Eduardo Galeano on students and their enthusiasm: keeping the Gods inside

Via Adbusters and AcampadaBCN: Eduardo Galeano interviewed in Plaza Catalunya, Madrid, in the midst of the student protests in Spain:

I was in El Sol, and here I am seeing a reecounter.The same energy of dignity and the same enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a Vitamin E, “E” for enthusiasm, which comes from a little Greek word whose hidden meaning is: “keeping the Gods inside”. And every time I see that the gods are inside, inside one person or more, in things, in nature, in mountains and rivers, I realize that’s what was waiting to convince me that life is worth living.

So I am very happy to be here, as I was in El Sol, because this is a testament that life is worth living. That living is much, much more than political pettiness, who wins or loses. And it’s much more than one’s personal life too, than what you can lose or win. That all matters very little in this other world that awaits you, this other world that is possible. It’s in this world’s belly.

This is a pretty rotten world. The world we’re born in is not very hopeful, but there is another world in this one’s belly that is waiting. It’s a different world, and the labour will be hard. It’s not easy for it to be born. But one thing is sure, it’s beating in this world we have here.

There’s another world beating inside this present one. I see it in these spontaneous demonstrations. Here in Plaza Catalunya and in El Sol in Madrid, which I’ve fortunately been able to follow. I know that there are many more and they are a testimony.

Some ask me: “Well, what’s going to happen? And how will all this end up?”

I simply answer what comes from my own experience and say “Well, nothing.”

I don’t know what will happen, and I don’t really care. I’m concerned about what’s happening now. I’m concerned with present time. And what this present time tells us of another possible time yet to come. But what that will be in the end, I don’t know.

It’s as if I were to ask myself that every time I fall in love, when I experience a deep, true love. When I feel I am alive and wouldn’t care if I died while it’s happening.

So, well, love is like this. It’s infinite while it lasts! It’s important that it be infinite while it lasts. Not to plan everything as if one were part of a bank budget. Let’s see, how much is the balance, the total… What is he expecting?! Probabilities.

Let’s ask the statistic gods… There’s “Standard & Poors,” which has a pretty eloquent name, because it means “Average and Poor.” Let’s see what awaits us, “average or poor”?

And what the hell do I care what awaits us?

Common Dreams Quid Pro Toe

How delighted I was to receive an email from Common Dreams, showing signs of skepticism finally at President Obama’s growing betrayal of American progressives. After censoring CD participants who criticize the Democratic Party for its capitulation to corporate centrism, even banning the persistent voices from its online discussions, the blogosphere giant now purports to have examined it stats and rediscovered its radical base. I’m thrilled that CD has met its enemy, and it is not us, but I wish their epiphany wasn’t about who’s left to tap for money.

How can we but surmise that Common Dreams enjoyed financial support from Obama’s Dems, for toeing the party line? They paid the bills, the dream was blue.

Now that Obama is in office, and his progressive supporters don’t have the charm of his new globalist friends, Common Dreams has to go back to stickball with the rest of us with no access. I’d be a lot more inclined toward sympathy for Common Dreams if it showed some remorse for having cast aside so many while it co-opted the common dream to make it about Barack Obama.

Here’s the fund raising letter from Common Dreams, saying all the right things, just like President False Hope himself.

July 24, 2009

Dear Friend of,

When Americans voted overwhelmingly for ‘Change’ last November 4th, I, like so many of you, was hopeful.

Hopeful that we’d bring our troops home. Hopeful for a major commitment to safe, renewable energy.

Hopeful that Wall Street and corporate lobbyists would no longer be able to treat our elected representatives like puppets on a string.

Hopeful that Guantánamo would be closed and the torturers would be prosecuted. That the post-9/11 trampling of our civil liberties would be reversed.

Hopeful that President Obama would rally the people around a bold, progressive overhaul of our sickly healthcare ‘system.’

Hopeful that the neglected investments in our people, our future, would begin again.

But frankly, seven months into the new administration, my hope is fading.

I have days when I think we’ll never overcome this system.

But I never have a day when I think about giving up.

Four times a year we ask you to support our work. Will you help today by making a secure online donation today to our Summer Appeal?

Two of the most popular articles on these past months were writings by longtime activists, Paul Hawken and Derrick Jensen.

Two tireless fighters against the system.

It was clear from the stats on our site that the words of these two progressive thinkers resonated with you, and with all of our readers.

Paul Hawken has been warning against the accelerating decline of Planet Earth for decades. As he said in his May 3 speech to graduates of the University of Portland, Oregon, “If you look at the science about what’s happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data.”

But he also spoke of hope: “. . . if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”

Last I checked, I still had a pulse.

Jensen’s prognosis for civilisation is even more sober. Still, even he urges us to resist – by voting, running for office, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting. And, he says, “when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.”

Altering or abolishing a government is not for the faint of heart.

But sitting idly, silently by while our planet, our government, and our society self-destruct is not for people like you and me.

Common Dreamers were so inspired by the words of these two writers, they forwarded them to thousands of others to read.

Thousands of people like you, who will use the information to help fuel the fight for truth.

The fight for what’s right.

The fight for what the majority of Americans say, in poll after poll, they want – and yet are being denied by a government that is bought and paid for by corporations and a tiny percentage of people who hold the vast majority of wealth in this country.

Jensen ends his article with a call to action: “We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.”

The time to get confrontational is now.

Because tomorrow might be too late.

Please help us continue to inform and inspire and ignite change by making a secure donation today. Or, you can use our print and mail form, which includes our mailing address, to send a check

Thank you so much.


Craig Brown
Executive Director
for the whole team

P.S. Please consider signing up to make a monthly donation. And don’t forget to ask your employer about a matching gifts program. Please pitch in today!

Activism heroics and roadkill

Bush and Muntadhar al-ZaidiThis is by no means a complete list of contemporary populist heros, but I’d like to start with comedian Stephen Colbert, who roasted President Bush at a Washington Correspondents Association Dinner, like a court jester gone rabid. With celebrated White House correspondent Helen Thomas’s help, Colbert belittled the decider-in-chief to his face right in front of his friends.

