Tuesday, August 30, 2016

His Name Is Lew Alcindor!

John Carlos now
The venerable liberal writer and, oh yes, athlete, Kareem Abdul Jabber is one of those standing up for the professional football quarterback who refuses to stand for the national anthem. (Clicking this link might use up one of your three free monthly Washington Post articles -- I guess they, too, are counting now.) This is a nice column by Kareem, who also wrote (albeit with some help) a good book about his year as an assistant coach on an Apache reservation over by Show Low, AZ.

John Carlos (right) then
Also standing up for Colin Kaepernick is John Carlos, the surviving duo from what to me was the most dramatic moment in sports history (besides my 12 points in the fourth quarter against St Joe Catholic) when he and Tommie Smith gave their black glove raised fist salute to the national anthem at the 1968 Olympics. I've heard Carlos interviewed about a book he and Socialist sports writer Dave Zirin wrote about  that incident and its aftermath. He went through some hard times for a few years before America started to understand what he did and ultimately, for the most part, forgave him.

I certainly, at the time, didn't understand why they did that, or why Kareem changed his name from Lew Alcindor, which outraged and offended my friend and fellow sports fanatic Steve Cook and I. We said we'd call him Lew Alcindor forever and kept repeating, "His name is Lew Alcindor!" Lew Alcindor was a pretty cool name, after all.

Neither did I understand my older brother, Bob, applying for conscientious objector status to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam  War. I was a kid. No offense to kids.






Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Tuna Fish Paradise

We had three grocery stores in my town. If you didn't like the price of a can of tuna fish at one you could go to the next one. It was a tuna fish paradise.

One of those stores was where I got my first real job besides mowing grass and picking apples. I bagged groceries and carried them out to peoples' cars and when there were no customers I helped Jim stock the shelves and sweep the floor and take the trash out.

Jim was in high school. I was in junior high and didn't have my driver's license yet but Jim had a 1961 Dodge and sometimes gave me a ride home. The Dodge was a big car but had a six cylinder engine.

 "It's three quarters of a V8," Jim said and floored it until he was going way over the 25 mile an hour speed limit on my street.

I was afraid someone might see but Jim was older than I was and was over me at the store. It was 1966. I worked at the store the summer between 7th and 8th grade and during 8th grade until basketball started.

When Jim and I swept the floor it was a big operation. Jim started at one end of the store and I started at the other and we'd meet in the middle. We each had a cardboard box with a little of that red stuff that collects the dust like the janitors used at the school that you sprinkle on the floor and then sweep up along with the dirt and we had big wide dust mop brooms like the janitors had.
 
One of Jim's aisles had the Archway cookies in it and when Jim was sweeping by the Archway cookies he put a package of cookies in his cardboard box and went straight to the back room and down the rows of boxes where all the groceries were stored and hid the cookies between two boxes and then came back and started sweeping again. After we finished sweeping and were doing other things he'd give me a signal and I had to meet him in the back room where the cookies were stashed. I had to wait until he got there but unless someone walked past the rows of boxes they wouldn't have seen you. Jim would finally get there with two warm cans of creme soda pop and we'd stand there between the rows of boxes and eat the package of cookies and drink our warm creme sodas.




What always got me about that was that Jim was quiet in school, one of the most shy people in school, and I used to wonder what became of Jim, and Carol, the checkout woman who the other checkout woman, Charlotte, said was sleeping with the owner and that's why she got more hours than her.

Those 1961 Dodges were strange looking cars made during a time of big fins. The 61 Cadillac had fins that were taller than I was.

It was the 1960s and things were changing. Things are always changing. Some people say don't buy tuna fish now and some people say it's OK.

I don't steal things any more. It's not right, but that's not really why.









Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pipelineastan

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The term pipelineastan is used by a certain segment of the blogosphere and certain journalists to refer a certain part of the world that's crisscrossed by pipelines that supply western Europe with natural gas, much of it coming from Russia.

That part of the world also happens to be where the countries lie that the US is involved in militarily: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and the Syrian launchpad war, or Hillary's war, Libya. Ukraine and Crimea are also there.

So are places like Uzbekistan, where the brutal dictatorial regime boils people to death. The US is friendly with that regime and others where western pipeline companies are putting in or have planned pipelines that would bypass the pipelines Russia and its allies control, undercut Russia economically and make it unnecessary for Europe to depend on Russia for natural gas as it does now.

The idea is that the wars in that part of the world aren't about freedom or Islam or anything else but are about US hegemony -- i.e., the US, if not ruling the world being its most powerful player -- and are therefore based in economics.

