Monthly Archives: June 2012

Uncle Sam/Peeping Tom

I had a conservative tell me he is worried that the government is conspiring with U.S. auto companies to install tracking devices in new automobiles in the near future. They probably can already use that GPS system you have to track you so the technology is already here. My first thought was that the auto companies wouldn’t have to conspire with our government since the government is owned by corporations including auto companies. My second thought was if auto companies can put something that sophisticated in an automobile when will they install electric windows that still work once a car is over six years old.

I am troubled by privacy issues with the use of drones to spy on people.  Drones are aircraft without a pilot and are  controlled from the ground. They are used for reconnaissance and surveillance purposes and some are armed with missiles and bombs. Fifty different companies are developing over 150 different systems of drones. This industry is predicting $6 billion in sales by 2016 mostly to law enforcement and public safety agencies. These companies are part of our Military-Industrial Complex and have lobbyist who have wide access our “representatives” ears and generally own the rest of him too.

I was thinking those parking meter cops in Cleveland Heights, Ohio could utilize it to fine you for having an expired parking meter within seconds instead of their usual two minutes. Cleveland Heights already makes a fortune on parking fines and with drones bringing in even more money on tickets the community would have so much revenue they could forego charging taxes to residents. Would the police be content to use this device for surveillance, safety and defense purposes? Well, while a suburb like Cleveland Heights would use them to further fatten their coffers in nearby Parma, Ohio it might be used for something else entirely. I say that because in November 2010, a police lieutenant from Parma, Ohio, asked Vanguard Defense Industries if the Texas-based drone manufacturer could mount a “grenade launcher and/or 12-gauge shotgun” on a drone for U.S. law enforcement agencies. The answer was yes. The ShadowHawk model Vanguard was showing the Parma lieutenant sells for $275,000. That is a lot of money but police departments could offset the cost by getting rid of police officers. Eliminating public sector workers we all know makes conservatives like Editor Robinson over at the Warren Tribune get huge smiles on their face.

U.S. drones equipped with weapons and used with the co-operation of intelligence gathering have been used in Afghanistan since GW Bush’s administration. They have killed innocent women and children and even our own soldiers. Is that something we want our police forces to utilize on our streets?  I heard a discussion about this on talk radio and I was alarmed at the complacency of some of the callers.  The fact that some people think it would be OK to use drones against our citizens scares me. They felt as long as people weren’t doing anything wrong they have nothing to fear from the government spying on them as they are not the bad guys. Well, who defines who the bad guys are? In the early to mid 1960’s the bad guys were people fighting for civil rights. During the Vietnam War it was anyone who opposed that war. Presently the corporate media is telling us the bad guys are environmentalist who are concerned about global warming or oppose fracking.

Our complacent citizens have not noticed that the Patriot Act left the door open for us to end up living in an Orwellian society. I am not willing to see America become a police state, all in the name of safety. I don’t want to be spied on by anyone and I have a constitutional right not to be under the 4th Amendment. It says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.If you want to you can give up your rights but don’t ask me to give up my rights.

I think the use of drones being used to spy on Americans is definitely an issue that should have united the right and left in a common fight. I am confused by the right because while they oppose the government’s intrusion into regulating corporations and protecting workers they also support the Patriot Act and GITMO. They can always be counted on to protect the rights of corporations and the rich over the common man. Now with them supporting torture, GITMO, the Patriot Act and drones they are supporting the government over the common man. I’ve often heard conservatives whine that we are leaving a debt for our children to pay off, but they don’t have any problem leaving a planet that is more polluted or a society that faces more personal intrusions.

Our own tax dollars are being used to spy on us. Taxpayer-funded voyeurism will make Uncle Sam into a “Peeping Tom.” The big winner in this deal is the drone contractors who are part of the Military-Industrial complex. If our tax dollars have already been spent on these drones put the drones to good use. Spy on our politicians and see what lobbyists they are meeting with. Find out how much money and free trips the lobbyist are giving these politicians. Find out which corporations own our politicians and make the information gathering available to all us taxpayers. I’ve seen theses reality TV shows where a restaurant or bar owner hires a team to come in and put in cameras to spy on his employees. It is done in an effort to make his business better by getting rid of problem employees. I want drones to film all of our politicians because they are our employees and someone needs to be fired because their job of representing their constituents (their employers) has been failing for decades.