Don’t Taser Me Bro
There was University of Florida student Andrew Meyer, who held his ground asking critical questions of Senator John Kerry. Meyer was tackled and tasered for his impertinence, while Kerry kept mumbling, to divert attention from “Don’t taser me Bro.”

Bidder 70
Then Utah environmentalist Tim DeChristopher disrupted a government land auction, driving up prices and buying several leases raising paddle number 70, until federal agents took him away. Extraction industry spokesperson Kathleen Sgamma may have miscalculated the degree of DeChristopher’s popular support. She earned no one’s sympathy when she complained: “There’s a democratic process in place if you don’t like what’s happening. If we all just decided we wanted to change the laws unilaterally, that would run counter to our democracy.”

The Shoes
And Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi is in jail for throwing his shoes at that dog Bush, when our president was making a farewell visit to Baghdad. (His trial date is fast approaching actually.) The shoes missed, but Bush was made to duck, which is the closest anyone’s come to getting reality to register with the cretinous bitch.

Barack’s first press conference
Let’s also mention Helen Thomas again, at Barack Obama’s first press conference a week ago. When Obama ceremoniously called on Thomas to lob the last question, Thomas asked the president to name who in the Middle East had nuclear weapons. It was something of a leading question, because the answer is known, but bears reminding when the argument is repeated that Iran acquiring nukes would lead to proliferation. Thomas put Obama in the position of having to utter recognition of Israel’s never-mentioned nuclear program, or very conspicuously avoid the subject. Which is what he did.

Israel Divestment Movement
Now the Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine have succeeded in getting their school to divest in Israel, just as Hampshire College led the way in the nationwide divestitures which contributed to the fall of Apartheid in South Africa. Board of trustees chairman Sigmund Roos tried to explain that the school’s actions were in no way a repudiation of Israel, and accused the students of falsely claiming otherwise. Of the 800-signature petition, Roos explained: “We never took it up. Students know that.”

Really? A petition signed by 800 of your students and faculty, and the Hampshire College board of trustees wouldn’t even read it? Roos doesn’t know what hit him.

Who is the economy calling stupid?

Okay, I’ve had enough of our readiness to believe, about the economy, that nobody knows what’s going on. Nobody will tell you what’s going on, is what’s going on.

Even my deepest thinking friend tells me, “Eric, they really don’t know” (The game theorists, the would-be global axis shifters, don’t know.) He may be right, but that’s not who we’re talking about. Between those guys, and you and I, who have no clue about where the economy is going, is a hand-basket courier. That composite abstraction at the handlebars knows the destination, he’s being paid cost-plus for the delivery, and he knows enough to collect his fee in advance.

We thought “it’s the economy, stupid” was directed at George Bush the Senior. Who is/was stupid? I’m finding the syncronicity of Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill song “Isn’t it ironic?” superlatively ironic. The era when a mass audience un-learned the meaning of irony, was when the joke was really on us.

Today the accepted theme to describe the economy is: nobody knows. I recently heard the governor of Colorado speak to the need for budget cuts in these hard times. He introduced the subject of the economic downturn by explaining, almost as a throwaway foregone conclusion, “Nobody saw this coming.”

I thought, really? This is what Americans are satisfied to expect for leadership? Elected authority figures return our system to us, broken, with not a mea culpa, but mea confuso. And we buy it.

For me, this no-comprendo motif doesn’t play well in Adagio. Today DC’s new lawmakers want to know what’s become of the first half of the TARP bailout money, and the good-enough-for-primetime answer is “nobody knows.” Don’t you just want to stand up and beg your fellow audience members for a collective show of incredulity? “NOBODY KNOWS?!”

Whoever pocketed the 350 Billion, KNOWS.

From explanations of the graft in Iraq, we the television public KNOW that just one million dollars in t-bills weighs more than you can get past surveillance cameras.

From nighttime video of the economic collapse in Argentina, documentary footage viewers know it takes a continuous train of armored trucks to do a run on the banks before the public gets there.

By the way, I’m certain Billion is always capitalized, out of respect for its size.

“Nobody knows” where went the 350 Billion? No. Nobody who knows, intends to tell us.

Either way, we don’t get to know, but the distinction makes a difference, don’t you think? The excuse we’re given for not dwelling on this incongruity, nudge nudge wink wink, is that all misdirection is for the sake of consumer confidence.

To look behind the green curtain is to become dis-illusioned. If you explain the slight of hand, instead of building confidence, you throw fuel on consumer doubt.

The better economists opposed the bailout. Hundreds of them signed a petition to tell us what’s going on is a heist. Under George Bush, bankers have been making off with the US treasury. What they couldn’t spend pay themselves to foist a war, or give themselves in tax cuts, they are having to abscond with under cover of an eleventh hour “bailout.”

The best of the honest economists, Paul Krugman, was given a Nobel Prize. At the same time, our president-to-the-rescue is saying he’d consider the advice of “even Paul Krugman,” like Krugman is a fringe opinion.

Do we empower the American public beast with a truer education about what’s happening to their finances, or do we narrow their peripheral foresight like the gangway to the abbatoire?

P.T. Barnum said no one ever went broke underestimating the American public. Barnum saw opportunity and he took it. I’ll bet he wasn’t satisfied to invest his winnings on the advice of the public’s broker.

The economy is tanking because the Bush investment banker free-for-all is over.

The cash heart of the consumer confidence fattened-calf is already in the bloody hands of the high priests. The American consumer is what’s being thrown off the wall. And the communal wealth of America’s middle class can’t be put together again because the pieces which formed Humpty Dumpty’s actual pre-confidence-ballooned size are going to come up missing.

Not missing, exactly. Look at the corporate jets, private skyboxes, enormous estates, private island kingdoms and advance ticket sales of quarter-million-dollar fares into space.

With much recent ballyhoo, George Bush set aside for protection some nature preserves in the Pacific. Unlike Yellowstone, or Yosemite, these parks of azure coral reefs are inaccessible. To you.

Barack Obama’s spread-the-wealth-around campaign lingo had nothing to do with the mad scramble to divvy the pot. Obama represents our non-insider’s reflexive grab for the fewer spoons. If Obama represents a wisening up at all.

