Sunday, September 14, 2014

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I played football in my backyard when I was a kid with my brothers. That was pretty much it for football and
No Shit. Pic from Morningstar
me. I was really good at soccer and basketball. I got so good that boys would actually pick me first. You rarely got knocked down in soccer or basketball, if you did it was usually an accident. In football, it seemed to me that getting knocked down was the whole point. People were always getting hurt, especially my brother, he was always in the emergency room. Watching football was always a big deal on the holidays. I spent many miserable days when my husband would sulk or flip out because of whatever his football team did. I just don't like football.
The big topic at work wasn't bombing Iraq or ISIS, or as my friend would say as a joke, "is, is", it was that Ray Rice knocked out his wife with a punch in an elevator. "Did you see the video?" I kept getting asked. No I didn't and I don't want to. Here's the thing, domestic violence goes down everyday, everywhere. It's just that now with surveillance people behaving badly are caught on film. I am sure that the incident on that elevator wasn't the first time that asshole punched his wife. He'll probably punch a woman in the future. As long as men think they can get away with this behavior, they will continue to do it. Because keeping their hands to themselves isn't an option. It really doesn't surprise me that the NFL was utterly incompetent handling this situation and it did remind me of the whole Penn State affair. Because we worship these football people. They are like Gods. What is one punch worth?  Two games, which is what the NFL initially suggested.
We live in a culture of violence, football is a violent game, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a whole lot more stories or incidents of domestic violence that surface after this, what do you know? There are, only this time it's a grown man beating a 4 year old. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson faces two years in prison if found guilty of child abuse - NY Daily News
These are just the incidents we know about. It seems to me that the football industry is run by corrupt millionaires just like our government. The NFL has an image to keep polished but that image just keeps getting tarnished. Michael Vick abused animals and he's still playing. The litany of abuse is pretty bad, but then you are dealing with an organization where brain injuries and death are just part of the game. I don't know how much this could affect these players behavior but the whole culture of football is something I could never identify with. I did however, observe a whole lot of bad behavior based on a persons status on the high school team and how many women the captain of the team could use. Fights that would break out depending on which team you were cheering for. Then there's the whole insanity of cheerleading. To me football was just a huge waste of time. Being in a room full of yelling, screaming, wing eatin', beer swilling dudes, never did anything for me. The more I learn about what really goes on in football, the less I want anything to do with it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back To Iraq

It's pretty clear to me that President Obama can't get anything done in this country, so lets go back to Iraq.
There are plenty of people who think Hellfire missiles are the way to go and bombs away! Don't get me wrong I'm no fan of ISIS or ISIL but didn't we give them weapons in the first place? Let's extrapolate this to when we armed Afghan rebels way back, Operation Cyclone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Which gave birth to Al Qaeda, and you know the rest.  A couple of weeks ago I was reading about Chuck Hagel, who made an arms deal with Turkey. That's no accident, Turkey is going to play a major role in this new/old conflict.
Why does it seem like we are caught up in an endless circle jerk? We pedal weapons or just give 'em away like candy and what do you know? People get carried away shooting, raping and pillaging and the next thing you know it's time for more bombs and  "advisers." Don't blink because if you do there will be boots on the ground. Not shocked that this is going down again. 
Billions of dollars and ten years spent training Iraq forces to control their own country. Only to discover that isn't working out, which really, it's our fault, all of it.
I don't know, but I am just going to throw it out there that there was a disappointing jobs report two days ago. Fast food jobs ain't cuttin' it anymore and those people are striking for $15 an hour. The economy is stagnant. People are either pissed off or mired in their own misery. They don't give a damn about Iraq, they don't even understand what's going on outside of the Fox News channel in their living room. They are exhausted from working two or three jobs.Then you have this;
Pic nicked from The Guardian
The President decided to go see Stonehenge while at the NATO Summit in Wales. Putin is out of control and I am so sure all these NATO countries are going to pony up and start chipping in so they can bankrupt their countries with endless conflict. I don't have a problem with the President sight seeing. But he needs to open his eyes and look at his own people, his own country. I guess the view is better at Stonehenge.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

