Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sad Story - Democrats

"We don't have a representative government anymore."

  As President Obama and the Democrats once again go through the motions of democracy in the process of giving their paymasters what they want, and giving the radical right wing of the Republican Party more than it could have hoped for, long-time Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg lets us know what voters have been telling him about Democrats. Democrats, the people tell him, turn their stomachs.

A Better World

My last post included examples of bad manners and hostility disguised as conversation. Regarding manners, I'm not debating whether manners are dying out or whether they are passé or old fashioned. I'm making the point that manners are a social shorthand for civility, and are so commonly known to be so, that it can be said that manners are civility.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fear Itself

To You Yet Living

or Dead In The Desert

If all goes according to my wishes my body will dry to dust in the desert somewhere and never be found and this will be the last you ever hear from me.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Islamaphobic US Media

The corporate-owned, mainstream media is coming under justified criticism for rushing to blame Islam for the bombing and shootings yesterday in Norway, attacks for which, police say, a Conservative Christian has confessed. The media watchdog web site The Spy Report sums it up nicely:

It would be easy to dismiss these criticisms as the product purely of hindsight. But media organisations and their journalists were in a position throughout to make careful and considered judgements about how they approached the story when access to verifiable information was still patchy. Instead, too many of them chose to engage in an irresponsible game of assumptions and presumptions

The rush to condemn Islam whenever there is a incident of violence is the consequence of several developments: continual warmongering and demonization of those the US elite wants to kill by successive US governments, the media's complicity in that, the lack of standards and a sense of ethics within the media -- recall the New York Times Judith Miller and her front page transcriptions of easily verifiable fabrications in the lead-up to the War Against Iraq. Recall the platform given by the mainstream media to racists like Pamela Gellar, Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck. Recall everything Fox news does. Recall Nancy Grace of CNN, who as a Georgia prosecutor was charged three times with ethics violations and now makes a living judging high profile criminal cases from a distance without any evidence.

Among those irresponsibly blaming Islam for the Norway attacks were the New York Times, the Washington Post, Reuters, and of course, of course, you knew they would, Fox News. The New York Times has altered its story but added material excusing its earlier rush to judgment.

The Spy Report's commentary is here. Media Matters comments here.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Israel Army To Investigate

Did the Israeli soldier on the left really point his loaded rifle at the unarmed Palestinian cab driver on the right? Or did the Palestinian thrust a gun into the hands of the Israeli soldier and then quickly jump in front of it? The Israeli military will sort it all out and let us know later, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The photo is a still from video posted on the web site  of BTselem, an Israeli group that documents civil rights violations against Palestinians. Their web site is chock full of examples.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Republicans Jospeh McCarthy and Susana Martinez

Republicans and Democracy

One of the most chilling images leftover from one of the most disgusting episodes in US history, McCarthyism, the witch hunt for Communists led by Republican Senator Joeseph McCarthy in the 1950s, where McCarthy hauled scores of US citizens before his Un American Activities Committee and tried to force them to name any Communists or "Communist sympathizers" they knew, is of McCarthy's claim to have a list of known Communists and Communist sympathizers in his vest pocket. Which list never materialized.

In the current witch hunt for non existent voter fraud in New Mexico, Republican Governor Susanna Martinez' secretary of state also claims to have evidence of voter fraud. Which evidence has never materialized.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Material conditions, and relations of production being what they are in the current epoch, there are times I'd like to just buy a season's pass to McDonald's and be done with it.

But most of the time I am thinking that there is hope for a more just, more equitable, more socialist if not anarcho-syndicalist future, that is, when I am feeling normal, that is, irrational, I pretty much eat a good diet -- organic, vegan, natural, all natural, au natural, low in fat, high in nutrition, not afflicted with either wicked spells or evil curses and sufficient in vitamins of all different kinds.

It is in this vein I'd like to mention the Mexican soda pop Jarritos, which is to be found in most supermarkets now, in the Mexican food section, and which is sweetened with sugar.

High fructose corn syrup, which sweetens any other soda pop I know of, and most other things that used to contain sugar, is thought to be associated with all kinds of modern ailments like obesity and kidney disease. I saw a major brand of soda pop not long ago in a special display in the supermarket that advertised the fact that, for a limited time, it was available sweetened with sugar.

Jarritos is always sweetened with sugar, and also, most varieties are flavored with natural fruit flavoring.

It comes in several flavors American soda pop does not. Tamarind, for instance, my favorite, I think, which has an unusual, interesting flavor that I'd say is slightly pungent, in the ways that some wines or fermented foods are. There's a lime flavor. Not lemon lime, just lime. And watermelon.