Beyond buy low, sell high, here’s an example of how the scam worked: If a $100K house can be made seem worth $500K, a broker gets five times the commission, say $60K instead of $12K, and collects that money in cash. When the cows come home, you’ve got just a house, and let’s admit that value is arbitrary. But the broker is free and clear, his gleaning of a cash value done.

And actually, your house is not even worth the cost to build it. As the democratic capitalist apparatus downgrades, and the wealthy lose empathy for the lower classes, your house is worth just the value of the shelter it provides. Look at the concern they show for your health care. Your well-being, food and shelter wise, is worth only as much as the value you add to your landlord’s pleasure.

Yeah, it’s bizarre..

I don’t know for sure if the O-man himself bought the food for us, or his campaign people here in town.

Either way it’s a touch of Class that no way in Hell would the McCain people be able to match.

Because Obama, and the people who are working for his campaign, are people who Give a Damn.

None of the StormFront supplied bull-poo about “palling around with terrorists”, none of the “his middle name is Hussein” like that seriously makes three quarters of a measurable amount of difference…

It comes down to People, which is what America the nation is all about.

McCain and Palin, don’t give a damn and they fly their “Don’t-Give-A-Damn'” flag proudly.

They spread the hatred like the toxic waste it truly is and don’t take any responsibility for the consequences.

I didn’t put anything up on Tribe about just yet, nor did I post here about what’s happening to my foot.

Most of the regular Tribe folks have heard about my right foot, about the work accident and all that.

Now, it turns out, the LEFT foot has a similar problem. I guess it’s natural that it slipped under the Medical Radar, what with Texas having neglected the entire damage for 12 years, other than the initial surgeries…

But a bone called the Talus, in my right foot and now, the left one as well, died, necrosed.

That’s another story.

This is about Miss Johnnie, and the Obama Campaign people and Obama himself.

Some of the Right Wing, when they’re not trying to smear and sneer him with the word that’s an insult only to the Right Wing, “Muslim”, like to scream that he’s a Radical Christian.

Let us pause momentarily and meditate upon that… “Radical Christian”…

ok, time’s up.

Hey, he’s famous for quietly being a Radical Christian and allowing his life to be his witness.

If he’s a shill for “No Change At All” I don’t see it.

I wrote to the alfrankenweb forum about it first.

There’s a lot of good back and forth between them and Tribe.

Miss Johnnie is “just another” victim of the Way Things Are…

We’re not remarkable, and that, you see, is the really frightening part.

Our nation has melted down to where only the most extremist Clown Squad could possibly even try to pretend that we have some kind of Leave it to Beaver Because Father Knows Best, Lucy mythical White Suburban utopia.

Just the events of the last year would make your jaw drop to the floor, and …

To a certain mindset, we’re supposed to Just smile, and pretend that everything is Normal.

To the campaign workers, and to Obama himself, I’d like to say Thank you…

To the ones who want us to Vote Fear, Vote Same, Vote Stay-the-course, I’d like to say —k you.

They’ve had quite enough time ruining our nation.

Now, we have to rebuild.

Seems like they let loose an Elephant into our collective living room and he trashed the place, pooped on the floor, drank out of the toilet and punched holes in all the walls.

The cleaning bill alone is going to be monstrous.

Jonah and the Obama Chinese food story

(Editor’s note: Jonah posted this account yesterday on Alfrankenweb, which reached the Rec List on Daily Kos. Now I’m fielding emails and calls inquiring whether Jonah is real. Here are the Alfrankenweb posts, until Jonah can give us an update.)

OK, so this is the story as I finally got straight.

I was out scrounging scrap metal today, to get enough food money to last us through the weekend.

I came home and Miss Johnnie, my landlady, was crying and showing me a table full of food.

I thought one of our friends or my relatives had come over and bought for us.

But it was bought, according to the lady who owns the restaurant, by Barack Obama over the phone.

After the Obama Campaign Workers came to the door, and were listening to Miss Johnnie describe why she, a registered republican, was voting for Obama.

She showed a picture of her daughter Michelle the Marine who had been deployed to Iraq twice, and is still pending discharge because of the Stop Loss.

All her kids in fact.

And her late husband, who had died of Agent Orange from his service in VietNam.

About that time the campaign workers started making phone calls and she got to talk to Obama.

She was in tears while telling me all this so I got the story wrong at first.

She talked about the War, about the health care bill that got turned down because it was “too expensive” but the Rich Thieves got to take 16 times as much just because they had broken the economy with their wild schemes.

About the VA messing around with the repayment of the medical expenses she had borne by herself over the 12 years since her husband died, over nitpicky paperwork errors on Their Part.

About me being out against doctor’s orders scrounging scrap metal just to make it through til monday.

One of the volunteers was a Marine and a Nam Vet, so much for the notion that Veterans are all voting for McCain, (despite his continued votes to screw the veterans the same way the VA is messing up Miss Johnnie’s paperwork and payments)

Miss Johnnie, understandably, doesn’t talk without a great deal of emotion on those subjects.

So after the Volunteers left, about 20 minutes later a very large order of Chinese food charged to Obama came to the door.

The Delivery man is a recent immigrant and doesn’t speak English, so he called his boss, who confirmed it but said it was supposed to be a surprise.

Enough food to last until Monday.

I came in with this really pitiful half gallon of milk and about a meal worth of food and some cat food.. and she was crying and showing me all the food.

And said that Obama had bought it for us.

I didn’t get the story quite right the first time, so I thought he had been there in person.

Not quite, but you know how in the Churches people say “I’ll be there in spirit”?

He was there in a way that really counts.

McCain has a fake falsified made-up “Joe the Plumber” who turns out to be a white-collar person named Sam and not even a plumber…

Obama now has Miss Johnnie the Viet-Nam Widow and a Real Joe the Ex-Roofer with Busted Feet.

That’s why Obama wins.

He’s Real, his concern for the people is Real, and the people who supporting him, WE’RE real too.

Hell, I don’t know where to research it myself.

