Archive for August, 2012

GOP BUTCHERS AT WORK

August 29, 2012

FASCIST AMERICA: ARE WE THERE YET?

It is really hard to listen to media try to make sense out of an illogical situation. They want to treat this as just another presidential election, using their media 101 text. But this isn’t business as usual. Our country is under concerted right wing attack.

Paul Ryan, the Repuglicons and Tea Partiers as our government would be a disaster for our country and the world. Neither man cares for any nation – not even America; their allegiance is to their private fortunes. They feel no responsibility or obligation to the society that enabled their success. They will destroy the people’s government to work to selfish ends.

Obama may not be a shining star, but better him over the tarnished Republican bought-and-paid-for corporatist, religiously constipated oligarchy that the Koch brothers and their cronies want to create.

Obama’s top ten achievements so far – despite a completely oppositional GOP/Tea Party brinkmanship and obstructionism – are:  passed Health Care Reform; passed the Stimulus; passed Wall Street Reform; ended the War in Iraq; turned around the U.S. Auto Industry; repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;” boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards; kicked banks out of the Federal Student Loan Program; created conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants; and achieved a New Start Treaty; not to mention punishing Osama Bin Laden, which corporatist Bush could or would not do.

In contrast, Republicans are restricting voter registration to prevent 5 million eligible citizens from voting in the November election.  They want to:

  • Reduce all taxes on the rich and stick it to working families;
  • Bust labor unions and prevent collective bargaining;
  • Deny climate change while pumping billions into dirty fuels;
  • Outlaw abortion under moral guise in sexist denial of basic human rights;
  • Remove consumer protections on investment banks and credit card companies;
  • Criticize and under fund public education to dumb workers down;
  • Glorify “liberty and justice for all,” while harassing LGBT citizens;
  • Speak loftily of freedom, but commit a host of Patriot Act sins against the Constitution in the name of “national security;”
  • Bully the world with US aggressions, kill innocents, waste billions of dollars, make us hated around the planet;
  • Drive down income levels of America’s working-class majority, dooming society to economic ruin;
  • Lie about affordable health care for all as a godless socialist attack;
  • Unleash de facto ethnic cleansing against 12 million immigrant men;
  • Shamefully try to obscure Bible passages that place human need before abject greed (Texas);
  • Support bigoted crazed extremists who literally want to tear Barack Obama to pieces and gas all liberals; and,
  • Place the lives of 300 million Americans in the hands of incompetent ideological “purists” like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

While there are certainly Democrats who’ve yet to show spine to further vital change, let’s be absolutely clear about the unmitigated disaster that would follow if Republicans, in their present ultra-rightist incarnation, ruled our country exactly as they wickedly wished.

Americans, who hope the best for this world, will vote for Obama.

We Move to Amend.We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution to:

  • Firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights.
  • Guarantee the right to vote and to participate, and to have our votes and participation count.
  • Protect local communities, their economies, and democracies against illegitimate “preemption” actions by global, national, and state governments.

Signed by 301,401 and counting . . . CONTACT: http://www.movetoamend.org/

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SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

August 9, 2012
Ant Farm

EXCERPT from Common Lives, a novel

This piece won 98th place in the 80th Writer’s Digest Annual Awards literature and mainstream fiction category – in competition with 11,800 others. 98th! I’m 98th! LOL.

“In the Beginning”

Lost in the formless void of space, an electron came spinning out of nowhere to collide foolishly, randomly and willy-nilly with some microscopic other thing and a large explosion resulted. When the debris settled and the dust cleared, when the incredible multitude of subsequently tossed, collided and bumped other things slowed their rate of reaction, space became again a relatively calm place – although, it was now decidedly more cluttered, larger things having been mashed together from the smaller ones. As one can well imagine, that lone electron must have been in an incredible hurry, and the resulting accident at Lexington and Forty-First was a big one, with traffic backed up in all directions, clear to the edges of the city. It was later inferred by a philosopher-scientist in an ermine robe while speculating before his medieval books of alchemy that the electron may have been drinking.

