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Best Presidental Quote EVER

Better than Nixon saying (as Vice President) "you won't have Dick Nixon around anymore" Of course he lied. Later he said "I am not a crook!" Again, he perjured. Trump was very succinct. To the point. "I'm fucked" ... actually, he's sodomized with a shovel, sideways so it would hurt more.

Happy ThanksNowFuckOffAndDieGiving

THANKSGIVING would seem to commemorate misplaced thanks. Our thanks are not for the bounty of the New World, or for receiving aid from the indigenous peoples, or for being bequeathed stewardship over their gardens and farms, or God forbid for their joining us for supper. American white folk give thanks that the North American indigenous resistance quite unwisely didn't massacre our settlers to the last man and refute at least symbolically the European invasion of their continent. How many acts of turning the other cheek have been rewarded with a victor's treachery? It's become fashionable among environmentalists to think of mankind as a parasitic scourge soon to overrun the Earth its host, but that's only Western Man isn't it? Indigenous anarchist man has led a sustainable existence for longer than we celebrate our HAPPY history.

Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day

The big day is upon us, the Black Friday meme is in full force, doorbuster deals are pitched to begin as early as 4am. Everyone wants to catch the early worm shopper, and NMT is no exception. We call your "growing excitement" and raise you one BUY NOTHING DAY. Consume nothing, except comestibles, go nowhere except by self-locomotion, and reclaim your pre-industrialized sustainable nature. That's to attack the consumer culture addiction from the abuser's side. Stop buying what you don't need. This BND, Adbusters is going after the problem from the supply side by declaring a General Wildcat Strike, because how are we to arrest the consumer culture juggernaut without calling on the workers at the cogs? But it's asking a lot of a social class who can afford it least. Many of us already aren't scheduled to work on the day after Thanksgiving. I'm not going to work, probably neither are you. But if you're a retail clerk, unprotected by unions and armed with neither sick days nor savings, you can hardly risk giving your boss the finger on the day he's expecting to earn a bonus. Taking down the marketing megalith is going to involve enlisting the working class, but not for one day. They're already to be the front line casualties of any successful attack on consumerism. But you on the couch: turn off, tune out, drop down and show us some effort.

We give thanks for what we take

"THANKSTAKING" From Shubel Morgan, via our friends at RAIM (Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Movement), it's a double-take on Norman Rockwell Americana infused with color correction.

I knew Black Friday, and You Sir, are no Black Friday

If this year's "Black Friday" fails to pull retailers out of their red ink, should the dubious protologism retire its presumption to speak for consumer confidence? I think it should. Wasn't it really just an economist's "for the Gipper" meme --putting the solvency of the market on the shoulders of Christmas shoppers, rallying them to pull the economy into the black, regardless if it meant spending themselves into the red? I hate it when emotion-charged phrases are usurped by pretenders. Hiroshima was "Ground Zero" before the WTC, the "Homeland" was Nazi Germany, and "Black Friday" was Robinson Crusoe's, well, Man Friday. "Black Friday" in general has represented whichever awful event befell that day of the week of recent memory. It may be a wonderful anti-racism step to appoint a rare positive attribution to the word "black," but I object to its use here to exacerbate affluenza, targeted against the best efforts of sustainability educators to reframe the day-after-Thanksgiving as Buy Nothing Day. If you are a booster for consumerism, black is an accounting concept meaning profitability. But how disingenuous to expect that those outside the balance sheet should share the enthusiasm. For example, it's not everyone's Good Friday just because Notre Dame wins that day. Good Friday, by the way, is also called Black Friday, as is any Friday that falls on the 13th. Below I will list history's Black Fridays, lest nocturnal Wikipedia cobbler elves continue their PR visits to bolster the retailer claim to the term. According to "Wikipedia" the earliest citation for a shopper's "Black Friday" is 1966. But in actuality, the expression came from Philadelphia bus drivers and policemen referring to the traffic congestion created at their city center on the busiest shopping day of the year. But Philadelphia retailers objected to the negative connotation. Perhaps as a result, the "black ink" angle surfaces, attributed to a store clerk, offering a more upbeat, chamber-of-commerce-friendly spin. Hmm. Many people think Black Friday recalls the Stock Market Crash of 1929. It does, and they're right to be confused about which day of the week it was in particular, because the first day of the crash became known as Black Thursday, followed by Black Friday, then the next trading days, Black Monday and Black Tuesday. What other occasions in man's history have warranted the dark coloration? Let's begin with Black Sabbath: Black Saturdays Sept 10, 1547, disaster for Scottish defenders at Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, Scotland Aug 6, 1621, Mass hysteria caused by dark stormy night confirming Armageddon arrived with Episcopacy, Scotland Dec 28, 1929, Massacre of Mau demonstrators by NZ police, Samoa June 13, 1942, Disastrous UK Battle of Gazala against German Afrika Korps June 29, 1946, UK Operation Agatha against Zionist terrorists in Palestine Oct 8, 1962, height of A-bomb scare, Cuban Missile Crisis Dec 6, 1975, Beirut massacres which started Lebanese Civil War, Lebanon July 31, 1982, worst road accident in French history, (on annual "Black Saturday" when entire of population takes to the road for vacation) July 14, 1984, Honk Kong exchange rates fall to all time low Aug 20,