There’s been a flood of out-of-state volunteers past two days, because Ms Sarah was doing her Schtick at the baseball park to a tame crowd.

Tame as in no Nasty Obama Supporters being let through to ask all kinds of icky-poo questions.

I went in yesterday and mentioned at the welcome desk at Obama HQ about the FreakSquad chalking the death-threat or death-wish either one on the sidewalk essentially directly across the street from them.

The restaurant is “Coal Mine Dragon” at 1720 W Uintah, the Springs. The lady who runs it is Second Generation Chinese. She told Miss Johnnie that it was Obama paying the tab, and that it was supposed to have been secret.

If it was merely the Volunteers calling in the order, and the restaurant owner not getting it out clearly distinguished, that’s still great.

as to was he the one who spoke to her, he identified himself as such.

If he was a clever impostor doing a good imitation that’s more improbable.

Not much reason anybody would, especially as Obama wouldn’t tolerate it.

if he confirms it himself is the best proof I could think of.

Who has that kind of pull to hotline direct to Obama during a rally?

Congressman Mark Udall, that’s who.

He told Miss Johnnie about being a Marine himself, I had thought “damn, that sounds a lot like Mark Udall…”

And, sure enough…

Run the pack of clowns out of office.

There’s some tidying up to do, seems like a herd of Elephants has gone through the national living room, pooping on the floors, breaking stuff and drinking out of the toilet.

If I’m not mistaken, some poor clerk at the VA in Denver is going to have a rude surprise Monday morning.

Mark Udall is running on Workers Rights, and Veterans Affairs… very large issues here in Colorado.

The “Terror Connection” they’ve been trying to tar Obama with, with Udall it’s “the Department of Peace” and Labor Unions.

His opponent is making big talk from those same National Attack Ads just like with the “Daschle Democrats” Ads with the bobble heads…

Well, Daschle was proven RIGHT about Iraq.

Trying to paint Udall as a hippie-dippy doper (seriously, they’ve been using that angle) when he’s a Marine and a Nam Vet, I think they bit off a chunk of the wrong sandwich.

I don’t know what all the names of the meals are, one involved a lot of chicken and broccoli, mushrooms… oh man..

Another same recipe, stir fried, with steak in it.

Cabbage rolls and rice with more chicken in it…

I think I like this restaurant and plan to give them my patronage.

The bill came to just under $40 bux.

If you’re in Colorado, vote no on 47 and there’s two more Blatantly union busting amendments there.

Oh, there’s an attack ad on right now….

These freaks need to be slapped repeatedly, in fact I’ll start a thread about that…

I had to reboot the puter, knocked my keyboard connection loose.

We have one cat, Keenan, neutered male.

She built him cat-runs at three of the windows, we can’t let him outside because our next-door neighbor is a Confirmed Cat-Kicker.

Last summer she contracted Leishmaniasis, which is also called the Baghdad Boil, in Mesopotamia it’s spread by the bite of a flea…

They gave her Antibiotics for it, and for the Mycelin Resistant Staph Aureole that goes with it.

This has affected her inner ear, because the antibiotics were so strong.

At the time we thought it was her lymphatic cancer coming out of remission.

After her husband died, she was waiting on getting her Widow’s Pension, the VA wasn’t even acknowledging that her husband had died of Agent Orange.

It took a few years for that. That’s when she had the lymphoma.

She was out on the street while taking chemo.

Last year she started to try for her CHAMPVA benefits, so she could get meaningful health care.

The ones who come to the forum to blast “Socialized Medicine” don’t know the least part of what the hell they’re putting out, or putting down.

We had the paperwork and forms from the VA to take to the Air Force to get her Widowed Spouse ID card, to get the CHAMPVA started.

We rode the bus across town to Peterson AFB, they allowed her onto the base, but not me, made me get off the bus and wait outside.

Which I prefer anyway, when I left the Air Force, I LEFT.

The guards at the gate, they weren’t Air Force, didn’t have any insignia or rank or name tags, but I knew they weren’t SPs because the SPs are stone freaky about maintaining a spit-shined appearance.

Turns out they’re mercenaries, I thought at first Blackwater but it seems it’s a different group of Mercs.

All the same to me.

At the Admin building another Mercenary, not Air Force personnel, clerk told her that the VA was full of shit, everything changed with nine eleven, don’t you know there’s a war on yadda yadda and threatened to have her arrested.

This year we finally got her ID card, got her CHAMPVA started.

Any Vets reading this, be-the-hell-ware because this is what they’re fixin’ to do to YOU next if McInasane gets in power.

So she’s owed 11 years worth of reimbursement for all the medical care she had to pay for out of pocket, even with the next to worthless Colorado Indigent Care Program insurance (Look up “worthless” in the dictionary and right next to it will be a picture of CICP) one of those “Massive Entitlement Programs For Bums” that McCain bitches about.

She got some reimbursement but is owed about 5 times as much more.

They keep bouncing her claims back, saying the forms are “incomplete”.

Utter bullshit, because I went over their claim as to what information was missing, and it was all right there in the papers.

That’s why I believe somebody from Mark Udall’s office is going to give them a Nasty Note Monday.

That’s the status so far.

The Health Care meltdown in Colorado is almost as bad as it was in Texas when I left.

Privatized everything. Well, I can testify, it didn’t work in Texas, and it surely ain’t working in Colorado either.

I get SSI and Medicaid. Miss Johnnie gets a Widows pension and CHAMPVA.

I supplement it by repairing computers and selling them, and the Scrap Metal.

I’ve been making more money off the scrap metal than the computers though.

The internet is part of our Cable package.

And, it’s necessary for the repairs I do to the computers, otherwise we would have ditched that part and just used dial-up.

The past month I haven’t been able to scrap, doctor’s orders.

That drop in income brought us near the edge.

We have for vehicles three bicycles, two of them mine, and she can’t ride hers anymore because of some of her injuries.

And ride the bus for further transportation.

I don’t drive anyway, never learned because it would be too dangerous.

Trust me on that.

But I’ve been getting on fairly well using the bicycles.

Until last month.