#ByebyeBK

 I don't know exactly what Burger King contributes to American society. Poverty wages? Tons of waste? Nutritionally deficient food? Despite all of that, people got pissed off about Burger King heading to Canada to dodge taxes. Because there's never enough for corporations. So BK decides to make a big announcement they aren't going any where, when really they are and will be able to leave the U.S tax burden, unlike the rest of us wage slaves.
Last night, after I got home from my exhausting job, I read about a woman working four jobs who died taking a nap in her car. 4 part time jobs. No wonder she was exhausted. This is normal now. People working multiple part time jobs because full time work is non-existent. Happy Labor Day weekend. Most people won't even get one. It's kind of funny to me because no one at work mentioned why we have a Labor Day or what it means and unions have gone by the wayside for being too stale, male and pale. People are confused about unions and people generally feel they are corrupt. They take your money for their "dues" and then do nothing for you. People are being screwed everyday in this labor market, with crappy part time jobs and minimum wages that keep people so
Don't think so.
exhausted they have no idea what to do or how the system of corporatocracy keeps them from earning a decent living with humane benefits. I guess that's probably the point. I don't know what it's going to take to get to the point where Americans just turn their backs on this capitalist bullshit financial system that is not in the least rewarding for most people. Life long work and drudgery isn't a goal. People don't deserve poverty. But this American culture will tell you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps or else die. That's social Darwinism.
All week long I heard the nauseating Paul Ryan "the intellectual" and how case workers are going to be setting goals for the 45 million people on food stamps. The big problem with Ryan? He's living in the past where fulltime work is plenitfull and college degrees didn't cost tens of thousands of dollars. The concept of "work" has changed. The economic crisis of 2009 has changed everything for ordinary American workers. No one seems to be acknowledging that automation has taken over, rendering millions of jobs obsolete. Factories have gone to China and people who used to graduate from high school and get a good job for 20 years don't have that option anymore. You can have all the lofty goals you want but that won't put dinner on the table. People aren't working  2 or 3 part time jobs because good times are trickling down all over them. It isn't just the appalling minimum wage people are expected to live on but also a government that manipulates inflation data so it doesn't include the prices of gas and food. So we have no idea what the real inflation rate is and politicians pat themselves on the back saying inflation is low, oh yeah and the unemployment rate is 6%, right. Because we don't really know what that is either. It isn't just that people don't know anything about Labor Day or organizing to get fair wages and hours. It's the fact that most Americans are kept in the dark about real facts that affect them daily. They are working as hard as they can and can't figure out why they can't get ahead. Because that's the point. You never will. We need a Second American Revolution. Read about it here.
The Second American Revolution | BUCKY WORLD
 Labor Day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bring Out Your Bombs

Did you know that our secretary of defense is a salesman? He just brokered an $11 billion deal with Qatar, for Patriot missiles. I just love the name, "Patriot missiles"as if they're rockets for freedom or something. These aren't the only weapons Hagel has been pedaling. How about some military helicoptors for India?  You know what else is big business? Drones. 66 countries are eligible to buy them, says the Pentagon. Isn't that great for Northrup Grumman and Boeing? The economy has been stagnant for quite some time and there's nothing like war and weapons to jump start things with a BOOM!
Just sayin'!
It was about this time last year that there was a red line that Syria stepped over, so here we go again. Because, you know, we care. Yeah right.
What the hell is wrong with us that there's no other way to do business and our secretary of defense is a weapons broker? He goes all over the world drumming up business for weapons manufacturers and no one bats an eye. Like it's normal for a secretary of defense to be doing that. Because arms are an industry. It's the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us about. Nobody listened and as far as I know hardly anyone cares. The U.S. has the top 5 arms manufacturers worldwide. That's not exactly good for any kind of lasting peaceful co-existance. Because that's not very profitable.
So I guess it's time for democracy for Syria, since we did such a great job with Iraq. Besides we've extracted everything we could from there, time to look for greener pastures. We bombed Iraq back to the Stone Age and created a power vacuum, alternately funding terrorist organizations that we now want to bomb. It's come full circle and is a great strategy for the arms industry which is why we'll never have peace. It's just not profitable enough. I don't know anyone who thinks we have any business in the Middle East, but that won't stop President Obama or John McCain and Lindsey Graham from saying "bombs away!" I am sure they are all well aware that, when you start bombing Assad and Syria you we are also going to be dealing with Putin. Maybe that's the point. Another Proxy war. It's just so predictable. No one is going to say we can't afford to bomb someone the way our representatives argue against food stamps or Social Security, there's always money for war. Not so much for taking care of war veterans. It's really hard to believe we are going to do this all over again. People are rioting in the streets here, so I guess we need another distraction.
Black swan theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
to take our minds off of our problems. Hey, I wonder if Turkey needs any weapons? Did you know they have a lobby? Did you know there is a crazy amount of competition between the U.S. and China selling weapons to Turkey among other places? You people in Ferguson better settle down, we've got other opportunities to exploit.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Deja Vu

