Archive for August 2009

A poor kid from a reserve

August 30, 2009


Another First Nation (poor person) gobbled up by Mars the god of war.

This time a poor kid from a northern Canadian reserve, two kids of his own, killed embeded  in the American forcces in Afghanistan.

He was a “hero” on the reserve. Kids would gather around him digging his army hair cut.There was no work, he had little education so he succumbed to the lying allure of the armed forces.

This is but a reprise of the poor blacks in the US  who could not get any other kind of work —but in the killing fields, sent by the likes of Cheney, Bush, Limbaugh etc to do the dirty work of empire.

The writer Jonathon Kozol wrote about these victims he met in Roxbury, the black part of Boston in the 60s. He would see these nice kids as pre-teens then the next time, scooped up by the conscienceless recruiters, they returned  to Roxbury—as robots spouting the spoon-fed crap they had been given. Having no fathers of their own who could unpack the government lies  they were easy preys for Big Brother, the state—the Empire of Uncle Sam.

Another good kid bites the dust—-this time a Canadian from a poor reserve.

Sound Off

August 28, 2009


Jon Miller the master of the cliche

It’s the only way to watch a ball game—with the sound off.

The last straw was a Sunday night game with the Bosox and Yankees. It should have been a better game with two outstanding mercenaries going for both clubs, Beckett and the portly CC Sabathia.The Yanks with their cheque book fire power were too much for the Bostons. That’s not the point.

It’s the pablum and the dumb commentary we are subjected to in this case by Joe Morgan a Hall of Famer second baseman but a terrible broadcaster and some guy named Jon Miller, the master of the obvious with little crtical acumen.

About the 7th the Sox are down by 4 and Sabathia punching them out regularly with a 95 mph fast ball and excellent curve. He does tend to be a little wild though. And up steps Gonzalex the Sox shortstop to start  the inning. Good glove, no hit—about .210. 3 and 1 count and the guy is swinging! What manager in his right mind allows these guys to think for themselves. Down four runs and 3 and 1, Gonzalez should be taking. Sure enough he’s swinging!  And down he goes after fouling the second strike off. Francona the Sox manager needs to start managing these prima donnas. It is obvious most of these guys have no baseball sense at all .More to my taste is Jim Tracy the Colorado manager who fired the ass of his shortstop Troy  Tulowitzki who decided to swing at the first pitch down 7 runs—and grounds into a double play.

Who is the adult in these games? What does a manger get paid for?

Then the Canadian Jason Bay, making millions a year dog trots around the bases as a pop is misplayed by Cano the Yank second baseman. He barely makes it home because  he’s not running flat out! This guy should be working at Tim Horton’s for a day. He can’t run full speed at the salary he’s making?

He should have been roasted by the all star broadcasters…not a word from inside the booth of a parallel universe.

This happens all the time I allow the sound of banality  to trump my jazz CDs.

Gospel over law in Scotland

August 25, 2009


Leave it to the USA, the most ”religious” nation on earth to go ballistic over the compassionate release of the Libyan Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi. Forget about the ridiculous and inappropriate welcome he received in Libya, it is of no account in evaluating this issue.The Scottish National government made the correct decision, choosing mercy over justice and the gospel over law.

A dying man is allowed  dignity in his final days. Even a bomber is made in the image of God.

But no the director the FBI melts with indignation.The act of mercy gives “comfort to terrorists around the world,” says Robert Mueller, the Director of the FBI.He writes to the Scottish PM in the predictable language of the law (I am familiar with the facts, and the law. … And I do so because I am outraged at your decision, blithely defended on the grounds of ‘compassion.'”)

The facts and the law are Mueller’s weapons, the weapons of the iron cased law—it’s all Mueller knows. He can’t move on to mercy.

Nor can the Globe and Mail which described the Scottish decision as “naivete.”

Mercy, a gospel demand will always appear foolish to fundamentalists of all stripes—Christians for capital punishment, institutions like the FBI and newspapers like the Globe.

William Calley finally fesses

August 22, 2009


William Calley finally broke his silence.

In front of a Kiwanis  club meeting in Georgia, the 71 year old butcher of My Lai, the massacre of innocents which ratcheted up resistance to the Vietnam War, finally fessed up.

Well better late than never I guess.

Calley felt remorse for his role as an officer in the slaugher of 500 innocent civilians in 1968. He was outed by a few brave US soldiers who refused “to follow orders”. It took 3 years for the great reporter Seymour Hersh to cobble the story together.

At the time Calley remained mute accepting 3 years of house arrest, courtesy of Ricard Nixon.He remained publicly silent until yesterday. Murder however  tends to eat away at a human being and Calley was no exception.

Calley of course is not unlike the American thugs and those in the Israeli Defense Force whose racist views allowed them to brutalize Iraqis (”sand niggers”) and subhuman Palestinians.

Readers are encouraged to read My Enemy, MY Self by Yoram Binur as reflective of Israeli racism.

Racism the dehumanization of another, makes it easier to kill,  a valuable orientation in war.

Calley was a pathetic  southern cracker, ill read and insensitive to the value of  Vietnamese history, culture and life.

Sadly he was carrrying the water for the George Bushes and Dick Cheneys whose class and connections have them a free pass in that monstrous war.

Wall Street Health Care

August 9, 2009


Wendell Potter a high priced flack for the huge medical firm CIGNA finally had enough.

For 15 years  Potter, a good old boy from Chatanooga, Tenn was a hired gun, the head of communications for one of those conglomerates whose main job seems to be to deny medical claims in the brutal American health system.

