Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Heinrich and Udall and GMOs

New Mexico:Heinrich (D-NM), YeaUdall (D-NM), Yea

Bernie Sanders of Vermont had introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill being debated in the senate that would have allowed states to require food companies to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms. Not required, allowed. The Democratic controlled senate rejected the amendment 71-27.

New Mexico's senators, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, voted for the amendment, i.e., for GMO labeling.

I remember when the federal legislation was passed in the waning days of the George W Bush administration that made it against the law for states to require GMO labeling. It was rushed into law because California was about to require GMO labeling. It was one of the last things our former congressperson, the notorious Heather Wilson, voted for.

If you're ever having a bad day,  just remember, Heather's gone. She's in South Dakota teaching hillbillies how to drill for oil.



Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembering Those Who Served And Those Who Didn't

On this Memorial Day I came across this list of prominent politicians and pundits and their service records posted by Elwood P Dowd, which he calls "The list of republican cowards, draft dodgers and chickenhawks."

Service Records – Comparing Democrats To Republicans


David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72
Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, etc
Jimmy Carter: Lt. Commander in the Navy 1946-53
Wesley Clark: Army 1966-2000, Vietnam, Silver star, purple heart
Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver/Bronze stars, Vietnam
Bill Clinton: Did not serve (opposed war)
Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72
Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze star
Michael Dukakis: Army 1955-57
John Edwards: Did not serve
Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71
John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs; Air Medal w/18 Clusters
Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam as journalist
Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74
Howell Heflin: Silver star WWII
Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze star
Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII
Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53
Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam
John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver/Bronze stars, purple hearts
Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII
Jim McDermott: Navy 1968-70
George McGovern: Silver star & DFC during WWII
Zell Miller: Marine Corps, 1953-56
Walter Mondale: Army 1951-53\
John Murtha: Retired Marine officer and decorated Vietnam combat veteran
Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver star, etc
Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze star, Korea
Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-79; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91
Chuck Robb: U.S. Marine Corps, 1961-70, Vietnam
Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57
Mike Thompson: Staff Sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart
John Conyers – US Army


Spencer Abraham: Did not serve
Eliot Abrams: Did not serve
Richard Armitage: Navy, three tours in Vietnam
John Ashcroft: Did not serve
Roy Blunt: Did not serve
Michael Bloomberg: Did not serve
George W. Bush: Texas Air Nat. Guard; skipped duty; didn't take physical; suspended from flying
Jeb Bush: Did not serve
Saxby Chambliss: Did not serve. Attacked Cleland's patriotism
Dick Cheney: Did not serve
Christopher Cox: Did not serve
Tom DeLay: Did not serve
John Engler: Did not serve
Douglas Feith: Did not serve
Bill Frist: Did not serve
Newt Gingrich: Did not serve
Rudy Giuliani: Did not serve
Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer
Phil Gramm: Did not serve
Dennis Hastert: Did not serve
Tim Hutchison: Did not serve
Jack Kemp: Did not serve. "Knee problem," continued in NFL for 8 years
Jon Kyl: Did not serve
Trent Lott: Did not serve
John McCain: POW in Vietnam, Legion of Merit, Silver star, DFC, many more
Mitch McConnell: Did not serve
John McHugh: Did not serve
George Pataki: Did not serve
Richard Perle: Did not serve
Colin Powell: 35 years in Army, 4-star general
Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard
Dana Rohrabacher: Did not serve
Karl Rove: Did not serve
Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor
Rick Santorum: Did not serve
Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base
Richard Shelby: Did not serve
JC Watts: Did not serve
Vin Weber: Did not serve
Paul Wolfowitz: Did not serve
Andy Card – no service
Condi Rice – no service
John Bolton – no service
Don Nichols – no service
David Dreier - no service

Pundits, Preachers, and Judges

Bill Bennett: Did not serve
Wolf Blitzer: Did not serve
Pat Buchanan: Did not serve
Mann Coulter: Did not serve
Charlie Daniels: Did not serve
Lou Dobbs: Did not serve
Paul Gigot: Did not serve
Sean Hannity: Did not serve
Bill Kristol: Did not serve
Rush Limbaugh: Did not serve
Chris Matthews: Did not serve
Michael Medved: Did not serve
Ted Nugent: Did not serve
Bill O'Reilly: Did not serve
Dan Rather: Army Reserves
Ralph Reed: Did not serve
Michael Savage: Did not serve
Antonin Scalia: Did not serve
Kenneth Starr: Did not serve
Clarence Thomas: Did not serve
George Will: Did not serve
Roger Ailes (Fox) – Did not serve
Anne Coulter – Did not serve
Fred Barnes – Did not serve
Gary Bauer – Did not serve
Neil Bortz – Did not serve
Tony Snow - Did not serve
Pat Robertson - US Army
Jerry Falwell - Did not serve


Jim Baca - US Air Force
Bubba Muntzer - US Army

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Public Broadcasting Goes Private -- A Sad Story Just Keeps Getting Worse

The grand experiment in publicly funded broadcasting begun by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and a Liberal Congress to uplift, enrich and inform the American public has failed. The Liberal belief, the product of Marxist thought, that society won't benefit if everything is left up to the market, has lost favor as both political parties have become more conservative since PBS was initiated in the late 1960s. Public media's funding has been slashed again and again, and it has relied more and more on corporate sponsorship, and shown more deference to its corporate funders in terms of programming.

It's been noted how PBS, which funds public TV and pubic radio, never does a story critical of Archer Daniels Midland or its other primary funders. Bill Gates comes to mind. As the conservatism that's now entrenched in both major parties has became more emboldened, its attempts to control the PBS message have increased. Recall how George W Bush installed a PBS head who hired private investigators to monitor programming for Liberal content.

I wrote recently about the hatchet job done on Venezuelan Socialism by Steve Inskeep, the NPR morning show host, and about how, if you wanted to get biased information about Venezuela you'd go straight to Rory Carroll, the Guardian's former Latin America correspondent, which is exactly what Inskeep did.

Inskeep was purportedly in Venezuala to cover its presidential elections, but we heard almost nothing about the election. Instead Inskeep, under the guidance of Carroll and representatives of the Venezuelan oligarchy, taxied out to a few places around Caracas that were supposed to demonstrate the failure of Venezuelan Socialism, which, coincidentally, the conservative US government on behalf of US Capitalism is doing all in its power to discredit and destroy, lest it set a good example for docile Americans and threaten the profits of Capitalism.

