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Ostrich's lament

New poem:

 
 
The sand underground is very dark
But I’ve learned to open my inner eye.
I’ve become quite the dreamer!
Been dreaming up a new world.
 
It used to be dark down here
All by myself, hiding
From everything that is going on, everything
Swirling around the United States of the Ostrich Farm.
 
Sure I miss running with my fellow birds.
But I don’t miss it much!
Nobody takes us seriously.
We’re sort of the muppets of nature.
 
Big eyes, long eyelashes, long scaly legs.
Fluffy butt feathers.
Nobody cares that I can run as fast as a horse
And that I have three stomachs
 
Which is helpful in a world where
There is so much junk to digest.
Did you know that I can see clearly
For over 2 miles with my Disney eyes?
 
What an irony that my sensitivities
Force me to keep my sight sequestered
In this underworld of sand and darkness,
Dreaming for a better day.

US Mass Killers Crucially Abetted by Nuts Who Won’t Ban Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Clips

The nuts aren’t just the ones doing the shooting

 

Something is clearly sick in America.

The latest shooting in Broward County Florida was no surprise. Like almost all the school shootings that are now weekly events in the United States, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where it took place was in not some violence-plagued, over-crowded, mostly non-white urban school, but rather was located in the town of Parkland, an upscale suburban community. The school had an “A” rating from the state, as a top-performing high school.

According to Census statistics, Parkland’s over 24,000 people are 84% white, 13% Latino, 7% black and 6 percent black. Median income all the way back in 2008 was reported as $278,000 and the median home value that same year was just under $1 million. This was a wealthy community, not some “shithole” one, as our president might say.

All this is so common to the school shooting profile of most of these deadly incidents that we have to ask, what the hell is going on?

In the case of the suspect, 19-year-old Nickolas Cruz was unusual in that he had been adopted, along with his younger brother, by a couple who were childless and wanted children. Nothing unusual there. As the father of an adopted son I can say that there is really no fundamental difference between a biologically born and an adopted child in terms of the love and care that parents put into their development. In fact, because of the intentional efforts that go into doing an adoption there may often be even more attention and affection poured on an adopted child.

We don’t know about Cruz’s early childhood, so it’s possible he suffered at a very young age or perhaps was damaged in the womb if his birth-mother had a drug or drinking problem. That’s always a risk, just as it can be a risk with a children who are the biological offspring of their parents.

What we do know is that Cruz, who was diagnosed as depressive and possibly on the autism spectrum, was expelled Marjory Stoneman Douglas right around the time that his adoptive mother, to whom he was very attached, died at the age of 68 (his adoptive father had died much earlier). So this young man was depressed, deprived of his parents, and dumped by his school.

I almost think that at this point we don’t need to think to hard to see what went wrong. Technically an adult, and reportedly living of late in the home of a kind friend of his parents, he slipped through the cracks of a larger society that doesn’t really care much about what happens to a kid once she or he hits 18 (if they care much about them even at a younger age).

Obviously, a lot of people dropped the ball with this kid. The school, which had warned teachers about him, washed its hands of him, the friend of his late mother, who took him in, allowed him to bring along his AR-15, although she at least required him to keep it locked up albeit with him having the key (why would any adult allow a visiting kid to do that?), and nobody, like a social worker, appears to have followed up when he stopped going to the mental health clinic where he was being treated.
AR-15 Assault rifle with loaded clipAR-15 Assault rifle with loaded clip

 

Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program is a Revolutionary Idea

Trump’s latest insulting proposal

 

What a truly horrific idea President Trump has come up with in calling for an end to the provision of food assistance money under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which he’d supposedly like to turn into a “surplus food” type operation where people are provided with canned goods and other packaged foods instead of cash.

First off, consider that we’re talking about 45 million people — about one-seventh of the entire population of the United States — who in any given month are receiving this assistance because they have been deemed at risk of being unable to buy enough food to survive on their own.

Just try and imagine the Trump administration, that was and still is unable to provide food to people starving in Puerto Rico in the wake of two back-to-back hurricanes that devastated that island half a year ago, and that’s just three million people. There are over eight million SNAP recipients just in California and Texas alone and they and the rest of the other 38 million recipients are spread across the country, in cities, suburbs and rural regions alike. Getting all these people cash cards that they can use in supermarkets and local shops to buy their own food is a cheap, fast and easy way to get these hard-up individuals and households the food they need, especially as the program is administered not by a federal workforce, but by state agencies close to where the needy people are. Distributing food to that many people, in contrast, would require a colossal effort, a huge bureaucracy, and would entail unimaginable costs.

