Race Card Revisited: Recovery Starts With an Admission There is a Problem

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My usual “fan club” was out in force last week. I really felt the love. Thank you for reading my essay with an open mind and weighing in with your comments. A simple re-cap; Slavery of Africans on US soil happened. Said slavery has had continuing negative repercussions to this day. Some of my die-hard “fans” decided to ignore those truths and focus on certain details that they felt somehow justified, rationalized, excused and or negated these two historical facts. I’ll repeat; Slavery of Africans on US soil happened. Said slavery has had continuing negative repercussions to this day. Zeroing in on, let’s say, when I pointed out Obama being attacked by the mentally challenged bigots in politics and elsewhere, someone snarked, “Your hero”. He might as well have called me an “Obama lover”. Obama is not my hero. I used his treatment as an example of the symptoms of our country’s diseased bigotry and lack of civility. I think I might have mentioned that recovery starts with an admission there is a problem.

I was accused of suffering from “white guilt” and called a white racist and a “libtard”. I did not write the piece to inflame people. I wrote it to hopefully encourage a constructive dialogue on, not only racism, but the general co-option of our country by the Corporate Pathocracy to the detriment of We, The People. Instead, as it turns out, my thoughts were taken as an affront/attack on White America, completely ignoring the thrust of my words. Continue reading

RACE CARD

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black and white childrenIs the United States of America a society in regression? With each rationalized and exonerated killing of young black men by cop and vigilante, are other regressive malcontents emboldened? Rather than ushering in a new era of racial harmony, the election of a black man to the highest office in the land has brought out the worst sort of hatred imaginable. Vile and treasonous epithets never before uttered publicly against a sitting president are posted daily on social media. The loony fringe has oozed out of the woodwork and taken up residence in main stream US society. Law makers and TV pundits have incrementally introduced racism as legitimate political dialogue. Code words that are palatable but are still racially derisive are used liberally in that dialogue. Civility and self control are non-existent. Who could forget South Carolina’s Rep. Joe Wilson’s infamous outburst, “You lie!” directed at president Obama at his 2009 State of the Union Address? Continue reading

Reflections on Columbus or Happy Genocide Day

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Here we are, another celebration of Columbus Day has passed, and every year it gets just a little bit more embarrassing, bordering on surreal. We citizens of the United States are slowly waking up to the reality that the Americas were heavily populated by natives and doing just fine without European “civilization”. The fact that the Europeans were greeted for the most part by friendly folks willing to share what they had, was taken as a sign of weakness by our “hero”, Columbus. Instead of honoring the people that invited him into their home, he enslaved and murdered them, of course, baptizing them before they were put to the sword. Not the best way to start a new relationship.

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There Is Hope

There Is Hope

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When I read a report on Jefferson County Colorado high school students walking out in protest over proposed changes to the school’s history curriculum, I rejoiced. Anyone that pays attention to current events knows there is a concerted attack on common sense being administered by conservative ideologues and their corporate sponsors. The kids in Colorado have decided enough is enough. Their misguided school board members are proposing a flag waving revisionist history curriculum that emphasizes obedience to law, extolls the virtues of individual freedom and free enterprise, and at the same time dismisses social consciousness, past struggles and victories for civil rights as mere footnotes. Hardly worth mentioning…, and PLEASE disregard the fact that our nation was actually forged in the fires of revolution caused by lack of representation in our government. Yeah…that’d be great. Continue reading

GREATNESS

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My wife and I just finished watching all seven, two-hour installments of Ken Burns’, documentary on Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. It left me feeling a bit melancholy, for watching any birth-to- death encapsulated in a few short hours will depress, but such Olympian greatness ending like ordinary mortals is an especially bitter pill to swallow. Ken Burns’ reputation for skillful use of black and white stills melded with music, sound effect and professional actors reciting the written word of the protagonists is mesmerizing and “The Roosevelts, An Intimate History” did not disappoint. Continue reading

