Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Cost Of Freedom

If you've been reading my blog long enough, you know how I feel about war. Yesterday, I gave a dollar to a vet and got my poppy, I was out with a friend of mine who's still "active" and crazy enough to be disappointed he's not going to Afghanistan. A lot of guys are disappointed according to Sean. It seems some guys re-enlisted purposely to go to Afghanistan, because you get a bonus of some sort and according to Sean, they are stuck in the army without a war to go to, for years. Something tells me they won't be unoccupied for long.
I was thinking about Memorial Day and Jasper Johns popped into my head and his flag paintings.
Jasper Johns served in the Korean War and was stationed in Japan. He received the Medal Of Freedom from President Obama. Johns is really interesting on so many levels. He's an artist and a gay man, who had a long term relationship with Robert Rauschenberg, another famous abstract expressionist. With all the furor about  DADT. (thank God that's over) I wonder about his military service? Being gay and being in the military in the 1950's seems like a pretty scary proposition. I am guessing that he didn't tell.
Johns flag paintings were inspired by a dream. I also have made work based on my dreams.
 I write them all down in a journal. I wonder if he does that?
White Flag, 1955
This flag is like a ghost flag to me. Let's see, what was going on in 1955? Well it was the McCarthy era, McCarthyism was is " the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence." Sounds like a bunch of "birthers" to me. We don't know for sure if the White Flag was used as a symbol for the U.S. under McCarthyism or the Vietnam War. A white flag can mean surrender. That's what I like about art, it's what the viewer brings to the image. 

Three Flags
Jasper Johns was named after a Revolutionary War hero Sergeant William Jasper, who raised a flag during a battle. Some art critics think that might be why Johns chose the flag to paint. 
 Whatever his reason was, I like his work (in art school you aren't allowed to say that without giving a reason why, so here goes) I think it's both evocative and provocative. It's didactic.
Flags are everywhere, they are used in public spaces and privately. 

I think this is the saddest use of a flag. At a funeral of a soldier. 
Memorial Day, used to be called Decoration Day and started after the Civil War.
Here's a cool version of "Find The Cost Of Freedom" with Crosby, Nash and Dave Gilmour.
I'd like to thank my friend Seanie and a shout out to Sarge and all the soldiers who serve.
Have a peaceful Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

No More

Hurricane Katrina, Joplin Tornado, 2003 European heatwave, (over 14,00 died in France alone) Cyclone Mahasen, Superstorm Sandy. Super Typhoon Bopha, The Moore Tornado. NOAA predicts 3 to 6 major hurricanes will hit the US this hurricane season. The new record minimum for Arctic Sea Ice occurred last September. The level of CO2 hit 400 parts per million, the highest ever recorded. This is an incremental presentation of a global problem.
I wonder how far it has to go before climate change deniers start singing a different tune? 
Like John Boehner says " the idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide. Every cow in the world, you know, when they do what they do, you’ve got more carbon dioxide. And so I think it’s clear…" It's clear that John Boehner is going to do, what he does, like, collect money from Exxon. However, President Obama took more than Boehner did.*  The profit motive for ignoring this problem certainly is clear.
Conoco, Exxon, General Electric are the top polluters in the US. The energy lobby is the most powerful lobby in the country. So much so that the U.S. boycotted the Kyoto protocolThe energy lobby's goal is to maintain the status quo, too bad equilibrium is not able to be maintained where climate is concerned. Just keep up the drill, frack and burn. Tax breaks for Oil companies, which the U.S. subsidizes, (otherwise known as corporate welfare) keeps the energy lobby busy making sure fossil fuel keeps a stranglehold on our economy and our climate. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced a bill  to end $40 billion in subsidies to Big Oil, in 2011. In Feb. 2013 this bill, known as H.R. 609  was reintroduced. Heard anything about it? 
Oh yeah, the GOP voted it down.
Those of you who keep track of the weather might notice that there is a difference between hurricanes and tornadoes. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) argued that there is no comparison between Hurricane Sandy relief, which he voted against last fall, and aid for his state in the wake of Monday’s devastating tornado because the two are “totally different.” Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won’t happen in Oklahoma.” 
 Senator Inhofe  from donations ;
Koch Industries$49,600
Oil & Gas$550,950