The same theory explains the ongoing encirclement of Russia with new NATO countries that were formerly soviet Republics and the subsequent placement of US missile batteries in them, and now stationing even troops and tanks and other heavy weaponry in them, that extend NATO to Russia's borders. It explains the demonization of Russian president Vladmir Putin by Hillary Clinton, the Neocons, and much of the US media and foreign policy establishment, and the US provocations against Russia and the US backed coup in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions against Russia.

China, as has been reported here and there, recently entered into the war the US is waging on Syria on the side of Russia and Syria (and of Iran and for all practical purposes Turkey.) The US under Obama has been engaged in a similar encirclement of provocations against china. The South China Sea situation, where the US is trying to make it impossible for China to defends its land and the sea routes it depends on for oil, The TPP trade treaty between China's neighbors and the US, and the US dominated ASEAN mutual cooperation group of Asian nations that excludes China, all are elements of Obama's so-called "pivot to Asia", which is a refocusing of US foreign policy designed to thwart the rise of China as a global economic power that threatens US dominance, or hegemony.

As a result of US policy against Russia and China they are moving increasingly closer together and cooperating on things like pipelines that will allow Russia to send its natural gas to China. Awhile back I posted about something called the New Silk Route, whereby China is building a vast high speed rail transportation system that will transverse the Eurasian land mass and bypass US controlled sea routes and enable it to send its products to Europe and the Middle East without US interference. Russia is cooperating with them on that project, and now those two nuclear armed powers are cooperating militarily in a direct face-off against the US in Syria.

There's no talk about talking to Russia and China, or of the US minding its own business and bringing its global military forces home, coming from Hillary Clinton, only talk of more war.



Note: As globetrotting independent reporter Pepe Escobar put it in the 2009 article that established the concept of "pipelinestan" and which is still as salient as it was then:
"Our good ol' friend the nonsensical "Global War on Terror," which the Pentagon has slyly rebranded "the Long War," sports a far more important, if half-hidden, twin -- a global energy war. "










Wednesday, August 24, 2016

War In Syria Escalates By The Day

Turkey yesterday sent its first ground troops into Syria, acquiescing to American demands. This comes on the heels of China's entry into that US/Hillary Clinton instigated conflict. China joins Russia and Iran on the Syrian side as Syria tries to fend off the illegal, blatant, interventionist US efforts to remove Syria's legitimate ruler, Bashar al Assad, from power. The country is swarming with CIA and US military "advisers, and US organized, funded and supplied jihadist militias. (Note: The "moderate" Islamists the US pretends it supplies don't exist. There are no moderate Islamists.)

Go ahead. Vote for Clinton. Pull that trigger.



Note: Nick Barnabe has a nice rundown in Anti-Media of what Hillary, based on her statements, is likely to do upon taking office.





Monday, August 22, 2016

#HillaryEmails

Another garbage scow full of emails Hillary didn't hand over to the FBI has been dumped on the public showing that rich foreigners and Gulf oil states paid between $50k and $10 million into the giant Clinton Foundation slush fund to gain expedited access to then secretary of state Clinton, and the topic #HillaryEmails is trending on Twitter.

What's worse is what's not being reported. China has now entered the Syrian Middle East war the US started under Hillary's urging, joining Russia and Iran in an anti US alliance, which also now includes former ally Turkey which the US recently alienated by backing a failed coup against President Edrogan.

China's action is in response to the US economic and military encirclement  of China under the Obama so-called Pivot to Asia, which includes arming Autralia, the Phillipines and other of China's neighbors, and the US South China Sea provocations against China, and the TPP trade treaty with China's neighbors

Hillary has promised to escalate things in the Middle East, and remember that she's one of the main Neocons behind the trouble with Russia -- which includes what has become one of the Clinton campaign's main planks, the demonizing of Vladmir Putin, but also the US backed coup in Ukraine, and surrounding Russia with new NATO members and installing US troops and ballistic missile batteries in them.

You don't have to vote for Trump but if you vote for Clinton you may very well be voting for World War III.







Born In Revolution


Radical civil rights lawyer John Whitehead has an article out called "There Will Be No 2nd American Revolution - An Armed Revolt Will Be Futile and the Government Wants It" which was reprinted today at The Free Thought Project.

In it he recounts how the national security state has become increasingly pervasive, and it has.

He says the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security have both drawn up plans for how to deal with massive civil disobedience and insurrection by the American people, and they have.

Whitehead says the government is so well armed that any kind of armed struggle by the people would be futile.

Almost no one who commented on the article agrees with him.

I'm sure many, if not most Americans agree with Whitehead. They'd say they'd never consider taking part in an insurrection against the government. That's what people always have always said. The government, the king, the feudal master, seem so powerful and omniscient that the average person can't conceive of massive resistance, until the moment they rise up.