Near the top of the Capitalist dogheap right now sit the notorious Koch brothers, who are also among PBS' biggest funders, and the revelations this week about how one of them censored PBS programming that held him in bad light is just the latest sad news in an ongoing, sad, story.

It's also another chapter in a bigger story, about how Capitalism perpetuates itself. Its relentless, inherent tendency toward monopolization has resulted in a US media that's virtually all in the hands of a handful of corporations, six of them -- and this includes ownership by the same corporations of newspapers, television networks and television stations, radio stations, and the film and music industries, and now PBS -- and along with that, the message Americans get, the ideas they are exposed to, the information they get, the range of interpretation and critique of news and ideas and politics, becomes more and more limited, and more of what Capitalism thinks will make us better consumers and more docile workers.

Or would that be more docile consumers and better workers? Take your pick. Think about it. If you can.


You've been indoctrinated if... Someone gets ran over and then hacked to death and the first question you ask is: "Was is terrorism?"

Tweeted by Del Cameron - @dellcam


Friday, May 24, 2013

Police Persecution Of Citizen Journalists

When David Silva of Bakersfield CA died this week after being beaten by police, the first thing police did was confiscate the cell phones of everyone who'd witnessed the beating.

"Citizen journalists" have caught police doing many things since the famous 1991 video taping of the brutal beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police. One that still reverberates is when Oscar Grant of Oakland, CA, was shot in the back by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer on New Year's Day in 2009 while other officers held Grant face down on the ground. At least two BART passengers recorded the shooting with their cell phones.

But more and more, police around the country are finding ways to prevent their misdeeds from becoming known. Citizen journalists, and even professional journalists, have been arrested, threatened with arrest, beaten, and wiretapped for recording police activities on public property.

Confiscating cell phone cameras, as in the Bakersfield case, is pervasive, because police know that when video evidence of their misconduct and crimes gets on the internet, it becomes very difficult to contain the damage.

And now, police have gotten laws passed in some states making it a crime to takes photos or video of police.

When there is no cell phone video, of course, it's next to impossible to receive justice for criminal activity by police. The misconduct is investigated by the police themselves, and the final decision about whether or not to prosecute a case is made by district attorneys, some of whom simply refuse to pursue police misconduct.

Journalist Carlos Miller created the web log Photography Is Not A Crime to keep track of the efforts by police to shield themselves from the truth, after he was arrested in 2007 for photographing police who were questioning a man, and charged with numerous crimes, including resisting arrest, all of which were eventually dropped or overturned.

Sure enough, when I looked up Miller's site tonight for this post I found that he is on top of the Bakersfield case. Two people have had their cell phones returned. One, whose cell phone didn't contain incriminating evidence, had it returned intact. Another, whose cell phone contained incriminating video, had it returned with the incriminating video deleted.

Activate iCloud and video away.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life In America

Life, in America, is cheap.

In England, the two suspects in yesterday's brutal murder of an active duty solider are in the hospital, after being shot by members of a rapid response team. The police showed up having been told the men were armed, with knives, a meat cleaver and a gun.

In Albuquerque, police have killed at least 17 people over the past three years. Many of them were unarmed. One had a butter knife. One had a pair of pliers in a holder on his belt.

In Florida yesterday, FBI agents were questioning a man in relationship to the Boston Marathon bombing in his home when they say he grabbed a knife. They shot him dead.

Again, in England, the police took out their guns and wounded two armed men. Here, whether someone is armed or not, whether they are mentally ill or not, police take out their guns and kill them. In situations where law enforcement has the upper hand, has the person surrounded, has the training and the ability to disable or disarm a suspect, they pull out their guns and kill them, because in America, life is cheap.

In America we love our death penalty and our guns and our military and our police. We kill each other at rates that leave the rest of the world in the dust. We kill foreigners in foreign wars by the millions. Our police have open license to kill.

The district attorney in Albuquerque has never brought charges against a single cop who killed an unarmed person. Never.

In America, life is cheap. America is cheap.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Syrian Question

A column in the center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt General Paper), which is roughly the German equivalent of the New York Times, the nation's paper, lays out the pitfalls of military intervention in Syria by comparing that situation to Iraq and Afghanistan. In those two cases it was relatively easy for the US and its allies to achieve a quick military victory, Gunther Nonnenmacher points out, but the occupations and attempts to build democracy in those two countries have failed. The column was posted today in Watching America, the foreign press translation service that I link to in the right-hand column.

Those lessons are already being ignored when it comes to Syria. President Obama has resisted steady pressure from the right to get the US more military involved in Syria, especially from neocons, as in the example of New York Times columnist Jennifer Rubin. And as Rubin points out, with recent dire warnings in the press about increased Hezzbolah and Iranian involvement in Syria, and about the Syrian regime possibly turning the tide against rebel forces, Democrats in congress are beginning to desert the president, too.

The other argument against intervention in Syria has to do with sectarianism. As in Iraq, and also in Libya, Syria has been one of those countries where, despite what you think or thought about its ruler, sectarian divisions were suppressed and the people identified themselves as Iraqi or Libyan or Syrian, not as Sunni, Shia, Christian or Kurd. Religious fundamentalism was suppressed, and civil rights, although they weren't what we're used to here, were more respected than they are in, for example, Saudi Arabia.

Fortunately, the US public is overwhelmingly against a war in Syria, but public opinion won't necessarily deter the government, and that opinion is liable to change if  the government and the media start waging the kind of propaganda campaigns that paved the way for the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

If Bashar Assad is ousted, the situation in Syria won't improve and will more likely disintegrate. Whether the US and its allies try to import western style democracy there in the absence of the kind of institutions that facilitate it, like political parties and a free press, or whether it's left to devolve into competing tribal fiefdoms, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Syria doesn't end up worse off than it is now.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Who's More Credible: Fox News Or Sponge Bob? You Decide

Liberal Viewer shows how Fox News edited clips of President Obama's press conference to make it appear he was evading questions.

Fox News has done this before. Recall how it has used highly edited clips produced by Andrew Breitbart to destroy the organization ACORN and the reputation of USDA employee Shirley Sherrod.