The YSU Jazz Fest is July 7th at 5PM. Info here.

One of the performers will be Cleveland’s Laura Varcho: “I’m beginning to See the Light”

also Alton Merrell: “Get Yo Praise On”

See you there!

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.:” Benjamin Franklin.

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Nuns the Wiser

Thanks to the Daily Kos for the above cartoon.

The Vatican ordered a crackdown on American nuns. I heard the Pope complaining that the nuns were radical feminist. I agree with the nun I heard on the news that said, the problem is not radical feminism the problem in the church is radical patriarchy.

First a quick follow-up from my last post about the Warren Tribune Chronicle’s editor, Frank Robinson. I mentioned how Frank is anti-worker be they public or private sector. I talked about how he is ecstatic when these workers either take concessions or lose their jobs. In the last week the Niles school board decided to cut teachers and possibly non-teaching employees. Frank wrote an editorial complaining that the teachers worked the last school year on a contract that was extended for one year. He felt they should have taken concessions. Editor Frank said, “A reduction in force should have happened a long, long time ago.” Frank also complained that the superintendent is overpaid. As I said, it doesn’t matter if you are public sector, private sector, blue or white-collar Frank thinks you make too much money. Frank has gotten mean as he is jealous of what everyone earns. That tells me he is making poverty wages which mean he is being paid what he is worth.

Now to deal with some other goofballs. I was listening to 1440 THE WORD  AM radio in the car the other day. I get a big kick out of a religious show in the evening called, “What’s Right, What’s Left.” The host is Pastor Ernie Sanders from Newberry, OH. Pastor Ernie goes on in length about how President Obama is a communist and wants to racially cleanse black people off of the face of the earth. Ernie missed that President Obama is black. Ernie is one crazy dude and one can only imagine that those who let Ernie get in front of a microphone are even crazier than him (that’s probably not possible).  It was now time for Ernie and a different show was on. Had Pastor Ernie finally been locked away in a mental institution? It was a religious talk on teaching abstinence to your children and was being given to a parent’s group. The lecturer was attacking public education for being accepting of gay children in school. She went on to attack the teaching of birth control in schools and recommend only teaching abstinence. She talked about how the underlying teaching of birth control in secular public education is really to push sterilization. I then realized this wasn’t Ernie’s show but this woman might be his wife as she was just as insane. She then went on about how your children wouldn’t hear the teaching of birth control if you would send them to schools where the teachers wore a priest’s collar. She said, God gave women a natural birth control called the rhythm method and that is what women should be using. As the show was ending she mentioned how this was a Catholic show. I had been thinking for a while that born again Christians seem to end up with immeasurable brain waves after the rebirth but now I was realizing there are some right-wing Catholics in that category. I am also reminded of a joke. What do you call a Catholic that uses the rhythm method? Answer: A parent.

Back in March of 2012 Living Bread Radio was launched in the Boardman/Youngstown area on WILB, 89.5 FM.  The new radio station is a Catholic talk format. There are a half a dozen local shows and also, nationally syndicated programs that include: “The Son Rise Morning Show,” “Catholic Connection,” “Women of Grace,” “Open Line,” “Kresta in the Afternoon,” and “Catholic Answers.” There is no advertising on the channel except for Catholic materials that can be purchased. I turned on the “Catholic Answers” show the other evening. A caller to the show asked if the hosts knew that recently there was an Islamic ecumenical council of all the Islamic faiths who held a meeting. The Catholic experts (one was a priest) answering the question replied, “It can’t really be considered ecumenical. That is because the different Islamic faiths are known to kill one another.” I guess the “experts” forgot how Christians killed each other in the USA in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, WWI and WWII.