On top of that, scrap prices are down, way down… and there’s more competition for what scrap there is.

This is what’s happening across America.

I find out on November 5th what exact kind of surgery is going to be needed, for the foot I thought was uninjured 16 years ago.

I do know part of it is going to involve removal of a bone, the Cuboid.

I won’t have a leg to stand on.

It would be really really cool, you know, if this situation were anywhere near being unique.

Fact is, it ain’t.

That’s why there’s this:

I’m not dancing with joy that McCain is going to lose…

I’m rejoicing that America now has a chance to WIN.

Thanks, but we’re getting there. You might need it yourself soon anyway.

Stocks are tanking like mad.

Gas prices are down to 3 a gallon but that’s mostly because so much business, small and large, has crashed that there’s a huge drop in actual consumption.

First law of economics, supply and demand.

There’s going to be money coming in, just a question of when.

We both know how to make money, just we aren’t going to try doing anything on credit, build from a cash-only base.

Johnnie used to be a business owner, she and her husband did custom printing. Before his illness got to him they had over a million in the bank.

That’s how quick a catastrophic illness can do you down.

“difficult” and “impossible” are two separate equations, if something is difficult that just means it’s possible.

It’s a challenge more than anything. I hope.

I’ve got good skills I can adapt, like these computer skills.

This one I’m using now I built up from parts I salvaged, part of the scrap metal deal.

Here in town there WAS a steady supply of one-off computers, like, HP would come out with the newest mainboard and all the HP employees would get a discount on the new one, and either sell the older ones cheap or donate them to the ARC or Goodwill. Here’s a really good business tip, something you might want to invest yourself into, a new mainboard combination comes out roughly every 6 months and the older one, the one that’s King of the Jungle today, is going to be only worth half of what it is today.
Same with all the parts.

And for all practical purposes, the best there is today, in 6 months will still be able to run any software package there is. Not much point in buying a brand new computer, unless you’re developing software specifically for the newest chipset. so I’m developing a base of people who will want to buy good computers, that’ll do whatever they want, just at an amazingly lower price than they would pay to HP or Dell.
it’s more a matter of timing your purchases than anything else.

Now HP is closing down most of their local operations here, moving some to Albuquerque and some to iirc Little Rock.

But I’ll adapt. Part of it is that I don’t have a huge monetary investment in anything, mostly my investment has been in skills.

At least we have a plan, and are getting, slowly to be sure, but it is building up, the means to implement the plan.

Dire straits are familiar territory for me. At least I know my way around.

There’s good coming onto the horizon.

World news and the everyday teenager

There wasn’t any conversation to speak of on the drive to school today, so I turned on the news. From the back a teen immediately interjected “Is that completely necessary?”

I muted the sound and turned around, completely incredulous. “What?”

“Is that completely necessary?” she repeated without a hint of what I hoped to have been mischievous insolence.

“Not really.” Is all I could muster as I turned the volume back up and refocused my attention. I can’t say that listening to corporate propaganda is necessary, or even a good idea. But I am at an equal loss for how else to stay tuned to what’s happening around us. It’s a good thing my honest ambivalence tripped up the teaching moment I might have offered.

There are probably far too many ways to get entangled in current affairs, but for children with school, sports, video games, television, play, music and the odd meal, there is no break for non-academic reality. One might argue that kids could be spared the complications of the world outside. I can hardly see the merit to that school of unthought. Especially as domestic politics have certainly invaded their education, the piss-poor vocational experience few are willing to admit that American schools have become.

This drive-time comment came after an evening spent not being forced to attend a journalist’s lecture last night. It was off-putting enough to have to wait in the atrium apparently. Although, as dense as the economic principles might have been, I sorely regretted that all of the kids, especially the girls, had not witnessed Naomi Klein, about as apt a role model as any young woman could dream.

So what if much would be above their head? Won’t they grow into it? Are there realities too shocking for children? Shouldn’t our challenge be to address those horrors, sooner than shield ourselves by pretending they do not exist? What a luxury that our children have even the choice to know how they are impacted.

It’s one thing to expose kids to pictures of highway accidents, or television programs about serial killers, quite another in my opinion to complicate their understanding of societal malevolence. Can they not gleam from parental example that such obstacles do not render life hopeless? We cope. We blot out certain realities to pamper our own delusions. Is that a difficulty level beyond young people?

There’s no doubt a fine line about forcing experiences on children, the morning news for example, but isn’t that to pretend that almost all their indoctrination isn’t involuntary? Can you think of any accomplished person who wasn’t pushed?

We can be thankful our children aren’t experiencing household raids, aerial bombings, and marketplace bombers which take the lives of their friends and relatives. How sheltered do children need to be? Even if their Social Studies will eventually teach them Zinn or Chomsky, aren’t the lessons sabotaged by the context of isolation? How are children really to learn that they aren’t working in factories but for blood spilled by labor unions; that their grandparents aren’t destitute or dead owing to collective efforts which demanded more from their government? Pop culture has already lulled kids to the politics of nothing matters. Is there any wrong time to try to right that lie? Or do YOU believe that individuals have no power to participate in the global community?

Undercover surveillance has uniform too

den-sun-under-civilian.jpgDENVER- DNC day 0, Undercover observers.

Could this NOT BE A COP? My goodness the cops had undercover uniforms too! White shirt, tan cargo shorts, white socks, running shoes, camera and backpack. This bicyclist was helping to track Unconventional Denver as they veered from the permitted parade route along 16th Street Mall.

den-undercover-videotape.jpgAnother barrel bellied gentleman was recording the Sunday antiwar rally. There were hundreds of police video cameras out there, not held at the ready for something to happen, like the other videographers, but constantly pointed. Wouldn’t that be recording a bunch of nothing, unless you’re simply trying to document faces?

I have another theory, which comes of imagining dozens of surveillance cameramen each shift, clocking out and depositing multitudes of digital videotape cassettes, marked by location, time, and perhaps incident. Would that seem to be a nightmare to organize? I’m thinking these cameras were up to something else.