Left Wing Radio Stations

The Right controls the airwaves and controls public discourse in the country. Led by Clearchannel's 1,200 and some stations, radio is one, if not the prime vehicle by which Rush Limbaugh and the Lesser Republicans have been able to swamp the national consciousness with a one sided argument for conservatism. Practically everyone spends time in their car, where there's always a radio to listen to, and radio continues to be an important medium for the exchange of ideas. Unfortunately, Capitalism being what it is, and telecommunication deregulation being what it's been, the ideas getting exchanged right now come mainly from the Right.

Knowing this, perhaps, a guy named Paul Green started (now added to my blog list) where you can look up, according to where you are, and find yourself some Left Wing radio to support and enjoy. There's almost always at least one left leaning station in any larger market, but even places as small as Taos, NM are apt to have one.

The Left Wing Radio Stations site is one of those attractive, intelligently designed web sites that's easy and actually fun to navigate. It also includes links to some Leftist web based radio. I've found some interesting programs on web based radio that help pass the driving hours and keep me well informed at the same time. Many stations on the site, over the air and web based, make most of their programming downloadable as podcasts, so they can be gotten into an mp3 player somehow, either as a playlist or through iTunes itself if they are listed there, which many are, so you can listen to left wing radio even when you're not in range of a left wing radio station.

KABQ AM1350, which airs the Liberal lineup of Stephanie Miller, Ed Schultz, Randi Rhoades, Norman Goldman, etc. every day right here in Albuquerque (and on Saturday airs the excellent and radically leftist Ring of Fire show with Mike Papantonio and Robert Kennedy Jr) is on the site. All the Pacifica stations, which I'm always promoting, are on the site. Many of those little gems of community stations you come across randomly out on the road sometimes are on the site.

These stations do need our support. They need it so they can survive, and so we can start to make a dent in the oversized arguing power the right has had for way too long now. Check out Left Wing Radio Stations and get started.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

More Perspective On Assata Shakur

More on Assata Shakur comes from Linn Washington Jr, Temple University Professor of Journalism and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and Black Agenda Report, in his weekly column in This Can't Be Happening, a website he runs with several other writers that I occasionally post articles from.

Washington writes about Shakur's trial for the alleged murder of a New Jersey state trooper, which I haven't gone into yet, where half the all-White jurors had ties to the state police, and in which the jury ignored an admission by state police that they had no evidence Shakur committed a murder, such as powder burns on her hands.

Assata Shakur after 1972 arrest and today. This Can't Be Happening graphic
Shakur and two others had been stopped for riding in a car while Black. Shakur was shot in the back by state police while her hands were in the air. One of the other riders in the car was killed and one wounded, and one of the state troopers was killed. It's not known by whom. Shakur was taken to the hospital and charged with murder, and her trial and conviction have been widely condemned.

Washington points out that Shakur writes occasionally but has never advocated terrorism, which is why, the FBI says, they put her on their most wanted terrorist list. He writes,

"Supporters of Shakur contend her terrorist listing moves dangerously beyond relentless revenge rooted in the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO covert war to crush black civil rights and militant activists during the late 1960s and early 1970s (including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). A U.S. Senate investigating committee in 1975 blasted COINTELPRO's blatant attacks on constitutionally protected activities during an attempt by the FBI to sustain America's racist status quo.

Shakur supporters see that terror listing as another step in expanding the Terror War’s assault on domestic dissidents and erosions of civil liberties including the First Amendment right to criticize government. Supporters also see the listing as a weapon in right-wing efforts to blunt Obama Administration discussions about removing Cuba from the federal government’s list of nations allegedly involved in sponsoring terrorism."

Linn Washington Jr's column can be read here.


She Who Struggles  
Assata Shakur and Hip Hop

"I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the U.S. government’s policy towards people of color." Assata Shakur

A few posts ago I wrote about the seeming incongruity of Assata Shakur being put on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list -- 30 years after the 1960s Black revolutionary escaped from prison and began living in exile in Cuba. (Assata means "she who struggles").

Grio graphic
The FBI's move elicited much head shaking in Leftist media, and I pointed to a piece by one of my favorite writers and commentators, Margaret Kimberly, that made the most sense to me. Kimberly argued that it was done primarily to silence the Black Liberation movement and erase from memory one of its important figures.

Tonight some more light was shed on things, for me anyway, when I came across a couple of articles that talk about Assata Shakur and Hip Hop. It seems she's been a topic of Hip Hop lyrics for a long time and is known to many Hip Hop followers.

Whenever I'd come across Assata Shakur's name it was in the context of her living in Cuba. I'd see her picture, read about her, read her articles, in publications I follow because I'm interested in the Cuban Revolution, the Cuban peoples' struggle to create an alternative to Capitalism in the face of every effort by the hostile empire to the north to prevent it from setting a good example for its docile and ignorant subjects.

Cultural critic Chuck 'Jigsaw" Creekmur, co-founder of, and James Braxton Peterson, director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University, both writing in the Grio, offer their takes on why Assata's name comes up in Hip Hop songs and why she strikes a cord with today's youth, and not so youth.

A lot's been written and said about Hip Hop -- about it's liberatory potential, it's subversive nature, its co-optation by the basically White-owned music industry -- and of course it's been demonized and hated and misunderstood and manifestly feared by basically conservative White America.

Creekmur and Peterson argue, essentially, that what Assata was about, Hip Hop artists and fans are still about. They talk about the system she fought against that still oppresses them, about how irregularities in her trial have always cast grave doubts as to her guilt, and about the fact that despite all the power and all reach of the empire, she got away.

I've re-produced both their articles below. Neither is overly long, and taken together with Margaret Kimberly's article, I think, make the picture about why the FBI fears Assata Shakur, more than ever, a bit more clear.

Hip-hop’s infatuation with Assata Shakur: It’s complicated


by Chuck 'Jigsaw' Creekmur

It wasn’t our parents who introduced us to Assata Shakur. It was hip-hop. Chuck D of Public Enemy broke the thick, cold ice when he bellowed, “supporter of Chesimard!” in the group’s seminal song “Rebel Without A Pause.”

