Wednesday, July 13, 2016

CARRYING ON CRANKY OR ALL LIVES DON'T MATTER


I could get behind All Lives Matter when or IF the folks who came up with the riff on BLM actually acted like they believe it.

 Black lives don't matter to them. I'm still trying to figure out how that Harvard research group came up with their so called facts. 

 Brown lives don't matter when all Hispanics get lumped in with the undocumented even though some of those Hispanic families have been in this country a lot longer than say Trump's, Santorum's, Rubio's or Scalia's.

Women's lives, especially poor women's lives don't matter when low cost, life saving testing is blocked in the name of religious bigotry, Women's lives don't matter when the owners of a Y chromosome are allowed to split hairs over the definition of rape. Women's lives don't matter when they're told if you didn't get drunk, didn't dress the way you did or go where you did you wouldn't have been attacked. 

Those who don't fit the accepted stereotype of classic male/female don't matter when bigoted churchmen tell them they should stay in the closet, keep their mouths shut, or worse still die. LBBT lives don't matter when pastors in their so called church services respond to a mass shooting with "too bad more didn't die," 

Third World lives obviously don't matter. The bombs, planes, ammo and training that ripped Central America apart in the eighties and nineties came labeled Made in America. And that's just for starters.

The lives of the working and lower middle classes obviously don't matter when good jobs get outsourced overseas to gain a point or two in the stock market. And those who don't make enough to pay taxes at the federal level or don't pay very much are told they're not contributing their fair share. Tell that to the people who haul your garbage, fix your roads repair your big ass pick ups and SUV's. Tell that to the folks who check your groceries and stock the shelves, Tell that to the small scale farmers who put food on your groaning tables. Tell that to the third world farmers who got suckered into planting Monsanto and Dow crops, are now in debt up to their hairlines and committing suicide. 

 In too many cities the lives of the homeless don't matter when laws are passed that make it illegal to sit down much less sleep on public property. The lives of the mentally ill don't matter when having a breakdown or melt down can get you arrested or killed. 

 The lives of the rest of Creation don't matter when we burn, blast, frack, poison and destroy habitat. Guess I'll wait on the ALL Lives Matter until they prove they really believe it,

Until then I'm really, really tired.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DEPORTEE


Deportee
(also known as "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos")
Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Martin Hoffman
The crops are all in and the peaches are rott'ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They're flying 'em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again
Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won't have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be "deportees"
My father's own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.
Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.
The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, "They are just deportees"
Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except "deportees"?



Woody Guthrie wrote the words, Willie Nelson and the Highwaymen covered it. It seems strangely appropriate right now.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

DON'T REPLAY THE '68 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

Nice little story in the local paper about the canceled democratic convention in Nevada this weekend . They closed down early because of the violent actions of some Sanders supporters, Of course a talking head put out a statement. Typical word salad. "We don't condone violence, yadda yadda, etc. etc." How about a firm "knock it off already, you're sounding like the Tea Partying KKK." Of course you can't really get through to “true” believers. No matter how hard you try.
Sanders, you'd better pull up your big boy pants. Don't leave this to your handlers. Make it perfectly, crystal clear that physical and verbal violence, especially threatening someone's life is over the line, not cool, bad news, and likely to blow up in your faces. Also over the line. Throwing chairs, cups, whatever you can lay your selfish little paws on will not play well with many democratic voters, much less the middle of the roaders you need to get your man elected. If he manages to get the nomination. And your antics leave me cold. As in single digits cold. 
To the nutjobs who are doing this, the party does not need a replay of the 1968 Chicago convention. Of course YOU probably weren't even born yet. Helped elect Tricky Dick Nixon. And Trump is infinitely worse.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

GOT ME WONDERING

Just started a bio of General George Marshall WWII head of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State under Truman and Eisenhower. Quiet, well trained, confident, honest. Have to contrast him with Donald Trump.

