Monthly Archives: May 2013

Thanking Those Who Gave All

   My award this week is for the best local Christian of the week. That award goes to an anonymous local man who offered to donate a burial plot to the family of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. The anonymous donor is a Seventh Day Adventist, who believes God wanted him to donate a plot he owns at Crown Hill Cemetery in Vienna, Ohio for Tsarnaev’s burial. The donor was quoted by WKBN saying, “This man (Tsarnaev) can no longer hurt anyone in this country, and perhaps God can use this act of kindness to change somebody else’s mind and keep anyone else from harming or trying to harm someone in the United States, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.” My not so Christian award has two winners this week. The first winner is Bob Moses, president of Crown Hill Cemetery, who consulted with his legal department to stop Tsarnaev from being buried there. The second winner is local veterans who said if Tasarnaev were buried in Vienna they would dig up his grave. In the end the not so Christians won and Tsarnaev will not be buried locally. WWJD? Didn’t Jesus hang out with sinners and say to love your enemies? It seems to me that is the place real Christian ministry needs to begin.

   Changing the world for the better will require lots of forgiveness and understanding of those we consider enemies. When our nation’s psyche is often fueled by vengeance any moments to pause and look for peaceful solutions is lost. The war in Vietnam didn’t end because of protesters in the streets. It ended when returning Vietnam veterans questioned the rational for the war and joined those in the streets protesting. Returning veterans told of losing friends for what seemed like no good reason. They told of horrors they committed or saw committed by our troops. I believe the military learned something from the Vietnam veterans who returned telling of the horrors of war. I think the soldiers that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been told to tight-lipped about what horrors or injustices they have seen while serving. I think holding in some of those terrible things seen in a war zone is leading to the high number of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we are seeing with returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Veterans Affairs released a report on PTSD, showing 30% of the 834,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans treated at Veteran hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD. Many of our politicians only care about our soldiers when they are in the war zone and don’t care about providing for returning veterans. Veterans should never find that they are in a whole new war zone when they get home and need medical and economic help.

  I was just discussing with some folks about how most of our area shootings are among people who know one another. That is of course horrible but it makes more sense than people who are killed for no apparent reason by someone they didn’t even know. It makes us feel uncomfortable like it could have happened to us. People who kill someone they don’t even know are considered the most dangerous people in a society. We call them a psychopath “[ˈsaɪkəʊˌpæθ] n A person afflicted with a personality disorder characterized by a tendency to commit antisocial and sometimes violent acts and a failure to feel guilt for such acts Also called sociopath.”

   When our young men and women are sent off to war aren’t we asking them to be psychopaths and sociopaths? They are killing people they don’t even know and being asked to feel no guilt. Of course wrapping it up in the flag and dehumanizing the enemy with racist terms like sandnigger, Hadji and raghead is supposed to make it more palatable. In the Bible we wince at Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac and yet since our nation’s founding we have been sacrificing our sons and daughters in war after war. The best way we can pay back our veterans sacrifice is by making sure their children and grandchildren never have to go to war. We haven’t realized the horror of war yet or by now we would have found peaceful solutions. I will point out acts that make for peaceful solutions in the near future but for now I want to thank our vets who gave their lives on this Memorial Day weekend. I don’t criticize our veterans for their service or think of them as psychopaths. They served our nations proudly and we should be proud of them. They have never failed it is we who have failed them. After so many of them have given life and limb we should have long ago honored them by finding peaceful solutions instead of choosing war. It is way past time to realize peace not war is what is needed to transform this world.

Ten crazy things the right did this week.

 Rockie Lynne: “Little Boy in a Uniform

Local band: Remains of Jade
“Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but capacity to prevent it.” ~Anne O’Hare McCormick
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Justifying Murder

Photo: Via: https://facebook.com/democraticunderground

  First off congradulations to the Mac for graduating college!