However, Assata Shakur, known to her haters by her married name, JoAnne Chesimard, lived a graphic tale that began well before the 1987 classic song by P.E. Shakur, 65, was accused of the 1973 murder of state trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop in New Jersey. A member of the Black Liberation Army, Shakur was convicted in 1977, even though her case was wrought with controversy (she has consistently denied killing Foerster and proclaimed her innocence). And then she famously escaped, and fled to Cuba. Chuck D name-checked her, and sparked a lot of brain cells in the youth who were consuming rap music at a time when her name was not ringing many bells.

After Chuck D came others in rap who acknowledged Shakur in their lyrics, like revolutionary rapper Paris, the jazzy Digable Planets, militant crew X-Clan, and Common, a more palatable purveyor of conscious rap. Assata’s name came up in 2011 when Common was invited to the White House to perform, as many on the Right took exception to his early lyrical content. They were also offended at his outright, unapologetic support for Shakur on “A Song for Assata,” who is now widely known only as a “convicted cop killer” as if injustice didn’t exist in America.

But hip-hop also embraces Assata for a reason deeper than any name-check.

Her godson, Tupac Shakur, was probably the biggest name ever in rap music. Many have fantasized that Pac is in Cuba right now, chillin’ with his step aunt. Although most people gravitate to the thug in Pac, he had revolutionary blood in his veins. He’s mother was a Black Panther and his stepfather Mutulu Shakur, also an activist, is considered a political prisoner by his supporters. Mutulu is in jail right now for helping his sister, Assata, in her escape from prison on November 2, 1979. These are the ones Tupac considered “real n***as.” We absorbed that in his songs as he name checked them. 

The wormhole goes deeper. 

The Rebel…With A Cause 

Shakur holds a major distinction that probably contributes to the ire of her detractors. Simply put, she got away. Davey D, a hip-hop activist and historian, says her supporters can relate to her success at bucking the system.

“Of course she was a rebel,” Davey says. “She’s been a rebel — not in some sort of nostalgic way — but in a real way that people can relate to.” And he says Shakur’s supporters in the world of hip-hop “don’t see her as some crazed cop killer, the way the popular narrative would have you believe. She was somebody who was about defending our community. She comes on the scene [as a] response to our community [being] attacked” by racist forces.

More than anything, Assata Shakur’s story feels to her supporters like she was at one with hip-hop’s sense of rebellion. At the core, hip-hop music has balked at convention in all its forms. The culture itself was bred out of a particularly dark period in the Bronx the late 70′s and early 80′s, when the young black and brown society that would eventually give birth to hip-hop culture felt marginalized and dismissed by the entire nation. Some in the community accused the government of overtly conspiring against young people of color with everything from crack cocaine to “Reaganomics.” Through it all, hip-hop was born, survived and, in some ways, escaped those conditions, something that feels familiar in Assata Shakur’s story.

Rosa Clemente, the fiery grassroots organizer, hip-hop activist and journalist, lets it be known exactly why she and others gravitate to Assata.

“Hip-hop culture inherently speaks truth to power and tries to act against power,” Clemente says. “Assata Shakur, through her life and her freedom, not only speaks against power, she escaped from the most powerful military empire in the world. That is why they want her [so badly]. She comes out of a time in history — the late 60′s, early 70′s — when this country was on the cusp of a revolution. The Black Panther Party was named the biggest internal security threat to the USA. The state used all its power through the COINTELPRO program to stop this.”

Rob “Biko” Baker, who helms the League of Young Voters, agrees, stating that urban youth are in a similar fight every day, albeit not as dramatic.

“Hip-hop is attracted to Assata Shakur because her story represents the oppression, pain and hopefulness of the hip-hop generation,” Baker says. “While her life’s work may anger some politicians, the harsh reality of racism and exclusion in the 60s and 70s forced many to adopt a more militant brand of protest politics. Those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s know that racism and exclusion continued and was reinforced by the war on drugs. Assata’s story shows the hip-hop generation that it is possible to survive.”

Hip-hop at a tipping point

Its a fact that people of color have been victimized in America in ways that continue to this day, from systemic racism to environmental racism to inequalities in nearly every facet of life. Every statistic imaginable supports this notion. Still, people forge ahead with conviction. Detractors may not agree, but hip-hop’s adoration of Assata Shakur is not blind. It’s complicated. It’s rooted in history: past, present, and and probably future. Assata is not O.J. Simpson. She too is complex to be bound by linear, elementary terms like “cop killer” and “domestic terrorist.”

Hip-hop has seen how mainstream groupthink helped reduced Tupac to a common thug. Hip-hop has also seen how police troll rap music websites and maintain dockets on artists, tracking them like future crooks. And we’ve seen hip-hop launch as the most revolutionary art form to originate on American soil, and with all that potential, turn into what today seems to be a tool to keep people brain dead — drugged-up students of a new game who go on to major in party and minor in bullsh*t.

In a 2000 interview with Christian Parenti, Assata Shakur spoke about the power and potential downfall of hip-hop.

“Hip-hop can be a very powerful weapon to help expand young people’s political and social consciousness,” she said. “But just as with any weapon, if you don’t know how to use it, if you don’t know where to point it, or what you’re using it for, you can end up shooting yourself in the foot or killing your sisters or brothers.”

Typically, America loves the outlaw (The Outlaw Josey Wales), the rogue cop (Dirty Harry) jailbreak prisoners (Escape from Alcatraz) … as long as it’s a white guy portrayed by the likes Clint Eastwood. Real outlaws, not so much.

So forget, for a moment, all of the political-social-conspiracy-activist talk about fighting the powers that be, runaway slaves and the like. In a quintessentially American way, some folks in hip-hop just appreciate the raw “gangsta” of a woman who didn’t back down, stood firm in her convictions, completely bucked the system, and lived to tell The Pope about it.

Why the Assata Shakur case still strikes a chord


by James Braxton Peterson
In “A Song for Assata,” rapper, Common asks “I wonder what would happen if that would’ve been me?” Common wonders aloud what readers of Assata Shakur’s gripping autobiography, Assata, must ask themselves as they are confronted with the miscarriages of justice at the core of Shakur’s life as a black revolutionary.

