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Bible Belt Report: Culled, Kept Pols Picking on Cowpokes' Museum

 

Wichita -- One of four Wichita museums is facing a $100,000 cutback in funding which may force its closure.  It is called “Cowtown,” a tribute to the glory days of white settler expansion and of cattle.  A distant cry is heard from the editorial board of the city’s single daily newspaper, the Wichita Eagle, which ran an opinion piece by Peter Brownlee, titled: “Why pick on Cowtown?”

But let’s consider this particular cut more closely.

The public money slashed from the museum’s budget is less than that that was paid during this election cycle as seed money by the Koch billionaires to the state Chamber of Commerce to legally buy the Kansas state government.

Those little $500 to $1000 checks forwarded by the C of C to Kansas lawmakers’ campaigns, tossed to PACs and lobbyists, and sown each year as brome seed across the tiny Topeka state house, make a better “deal.”  

Common thinking in these parts goes that if after 50 years, a museum like Cowtown cannot “make a profit” -- the motivation for all human culture and history here in Kansas, and probably everywhere in the US of A -- then it must close, and culture and history be damned.

(courtesy Cowtown Museum collection)(courtesy Cowtown Museum collection)

Turnabout is Fair Play: Proud to Be an Extortionist!

 

Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistani demand “extortion.”

He also stated, on the TV show “The Cable,” that “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle”.

I love it!

Extortion, dear Sen. McCain, is defined as the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value through the abuse of one’s office or authority.

Is it the first time US would be paying for transit of NATO supplies? They have long been paying an average of about $250 a truck for transit, as a senior US official has stated in a report by David S. Cloud in the Los Angeles Times published May 19th.

So the question dear Sen. McCain, is not about principle but rather about principal. The question could have been one of principle had the US not been paying anything at all, and then one fine day, Pakistan had woken up to the idea of…what did you say...ah yes…extortion. The question here though, is simply about the amount.

More US extortion? The US is withholding $1 billion in aid to Pakistan unless it overturns a court conviction of doctor ShakilMore US extortion? A US Senate committee voted to withhold $1 million in aid for each year of a 33-year sentence handed down by a Pakistani court to doctor Shakil Afridi, whose fake Hepatitis-B 'vaccination' program helped the US locate and assassinate Osama Bin Laden, unless Pakistan overturns that conviction.

So then Who in the Hell Are We?

 

“This is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.”
-- Jeff Gearhart, Wall-Mart general counsel, on the firm’s Mexico bribery

[Torture] “is not the norm.”
-- Mike Pannek, Abu Ghraib prison warden.

“This is not who we are.”
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the US massacre of 16 Afghan villagers.

“This is not who we are.”
-- General John Allen, commander of forces in Afghanistan, on Koran burning

“This is not who we are.”
-- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on troops posing with enemy body parts

“This is not who we are.”
-- Secretary of State Clinton, also on troops posing with enemy body parts

Spying by the New York Police on Muslims in Newark, NJ, which the Newark Police Chief was alerted to, is “not who we are”
-- Newark Mayor Cory Booker

“I can tell you something all of you know already - that using pepper spray on peaceful protesters runs counter to our values. It does not reflect well on this university and it absolutely is not who we are.”
-- UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, who ordered campus police to use force to clear peaceful student occupiers from the campus, leading to pepper spraying of students

Ripping families apart by deporting the undocumented parents of American-born children is “not who we are.”
-- President Barack Obama

“This larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody's money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they're on their own -- that's not who we are.”
-- President Barack Obama

“You can't say, well, we developed trade and the economic relations first and the disregard of human rights. That's not who we are. We are the United States of America.”
-- Sasha Gong, director of the China branch of Voice of America
 

The latest PR catch phrase from business, administration, military, state and local officials after some atrocity or other is that whatever happened, it is certainly “not who we are,” a phrase appropriately initially uttered by the Vietnam War commander, Gen. William Westmoreland, with reference to the My Lai slaughter of 400 women, children and old men, all civilians, by a group of US soldiers.
 Not who we are?American atrocities: Not who we are? Really?

US Double Standards: India's Ballistic Missile Test and Pakistan, the Whipping-Boy

 

India’s successful test of a ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 km, was
was uncriticised by the US.

Contrast this lack of concern with the America’s obsessive concern about a suspected or potential
nuclear programme by Iran, or to US threats over the failed rocket launch by North
Korea a few days earlier.

India has increased its military spending by 13% this fiscal year, to roughly US $38
billion, according to an April 20 article in The Independent (UK) titled, ”India’s nuclear
ambition must not be ignored”). Yet this has not raised US ire -- or even US eyebrows!