  A few days ago I turned my car radio to WHKZ (1440 AM) Warren, Ohio. The host was Pastor Ernie Sanders broadcasting from the Cleveland area. Ernie was preaching about his worship of guns and spewing hate for government, the “entitled, “Islam, gays, public schools, unions, how Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a communist, Muslim, foreign-born anti-Christ etc. Pastor Ernie was condemning all liberals and all things liberal to Hell and talking about how God was on his side. To me hate-filled preachers like Ernie believe they represent “Christian values.” According to Ernie liberals like me have an opinion of Christ that makes us Hell bound. I believe that Jesus would not have believed in “Trickle down economics” where more is given to the wealthy at harm to our poorest. I also believe Jesus would not be against programs that help the elderly, poor and the sick. I believe Jesus would have thought Obamacare didn’t go far enough. Pastor Ernie can condemn me to Hell if he wants for the truth is I wouldn’t want to live in his vision of Heaven. I do thank Pastor Ernie and a woman’s bumper sticker for helping me write the following poem.

Justifying Murder

The God of the Bible says “Don’t kill.”

One of the Ten Commandments

 states “Thou shalt not kill.

The first mass murderer of the Bible is God himself,

 starting with flooding the Earth and killing all

but those aboard Noah’s Ark.

The LORD rained down burning sulfur

killing those in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Exodus 2:29-30 At midnight the Lord

 struck down all the firstborn

in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh,

who sat on the throne,

to the firstborn of the prisoner,

who was in the dungeon, and the

firstborn of all the livestock as well.

In Exodus 14:24-28 God destroys the Pharaoh’s army.

Exodus 19:12 God states whoever commits the act

of touching Mt. Sinai must die for this victimless crime.

Exodus 31:15 commands those who work on Sunday

 must be put to death another victimless crime.

We hear In Exodus 32: “Thus says the Lord God,

“‘Put every man his sword by his side,

 slay every man his brother,

his companion and neighbor.”

 In Exodus 32:27-28, 35 God has 3000 people killed

 for the victimless crime of worshipping a golden calf,

and then he throws in a plague for good measure.

This murderous God initially wanted to kill

them all, but a calmer headed Moses talked him out of it.

The entire Book of Leviticus is filled with rules

and the violation of many of them like

priests letting their hair become “unkempt”,

adultery, cursing parents, bestiality, prostitution,

are all subject to the pain of death.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 Prophets for other religions must be killed.

Deuteronomy 13:6-9 (Your brother, your children, your wife, or

your closest friend must be killed if they commit the victimless

crime of suggesting religious exploration.

Deuteronomy 13:12-15 Entire towns must be murdered

if their inhabitants have committed

the victimless crime of adopting another religion.

Deuteronomy 17:2-5 Anyone found guilty

of worshipping other gods or celestial objects

must be stoned to death.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 A “stubborn and rebellious son” must die.

Deuteronomy 22:20-21 If a girl commits premarital sex, she must die.

Deuteronomy 25:11 If your wife touches your private parts

during a public dispute, you must cut off her hand.

Talk about the ultimate victimless crime;

I think most men like it when their wife

touches their  private parts.

I could go on and on about the Bible

and its book after book of

boastful tales of hatred and murder by God.

I think about all this because an elderly woman

 just stole the parking spot I very patiently waited for.

I believe the God of the Bible would say

I was justified in stoning her to death.

I note she has a bumper sticker

 that says God is pro-life.

I take it she is not a Christian.

  My pick for local buffoon of the week is a second week in a row winner, Warren Tribune Community Columnist Martha Yoder. Ms. Yoder once again is singing high praises for fracking. Yoder said, “Our country’s dependence on foreign oil will be lessened by increased domestic energy production.” I guess Ms. Yoder missed an article in the rag she works for saying much of Ohio’s natural gas will be going to Asia and India.  The truth is the oil from Utica drilling in Ohio is smaller than expected. Utica drilling is mostly getting natural gas which is worth much less than the oil and already in great abundance in the U.S. Yoder talks about the greatest benefit being the creation of jobs in our area that sorely needs them. She believes this because  she attended a career fair that was put on by the Regional Chamber featuring about 30 energy industry related companies and educational institutions. If Yoder would have done some investigation about other areas of the country that were promised lots of area jobs she have found out about the lies about local jobs. I’m sure Martha “Fracking” Yoder will continue to be a corporate stooge and give me plenty more reasons to name her local buffoon of the week.