Published in 1987, the autobiography chronicles Shakur’s emergence as an activist at the center of America’s racial conflict. She ultimately affiliated with the Black Panther Party and the black liberation movement in the 1960s. Her case and her bouts with the criminal justice system recall all of the angst and murkiness within which the battles for black freedom were fought in the mid-20th century: brutal prison conditions, falsified evidence, conflicting statements, frenzied media panic, and violent racists posing as officers of the law. 

In spite of these at times unlawful and regularly dehumanizing experiences, Assata Shakur has been living in exile with asylum in Cuba since 1984.

‘She Who Struggles’ 

Assata – whose name means “she who struggles,” was implicated in the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper on May 2 1973. Today marks 40 years since that day. 

While little detail is available as to how Ms. Shakur was ferreted away to freedom from the maximum security wing of the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in New Jersey in 1979, the “facts” of her case, or rather, the state’s case against her are shaky at best. By her supporters’ accounts they are institutionally designed to falsely prosecute and imprison her. 

For more info on her case and details of her experiences go here: 

As recently as 2005, the U.S. government issued a one million dollar bounty for information leading to her capture and/or extradition from Cuba. Her name, as well as her government name, Joanne Chesimard, has been on the FBI’s most wanted list since before most Americans had ever heard of Osama Bin Laden. 

’20th Century Escaped Slave’ 

Assata refers to herself as “a 20th century escaped slave” and her experiences with the criminal justice system and the verve with which the U.S. government prosecuted and persecuted her suggest that this reference is not exaggerated in the slightest. 

She has occasionally given interviews and or written from somewhere inside of Cuba, but it is unlikely that our government will ever be able to come to terms with its own role in the violent racial conflicts of its immediate past, and thus unlikely that Assata will ever be able to live freely in her country of origin – these United States. 

Assata’s status, the government’s case against, her and the moment out which all of this emerged, are signal reminders to many of us that not so long ago, members of the Black Panther Party were considered the greatest threat to the United States government; that revolutionary activists like Assata Shakur, were considered this nation’s most feared terrorists. 

We can only hope that as the fight against terror creeps through the beginnings of a new century, that this nation will fight to uphold the tenets of justice above and beyond its xenophobic and racialized history.

Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur is a father, son and the co-founder of He’s a cultural critic, pundit and trailblazer that has been featured on National Public Radio (NPR), BET, TVOne, VH1, The E! Channel, MTV, The O’Reilly Factor, USA Today, The New York Times, New York’s Hot 97 FM and like a zillion other outlets. Follow him on Twitter at @chuckcreekmur.

James Braxton Peterson is the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is also the founder of Hip Hop Scholars LLC, an association of hip-hop generation scholars dedicated to researching and developing the cultural and educational potential of hip-hop, urban and youth cultures. You can follow him on Twitter @DrJamesPeterson

(Note: The quote that begins this post is posted on Assata's web site and begins an open letter in which she discusses her arrest, trial and escape, in the context of the inherent racism in the US media and the US court system.)


Saturday, May 18, 2013

America - Wounded By Permanent War

The intrepid Glenn Greenwald, constitutional law attorney and frequent guest on Leftist radio on matters of the courts, Bradley Manning and militarization, in his weekly Guardian column adds up the costs of the endless "War on Terror," that, although it went unnoticed this week amidst the media's obsession with a trio of presidential mini scandals, the Obama Administration informed congress this week will continue for "at least 10 to 20 years" on top of the 12 years it has been waged already. At least 10 to 20.

Ensuring this is the fact that the endless war has the backing of all the powerful institutions, Greenwald points out. Congress, the military-industrial complex, the corporate media. The only question anyone in congress is asking, including Republican and Democratic members, with the exception of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, is whether the president needs more authority to wage the war than he has now.

And so the world will keep getting more dangerous and hatred against the US will grow, as our government, instead of helping people help themselves, ravages their countries and kills their citizens, and as we publicly mock them via the media and films and the utterances of public officials. By making sure the war's victims remain out of the public eye, and that working class Blacks and Latinos, with few other economic alternatives available to them, are forced to fight it and the sons and daughters of the White Middle Class are not, public resistance to the war, as it's reflected in the media, at least, will remain minimal.

And the erosion that has taken place to our civil liberties in the name of the War on Terror will become permanent, and will likely get worse. Government will continue to wiretap our phone calls and read our emails. If we say or write anything that can be construed as supporting anyone our government has decided is a terrorist we can be charged with a serious crime. We'll continue living under the threat that at any moment we can be snatched off the street and sit in a prison cell somewhere, forever, without ever being charged with a crime or our case going before a judge, and with knowing that on the authority of the president, without any kind of review and no checks and balances whatsoever, we can be assassinated by a missile fired from an anonymous drone aircraft. We, American citizens, can.

Greenwald makes these two chilling points:

1. "Each year that passes, millions of young Americans come of age having spent their entire lives, literally, with these powers and this climate fixed in place: to them, there is nothing radical or aberrational about any of it. The post-9/11 era is all they have been trained to know. That is how a state of permanent war not only devastates its foreign targets but also degrades the population of the nation that prosecutes it."

2. "Though rarely visible, the costs are nonetheless gargantuan. Just in financial terms, as Americans are told they must sacrifice Social Security and Medicare benefits and place their children in a crumbling educational system, the Pentagon remains the world's largest employer and continues to militarily outspend the rest of the world by a significant margin. The mythology of the Reagan presidency is that he induced the collapse of the Soviet Union by luring it into unsustainable military spending and wars: should there come a point when we think about applying that lesson to ourselves?"

The Hummer As A Percentage

Wages as a percentage of GDP are hovering near an all-time record low.  That means that American workers are bringing home a smaller share of the economic pie than ever before. (The Economic Collapse blog.)

Personal income statistics can tick up or down, and each person's sense of their own well being can tick up or down, but charts like this leave little doubt that we are getting a smaller and smaller share of the wealth our labor creates.

The chart, by the way, comes from the St Louis Federal Reserve Bank. It's one of "10 Amazing Charts" found on the St Louis Fed's web site by Michael Snyder, who writes the Economic Collapse blog.

I've written about a widening gap in wealth between the Capitalist class and the rest of us, and a widening gap in income. But I've put it in terms of the widening gap in the totals, as in, the top 20 percent now owns 80 percent of the wealth, or gets 80 percent of the income, up from 35 percent in the 70s or whatever. This chart demonstrates that gap in a different way.