For Eugene R. Formsby, the amazing thing about the Universe was its consistency; it had a beginning, middle and an end. Some scientist in Cleveland, staring through a telescope in order to bring the macroscopic down to earthly size, suggested that the whole thing was a sort of gigantic bubble of slowly expanding gas, which would eventually collapse, as bubbles always do. Eugene had once seen a bubble-blowing magician on television impregnate a soap shell with cigarette smoke. Eugene thought the end of the Universe would be as fleetingly unspectacular as watching the magician pierce the soap shell to allow the cigarette smoke to escape in a dirty, gray-white rush, to dissipate in the broader air. The soap shell itself collapsed with a wet spurt; all very satisfying as a television show, but lame as a proper end to the Universe.

Eugene felt a little disappointed with the magician. There were just so many things one could do with soap shells: spin them, encase one inside of another – rings of air, worlds of air, nested like wooden, brightly-painted Russian dolls – tie them together like balloon puppets, or whatever, the bubbles always vanished with the same, wet spurt.

Which made Eugene think about beginnings. He, Eugene, was the product of a minute, wet spurt, which – reacting, colliding – forced masses of other inert (or nearly so) materials to react and collide with…an endless series of seemingly chaotic, entirely trivial and absolutely fascinating mini-events, resulting in one Eugene R. (for “Robert”) Formsby. Life, Eugene decided, was funny that way: there was no accounting for it. Multiplied by all of the other minute, wet spurts, amid the howling, moaning, grunting and groaning cacophony of all the copulating creatures since the dawn of auditory, vocalizing creaturedom, Eugene felt quite insignificant and more than occasionally like a supernumerary.

Still, Eugene tried to please everybody, tried to appear like a superstar (which he was not), cleaned his supper plate assiduously – hearing the voice of his long-dead Mother chanting, “Starving children and half-mad dogs. The world’s a savage place, Eugene. Watch your step and don’t lose your way. Be careful crossing streets, Eugene, and always eat your peas.”  Eugene always ate his peas. He ate them first, to get that little chore out of the way.

“Eugene,” his mother would say. “Eu-gene,” she would whine. Eugene was a name made for being whined; a name one could get one’s nose tightly involved with. It was possible to draw the “Ewe” up and the “geene” out, so that the name was at one and the same time, an attention-grabber and an accusation, laden with extreme, resigned disappointment. The way his mother often said it sounded like, “You jean” – as if a jean was a poor thing to be, fit only for covering up assholes and crotches when skinning down trees and mud banks, and ending up dirty (which Eugene often was, being a relatively normal child.

Non-human creation fascinated Eugene early on, being less harmful and generally more peaceful than the World of Men. He identified with Kipling’s hero Mowgli in the Jungle Book, delighted in the savage tales of Tarzan, who defeated evil by breaking its back, or by stabbing it in the chest with his “mighty tooth” – which was really a knife, only being raised by apes, Tarzan didn’t know any better. Years later, Eugene equated the knife with something Sigmund Freud speculated about – but, as a boy, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Conqueror (“eventually over-muscled by Arnold Schwarzenegger,” he said), and Tarzan of the Apes (“bloatedly defiled by a decaying Johnny Weismuller,” he lamented, “and prematurely denatured by Bo Derek and her cynical, self-styled Svengali of a husband”) stood for all that was wholesome, romantic and achievable. The orphan of the apes grew up to move freely, though begrudgingly, in society’s upper circles; Conan became King of Aquilonia; and Johnny Weismuller apologized for the racial stereotypes populating his naive, little films.

From such stuff, and its subsequent manipulation against real life, Eugene gradually formed the notion that under every rock, there was apt to be a disgustingly formed grub.

Nonetheless, Eugene loved nature and spent hours happily hiking woods, warmed by nature shows aired by public television, or sitting on a rock observing ants busily dismembering butterfly carcasses. He found fascination in small things, from which he extrapolated theories about the governance and overall uniformity of large things. Things became ever more complex as their size increased. Just as corporate machinery had to expand the secretary-typist’s pool to encompass and accommodate modern computerized word processing, so too, extra parts were required to adapt the feeding apparatus of an amoeba into the mouth of a moose. Yet, regardless of scale, the end purpose remained the same: one to reproduce words in frozen lines of print; the other, to feed the living organism, so that it might go on to multiply and/or divide, before ultimately subtracting itself altogether from the Universe as this specific amoeba, or that unique moose.