That Would Explain A Lot…

Brain Scan

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No matter what your political affiliation is, haven’t you wondered, “What is wrong with those people? Can’t they see how misguided they are?!” God knows, I’ve said that countless times. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some explanation why political paralysis and polarization are so prevalent? Look no further than science!  Finally we have an answer why some see black and others white when looking at the exact same thing. The amygdala, sometimes called the amygdaloidal nucleus, a little almond shaped bit of gray matter amongst our other gray matter, in the anterior section of the temporal lobe, might be the culprit. Frankly, I don’t care what it is or what it’s called. I’m just pleased as punch there is ANY explanation for the insane cognitive dissonance and schizophrenic contradictive perceptions of what is our current political theater of the absurd.

MRI images of test subject’s brains revealed that conservatives have a larger amygdala than liberals. Now before you conservatives start high-fiving each other, Continue reading

Life and Death

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Recently I read with fascination an article on simple life forms that can survive the harsh environment of space. British scientists are claiming that they discovered single cell algae, Diatoms, living sixteen miles above the Earth. They were discovered when specialized balloons were sent up to collect data on the Perseid meteor shower. Some of the scientists believe these Diatoms are of Earth origins and somehow managed to reach the stratosphere by air currents sweeping over the ocean and rising, but others are positing it may be our first encounter with alien life, further hypothesizing these “aliens” might explain how life started here. Did comets laden with super resilient single cell organisms travel countless light years to slam into our planet and seed it with our far distant ancestors?

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Just Sayin’

Mother Earth Tears

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My wife and I just returned from a long holiday touring Scotland and Ireland. We have visited Scotland before, but this was our first time on the Emerald Isle. We try to get out of the states every three or four years and see how it’s done elsewhere. We’ve been lucky enough to travel to France, Spain, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are closer, and almost as exotic. Meeting others from different locales in their natural habitat is eye opening and educational. I highly recommend travel if you are able. Even the most hard core nationalist might learn something.

The United States of America is a great country, no doubt about it, however there are MANY great countries on the planet. The incessant mantra by the thought police that we are “The Greatest” is becoming harder to sell as we witness the rapid decent of America into third world corruption, terminal environmental destruction and sanctioned violence and threat by those charged with serving and protecting us. News flash. It ain’t like that everywhere. Continue reading

Peter Pan

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I have a personal policy of avoiding main stream corporate news outlets like I avoid The Weather Channel. I don’t need to know about hurricane Gertrude from the minute it forms off the coast of Africa. It might be weeks before it crosses the Atlantic and actually becomes a problem. When it gets close, IF it gets close, then I will hear about it at Five Brothers over café con leche. That way I avoid those weeks of needless anxiety and nail biting. The same goes for watching, listening and/or reading corporate sponsored propaganda, aka the news. Continue reading

Капитализм (Capitalism)

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Somewhere Karl Marx is shaking his shaggy head and smiling. When a bastion of the capitalist right, Time Magazine, publishes an article validating ANYTHING Karl Marx said can Armageddon be far behind? I am most definitely not an economist. Show me a budget report or some financial spread sheet and my eyes glaze over in stupor, but lately I have been reading with some fascination many unflattering reports on the sacred free market. The imaginary capitalist guiding hand of self-regulation and its sister, the imaginary self-leveling playing field are, all of a sudden, being called into question. What is going on?! Continue reading

Recovery

Recovery

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I just finished reading an enlightening article on “Reparations” in the June 2014 issue of, The Atlantic. The piece was titled “The Case For Reparations” written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic. Reparations, in this context, is referring to amends for past treatment of African slaves and their descendants. The reaction to the word reparations has a predictable knee-jerk effect on most Americans of European descent. “Who is going to pay and who is going to be paid and how much are WE expected to come up with”, are the usual defensive and dismissive questions.