It all amounts to the same thing. The pie, regardless of its overall size, is being divided up less equitably all the time. We're getting less, they're getting more.

Meanwhile In America

There's a big flashy Hummer now, parked in one of the parking spaces here at the soon to be fashionable Tierra Pointe apartment complex on Albuquerque's west side. About a year ago there was a Hummer parked in one of the parking spaces, too. It disappeared after awhile, as this one will, I don't doubt. Whether or not the arrival of the Hummers coincides with the arrival of income tax returns, I don't know. Why they go away after awhile, I can only speculate

Rents here range from $519 for a studio apartment to $739 for a three bedroom. The payment on a $50,000 Hummer is probably in that range. You can also find a fixer-upper house in Albuquerque on a one-third acre lot for about $50,000, although the credit for that will be a little more difficult to arrange.

The thought of fixing up a dismal looking little house may never enter the constellation of thoughts and emotions and yearnings that drive the behavior of the typical resident here at the soon to be fashionable Tierra Pointe apartments. What enters into it are what your peers are talking about, and the commercials and billboards, and when someone pulls up close behind you in their flashy new pickup ruck and then blows by you if you don't accelerate to your vehicle's limit coming off the red light.

The big flashy Hummers attract attention, but for the most part, here at the soon to be fashionable Tierra Pointe apartment complex, you see little Hyundais and small Chevrolets, and single working women and single working men, and young families, the Hispanics who are making Bernalillo County into a stronghold of the Democratic Party.

You see some of the big flashy new pickup trucks that are advertised heavily on local TV, and you see some old pickup trucks, with their back ends always full of rolls of old carpeting and padding, that will be taken to the landfill tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Why Did You Veto The Minimum Wage Bill, Governor Martinez?

From OLÉ New Mexico (Organizers in the Land of Enchantment). Posted on Facebook by Faux Susana Martinez.

Making the rounds on Facebook


Monday, May 13, 2013

Assata Shakur

Black Agenda Report graphic

Assata Shakur isn't a household name, but when the FBI put her on its list of most wanted terrorists last week it made some headlines. The 65-year-old former Black Panther, birth name JoAnne Byron, has been living in exile in Cuba for 30 years, after escaping from prison in the US. Shakur was a black activist during the time when, led by the FBI, law enforcement in the US had declared war on black activists, and not just the Black Panthers, many of whom ended up murdered by police or the FBI, but up to and including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, whose murder remains unsolved in the minds of many people including members of his family.

In naming Shakur the first woman on the most wanted terrorist list, the FBI also doubled the bounty on her head to $2 million and put up big billboards and wanted posters about her in the US.

Assanta Shakur hasn't stopped criticizing US imperialism since she got to Cuba and she's a significant and well regarded figure, both symbolically and practically, in many Leftist circles. Still, the FBI's announcement caused shock and disbelief in the Leftist press. It didn't make sense. After all this time? With her living in Cuba? There were calls to stand up for her. Suggestions were made that it was part of a plan to try to silence Leftist criticism of the government.

But Margaret Kimberly, a black writer whose work appears in black owned publications that often criticize the president's policies, such as Black Agenda Report and The Black Commentator, has written an article arguing that there's a broader significance behind the FBI's move.

Kimberly first points out that under the Patriot Act, anyone who openly supports Shakur is now subject to arrest for "material support" of a terrorist, and that under laws and policies implemented since President Obama took office, they are also subject to indefinite detention and drone strike.

"Obama is making a point about black America and those few who still dare to speak out against their nation's domestic and international policy," Kimberly says.

"Of course," she ads, "the billboards aren't meant to capture Shakur but to send a not so subtle message about the state of black liberation. Simply put, there won't be any talk of black liberation. The Shakurs of the world who weren't imprisoned, killed off by Cointelpro or bought off, have to be destroyed once and for all and any memory of them must be disappeared as well."


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Benghazi in 2016

Karl Rove's Crossroads America super pac has released an attack ad against Hillary Clinton about the attacks on a US State Department/CIA outpost in Benghazi, Libya in which four Americans were killed, that occurred while Clinton was Secretary of State.

The ad, and the fact of who is behind it, should make clear what's behind the numerous investigations into what would otherwise be a largely forgotten incident by Republican-controlled House committees that are underway or are about to be launched.

This about the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton, the most popular politician in America at the moment, is the overwhelming early favorite to become the next president -- see this listing of the latest state by state polls, in which Hillary leads the top Republican in all but a few small states where mules outnumber books. Even in Texas, where there's a town called Mule Shoe.

Republicans don't have anyone of any substance they can hope to put up against her, and ads like this are being run already, and the House hearings are being conducted, to "drive up" Hillary Clinton's negative ratings in the polls and, Republicans hope, curtail her fundraising ability and forestall what is gradually, here and there, more and more, becoming the forgone conclusion that Hillary Clinton will be the next president.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Drink Union Made Beer

This was posted on the Teamster's Union Facebook page. I don't drink any more, but if I did I'd have one of each.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

End Is Nearer

First Albuquerque, then Holbrook (see below), now Gallup. I think this shows, in this world controlled by computers, how utterly close to chaos we are.

Out Of The Cobwebs Of My Memory

For some reason Sonny James crossed my mind today. I used to hear some of his songs, especially his big crossover hit Young Love, on the radio when I was younger on oldies stations but I can't remember last time I heard one. Sonny James was huge in the late 50s to early 70s, racking up 16 number one country singles in a row during one stretch, which is still a record depending on how you count them. There's a discussion about this controversy at his Wikipedia page.

The decisions about what gets played on the radio nowadays are far removed from disc jockeys and program managers and are made in the corporate offices of Clear Channel, which has entirely almost ruined radio and whose executives should all be lined up and shot.

So I looked and sure enough, several people have posted collections of Sonny James songs at

A Big Collection

Almost As Big Of One

I have not checked these out with headphones but the I'm familiar with the person who uploaded the first one, who should be made a saint he has uploaded so much music, and they may be from various sources. If you are looking for high quality recordings you can also check some single Sonny James songs that have been downloaded. All, remember, are free to download because they are in the public domain, i.e., the copyright has expired.