Tis the season once more….

for the Talk Radio Hate Speech about a "war on Christmas." I don't actually think they're stupid, mind you, they know full well that they're lying... and omitting a HUGE amount of data. So, to fact check them ONCE MORE... The Founding Fathers never instituted either Christmas or Thanksgiving as national holidays. Nor did the Pilgrims. Nor the Puritans. Abraham Lincoln did recognize both, but with the emphasis on Thanksgiving. Some of Lincolns closest friends and advisers were rabid anti-Catholics. King James First was crowned king because he was, at least in name, a Protestant. King James invited the Puritans and the Pilgrims, not very courteously, to get out of England. Because they said he was too Catholic. Their major sticking point was Christmas. He was for it. They were against it. The Hate Radio people insist that we're supposed to rule America and just by consequential extension, the entire world, by the several bickering groups of Late Medieval Feudal Warlords who were killing each other and a whole bunch of civilians in Europe at the time, and had just begun to tear up America, over different interpretations of the Christian faith. As usual in these Battles of (nit)Wits, the primary victims were Other Christians. Because in England at the time there were few openly Non-Christians to be had. Jews maybe. Jews who were burned at the stake, hanged, tortured etc etc right along with people suspected of Witchcraft. Or Christian Blasphemy. Which brings it to the central theme of the Hate Speech Radio Talkmongers. Why, you might ask, did the "founding fathers" NOT establish a natoinal religion? Well, I might answer, the slaughter of Christians by Christians was fresh in their memories. Washington had participated in an extremely bloody extension of an ongoing European "holy" war between Catholics and Protestants. In America the casualty count was comparatively low, mostly because the White Population was relatively low. Which brings up that ugly business of the Founding Fathers being Anti-American, as in, anti-Indian. In the mad rush to cast the Puritans especially but also the Pilgrims as Pure Saints who get to make our daily decisions and run our Government from Beyond The Grave, they have to omit details. Lots of Details. The scene replayed in countless Thanksgiving pageants of Racial Harmony between English Invaders and Americans has many dark corners that the Haters don't want to illuminate. It complicates the simplicity of their "war on christmas" ranting. And if they encouraged their listeners to actually think it would be bad for their bottom line. For instance many Puritans wrestled with the question of Where Did The Indians Originate? Because we're not mentioned in Genesis. Some, like the witch-hunter Cotten Mather,often quoted by the Hate-mongers on Fox News and Clear Channel as being a "Founding Father" whose original intent is Holy and Beyond Question, not only hated Christmas but also many of the toys which are now given for Christmas, meaning Dolls, were declared by him an his contemporaries as being Agents of the Devil. And that Indians have no souls, since we're not

Buy Nothing Day 2009 now Wildcat Strike

Do you recognize the cat at right? It might be a child's zoo animal rubber stamp if it didn't look so angry. This is a stencil that dates to the Wobblies, when working men were angry. When labor organizers had to fend off union busters and Pinkerton goons, actions had to be called in defiance of the bad contracts and entrenched company-union bosses. Something for UFCW Local 7 to think about. The hasty stencils painted on factory walls announced: Wildcat Strike! Adbusters resurrects the wild cat for the 2009 Buy Nothing Day, whose impact might be better felt as a GENERAL STRIKE. Buy nothing, drive nowhere, turn out the lights, turn of the electronics, go for a walk, and do not go to work. For one day. The day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving by the way goes off the calendar too. Find something else for which to be thankful besides feasting at the expense of the Native Americans, themselves starved, infected, and driven from their land. Someone someday will be able to mobilize a real general strike. Until then, what can we lose by trying? Do it. This is the splash page which Adbusters recommends for websites planning to blackout.

mixed signals on gluttony

This morning on childrens programming time (Used to be Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny, Bullwinkle etc) there was a PSA spot about eating, the big part of it being Portion Control. And the AFA sports teams "I Am Team" against hunger, nobody should go hungry on Thanksgiving etc... And earlier, a commercial for pans for baking Giant Cupcakes. Excusez-vous, but a giant cupcake used to be simply called a "cake". Teach the kiddoes that small portions are somehow not cool. Why not? McDonalds and KFC and Carl's Jr and all of them say the same thing, go ahead, kids, pig out. Stuff yourselves silly. Earlier this year, the UN and others announced a disturbing milestone. 1,000,000,000 people, a BILLION...don't get enough calories to sustain their health. They're slowly starving. Many ok I'll say it straight MOST in nations that provide the US us with luxury farm products. It's more than just the rain forests of central and south America being subjugated and stripped to provide banana-republic staples like, say, bananas... coffee. Beef for the low-paid slave laborers at Micky Dee's and the rest to burn most of the bacteria off of, coffee and tea, of course... chocolate. Stuff that doesn't quite grow as well in the middle of North America. Gum Arabic in the Sudan, coffee from Ethiopia gracing our Gourmet Coffee Mills... Ethiopia has requested emergency food aid just this week. Meanwhile one of the more popular TV shows now playing is "The Biggest Loser". See, it's not merely that the people in the poorest countries are starving to feed us. There's also the constant warfare mostly being fought for the benefit of the very richest people in the world. Incidentally, the vast majority of Americans make less than the "Average" income. It's a mathematical inevitability when a tiny percentage, estimated at 5% of the population (by Left Wing Radicals of course) to a whopping great 9% estimated by the Right Wing Radicals of the population control over 90% of the wealth. That's by the "conservative" numbers. That would automatically work out to 90% of the population below the average. And that's just in America. Places like Ethiopia and Guatemala it's worse. Guatemala where they pay kids $4 a day to break rocks into gravel. That's a 12 hour a day job. (in the tropics there's very little seasonal variance in the length of day/night) so the kids don't go to school. Not the poor kids anyway. Cuba and Venezuela provide their health care, because the sorry-ass Corporate Governments owned entirely by American companies ain't gonna do no damn "entitlement" programs. Them poor folks have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, just the same way the Corporate BiggPiggs pulled themselves up by the poor folks' bootstraps. Public Education? Why, so they could gain enough knowledge to realize they're being exploited, and maybe that they can throw off the chains their Overlords placed upon them? They don't need to know how to read and write in order to pick bananas and coffee and bust rocks into gravel at