I also like it that it comes in glass bottles. There is widespread belief among people concerned with healthy diets that plastic containers leach chemicals into the products they contain that, among other things, interfere with reproduction in adults and cause neurological problems in fetuses.

Jarritos, Spanish for little jars, has been manufactured since 1950. You'll need a bottle opener to open your bottle of Jarritos. I even like that. It's the only use I've had in years for that bottle and can opener that has been sitting patiently in my silverware drawer, turning brown with rust. Ole.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who Wants To Go To Syria?

With Guns

If the video link doesn't work it can be viewed here with English subtitles or here without. Either way it gets disturbing toward the end.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dear Congressman Heinrich,

I see that you are a co-sponsor of HR 268, which is designed to channel the Palestinians away from seeking statehood and back into endless negotiations.

That is, I see that you support Israel's strategy of endless negotiations, which have gone on for 40 years now, while Israel gobbles up more Palestinian land through illegal settlements and by other means.

That is, endless negotiations for the sole purpose of realizing the Zionist Dream of a Greater Israel, which you should know about and I think do know about.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Richard Forer Interviewed On Community Television

Albuquerque's Richard Forer, former AIPAC member, now Palestinian rights activist, is interviewed by the al Nakba Project about his book Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion - A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict.

Forer's book, which I reviewed in January, describes his transformation from a non critical supporter of Zionism to that tall guy who, in between trips to Palestine and Washington to attend protests and give talks, stands with those other protesters along Central Avenue in Nob Hill every weekend holding up a sign protesting US military aid to Israel.

In his book, which I highly recommend, he describes the personal transformation he went through when a he began reading a series of books recommended to him by a Jewish friend, books like Beyond Chutzpa by Norman Finklestein, that blow the lid off the mythology that has been built up around Israel and its formation, and refute the excuses Israel and its supporters put forth for its behavior until today.

Forer also gives a concise, yet thorough history of Zionism, from before Israel's formation up through the bloody al Nakba, that is, the formation of Israel, in which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes, or if not were massacred, and on up to the present. I've not read a more thorough account of all of it all in one place. As I said in the review, it's the best case against Zionism I've ever read.

But it is also a guidebook, hopefully, for other Jews like himself , or like he was, who see all Arabs as the mortal enemy of Israel and think Israel is justified in the way it still treats the Palestinians -- those who survived the Nakba and whose lands Israel still occupies -- to see their way clear of the hatred, the fear, the delusions, the denial, the inhumanity, that grip the soul of the Zionist state of Israel and have come to threaten its existence as a home and a refuge for the Jewish people. 

Forer's book is available through his web site or at, and is now also available either place for download as an e-book.

The al Nakba Project, which produced the interview, is "a small Domestic Nonprofit corporation registered in Oregon" that exists for the purpose of education, activism, mobilization and "support for non violent efforts to bring freedom, justice and equality to the holy land."


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Palestine Needs Our Help.

Organizers of the Freedom Flotilla trying to break the siege of Gaza ask that you contact people in the US and Greek governments, which, bowing to pressure from Israel, are holding up the flotilla in a Greek port. Some of the boats are being held up by legal hurdles put in place by Israel, and some of the boats have been damaged by Israeli agents whom the Greeks, apparently, did not detect.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Passing Time In A Time Of War

The wildfire continues to expand that threatens the nation's nuclear bomb plant at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where deadly plutonium waste is stored above ground in metal drums. It is being said that the so-called Los Conchas (the shells) fire is now the largest in New Mexico's history. This Friday afternoon view of smoke from the fire buring in the Jemez Mountains, taken at San Ysidro, NM, shows the smoke plumes turning to a cloud of haze that drifts down the Rio Grande Valley into Albuquerque.

Books For The Blind

 (Left: a truck driver listening to War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy's novel about the Napoleonic wars. It is hotly debated among truck drivers whether it's OK to read the Russians in translation instead of the original Russian. At the Petro truck stop in West Memphis recently, a discussion about what, exactly, the brothers Karamazov might be archetypes of, ended up in a brawl.

(Safety Tip: Always fasten your seat belt when you see a police car.)

Audio books are one of the joys of my life. Gradually, I'm getting reading done I should have done while skating through high school and college. A surprising discovery I've made is that so-called literary classics are actually good books.
(Tolstoy, by the way, says history is not made by famous people like a Napoleon or a Czar Alexander, but that they are merely expressions of the will of the masses... think about it.) (And say that to a Republican county chairperson standing in front of a poster of Ronald Reagan, see the eyes widen and narrow, hear iron gates deep in their mind creak and crush up against the piles of boulders.)