Two cops a tapingThese two square pegs were videotaping the Sunday UA Lincoln Boulevard standoff. The person in the foreground is an example of what real participants look like. His camera is waiting for something to capture. The rear two have cameras aloft, whether they’re paying attention our not.

Third cop a watchingThe yellow shirted boy scout gestured to this third duffer behind them. I’m not sure the signal except that he stepped back as I photographed.

I wonder if these cameras held aloft haven’t been retrofitted to give live video feeds, instead of recording unto individual DATs. I bet they’re transmitting wireless signals to a communications truck nearby, where not only are the images being recorded into a data bank, likely they are being monitored for a real-time sense of what’s happening in the crowd. That might explain why the cameramen were seldom seen panning or changing their angle. It might also be possible that they were receiving their instructions through the camera viewfinders.

Undercover plantNow this guy isn’t wearing the day uniform. What’s he doing? I include him just for contrast. He’s wearing the black colors of a provocateur or plant and sure enough when the antiwar march came its closest to the Pepsi Center, suddenly he broke his silence. Where before he’s stood back, observing the morning rally. Now he was moving through the marchers offering instructions. Many of the organizers were trying to create something of a circle in front of the Pepsi Center entrance. This “marcher” who held no banner, and wore no political message, was now helpfully urging everyone to continue past.

KRCC is mum about Amy Goodman visit

Democracy Now! heroine Amy Goodman will be visiting the Springs on Sunday April 20th, but you wouldn’t know from listening to DN!’s own local radio affiliate KRCC. Today, in the segue for the 7pm slot, “Coming up next, Democracy Now,” instead of mentioning Goodman’s upcoming appearance, the DJ added “if Amy Goodman is not your bag, check out KRCC’s HD2 on which you can hear The Thomas Jefferson Hour.”
Can you imagine KRCC introducing Fresh Air with Terri Gross like that?

On her last appearances, Amy Goodman filled the 900-seat Shove Chapel. Where do you suppose KRCC gets off thinking they can ignore her local following? It’s insulting enough that they gave DN! a mediocre time-slot, they’re trying to sabotage Goodman’s opportunity to speak to their listeners in person? No mention either on their calendar. Search their website for “Amy Goodman” and you get nothing!

Over the last few months, KRCC has promoted appearances by all sorts of Neocon conservative global-warming deniers and war profiteers. As recently as yesterday KRCC had uncritical promotion of ex-Interior Secretary and crook Gale Norton. What’s happening to Colorado College? What’s happened to KRCC?

Lessons from Zoe’s Ark about ‘Saving’ Darfur

Zoe’s Ark is the French Christian group that decided to ship some kids from the Darfur region to France for adoption. These missionaries to ‘Save Darfur’ say that they thought those kids were orphans, and they are now themselves accused by the government of Chad as being kidnappers. Currently they are on a hunger strike saying that it was all an innocent mistake on their part.

These Christian religious people seem pretty convincing to us Westerners but here are the Muslim parents of the ‘orphans’ saying what happened. It seems that the children were not orphans at all but had very caring parents! Assuming that the Zoe’s Ark branch of the ‘Save Darfur’ herd were not deliberately committing a criminal act as they state they weren’t, then just what did they think they were doing in Chad?

Actually, they thought they were doing good deeds like the ‘Save Darfur’ advocates of US locally think they are doing right here in Colorado Springs when they advocate interventionism. But the Zoe’s Ark people were wrong and so are our local enthusiasts of this ‘Save Darfur’ cause.

It seems that Zoe’s Ark folk didn’t even know how to tell real orphans from kidnapped children in that region of the world! Yet the even more ignorant local advocates of ACTION on this issue know even less about Darfur, Chad, and Sudan than they do. How can they think they know so much about what is really going on in Darfur, as they most certainly think they do, when they actually know next to nothing?

Good intentions are all fine, but ignorance can get you into trouble especially when you arrogantly think that you should have the final word about the affairs of people totally different from you living on the other side of the world. Another example of this, was the good intentioned liberal woman who recently allowed one of her Sudanese kids to name a stuffed animal Mohammed. She got jailed for several weeks and run out of the country, and she was lucky for just that.

I know some of the Colorado Springs ‘Save Darfur’ liberals who go bananas advocating that we ‘push’ our government into intervening against the Sudanese government. To tell the truth, I don’t think these folk have a clue to what’s going on even in our own country let alone what’s happening in a remote region of Sudan. I’m sure I would NOT trust them to even be allowed to work for Child Protective Services- Colorado lest they make some major errors in judgment about kids and their parents equally as big as those made by members of Zoe’s Ark while in Chad and France.

Lessons here? Don’t stick your nose into the affairs of other peoples that you nothing absolutely nothing about. And don’t try to ‘sanction’ others when those economic sanctions actually are a form of waging war against them. Don’t ask your government to kick somebody else’s ass when your own government is made up of gangsters.

NPR versus Habeas Corpus

I caught a little of National Public Radio today. Here’s what I heard: A news story about a new program of repatriating illegal immigrants: by flying them back their ancestral homes, away from the Mexico-American border. It’s working rather well administrators say. The program interviewed a freshly apprehended Mexican who has been returned to his $12 a day parking lot attendent job in Mexico City. He said through a translator that he is likely inclined to give up his dream of reaching El Norte.

So let’s see, that’s a story about subsidizing airlines, budgeting Homeland Security funds for the tickets, to be clear. And the one-way-trips seem to be along the logic of driving a live-trapped vermint a minimum of five miles away from your home to keep him from coming back. Works sometimes.

So is it working with the persistent Mexicans? Hard to say as yet. And yet, here’s a report about it on NPR.

Switch over online to Democracy Now and what are they talking about?

Holy Shit, the Senate has passed a torture/anti-human rights bill which repeals the right of Habeas Corpus! The Right of Habeas Corpus has been nearly universal in the western world since the Magna Carta, since 1215 AD. Thirteen Democrats joined with the Republicans to pass the bill, including our man Ken Salazar, and everybody’s slippery rodent Joe Lieberman. Commentators have likened this bill to the internment of the Japanese Americans during WWII and similar national disgraces. We’ll be struggling to apologize and pay reparations. Many are sensibly embarrassed already.