I saw Sonny James once at the LaPorte (IN) County Fair. This would have been the late 60s when big names in country music routinely played the county fair circuit. All I remember about it was that Sonny played the fiddle on one song -- over his head, between his legs, behind his back -- and that we were all highly impressed who had come to see him, including my buddy Kevan Raff who had come with me grudgingly and ended up admitting that he had enjoyed the show.

It was outdoors at night. I remember that setting, in the middle of the big field with the dirt track going around you and the ferris wheel in the background and the kids excited voices and the smell of the fair food and cotton candy and all of that fading away when the stage lit up.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Maybe they are putting the Holbrook temperature in Celsius in error. See Albuquerque's temps below.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Final Cold Snap

I have the weather for Albuquerque, Gallup and Holbrook on my Yahoo home page because that's where I drive every night. I looked at the weather just after 5 p.m. and the Albuquerque forecast had changed quite a bit.

It's still that way. My Apple forecast widget says it's 66 and we can expect it to be partly sunny tonight.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Irrigation Artist

I came across a web site maintained by the government of Iran, one of those PR efforts many governments engage in that are ignored by the media and probably seen by relatively few people. This one had reproduced a photograph of the ceiling of a mosque and there was a little link to the Flickr Photostream of the photographer. Flickr is one of those web sites where people post their personal pictures. If you click on this link, it should open up the top picture in a viewer from which you can click through to view all of this person's photos.

I started going through them and it turned out to be a remarkable collection of photos. There are portraits of regular Iranians, mosque ceilings, landscapes, sunsets, and lot of those photos where the photographer has seen something, a pattern, some order in the middle of chaos, where their artist's eye and their ability with the camera and their sense of visual balance results in something that  is aesthetically pleasing, moving, that gives you pause, connects with something in the unconscious somehow, makes you think a little. Art.

Iran, historically Persia, of course is one of those ancient countries with a long history of producing beautiful art in all kinds of forms -- literature, architecture, painting, you name it. I don't know if the photographer is connected to the government in some way or if the government just decided to use his photo in their propaganda efforts. The only information he'd entered about himself was that he is a "Irrigation system consultant engineer" and is from Abadan, which is a port city in Iran. Wikipedia says Abadan was badly damaged during the Iran-Iraq War and became almost entirely uninhabited, but that some of the people have returned since then.

As I was going through the photographs I was reminded of a guy in Albuquerque whose photographs I admire a lot, who has had careers in journalism and in government, but who one day picked up a camera and found out he could create something with it that's aesthetically pleasing, moving, gives you pause, connects with something in the unconscious somehow, makes you think a little. Art.

Cinco de Mayo

Although the 5th of May is the date of an important victory in the struggle for Mexican Independence, Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated by people of Mexican background in the US than it is in Mexico, as a way to celebrate their heritage and pride, says Wikipedia.

Detail, History of Mexico-Diego Rivera - Mary Ann Sullivan photo
Included in the several mentions of Cinco de Mayo I've seen today on Facebook was a link to a nice little tour of some Diego Rivera murals at the Palacio Nacional de Mexico that  depict the History of Mexico and was put together by Mary Ann Sullivan, Professor emerita of English at Bluffton University. Sullivan photographed the murals and provides insights and explanations of the different things going on in them, which is great way to understand and get more out of them, because typical of Rivera's work they are full of life and death and action and color and drama, and the celebration of Mexico and its people including its indigenous people.

The three web pages she uses to portray this particular Rivera masterpiece are part of a vast online library of art and architecture Sullivan has put together, according to Bluffton's web site, from photographs she took during her career for use in her classes. It's a thing to behold.

Anyone familiar with what's generally called New Deal Art and with the hundreds of wonderful murals in public buildings across the country, including many here in New Mexico, that were done under a project funded by the New Deal, will probably be aware of Rivera's influence on American mural painting; not just on the artists but on the architects of the New Deal itself. Rivera was already famous by then and was being commissioned to do murals in the US by private individuals like Nelson Rockefeller and by institutions such as art museums, despite his membership in the Communist party and close association with the Socialist government of post-revolutionary Mexico.

Rivera with wife and artist Frieda Kahlo


A 9 Minute Video Encapsulating A 500 Day Motorcycle Trip From Alaska To Argentina  

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Saturday, May 4, 2013


This picture showed up on Facebook today, linked to an article about heavy metal cleansing foods. Well, an article about foods, clays and algaes.

I signed up for Facebook during the Occupy upsurge because I'd heard a lot of that took place on Facebook, that they communicated that way and it was spreading that way, and I wanted to follow along and keep abreast. Facebook is a vast universe with millions of subscribers worldwide and I see just a part of it, mostly people of like mind as I. People post things about politics and activism but once in awhile someone will post something like this picture, which caught my attention because of the onion. My mother always encouraged me to eat onions. She had a tub of big sweet onions under the pie safe and sometimes she'd make herself an onion sandwich. Then a couple years ago I came across something that said onions have something in them that your blood needs to do something important with.

The cilantro in the picture reminded me of a place up her near where I live on the west side called Taco Tote, a Mexican restaurant in the plaza that contains the (union) Smith's Supermarket at Coors and Central, that I ate at for the first time last weekend. It's one of those places where you order at a counter and they call you up when it's ready. There's a big 'fixins' bar with cilantro, all kinds of salsas and sauces, chopped lettuce and sour cream and so on, and chopped raw onions. I had some pretty delicious shrimp tacos, but it was almost closing time and the fixins' bar was out of cilantro.

At places like that, especially where the menu is in Spanish, I often resort to what I know, which is what I did then and later in the weekend when I ate at another pretty nice place up here on the west side, Marisco's Altimar, on Coors just south of I-40. It's a regular sit down restaurant with table service and it's a pretty nice place by my standards. A new jeans, new shirt, polish the boots and take a shower first place.

It was somewhat crowded and they sat me at a table so that I couldn't sit facing the wall and pretend like I was alone, and when the waitress came over I said I was looking for shrimp and pretended to be looking at the menu. She, being gracious, pretended to recommend the shrimp fajitas, which I had seen on the menu and passed over because it contained cooked onions. I said I'd go along with it if they could leave out the onions and she said they could and they did.