India, the bully of the South Asia region, has happily announced its entry in an
exclusive club within the comity of nations, having now demonstrated the capability to
hit a target at 5,000 kilometers.

The Chinese newspaper, Global Times (Beijing), hit out at Western countries for
displaying double standards
for not condemning the test firing of the Agni-V, writing:

"The West chooses to overlook India's disregard of nuclear and missile control treaties,"
the editorial said. "The West remains silent on the fact that India's military spending
increased by 17 percent."

Double standards it is!

The US had no complaints when India test-launched a 5000-km nuclear-capable missileThe US had no complaints when India test-launched a 5000-km nuclear-capable missile

The Proof's in the 'Puddin': Plays, Prose and Connecting the Dots of Prejudice

 

I believe that absolutely nothing happens in a vacuum.

There is always a connection between why things happen and the something (or someone) that made it happen. All too frequently that connection is not easily apparent, and that creates problems.

I’m convinced there is a connection between the contemporary television shows like “Axe Men,” “Ice Road Truckers”, “Swamp People”, “Hillbilly Noodling”, "Sarah Palin’s Alaska” and a play entitled, “Puddin’ Head.”

The Department of Theater at Temple University in Philadelphia, staged that play – containing racist content – as its contribution to Black History Month this year.

“Puddin’ Head” is a stage-adapted version of a novel published in 1894 by Mark Twain originally entitled The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson. This work examines race, class, slavery, and rape from the perspectives of the time it was written in the 19th Century. This work uses the N-word and/or other racist stereotypes in almost every other sentence.

White singer Al Jolson in blackfaceWhite singer Al Jolson in blackface

Federal Judge Strips State of Right to Shut Nuke: Legislators Diddle but Vermonters Take Matters into Own Hands

 

Newfane--Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana, which operates the Vermont Yankee (VY) nuclear reactor in Vernon Vermont has launched an attack on the state of Vermont with the help of the federal courts.

Vermont state law gives the state the power to decide whether to allow further operation of the reactor past March 21, 2012 (the expiration date for VY). When Entergy bought VY, they agreed to this law and swore that they would not try to abrogate it. This was an outright lie on Entergy's part, and they sued the state as soon as it was decided that further operation of this crumbling, leaking and led-by-liars reactor would NOT be in the interests of the state and they were not given permission to continue operation past March 21.

Federal Judge J. Garvan Murtha, a Bill Clinton appointee to the federal bench in 1995, gave Entergy all that they wanted and denied Vermont the right to legislate on this matter. The judge misconstrued testimony and completely ignored the case presented by the state to show that the Vermont legislature acted within the purview allowed by federal law. In his decision he cites quotes referring to safety that are either unattributed or taken out of context, having been expressed outside of the actual process of crafting the legislation. Some quotes cited even fail to distinguish between legislators and advocates who were speaking in committee hearings.

This ruling goes hand in glove with current Federal policies that enrich the 1% and keep power firmly in the hands of America's largest corporations. It affirms that corporate profits trump the interests of the citizenry. And it's based on the laughable notion that only the Federal government can be trusted to keep us safe from radiological accidents caused by corporate malfeasance and profit-driven lax practices.

Entergy's aging Vermont Yankee nuke plant has been plagued with accidents including this 2005 fire and a cooling tower collapseEntergy's aging Vermont Yankee nuke plant has been plagued with accidents including this 2005 fire and a cooling tower collapse

Maybe Pakistan Should Call for a Free New Mexico: Pakistan Outrage as US Congress Calls for a Free Baluchistan

 

Lahore -- Pakistan parliamentarians should promptly table a resolution calling for efforts to carve the state of New Mexico away from the United States and to either make it independent, or restore it to its status prior to the Mexican-American War (1846-48), when it was a part of Mexico.

With New Mexico’s population boasting the highest percentage of Latinos (estimated 46% in 2010) in the US, including descendants of Spanish Colonialists and recent immigrants from Latin America, and the highest percentage of Indigenous Americans (9.4%), US rule by the white-majority government in Washington over New Mexico may rightly be deemed as an alien, neocolonial occupation. The majority of Latinos, 83% of whom were born in New Mexico, share a Spanish and Native American ancestry, while the indigenous population is mostly Navajo, and trace their ancestry in the region back thousands of years to the pre-colonial era.

Of course, this proposal for the secession of New Mexico will be out rightly rejected by the US as an outrageous interference in American affairs and a threat to US sovereignty. The US, after all, has never believed in the motto ,”What’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.” Rather, the US acts like the proverbial elephant in a China Shop, causing horrific destruction in the name of democracy, human rights and other similar big sounding slogans. Except that this destruction has been completely selective! Not when it effects America’s own interest. Or those of her “friends”.

