter of 2008, and wager a guess as to the meaning of it all. We’re not buying anything and the world is following suit! So tell me, Wall Street wizards, why the continued hyperbole about a credit crunch?

How could our purchasing habits change so dramatically overnight? Currently, Americans own an estimated 250 million personal computers and 175 million iPods. There are 9 million mobile homes within our borders, approximately 102-130 million single-family homes, and countless million apartments. One could safely assert that there’s a home, an mp3 player and a personal computer for every man, woman and child in the United States. I’ll go on. Everyone has a television, a cell phone. Nearly everyone owns a car. Most have closets full of clothes they never wear, and we all have too many shoes. So when Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke or anyone else talks about freeing up the flow of credit, we should ask ourselves why.

Recently, through the dense economic fog came a thin ray of revelation: I may actually have enough stuff. Perhaps, just maybe, I can stop buying new stuff for awhile. I can keep my slightly dented iPod for yet another year. My Toyota with 90,000 miles is probably good for another road trip or two. I won’t move to a bigger house just yet, or buy the 52″ flatscreen Santa forgot to leave under the tree. I may have to forego the spring sales and make do with last summer’s tank tops, wrong color though they may be.

I don’t mean to minimize the hardship of doing without, but we are a nation of excess inventory. Somewhere in our stuffed dressers and overfull garages, there is room to accommodate a changed perspective.

Wall Street is telling us that all will soon be well. If we just give them hundreds of billions, they’ll take their cut and loan the rest to us so we can get back to “business as usual”. But what if we don’t cooperate with their economic “recovery” plan? What if we collectively turn our backs on Wall Street and Madison Avenue and live simply, buying what we need and paying as we go, stopping to share with others along the way?

Remember, our banks and investment companies built themselves toward inevitable failure during the economic boom. Don’t expect them to act nobly in the coming recession because they won’t. You can bank on that. So stop worrying about their silly market indices and their credit machinations. Let the Federal government give them another trillion pieces of worthless paper. Help them plaster their walls with negotiable instruments. Make them eat derivatives for breakfast, sell them short against the box and leverage them to outerspace. Leave them with their excess shipping capacity and their phantom dollar bills.

It’s time for the rest of us to disembark this sinking stinking ship for good.

Grant Park speech aimed beneath you

The more they replay it, the more Barack Obama’s Grant Park speech comes off like bad theater. From Obama’s lips, I’m not sure the faithful have the skepticism to critique it. But his election night address may be the surest indication of what his centrism is going to look like, political communication for folks across the aisle: exposition and pandering.

“If there is anyone here … who still doubts the promise of our democracy, tonight is their answer.”

Wouldn’t that be more appropriate coming from a high school teacher, asking the class to explore the meaning of Obama’s win, sooner than have the candidate draw the conclusion for us? It’s exposition, telling the audience what you should let them figure out by your actions. When Ussain Bolt heralded his oncoming Olympic victory, it didn’t go over well either.

More than just leading us by the nose, by spelling out the election’s answer Obama made his theme dramatically smallish. Is that what his “change” meant? Regime change? Color change? MLK’s dream in the singular? Was that the mission accomplished? Renewing America’s faith in the two parties? (Forget a third?)

I still doubt. And in Obama’s centrist hyperbole I find few answers. In fact with the Grant Park speech machinations, he raises more.

If Obama underestimated the insightfulness of his audience, or did not trust where their own observations would lead them, he had their number with his last train of thought.

I’m reminded of a comedy skit in which a corporate news outlet was reviewing options for distracting their viewers from the information they were presenting. While naked, might have been one, and certainly farting while sitting in water was a hilarious alternative. Both made light of other real techniques, not the least of which, let’s be fair, is using pictures of puppies.

So Obama closed his address by painting that picture, a promise to his daughters. “You have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.” I thought it was adorable too. Then I wondered if I’d taken my eyes off what either his right or left hand was doing.

In brief, not much. Obama was eloquent and optimistic, his points were from JFK’s inaugural, which fit the youthful, multiracial Camelot we celebrated to see gather onstage. Grant Park became a memorable pageant. There were Jesse Jackson’s tears, Oprah leaning on Joe the White Guy, Michelle’s belted Rothko dress, and a so very presidential President-Elect. What do you remember of the speech?