This article attempts to address those questions, but is more focused on the necessity for an open rational dialogue on the subject. As the copy on the cover of the magazine states in bold print: “250 years of slavery. 90 years of Jim Crow. 60 years of separate but equal. 35 years of state-sanctioned redlining. Until we reckon with the compounding moral debts of our ancestors, America will never be whole.” Recovery begins with an admission that there is a problem. Continue reading

Disposable People

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Apropos of last week’s heartbreaking article in The Blue Paper by Naja and Arnaud Girard on the personal stories of three local homeless, two families and one single person, I came across a story making its way around the web. It’s the miraculous human-interest/feel-good story of Rashema Melson, an eighteen year old homeless young African-American woman who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and valedictorian of her class at Anacostia High School in Washington DC. Ms. Melson will be attending Georgetown University in the fall with a full scholarship. She accomplished this miracle in spite of living in a homeless shelter with her mother and siblings for the last two years after a tumultuous existence of moving from place to place previous to landing in the shelter. She is an attractive and poised young woman and will no doubt go on to greatness and I salute her.

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Global Warming Is a Hoax, Wall Street Hedge Fund Managers Have Souls and Jenny McCarthy Is a Scientist

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There is a fascinating trend in seemingly well educated liberal America that has common roots in less educated conservative America. That trend is mistrust and denial of science. The folks that feel faith based solutions are the answer to just about any problem facing our society have an unlikely ally in the upper middle class suburban crowd. Many of the latter have, in spite of overwhelming scientific data to the contrary, decided that vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella and polio is the cause of afflictions such as Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder. Thanks to the likes of the pulchritudinous (love that word) Jenny McCarthy and Michele “Jesus Wrote the Constitution” Bachmann, the anti-science, anti-vaccination crowd have a national voice. Add the interweb and it’s an ignorance fest extraordinaire. Continue reading

First Amendment Blues

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You may or may not have heard of the trial of Cecily McMillan in the New York City courts. She was arrested for assaulting a police officer and after a skewed trial that suppressed video of her treatment by the police and suppressed evidence of the “assaulted” officer’s history of violence, was found guilty on May fifth. She and several hundred Occupy Wall Street protesters were at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan enjoying St. Patrick’s Day 2012, voicing their first amendment right to peacefully express discontent with Corporate and Wall Street’s ownership of the country.  The NYPD descended on the park and arrested seventy people, including McMillan. When a plain clothes police officer grabbed McMillan from behind grasping her right breast she instinctively elbowed him in the face, not knowing who was grabbing her. She was then taken down and beaten by several police officers. She lost consciousness and went into seizure. Her next sensation was the feel of rubber tread on her face from the floor of the city bus commandeered by the NYPD to transport the arrested, then an oxygen mask over her nose and mouth, finally regaining full consciousness in a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. Continue reading

OM

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I thought I might take a break this week from chronicling the latest abominations of our pathocratic paradigm and talk about a positive personal experience instead. The abominations will be there when we return.

This past week has been revelatory for me on a couple of levels. This revelation began when I attended a talk by Kadampa Buddhist meditation teacher, Anika Trancik, titled “Seeing Kindness” at the Yoga Sanctuary here in Key West. Anika is a student of Buddhist monk, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and she read from one of his books, “Eight Steps to Happiness”. FYI, Kelsang Gyatso means “Oceans of Good Fortune” and Geshe is an academic title meaning “virtuous friend”, both given to him upon his ordination as a novice monk at age eight. Anika explained the first step of the eight steps in Kelsang Gyatso’s book was the need to see kindness in others. This sounded rather simplistic at first, but Kelsang Gyatso’s interpretation of kindness in this context doesn’t mean “niceness” as in someone being pleasant or generous, but rather the opposite. He advocates being happy when someone is rude or argumentative because we “benefit” from this “kindness” by learning patience and in turn wisdom; happiness, if you will. Continue reading

Denial Is Not a River In Egypt

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Have we seen enough Cliven Bundy coverage yet? How about Basketball’s Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling?  I am going to go out on a limb and assume everyone but the comatose know Cliven and Donald by now. I find it extremely ironic that, as these two old white guys reveal to the world their archaic putrid festering racism, one voluntarily and the other involuntarily, our Supreme Court [SCOTUS] has been busy neutering the seminal civil rights accomplishments of the sixties. Last year, declaring racism dead in this country, the SCOTUS killed section 4 of the voting rights act of 1965  that was implemented to keep certain states with a rich history of race hate from imposing any discriminatory or otherwise restrictive voting laws such as literacy tests or today’s photo I.D. requirements that discriminate against the poor and racial minorities. Continue reading

Flabbergasted, Again.