No. 1 domestic terrorist Daniel McGowan

The Huffington Post published a letter by ELF/ALF political prisoner Daniel McGowan, who is allowed to send one letter per week from CMU36, the controversial "Communication Management Unit" whose cover-name is USP Marion. According to McGowan, prison guards call it the "I Unit," which probably does not stand for illegal. As of May 2009, I have been at USP Marion's "Communication Management Unit," or CMU, for roughly nine months and now is a good time to address the misconceptions (and the silence) regarding this unit. I want to offer a snapshot of my day-to-day life here as well as some analysis of what the existence of CMUs in the federal prison system implies. It is my hope that this article will partially fill the void of information that exists concerning the CMU, will help dispel rumors, and will inspire you to support those of us on the inside fighting the existence of these isolation units -- in the courts and in the realm of public opinion. It is best to start from the beginning -- or at least where my story and the CMU meet. My transfer here is no different from that of many of the men here who were living at Federal Correctional Institutions (normal prisons) prior to the genesis of the CMUs. On May 12, 2008, on my way back from a decent lunch, I was told to report to "R&D" (receiving and discharge). I was given two boxes and half an hour to pack up my meager possessions. After complying I was placed in the SHU (secure housing unit or "hole") and put on a bus the next day. There was no hearing and no information given to me or my attorneys -- only after a day was I told I was on my way to Marion, Illinois' CMU. Hearing the term "CMU" made my knees buckle as it drummed up some memory I had of the infamous "control units" at Marion (closed in 1995 and replaced by Florence ADX: the lone Federal "Supermax" prison). Then it hit me. The lawyers, in challenging the application of the terrorist enhancement in my case, made the prescient argument that if I receive the enhancement, the Bureau of Prisons (BoP) would use that to place me in the CMU at FCI Terre Haute, Indiana (at the time just 5 months old). In fact, on the way to FCI Sandstone in August 2007, I not only saw the CMU but met one of its residents while in transit. Let me back up and offer a brief history of the Communication Management Units. The CMU I reside in, at USP Marion, received its first prisoner in May 2008 and when I arrived, held about 17 men, the majority of whom were Muslim. Currently, the unit has 25, with a capacity of 52 cells. In April 2009, we received seven new people, all of whom were from the CMU at FCI Terre Haute. The unit is overwhelmingly Muslim with 18 men identifying as such.

White Flight from football to assault rifle

Ryan dons the rest of his gear in the car. Pads, armor, helmet, even mouth guard. I adjust the rearview mirror downward until I see his small frame in the backseat. We're only halfway to practice and he's already biting down, breathing through his nose, focused straight ahead. It's the same routine for football, except today he's got a lacrosse stick across his knees. In his grip, I should say. When we pull the car to the edge of the parking lot, he jumps and literally hits the ground running. From my height he gives me the sense I'm a helicopter pilot who's dropped soldier reinforcements to join the team on the pitch. There's a steep hillock between Ryan and the field, but his charge never slows, he ascends like a Cavalry of One, his stick brandished like an assault rifle. Would an M16 be held any different? The difference between football and lacrosse is that your little assault squad is armed. In 1763 a band of Chippewa Indians seized Fort Michilimackinac by feigning a game of baggataway, the Native American origin of lacrosse. The Indians pretended that an over-spirited drive led players over the fortifications and within minutes they'd stormed the ramparts. In a spirit of honoring American Indian tradition, like the harvest celebration of Thanksgiving, American dads are pushing a new sport unto the youth athletic season. Because the first early adopters where also the first white men to hit the New World, the sport now has a Mayflower WASP identity too. Lacrosse has an exotic appeal in spite of its New England tradition. It's sort of field hockey gone aerial, full court jai alai with armor, East Coast blue blood rooted with the authentic red bloods, the original old money land owners. Is that what's behind the lacrosse resurgence? As Ryan's team wrapped up the other day, they passed baseball diamonds and could not hold back from chanting "lacrosse, lacrosse" toward the children playing baseball, as if to instigate a cross-sport rivalry. Lacrosse teams are still relatively scarce. On weekends they have to cross neighboring metropolitan regions to play each other. How many sports programs do you need to round out your kids? Boys have baseball, football and basketball, among the big team sports. Neither of which are the biggest sports internationally. Soccer and handball. Curiously both those require little equipment. They are perfect for the Third World, but imperfect for consumer cultures which have wheels of commerce to drive, especially in recreational pursuits. Which could explain why Lacrosse teams have to traverse great distances to encounter adversaries. The usual cross town rivals can't pony up the money for this game. Lacrosse is White Flight from football. Most schools have barely enough money to keep their athletes in football gear, let alone a completely redundant lacrosse kit. And so the only kids playing lacrosse are from families who can afford the hundreds extra for the specialized equipment. Added bonus, there are no players bringing a black athletic advantage to the game. Like the

Hot Dog!