Face it when somebody has to boast about his business "triumphs," his female conquests, his out and out lies that apparently don't matter to his supporters, his misogyny. It looks to me like Trump is really a scared little boy pretending to be a man. There's nobody home. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

FORTY SIX YEARS AND COUNTING

Neil Young wrote it. Crosby Stills and Nash covered it. And not a damn thing has changed. Trump makes Nixon look like Mother Theresa. We're still at war. Too many of our fellow citizens can't understand, or choose not to understand, why many of our fellow humans either hate our guts or just wish we'd leave them the hell alone. 

"Ohio"

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
I remember an article in Reader's digest about the killings. The totally false and disgusting stories spread about the dead. Especially the girls. This is not the world I expected to be living in when I was an undergrad at the U of O. 

I don't give a damn if you hate Hillary or if you hate Bernie. Just take a long look at the probable Republican candidate. And try to imagine him with the go codes for the nukes. Terrifying isn't ut

Friday, March 18, 2016

MOURN MY PEOPLE

We thought is was bad in the sixties and seventies. How in name of all that's holy did we end up here? Read the history of the marches in the north. The hate then and the hate now. Oh God/dess. So many years and so little change. 

MOURN MY PEOPLE
Vic Mcteer

Mourn my people, mourn, there is no hope.
Mourn black brothers, Armageddon is sure.
Mourn Coretta King, your lament is their shame,
Mourn black boy; with his life went yours.
There is no hope.

Mourn black mother, a son we've lost tonight,
Mourn peaceful man, with his love went yours.
Mourn militant, your fears are justified.
There is no hope.
Mourn black people. His words of love are gone.
His hopes vanished.
There is no hope.

Mourn rioter, they have proven you right.
Mourn gleeful white. You laugh at your own funeral.
Mourn the death of Martin Luther King
He lived and taught in love and died in life consuming hate.

Who will follow?
Mourn white man.
There is no hope.
Retribution is here.
There is no hope.
There is no hope.

From Drum Major for a Dream: Poetic tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. Reprinted in 2002 by the Writer's workshop. In India. I repeat this volume was originally printed and reprinted not in the US but in India. Perhaps because it was the home of Gandhi. Truly ironic. Originally printed in 1976. And look where we are now.



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

IT'S OK BY ME

I see I've lost a few followers. A couple when I hadn't posted for a few months. And a couple after my post about the little darling that went to her teacher in tears because a classmate told her he didn't go to church or believe in God. If you don't agree that's fine with me.

However I'll stick by my original entry. It's never to soon to point out to children, politely, that they are going to run into people who do not agree with them and/or do not share their beliefs. If she's going to turn on the water works every time this happens she's going to be crying a lot.

Frankly I can't imagine a child that age really caring about this unless the parents put her up to it. And now that I think about it I can imagine one scenario. It has to do with the so called Chick Tracts. There is at least one story line where a little boy learns that his neighbor/friend has been killed in an accident. The boy is told that his friend is in hell because his parents didn't get him baptized. That scenario bringing on tears I can understand. And frankly ranks as child abuse in my book. 

The tracts are basically anti damn near everything up to and including any translation of the Bible that isn't some form of the King James translation. Basically anti gay, anti evolution, anti Muslim, anti almost everybody. Back in the day the Campus Crusade for Chisters would slip into the dorm in the middle of day when most of us were out and leave them in the bathroom and in front of our doors. I don't think they converted anyone. LOL 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

FURTHER AWAY THAN EVER

I WANT TO LIVE

words and music by John Denver

There are children raised in sorrow
On a scorched and barren plain.
There are children raised beneath a golden sun.
There are children of the water,
Children of the sand.
And they cry out through the universe
There voices raised as one.

I want to live, I want to grow.
I want to see, I want to know.
I want to share what I can give.
I want to be, I want to live.

Have you gazed out on the ocean,
Seen the breaching of a whale?
Have you watched the dolphins frolic in the foam?
Have you heard the song the humpback hears
Five hundred miles away,
Telling tales of ancient history, of passages and home?

I want to live, I want to grow.
I want to see, I want to know.
I want to share what I can give.
I want to be, I want to live.