Democracy worked, see.
Ask not what your country can do for you.
Look folks, a puppy.

Defend Denver with a Kalashnikov

Recreate-68 t-shirt DEFEND DENVER
DENVER- I wasn’t sure what this R68 t-shirt meant in advance of the 2008 Denver DNC. Protest organizers were anticipating riot police and a super- weaponized National Guard deployed to secure the city against us peaceful demonstrators. But the AK-47 wasn’t lost on others. It’s the assault rifle used worldwide against imperialism. The only gun honored on a national flag (Mozambique), the Kalashnikov revolutionized la revolucion.

If “DEFEND DENVER” is opaque, the tag line isn’t. Along the bottom of the shirt reads “*smash development, stop snitching, steal their shit.” Fun innocuous hyperbole is all. Please note that all of the DNC protests were nonviolent.

The DNC’s Denver meatpacking facility

PatriotsCalling it the Gitmo on The Platte might be a bit of hyperbole here, but look what the Democratic Party has prepared for US dissidents that will arrive protesting their lousy corporate politics? Tasers and cattle pens. I can hardly stomach being around you DP voting fools at all these days. You are the worst!

Liberals want to vote for a political party like this? Don’t you nitwit voting addicts of the Democratic Party assign any responsibility for this sort of ‘homeland security’ mentality to the Democratic Party itself, or will you just let these Barack-Hillary thugs hide themselves behind the Denver police without calling them out on it? You know that they really do control how their convention is actually policed, don’t you? Shame on you for voting for this come November!

BTW, the picture heading this commentary is taken from a Democratic Party web site, where this is what they have to say about the US occupation of Iraq…

‘The Democratic Party supports our men and women serving in the military. Our country, our state and our county are indebted to them for their valor and sacrifice. We stand behind our troops and wish them a safe and speedy return.’

Translated from the language of political bullshit, the Democratic Party is saying that it doesn’t give a damn about the Pentagon looting our American national wealth on behalf of the military welfare sucking corporations and that it doesn’t give a shit if the US government turns Iraq and its people into a total scrap heap. What a scummy political party you ‘liberal’ folk vote for again and again and again! You are hardly voting for the lesser of 2 evils but are voting for the evil itself. Right, Dennis? (That question is directed to Dennis Apuan, former brake on antiwar protest here in Colorado Springs when he was PPJPC director, and now a local Democratic Party candidate hoping to become a bigger cheese.)

It’s time to stop being polite about people like Dennis or Poor Richard, local court jester for Ken Salazar, DP Senator of Colorado. These people are part of the apparatus that wants to cage up protest in Denver against the war, and cattle prod US patriots locked up in the pens. Yes they are and we shouldn’t let these cruds pretend otherwise. There is no way I would vote for Dennis Apuan, who did a most shitty job when he headed up the local peace group, too. He’s no better than having a Republican in there, and your party can shock me for saying so, Dennis!

See you in prison

Bush dictator quote from 2000Quietly, with little mention in the press, the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive was signed in May 2007. This directive places all governmental power in the hands of the President in the case of a catastrophic emergency (as defined by him alone). It also allows him to take control of the private and nonprofit sectors. It effectively abolishes the checks and balances built into the Constitution and demolishes the Bill of Rights. This is, of course, necessary to keep us safe in case of a national disaster. The “Unitary Executive” would be able to act quickly and decisively, without any interference from those other two annoying branches of government, slow-moving and contentious as they are.

Our Constitution has never been about efficiency. The checks and balances built into it were created to keep any one individual or branch of government from having unilateral power. It lays the groundwork for a democracy, not for a well-oiled machine.

George Bush has shown extreme disdain for the Constitution, the very document he swore to uphold. He has vetoed only a handful of bills while in office, but he has attached signing statements to more than a thousand, clearly indicating scorn for Congress and his commitment to enforce only the laws he chooses. He has taken bills designed to protect the American public and has amended them to be used against us. Congress recently handed Zippy even more power by passing the Police America Act 2007. He has stripped us of our right to privacy, our right against unreasonable search and seizure, our right to due process. All in the name of the fighting terror.