The swearing in of the White House Dog is upon us, as the ever vigilant American press reports that Obama's dog may debut Tuesday! Unfortunately the President has decided to pick a Portuguese water dog simply because it has a cute and 'IN' brand name. My entire family is certainly deeply depressed about this as we had expected that our very own Colorado Peace Dog, Dirty Harriet, would have made a much better pick, and WOULD HAVE BEEN PICKED, if Dennis Kucinich had only become President instead of the fake imitation liberal the DNC gave us on the sly. A peace dog was considered way too radical by Joe Biden to ever be allowed into the White House, so Dirty Harriet never got interviewed for the post. At least, let us hope that the new dog is not executed like Hillary eventually did with Socks, the Cat. Though, before Socks died he did get much better medical care than Americans ever did out of the Clinton family. Unfortunately, Socks was no longer able to deliver the proper image for Hillary and so 'had to be put to sleep', as the expression goes. He was shedded, in other words. We have no report yet about whether the Obama family will be getting any official aquarium fish, mice, gerbils, or hamsters? So we must sill wait with baited breath for any sign that other animals will be anointed by Barack, or not? PETA officials say it is way too early to tell still, and are encouraging the Royal Family to release all chickens, pigs, cows, and frogs as a gesture of goodwill as they consider the animal world and their position about wild and domestic life. If not, they are planning to throw a shoe full of animal blood at the President at the earliest possible opportunity, though the woman doing it will be extremely sexy. This also will be used as a test to find out if the policy on torture use has been changed any at all, or whether it has all been merely cosmetic words, by the now, not so New, Administration? Good luck, PETA. And good luck, Thanksgiving turkeys. (NO PETA member was used or harmed in the writing of this report) Please write and let us know how you feel about the selection of the Portuguese water dog for executive dog. A good pick? Or a bad one?

Bush, McCain still haven’t fulfilled their promise to the Troops

Two years ago Bush said, at a Thanksgiving dinner attended only by troops who were vetted to be loyal enough to not ask embarrassing questions (the other soldiers got to eat cold MREs for Thanksgiving) that "If only my wife and my Dawg support me, WE will stay in Iraq." Then got the HE part of WE smuggled out of Iraq within hours, the same way HE was smuggled in earlier. Leaving the rest of the WE part to clean up after his stupid coward ass. He repeated his False Bravado last summer in Afghanistan, saying he envied the Troops for their romantic and heroic mission but... Dog-gone it, he had a prior business commitment in Washing Tundy Sea that prevented him. I wish he'd left his poor ol' Dawg out of the equation, his Wife is dumb enough to stay with him, but that's her own stupid fault. So far la menage Bush is in Texas and still not making any moves eastward. Mr Bush, if you DO go, don't actually go on any missions. I have friends and relatives in what was formerly your publicly funded Private Corporate Army, and I would just hate to lose one or more of them because they had a Jackass like yourself backing them up. Leave that part to the REAL men, m'kay? Oh, that's right, you already do...oops, my bad... McCain echoed the same lying "Yeah, I'm behind you guys all the way" (as far behind them as he could possibly get) insincere sentiment this past year. Mr Bush, Mr McCain, you and your gold-digger wives can go there, you have your Corporate Dictatorship firmly in charge there... or so your propagandists tell us. One of them just today told us that YOU brought democracy and freedom to Iraq. Just, you know, leave that poor ol' Dawg here. Miz Laura and McCindy have a voice and can speak for themselves. Oh, and send back the plane and the pilot when you go. You won't be needing them, and WE did after all pay for them.

Walmart trampling is Black Friday PR

"BLACK FRIDAY" BREAKING NEWS- What do you make of the trampling of a Wal-mart worker by crazed bargain hunters at Long Island super center first thing on the day after Thanksgiving? Crazy shoppers, or beguilingly crazy bargains? Which most aroused your curiosity? Savage crowd behavior, that's nothing new. But maniacal consumer behavior in the mist of a darkening economic crisis --that's PR whitewash.