  National buffoon of the week is teabagger libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh. See why here.

Andy Gross: “10 More Gallons”

Fraser McArter: “Sorry State of the Union Blues”

Local Musician: Tim Drummond

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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David Vs. Goliath Rematch

  The truth is most of the time David does not beat Goliath. This was the case in our local elections this past Tuesday. The citizen-organized anti-fracking charter amendment for Youngstown, Ohio was defeated 57 percent to 43 percent.  The David in this case is the backers of the charter amendment, the Community Bill of Rights Committee. They had gotten the required number of signatures to get the issue on the ballot. The charter’s supporters were able to get the local media to hear the nightmare stories of residents from Weathersfield Township’s Westwood Mobile Home Park in Lordstown, Ohio. These residents live within a few hundred feet of an expansive drilling site in nearby Lordstown. They told of the burdens of living near a drilling site, things such as the noise, fumes, vibrations and bright lights that flood their property each night. Such warnings along with 13 earthquakes in 2011 by a local injection well used to dispose of the brine wastewater, a fracking by-product and the dumping of hundreds of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into the Mahoning River by a local company were not enough to convince voters of the dangers of fracking in Youngstown.

  The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber formed a coalition of business, labor and community leaders who support the oil and gas industry in the Mahoning Valley and spoke out opposing the charter amendment. This group is the Goliath in our story and named the Mahoning Valley Coalition for Job Growth and Investment. Here are the members of that group. The ones I am not surprised to see as members are Tom Humphries, President & CEO of the Regional Chamber, Laura and Paul Lyden, Vice President of Lyden Oil, Jean Gaetano, Executive Administrator at V&M Star, Butch Taylor and Tim Manion of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396 and Tracey Winbush, Radio talk show host, of Tracey and Friends. They all have something to gain from fracking except Tom Humphries and Tracey Winbush who are a couple of corporate tools who just like being on the wrong side of every issue. The ones I am saddened to see on the list besides Pipefitters Local 396 are Dave Betras, Chairman of the Mahoning County Democrats and Father Greg Maturi the Pastor at St. Dominic Church, Youngstown. The Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 396 spent $58,300 in their effort to defeat the issue. Backers of the charter amendment, Community Bill of Rights Committee, spent $1,415 over the reporting cycle and had $3,043 to spend in the week leading to Election Day. In this era of “money talks” Goliath usually has the money and so, as in this case he gets the win.

  I can’t say what the defeat of the Youngstown charter amendment means better than commenter Cubbies at Vindy.com. Cubbies: “It’s a sad day when the deep pockets of the gas/oil industry were able once again to convince the media and Joe Public to buy another pig in the poke by convincing them that jobs and money will come to the poor in Y-town by supporting fracking. When the money rolls in to help the poor and clean up Youngstown’s blight, please wake me up. I’m not expecting a wake-up call.” Then we have Enigma who said, “Capitalism always wins out over consumer and employee protection. Just ask Bangladesh.” When the story of the troubles the Weathersfield Township’s Westwood Mobile Home Park was having with fracking appeared in the Warren Tribune I noted what a commenter to Trib.com said. Youngstownsteelman said: “Temporary inconveniences to secure our nation’s energy needs. Suck it up. ” Conservatives like youngstownsteelman actually fell for that meeting our nation’s energy independence oil & gas corporation B.S. The truth is this gas is going to Asia and India. Meeting our nation’s energy needs indeed.