For the worker and the warrior,
The lover and the liar.
For the native and the wanderer in kind.
For the make, and the user,
And the mother and her son.
I am looking for my family
And all of you are mine.

We are standing all together
Face to face and arm in arm.
We are standing on the threshold of a dream.
No more hunger, no more killing.
No more wasting life away.
It is simply an idea and I know its time has come.

I want to live, I want to grow.
I want to see, I want to know.
I want to share what I can give.
I want to be, I want to live.....I want to live.

Copyright 1971 Cherry Lane Music Co.


It's almost forty years since John Denver wrote this song. Forty years and the dream not only hasn't been fulfilled, it gets further away every year.

There was another so called debate with the Republican candidates last night. They fell all over themselves justifying the use of torture. More than one of them has threatened to “carpet bomb” the Middle East. Some of them seem to believe that nukes are just bigger and better TNT. The forced birthers insist all children have the right to be born. It seems to be the only right they have.

And we have hundreds of thousands of refugee children, or children in war zones whose hopes don'e go as far as seeing dolphins or whales. They are reduced to just trying to get enough food, shelter or simply surviving for another day only to be branded as "terrorists." God/dess save us. 


Forget about decent food, clean water, jobs that pay enough to raise a family, an education or some kind access to basic health care. You and your family are on your own and frankly we don't give a flying fuck what happens to you. Roll the Republicans into one candidate and you still would be stuck with a psychopath or a sociopath, certainly nothing resembling a human being.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WHOSE GARDEN WAS THIS

I've posted this before and I see no reason to change a word. Except that it's getting worse all the time. There's a methane leak in California that's at one hundred plus days and counting. It could have been prevented if the well had a shut off valve. But the state didn't require one, so.....

WHOSE GARDEN WAS THIS

Whose garden was this, it must have been lovely.
Did it have flowers?
I've seen pictures of flowers.
And I'd love to have smelled one.


Whose river was this, you say it ran freely.
Blue was its color.
And I've seen blue in some pictures.
And I'd love to have been there.


Tell me again I need to know.
The forest had trees, the meadows were green.
The oceans were blue and birds really flew.
Can you swear that it's true.

Whose grey sky was this?
Or was it a blue one?
You say there were breezes.
I've heard records of breezes.
And I'd love to have felt one.


Tell me again I need to know.
The forest had trees, the meadows were green.
The oceans were blue and birds really flew.
Can you swear that it's true.

Whose garden was this, it must have been lovely.
Did it have flowers?
I've seen pictures of flowers.
And I'd love to have smelled one.


Tell me again I need to know.
Tell me again I need to know.
Tell me again I need to know.
Tell me again I need to know.

Words and music by Tom Paxton. Covered by John Denver about 1970

I don’t really know what to make of these lyrics. But listening John Denver sing this song is enough to break your heart.

Is this a nightmare of now or the far future? God/dess knows we have enough nightmares in our own time. The dates suggest the song is pre EPA era. And here we have a concerted effort to gut the EPA. Supposedly this will create jobs. I’ve even run across comments that take the stand that given a choice between jobs and the environment, the environment comes dead last. And you can’t get through to them. If we destroy the environment the jobs aren’t going to matter very much.

So, what is the world in this song? Is it the remains a jungle in Viet Nam after Agent Orange was dropped on it? The remains of an equatorial rainforest? The spreading of the Sahara? The wrecked neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn?

Or is this a nightmare out of the finale of Soylant Green or the novel Stand on Zanzibar? A future when flowers, trees, blue skies, free flowing rivers, unspoiled oceans, and even birds are remembered in pictures and folk tale? Something your doddering great grandparents tell stories about? “I’ve seen pictures of flowers. And I’d loved to have smelled one.”


Goddess, may it never come to that. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

BACK IN THE GAME, I HOPE

I've been out of the loop for awhile. It's a long story. 

And frankly there's not a lot of new things I can say about this election cycle, but this caught my attention. 