Mumbai ‘Jewish Center’ itself a center for promotion of Jewish terrorism and a few other thoughts

Just what sort of 'Jewish Center' in Mumbai, India was attacked this Wednesday night and into Thursday? In fact, this was the Chabad-Lubavitch center there, and not one of the many other Jewish centers in Mumbai. This group of sectarian Jews is Messianic and racist to the core, and is well connected historically to Kach, the Kahanes, and The Jewish Defense League, all of which were Jewish terrorist groupings and individuals. They are the core Right Wing group of the Jewish settlers that are stealing from and murdering Palestinians in their own lands. These Chabad-Lubavich racists have a long history of links to Jewish pro-terrorist activities in the New York City area, too, and have leading US political figures often times giving both covert and overt political support to them. Chabad Votes For Racist This article gives a glimpse of the role of Chabad-Lubavich in the rabid Israeli settler community, where they are leading advocates of Israeli expansionism at the expense of the native Arab population. Their historical roots are with Jewish terrorists like Baruch Goldstein, who gunned down in cold blood and killed and wounded over 150 Muslim worshippers inside an Islamic holy site some 14+ years ago. Yes, I know that little of this history is known by Americans, still the 'terrorism' is coming from all sides and the fact that the Hindu Indian government has increasingly promoted pogroms inside its own borders against Muslims (and Christians, too) should not go by unmentioned, and unnoticed. Neither should we be missing the connections to the US government's own acts of terrorism against the Muslim community worldwide. We are seeing 9/11 enacted all over again, but this time on Indian soil and in not so extensive and dramatic a manner as planes colliding into buildings. Yet, the reasons here are much the same as before though in the attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. The Mumbai Chabad-Lubavitch building was one of about 8 or 9 other targets chosen by this unknown group of people to terrorize. The other places, outside of the train station which might have been an accident when some of the armed men of the group were surprised, seemed to have mainly targeted the more elite, English speaking tourist and business class types (Mumbai being india's financial equivalent of Wall Street, New York) plus a Bollywood elite cinema, Bollywood (Mumbai/ Bombay) being home of the Indian equivalent of Hollywood. What might have been the over all motive? Sadly, the principal motive might have simply been to continue to create the panic of the type that the Bush Administration fought so hard to instill after 9/11 ....a panic that may ultimately be the factor that financially will sink The US Empire by self-bankrupt. The current Indian government has signed onto allying itself with this US Empire and the elites of India

Buffalo Bill Lives at Fort Cody Nebraska

FT CODY, NEBRASKA- On I-80 as you pass North Platte, sits the Fort Cody Trading Post, home of the Free Buffalo Bill Museum Emporium. What had been the Ogallala, Neb, Sioux Trading Post, moved in 1969 to follow the travelers rerouted from Hwy-30 to the new interstate, and changed its focus from the Native American to the Ugly American. Buffalo Bill Cody earned his moniker by eradicating America's buffalo herds. Over a million buffalo were killed each year during the 1870s. According to the museum, Mr. Cody labored to feed a sudden East Coast appetite for buffalo tongue, and a fad for buffalo fur coats. The display confessed: "Unfortunately the buffalo carcasses were left to rot on the plains." History books had been less forthcoming. They record that Cody was hired by the railroad builders to supply food for their workforce. He and his team were contracted to supply twelve buffalo a day. Does that come a little shy of a million? Accounts also wink at the risk Cody ran of coming against unfriendly Indians while engaged in the task. When BB Cody wasn't scouting for the railroad and the US cavalry, he was touring the world to exhibit the red skinned savage. Fort Cody featured a miniature 20,000 piece, hand-carved, animated model of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. On an opposite wall, among a fantastic collection of western guns, clothing and cowboy gear, was an undated tintype depicting Bill posing with fellow scouts, cradling his favorite rifle which he called "Lucretia Borgia." In recent years, government documents have revealed a different story. It turns out the white men leading the charge westward were frustrated that the Plains Indians had what looked like an unlimited food supply. The buffalo kept them clothed and fed, and the nomadic tribes followed the herds like their own moveable orchards. One of the strategies to force the Native Americans from their land was to eliminate their source of food, and basically their livelihood. Most Americans have been kept oblivious to this version of history. Should we doubt that most of the participants were keenly aware of the strategy, if perhaps indifferent to the fate of the red savage? Does it matter? Under the pretext of building a security wall in Palestine, Israel is separating the Palestinians from their olive orchards, often by uprooting the orchards outright. American troops in Iraq have destroyed date palm orchards using the excuse of having to clear the populated areas of cover for insurgents. In Vietnam, defoliants were used to despoil large areas, rendering them incapable of yielding food. Troops also poisoned wells. It's called the scorched earth policy, and by the way, it's a war crime. If Americans don't come to terms with the crimes we committed here, or are committing elsewhere, how can we expect our soldiers to find cause to refuse the orders next time? The public's consent is always being manipulated by having to hold a certain regard for the soldiers. Out of respect for the memory of its veterans, in

Where’s the independence on Independence Day?

The Fourth of July is celebrated as America's 'Independence Day' but where's the independence? Sure, you're free to get drunk, barbecue up some meat product on the grill, shoot fireworks off dangerously, and run your mouth about why one just supposedly has to vote for McCain or Obama, BUT... Yes, but where's the independence in Independence Day? If you have low expectations don't worry about it OK? But some of us do think about it some and we're still working on obtaining Independence for ourselves, our families, and our communities. There's really little to celebrate yet. Look, Independence Day was a flawed day from the very beginning, and just like our many other very flawed national holidays like 'Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, etc., it just lacks real substance big time. Can't you sense that? The Fourth of July is just a very shallow celebration, with the flag waving and all. Americans do not have independence. No, we have no more independence than a group of serfs under the King once did. We are merely blinder and more ignorant than the serfs were, it seems. We live in a top down authoritarian society, and our lives are ordered around to the most minuscule detail. The not so hidden hand of authoritarianism is everywhere, and it tells us how to think, and what to do. Many of the more daft of us don't see it much though. We're too busy earning the bread, shopping for bread, and shitting to notice how society is actually arranged. We don't quite know why so many of us are miserable? We see the guns, we see the orders, we see the lack of respect, but many of us just can't seem to figure anything out. So some go to church, some take dope, some just smoke their cigarettes. Some sell Mary Kay, some sell real estate, some sell Amway, or do Ebay. Some play the lottery, some play Bingo, some shoplift for their gambling instead. Indian Casino anybody? All this supposedly is a sign of liberty and independence, according to the pundits! Watch TV, play public radio on KRCC... you'll see what I am saying. They'll do their puff pieces about the Fourth. But seriously? Where's the independence on Independence Day? I don't see it. It's just not there.