What's going on in Ferguson is nothing new, it's an old story. Shooting unarmed black men, tear gas, tanks. These were used during the 1967 Detroit riot. This was when Governor George Romney (name sound familiar?)  sent in the National Guard and then President Johnson sent in the army. Using the military and military weapons against the citizenry isn't anything new. More recently, the 1992 Los Angelos riots, caused by police brutality. Rodney King was beaten by police and the excuse was that he was on PCP, which later drug tests proved negative. So far what I have read about the shooting of Michael Brown;
" Brown and a friend were walking in the street and “blocking traffic.”
Brown went after the police officers gun.
 Michael Brown stole a box of cigars.
"officer was treated at a hospital for swelling on the side of his face " the implication being Michael Brown had it coming, if he caused that swelling.
What is really crazy is what I read in Al Jazeera
"certain facts are undisputed: Brown, unarmed, was shot multiple times and killed 35 feet from a police car. Shell casings found at the scene were all fired from the officer’s gun". and this; "Residents of Ferguson gathered for a vigil near Brown’s body as it lay sprawled in the street where he was killed, left uncovered for hours."
That is pretty brutal. So brutal that Anonymous got involved.
What is eerily familiar to me is that Missouri state police are sent in and Ron Johnson is the "man for the job"
Kind of like after Hurricane Katrina, when Russel Honore was sent to calm the chaos in New Orleans. I don't know for sure if it's some kind of freaky coincidence that both these men are African-American or not. What I do know is that it looks like "Whiteys On The Moon" (see GSH)  meaning, white people do all manner of things, in order to avoid dealing with very real and oppressive problems in our society. The thing is that this isn't just going down in Missouri, it's everywhere.
I have an African- American friend who is constantly being pulled over by the cops. He is used to it. He calls in late to work on occasion because he has been pulled over, yet again, for no damn reason. Except the reason that no one really wants to talk about.
I don't know if racism had anything to do with this shooting, hopefully the investigation will clear things up or cover things up. Who knows?
Picture from RT
Just to add to the crazy, the whole controversy of the police and the military toys they now have thanks to Homeland Security, because, TERRORISM, now used on our own people. Which gets me thinking about gun nuts and the right to bear arms and being a well armed militia, I am not sure how these people think they will take back their government, when they are up against tanks and drones. Good luck with that, but I digress. I am sure things got out of control in Ferguson. So they rolled out the paramilitary gear. But an out of touch police force, who either are clueless or just plain don't care allowed a situation to devolve into chaos until the State Police had to take over, seems to be the cause of making a bad situation worse. You have to wonder if all that money spent on all that fancy equipment could have been invested in the people. I'm not sure why this situation couldn't have been diffused in the beginning with negotiations involving citizens in the neighborhood and leaders in their community, I guess investing in riot gear instead of people is more important. The whole thing is just really sad. That picture looks like something that could have happened in Iraq or Afghanistan. Sad to say it's in the streets of my own country and could be coming to a neighborhood near you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Dreams May Come

Many of you may know I am a painter. What you may not know is that I am a widow. My husband died in a car accident. May of 2001. One of his favorite movies;



We watched this movie, before he passed, many times. He totally connected with this film and it still weirds me out, that he died in almost the same manner as Robin Williams character did. Not only that, but I am a painter. He could totally see me getting lost in a sea of paint. I often do.
After my husband passed, my children and I called the anniversary of his death "D Day" Just like in the movie. We would make plans to spend the day together and just try to get through it, as best we could, and still do. My husband loved Robin Williams. This movie dealt with loss, death and grief in a way that our culture usually ignores. That was such a gift, through Robin's work we had conversations about death that this movie inspired. I am so grateful for that. My husband was a Jew and he thought Robin was one too, because of the Yiddish accent he used on many occasions. Turns out he wasn't. Remembering Robin Williams, ‘honorary Jew’ | Bloggish | Jewish Journal
 I heard about  Robin Williams death, at work, and I used my lunch break, to take a walk and remember all the laughs he gave me and the time I cried through "Good Will Hunting" which earned him an Academy Award. It made me sad to hear of his passing and I felt such sorrow for his family.