  The local buffoon of the week is Warren Tribune Community Columnist Martha Yoder. Ms. Yoder wrote a column entitled, “Fracking, all it’s cracked up to be.” Yoder points out one of the most widely used common chemicals for hydraulic fracturing is guar gum, which is actually found in ice cream. She conveniently left out the other 749 chemicals. Twenty-nine of those chemicals are known cancer causing carcinogens and thirty-seven percent have been identified as endocrinedisruptors. Exposure to endocrinedisrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary. Recognized carcinogens are used in one of every three hydraulic fracturing operations across the nation—according to industry self-reporting. The number one most used fracturing chemical is methanol which is highly toxic to humans. Other chemicals are ethylene glycol which is used in antifreeze, mercury, lead, uranium, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, benzene, diesel fuel, hydrogen fluoride, sulfuric acid, naphthalene, crystalline silica etc. Perhaps Ms.Yoder would suggest Handel’s Ice Cream start selling ice cream flavors like; Uranium Raisin Rum, Mercury Maple, Benzeneberry, Formaldehyde Fudge Ripple, Lemonylead, Methanol Mint, and Diesel Fuel Mocha Almond. They could be marketed as the conservative anti-environmentalist gas well huggers flavors to die for.

  The biggest local losers of the week are the 82% of registered Trumbull County voters and 83% of registered Mahoning County voters that decided to leave the election up to 16-17% of their fellow voters. I guess David only defeats Goliath in the Bible. I had someone tell me the election showed that God was on the side of the fracking companies. This is exactly what I thought I’d hear from this guy who only worships money. My God sent warning about the dangers of frackering in the form of 13 earthquakes and thousands of gallons of fracking waste to pollute the Mahoning River. In the end 57% of the voters didn’t heed his warning and 83% of the registered voters were too stupid or lazy to vote. At least that is the way I see it. I want to thank the Community Bill of Rights Committee, Frackfree Mahoning Valley and all of the fractivists in our community for being the Davids. In the long run I believe you will be shown to be right but I hope our community does not pay a big toll for the lesson.

Happy Mothers Day!

Grass: “Frack Off”

ben-ulric: “Fracking Blues”

“Nature shrinks as capital grows. The growth of the market cannot solve the very crisis it creates.”
Vandana Shiva, Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis

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Making a List

 

  I ran into someone who asked me why I picked on the editor of the Warren Tribune, WKBN’s Dan Rivers and the cast of the “Traci and Friends” radio show so much? I have said many times that my main goal is a better world for my children. To get that better world we have to remember the saying, “If you want a better world start with your own backyard.” That is what I am doing by pointing out the constant lies by people in our local media. These local media liars manipulate those in our community and hinder real and necessary change.  I won’t apologize or ease up on these media hacks until they become part of the solution instead of the problem.

  That being said let me start with the area buffoon of the week award. That award goes to Stick’s one of the cast of liars over at WSOM’s radio talk show “Tracey and Friends.” The other day Stick’s said, “The poor in our country have it a lot better off than the poor in other countries.” I’m singling Sticks out but all the “Friends” have said this at one time or another. The “Friends” are just that part of the middle-class that can be expected to say such things because they are defenders of the wealthy. Such people are called, conservatives and do the dirty work and bidding of the rich powers that be. Some of these conservatives are editors and radio show hosts and pick up paychecks to bash the poor and defend the wealthy. These people in the media call the wealthy a new name, “job creators.” Never mind that these “job creators” get corporate welfare from taxpayers and mostly create jobs in China.

  Mother Theresa said, “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving” and “Give, but give until it hurts.”  Should we do something of a Christian nature like Mother Theresa suggested?  Instead we could use Stick’s logic and save money. I’ll think about that the next time I park at the Covelli Center and a homeless man wonders out from under the bridge. When he asks if I can spare some change I’ll have a new answer for him. I’ll say something that will bring him more joy than any amount of money I can give him. I’ll tell him, “You might be poor and homeless but you have it better off than the poor and homeless in other countries.” I’m sure he’ll feel so blessed he will run back under the bridge to share this joyous message with the other homeless. It seems like a cold, callous, cheap and soulless thing to say to me. Then again maybe I’m wrong as the crew at “Tracey and Friends” like to claim they are “real Christians” doing the work of God. I guess we have a different God and Bible. My Bible doesn’t have all the gay bashing in it that their Bible does. I guess I have that liberal Bible version where Jesus said many things about helping the poor such as the short and sweet,  “Proverb 22: “Happy is the generous man, the one who feeds the poor.”