Community should learn to welcome immigrants

Imagine my surprise today, to open up The Gazette and see the Metro section of the paper with a column by opinion writer Barry Noreen titled "Community should learn to welcome immigrants." I have read this paper for two years now and had not yet found any commentary by its opinion writers that I agreed with 100%. And here it was at last! Noreen spotlighted the efforts of Megumi Nakamura and others in the community to befriend immigrants coming into the US, rather than to persecute them. Reminds me kind of the All- American holiday Thanksgiving even, where American immigrants made an annual meal to thank those that were kind and gave them assistance. For Megumi, everyday should be Thanksgiving American style, rather than persecution American style with ICE, which is the new name La Migra has given to itself. One thing missing from the commentary though, was any thought that most immigrants are fleeing from countries that our own US government has Big Time helped mess up. Fact is, our own government is all over the world right now, messing up the lives of other peoples. It has been this way for decades now, too. So we should try to stop allowing government officials to do that so that maybe we would have less poor people entering our US Borders looking for a new life, for their families and their kids. And we should learn to welcome those that do enter meantime. Barry Noreen, thank you for being brave and bucking the Far Right trend over at The Gazette. It was a brave thing to have written the column the way you did. Thanks.

I had a blue Christmas without you

I felt more than a bit empty around Christmas this year. For the first time it seemed completely devoid of meaning. No one believes in God. No one believes in Santa. There's nothing particularly thrilling to give or get. There's just an obligation to pour money into the pockets of corporate pricks and fill our houses with crap none of us needs, or even really wants. I remember Christmas as magical. But, as I reflect on my childhood, the magic of the holiday was closely tied to religious ritual. Coming into church on a Sunday soon after Thanksgiving, back when Christmas lights didn't begin showing up by Halloween and could still be cause for celebration, we'd find the Advent wreath suspended from the rafters. Oh, yes! Christmas is coming! The three purple candles, a pink one for the third Sunday of Advent, a white candle for Christmas Eve. Each candle with its own story and symbolic meaning. The beautiful haunting Christmas carols. O Come O Come, Emmanuel was my favorite. It still gives me goosebumps. The nativity display. The Christmas story with its shepherds and wise men and camels and bright stars and inns and stables and mangers and gold, frankincense and myrrh. Oh my! I just loved it all. My poor darling children have none of this, thanks to me. I, like many of my generation, have largely rejected organized religion. Unfortunately, I now understand hypocrisy and oppression and believe that the church is guilty of all the sins it forbids. But what do we do about our spiritual longings? How do we find meaning and impart that meaning to our children who are daily bombarded with despicable messages from our commercialized world? For meaning surely does exist. I am at a loss when it comes to recreating Christmas magic without a little baby Jesus to help me. And I can't just pull him out of a box in the attic and blow the dust off of him so he can lay in his manger Christmas morning. My parents did this, and it was okay, because we knew all about him, every day of every year, so it didn't smack of phoniness like it does when I try to bring him into the Christmas mix. I have no answers. My children sense my sadness around Christmas, and they know it has something to do with religion. But it doesn't really. It has to do with meaning, significance, all things lofty and sublime. It has to do with my remembered feelings of joy and sheer awe at the birth of the Savior. It's the Christmas spirit that, without a miracle, my children will never know.

Pinheads in High Definition

I hadn't yet seen HDTV, or watched a football game in high definition I guess. Over Thanksgiving I had the chance, and got a closeup of the Sports Center-esque after-party where guys in chip covered Barca-loungers watch suits at a conference table lend a business air to their giddy analysis. What made this so different in Hi Def? Maybe you knew it already. Each of these dapper jock-industry everymen wears a flag pin! Pins with the American flag on them. I know there's a school of thought which urges us not to relinquish our patriotic symbols to the bastards making them look so horrifically bad. Might I ask hypothetically, when might we consider the symbol irretrievable? When you drop the lipstick into the toilet, public or private, I've learned from women, it's irrecoverable. You have to retrieve it, obviously if it's your toilet, but that's it for the lipstick. A flag is a symbol for what you stand for, by definition, a standard. When bad guys take it, do bad things with it, make it stand for THEIR ideals: rape, torture, theft, murder, mass murder, genocide, supremacy, imperialism, conquest, a new world order, wouldn't it be fair to retire what you thought the flag meant? It's theirs, leave it to them. This isn't just a little shit with which they've desecrated the flag, this is shit with which they've varnished the damned thing. This is karmic shit with which they've DAMNED the symbol of our higher ideals. Our higher ideals used to shove immorality into innocent throats until they thought they were suffocating or drowning and for good measure until they were dead. That is the symbol which each of those TV jocks wears on their lapels. Militant US supremacy.