"To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,"
Robin Williams shuffled off this mortal coil. We are all better for his amazing gift on this planet. He gave my family many happy hours. He touched all of our souls. 
Rest In Peace, Robin, your work touched so many lives. 


"To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep--
To sleep--perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. -- Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! -- Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered."




Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Politics Of Ebola

Virus Series, Ebola marker, left center
A decade ago I started
a series based on virus', one of them, Ebola. I was trying to transform something ugly, into something beautiful. I guess I should have started out by saying I am an artist. Anyway, I tried but I failed.
Sometimes ugly is just ugly and you can't change that.
So it is with Ebola.
It seems that now New Guinea has closed it's borders. This week I saw a lot of panic, from a lot of people because we flew two Americans with the Ebola virus to Atlanta to save their lives, one of them a doctor, who probably saved a lot of lives, but no one I encountered considered that. The worst thing was the ignorance, people willing to give these Americans a death sentence and let them die in Africa. Pretty ugly. All because of two people in extremely contained conditions, were flown to Atlanta. These two people aren't who you should be worrying about.
Let's go Medieval on it.
When I heard about people in Liberia, throwing bodies into the street, it took me back, way back, to the Black Plague. A time when people who had a relative that succumbed to this disease, would do the same thing in order to avoid being locked into their house and left to die. True story.
Some things never change, the fear of contagion, is one of them.
One thing I thought was interesting is that the people who were willing to let others die of the Ebola virus, didn't even consider how they would like to be treated, if God forbid, they came down with Ebola. While they thought it was OK to deny others treatment, I am willing to bet they would want every medical treatment available to save their lives. This got me thinking about Pest Houses, the first attempt at some sort of public healthcare, back in those days and before, disease was thought to be spread by something called "elfshot", an encounter with an elf could send you on your way to the hereafter. Which makes me wonder about people at Christmas, willing to install an elf on a shelf, spying on their children's behavior, because, elves aren't nice. But I digress.
Let's just say, that someone flew into this country, who had Ebola and infected other people on his or her journey. With the millions of people in America who can't afford healthcare, even with Obamacare available, if any of these people contracted this deadly disease, how many of them would seek treatment they can't afford. Are you trackin' with me on this?
There is a damn good reason why people in Europe have a single payer national healthcare system, a history of plague outbreaks wiping out a third of their population might have something to do with it. Guess what they don't have in Liberia or Guinea? Adequate healthcare. While we do have excellent healthcare in America, it is only for those that can afford it. This is what we should really be concerned about.
The people I have encountered, who are really concerned about the people who were flown here, in order to get the healthcare they need to fight this virus, don't give a damn that plenty of Americans are at risk daily of  all manner of disease because they can't afford to go to the doctor. 
 If, God forbid, Ebola struck in this country, it's the people who go without healthcare that would spread this deadly virus. Yet in America we think that healthcare is some kind of special privilege and if you can't afford it you can go pound salt. Maybe another Spanish Flu epidemic, or some other plague is what it's going to take in order for America to give it's citizens what every civilized country gives it's people, a national healthcare system.
 People in Guinea and Liberia go with out, just like millions in America.
However, no one thinks about that. America is so "special." So many people I talk to everyday, think America is the greatest country in the world. It's not, because we are owned by insurance companies who pay politicians to withhold adequate healthcare to every citizen in America.
The reason why we aren't sending a serum to Africa to save thousands? Because there's not enough money in it for big pharma to produce it. We have known about Ebola for decades, doesn't anyone wonder why with all our technology we don't have a cure? Well, because of the free market of course, supply and demand..which sounds really stupid when thousands of people are dying and we could have saved them, but there wasn't enough profit to extract. Remember Smallpox? I still carry the scar from that vaccination. How about Polio? These were serious healthcare issues that were eradicated, because everyone was vaccinated. I don't know who got rich, back in the day when the smallpox vaccine was developed. I am sure there were a lot of ignorant people who didn't want any part of it. Just like the people who think we shouldn't try to save healthcare workers lives, because of their own selfishness and fear. We could have had a cure for Ebola, but America's politicians didn't think it was worth funding the research to do so. In this regard, we really could have been heroes and be a global example of how we take care of people. But no, we deny our own people healthcare and everyone else can literally die in the street. Which is what is happening in Liberia. Truly we are all connected and the Ebola virus could connect us in a very real way and show us that we need to take care of each other.