  Conservatives love to portray the poor as a bunch of leeches getting welfare and living large off our tax dollars. These same conservatives will never mention corporate welfare that goes to the greedy and not the needy. Social welfare is such a tiny part of the budget it is not worth talking about. What is more interesting is asking how the poor get by (even with social safety nets). I would have to say without Mrs. E working that on my wages I would easily be considered poor. With the both of us working it still seems hard to get by every month. We certainly don’t live large at all and when you get older like us you realize you can do without a lot of things. What we can’t do without are the constant monthly unexpected expenses to fix our home and automobiles.

  We have two cars that we bought used, one is 7 years old and the one I drive is 13 years old. Our house is fairly small and over 50 years old. With an old home and old cars problems constantly pop up. These bills to maintain and insure cars and a house really limit us from putting much money away for retirement. Add to that loans we are paying off for our two kids college education. My father didn’t retire until he was 82. I am convinced and accepting of the fact I will be in the same boat if I live that long. I have an acre to mow and my 17-year-old riding mower had the transmission die last year. To get it fixed was going to cost more than I purchased the mower for. The last several years I kept the mower running by jerry-rigging it with baling wire and duct tape. I’m sure that is probably what poor people do also and it wasn’t really a safe thing to do. We really had to shuffle some expenses and shop very wisely to get a new mower.

  A few months ago I had to put all new tires on both cars as they were getting thread bare and dangerous to drive on. Have you priced these size 16 and 17 inch tires? I paid more for tires than I use to pay for a decent used car. It made me wonder how bad are the tires on poor people’s cars and how could they afford new ones. I see ads on Craig’s List for used tires for sale and I guess that is the answer. Mrs. E is terrified of driving in the rain and I can’t imagine how nervous she’d be driving on used tires. A few months back I had to get brakes put on both cars in the same month. Do you ever think about how poor people can’t afford to maintain their car’s tires, brakes and suspensions? Did you ever think about how their not being able to afford those things puts all of us on the highways in danger? Do you think poor people have money to pay for car insurance?

  None of the electric windows on my 13-year-old car have been able to go down for over a year now. We do what a lot of people do we put it on the list of things that need repaired when we have the money. It was certainly on the bottom of the list in the winter but now that it’s summer I think having windows that open should move up the repair list. I’d say especially since the electric sunroof won’t open and the air conditioning barely works. I’m not very mechanical but I can MacGyver up some temporary fixes which unfortunately have to last longer than they should. The rubber around my car door is ripped and the wind was howling in. I tried to buy a new seal but the only thing available was a kit for all four doors that was in the hundreds of dollars. I couldn’t afford that so I got out the liquid rubber and super glue and made my own section of seal.

  A few months ago I was driving to work and my brakes went out on me as I was going down a steep hill. I had to use my emergency brake, some prayers and downshift the transmission to stop. I knew the brakes were recently new but I remembered that the mechanic who installed them told me my brake lines were really rusty. I had budgeted for the brakes but had no extra money to pay for new brake lines at that time. I now realized that was coming back to haunt me as I drove about two-miles and left the car at a brake shop and got a ride to work. The shop repaired the line that rusted through and the lines to the other three wheels. It was a couple of hundred dollars and I was lucky I had a charge card. We have a charge card which we only use in times of emergency. I contemplate how many poor people have or can even qualify for charge cards and wonder what they do in times of emergency. If I was poor I would have had another solution to a rusty brake line. I would have looked to see which brake line was leaking brake fluid and pinched it closed with a pair of pliers and drove just having the other three brakes working. It would have been my only solution and how risky is that for me and everyone else on the road?