We already know that President “Hyperbole” Bush is a master of exaggeration, if not outright prevarication. He and his oil buddy, Cheney, lied to get us into Iraq. They’ve lied to keep us in Iraq. Long ago they planned to get their hands on all of that beautiful unctuous black gold under the desert. They are not about to cede power to a successor until they’ve gotten the goods. What terrible national catastrophe is up his sleeve that will enable him to retain power?

I won’t speculate about what the catastrophe will be, but WorldNetDaily.com reported yesterday that the administration has been authorized to set up civilian prisons at military installations, something that has not been done in our country since the WWII Japanese internment camps. Under international law, internment camps are used in times of war to incarcerate large groups of people deemed to be enemies or “belligerents,” indefinitely and without trial, of course. Hasn’t Bush already warned us that if we are not with him, then we are with the terrorists? Read the handwriting on the wall.

When the occupant of the highest office in the land decides what the law is, singlehandedly, we no longer live in a democratic society. We live under a dictator, the Unitary Executive. While we were sleeping, Zippy the Monkey’s big dream of being THE Decider has been realized. We are basically living in an autocracy. The Founding Fathers are turning over and over in their graves. But few of the living seem to care.

Prepare yourself for the war with Iran. Prepare yourself for the impending terrorist attack. Prepare for the national catastrophe that will allow the Unitary Executive to suspend the 2008 election and stay in power indefinitely.

Just watch. He’ll do it. He’s the DECIDER. We gave him that power. And he’s willing and able to use it.

Take the Potter taste test challenge

Harry Potter jumps the sharkMy comments about JK Rowling were mean spirited naturally, but the reaction was like I’d made a snotty put-down of something exalted. Was my criticism limited by subjectivity?
 
This is not Fancy Feast versus the same thing in an economy brand can. Do you think quality is a matter of subjective taste? In such case you are confused by the hyperbole of marketing. A Coke tastes like its commercials, a Pepsi like theirs. That’s not taste. In many things involving our senses, the human being was designed to judge quantitative differences.
 
Why raise the subject at all? No one expects a symphony from an ice cream truck. But when promoters want to drive an ice cream truck unto the stage at Carnegie Hall, naturally some of us want to intone.

To me, you know literature when you see it. You’re reading along, and before you know it you become distracted by notions not linearly related to the physical events of the plot, musings, asides, descriptions which express larger truths. They don’t stand out necessarily, except you find yourself reading more slowly, lost in thought. That’s literature. It’s more to chew.

Of course everything doesn’t have to be literature. I can appreciate a Big Mac, even praise it, without having to pretend it’s filet mignon. I’m not defensive either way. But I’ll also add that if you were to serve me the same Big Mac reconfigured as Haut Cuisine on an oversized plate with pepper and Special Sauce cast about artfully, I could easily delight myself confusing it for something nutritious. Though it be the same poison.

And here is my point. My palate is not very sophisticated about food. I can enjoy a claret or a cheap Shiraz equally. I’m uneducated and inexperienced with them. Similarly I can’t tell a saxophone from the hydraulic exertions of a garbage truck.

Just as we fall short teaching critical thinking in our schools, might we also raise readers lacking discernment for meaningful writing? Readers who might confuse writing of nutritional value with writing that can give you heart disease?

America’s War for Terrorism

One of the most bizarre aspects of the age we live in, is that the world’s major terrorist promoting country is now waging what its marketeers have the incredible gall to call, ‘The War on Terror’! Just this week in the CS Justice and Peace Center, our resident Right Wing nut who attends certain events for some reason or other (maybe monitoring), was telling our book club about the delights of cluster bombs and napalm. What a world class creep, right?

He is a retired lifer in the US military who wanted us peaceniks to understand the lighter side of weaponry, no less. The side he sees, but peaceniks can’t simply because they are so blinded by goodness instead of the ‘logic’ welded by our lifer. This creep is also big on supporting the current so-called ‘War on Terrorism’. He says that with some savages you just cannot negotiate with. And of course, he represents the side of civilization… lol. Colonel Klink to Colonel Napalm attending a book club in his senior years… We live in strange world.

So what we have is people in love with nuclear weapons, napalm, and cluster bombs, all pretending to be mobilizing to stop terrorism, and all the while our press reports all their ‘thoughts’ with straight face! Now we have the master of US ’80s Central American pushed terrorism, John Negroponte, in Africa trying to stop ‘genocide’ in order to help Black people, no less! Oh thank you, Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms! Thank you, Bush.