Granted this story is a few months old, but this is wrong on several levels. Oh, the poor little girl whose feelings were hurt when her class mate said he didn't believe in God or go to church. Who the hell has been brain washing this kid? And get used to it, honey. You are going to run into plenty of people who don't share your beliefs during your life. Might as well get used to it now rather than later.
It was none of the teacher's business. It's never too soon to impart the above information to his or her students. Politely and briefly. Don't ask who put the kid up to it, but do keep your eyes and ears open in case little Sally pulls the same stunt again.
Then another adult got involved, sympathized with the little darling. The boy was forced to sit by himself during lunch period for three days for "upsetting" his classmate.
Can you imagine how her fellow classmates are going to feel around this little sociopath in training? Harsh words I know, but this is one of the reasons so many of us learned to keep our opinions and beliefs to ourselves. And now look where we are as a result of not standing up for our beliefs twenty or thirty years ago.
Fundamentalist intimidation at its finest (worst).
And to the seven year old. Hang on to your truth with both hands.
As I said, who is brainwashing the first kid. Whether my class mates were going to church was the last thing on my mind when I was seven. Now, being bored to tears with See Spot run? That was near the top of my list.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT

Several county clerks in Kentucky are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples based on their "Christian" beliefs. Basically they're arguing nullification. An idea that rears its ugly head every couple of generations or so.

One clerk's argument is that the voters in Kentucky passed a ballot measure and how can the Supreme Court say that it's wrong? Well, like it or not the Supreme Court is the final arbiter on what is constitutional and what isn't going back to Marbury vs. Madison under chief justice John Marshall. Frankly, which of your civil rights would you want to leave to the tender mercies of your neighbors?

As an example. Back in the seventies Oregonians had a bumper sticker "Don't Californicate Oregon." I'm sure there were some of us would have liked to pass laws that kept "furriners" out. The Courts would have ruled such laws were unconstitutional, and rightly so.

The constitution has a mechanism to deal with his complaints. It's called an amendment.. You don't like what's happening? Try to amend the constitution. Good thing that it only takes thirteen states to block you.

You aren't being persecuted, far from it. Being required to respect the rights of others is not persecution it's just a fact of life. Live with it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

THE HIRED HELP CONTINUED

I totally forgot about the police, fire fighters and EMT's when I wrote yesterday's post. I'm a fan of Blue Bloods and a first season episode pegged rookie Jamie Reagans's pay at under $47.000. Subtract the standard deduction and I guess Jamie isn't "pulling his weight." Even though like most other cops he's basically on call 24/7.

Big brother is a detective and their average salary is in the upper eighty grand neighborhood. Which is probably why the wife went back to work as an ER nurse. Still I'm betting their combined salaries don't put them in the $42,000 tax bracket. With two kids I guess they "aren't pulling their weight" either. Even though one of them is periodically risking his life and the other is trying to save the lives of ungrateful asshats like OldMan. 

I suspect that firefighters and EMT's probably pull down similar wages to run towards events that the rest of us run AWAY from. And remember that seventy one cops and over three hundred fire fighters died when the towers collapsed on 9/11. 

So Mr or Ms I pay eighty grand in taxes just what does it take for the folks who risk their necks to save your life and property to "pull their weight," If you're telling the truth about you taxes you are a sorry excuse for a human being. If you're putting out talking points to echo Romney's forty seven percent you are still a sorry excuse for a human being, 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A WEEK OR TWO WITHOUT THE HIRED HELP

Some folks can't seem to think past the ends of their noses.

If you don't pay at least $12,000 a year in Federal Taxes, you aren't even paying your own way! And less than $2,000 of that is for welfare. So if you have 2 children and a wife, you need to be paying $48,000 a year in Federal Taxes, just to be paying YOUR OWN WAY!

So for all you Party Of Stupid (POS) Whiners...You're welcome! I pay almost $80,000 a year, so I'm paying your way too! 

Unless you are in the 5%, you should stop whining, as it makes you look like an entitlement baby!”