Revolution is in our blood. We were born in revolution.




Sunday, August 21, 2016

Neoliberalism In Crises - Martin Jacques

Martin Jacques of the London School of Economics writing in The Guardian today says that the Trump and Sanders campaigns and UK "Brexit" vote to leave the European all owe to the now unquestionable failure of Neoliberalism, but that the political class, left, right and center, knows nothing else. Which isn't good news.

Jacques, no radical leftist, goes over the sad litany of statistics about stagnant wages and declining living standards I've been repeating here for years but which have been largely ignored by the mainstream media, and so haven't been absorbed on a conscious level by the public, although their dissatisfaction is being felt and being registered by their disdain for politicians and for Capitalists who for years have been seen as role models.

Even if Hillary Clinton and her campaign, and the entire media and ruling class establishment working in concert manage to demonize Donald Trump into oblivion, that dissatisfaction won't go away. In fact, I'd say, it will become more apparent and get even worse because Clinton has wasted little effort coming up with any ideas for what to do about it and remains wedded to failed Neoliberal policies.

As have our elected officials here in New Mexico, I might add. I received a bizarre fundraising solicitation today from Ben Lujan, the northern NM representative to the US house, in which he actually, for the first time I know of, lays out how terrible things are for young people, who are seeing their opportunities for college wither away as the costs for college continue to skyrocket. His solution -- give them lower interest loans. These Democrats in our federal delegation -- Lujan, Michelle Grisham, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, pretend that they don't know that a few short years ago there was enough government assistance that every kid who wanted to could attend college and get out debt free. Thanks for the miserable futures your giving today's kids, folks.

All they do any more is to hype up fear over Donald Trump. And unfortunately, the most important part of Trump's platform, a foreign policy that looks dovish compared to the warmongering Clinton's -- a fact that doesn't interest the media or New Mexico politicians -- will go away with him and trainloads of innocent blood will flow through the streets of the Middle East, and very possibly other places -- Ukraine, Crimea, Iran, to name a few.

As The Intercept notes, defense contractors are salivating over a Clinton presidency.






Saturday, August 20, 2016

Black Panthers Matter

A breathtaking, radical manifesto released earlier this month by a coalition of groups called The Movement For Black Lives, of which the huge nationwide Black Lives Matter movement is a member, received some mainstream media attention when it was released, but only because one paragraph of the 40,000 word document called Israel an "apartheid" state that's committing "genocide" against Palestinians.

The manifesto is formally called A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice, and I say it's breathtaking not only because it's so comprehensive and well thought out and so radical but also because it's so incongruous with most of what you hear from Black Lives Matter activists, who by and large aren't all that politically engaged but who do identify with identity politics, which essentially means they are apolitical.

On that, you can be for black civil rights, or be a feminist, or a gay activist, and be either a Democrat or a Republican. Politics itself doesn't really matter to the practitioner of identity politics. The core of politics -- economic matters -- isn't of concern to you. Many identity politics adherents are very well off and could care less whether economically disadvantaged blacks, women or gays live or die. Just look at the Democratic Party's base, which sends Democrats to congress in droves who are much like those we send from New Mexico, who could care less about economic matters and who never introduce or sign on to any piece of legislation that would even slightly alter the obscenely unequal status quo in this country, let alone do anything to slow down our government's ongoing global orgy of warmongering.

The manifesto calls for things like free college education, free universal health care, diverting military spending to finance public education including college, and community control of the police. It's way more radical than Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama are in another, far more conservative world.

The manifest is so radical because the coalition's member groups are. As Karl Kumodzi, who sat on the policy committee, told The Atlantic, they were some pretty well informed people, who knew something about the Black radical tradition and also about something the document borrows heavily from -- the Ten Point Program of the Black Panthers,. The Panthers were Marxists and revolutionaries and so are many of the people who belong to the groups in the coalition. I've heard some of them on Black Agenda Radio, which is produced by Black Socialist Glen Ford, although to Ford, who has Black nationalists and Black separatists on his program, the manifesto apparently doesn't go far enough and he's scarcely mentioned it.

Many of the most prominent people in Black Lives Matter have essentially ignored the manifesto, too, but for the same reason they disliked Bernie Sanders and now wish the presidential election would just go away. It reminds them of the shortcomings of identity politics and of how it actually does nothing about inequality and injustice for society as a whole, and can in fact make things worse.

But the document, and the articles and comments it's generated, are still bubbling around social media and aren't likely to go away soon, and it's going to be interesting to see if this welcome injection of reality has any long term influence on Black Lives Matter. As The Nation writes, it's not something that would make it through a Republican congress and isn't even the kind of incrementalism today's Democrats are infamous for, but it's not pie in the sky either. Each of its six primary demands is followed by realistic strategies for their implementation, some of which are already in use, and all that's really required is the will of a few million or so people that it be done.