And it’s like we are all supposed to forget that Osama bin Laden was Made in US, too? War on terrorism, stop genocide, stop Osama…stop Saddam… oh stop it now, Fine Fellers you are indeed! Sure it’s a war on terrorism. Sure it is. We believe you for sure. (They play us for total fools it seems.)

But my favorite group of terrorist monsters backed by the US masters of the ‘War on Terrorism’ is the Colombian death squad government. Our group of anti-terrorists down at the White House love these chain saw welding creeps. They consider Colombia an American success story even.

They would boast about it more, the neocons, except Clinton’s gang are the ones that got these lovelies really sawing their way into action. That’s when the DC- DP crowd weren’t bombing The Danube and Sudan’s pharmaceutical factory back then. Oh, and plus murdering down kids in Waco in all their huff and rush.

Let’s not forget, too, all the good deeds of America’s anti-terrorist league for sure. Everybody’s on board this ‘War Against Terror’ though, from Hillary to Condi to the neighbor next door! From ‘Drug War’ to ‘War on Terrorism’, nothing plays too absurd in Orwellian America that can’t be launched into orbits of nonsensical hyperbole. Long Live the War on Satan! Stop the Eastern pedophile evil! So let’s generally Pace ourselves a step at a time, Civilized Christian Crusaders. Long shall live the CCC vs terrorism!

And so what about any collateral damage taking place outside of their dream world? Today at the vigil the sign PEACE got a rather somber response from motorist USA. People seemed to be thinking more than usual. Wonder what might have provoked that change? Wonder if there really is any change that will last more than a week or two?

Super bowl Janet Jackson and Republican morality.

This is something I published a couple of years ago. Every bit as relevant as today. And every bit today as then, some things are timeless.
This one contains a “dirty” word, so you might go ahead and set your browser Content Filter to profanity blocking. Better to censor yourself than try to censor me.

But now, once again, we are going to have the hyperbole and rampant commercialism pushed onto our senses, over and over and over and endlessly and I bet you thought I was going to say over again and again and again and repeatedly.

I don’t know the exact date of the Super Bowl. Just that it’s about a couple of weeks. I know the Chicago Bears are going to be one team, because of the hype I got as soon as I opened one of my email servers.

I am sure everybody is going to get lots and lots of Emails saying Bears or ? you choose… or New Poll: Who will it be Bears or ?

There will be jockeying to find out what the commercials are going to be for the half-time show, there will be much breathless wide-eyed awe and stories about what the commercials and so much (ok, I lied, there are more than one “dirty” word in this) all kinds of who-seriously-gives-a-fat-rat’s-ass-about-it bullshit, to lead us up to the Big Game.

A lot of the commercials are going to be for beer. And other drugs, especially alcoholic drugs.

You know the ones, they say at the end of it “(name of brewer/distiller) urges you to DRINK (notice they put this word last) responsibly”.

It is dope dealing at its finest. The crack house and the opium den and the weed corner are blown away (sick dope reference) by this magnum opus of Purveyance of Demon Rum.

And it is on a Sunday, a Pagan holy day, co-opted by Christianity, for worship of our respective God or gods. Pastors in Churches across the land are going to schedule their services, especially the evening services, around this latter-day Circus Maximus. And their morning services too, because the worshipers are going to have to rush to the store after services so they can score their dope and munchies for the BIGGGGG DEALLLLL…….

So I got the Super Bowl part embedded in our consciousness, right?

Now to the Republican Morality part, for a quick tease, then to Janet Jackson and the Infamous Titty Incident, then back to a slightly longer rant on Republican “Morality”.

The owners of the NFL teams, virtually all of them, are supporters of the Republican party. And the R’s pay it back in spades by supporting legislation that makes the PUBLIC TREASURY pay for the stadia, (yes, I spelled that last word right, I’m practicing my Latin, are you?) the security, the traffic control, and in-stadium dope I mean Beer Sales. That last because some stadia, like the ill-fated Cotton Bowl in Dallas, are in dry precincts. Which is the real reason the Cowboys don’t play in Dallas, for decades it has been in Irving, and next year it won’t be in Dallas County even.

The cities have to pay for the construction of the stadia out of bond money, and they are always told that it will boost the local economy.