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My last essay was on the topic of “compartmentalization” and this week we have a shining example of the necessity for it. The American Enterprise Institute “scholar”, Charles Murray, education adviser to Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott spoke at the University of Texas last week telling his audience that there is no “evidence” proving that any woman has ever been a “significant original thinker”. He went on to condescend that it isn’t the poor woman’s fault; they are just burdened with a smaller sized brain then males! He added, “When you compare the size of a man’s brain with that of a woman, there is no comparison.” (awkward statement on two levels) “It’s not that I have anything against women. They’re nice enough, but it’s just a physical fact that their brains have not developed to the same degree as men’s brains have developed.” “They’re nice enough…”?! What?!

When I first read this I thought it had to be farce, no one could possibly say these things in a public venue, especially an institution of higher learning. I dug a little deeper and to my amazement Mr. Murray had indeed made this statement and more.

Check out this gem, “I’m not a doctor, but it (brain inferiority) may have something to do with their need to develop breasts. The human body can’t do everything.” What?! Continue reading

Compartmentalization

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The human brain is infinitely intriguing and as complex as the cosmos. The question of what makes us tick is in good company along with “what is the meaning of life?” Psychologists, Psychiatrists and Neurosurgeons are making headway (apologies) into the mysterious realm of the mind, but are far from unlocking and fully understanding that odd three pounds of gray matter floating around in our skulls. I am humbly awed at how I can simply type these letters without any real intentional exertion beyond gently willing my fingers to hit the proper key in the proper order to create each word and sentence. Miraculous, really!

Our brains cooked up writing itself 5000 years ago and before that, speech and we haven’t looked back! Those are the two main ingredients of the recipe that allowed us to develop agricultural settlements and form organized cooperative civilizations that, in turn, allowed some in that society to pursue the less physical, more intellectual avenues of governance and organized religion, leaving the hunter/gatherer life to those “less fortunate” living in regions and climes not conducive to the farming culture. This agri-society also gave rise to the warrior class to protect the food producers and said governance.

But that isn’t what I want to write about today. I want to write about another amazing talent the human brain possesses. Continue reading

Bitch Bitch Bitch

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Periodically I ask myself why I write these essays. Perhaps it’s because by the exercise of writing I might accidently stumble across some action that could modify or even correct some wrong somewhere. Sort of like when John Kerry made that flippant off-hand remark about how the only way the U.S. wasn’t going to invade Syria was if Syria agreed to get rid of their chemical weapons. Kerry thinking, no way that would happen and we could get on with the business of war as usual, but no… Kerry had accidentally stumbled across a peaceful alternative to invasion of a sovereign nation and inadvertently talked our empire out of yet another war. I guess we could call this accidental diplomacy. Continue reading

The Band Plays On

musica band plays onI can’t seem to shake the haunting images of two famous classical orchestras. They aren’t famous for who they were, they are famous for where they played. One played on the deck of the Titanic as the unsinkable ship sank. The other, even more nightmarish musical venue I had in mind was the Nazi concentration camps. One of the first camps formed, as soon as Hitler gained power, was Theresienstadt or Terezín, as it was called by non-Germans. Classical, along with original works composed in the camp were played to give the illusion of civility and normalcy in an environment of satanical horror. Terezín was the first camp to utilize professional musician prisoners, a policy all the camps eventually adopted. Many in Terezín would die by disease, malnutrition and outright murder, but they would die with music in their ears. Terezín, for some, was only a temporary stop over on their way to the death camps of Treblinka or Auschwitz, where the bands played on. Continue reading

NEW LEAF

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Note: Unfortunately my attempted mountaintop retreat from the world was a bust and I was forced to cut it short. Who I thought was a Yogi Zen master turned out to be a delusional manic depressive failed hedge fund manager that had lost his mind when some bubble or other burst leaving him penniless or was he a time share pitch man? I never did figure it out…So I came back home and decided to see a shrink instead. 