Switching from offering struggling families SNAP cash cards to distributing canned goods will lead to rebellion by the poor as during the Depression eraSwitching from offering struggling families SNAP cash cards to distributing canned goods will lead to rebellion by the poor as during the Depression era (USDA and archival photos)
 

Maybe Trump is thinking of hiring Amazon to do the job, in hopes of winning over the support of the owner of the Washington Post, currently one of his media antagonists.

As things now stand, SNAP costs about $70 billion a year. The cost of administering the program relatively low, with the bulk of the funds going to provide about $125 worth of food assistance per person per month in aid. Because the cards are electronic, when used at computerized stores using bar-code scanners, the system helps keeps spending limited to food items, and not liquor, toys or other unneeded items. That might seem like a lot of money, even it it is keeping 45 million people from starving, but there's something else to consider: It's a direct stimulus into the communities using the cash cards, since it is all spent in local stores where it then is turned into actual cash that circulates through struggling economies.

Switching over to actual delivery of food to recipients would reverse the equation, with most of the cost going to actual delivery of the goods, and to a vast bureaucracy to organize the purchase, shipment and delivery of those goods to where they’re needed. And switching to providing surplus food would also have the exact opposite and perverse effect of sucking that much money out of those economies since people getting surplus food wouldn't be spending money for food in local stores. Brilliant move, right?

Worse yet, instead of letting people buy what they and their families are accustomed to preparing and eating, as SNAP does, a system involving providing foodstuffs to recipients is an open invitation to scammers who will predictably start providing defective goods, products that have passed their sell-by dates, and items that recipients will reject. Just imagine the number of Muslim and Jewish families that will find themselves receiving canned ham, Buddhist families that will receive meat, Hindu families that will get unwanted beef products and families with members who have allergies who will be stuck with foods that cannot be consumed. It’s madness!

Then again, switching from SNAP cash cards — a program that, because the cards include a photograph of the owner, reportedly has virtually eliminated fraud in the program — to providing actual food products offers huge corporations, whether Amazon or Walmart or whatever enterprising enterprise wants to jump in, an extraordinary opportunity to feed at the federal trough. Just wait for it.

Memo Exposes both the Danger Posed by FBI and NSA and that FISA 'Court' is a Joke

unes issue isn't possible 'damage' to FBI:

 

Days after the release of the so-called Nunes memo the Democrats are insisting on the release of their memo, which might be considered a minority rebuttal, but it’s time to take a look at the big picture. What does this whole incident say about the FBI, its power, its capacity for abuse and misconduct, and the history of an organization that has played such a decisive and often repressive and even unconstitutional role in American politics over many, many decades. Brian Becker and John Kiriakou of the Sputnik radio program "Loud and Clear" in Washington, DC, speak with Dave Lindorff, an investigative reporter, a columnist for CounterPunch, and a contributor to Businessweek, The Nation, London Review of Books, Extra! and Salon.com, (and founder of this news site, ThisCantBeHappening.net), and with David Cobb, campaign manager of the 2016 Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka presidential campaign.

Hear the half-hour interview please go please click here or click on the image below.

XX

Our Racial and Ethnic Roots in all their Tangled Diversity are What’s Best about this Country

Trumpian White Supremacy has it All Wrong

 

I’m a white American, but like a majority of us, that’s only small part of the story.

In a country where the federal government is currently in the hands of so-called “nativists” like Trump and his white mostly male Republican Party backers only celebrate white roots, I like many of us have various genetic strands that include a little of what might best be called “diversity.” There is a touch of Native American on my mother’s side — hardly enough to qualify for inclusion in the Algonquin Nation, but enough to remind me and my siblings that our ancestors include both conquerers and the conquered.

Then too, while there is a direct line on both my mother’s side and my father’s side tracing back to the same Warren family that arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, there are also immigrants who came from Scotland (the Stewart Clan) and Ireland on my mother’s side, and from Germany (Kerpol) and England (the Plymptons and Lincolns) on my father’s.
America's diversity is to be celebrated, not viewed as a threat (Creative Commons share alike 2.0)America's diversity is to be celebrated, not viewed as a threat (Creative Commons share alike 2.0)
 

For me, one of the most interesting roots is my great great grandfather, a Lindorff who left Sweden for Germany, marrying a German woman. According to family lore I’d always heard while growing up, this Scandinavian immigrant had been chased out or fled from Sweden because he was a thief or something, though I later learned it was more likely that he was hounded out as a “red” or socialist undesirable.