Note: If you heard the news reports about the accusations of apartheid and genocide and wondered; that paragraph's co-author, Rachel Gilmer, who has a Black father and a white Jewish mother, was raised Jewish and used to be a Zionist, explains it to the Jewish Daily Forward, which has a history of even handed, well done articles. Gilmer says in part:

“There is a long history of those in power telling Black, Brown and all oppressed people how they can describe the violence inflicted upon them,” she wrote to the Forward. “We reject this history and believe that those who are suffering the brunt of oppression, mass killings and violence have the right to name what is happening to them.”

The article's author, Sam Kestenbaum, also writes:

For many of these young activists, who have studied texts like the Black Panthers’ Ten-Point Program from the 1960s and papers by the revisionist Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, “genocide may not be defined solely as death but as cultural genocide,” said Kelly, “losing a culture, losing a language, losing your land.”









Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Working Class Language

This video of a "Trump convoy" in rural Massachusetts last month is being passed around social media with indignant exclamations about the racism of Trump supporters, by people who pretend as if they've never heard this kind of language, as if they and their friends don't talk this way. It's in the sound track of CB chatter which someone laid over the video.





This is the vile language of the working class, not racism. The working class talks like this everywhere and always has. The nigger this and nigger that is incidental. Black, Hispanic, White, Indian, Asian working class people all talk this way, because they all need someone to look down on. They need ways to feel superior to someone, anyone, and ways to feel like they are a member of the group they're in, and to do that they always look for an "other" and then talk disparagingly about them. It's the same as when sports fans say things like, Yankees rule. Cowboys suck.

This is the working class. It's this way for a reason. We need to look at the reasons why all working class people talk this way, and why they feel the way they do. Angry, bitter, and desperately needing to belong to something, anything.





Saturday, August 13, 2016

Happy 90th



Fidel Castro turns 90 today. What he means as a symbol, as always with such things, depends on who you are.




William In Chief

As Donald Trump self destructs no one is asking whether he's doing it intentionally, but I recall that at one point during the primaries, when it began to appear Trump had a chance to be the Republican nominee, a theory bubbled around for a day or two that the moderately successful businessman, but very successful self promoter, had entered the primaries just to get some free publicity; that he had had no actual interest in being president and was probably surprised by the level of his popularity with Republican primary voters.

I also heard mention once, maybe twice, the idea that he and the Clintons were in on it together. If you accept that premise the reasons are obvious. To weaken the Republican Party and help Hillary.

Bill Clinton, remember, is the master strategist of all master strategists, the triangulator in chief. He was behind the remaking of the Democratic Party from a working class to a ruling class party, and he did the almost unheard of -- he unseated a popular president after one term, because of his old friend Ross Perot's independent candidacy, and with much less than a majority of the popular vote, and won re-election the same way. There were suggestions at the time of collusion between Clinton and Perot but they faded away.

In office he gave the Republican Party repeated cases of the fits. They took control of congress, even the house, which had been in Democratic hands for decades, but could get none of their agenda past Clinton -- anyone remember Newt Gingrich's "Contract With America?" -- while Clinton repeatedly outmaneuvered them and took credit when he got their polices -- things like business friendly trade deals, welfare reform and opening the media to monopoly and foreign ownership -- enacted. Republicans became so frustrated they came to believe that they must impeach him.

Which he survived, of course, and now hardly anyone remembers that whole episode, and William J Clinton has gone from being the butt of a thousand jokes and nearly broke when he left office to being an extremely wealthy .1 percenter, and respected world figure no less, whose wife and lifelong partner in crime is about to become the next president, providing him with a role he can define and play any way he wants to; again having access to power, but shielded from the public eye and emerging from the shadow of his wife on terms he alone will define. One can only imagine what he has in mind for that role, but you can be sure it's something. And as for how much he has to do with Donald Trump, the current elections and the turmoil in the Republican Party, only he and Hillary will know, and some of those who tried to destroy him will guess.



Update: Actually, the release of Hillary's tax records this weeks shows the Clintons to be in the top .02 percent income bracket, raking in 300 times the median family income, most of it coming from their $200K per pop mini speeches. They did give a lot of it to charity, however; mostly to the Clinton Foundation, the money laundering scheme that included rich foreigners making multi million dollar donations and then receiving favorable treatment from the US State Department, which was being run by Hillary at the time.




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The United States is a ‘Nonstop War Chariot’

Such is the delightful headline over a column at Huanqiu.com as translated by Watching America, where volunteers translate the world press when it's talking about the USA. I have a link to Watching America at the right.