There was a syndicated comment during a break in the show. The commentator was Dr. Paul Kengor a professor of political science at far right-wing Grove City College. He is executive director for Vision & Values. He said, “The social justice crowd on the left like the Occupy Movement has tried to co-opt Thomas Merton for their causes.” Merton was a Trappist monk, priest, poet and author of over 60 books.  The books focused on social justice issues, including the civil rights movement and proliferation of nuclear arms. Dr. Kengor lashed out at the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, PA. He was angry because in May the center gave its annual Thomas Merton New Person Award to Occupy Pittsburgh. He went on about how giving such an award to Occupy Pittsburgh shows how radical the Pittsburgh Thomas Merton Center is. He said the center should not be using Merton’s name because they don’t represent Merton’s views. He said as far as the Occupy Movement Merton would never support them because they are rapist, murderers and communists who urinated on cars.  It’s hard to take Dr. Kengor seriously considering he wrote a book glorifying Ronald Reagan. OK, Reagan didn’t urinate on any cars (he did piss on the poor, minorities and union workers) but he supported brutal Latin American dictators. Reagan armed and trained their death squads who killed over 100,00o of their fellow citizens. Among those killed were environmentalists, union organizers, women, children, priests, Bishop Romero and nuns who were raped and murdered. That makes Reagan a mass murderer in my book and I guess a hero in Dr. Kengor’s book. Sorry Doc I don’t think Thomas Merton would have glorified Reagan as the god conservatives do.

One of Merton’s ideas was that non-Christian faiths had much to offer Christianity in terms of experience and perspective. I expect the Catholic Church to bash gays, women, feminism, science, new age thought etc because they are still living in the 13th century. I’m sad to hear Catholic Living Bread Radio bashing Islam. In the past I’ve heard them bash Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. The Catholic Church is in such a sad state they have to drag all other faiths down with them. Religions need to learn that tearing down another religion is the poorest way to put a positive light on your religion.

I really respect these American nuns for fighting for social justice instead of bashing people for being gay. I’ve met some wonderful Catholics over the years who are tireless warriors in the fight for social justice. I’ve also met many who are hate filled single issue Catholics who only have love for the unborn and disdain for everyone else. I left the Catholic Church over a decade ago for reasons such as these: 8 ugly sins of the Catholic Church.

The Singing Nun: Dominique

Nuns Chant from Avignon

If you want to study the social and political history of modern nations, study hell. ~ Thomas Merton

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Laundry Day for the Local Filthy Lying Media

I’ve been contemplating what passes for our local media and find it pretty vicious on many issues. Then again when I read some of  the vicious comments online or hear radio talk show callers agreeing I realize maybe it represents them.

The Youngstown Vindicator just featured a story on Youngstown’s newly constructed public-housing units called, Brier Hill Annex. I thought it was great that they were constructed using green technology like rooftop solar panels which are capable of supplying 25 percent of the development’s electrical needs. They also featured energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, recycled-content Formica counter tops, tankless water heaters and low-flow, water-conserving faucets and toilets. The article mentioned Michelle Nieves and her three children who were appreciative to be living in one of the units. The Vindicator did not get into any information on Ms. Nievens or her three children. Those commenting at Vindy.com online did not need any facts about Ms. Nievens as they invented their own hate filled fables. She was on public assistance and that was all they needed to know to start their venomous rants. Out of 87 comments only a dozen were not negative or hate filled. One person commentating summed it up for me. That was FLHTCUI who wrote, “Love how these screaming posters are all for corporate welfare and more tax breaks for the have-mores who don’t need it. They can’t stand to help somebody who needs it though.”

The Warren Tribune Chronicle is celebrating its 200 anniversary. At tribtoday.com signman wished them well saying, “I believe the Tribune has done a remarkable service to both the city of Warren and surrounding area for ALL of its many years. Running a newspaper without bias isn’t easy.” If he thinks there is no bias he needs to read their editorial page to see that they always have a pro-corporate anti-worker bias. Just the other day Editor Frank Robinson was in his glory celebrating more working-class misery. Ohio turnpike tollbooth workers have taken concessions plus all employees will contribute more for their health care. Frank exaggerated what workers make and doesn’t tell you if that includes what their benefits are worth or that the average includes way higher paid supervisors factored in for the average.  Frank states, “It’s good to know that turnpike tollbooth workers now have their pay and benefits on par with private sector toll collectors in parking lots across the region.” I think Editor Robinson has been sniffing in more exhaust fumes that they turnpike workers and it has killed too many brain cells. Frank acts like he is protecting the middle-class private sector workers by celebrating the wage and benefits destruction of middle-class public sector workers. No one is buying it Frank as we have seen you in the past happily report how private sector workers like Delphi set up a second than third tier of workers. We’ve seen him ecstatic that Lordstown’s GM plant set u a second tier paying half of what the first tier makes.  Frank’s job is way below the honest job of being a janitor. Part of a janitor’s job is putting on a new roll of toilet paper. Franks job is putting out an editorial page that is not fit for wiping your behind on. In other words Robinson is way over paid from what a janitor makes. While I’m on it Janitor Frank you need to include hand sanitizer and wipes with the Trib on days when the editorial pages includes the rabid hate filled poisonous venom of “writers” like corporate mouthpieces; Michel Malkin, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and racist Pat Buchanan.