Uniqueness was a particularly troubling theme to Eugene, for he felt that each entity was unique, never-before-assembled, yet so integrally related to the Whole that, it was difficult to tell where something ceased to be a part of something else, and where it became, separately, all there was to one sort of thing alone. Within his own body, he knew that there were entire colonies of contributing members, which scurried about tending and maintaining him, so that he, the amalgamated Eugene, could continue to function and so maintain them – a fact which made Eugene sometimes wonder if he was really self-motivating when left to his own devices, or simply the end product of a committee decision, which predicated that Entity Twenty-one-billion-and-eight should be entitled Eugene R. Formsby, Consolidated Research Unit, Model X-4-D, and should now, by unanimous consent of the governing board members, sit down and eat.

“What do you think about life so far?” Father Randolph “Teeth and Tongue” Nornocker once asked Eugene as the two sat in the pastor’s study. Eugene was at that time a somewhat precocious eleven and expected by his elders to be able to philosophize to a limited extent. Father Nornocker was, appropriately enough, a big, knock-kneed man with a virtual awning of overbite, a high starched collar and dirty fingernails. Even as a child, Nornocker’s nails gave Eugene pause. As far as Eugene knew, Nornocker did no real work – a gardener tended the parish grounds; a handyman did the repairs; a housekeeper cleaned and cooked – but the pastor consistently had dirty nails. Eugene attributed it to lint in the padre’s pockets.

“About life?” Eugene asked blankly.

“Yes,” Nornocker said, nodding, threatening to bite himself in the neck to Eugene’s fascinated gaze. “Life,” said Nornocker, “the Universe, God.”

“I like God,” Eugene said innocently.

“Very good.” Nornocker smiled, audience ended.

Eugene’s conversations (if they could be called that) with Nornocker always ended anti-climactically. Nornocker gave no direct advice for daily living, except from the pulpit (“Repent or you are damned!”), or in formal counseling sessions held particularly for about-to-be-marrieds (“Are you on birth control, dear? Ah, yes, I see. You do know that’s a mortal sin?  See me for confession, dear.  We can handle it.  Don’t worry.  God is understanding. Do you, Jim, know the real meaning of the words, ‘husband’ and ‘father?’  Ah, good. Rehearsal’s at eight – sharp.  I don’t like latecomers, so don’t be tardy, we lock the doors!“). Eugene thought being locked out of one’s own wedding might possibly be a blessing in disguise.

Marriage appeared to him to be a particularly militant institution, populated by unwilling combatants who had taken an oath of service while under emotional duress – amounting to temporary insanity as fired by engorged genitalia. While Eugene’s own parents rarely fought, rarely spoke, rarely looked at one another, they were nonetheless at war. During momentary fits of lust, however, they apparently copulated – well after dark, when the children were sleeping, the doors were all locked, and neither partner had to directly see the other’s naked, flaccid body. Eugene had a rather bizarre childhood view of sex as a result, believing that the female navel somehow accepted the male organ; hence, he believed, his mother’s dismay over baby sister’s extruded umbilical orifice, referred to as an “outy,” and known to be cause for a tragic lifetime with no release from one-piece bathing suits. Boys might have an outy without undue comment, since no one was ever going to stick anything into it – unless, of course, they were trapped in, or naturally inclined toward the restrooms in Greyhound bus stations.

This set of views, as well as others, gradually led Eugene to believe that certain kinds of information were “wrong,” “prejudiced,” or “totally unreliable.” Unfortunately, he couldn’t easily tell which was which, and so left the whole affair to chance, operating on the best of what was currently available, while guarding his rear against yapping dogs and angry, leathershod feet.