Huanqiu is a type of business daily, one of those government-private enterprise partnerships the Chinese Communist Party has let happen or facilitated, I'm not sure just how they work -- many are in manufacturing, especially high tech --  along the Chinese road to becoming a Capitalist powerhouse.

The column was written by Guang-shi Yang, a Chinese academic. You often see such articles in the Chinese press, where some provincial professor lays out his own unique analysis of things. They are always informed by Marxism to a greater or lesser degree, as is much of world academia for that matter, and won't be something Chinese officialdom will strongly disapprove of, but include the author's own pet theories and are sometimes pretty interesting.



(Note: Watching America usually puts its own graphics next to its translated articles. This one wasn't in the original.)


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A helpful article by Civil Rights Attorney John Whitehead about the police problem.

Whitehead says the problem arises from several sources and suggests several ways in which the problem should be attacked. It's definitely a threat to democracy, he contends.

Whitehead heads the Rutherford Institute, which he founded, in Charlottesville, VA. He first gained fame as one of the attorneys for Paula Jones, one of the women who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment.





Sunday, August 7, 2016

How To Quickly Fill The Panamanian Bank Accounts Of People Who Are Already Rich

The first thing to do is keep electing people who not only let corporations off the hook for paying taxes but who actually pay corporations to exist with things called tax rebates. It helps to have a complete disregard for educating children, having roads you can drive on and bridges you can drive over and having a good economy, because when you give all the money to corporations and it goes straight into the stockholders' Panamanian bank accounts and just sits there making them feel rich the money can't be spent by average citizens to buy washers and dryers and cars or to fix their houses up with.

That's the main thrust of Joe Cardillo's article in Albuquerque Business First, which lists all the different ways a city in Utah is giving money to Facebook, which made $6.4 billion in the last quarter alone, because it might go there to amass its profits, and then lists the things New Mexicans could do for Facebook if it would only consider coming here to amass its profits.

The idea that's taken hold of everyone who holds public office or thinks about running for public office that they all have to compete with each other to give more and more money to people who already have too much of it, an idea that has infected the minds of news people and a large share of the people who vote, is a sickness that has to be eradicated before it kills us all.





Saturday, August 6, 2016

Beckman Lateral With Bonus Photos

The biggest drawback to moving from the West Side to the South Valley was losing access to my nearby and beloved jogging trails, two-track paths through the sand created by the occasional dirt bike, four wheeler or pickup truck looking for somewhere to dump roofing material after the dump had closed. Where despite a little trash you'd rarely see anything but plants, birds, jack rabbits, rabbit rabbits, roadrunners and the occasional coyote.

The soft surface of those trails, a quarter to half inch of sand over the dried but pliable crust of the desert, was the perfect running surface as far as I'm concerned. I'm very cautious about my knees. I get the good $100 running shoes, I do exercises that strengthen them, I soak in a hot tub and massage them after I run, and I don't run on cement or blacktop. Also, running on trails and dirt roads isn't as easy so you get more workout per unit of time, is my theory.

There were changes in elevation out there, too, which increased the workout value. I lived on the gradual, two or three percent grade part of the west Side where the West Mesa gives way to the upper valley slope, and I could cross Unser and right there, above the west side bus garage, is one of those big sand and gravel hills blown up by the winds and rains coming over the valley's edge from the west. Sometimes I would run up to that hill, then run back and forth over it six times and then head home feeling like Sampson himself.

I say "run." I call it running for my ego's sake. I've long ago admitted to myself, however, that I jog, not run. But pulling that hill six times at any speed is a good workout for the old heart and the old ego.

Here in the South Valley it's basically level and the wide open spaces were long ago filled in with housing. But I knew the irrigation system ditches crisscross this entire area and had hoped to jog along those. I was worried about running past back yards and bad dogs, and my first excursion in the vicinity of my new house wasn't very encouraging. I tried riding my mountain bike along the Beckman Lateral, which crosses San Ygnacio Road a few doors down from me. I went north from San Ygnacio toward Bridge Boulevard because within a few hundred yards the Beckman Lateral flows out of the bigger, Arenal Ditch, and from the Google Maps view it looked like those bigger ditches provided longer, more uninterrupted running stretches. But going that way I passed quite a few back yards with big, mean looking dogs behind fences that didn't look high enough or sturdy enough for my peace of mind. The dogs definitely didn't want me running past their back yards and let me know in no uncertain terms, and it was very disappointing.