Next up, a description of the Green Zone in Baghdad. Halliburton is serving pork there, and alcohol, insensitive to the Iraqis who must work and eat there, unclean. And on and on.

Can you imagine an informed American populace without the media telling them what’s happening? Why are your friends and neighbors not able to hear Democracy Now on their radios? Who’s standing in their way from hearing the truth over the public airwaves?

In Colorado Springs the gatekeeper is KRCC, the public radio station with a dedicated community of listeners, most of whom are kept in the dark about Democracy Now. On a day like today, it would seem the difference of opinion about station programming is less about taste and more unthinkably out of touch.

No war but class war

Here’s the playground analogy: Say a bully is beating up a little kid. The bully could be the military beating up a nascent democracy, could be Wal-mart beating up its employees, could be Coca-Cola killing labor organizers, could be oil companies heating the globe, whatever.

The teacher is inside the classroom, doesn’t know what’s going on, or maybe sees what’s happening but can’t intercede because the bully is bigger than she. The teacher is the U.N., or justice or the conscience of man.

We are the rest of the children on the playground. By force of our numbers, we could go fetch the teacher, or assert the teacher’s authority. The trouble is, the bully has friends.

The bully’s friends are surrounding the fight so that we don’t see exactly what’s going on. They are gatekeepers to the facts of what is happening and they placate us with a play by play calculated to not quite pique our interest or sympathy. They steer us away from realizing that the poor kid getting beat up is one of us. The friends present the bully as the victim and the victim as the attacker. The gatekeepers look like us, like the more attractive of us. We like them and want to be their friends.

Whatever the analogy, the bully is getting something from the little kid. Lunch money, natural resources, cheap labor, subservience, profit etc. And he shares it with his friends who keep the rest of the kids at bay. It’s a gang of bullies really, but they benefit by pretending they are not working together. Even a large gang of bullies can be brought down by a crowd of ordinary people who see what they are up against. But a bully or two, surrounded by some pretty point men diverting your attention, that’s a difficult game to stop.

The press used to be known as the Fourth Estate. This appellation recognized its potential power, to counter that of the king, the nobles and the merchant estates, and to empower the democratic yearnings of the estate-less: labor, the people.

Capitalism brought the absorption of all the moneyed estates into a single merchant class. Corporate trusts cemented the merchant wealth into a new ruling nobility. And belief that God is on our side ascribes to our leaders to the divine provenance of the First Estate. The Fourth Estate, the enormous merchant enterprise once the great promise of the common people, is now but part of the one reigning Estate. The State.

The press is the mouthpiece for The State, pretending still to look like people like us. Rush Limbaugh, the smart-mouthed fat every-man imbibes $4,000 wines and $300 Cuban cigars.

First thing now to do, first thing, is to quit believing what the press is telling you. They are not your friends.

Pacifism yes victimhood no

Address to the Democratic Party

I went to a Democratic party fund-raiser last night, the TRUE BLUE AMERICAN RALLY. I stood by the door most of the night and handed out fliers about tomorrow’s meeting to reclaim the media. I knew all of the politicians who spoke, I knew the evening’s organizers, somehow it didn’t occur to me until that evening to ask to make an announcement for the Monday meeting. Here are my notes:

Hello, my name is Eric Verlo. You may recognize me from my involvement with Camp Casey, the persistent little peace camp on North Nevada Avenue. Hello.

This organisation was gracious enough to let me come up here and talk to you tonight. I’m speaking on behalf of another organization, the Pikes Peak Media Alliance. We’re a little group, started three years ago, which has been trying to raise awareness about media literacy. A number of my fellow members are here tonight. We recognize that the media landscape is, and has been, slanted against the little guy, the average American actually, and we’ve undertaken the challenge to change that imbalance.

I’m here tonight to tell you of our latest effort, I’ll try to be brief. We’ve been fighting to try to bring more of a community voice to the local public radio station, you love it, we love it, our own KRCC. The effort is going to culminate -thus far- into a town-hall public forum which we’ve scheduled for Monday night at All Souls Unitarian Church. We’re hoping to see as big a turn-out as possible of course. This will be a chance for Joe and Jane Public to express something of the direction they hope to see from KRCC, to express it directly to its regents, its owners, Colorado College.

This effort to seek community input into KRCC programming arose from a more specific attempt to lobby KRCC to air the news program Democracy Now. If you haven’t heard of it, ask the person beside you, it’s an award winning news program whose popularity is growing station by station all over this country, it’s on 400 radio stations nation wide, including more than a dozen communities in Colorado, all the big ones, except Colorado Springs and Pueblo, because it’s not on KRCC.

You may have heard of our efforts. For three years we’ve been trying to petition Colorado College to overrule KRCC’s decision not to carry Democracy Now. For years before that, individuals had been calling KRCC to request it, only to be turned down flat. That went on so long, we decided we had to go over the station manager’s head.

You may have signed one of our petitions. Did you hear anything back? No one did. Well a friend of mine submitted his letter directly. He did receive an answer to his request for Democracy Now: a hand written note saying “Thank you for your thoughts on democracy.”

We tried it several times and this year we made a concerted effort and gathered over 250 petition letters, individual letters signed and personalized by members of our community. A number of times people told us, “I signed one of those a couple years ago. What, they still haven’t given us Democracy Now?” That statement reflects not just their incredulousness, but it reflects a disconnect about what’s happening on KRCC. A lot of the community -on our side of the issues- is no longer listening to KRCC.

This year we delivered those 250 petition letters, along with another 200 Colorado College student signatures to Colorado College on our knees. On our knees! Yes it was a dumb idea, we got the idea because we were starting from Camp Casey and it was only a short distance to the college president’s office. Well on your knees that distance becomes quite a bit more than a little! We did it for the publicity of course, but ideologically we did it to represent the desperate urgency we felt for the people of the world who are not represented by or in the media, the suffering majority whose voices go unheard, whose plight goes unabated in large part because the media ignores their fate, a media who is on the side of their oppressors, who is owned after all by their oppressors.