Eugene was again the small boy who stood on the steps of the great cathedral, awed by its spires and turrets, its filigrees and gargoyles, its stained glass windows and golden crosses. Inside was the dark perfumed lair of the Lord God, with its high altar overhung by the bloody plaster body of Jesus Christ, His only begotten son. The outer aisles containing the sea of pews were marked by the boxed dioramas of the Stations of the Cross, which led to the place where the Son died. Old ladies in pillbox hats with veils sat on age-oiled mahogany seats beside straight old men with stiff collars and rose-oiled hair. The air was rich with incense, cologne and perfume. Altar boys ringing bells and flame-tipped candles filled the imagination with flickering images of high holiness, augmented by the mysterious repeated chanting, the rigorous standing, kneeling and sitting – all of which confused his small, earthbound brain and threatened rather than uplifted him. He knew nothing of the acts being performed, wished fervently to leave that enchanted, terrifying palace of extraterrestrial power for some richly-grassed sunlit park, where birds sang sweetly and he could hear the speakers from the ball grounds, buy a hot-dog and a cold drink, watch a butterfly investigate the flowers and close his eyes and dream with the sun’s warmth full on his face.

Eugene often dreamed. In dreaming there was escape and in escape there was peace. For a time, he did not have to do what all of those others wanted – the “big people” who ordered him this way and that, preparing him for “responsibility” and “correctness” and a “grand sense of the indomitable self” unsupported by the frailness of his small body or the muddle of his pliable mind. The world was so confusing, so mixed up with “thisses” and “thats,” propounded by robed men, collared men, high-hatted women, women in scarves, ermines, overalls and nothing at all. There had been a time when nylons had confused him and girls’ underpants had almost consumed him. He could not possibly enter a church when the solitude of confession alone nearly reduced him to paralytic fear and terrible, self-accusatory embarrassment.

But the small boy’s mother stretched out her hand and drew the child up the steps of the cathedral, toward the towering open doors and through the yawning mouth of the massive portal, into the secret, dark sanctuary of the blooded God within.

The Beatniks were fading out, bearing Kerouac’s limp body with them, and the Hippies were coming in, bearing narcotics and flowers, when he first attained political consciousness. One group was too old for him to be a peer; the other was too young to see him as anything except suspicious. He was fascinated and excited by both, but became a member of neither, remaining that impossibility: a non-conforming non-conformist. Left to his own devices, he became one of the first generation of television addicts. He grew up living the lip service on so many lips. As a goal, as a model, the myth reeked of individual power, but the first Superman he ever knew, George Reeves, blew his brains out. How could Superman put a bullet in his head? He wondered. Wouldn’t it just bounce off? The myth, in practiced fact, was a conditioner: a view of the world in carefully molded packaging. Careful, my son, don’t remove the plastic wrap if you don’t want the contents to lose value. Use caution, my son, when stealing peeks into Pandora’s box.

Later, he read the Book of Daniel and the Unquiet Death of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, refreshed himself on the case of Saco and Vanzetti, the lunacies of Attorney General Palmer’s Great Red Scare, Joe McCarthy’s witch hunts, and narrowed the glass to Ronald Reagan, the CIA, both Bushes, an Ashcroft, a Gonzales, and the “Moral” Majority. Rambo bulged out of the silver screen in living blood and the whole, mad, delirious killing frenzy danced on, with kids carrying submachine squirt guns and rubber knives the size of Route 66. The myth versus the reality: it echoed. Properly connected, with the correct measure of rising and falling sounds, clicks and “syllabalings,” words conjured up any sort of world. Once believed, the words structured reality and even reinforced the impulse to self-destruction.

Sadness to relate, Lamentation Number 4-billion-and-something: the scientific humanists have turned us into mechanical appliances. The corporate boardroom bastards have turned us into assembly line spare parts. And, the religionists have turned us into dependent, frightened moral bankrupts.