Meanwhile, what with moving and my inherent disorganization I got out of the practice of running and after six weeks of that began to get depressed about it so one morning I just warmed up and set out to run somewhere, even if it was on the streets. This time, however, I tried going south on Beckman Lateral, and it turned out to be a world of difference.

To be honest, the most scary thing I see is the widows walking their dogs. They smile so alluringly. But I'm mostly to myself out there, only occasionally passing someone with their dogs, sometimes young couples or single men or, as I say, older women, and they all smile and say Hi. Much of way I'm in the shade of the big old cottonwoods that grow up along the irrigation system, and the running surface is pretty good and suitably soft almost the entire way. The ditch runners, the people who maintain the irrigation system, drive along the ditches and harden the surface a little, but there's always a soft spot in the middle where their tires have kicked up loose dirt, and another right next to the ditch, which everyone avoids for fear of falling in.

There are dogs behind fences here and there, but most are little yippy dogs, and all of them are behind good, solid, sufficiently tall fences. I've been down there a few times now and they're hardly bothering to rouse themselves any more to get up and yap or bark at my passing.

I think the difference down that way is that when I went north, I was passing behind places along Bridge Boulevard, a main thoroughfare where there are lots of businesses, trailer parks and rental properties and more crime reports, and I think that explains the difference in dog population, too, and also explains the presence of the people out strolling.

The South Valley, especially after I cross the little back streets of my neighborhood, and then right away Arenal Road, quickly becomes semi rural and the occasional street I have to cross looks more like a road than a street, and I begin to hear chickens crowing and see a few goats and cows and a few more gardens.

In summary, it's not the West Side but I think it will be OK.



Bonus Photos

Below are some pictures I took this morning with my cell telephone. I usually don't take it jogging because I'm afraid it'll get damaged by the jarring or the moisture, but there's a feature on the iPhone that automatically records your steps per day and it's supposed to record steps while running, too, so I wanted to see how it did.

Also, I time my runs because my goal is to run at least an hour, so today instead of pulling my old wristwatch out of my pocket and peering at it's small numbers I had the iPhone's stop watch with its big numbers, so I could do 30 minutes out and then see how long it took to get back.

Of course the iPhone also has Google maps with GPS, and I could have used that and maybe seen exactly where I was. Some streets I cross have crossing streets near the ditch and I can see a road sign, but today my goal was to go to Blake and back, a little further than I've gone so far, but I crossed Blake without knowing it at first and went to the next street before I headed back.

I carried the iPhone in my front pocket wrapped in a dry wash cloth so every time I wanted to take a picture or look at the time I had to drag it out and unfold the wash cloth, which you can do alright while running but it's a little inconvenient.


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Approaching Arenal Road soon after I start out. This is the only street with any amount of traffic I have to cross.



Across the ditch some cows. You can have such things in the South Valley.



Typical informality of the South Valley. This is one of the roads I cross.



The further south the more there are longer stretches like this without crossing streets, and the less shaded it is.



This is new since last time I ran and will be gone soon, I think. The ditches are almost free of trash. They seem to be very well maintained, by crews of people known as Ditch Runners.



Passing where another ditch empties into the Beckman Lateral. On Google they have the names of ditches and laterals in my area, but I think there are other names for other kinds of channels depending on their size and function. I haven't found a good map of the whole irrigation system, which is quite extensive and goes back to the 1930s, or anything more than a cursory history of it. Does anyone know of any history of the irrigation system?



Coming back to Arenal, passing a big field someone has been working on to make level for some time now. These canals are for flood irrigation so the land has to be very level. It's looks like they're doing it the old fashioned way with plumb lines. Now they have laser leveling. I took this picture because it shows the dead vegetation along the top edge of the lateral. They obviously spray, which besides keeping our immune systems in tune when that stuff ends up in the food we eat it keeps the ditches free of things like goat heads, nefarious super sand burrs that feel like you stepped on a carpet tack and were always getting down in between my shoes and socks on the west side. I don't miss those.



And back at San Ygnacio Road maybe 75 yards from my house.



 This is what the iPhone said I did. I think the 5.5 miles is a little generous. It was probably more like 4.5.



The time was probably accurate.


I took the two below pictures because they point out something interesting to me about the South Valley that I first noticed back when I drove the Atrisco and Isleta bus routes. In middle of old working class neighborhoods someone will build a big ostentatious house, like this castle on Blake Road. The first picture is coming on it from the north, then from the backside when I headed back north.

These make me wonder. Are they wanting to be a big fish in a little pond? Or are they saying, yes, I've done well but I'm not too good for my old neighborhood and neighbors. Maybe they like the lower taxes and legal constraints of the county to the point that they remain there out of principal. I don't know. If anyone can shed some light on this I'd be grateful.

