Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving a Holiday Celebrating Terrorism

I sat in a classroom hearing the teacher give a lesson about the history of Thanksgiving. It was the typical B.S. story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. That annual phony story of Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a dinner in harmony together. The only real part of the story was that the Pilgrims would have died, if the Native Americans wouldn’t have shown them how to farm. I wanted to shout, “The Pilgrims were actually a bunch of drunks that hung an Indian body and an Indian head on their fort. They did that to symbolize, “white power.” I didn’t want to frighten children but they should know the truth.

We will smell a kitchen full of the scents of a delectable feast but that is not the whiff of what Thanksgiving represents. The original smells would have been the putrid scent of barbecued Indian flesh.

Here is a historic description behind the massacre of Indians, which is the real reason the Pilgrims, gave thanks: This by William Bradford, an early settler, on Captain John Mason’s attack on a Pequot village.

“Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword, some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived that they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”

While we have genocide against turkeys for Thanksgiving our fore fathers had a genocide against Native Americans.

R.I.P. Chloe we will miss you.

Thanksgiving history: Facts

Robbie Robertson: “A Native American Thanksgiving Song”

William S. Burroughs: “A Thanksgiving Prayer”

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~ W.T. Purkiser


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Cretin Parental Opus

Truth is always stranger than fiction. I wrote the following from a recent strange news story.

Cretin Parental Opus

According to a recent Reason-Rupe poll.
an estimated 57% said “only winners” in kid’s sports
should receive a trophy for their participation.
63% of conservatives said only winners should get the prizes.
Men also favored trophies for winners only over women, 62 to 52 percent.
Glenn Beck is a conservative commentator and radio talk show host.
He has described himself as a “borderline schizophrenic.
Glenn has stated, “I hate those damn participation trophies.”
He instructs parents to go into their children’s bedrooms
and confiscate them and smash them in front of their child,
to teach them a lesson about how the real world works.
How Glenn Beck’s real world of losing was demonstrated by him
in 1983 when he lost in the Phoenix, Arizona top 40 morning radio show ratings.
He called his competitors wife while she was on the radio and mocked her recent miscarriage.
Even if kids don’t win at a sport at least they learn teamwork,
sportsmanship, losing with grace, and finding joy in an endeavor,
even when you know you won’t be the best player or team.
Leaving with a symbol of those things doesn’t seem so bad to me.
Unfortunately, we have a bunch of couch sitting wannabee NFL quarterbacks,
who say stupid things to kids like, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
I have a new hero for these would be Glenn Beck he man types.
That is Arizona grandfather 53 year-old Paul Armand Rater.
His pickup truck broke down in the desert and he walked to get help
leaving his five-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert,
with a loaded and cocked .45-caliber handgun
and the instruction to “shoot any bad guys.”
He ended up walking for quite a few miles until he came to a bar.
Instead of asking for help to rescue his granddaughter and truck,
he sat down and had a cheeseburger and a few beers.
This may sound strange to some but after all this is Arizona,
a stand your ground state where you protect your personal property.
Basically, Grandpa Rater left his five-year old granddaughter to guard his truck.
Leaving a five-year old with a cocked and loaded 45 in modern-day Arizona
is like a Spartan warrior test to see if an infant can survive in the wild by itself.
This does not mean that some Arizonans were not completely shocked.
Many found it outrageous to leave such a young child alone with a 45 caliber pistol.
Given her small size they felt that a 25 or 22 caliber pistol would be more appropriate.
The child’s mother hadn’t heard from grandpa so she called the police.
The fire department and Sheriff Joe Arpaio found the little girl.
You might recognize Sheriff Joe’s name because FOX NEWS considers him a god.
He is the Maricopa County sheriff who has cost Maricopa County taxpayers
$142 million in legal expenses, settlements and court awards.
He’s been found guilty of abuse of power, misuse of funds, racial profiling,
failure to investigate sex crimes, improper clearance of cases,
unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations.
Joe has failed to follow-through on at least 32 reported child molestations
even though the suspects were known in all but six of the cases.
That is because the victims were children of undocumented Hispanic immigrants.
All of that means that in Arizona Joe has gotten elected over and over
for 25 years and can’t get kicked out of office no matter how much he cost the county.
Lucky for the little girl she was white and not brown
or Joe wouldn’t have mounted a search and rescue.
At this point I am reminded that the little girl did not listen to Grandpa Rater
when he gave her the 45 and had instructed her to “shoot any bad guys.”
Had she listened Sheriff Joe would have been her first dead bad guy.
She just needed some more experience with bad guys
before knowing which ones to shoot on sight.
I’d suggest she start with Grandpa Paul Ratner.
All of this macho shit really is part of the conservative cowboy type image.
Never mind, most cowboys couldn’t afford a sidearm as they cost a month’s pay.
Never mind, most cowboys wore bowler style hats not
what we think of as cowboys hats today.
Never mind, Mexico had cowboys 400 year before the U.S.
or that one of four cowboys was African-American.
Facts don’t matter to conservatives
and that is a whole other poem.
Grandpa Ratner has a few options out of this incident.
#1. Sheriff Joe might deputize him for trying to make sure
that the five year-old girl grows up to be a tough conservative Arizona woman
instead of being a wimpy kid who expects a trophy for participating in a sport.
#2. Grandpa might be the next president of the NRA.
#3. He might be the next republican candidate for governor of Arizona.
I’m sure the NRA would bankroll the whole political campaign
if he picked Sheriff Joe for his Lt. Governor running mate.
Their slogan could be, “Have a little more confidence in our kids.
Don’t give your preschool kids participation trophies
give them loaded and cocked 45 caliber handguns.”