That seems to be correct because his daughter — my great grandmother — who with her German husband immigrated to the US in the early 1900s with her young children so they wouldn’t get caught up in Europe’s wars, according to my father proudly voted Socialist in US elections all her life — first for Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for president and then, after he died, for Socialist leader Norman Thomas. (Her sister, though, was a Nazi sympathizer during the 1930s, hosting gatherings at her home in New York City, to the consternation and embarrassment of my great grandmother.)

As an aside, there’s an irony in the family’s having moved to escape Europe’s wars: Both my grandfather and his older brother ended up fighting in WWI — my great uncle as a bi-plane pilot, and my grandfather as an ambulance driver on the front lines in France, where he won a Silver Star for heroism under fire saving countless lives of wounded soldiers.

I mention all this because it’s important to think about all of this rich complexity — racial, social and political — when we talk about the historical and cultural roots of the United States.

I Nominate Donald Trump For Best Actor in a Reality Drama

The Oscars Need a New Acting Category

 
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

          - MacBeth, Act 5, Scene 5
 
He may not be a very honorable man and he may not lead the most efficient or wisely-run White House, but he sure knows how to act and how to play a fascist on TV. I think this would be the conclusion of the great, deceased playwright Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman, The Crucible and a brilliant little book titled On Politics and the Art of Acting. Miller’s little gem was published in 2001 and was inspired by the election debacle of 2000, an election that a comedian recently pointed out did not suffer from Russian interference; the thumb-on-the-scale interference in that election was home-based and patriotic, provided by a conservative United States Supreme Court.

Playwright Arthur Miller and his 2001 gem on politics and actingPlaywright Arthur Miller and his 2001 gem on politics and acting

I watched the Trump State Of the Union speech on a large cinematic screen at a bar on the Mainline in Philadelphia, part of a “watch party” put on by an environmental activist group my wife works with. With a couple tequilas under my belt, let me tell you, it was total theater of the sort Miller and Shakespeare would appreciate. In this case, it was also a bit like a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with hoots and boos and wisecracks from the assembled audience, all of whom scorned the leading man on the stage. As was often done in the old days of theater, in this case, no one threw rotten tomatoes at the performance. One woman did don earmuffs.

Imagine this world

 
 
Can you imagine a world without elephants?
Imagine a world without people-
who-can't-live-in-a-world-without-elephants.
Now imagine a world without people-who-can’t-
imagine-a-world-without-people-who-
can’t-imagine-a-world-
without-elephants.
Imagine a world of elephants without people-
who-can-live-in-a-world-without-elephants.
Imagine a world of people-
who-can’t-imagine-a-world-of-people-who-can’t-imagine-
elephants-without-a world.
Now imagine a world
without elephants-without-a-world.
Now imagine that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
within a world with people-who-
can-imagine-a-world-with-elephants-
without-people-who-can’t-imagine-a-world-without-elephants.
Now imagine that that world-without-elephants-without-a-world
is within a world of people-who-not-only-can-
imagine-a-world-with-elephants,
but can’t-imagine-a-world-of-people-who-can’t-imagine
elephants-without-a-world-
of-people-who-can’t-imagine-a-world-without-elephants
is this world.
Imagine this world.
 
 
--Gary Lindorff

If Melania Trump's Facebook Is Being Moderated, She's Sending a Strong Anti-Donald Message!

Does Trump ever look at his wife's Facebook page?

 

The following image, posted on the anniversary of Trump's inauguration, and the folliowubg comments were copied verbatim directly from her Facebook page's public forum. They suggest that FLOTUS is pretty seriously pissed at The Donald.
 

First Lady Melania Trump
January 20 at 11:16am · 
This has been a year filled with many wonderful moments. I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve been lucky enough to meet throughout our great country & the world!

Melania Trump Facebook page showing her with Marine Escort (sans hubby) posted on anniversary of Trump's InaugurationMelania Trump Facebook page showing her with Marine Escort (sans hubby) posted on anniversary of Trump's Inauguration
 

Konstantine Anthony Thank you for not posting a photo with your soon-to-be ex-husband.
You deserve so much better than him and the American people support you dumping his @$$!

Dee Dee Bronnier I'm not a fan but God woman, you speak 5 languages. You're smart, cunning, and know ALL the secrets — get your dignity back and leave the pig!!

Dave Ullrich Melania, you know what to do. #DivorceDonnie for cheating on you with #Stormy. Think about your son being raised to be just like daddy. #Cheater

Ricky Lee if she can put up with that piece of shit she is an amazing woman..