Murray Energy$31,700
Devon Energy$30,750
OGE Energy$29,300
 I hope the people from Moore, Oklahoma, don't have to suffer like the victims of Superstorm Sandy did. But we all are going to continue to suffer as long a politicians are paid by lobbies that have a vested interest in destroying the planet.
*Exxon Mobil: All Recipients | OpenSecrets

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Hey IRS, while your at it, can you go after Westboro Baptist? 
 How long do you think it's going to take for the GOP to start the impeach Obama train? All aboard! Because every weekend people tell Michelle Bachman they want Obama impeached. On my way home from work I saw some Tea Party wingnuts out in the rain, with a table and a petition and a big ole sign
saying, IMPEACH OBAMA! Ya know what?  It'll probably happen. Every time I think that Republicans would never do (insert crazy backward action) they go ahead and drag the country through all kinds of nonsense, just to prove to Americans that they are idiots.
This week there have been scandals on Benghazi talking points, the IRS went after the name Patriot and Tea Party but the worst is the surveillance of AP journalists, provoking all kinds of comparisons to Nixon.
  There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear.
Governor Bobby Jindal, (R) has accused President Obama of bearing the responsibility of the IRS scandal. Even though no direct links can be found from President Obama's 2012 election  to the IRS.  The Obama administration appointed Steven T Miller, IRS chief in November 2012, after the five year term of the Bush appointee, Douglas Shulman, ended. According to mathematics, I am pretty sure the scrutiny of Tea party 501(c)4 status was implemented under Shulmans tenure. 501(c)4 exempt tax status can't be granted to an organization that is primarily engaged in political activity. Questions about whomever applies for 501(c)4 status is valid and legal. 501(c)4 status allows donors to remain anonymous. If a group lies about their political status it is a violation of the tax code.
 It may very well be that the IRS scandal isn't really a scandal at all. What IS scandalous is that Westboro Baptist has this tax exempt status to wreak havoc at whomever's funerals they choose to protest. Please, oh, please, if there is a God, let the IRS audit Westboro Baptist. If President Obama's administration IS unfairly targeting conservative groups, isn't Westboro Baptist the most conservative of them all?
Bobby Jindal suggests IRS officials deserve "jail time" for targeting conservative groups. I can think of a lot of government officials that deserve "jail time" for lying about WMD's, targeting a country that had nothing to do with 9-11, leading Americans into a war that didn't have to happen. No one suggested impeachment or even a hint of a scandal then.
I have said over and over that I am not President Obama's biggest fan. I have a problem with his use of drones, his continuation of polluting the Treasury with banking cronies, ad nauseum.
 The AP journalists issue  is probably the most serious. Then again, I wonder where all this outrage was under the Bush Administration? I also wonder if we even have any such thing as a free press any longer?
The last impeachment of a president?
Yeah, I see how it is.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beautiful People With An Ugly Gene

I really didn't know if I would post today until I saw the article in Reuters about Angelina Jolie and her double  mastectomy. Her mother died of breast cancer, so she had gene testing for BRCA1, found out she carried the gene and elected to have life saving surgery. Brad was with her through the whole ordeal. Sigh.
 I don't want to know what it's like to have to make a decision like this. I hope I never find out. Because I can't afford it.
Angelina urges women to get tested, kudos to her. But you'd think with all her experience in the arena of social justice she would realize that a $3000 test and a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery costing upwards of $50,000, is not possible in the US, for millions of women, let alone for women  in the war torn countries she's visited.
Angelina's heart was probably in the right place, but it seems like the only people who can have an outcome like hers are the wealthy and celebrities. It's not going to be the middle aged woman down the street whose mother died of breast cancer. It's not going to be the cashier at Walmart or the pharmacist at Walgreens.  Raising awareness is a great thing, unless you are aware you are at risk and can't do anything about it.
When someone as beautiful and talented as Angelina Jolie has a fatal flaw like a gene marker for breast cancer, we all feel sympathy, we acknowledge her courage dealing with a life threatening disease. That someone like her, with everything going for her and every advantage could succumb to a cancer that kills almost 40,000 women a year, is frightening. The estimates for 2013 are about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women* I think that looks like an epidemic. If that many people contracted SARS, I wonder what the response would be?
Last year, there was a huge scandal about the Susan Komen  Foundation, eliminating $680,000 in grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, which they backpedaled after criticism and restored the grants. That was bad enough, but what really stuck with me were the bloated salaries for the people running this "non-profit." The  Komen Foundation spends a lot of money suing companies or people who use "the cure" in their advertising. A lot of money is spent on awareness, but like the Slate article I linked says, who's not aware of breast cancer? Couldn't they sink all that money into research? Just a thought. I think that's what we need more of, research. Breast cancer has been around for a very long time, as far back as 1600 BC, Egypt. It just seems kind of crazy to me that the most fortunate among us like Angelina Jolie's best option is to cut off her breasts to beat this disease. Shouldn't we be able to do better than that? I mean for every woman, not just Jolie.
I am happy for Angelina and her family that she may live a long life due to her radical and expensive treatment. But I feel kind of depressed about average women who also have families, that simply will not be able to have access to that kind of treatment. They will just be living a kind of quiet desperation of NOT being one of the beautiful people who have the breast cancer gene.
*How many women get breast cancer?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Slippery Slope, To Less Abortions