Also here in Colorado, there was a guy running for Senator, you might recognize the name Pete COORS. And yes, he is heir to the beer fortune.

On to The Titty Incident.

Janet Jackson, during the half-time 3 years ago or was it 4, I lose count of things like football. Got her costume deliberately torn at the end of a song and exposed part of her (gasp! the HORROR!!) breast. Now, I didn’t get to see this. I don’t watch football. The homo-eroticism of 22 very large gentlemen throwing their bodies at each other doesn’t do it for me.

There was much scandal. Much public outcry. Much Breast Beating in the halls of Congress, (yeah, I know, that last joke was horrible but I had to get it off my chest) even the Commander in Chimp of the United States saying that he hadn’t watched the incident, but it was a lovely breast.

Ok so I might have taken a little liberty with that last statement, but I don’t keep abreast of the off the wall statements of Mr Bush, every time I try to watch one of his speeches my brain tries to escape by crawling out my left ear.

The Moral Outrage sweeping the country was amazing, especially in the R party.

Like Mr Coors.

 During the 04 super bowl, and I know I know, the Super Bowl calendar starts from S.B. I and S.B.II and so forth, with the not-very-subtle Roman numerals numbering system. Instead of A.D. or C.E., measured from the birth of Christ or the birth of Christianity, depending on your faith viewpoint. But I don’t worship the oblong ball. So it matters naught to me how the Hell many S.B. there were.

Mr Coors was OUTRAGED about this public impropriety. How dare they interrupt his half time show where he had a commercial or two over the years, with scantily clad women whose costumes showed a substantially higher percentage of overall Breast Acreage than Ms Jackson did, telling the poor saps watching that somehow they would have a shot at touching these breasts if they only buy his brand of Dope. For people who keep up with such things, these are the modern version of the Vestal Virgins performing their religious duty at the modern Circus Maximus, the Cheerleaders, who get paid a paltry amount for their Services on the field, but get much more opportunity working in commercials. Like for Mr Coors.

Since this was an Election Year, when all the Noble Laws about the Half Time show being lagged 4 seconds or so just to protect America from such an awful sight ever again….

And the Republican NFL team owners who pimp out these Vestal Virgins as part of their Circus, were also outraged, that Ms Jackson would Dare To Expose America to a sight of substantially less breast-age than their own cheerleaders and even most of the Female fans and even some of the (ewwweewwww) male fans show during every game. I mean, one team has its fans wear cheese on their heads, and paint their naked upper torsi green and yellow, and show over and over again one in particular a set of udders that would make a topless dancer envious (or nauseous) and who happens to be a guy (I think)

So this year we will be (or you will be, I plan to be out riding my bicycle, while the streets are practically deserted for four or five hours) watching a heavily subsidized, heavily censored, erotic commercial enterprise, knowing that the GOP Big Brother apparatus will be protecting us from such unseemly behaviour ever again occurring.

Joe Lieberman and Jesse James

One of my favorite poems by Richard Brautigan ends thus

“My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James
for all the time they stole from me.”

 
I feel the same way about people who exert their authority to bore or obstruct.

Brautigan’s sentiment reflects I think not just the severity of the crime of boring a child, but also the crime of using a position of authority to subject a child to your boring ass, made worse by behaving self-righteously about it.

The association to Jesse James is not as merely to a thief, but to a capital criminal, having stolen youth, deserving to meet death by hanging, or any looming ignoble death, hastily arranged by unanimous consent.

Boring teachers are the least of it. I believe we could find universal condemnation of any bureaucrat who stands in the way of disclosure which would serve the public good, we’ve passed laws to punish not just bureaucrats who would impede justice.

Petty officials, loathsome hypocritical pedophiles -now we know it’s not just hyperbole, steely-eyed patronizing prigs. Such are men like Joe Lieberman. Today’s news is that Diebold does not deny the rumors of Lieberman’s likely win in November. Alarm bells are going off because Lieberman has been promised the chairmanship of two key subcommittees, both of which laymen Democrats had been thinking would be used to bring the Bush GOP to accounts. What would Harry Reid be doing in giving Lieberman those seats? Aren’t the Democrats running on the promise of setting matters straight? It’s said that Reid fears Lieberman would otherwise defect to the dark side. What part of Lieberman’s voting record offers us any representation otherwise?