Tom Hambridge: “Upside of Lonely”

“I Keep Things”

Parenting: “Affection without sentiment, authority without cruelty, discipline without aggression, humor without ridicule, sacrifice without obligation, companionship without possessiveness.” — William E. Blatz

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Forever Young: Staughton Lynd at 85

I have been friends with Staughton and Alice Lynd for a couple of decades now. They have been mentors and an inspiration to me. If you know them I’m sure you feel the same way. They are the kind of people who Mrs. E says I am a better person for knowing. Andy Piascik sent me the following piece which I am more than happy to share about my friends Alice and Staughton.
 Versions of this article have appeared in various publications and on various websites.
 Peace and Solidarity,
                               Forever Young: Staughton Lynd at 85
                                                                                                               by Andy Piascik
            Suddenly Staughton Lynd is all the rage. Again. In the last several years, Lynd has published a number of new books as well as new editions of classics such as Rank and File, plus a memoir co-authored with his wife Alice. In addition, two books about his life as an activist have been published, one on the years through 1970 by educator Carl Mirra (The Admirable Radical: Staughton Lynd and Cold War Dissent, 1945-1970) and another about his work since 1970 by historians Mark Weber and Stephen Paschen, Side by Side: Alice and Staughton Lynd, the Ohio Years.
            In an epoch of imperial hubris and corporate class warfare on steroids, a Lynd revival could hardly have come at a better time. Soldier, coal miner, Sixties veteran, recent college graduate – there’s much to be gained by all from a study of Lynd’s life and work. In so doing, it’s inspiring to discover how frequently he was in the right place at the right time and, more importantly, on the right side.
During the tumultuous summer of 1964, Lynd was invited to coordinate the Freedom Schools established in Mississippi by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The schools were an integral part of the Herculean effort to end apartheid in the United States and became models for alternative schools everywhere. That August, Lynd supported the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) at the Democratic Party convention. Led by Fannie Lou Hamer and Bob Moses, the MFDP had earned the right to represent their state with their blood and their extraordinary courage. Instead the party hierarchy supported the official, illegal delegation, a pathetic band of reactionaries who – the irony is too delicious – supported not the candidate of their own party Lyndon Johnson but his opponent and their ostensible enemy, Republican Barry Goldwater, for president. This back-stabbing was carried out by liberal icons Hubert Humphrey, Walter Reuther and Walter Mondale and endorsed, alas, by Reverend Martin Luther King.
In early 1965, Lynd spoke at Carnegie Hall in one of the first events organized in opposition to the U.S. invasion of Vietnam. A short time later, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) asked him to chair the first national demonstration against the war, where he was again a keynote speaker. That April 17, a crowd of 25,000 that was five times larger than even the most optimistic organizers had anticipated turned out in Washington, and what would become the largest anti-war movement in US history was born.
That summer, Lynd helped organize the Assembly of Unrepresented People in Washington. Timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the murder of tens of thousands of civilians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the gathering also included a rally at the White House where peace with the people of Vietnam was declared. Lynd has recalled the bemusement with which the relatively small band of demonstrators was received by those charged with protecting the government from its people. In reply, he told a military police officer that they were the first of what would eventually be millions, a statement that sooner than anyone could imagine proved prophetic. By 1967, a majority of people in the U.S. had declared peace with Vietnam.  
Movement Contributions