Thank you, Judge Korman!
I am a single mother. People say that parenting is the hardest job in the world. They have no idea when it comes to being a single mother. You have everything going against you. Some women choose to be single mothers, for a variety of reasons, sometimes death comes to your door and you are thrust into the world of single parenting, it's not easy to say the least.
There's a whole lot of people who like to go off about women who have babies for all the free benefits the government hands out, like it's some get rich quick scheme. These are the same people who don't want abortion to be legal. I have seen these same people do a complete about face when their daughter gets pregnant. Things are different when your baby is not ready to have a baby.
There's been way to much controversy about Plan B emergency contraception. Finally, a judge had the guts to call the FDA's restrictions on Plan B "arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable."
Jezebel made a list of five drugs more dangerous than the Plan B pill, like Advil and Benedryl, any kid can buy these medications.The reasoning against Plan B becoming over the counter is politically and religiously motivated. There's nothing scientific about it.
 The notion of a young woman who finds herself at risk of an unplanned pregnancy, will go to her parents to make a doctors appointment and get a prescription, leaves out the very real possibility that her father could be the one who got her in that predicament. But no one wants to acknowledge that possibility. There are a whole lot of ugly scenarios as to why a woman would need a Plan B pill that aren't discussed. Then there's the "whoops" factor, whatever the reason is, access to emergency contraception shouldn't be denied because of religious or political reasons. Morality and common sense are at odds when it comes to a person making a decision about whether or not she wants to go through with an unplanned pregnancy. It is hard enough to become a parent when you have planned everything down to the last detail, things can still go horribly wrong. There are a lot of religious zealots that act as if giving birth is safer than taking Plan B.
Going to the drugstore, getting a box of Plan B and proceeding to the checkout counter should be an easy and logical choice. Instead you have to go to the pharmacist, in front of whomever is in line, explain yourself, show ID and listen to the pharmacist's instructions. (Already inside the box) Seems like a perfect recipe to embarrass and stress out a person who is already in a stressful situation. Make sense? Not really.
America has a problem when women make decisions about their reproductive health, there's always some moral or religious problem associated with women exercising their free will sexually or reproductively.
In a perfect world the decision to become a mother should be just that, a choice. Not something unplanned that is forced on you.
The best thing about Plan B is that it could make abortion a thing of the past. Republicans just can't have that, because they use abortion in every election and it would no longer be relevant. Not having to listen to conservative assholes get on their high horse about abortion anymore should be enough to welcome Plan B on every Walgreen's shelf everywhere. 
Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Secret Life Of Chemicals