If you could use some extra money the Warren Tribune Chronicle is looking for some community writers. You can get hired if you are as paranoid as current community writer, Bill Finnigan. Bill celebrated Veterans Day writing a column about how dialogue and compromise are bad substitutes for war. Bill tells our veterans to stand ready to fight on our own shores because “We are in a battle that cannot be denied or ignored.” Bill rants that “The seeds of godless, socialistic tyranny are growing throughout our land.” He also stated, “The foreign threat of terrorism looms over our heads daily, when actually the worst foe may be within.” So if like Bill you think that President Obama is a communist/socialist/fascist and is going to declare himself dictator you have two options. You can either realize you are a paranoid schizophrenic and run not walk for mental help or apply to the Warren Tribune as a community columnists.

 I had said I wouldn’t be listening to, “Traci and Friends” radio talk show at 600 am on WSOM anymore. Truth is some days I want to add a little more humor to my life. What could be funnier than listening to that train wreck of a radio show where the “Friends” try and top each other on who can lie to listeners the most. Traci, Jeff and Sticks lie more than Sean Hannity and Rush combined but their “Friend” Ben is trying to sell more whoppers than Burger King. Like all conservatives Ben hates George Soros. He is hated by them because he is a billionaire who tends to donated to progressive instead of regressive causes. That makes him fair game for lies by those in the right-wing media like Ben. A week ago Ben claimed that George Soros, as a child, collaborated with the Nazis. KSOF radio’s director on February 26, 2007, issued a correction  saying that one of their stations hosts made comments that were “not accurate” and that the station “regrets that they were broadcast.” They were the same lying comments Ben made about Soros. Three years later in 2010 the Toronto Sun newspaper apologized for one of their commentators who told this same lie about Soros. Now it is 2012 and we have Ben on the radio still telling the lie. I e-mailed a few links proving the story was a lie to the “Traci and Friends” show asking them to have Ben apologize. I doubt that will happen as Ben considers facts a vile four letter word and the “Friends” have zero integrity. Ben has also been saying Obama’s book is stolen from Hitler’s, Mein Kampf almost word for word. Therefore Ben says Obama is going to take over like Hitler so he advises everyone to buy a gun. This is all really a cry for help as Ben is really saying I need serious mental help and am a danger to society and should be in a straight jacket.

The media for the most part is corporate owned and right-wing and they have an agenda. That agenda is to foster hatred among the middle-class. Hatred of women, nonwhites, single moms, welfare moms, non-Christians, gays, unions, the poor etc. Hatred of immigrants illegal and legal is not just something you hear in Arizona it can be heard locally by Dan Rivers at WKBN radio. The media never mentions the real villains like Wal-Mart the billion dollar a year welfare queen, two-thirds of U.S. corporations who pay no taxes and the Koch Brothers who own enough of our “representatives” to write their own tax and environmental exempt laws. I see a lot of misplaced anger that if it can be rescued from the right-wing spin machine can be hung up on the clothes line to see the light of day. The best way to kill the hate-filled media bacteria is with fresh air and a good dose of sunshine.