Why did I have to awaken? He wondered. Why couldn’t I have remained as mindlessly narcotized as my peers, skipping to the top, mesmerized by depilated crotch in designer bathing suits. The clever little ripper on his way to a semi-lifetime in the pen, darts in and out of the Square John crowd, putting time and distance between himself and the scene of his most recent petty crime. Xerox sells obsolete product two weeks before new product release, saying nothing to the client. The fossil-fuel barons, the Koch brothers, are poisoning the planet and opposed to all life-affirming change. Are they all the Devil’s helpers?

Q: What’s the fastest animal in the world?

A: A chicken crossing Darfur.

NEW BOOK: 

The COPPER-HANDLES AFFAIR: The Great San Francisco Earthquake, Fire and Bank Heist by John Patrick Legry (Oct 20, 2010)

NEW NOVEL at Amazon.com, etc.

THE COPPER-HANDLES AFFAIR: The Great San Francisco Earthquake, Fire and Bank Heist, begins with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and a simple opportunistic bank robbery, plunging John Law Copper, accidental thief, and Frederick W. Handles, the pursuing policeman, into the greater game of big money power politics and civic corruption on the Ragtime U. S. Pacific Coast. The chase takes them through the vanished garden world of northern California to the dangerous shanghai town of Portland, Oregon. 50 b&w line drawings and two maps.

From reviews:

“FARGO meets LES MISERABLES meets LONESOME DOVE”

“John Legry’s novel “The Copper-Handles Affair” will especially delight lovers of history as well as those who enjoy a good cops-and-robbers story. Set at the time of the San Francisco earthquake, the reader follows two men: a thief, John Law Copper who stumbles across $400,000 in bank money during the aftermath of the quake; and Frederick W. Handles, a detective bent upon bringing Copper to justice.
The chase between San Francisco and Portland, Oregon exposes both characters to a variety of angels and villains and so the story’s pace never slackens. One twist follows another until the conclusion which surprises with a laugh.
The settings are authentic, the characters believeable and the writer’s drawings are beautiful renderings of the period. I can think of no more pleasant way to experience a bit of history while having a good read.”

“A great fast paced read. …hard to put down.  …characters are fully developed and believable. …the literary style of switching back and forth from Copper’s escape to Handles pursuit kept the adventure moving… Many of the “switches” ended in a cliffhanger that compelled the reader…on. Besides being a good read, this book takes you on a geographical and historical tour of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.”

Click on images below to sample the flavor of the story:

Thugs in the Parlor
Quarantine

The COPPER-HANDLES AFFAIR: The Great San Francisco Earthquake, Fire and Bank Heist by John Patrick Legry

COMING FOR JUSTICE

August 2, 2012

[Don’t forget to CLICK the IMAGES for extra information and “forbidden delights”]

JOE KENNEDY and PRESCOTT BUSH:

I was born in 1943 when America, my father included, was fighting the Nazi fascists from Germany.  There were many Americans who agreed with the fascists, Joseph Kennedy and Prescott Bush included.  Kennedy tried to keep America out of the war.  Bush helped finance the Nazis.  But democratic America, Roosevelt America defeated the fascists in that war – temporarily as it turns out.

The Nazis came home in our baggage.  A former SS colonel named Werner Von Braun developed our space program.  The SS colonel who ran Hitler’s Gestapo taught our nascent CIA about domestic surveillance, interrogation, martial law, and chemical/psychological techniques.  In the meantime, we fought in Korea, keeping the military-industrial complex robust and vitalized (strange word applied to death-dealing), and practiced spying on ourselves – McCarthyism – a fascist witch-hunt for “commies,” undermining our confidence in our nation and its democratic institutions.

We next followed nine years of imperialistic colonial French mis-rule in Indochina to inflict seventeen years of violence on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, destabilizing and radicalizing Southeast Asia more than the Japanese had during World War 2. Then as now, the CIA and FBI further brutalized and contaminated domestic America in defense and furtherance of a generally Republican anti-peace message that was as big as the wallets they were filling from war profits.

AMERICA LOSES HER WAY:

Our practice has consistently been to create more powerful and harsher means to oppress and suppress, maim, or kill opponents.  Might has triumphed over right and reason, but that makes us neither mighty nor bright.  We are damned bullies, forcing our bully will on many victims.  That is what America stands for today: death not life, war not peace, greed not generosity.