Our Senator Salazar has been campaigning for Lieberbush, even though Lieberman was forced by his loss in the primaries to run as an independent. Party loyalty is one thing, but it’s not about political parties is it? Don’t tell grassroots party members they mustn’t discredit the party platform with extremism, yet at the same time reach to support an extreme right Democrat who’s finally thrown off his cloak in order to stay on the ticket. Lieberman needs to be kicked out of the party is what needs to happen.

When you just as easily eschew party affiliation to lobby for the opposition, because the candidate is an incumbent, you are lobbying for the status quo. No one is sent up to Washington on the opposition party ticket to fight for things as they are. What a mess. And the Democrats are riding what high horse? The high horse Bush rode in on?

Government surveillance

Last night I was, as I’m sure many of you were, privileged to watch an ABC docudrama about 9/11. We were invited by the ACLU to ponder how we should we respond to such an attack on our precious soil. Let’s look in a mirror..let us be reminded of who we are as a nation. Yes, let’s! Who are we as a nation? Are we all in agreement here? Were Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson on the same page ‘lo those many years ago? Most definitely not!

Jefferson, radical that he was, believed in personal autonomy. He advocated a decentralized government with the majority of power and authority residing with the states and, ultimately, with the individual. Jefferson was fearful of tyranny and was a proponent of personal freedom. Hamilton, on the other hand, favored a strong central government…one that acted in accordance with the interests of the “people” and needed the full faith and support of the American public to thrive. He said that a vast body of powers were to be implied and authorized Congress to “make all laws that shall be necessary and proper” to carry out powers specifically granted…like “national security.”
 
Can you guess who prevailed? It’s obvious that we live in a Hamiltonian society, rife with rhetoric and hyperbole, where the government “protects” us and is willing and able to trample individual freedoms on a daily basis. Why? Because they can! Because we let them! We’ve asked them to!   Jefferson and Hamilton duel

The frat boys in Washington are drawing upon Hamiltonian principles in the wake of the attacks of 9/11…they watch us, they engage in racial and political profiling…they imprison American citizens without due process…they make new laws every day that restrict our civil liberties. Why? Because they are fighting the “war on terror” and what they are doing is, of course, both necessary and proper.

Well, thank you very little. Don’t forget that every new law designed to “protect” us, every new rule enacted by our chums in D.C., comes with a price…our personal freedom. Are we safer now? I don’t feel it at all.

Mel Gibson in vino veritas

Was Mel Gibson speaking his mind when he was pulled over for drunk driving? No doubt he was. In Vino Veritas. It wouldn’t be in Latin if it weren’t true. Discounting some of the vociferous hyperbole owed to his drunken ego, were Gibson’s comments anti-Semitic? How low is the bar for what is anti-Semitic? Gibson didn’t say he hated Jews.

Gibson’s Passion Spiel was held to be anti-Semitic because it portrayed the Jews as responsible for Jesus’ death. Who did kill Christ, if it even matters? Who betrayed him, who complained about him to the Romans, who passed up their chance to have him freed? Is it a matter of biblical interpretation? Whose? Is it anti-Semitic to bring it up because the subject is still too inflammatory after 2000 years? It’s water under the bridge, it’s not water evaporated to nowhere.

I think Gibson’s alcoholic state released sentiments a lot of us are feeling as we watch Israel unleash wave after wave of bombs upon captive Lebanese masses, while our media fiddles.

Polite people are cautioning everywhere, a Jew is not the same as a Zionist. Specifically, ordinary Jews should not be blamed for Israel’s inhumanity.

Well… why are all the Jews on television speaking in support of Israel? Why are newspapers focusing on the dozen Israeli victims and not the hundreds of Palestinians and Lebanese?

A Jew who does not repudiate Israel, is as guilty as a Zionist. He may not be a Zionist, but wouldn’t he equal a Zionist?

2. Media
How about, just for the immediate time-being, and I know this might sound anti-Jewish, while Israel is killing UN observers and refugees, while Israel is breaking humanitarian laws and refusing to consider a cease-fire, how about we stop asking Jewish pundits on television to explain both sides of the conflict? How about we disqualify all Jewish Center For Peace spokesmen if they are going to persistently proclaim Israel’s moral authority?