And so we made this impassioned public plea, Dave was there with me on his bare knees, Gary was there, we handed over our petitions, and heard nothing. Not a thing. No one who signed any of those letter received a reply. We heard through the grapevine that Colorado College was basically standing in support of the KRCC station manager’s decision. Only just a week ago or so, we all saw in the Independent, the article about KRCC and some confusion about its funding, where on the issue of Democracy Now, the college declared that it considered the request to have come from only a “small faction.”

So the meeting tomorrow night, excuse me, Monday night is going to be the showdown between the community represented by its small faction, and Colorado College. We’ve dropped the explicit request for Democracy Now in hope that the meeting will represent more voices from the community about what its concerns may be about KRCC. The issue isn’t so much about Democracy Now, it’s about how does a community express itself to one of its representatives, in this case a station manager who insists that Colorado Springs is populated by nothing but conservatives and easily-offended Luddites.

One of the ideas which could come up at Monday’s meeting will be the popular local news show Western Skies. Some thought by the recent funding disinformation circulated by KRCC, that Western Skies is on the chopping block. Nothing could be further from the truth, as attested by Colorado College president Dick Celeste’s letters to both the Gazette and the Independent. Western Skies puts together a half-hour news show twice a week. It’s very popular. Let’s hear how many of you like Western Skies! Well why not have that show on every day? Can you imagine the kind of coverage we could get for local happenings, local non-profit efforts, partisan efforts, even locally owned businesses, if we had local news on a daily basis? Let’s hear how many of you would favor that idea!

Okay, so I’m here tonight to ask you to bring that voice to the meeting on Monday. Colorado College is looking to see how serious we are about speaking as a community. We’ve got to show them on Monday night.

Let me just say that I believe that the political battle begins with the media. We’ve got to reclaim the media if we are to achieve even a portion of our political goals this year, or ever. And by political goals, I’m talking about saving our country of course, about an agenda to tackle social inequality, to provide a safety net, to save our civil rights, to rescue really is what I mean, to rescue our right to elect a government which represents us. All those things. We are not going to win on those issues if we cannot take our case to the American people. It doesn’t matter how much money we raise to pay the media to carry our message, if the media wants to spin our message in the favor of its owners, of the upper business corporate class, there’s nothing of our message that is going to get through to the people.

A friend of mine was telling me tonight, she’s not very political. She doesn’t see much point to political parties. They’re divisive she says. She would prefer that politicians would brush aside political affiliations and sit down together to work out solutions for the American people.

Now you being fairly active, or activated, political Democrats probably see the naivety of her argument. Let me explain why I think she’s being idealistic and I’d like to see if you agree with me.

If politicians were civil servants indeed sitting down to work out solutions, that would be one thing. But we know that’s not the case. With the division of Republicans and Democrats are two groups sitting down, one of whom has their hands at the levers, making the trouble, and the other side, our side, is trying to undo it. Am I right on this point? The Republican, let’s call them the corporate cheap-labor, landowner party is trying to get away with whatever it can, and the Democratic party is left to try to to fight for the diminishing power of the rest of the world’s population. Is that right? Do I have that right?

Now accusations can be made that a number of the Democrats are fighting on the side of the landowners. And frankly I believe it. I know just enough about how politics does not work, to ask the silly question, can’t we get rid of those Democrats? Can’t we just expel them? Let ’em be Republicans if they want to so badly. We don’t need to be putting our grassroots efforts into backing their turncoat behavior. Anyway, that’s my opinion. I feel that way about torture, about the war, about health care, about the environment, about civil rights, about judicial review and the balance of power keeping the executive branch from acting like a dictatorship.

Now I will assert that we need a media which will reflect this battle for what it is. If we want to preserve this democracy, we have to have a democracy. We have to reach the American public, and we need to reach them with a level, balanced message.

I’ve spoken passionately, but you know that I haven’t spoken out of line, I haven’t exaggerated the situation, have I? Have I? I believe I’ve represented an objective concern for where this country is going. We need a media which will do that.

We have to reclaim this media, and we can start with the only place we have even a toehold and that’s public radio. Please come on Monday night to speak out for the reform we need. The airwaves belong to us. They’re like the public libraries, like the public lands set aside to preserve -in England they’re called the Public Trust. The public airwaves belong to us, and they need to speak for us. Please come!

Thank you!

Iraq War protest concept 2 LONG DISTANCE CONNECTION

A red telephone will float at the surface of an open steel barrel filled with red liquid. The sides of the barrel will be covered with pictures of Iraqi civilian casualties. The handset will be coated with red syrup.

When the handset is handled and held close to the ear, a looped recording will feature the voice of a friend or relative over a long distance telephone line:

“I don’t know anyone who’s gone to Iraq. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who’s gone to Iraq. I don’t know what’s happening there at all. It doesn’t really touch my life. I feel kind of strange about it I guess. It just doesn’t have anything to do with me.”

Returning the handset to the phone, one’s hand will appear bloodied.

Olympics politicized

The Olympic looks like a rich man’s game.
An exclusive country club of photogenic faces,
the exceptions of which stand out rudely against
the art-directed scenes and so are avoided by the cameras.

In this age of Tiger Woods,
African physical prowess on white turf,
where are the black swimmers? black gymnasts?
black beach-volleyball stars?

And it’s all stars. I saw an unknown come in second
in the bike marathon. The news people didn’t know
anything about him, there hadn’t been a profile,
his win was unexpected, he was a Portuguese.
They ignored him. Perhaps he had not been vetted.
We saw him only in long shot.

And all those chances the athletes get
in front of the camera, to say something,
to speak out against what’s happening in the world.
The diciplined and obviously intelligent athletes
no doubt have an opinion, a normal average consciousness,
but nothing.

The Olympics should not be politicized?
But they are politicized with the Iraqi soccer team.
The Iraqi soccer team was a “Rocky Balboa story,”
overcoming the odds, flown in by British troops,
no longer in jeopardy of Uday’s wrath.

The Bush people are using the Iraqi team in ads,
and the media are using them to drive a point home.
I heard an NBC commentator say -actually say-
when contemplating the Iraqi team:
“It’s as if the world were at peace.”