New Leaf

I have been given strict instructions by my therapist, Dr. Heisenberg, that I am no longer allowed to research and chronicle any negative local, national or global issues. I was told, if I must write about something, it should be on light and happy topics that lift the spirit, no matter how Pollyannaishly delusional I think they are. I am paying this guy $ 250 an hour so I am heeding his advice. Then let us tackle some soft friendly issues together, shall we? The sun did come up and as Annie tells us, it will come up tomorrow. That is comforting to a guy like me. Here I have been focusing on the likelihood of it rising one day only to illuminate a barren Mars-like landscape that was once our blue and green planet due to our blind love affair with fossil fuel and pathological consumption of natural resources. Oops, sorry. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is my new mantra. Continue reading

Friendly Debate

Alex Symington

Alex Symington

This might be my last contribution for a while. I’m going on a retreat, a literal and figurative dropping out. Don Quixote, I’m not. I enjoy posting my thoughts and some are well received, others, not so much. What I gather from research about government, politics, extreme climate, economy, corporate finance/banking, etc. mostly turns my stomach and I simply cannot continue looking at the big picture of our proverbial hand basket to hell, state of the state without experiencing spiritual and psychic damage. As my wife points out frequently, I am a delicate flower.

I am convinced that the majority of people in this country as well as the global community naturally want what is best for their families and their communities at large. The devil is in the details and that is where we lose sight of our commonalities and get intentionally side-tracked by those in power that want and must stay in power. An example of this loss of sight of our common interests was demonstrated by a reader’s response to my last essay on the marketing of America. My take is the current Pathocracy that is our governance is most assuredly a well financed corporatist right, in the literal sense of corporatism. Conversely the reader is convinced it is leftist caused, muttering something about collectivism, but not disagreeing with my description of the deterioration of our Republic, just the perpetrators of said deterioration. So I would conclude we are essentially on the same side in the sense we are both very unhappy with the current paradigm. Continue reading

Marketing

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One of the downsides of getting old, besides aches and pains and boring young people, is witnessing little changes only an older person notices. Whatever is going on in the moment has “always” been going on in the eyes of the young. The fact is they have no point of reference and are not responsible for succumbing to the sometimes subtle and other times not so subtle insinuative political/corporate propaganda of our daily lives. The only way to avoid this toxic nonsense would be to turn off your TV and computer, stop reading all corporate media (aka. media), stop going to the movies and take yourself to some remote mountain top and become a subsistence farmer. It’s never too late.

This deliberate manipulation is evident at the movies. I love movies. I love all aspects; the writing, acting, directing and editing all fascinate me, a true communal effort and a miracle of sorts when they are successful. When I go to the movie theater I arrive early because I want a good seat, but unfortunately that requires that I sit through a twenty minute audio/visual barrage of corporate crap telling me the answer to life can be found in some colorful sugar water product that can make me “fly” or I must watch some empty headed fluff on TV as soon as I get home and/or I should feel awful because soldiers are coming home horribly damaged from places they don’t belong and that our government abandons them to the charity of people going to see a movie on a Saturday afternoon. Does anyone else remember movie shorts and cartoons before the feature? Continue reading

NEW YEAR

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As we approach the beginning of the New Year, traditionally we reflect on the one that is about to end.  That is all well and good, but might we be better off to stop and reflect more often than once in a calendar year?  To more frequently stop and take the time to assess what we are about and why we do what we do.  I know it is much easier said than done, but daily reflective thought gives us a freedom from expectations and is a release from a poor choice or a wrong path. Rigidity has the opposite effect. Digging in our heels and refusing to admit our errors in judgment will cause us unnecessary pain and suffering.