You wouldn’t ask a Dixicrat to officiate an NBA game.

Do we need Jewish American think-tank/lobbying-groups weighing in on Israel’s right to commit mass war crimes in Lebanon? Everywhere you look, all the experts/supporters are Jewish or US senators. What is up with that?

Kofi Annan makes an emergency outcry about Israel deliberately targetting a UN peacekeeping observation post, and Jewish pundits question his report.

They reply: “Of course Israel would not do that. How absurd. Why would Israel do that?” But the media talking heads do not take them up on this question:

“Why indeed?”
 
How about: because the observation post might have witnessed Israel doing something too dastardly for words. More dastardly than targeting refugees or ambulances or hospitals or civilian residences or what else.
 
The Arab-Israeli conflict has already seen civilian massacres perpetrated by Israel accompanied by the bombing of the U.N. forces meant to protect those civilians. Qana was the site of a civilian cum U.N. massacre before it was yesterday’s massacre.
 
How indeed did Kofi Annan know the attacks on the U.N. observers were deliberate? Because the Israeli forces kept firing, even as further U.N. troops attempted to rescue the victims.
  Ambulance given Israeli treatment

 
ADDENDUM 8.03
Today Mel Gibson’s outburst and subsequent apology is being co-opted by the Jewish Lobby. With the tide of American public opinion rising against the Zionist drives to exterminate their Arab neighbors, Mel Gibson was giving voice to popular sentiment.

When Gibson immediately espressed his remorse for what he’d said, and asked for forgiveness, prominent Jewish spokesmen stepped in to offer that forgiveness. Even President Bush echoed their response.

Thus all of us who may have doubted Israel are forgiven and invited back into the fold. The error was not Israel’s bombing of a four-story building full of children in Qana, the error was our doubting the righteousness of Israel defending its own.

The Colorado Springs 2005 bid committe

The Colorado Springs 2005 hosting bid to host the upcoming U.S. war crimes trials has been officially accepted by INTERNATIONAL WAR CRIME TRIALS .US! We now approach phase II. We must continue to raise awareness for the trials and widen the circle of Colorado Springs citizens who support the calls for reconcilliation to international law.

1.
How can we bring the International War Crimes Trials to Colorado Springs? The advent of hosting war crime trials will be a reality if John Kerry wins the US elections in November 2004.

Kerry has already expressed his intention to make the United States a signatory to the International Criminal Court, at which point the indictments can begin.
President Bush has stated that his objections to ratifying the ICC were to protect American soldiers from facing charges in international courts. But this reason is disingeneous because the prosecution of common soldiers is not the purpose of the ICC.
It is not the intent of the ICC to prosecute regular crimes of war in those cases which already fall under the jurisdiction of military tribunals or domestic courts. As we can see from the ABU GHRAIB cases, the US government has every intention to prosecute the common soldiers it holds responsible for those abuses.

The unique capability of the International Criminal Court is to indict heads of state and otherwise unassailable diplomats, functionaries, administrators and conspirators.
Preparations have already begun with the IWCT to document the charges, gather the evidence, and prepare the briefs. Efforts are well underway in Japan, Greece, Turkey and Belgium to organize the extra-judicial tribunals to supplement the ICC staffs.

Colorado Springs must act as early as possible to offer our city as a potential US host to the trials!

2.
The first objective of the COS2005 bid project is to make the concept of international law more tangible in American minds. Today when someone hears a protester denounce President Bush as a war criminal, it sounds like so much rhetoric.

But the charge is more than an opinion or an academic argument. The war of aggression which the U. S. pursued against Iraq is a war crime by any number of international laws. As a result there is an inevitable legal action coming against the U. S. for waging an illegal war. International law is not hyperbole.
Criticisms between presidential candidates might be political, but charges of war crimes are out of everyone’s hands. No one is exempt from prosecution for war crimes, and there are no statutes of limitation.

The concept of impending war crime trials thus become an election issue. Can we consider re-electing leaders who are guilty of war crimes, chiefly, the war crime of “crimes against the peace?”
An American voter might hesitate to endorse someone who they can imagine will go down in history as having been the bad guy in the black hat. We believe most people aspire to be law-abiding god-fearing citizens, of America, and of the world community as well.

Reprinted from ColoradoSprings2005.com