Ghosts of Thanksgiving Past

I was obsessed with Bernadette Soubirous when I was a Catholic schoolgirl. You'll recall, or perhaps you won't, that the Mother of God appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes in 1858. Or so Bernadette claimed. Filled with unbelief and not wishing to delude the gullible faithful, the church hierarchy convened a Council of Enquiry to check out Bern's story. Oh how the Bishop wrestled with his monumental burden! "But if Bernadette does not want to deceive, was she not deceived herself? How could she believe to see and hear what she did not see and hear? Was she not the victim of hallucinations? How could we believe her? The wisdom of her answers reveals in this child a spirit of goodness, a quiet imagination, good sense beyond her years. Religious feelings never showed in her a spirit of exhalation; nobody could prove in the young girl neither intellectual disorder, nor change of mind nor unusual personality nor morbid feelings which would allow her to give way to a creative imagination." The Bishop of Tarbus, after only four years' deliberation, decided that Bernadette was worthy and the people were given permission to believe her. The divine presence revealed, because of the moral purity of one young girl. Hmmmmm. Upon hearing this story as a ten-year-old I determined to be the next Bernadette. I was certain I could be as holy and pious as she was. I secreted myself in my room at night and quietly recited the rosary, lingering over the Hail Marys. Surely the Blessed Virgin would take notice of my glow-in-the-dark rosary beads and appear to me as I lay in my little bed. I worried about my response. Should I feign surprise? Perhaps a sense of peaceful recognition? What if she expected tears of joy? Would I be able to produce them without delay? What if she appeared and my acting was deemed inferior? What would happen to poor Mary? I enrolled in a Creative Dramatics class to ensure my success. Despite years of piety, countless novenas (guaranteed to work! follow instructions exactly or no money back!), mental sojourns along the Via Dolorosa, Easter vigils, midnight masses, prayer flags, candles, medals--still no Mary. After learning that Marie was synonymous with Mary in the eyes of linguists everywhere, my final act of radical devotion saw me refuse to take a confirmation name. There could be no saint that I hoped to emulate more than the Mother of God. Mary, are you listening? I finally gave up hope the summer after my sophomore year. I burned my uniforms and transferred to a public school. I decided that if Mary was too good for me, I'd find another other-worldly persona that liked my obviously flawed self. Who could be bad enough for me? Perhaps Satan? After a short stint as a bad girl I found Jesus and stopped grieving my fractured relationship with Mary.

Commerce takes Visa or anti-Visa

I love this commercial. Life Takes Visa. Life --or here its commerce equivalent-- is a well choreographed bakery, a happy flow of patrons interrupted only by a hapless customer who bottlenecks the process by presuming to pay with cash. The scenario presages acceptance of the viewer/consumer's role as willing cog, but it offers an important economics truism to those who would aspire to monkey-wrench such a dehumanized construct. What does it take to disrupt a well oiled machine? A trifle. Ever wonder what would happen if a store's customers all decided to shop the same day? We see it the day after Thanksgiving, but otherwise most of us distribute ourselves evenly across the calendar. It's the market's invisible hand and retail business models are fashioned accordingly. What happens when someone organizes a boycott, or otherwise interferes with the statistical flow? We can see it in this ad: Chaos and collapse. A boycott doesn't have to convince a majority of consumers to curb their spending, it need only reach a number critical to upset the applecart. As management practices streamline labor efficiencies, even a small interruption in demand can wreak a disproportion of havoc. It will not be for lack of a credit card (though certainly for lack of consumer credit!), but fliers or a picket line, can effect the balance sheet, most of all because the potential liabilities they pose cannot be predicted, and margins of profit cannot then be insured. The demise of your worst nightmare of a blood-sucking capitalist is but a garlic-breath away. You may be kept to feel by the corporate media that you are powerless to contravene, but here's an ad they are too cynical to have censored. YOU can bring their machinations to a cathartic stop.

Same bait, same switch

Well looky who's used the protect the border bait and switch before! Ninety years ago, same illegal immigration scare, same perp.   I happened across some posters used to recruit soldiers during WWI. Here they raise the Mexico bugaboo to ease worries that enlistment into the military would automatically mean duty in the trenches. "No More Men Are Needed" at the western front. Oh really?! It reminds me of something Air Force recruiters were telling Colorado College students on Thanksgiving 2005. US troops would be out of Iraq by Christmas. Potential enlistees need not fear being sent to Iraq because America was already pulling out. Public opinion had already forced their hand, they said, and we were pulling out.