Note also the little wreath of flowers someone has placed at the bank of the canal, that were respectfully graded around by the last Ditch Runner who leveled out the trail/embankment. People put those wreaths along roadsides here where loved ones have died in car crashes.

I don't know what happened that the flowers are there. I don't think these are the fast flowing ditches that people get swept away in, but perhaps after a monsoon downpour they are. Most of the distance the embankments are simply dirt and the channel is only cemented where the stream width gets restricted in size so it will go through a pipe and under a roadway, and therefore will flow faster. So I just don't know.










Syria Might Survive

Update: 8/6/16 3:59 p.m. - Reports that Aleppo, last stronghold of the US-backed jihadists trying to overthrow the Syrian government, was falling have resulted in a mainstream media blitz of reports saying that no, it isn't, but which are contradicted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the London based mostly neutral group that has many contacts in Syria and that the media quotes uncritically in most cases. Time will tell. Much of what the mainstream media says about Syria turns out not to be true, like the 2013 chemical attacks attributed to the government that almost led to a US invasion of Syria and turned out to have been done by the opposition.


Some of the best news to come around lately is that the US is losing its war on Syria. Fought primarily through radical Islamist jihadists, the war has entered an end game and might be over before Hillary Clinton takes office and can ramp that conflict up as she has promised repeatedly to do.

US proxy Islamic jihadists are starting to surrender in Allepo and that city, the main hub for US supplied jihadist supply routes, could be entirely under Syrian army control within days, says University of Sydney professor Tim Anderson, who writes in online Global Research:

"Aleppo is the final turning point in this conflict because, after the liberation of Homs, Qsayr and Palmyra, definitive reverses are destroying the morale of both the jihadists and their sponsors. Not even fanatics are keen to join in an obviously losing cause."

Global Research is a leftist Canadian publication written primarily by academics and disaffected Americans, such as former assistant treasury secretary Paul Roberts who see US foreign policy as far too imperialistic and misguided.

The US war on Syria has killed around 500,000 people, according to The Guardian, and is the primary cause of the massive "refugee problem" that has caused the rightward lurch in many European countries and led many to elect neo fascist leaders and played a part in the UK's "Brexit" vote. Clinton has called for a "no fly zone" in Syria, which means a much more direct US military involvement -- US pilots and crews dropping bombs and being subject to Syrian anti aircraft fire, for example.

Syria is the brainchild of Neocons like Clinton, whose aim has been to break up the Middle East into a series of small bantustans under US control or influence and toward that end wanted Syria's president Bashar Assad out and a more US compliant ruler in. Clinton's brutal Libya war, begun under her influence as secretary of state and designed to provide a staging ground for US led Syrian operations, was part of that strategy.

The main Necon goal, as outlined in the infamous "Project For A New American Century," is to preserve US world dominance, which has become increasingly difficult as the US declines as an economic power, by relying on the US military.

The US has declined as an economic power, of course, because of the declining purchasing power of US workers, whose living standards have been reduced by Neoliberalism -- Reaganomics -- the set of economic policies implemented by Democrats and Republicans alike. Opposition to those policies by the American working class has been the driving force behind the Bernie Sanders campaign and, less directly but nonetheless, the campaign of Donald Trump who opposes many key policies of Neoliberalism and of Neocon foreign policy and is therefore in many key aspects to the left of Hillary Clinton, but whose sometimes crude nativism has galvanized many in the US working class who were previously attracted to less overt Republican versions of it.


Note: Interestingly, Clinton's call for a "no fly zone" in Syria has disappeared from her campaign web site -- I noticed it last time I checked there about week ago -- and she now stresses diplomacy to end the conflict. Read this as a first step in establishing a narrative about the conflict that favors the US and recasts the US defeat as a victory -- see Anderson's comments on this in the article. Syria has no effect on the US election, nor does much of anything about US foreign policy. However such documents as campaign policy statements can provide ammunition at some point for Clinton opponents.






Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sellouts

Salon magazine reprinted a blog post by Democratic Party insider and former labor secretary Robert Reich in which he writes about the Democratic National Committee, which leaked emails revealed was tipping the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton and undermining Bernie Sanders during the recent primaries. The bigger problem is, he writes:


The Democratic National Committee — like the Republican National Committee — has become little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money from wealthy individuals, lobbyists bundlers, and corporate and Wall Street PACs.

As long as this is its de facto mission, the DNC won’t ever be kindly disposed to a campaign financed by small donations — Bernie Sanders’s, or any others. Nor will it support campaign finance reform. Nor will it be an institutional voice for average working people and the poor. It won’t want to eliminate superdelegates or support open primaries because these reforms would make Democratic candidates vulnerable to non-corporate interests.