            Lynd would continue as one of the seminal figures of the 1960’s. He was both a tireless organizer and the author of numerous articles in important movement publications like Liberation, Radical America, the Guardian and Studies on the Left. With Michael Ferber, he documented the movement against the military draft in The Resistance, one of the best books about Sixties organizing.
            Lynd was an enthusiastic supporter of the New Left and embraced precepts like participatory democracy and decentralization. Ex-radicals of his generation like Irving Howe, Bayard Rustin and Michael Harrington, by contrast, spent much of the Sixties attacking SNCC and SDS. He spoke for many when he mocked their enthusiasm for  Johnson and the Democrats as “coalition with the Marines.”
This, too, proved uncannily prophetic. Within a year of being elected in 1964, Johnson 1.) ordered a massive escalation in Vietnam; 2.) sent an  invasion force to the Dominican Republic to support military thugs who had overthrown a democratically elected government; and 3.) armed and funded an incredibly violent coup in Indonesia in which over a million people were killed. The Peace Candidate indeed. 
Blacklisted From Academia and Beyond
            At the end of 1965, Lynd made a fateful trip to Hanoi where he witnessed the carnage inflicted by US bombers. Up to that point, he was one of the most promising new scholars in the country. Upon his return, however, his career in academia was essentially at an end. A tenure track position at Yale suddenly disappeared. Department heads at other universities enthusiastically offered teaching positions, only to be overruled by higher-ups.   
            Lynd never looked back. He became an accomplished scholar outside the academy and one of the most perceptive and prolific chroniclers of “history from below,” with a special interest in working class organizing. From a series of interviews, he and Alice produced the groundbreaking book Rank and File, which begat the Academy Award-nominated documentary film Union Maids.
Lynd moved to Ohio in 1976, became an attorney and, when the mills in  Youngstown began to close, assisted steelworkers in an unsuccessful attempt to take them over. In a book he wrote about the effort, The Fight Against Shutdowns: Youngstown’s Steel Mill Closings, Lynd explored the biggest little secret of all, one that people everywhere would do well to heed: We who do the work can build a better world, and we can best do it without the parasitic Super Rich who contribute nothing and weigh us down like a monstrous ball and chain.
            Lynd is eighty-five now. The step is slower and his eyesight isn’t the best. Ten years ago he had open heart surgery – “an affair of the heart,” he calls it. “My cardiac surgeon said I came as close to becoming permanently horizontal as one can come without actually doing so.”
            He talks of how deeply he misses dear friend Howard Zinn. He recalls driving through Mississippi late at night, hopelessly lost, just days after civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner had been abducted and murdered. He talks of his remarkable life’s work with great humility and not at all wistfully, but in search of lessons it might hold, especially for the young. A teacher extraordinaire, he is guided by the principle that a teacher is also a student and all students teachers. And he writes and writes, as prolifically as ever, one book after another  as well as articles and book reviews for Z, Counterpunch, the Industrial Worker and numerous other periodicals and websites.  
            Lynd has seen more than his share of colleagues come and go. Some flamed out after a brief period of frantic busyness; others moved on to different lives and nice-paying gigs. Still going strong, Lynd offers long-term commitment (“long distance running,” as he calls it) and accompaniment –  professionals living alongside workers and the unrepresented and contributing much-needed skills to the struggle for freedom, all the while walking side by side as equals – as alternatives. He also believes as passionately as ever that a better world is indeed possible.
Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author who writes for Z, Counterpunch  and many other publications and websites.
Pete Seeger: “Forever Young”
“The things I was allowed to experience, the people I was able to call friends, teammates, mentors, coaches and opponents, the travel, all of it, are far more than anything I ever thought possible in my lifetime. ~ Curt Schilling

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