The Bush administration, and now beyond to Obama, with their well-practiced agents and provocateurs, served the darkest human motives, not the clean wholesome light of genuine American democracy.  Justice, liberty, and equality aren’t significant words in the Republican vocabulary or principles in Republican governance.  We have been subverted from within, hollowed out by a corrupt corporate power structure to serve its war machine in the interest of corporate profits.  If we want any hope to rise above and beyond it, we must vote for progressives and reclaim this country for the babes who wait in mothers’ arms for fathers to come home from our latest unholy war (s).

The present situation in the United States echoes ancient Rome in important ways:  A successful representative republic, proving wildly successful in war and conquest, grows rich and plunges into conspicuous consumption.  In time the citizen army is converted to a professional military (a professional army owes allegiance to its paymaster, not necessarily to the nation).  Beauty is heavily involved in politics and publicity (experience means less than height).  King-sized constructions attest to individual power and glory.  The poor get to see the lavish spread, but may not partake of it.  The toll of maintaining luxury is its undoing.  The general domestic economy weakens with foreign trade, although the rich stay rich and get richer.  The dispossessed flock into cities and live on a diminishing dole, manipulated by politicians.  The conservative legislature is indifferent to the people’s plight.  The bureaucracy and the military rule all.

How did it happen?  How did it get so bad?  Who is hurting?  The list includes everyone except the top 1% of the nation’s richest and most privileged citizens.  The rich characterize any protest of this imbalance as “class warfare,” although they’ve been waging class warfare on the poor and middle class (the rest of us) since Franklin Roosevelt died.  The Robber Barons have succeeded in unraveling the New Deal, beginning with the 23rd Amendment, which limited presidents to two terms: the “first stomp on FDR’s grave,” my father called it.  Dwight Eisenhower’s administration put “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance (clearly in violation of the constitution), tried to give Social Security away to private insurance companies, and the Tennessee Valley Public Power Authority to private utility owners.

Thirty years ago the conservatives began to advocate for the end of public education on the grounds that it’s undemocratic to mandate school attendance.  No system is pure on this side of the grave; our society considered it essential to educate all the people so that they can intelligently participate in their own democratic governance, and avoid being swindled by demagogues.  The John Birch Society bulletin advised its readers to “join your local P.T.A. and take it over.” Fascists twist democratic institutions and values to gain their selfish ends.  They advocate for state control of women’s bodies; control the body, control the mind (women vote too liberally).  They have besieged health, safety and environmental regulations for over 50 years, but don’t ask them to do a cost-benefit analysis on outrageous and endemic corporate welfare.

END GAMES and WISHFUL THINKING:

The end game for Bush wasn’t a fortuitous crusade against terrorism, but to bankrupt and reduce the United States government to the influence of a third world nation.  Thereafter, the plutocracy will rule.  Bush undid the hard-won social and legal advancements of our free and equal society.  He dismantled the American Dream.  He betrayed the Constitution, reinforcing the United States as a warmongering plutocracy that absolutely corrupts the democratic republic.

Republicans don’t have any kind of mandate for their radical right wing agenda.  They brought us the Second Great Depression.  Republicans are all alarm and greed.  The Big Thieves came into our homes as we slept and threaten to never leave.  We shall be their economic and social slaves, although we will be called “the public,” “the people,” “average Americans,” whatever.  The dream turns into nightmare.

The pinnacle of human achievement can’t be George W. Bush.  “What a low pinnacle,” my wife says.  “He gives new meaning to the American concept that anybody can become president.”  They don’t even have to be elected.  He came to power in interesting fashion: a virtual coup overturning the popular will, based on a very tenuous partisan split vote of 5 to 4 in the Supreme Court – buttressed by legal arguments so weak that even first year law students would blush to use them.

VOTE PROGRESSIVE:

Be well advised, the next election is in November.  Cast your ballot for progressive candidates. Turn your back to the greed and close your wallets to them.  Save the dream.  Defend the republic.  Kick the sick twisted bastards out.

RELATED:

EAT the RICH