Weaponizing Absurdity

Raunchy Russian Cadets Set Off Wave of Political Solidarity

 
Laughter is a biological imperative, a complex cognitive and physiological response to the human condition that is as necessary for survival as water, air, and freedom.
            -Ron Jenkins, Subversive Laughter: The Liberating Power of Comedy
 
When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.
            -Hunter Thompson
 
Recently I wrote about the nature of our more and more regimented society and the expanding social media culture and how it can be liberating in the area of masculinity and femininity, given that "identity" is a complex, significantly artificial thing. The idea of shifting gender as a personal choice is not such a strange idea when you think of the effects i-phone culture and the internet have on human beings, especially the young who are born into a world of i-phone networks as if they were a part of nature. The reality is people can and do choose to be anonymous on social media. Many people regularly don't use real names and totally control their identity. A telling example might be the 35-year-old cop playing a 14-year-old girl to entrap adult male pedophiles. In the cyber world, one can assume an amazing array of identities broadcasted (Tweeted at 5AM?) to a vast formation of possibly millions of anonymously connected human beings that one might look at metaphorically as a giant swarm of birds or a giant school of minnows subject to chaos theory. As we know, with a long history of disinformation, the Russians are particularly good at this kind of thing.

Master clown Ron Jenkins' book and Vladimir Putin showing off his physique and his rodMaster clown Ron Jenkins' book and Vladimir Putin showing off his physique and his rod

In this light, consider the latest subversive, post-Pussy Riot cultural phenomenon in Russia. An on-line video of air transport cadets dancing to the song "Satisfaction" went viral. It's an all-male parody of a rock video by Benni Benassi called "Satisfaction" that featured half-naked, buxom and sweaty women brandishing masculine power tools to a dorky Euro-drone disco beat. The air transport cadets' parody -- kids wearing military-style hats and boots in their BVDs -- is unabashedly homoerotic. The rightist, hypermasculine and homophobic gangster government in Russia was not happy. But once the state tried to crack down on the parody, solidarity videos from school dorms and other places broke out all over the internet like an aggressive rash. And they keep on coming. The state backed away. There’s a lot with males, one of guys in the snow, one of bare-chested young men in riding pants "horsing around" in a horse stable grooming the horses, etc, some feature girls, even one with two humping old babushkas in a spartan apartment kitchen. All to the same drone beat with the lyrics: “Push me. And then just touch me.”

South Korea Slips Off the US Leash

Standing up to empire

 

The mainstream US media, when it comes to the idea of talks between the governments of North and South Korea, are focused on the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is trying to drive a wedge between the Republic of Korea and the United States. No doubt that is true, but this focus misses a major part of the story.

What we’re really seeing here is South Korean President Moon Jae-in making a bold move to assert South Korea’s independence from the United States.

Nobody should be surprised that Moon, who was swept into power thanks to a surge of voters (he won by 41.1% against two conservative parties which received 24% and 21.1%) last year on a promise to reach out to North Korea and attempt to bring the two warring halves of the Korean Peninsula (they are still technically in a state of war that began in 1950, nearly 68 years ago) back together.

Taking the seeming baby step that he has taken of inviting North Korea to compete in the Winter Olympics being held next month in South Korea might seem like a small thing, but it was actually a bold step for Moon. What most Americans don’t know is that South Korea is technically a kind of colony of the US, given that its military is still under the control of the United States. This is thanks to a UN Security Resolution passed in 1950 authorizing a UN military action against the North and designating the US as the lead authority of the UN operation — a controlling role that the US still clings to.

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, leaders of North and South Korea, are talking, and Trump and the US are not amusedKim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, leaders of North and South Korea, are talking, and Trump and the US are not amused
 

That situation explains the bizzare warning given about North/South two-party-only negotiations by former Obama-era US State Department Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David R. Russell, who is quoted in a Jan. 3, 2018 article in the New York Times by Mark Landler as revealingly saying, “It is fine for the South Koreans to take the lead, but if they don’t have the US behind them, they won’t get far with North Korea…And if the South Koreans are viewed as running off the leash [my emphasis], it will exacerbate tensions within the alliance.”

Imagine US diplomats telling NATO allies UK, Germany or France not to “run off the leash” in bilateral discussions say, with Russia! Sure, they too are on a leash to some extent, but nobody associated with the US State Department, would ever stick it in their faces like that.

Leo Chang Soon, a Korean-American historian who was a teenager during the Korean War, and whose father faced an assassination threat for standing up, as vice president, to Korean dictator Rhee, says “South Korea has been under the US leash since Syngman Rhee flew into Korea on General Douglas MacArthur’s plane to become the first president of South Korea (ROK) on September 2, 1945.”

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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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