Making "Democratic candidates vulnerable to non corporate interests." That would be us. It's just a fancy way of saying the Democrats have sold us out for corporate cash.

Is this why New Mexico Democrats Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, Ben Lujan and Michelle Grisham  never talk about the vastly widening inequalities of income and wealth they've overseen? Is it why they never introduce and never co-sponsor legislation that would economically benefit working New Mexicans? Is this why they vote for budget after budget that slashes funds for people most in need yet sends money by the trainload to military contractors?

Of course it is. The only question is, why do we vote for them and why do we send them money when all they do is screw us over?






Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wind

The US Department of Energy wind map of New Mexico shows us to be less windy than I expected relative to some nearby blowhard states. I say expected: when I leave Albuquerque in the evening headed west on I-40, I usually, especially during the warmer months, head into a good westerly wind, usually in the 10 to 15 miles per hour neighborhood but sometimes even in the 20s. This of course increases my fuel consumption, and of course by the time I've reached my turnaround point, Holbrook, AZ, around midnight it's often died down and sometimes even reversed, and if so, I head back into a 3 to 5 or even 7 miles per hour easterly. Always a head wind. Story of my life. Har.


My theory is that this daily wind pattern, and the reversal and how it's timed, is caused by the heating and cooling of the air as the sun moves over it. Warmed air rises, as the sun moves over from west to east, which keeps creating a partial vacuum behind where the sun is, which is filled in by air behind the sun's overhead point, which has already started cooling off. This accounts for the westerly flow. Then when the sun has passed, all that air starts to cool. It's had a chance to cool more the further west you are, and it becomes more dense and takes up less space, so it creates another partial vacuum there, in the west, and it all starts sloshing back toward the west, which accounts for the easterly flow.

Of course there's the Pacific Ocean over there, and there's land heating and cooling at different rates than the air, and there's the prevailing winds all to take into account, but that back and forth pattern in the late afternoon up until midnight is prettyy consistent along I-40 in New Mexico in the warmer months.

Anyway, I found this excellent government issued wind map after I came across a crappy private sector wind map at an ad for a wind generator, the actual little mechanism that generates the electricity, that someone had "pinned" to the web site Pinterest, where you can sign up for all kinds of different topics and get an email every day with links to articles other people have "pinned." I guess "pinned' is like pinning things on a bulletin board.

At the ad for the generator they try to keep you from copying their wind map, but you can always find a way, but then it turned out to suck anyway because it was too low resolution, so I found a good one from the government. They have the whole US and you can click on each state.

Wikipedia
That ad, though, which purports to be a technical discussion of how much electricity you can expect to get out of a given amount of wind, convinced me I know very little about the topic. For now I'm sticking with my original plan, which was to experiment with wind power by rigging up some kind of wind turbine, maybe a vertical axis, of which there are many kinds now, and include the old Savonius and Darrieus types, which are supposed to be easy to make and which have been being improved steadily, including by Sandia Labs,  and running a car generator with it and seeing if I can charge up a 12 volt battery or maybe even a few of them. An advantage of doing it this way is that the mechanical connections will be easier and require less technical know how, like about bearings and lining up shafts, gears, and so forth -- you can just transfer the power from the turbine shaft to the generator with a fan belt and pulleys, things you can get from a junk yard and which are designed to not have to be perfectly aligned.

Wind power has long interested me, as do hot air solar collectors, and I'd like to experiment with both, but solar electric power still seems the best bet; because there are no moving parts, and especially here in sunny, sunny, New Mexico.





Monday, August 1, 2016

Vote For Who?



Donald Trump offends people






Hillary Clinton kills people







The US is bombing the Islamic State in Libya. Why? Well, Islamic State wasn't in Libya before Hillary Clinton as secretary of state drug the US into an entirely needless war there that killed 60 to 250 thousand people depending on who you listen to, destroyed the country and left it an ungoverned no man's land that ISIS just strolled into, picking up free weapons and military equipment as they went.

Clinton pushed for that massacre so they could make Libya a base of operations for the Syrian war, which is ongoing and has killed probably a half million people and sent hundreds of thousands of refugees either into Europe or to their deaths in creaky old boats.

You can hyperventilate about Trump all you want. Those people will still be dead.

About the Trump criticizing the humble old Muslins controversy. So Donald Trump is a jackass. The young soldier who died, whose parents agreed to bolster Hillary Clinton's campaign by criticizing Trump in public, guess where he died. Iraq, that country Hillary Clinton was urging George W Bush to invade when she was a senator, where the US invaded a country illegally based on "intelligence" that was known to be manufactured, by many people, including Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize the war anyway.

Add another million to her death toll. And I have to vote for her?