  Then there are all the problems people have with their homes. This month I had squirrels in my fireplace staring at me. I had to spend $450 to get caps and screens installed on my chimney. I had to spend another $150 to capture and relocate the squirrels. It was either that or let squirrels stay in my house and eat the wiring and possibly cause a fire. During the winter it was over $1,000 for a new furnace motor.  Last summer was $6,000 to shingle my roof and another $1,000 for windows as I had water coming in around them. If I didn’t fix the windows and roof I was looking at getting mold in my house. My kitchen is the original 50 year-old one, I need cabinets, carpet, doors, flooring, siding, a new drive, gutters, plumbing updates, a new electrical box and my basement is leaking. Those are just the things I know about and who knows what monthly surprises I will face. Last month I spent two days trying to unclog a garbage disposal before I paid a plumber to come. I’m stuck with this house as I could never afford to get this place in proper shape to sell. Like most other Americans the high price of gasoline has really cut into our paychecks. I’d love to own a hybrid car that gets three-times the mileage on a gallon of gas that our old beaters get. A new car is so far down our list of things we need that it would have to jump up to even see the bottom.

  I really hate having to spend my retirement funds just to maintain an old house and two old cars. What must the poor feel like to have to live with many of the problems we can at least pay for? Our poorest workers on minimum wage have the corporate owned media attack them any time they mention raising the minimum wage. The IUE union workers at Delphi in the past voted for a second tier of workers making less money. On their next contract the workers voted for a third tier. The UAW has now gone along with auto corporations and approved a second tier making half as much as the first tier at auto plants. You’ve heard it said that our kids probably won’t have it as good as we did. When our workers and unions vote to allow the next generation of workers to be paid less and have less benefits it’s easy to see we have met the enemy and he is us. Did workers on these fist tiers think people making less on second and third tiers would pay any less than them for rent, gasoline, utilities, cars, groceries or on surprise expenses that pop up every month? These tiers should actually be spelled, “tears” because that is what they are for the younger generation of workers.

  I’ve heard people complain that people on welfare seem to dress very well.  I guess people would be happier to see the poor dirty and in rags. I had someone I know who is poor and frequently homeless tell me he goes to thrift stores for all his clothes. He looked very presentable the last time I saw him and said he had spent less than $10.00 total on the shirt, pants and shoes he was wearing. I believe him because I have been thrift store shopping myself for a few years now. We are all finding ways to get by and we all have our lists of things that need fixed. The things on the top of the list needing fixed are those that might cause us the most harm if not repaired. If we look at our nation the thing causing us the most harm is an economic system that only benefits a tiny minority at the top. The defenders of this system will tell you, “Our nation’s people have it better off that the people of other nations.” You can run around with your finger in the air yelling, “We’re number one” if you want to fall for that B.S. If you open your eyes and look around you will see the rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. Those of us in the vanishing working and middle-class aren’t even on the powers that be’s list of things to repair and improve. They are all about maintaining the present Status quo and the only change you’ll get from them is pocket change. While you accept the pocket change they will ridicule you calling you a deadbeat and say, “You poor in our country have it better off than the poor in other countries.”

  Paid media goons like the “Friends” defend the “entitled” rich Status quo and spread lies against the poor because it is their job. Greed mongering buffoons like Sticks are content to call themselves Christians and ease their consciences about ignoring the poor by elevating the status of our nation’s poor vs. the poor of the world. Poor is poor and all the poor of the world are our brothers and sisters and deserve our help. If we put helping the poor of every nation at the top of our lists of most important things we’d be on our way to a better world!

  National brain-dead politician of the week is New Hampshire State Senator Stella Tremlay see why here. What kind of voters elect such imbeciles?

The ongoing assault against the 99%.

On May 7th Vote Yes on the Youngstown Community Bil of Rights.

George Jones RIP April 26, 2013.

George Jones: “Wild Irish Rose”

“Small Time Laboring Man”

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.” ~ Gandhi

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