Michael Franti and Spearhead: The Sound of Sunshine

Soulshine

The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. – Randy Chestnut

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A Hometown Celebration

As I type this I can hear fire and police sirens going off near my home here in Vienna, Ohio. I now hear screaming and guns shots. Looking out by backdoor I realize emergency sirens are warning about the approaching danger. I now see that danger heading down old Rt. 82. It is the school bus carrying our bad assed Matthews High School Lady Mustangs girls’ softball team. I realize now that the gun shots and screams are actually cheers and fireworks from the crowd here to greet them. They are returning from playing in Akron for the District 4 state championship. They became the first runner up losing to Crestview in a great 6-2 game. I listened to it at 10 this morning on WTOM 1350 AM Sports Radio in Akron, Ohio. I want to thank them for the great job they did in broadcasting the game today. I want to chastise cable TV station, SportsTime Ohio for not broadcasting the game live. They chose instead to do a morning of half-hour info commercials. I understand they may show the game later this afternoon (after the fact). Can you imagine if a TV network decided to broadcast NFL football games several hours after they had actually ended? You can steal elections and start illegal wars in this country and men won’t blink an eye but deny them a live football game and there will be rioting, looting and murder in the streets.

I want to thank the American Veterans Club in Vienna for posting a sign saying, “Good luck Lady Stangs!” It’s cool that the volunteer fire department did the same! Sadly, the bulletin board in Vienna square still has up community events from last week let alone anything wishing the Lady Mustangs luck. Worse yet, the bulletin board in front of Matthews High School has up a notice about last week’s graduation information and nothing about the Lady Stangs playing for the state title. I have the feeling if this was the boy’s football team our streets would be paved with red carpet welcoming them home from a state championship win or lose. And that is the important part, that even if you come in second you deserve a celebration. That is because it took a lot of hard work, time and effort on the part of the players, coaches and the parents to get as far as they did. Kids today have a lot stacked against them so it is wonderful to see them succeed against the odds.

I want to talk about some of the things stacked against them. In Ohio the schools are funded by tax levies on the ballot. Levies fail more often than they pass. That is because adults forget that someone paid for their education and that they should have the same obligation and desire to want to do it for the next generation. Instead we have that caveman attitude of I got mine, screw you. Matthews school district has struggled to pass school levies just to maintain our old buildings for years now. I don’t need to hear people tell me how hard times are and that they can’t afford to pay any more taxes. I’d be willing to bet I make way less money than 95% of the people who would say that to me and I still believe in funding education. I once had a Vienna resident argue with me that our local schools were top-heavy in administration. I asked him to give me an example. He replied, “We have two grade schools and there is no need for two principals.” I then told him the fact is we only have one principal and he runs between both buildings. He replied, “That can’t be.” To him it couldn’t be because like many people their presumptions are more important than the facts and the truth.

I’d be willing to say Matthews High School is the oldest high school building still in use in Trumbull County. It was built-in 1915.  Neal the name of the Matthews area Junior High school is even older and due to fiscal issues, the school closed its doors forever at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Without a junior high those students were just jammed into the high school without one square inch having been added on to accommodate them. Like Neal the high school is from the days of lead paint and asbestos. If that isn’t enough danger for students the high school has electrical/cell phone towers on the grounds to make some revenue. Vienna grade school students go to Baker and Currie elementary schools. They were built-in the 1950’s so the students face asbestos problems also. That seems like enough environmental danger for small children to be exposed to and yet the school board at Mathews has decided to put the elementary students in further possible peril. The board authorized a lease agreement with BP for the mineral rights to 87 acres of land owned by the board near both grade schools. Under the agreement, the district could receive about $339,000. Superintendent Lewis Lowery said, ”That will not buy any new buildings, but that might be able to take care of that septic problem,” He added, ”It’s a one time shot in the arm. We’ll probably work on some roof repair and paving.” The taxpayers keep voting against school levies. They’ve decided they’d rather keep their tax dollars than educated our nations children. Then the school board is forced to make deals putting profits before pupils. We are left with Republicans blaming any problems in education on teachers and their union.

My two children got a great education in the Mathews school district thanks to wonderful teachers and despite people who don’t want to pay for kids’ education and idiotic school boards. I hope today’s Mathew’s students are as lucky as my kids and way to go Lady Mustangs!

Flash & the Pan: Hey Saint Peter

Waiting for a Train

God made the Idiot for practice, and then he made the School Board. ~ Mark Twain

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