The fajitas came with a little mini fixins bar on a plate -- lettuce and onions and so forth, and guacamole. You get the little plate of tortillas wrapped in paper if you want to eat the fajita like a taco. The shrimp had been cooked in a sauce, a kind of sweet and spicy sauce, the ingredients of which I couldn't identify but which was very delicious, along with some tomatoes and some kind of sweet red peppers. Between the shrimp and the peppers and the sauce and the fixins', their flavors combined in a strange and mysterious way to impart a wonderful flavor that was not the flavor of the individual ingredients combined, but a new and different flavor. It's a phenomena you rarely encounter and it makes the eating not only very pleasurable but fun. Also, the service there, in my two visits anyway, has been very good.

Democratic Update

I often harshly criticize members of our New Mexico Democratic delegation to the federal government for not doing more to support causes that are important, to me and to, I think, the working class. Part of my motivation for this criticism is my anger, of course, and part of it is to try and influence what they do. That's how it works in a democracy or is supposed to.

I'm sure our Democratic federal elected officials are all fine human beings, even if they do go out and murder an elk once in awhile, but in my mind they need to use their offices to better advantage, and one of the most important and most obvious ways to do this is to take advantage of their access to the media to influence public debate and raise public consciousness, you know, the way Republicans do. I often repeat that I knew who Pete Domenici, our late Republican senator, was years before I moved to New Mexico because during the years conservatism, in the form of Reaganomics or Neoliberalism was taking over the country he was on TV all the time making the case for that point of view, while his counterpart, Jeff Bingaman, left Washington after 30 years an unknown and without having changed a thing.

With all the issues facing us -- declining wages, declining living standards, vast and ever widening disparities in wealth and income which means the wealth our labor is creating is going more and more to people who don't create it, with the US government spreading death and destruction all over the world in the name of US Capitalism, with a president in office who is trying to cut Social Security and Medicare -- I was enthralled this week to see that one of our New Mexico Democratic delegation has finally done something. Senator Tom Udall has gotten a bill passed that cracks down on giving drugs to race horses.


Time to get something done, which I've been avoiding by reading and posting things on the internet. I have to get an oil change and grease job on the truck and there's still a nagging problem I hope to get fixed -- the air compressor runs all the time. The air compressor on a diesel runs off the engine like the alternator does and powers various systems that vacuum powers on a car, and powers the air brakes. It's supposed to fill the air tanks to 120 pounds and then shut itself off until the air pressure goes down to around 90 -- from using the air brakes, is the main thing -- but it just keeps running all the time. There's a valve on the air dryer that lets out the extra pressure, but it's wearing out the air compressor, I'm afraid.

I have not come across what I'd consider to be a good diesel mechanic yet, even at the International dealer here. No one I've been to -- dealer, truck stop, private mechanic -- seems able to actually diagnose a problem. Rather, the modern diesel engine being a very complex thing with computers and all kinds of systems and multi stage processes going on all the time, they know that particular problems can be caused by one of a number of things, and they start replacing those things until they replace the right one, which as you can imagine can get to be very time consuming, and costly.

I need to have the truck every night, too, so I can't just drop it off and leave it. There's scheduling and negotiating, and being vigilant so that, as happened at the International dealer despite promses from the head of maintenance, they don't take it all apart on one shift and then not do anything to it on the next.

Are Warnings About A Growing Police State Warranted?

It's not difficult to attribute right wing talk about an oppressive government coming to take away your guns to a number of things besides legitimate concern, like racism and a paranoia associated with it.

There's always been some buzz on the Left, too, about oppressive government -- Big Brother, 1984, George Orwell type of stuff -- that's, generally, similarly dismissed, but there's a good deal of talk going on now in Leftist, and even not so Leftist media, about how quickly the people of Boston and its suburbs, after the recent bombings, followed the directives of the government that they stay inside, close their businesses, and shut down their mass transit system. The articles talk about how the government uses fear to promote an agenda, and how the media plays into it and plays along, and about how, as a nation, our acceptance of things like the Patriot Act, drone assassinations and torture make us not unlike Boston area residents in their meek and willing submission to "the lockdown."

Government oppression of groups like the Black Panthers, the state murders of their leaders, the race-based stop and frisk policies of New York City, the differential persecution and prosecution of minorities that perennially leave our prisons and death rows vastly disproportionately full of people of color, are also confined to a category that, while legitimate in itself, minimizes an oppressive government analysis, for the dominant majority anyway, if not for members of the affected groups, because it doesn't expand the analysis to include the economic system as a whole, the system that determines social relations, their basis in wealth and in the control over the economy and economic decisions, and the power those things bring. 

Here in Albuquerque, there have been a lot of killings of innocent people by police in the last two years. In the news accounts, the people had something the police said looked like it might have been a gun. That thing turned out to be a butter knife in the hand of a disturbed person in one case, a pair of pliers in a holder on a janitor's belt in another case. Besides the assertion by police of the gun-like object, and besides the immediate highlighting after the killing by the police via a helpful media of any criminal record the dead person might have had, if you read the news accounts carefully the common thread in all the cases is that the people didn't obey the police, and the police opened fire, and the police didn't shoot to disable, but to kill.

The disappointing monthly report on hiring released today is another indication that the economy isn't recovering. At this point in the recession of the 80s, and in the Great Depression of the 1930s, the recovery in hiring was well underway. Unemployment is stuck at above 7 percent, officially, and when you count the people who have stopped looking for work it's more than twice that. Official unemployment in Europe its almost 30 percent in some countries and over 12 percent in the Eurozone overall, and that's officially. 

The current recession has gone on for more than six years and mainstream economists, those associated with banks and the IMF, are admitting that they don't know what to do about it. Governments, well aware of the potential for social unrest, meanwhile, are passing, under the banner of anti terrorism, laws to restrict peoples' freedom and make it easier to arrest and detain people, and continue spying on their own people.

Take a look at this video, and then at least re-think what you've concluded about oppressive government warnings. If you come to the same conclusion as before, fine. But look at how the police treat the people they're rousting from the green house. People on the lower socioeconomic rungs of American society, who go unheard, have long known what's like to have the police shout orders at them like this, to be shoved around and treated like a dangerous suspect as a first condition, to be ordered at gun point to get your hands on your head, the most defenseless position you can assume. People in Watertown, Mass, know what it's like, too, now. People just like you.