Just before he retired in 2007  and “saw the light”,  Potter defended CIGNA when it refused to pay for a 17-year-old’s transplant surgery, claiming the procedure was experimental. Protests at a regional headquarters created a public relations nightmare. Potter was shaken when people, enraged at such patent injustice, burst into headquarters along with the media. The insurance giant reversed themselves but  2 hrs later the 17 year old died. Potter still was blind.The biblical “they have eyes but do not see” is operative here.They are dead but breathing.

What turned Portter around and disgusted him was when on a trip home he borrowed his father’s car and  went 50 miles up the road to Wise, Virginia where idealistic doctors were treating just a few of the 47 million Americans with no health care.He was sickened by the lack of privacy, people lying on gurmeys in animal stalls, their dignity in shreds and their pocket books empty in the land of the free of the home of the knaves.They had come from all over  the south- South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky, Tennessee–just to see a doctor. The scales fell from Wendell Potter’s eyes.

“There could have been people and probably were people that I had grown up with. They could have been people who grew up at the house down the road, in the house down the road from me. And that made it real to me” Potter told one of  America’s great voices of conscience, Bill Moyers .

Potter finally understood that all those statistics he had been dealing with were but numbers with faces and tears erased, humans made in the image of God abandoned by political whores in the House and senate, men rented  by Big Pharma nd the Health Care industry to keep this unconscionable going.

“I had a terrific office in a high-rise building in Philadelphia. I was insulated.” Potter told Moyers . “ I didn’t really see what was going on. I saw the data. I knew that 47 million people were uninsured, but I didn’t put faces with that number.”

Wendell Potter was like many, seduced by a corporate culture, loyalty to a firm which paid him well.He was not an evil monster. Corporations are full of people like Potter, kind to those near and dear to them, but absolutely isolated from the deeper human reality of the poor everywhere.

“I would often fly on a corporate aircraft to go to meetings. And I just thought that was a great way to travel. It is a great way to travel. You’re sitting in a luxurious corporate jet, leather seats, very spacious. And I was served my lunch by a flight attendant who brought my lunch on a gold-rimmed plate. And she handed me gold-plated silverware to eat it with. And then I remembered the people that I had seen in Wise County. Undoubtedly, they had no idea that this went on, at the corporate levels of health insurance companies.”

Potter had had it. He went to Congress and testified.

“The industry and its backers are using fear tactics, as they did in 1994, to tar a transparent and accountable, publicly accountable health care option as, quote, “government-run health care.” What we have today, Mr. Chairman, is Wall Street-run health care that has proven itself an untrustworthy partner to its customers, to the doctors and hospitals who deliver care and to the state and federal governments that attempt to regulate it.”

Hiroshima Day 2009

August 6, 2009


I remember swinging Frida around in the mid 70s at a retreat in Michigan.The daughter of Philip Berrigan and Liz McAlister she has herself become a formidable spokesperson about the ever present nuclear threat

Keep in mind as well that the bombs which annihilated two Japanese cities and ended so many lives 64 years ago this week were puny when compared to today’s typical nuclear weapon. Little Boy was a 15 kiloton warhead. Most of the warheads in the U.S. arsenal today are 100 or 300 kilotons – capable of taking out not a Japanese city of 1945 but a modern megalopolis. Bruce Blair, president of the World Security Institute and a former launch-control officer in charge of Minutemen Intercontinental
Ballistic Missiles armed with 170, 300, and 335 kiloton warheads, pointed out a few years ago that, within 12 minutes, the United States and Russia could launch the equivalent of 100,000 Hiroshimas.

It is unthinkable. It seems unimaginable. It sounds like hyperbole, but consider it an uncomfortable and necessary truth. The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the children of our future need us to understand this and act upon it – 64 years too late… and not a minute too soon.

Frida Berrigan

Back to the future-again!

August 4, 2009


2009? or 1959?

Good news to cheer the Catholic faint of heart from  Sydney, Australia.

Three out of the four new priests from the Sydney Archdiocese chose to celebrate their first Masses in Latin.

Wow this will be certain to bring the young rushing to holy, mother church.

I imagine these young fogeys choosing to celebrate the Eucharist  in a foreign tongue, a dead language. Here we have the sacrament which  should  bring folks together performed in such an arcane manner.This is what passes for leadership in the diocese of Cardinal George Pell.

What goes on in the heads of these guys? Do they really believe that this is where the Spirit is leading the Church in a world racked with such pain?

Well I guess TS Eliot was right: the sickness must grow worse.

British economists send apology to queen

August 2, 2009


WE are not amused.

A British newspaper reported recently  that a group of eminent economists have apologized to Queen Elizabeth II for failing to predict the financial crisis. No kidding! This is news? They were as blind as their American counterparts (about 15 out of 10,000 economists) raised alarms).

The Observer newspaper reported that a letter has been sent to the Queen after she demanded, during a visit to the London School of Economics last November, to know why nobody had anticipated the credit crunch.

According to the newspaper, the letter says that says “financial wizards” who believed that their plans to manage risky debts and protect the financial system were infallible were guilty of “wishful thinking combined with hubris.”

The newspaper said the content was discussed during a seminar with a group of leading economists in June, including Nick MacPherson, a permanent secretary at Britain’s Treasury, and Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O’Neill.

“In summary, your majesty, the failure to foresee the timing, extent and severity of the crisis and to head it off, while it had many causes, was principally a failure of the collective imagination of many bright people, both in this country and internationally, to understand the risks to the system as a whole,” the newspaper quoted the letter as saying.

Luis Garicano, a professor at the London School of Economics, said he had discussed the origins of the crisis with the Queen during her visit. He said she had asked: “Why did nobody notice it?”

The answer is simple.

Like most neoclassical economists these guys did not get past their formulae and charts. And that is the reason so many people have bailed out ofeconomics for decades. A bloodless science whose epitaph might be that of Emilio Medici, Head of State in Brazil 1971

“The economy is doing well but not the people.”