Ran across this charming bit of philosophy on the net yesterday. Frankly I don't know if this person really pays $80.000 a year in taxes or if this is the opening salvo in this election cycles's version of Mitt Romney's “47 percent.” Anyway I decided to have a little fun. 

After spending some time with the IRS tax tables you'd have to be pulling down about sixty grand a year to owe about $12,000 in taxes. And then to have this sorry excuse for human being tell us that if you have a family you should be paying a hell of a lot more. How many average Joe's do you know who make close to two hundred thousand a year?

Anyway that got me thinking. In my scenario this person lives in a big city, say New York or Boston, has a nice apartment and their very own parking space.  Perhaps this is how a  couple of weeks might play out if the little folks who really keep the country going just don't show up.

You're getting ready for work, your housekeeper is due in today. She calls in sick, doesn't know when she'll be in. You usually stop at the local deli for breakfast. It's closed. The owner, the cook and the person who runs the register haven't shown up. Hungry, you head for the office. The doorman is missing. The guy/gal at the front desk is missing. You get to your office. No receptionist, no office assistant. Your computer is wonky. No techies available. The phone is ringing off the hook and you have to answer it yourself. Too bad.

Time to head home. The engine sounds a little rough so you swing by your favorite garage. Nobody there. Guess you'll have to take a cab tomorrow. You get home to your grubby apartment and fix dinner (I'm assuming this doofus is single) cupboards are starting to look a little scant. Better swing by the neighborhood bodega in the next couple of days,

The engine may be running rough but you still have to get to work. The streets are strangely quiet. No cabs, no buses and almost no subways. Nobody to drive them. Ignoring the chattering engine you discover that the situation at the office is the same as yesterday. Recalling the state of the larder you head out a little early via the bodega. It's closed. Not even the owner is in sight. Did you really think that guy made that much money a year?

Your favorite place for dinner is closed. No cooks, bartenders, wait staff or bussers. They sure as hell don't make that kind of money. Hell, tipped staff often don't even make federal minimum wage. The engine may still be missing but tomorrow is Saturday; a good time to head for a real grocery store. Unfortunately the shelves are looking bare. There haven't been any grocery deliveries for three days and most of the stockers, checkers and deli staff appear to have also disappeared into the unknown.

You manage a loaf bread that's a little stale, some lunch meat that hasn't hit the expiration date, some wilted vegetables and some canned goods. To make life even more interesting your gas tank is below half full. The gas station is open but you can't get all you need because there haven't been any fuel deliveries for several days and the manager is trying to stretch supplies. Between explanations he/she is manning the cash register. Don't bother to go searching for another station. They're in the same straights.

You manage to get through the weekend. Comes Monday, oh did I mention it's July and there's a heatwave, and your neighborhood is beginning to smell a little “ripe.” The trash haulers are AWOL, too.

First of the week and no improvement. When you stagger into your apartment that evening the lights are flickering. Turns out your power comes from a coal fired plant and they haven't gotten any deliveries for more than a week. By midweek your apartment is a mess. You're being hit with rolling blackouts and “please don't use the AC” because we don't know when the coal is coming in. As the lights go out again you find yourself wondering if living near a nuclear power plant would be a good or a bad situation.

So Mr. or Ms. (I'm assuming it's a guy since the sign in was OldMan) I pay $80.000 in taxes you've just been brought to your knees because all the peons you dissed in your comment just disappeared a la A Day Without a Mexican. Without all those little people cleaning houses, manning the cash registers, stocking the shelves, waiting tables, delivering the food or gas and picking up the garbage your comfortable life grinds to a halt. It just might be a good idea to show a little respect now and then.


Think about it. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

MASTERS OF WAR

Senator Tom Cotton believes we can bomb Iran's nuclear capabilities back to zero  with no repercussions. Tommy this old Bob Dylan is just for you. 

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run further
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
The runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggeers
For the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world.
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
I might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do,

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you thing that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.


Bob Dylan

What else is there to say?