Two candidates for internationally-backed independence movements?Two candidates for internationally-backed independence movements?

Why We Shouldn’t Be Surprised That Susan G Komen for the Cure is Anti-Women

 

Nancy Goodman Brinker, a pioneer of “cause marketing”, founded Susan G. Komen For the Cure in 1982, reportedly as the fulfillment of a deathbed promise made to her sister, a victim of breast cancer. In 1994, Brinker founded In Your Corner, Inc., a for-profit company that markets health products and information. In 1998, Brinker sold In Your Corner to AstraZeneca, the third largest pesticide manufacturer in the world (primarily through Syngenta, a giant global agribusiness joint-venture company it owns together with Novartis).

AstraZeneca has had close ties to Brinker for many years. It gave $97,000 to Komen and its affiliates in the first 6 months of 2008 alone, and it has been a big presence at Komen’s Race for the Cure. AstraZeneca is also one of the largest contributors to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

The problem here is that pesticides cause breast cancer.

AstraZeneca solves the problem by no longer advertising itself as a pesticide manufacturer.  It is a “life-sciences” company. Ta da! Problem solved! Well, they still manufacture more pesticides than ever (substances that congregate in the sexual glands of mammals causing cancers, birth defects, etc., etc.,) but “life sciences” sounds so reassuring, yes? 

Susan G. Komen has created a lengthy list of risk factors for breast cancer.  Nowhere in this list can you find exposure to toxins, probably the greatest risk factor of all. 

Hey Nancy! Didn’t your sister ask you to cure breast cancer? Was her dying wish, “Please forgive them for killing me, pay yourself half a million dollars a year – and oh by the way please protect those poor pesticide manufacturers. They know not what they do.”

Pesticides like those produced by AstreZeneca and Novartis have been linked to cancer, including breast cancerPesticides like those produced by AstreZeneca and Novartis have been linked to cancer, including breast cancer

Etta James and Johnny Otis: Together Again At Last

 

R&B pioneer Johnny Otis discovered Etta James when she was still a teenager, launching her nearly 60-year career. The two lifelong friends both died last week -- just days apart -- at the ages of 90 and 73, respectively.

From their first meeting in 1953, the fates of Johnny Otis and Etta James seemed almost magically entwined.

Etta James At Last album cover )Chess Records)Etta James, 1955 (Michael Ochs photo)

Spunky little Jamesetta Hawkins, then 14 years old, was overheard rehearsing a song with her girl group The Creolettes in a San Francisco hotel bathroom. Outside the door, Otis' ears perked up. “I knew instantly when I heard Etta sing in that bathroom audition that she would be a star,” Otis said decades later. “I heard the raw talent she possessed before she had developed.”

Johnny Otis – already famous for hits like “Harlem Nocturne,” “Castin' My Spell on You,” and “Willie and the Hand Jive” – was also known as a radio disc jockey and a keen talent scout. His other discoveries included Big Mama Thornton, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Little Richard, Esther Phillips, Sugar Pie De Santo, Jackie Wilson, and Little Willie John. Now his sights were set on Jamesetta.

This Land is Your Land...Or is It?: Occupy Oklahoma City Sues in Federal Court to Fight to Keep the Commons

 

Having spent the better part of two months as an embedded reporter with Occupy OKC's camp in Kerr Park (aka Poet's Park) I have often praised both the city and police department. Oklahoma City's occupation has so far managed to avoid the mass arrests and police brutality seen in other cities around the nation. In my opinion, this is largely due to the group's respect for the park and city ordinances, as well as the city's respect for the First Amendment. I frequently pointed to OKC as a model city, setting an example for how a local government and occupiers can peacefully coexist.

So imagine my surprise upon learning that the City of Oklahoma City recently refused to accept the group's $55/day permit fee. Assistant City Manager M.T. Berry told Occupy OKC that not only were they being evicted from Poet's Park, all city parks would be closed to them. Protesters were further informed that anyone remaining in Poet's Park after curfew would face citation or arrest, effective immediately.

The word was blasted out in urgent text messages, Facebook posts and Twitters: “EVICTION IMMINENT! Please come to Poet's Park NOW!”

Occupiers Jay Vehige (carrying flag) and Army veteran Jaymie Johnson rally to keep the park. Nov. 28, 2011.Occupiers Jay Vehige (carrying flag) and Army veteran Jaymie Johnson rally to keep the park. Nov. 28, 2011. (photo courtesy Garrett Fisbeck, "The Vista")

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by Dr. Radut