Europe banned pesticides that are harmful to bees. Could that happen in the U.S.? The EPA'S. position blames Colony Collapse Disorder on mites. This way corporations can get away with bee murder. The EPA also gave us hormone enhanced milk and the use of antibiotics on animals and now mites are killing bees, but not GMO pollen or pesticides.
Lobbies are everywhere, including bee hives. The reason we don't do the same as Europe is because of the lobbies that represent Monsanto. Let me see, I think I read  something about the Farmer Protection Act, aka " The Monsanto Protection Act."Also known as the Roy Blunt R-Mo. Bill , he said he worked with Monsanto to craft this piece of legislation, which  is pretty much corporate welfare for Monsanto.
Neonicotinoids  are used for a lot of purposes, including flea control on domestic animals. Some of the research I have read indicates that the pesticides might not outright kill bees, but what it does do is affect their behavior. 
With a country as diverse as the U.S. it is confusing to me that we do not protect biodiversity. Maybe because it can't be monetized?
Chemical manufacturers obviously have more power here than in Europe, however Germany's Bayer CropScience calls the EU ban a "setback for technology." It looks to me like the bees are having a setback, but who cares if bees disappear and we can't pollinate plants anymore, yes, their are a lot of other non-hive dwelling insects that pollinate, but colony bees do a lot of the work. Apis Melliflera, what we know as the honey bee is not native to the U.S. but were brought to this country by Europeans. I think that killer bee's probably have a right to be pissed off the way we have been screwing up the environment.
Those that are empowered seek only their own selfish and damaging agenda's. I guess when all the bees have been eliminated then maybe the EPA will get on board with the EU but it will probably be too late.
As far as Monsanto goes, you can't patent a naturally occurring plant. So it benefits them financially to mess around with our food supply. These GMO's are allowed into our food supply without being tested because the FDA's Michel Taylor*, was in charge of FDA policy, he then became VP at Monsanto, he is a perfect example of the revolving door of our government and corporate jobs program. Not only have the bees been infected by corporate profit, also our government and our food supply.
It seems to me that bees have been around for millions of years without collapsing but now we have chemicals and GMO pollen and now they are dying. It's common sense to get the pesticides out of our food chain and GMO corn, wheat and whatever else. Europeans are obviously brighter than we are. They did give us Charles Darwin. But we are the ones who will probably win the "Darwin Award".
*Michael R. Taylor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Miscarriage Of Justice

Ya Think?
 Sandra Day O'Conner's confession that well, maybe, the Supreme Court shouldn't have decided the outcome of a presidential election. A decision that sent the United States into a war for profit, hundreds of thousands dead and an economic depression we call the "Great Recession." Trillions of dollars wasted, millions of lives ruined, so that a dynasty could endure and what amounts to throwing out at least 50,000 American votes. We have had a battle royale going on with the gun nuts and their second amendment rights. But there is no outrage over the fact that votes weren't counted. That the election of George W Bush did not occur and now Sandy wants to get rid of her guilt by saying, Whoops! That was a mistake? Are you f'ing kidding me? 
54,000 people were purged from the Florida voting rolls, under the leadership of Jeb Bush. Military ballots were thrown out. A" Volusia Error" occurred when 412 registered voters somehow voted for George Bush 2,813 times on Diebold machines and unbelievably Diebold is still in business, owned by Walden O'Dell, a top Bush fundraiser.
I don't know if Sandy is senile or WTF her problem is now, but she and her fellow Supreme's are responsible for the mess this country is STILL in, along with Bush.
The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stop the recount. A recount that should have been put before the House of Representatives as the Constitution mandates. But all that was thrown out the window. You can take away the right to vote. But what if the Supreme Court decided to take away over 50,000 peoples guns? That's what really gets me. There would be rioting in the streets and shoot outs galore (well, there are anyway) if a decision like that was made about guns.
There is so much wrong in this country to THIS DAY because of this old fart.
There is a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay that President Obama is finally giving some attention to, a situation that wouldn't have occurred if it wasn't for the installation of the Bush regime. That's right Sandy, that's part of your legacy too, along with torture. The families who lost their children, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers in the War On Terror, will never be the same because of you.
We know that "At an election night party, Sandra Day O'Conner became upset when the media initially announced that Gore had won Florida, her husband explaining that they would have to wait another four years before retiring to Arizona ." But that's not conflict of interest right?
Oh, the wonderful legacy of George Bush you gave us, I will fondly remember him rubbing Angela Merkel's shoulders and  the shoes being lobbed at him, "for all the widows, orphans and everyone who died in Iraq." Someone should throw their shoes at you. 
Like The Onion reported, thanks to you and your co-horts decision, "our long national nightmare of prosperity and peace is over."  
The wreckage you have left trailing behind you because of your supreme cooperation, in one of the darkest decisions in U.S. history, may only be surpassed by Citizens United. 
I would like to know why? Why now, is there this guilt? Why now, do you think that your decision added to the problem, are you trying to distance yourself from war criminals? 
Justice O'Conner, there's no such thing as justice, when you can't trust the decisions being made by the highest court in the country. 
The Supreme Courts decision in Bush vs Gore is the best reason why we should have a popular vote for a presidential election. No Supreme Court decisions, no electoral college, throw away and all the rigged voting machines. Maybe if that happened, it would make up for the hijacking of the U.S., by the Supreme Court, maybe.