Algonquin, Iroquois, Hmong, Montagnard, Pashtun, Kosovars, Bosnian Muslims, Kurds, Timorese

What a tragic list. The list is actually much, much larger than the one I put here as the title of this thread, but the unifying theme is a simple one. It is a list of smaller national groupings that have cooperated in some way with major imperialist powers, usually with tragic results to themselves. It is a list of smaller cultural, racial, national groupings that have gotten historically used and buffeted by much larger powers, that themselves were acting in their own perceived interests within much larger world conflicts. An interesting and poorly taught history, is the history of the conflicts between the Algonquin vs the Iroquois, French vs the British, then enter the Americans, too with their own internal conflicts. Much easier to teach are the fables of Pocahontas and that of 'Thanksgiving'. How much brutal warfare for the Algonquin and the Iroquois as they tried to side with one group of Europeans against the other. Their efforts to survive were only minimally successful. Then are the stories of the Hmong and Montagnards, who cooperated in one degree or another with the French and the US in their imperial efforts to dominate SE Asia. They did so in rebellion against their own domination within their regional societies by the more numerous Vietnamese, Lao, and Khmer peoples. But as a result, they became soon 'strangers in their own land', so to speak. Many ended up in far away exiles in the US and elsewhere. And look what has befallen the Pashtun, used by the US and the US allied Arab dictatorships to battle against the exSoviet Union which backed different Norht Afghan groupings of other national backgrounds. Much more complicated than just blaming it on the Taliban or 'Muslim extremism', as the idiot US Right Wing does so. The Kosovars remain with 60% unemployment years after Clinton/ Gore's war. What have they gotten by cooperating with US imperial interests against their neighbors, the Serbs? Little, it seems. Would 'independence' bring any better? It is doubtful, since Serbia is unlikely to easily forget such an evil alliance between Albanian and American. And the Bosnian Muslim? He faces a backing that now is in a religious war against the very same religion backed just yesterday. The Kurds? They had certainly legitimate reason to rebel against Saddam Hussein and the his Arab Sunni grouping. But now they are linked irremediably to the CIA and Pentagon, even as those same sinister forces back Kurd oppression next door in Turkey. Iraqi Kurdistan is now the better off section of Iraq, yet what a dangerous situation for the Kurdish people long term. And the Timorese? Half of Timor remains part of Indonesia, and the other half is now an impotent pseudo state, dependent on the UN, Australia, and the US for its

Comparing the death tolls

In the aftermath of bombings and indiscriminate attacks in Iraq which reached record numbers on Thanksgiving, I read that the combined Iraqi civilian casualties raised the Baghdad death toll to 202. For the day. For Baghdad. The count starts anew each day.   Meanwhile the US soldier death toll is 50 and climbing, for the month. For all of Iraq. Why the differing units of measure? Why not consider weekly totals for both Americans and Iraqis, to facillitate comparison? I know something's wrong on the grocery shelf when the price of some items is given per ounce, while a similar commodity is described per pound. Somebody doesn't want the price comparison weighed, and I haven't yet taken a calculator with me to discover who. Why this discrepancy of value for human lives? I'm thankful at least we are new counting the Iraqi lives lost, although the numbers are themselves distorted. US forces are conducting more air attacks where it's more difficult to measure the casualties. Won't somebody come out and say it, we care quite a bit less about Iraqi lives compared to American lives? Even though the Iraqis were likely innocents, often children and children. How can news outlets simply set the standards of measure as if the most important factor was to have the result fall within manageable ranges, figures we can wrap our head around? Or more accurately, figures they can wrap around our head. What's going to happen when the daily toll of civilian deaths reaches higher? Will they break the day into parts, a morning Iraqi death toll for example? To compare not too insanely with the US deaths per month? What a ruse.

Activism home grown

My siblings and I frequently talk about our “activist” upbringing. We grew up with parents who walked their talk. Our mom hung out with the radical nuns protesting around Rocky Flats. And I can’t remember a single Thanksgiving where we didn’t have a couple of homeless men sitting at our dinner table. Our parents introduced them by name and we were expected to be gracious and make interesting conversation. Then there was Robin, a retarded young man who was obsessed with a pair of moccasins that we had in our front closet. My mom made a rule that the front door be always open so that Robin could come in for his moccasins any time he wanted. As a mother, I question the wisdom of this now but, at the time, we just accepted that at any time Robin might walk in and open our front closet. It wasn’t anything we worried about….just another one of mom's people. At the 1975 fall of Saigon, Divine Redeemer, our home church with hundreds of families, decided to sponsor a family fleeing Communist oppression. They asked that someone step forward to host a family of 8 people for several months. Guess who stepped forward? Much to our horror, my mom and dad did. We had 6 of our own children, aged 6 to 15, living in a small house and suddenly we had 16 people living under the same roof. They didn’t speak a word of English. We certainly didn’t speak Vietnamese. Our mom and their dad were able to communicate in broken French. We reminisce about how our mom used to read little kid books to them, VERY LOUDLY, as though she could make them understand English if only she shouted. They used to stare at us and we back at them while she did this...all of us trying hard not to laugh. Because my dad had been a part of the war in Viet Nam and a number of families we knew had been widowed during that war, we lost friends because of the choice we made to support this family. I didn't understand this at all at the time. It's taken many years for me to understand that to stand for something, anything, is to risk the wrath of those who don't agree. As kids, we remember it as crazy fun. We made Chef Boyardee pizzas and they chopped off the heads of weird little fish and made carrots look like flowers. We were all about the same age, they dressed weird, we dressed weird….we laughed and figured out how to communicate even without words. They showed us martial arts. We taught them to hula hoop. We laughed our asses off day after day. Once, the 10-year-old girl, incredibly beautiful, her name was Ngoc (pronounced Nop), and I sat on the swing in the front yard. She placed her hand in front of my face, put up her index finger and said “Mot.” “Mo,” I said, knowing that she was counting.

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