The simple interjection, “oops”, should be uttered more often so to allow us that opportunity to change course without remorse. Why wait until a “New Year”? To paraphrase John Lennon’s lyrics, “Imagine there’s no judgment for changing your mind….” As new information comes to light, what made sense yesterday, may no longer make sense today.  This reminds me of the pot roast story. A daughter was watching her mother prepare a pot roast for the oven. The older woman cut off the ends of the roast before she placed it in the oven. The daughter asked, “Why did you cut the ends off?” The mother said, “Because that’s how my mother did it.” So the young woman went to ask her grandmother the same question and gran told her because that’s how her mother did it. So the young woman went to the ancient great grandmother and asked why. Great gran explained that years ago, when she and her husband were first married they had a very small oven…. Continue reading

GUN LOVE

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Here we go again, thirteen more victims of a deranged killer with a gun. I don’t care anymore! Why should any of us care? It seems to be a popular American past time, like football or NASCAR.  Why all the righteous and fevered outrage every single time this happens? We never do a thing about it, every single time! The only effect these mass murders seem to have is gun sales go up after these all too common events because gun “enthusiasts” are terrified the government is going to confiscate their guns. That will never ever happen. Never. 

 The NRA and the gun manufacturers lie to their followers about the threat by the U.S. government to their second amendment rights to own and bear firearms. Their only solution to gun death is more guns. Mass murder with guns is good for business. After Sandy Hook and twenty babies being literally shot into pieces, gun sales went through the roof. What a testimony to America, mom, apple pie and democracy.

I really can’t afford to care anymore. I can’t keep investing my emotional capital into this black hole of the black heart of America. It is literally making me sick. Congress, you disgust me. This self induced impotency of government is indicative of so much that has gone wrong with us. From main streaming mental patients and closing government run mental institutions to “save money” to the NRA going from a gun safety and hunting education organization to one of the largest most powerful lobbying groups for gun manufacturers to promote gun sales.

We have literally sold our souls to the devil in the form of repeatedly electing him to office. Nothing is ever going to change if we don’t. So I already don’t care about the next mass murder. I just hope it’s not you or me or our children, but it will happen again and again and again.

I wrote this back in September after the Washington DC Shipyard shooting spree where thirteen people were gunned down by yet another deranged psycho killer. Continue reading

Brotherly Love

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All I need to do, if I want to know what is going on inside the mind of a right wing ultra-conservative is ask my brother his thoughts and presto, he enlightens me. Jim is my only sibling and over the years we have had many seriously heated debates on topics, ranging from the invasion of Iraq (“war to find WMDs/rid Iraq of Saddam/spread democracy/whatever…”) to the Deepwater Horizon oil well blow-out (“caused by environmentalists”, according to Jim) As you can imagine, Thanksgiving dinners with our parents and later our children and our parents were lively, to say the least. A steady diet of daily FOX News watching has made normal conversation impossible with the old boy. As we have aged we have come to the conclusion that if we are to have any relationship at all we need to stow the political debate and stick to “safe” topics like the kids or books and movies. Continue reading

JESUS WAS A LIBERAL

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Now that our national holiday of Thanksgiving has passed immediately followed by the new tradition of battling our fellow Americans in big box stores for even more stuff to be thankful for, we are coming up fast on the mother of all holidays: Christmas! That magical time of year where we wish each other “peace on earth and goodwill towards men”, and women, please… Where the lights that have been stored all year come out and the trees get trimmed with tinsel and ornaments, Christmas cards are mailed, shopping lists are checked off and Christmas music is playing everywhere.

Another new tradition has been introduced to the holiday season.  Every year around this time conservative talking heads, right wing political celebs and practically anyone that needs a fix of gratuitous press coverage trots out the baseless non-issue issue of the un-American and godless “WAR ON CHRISTMAS!” Magazine articles and books have been written on it, FOX News sells a lot of cars and drugs yakking about it and it’s given mediocre pols a platform to increase their stature amongst the illiterati.

As much as it pains me to give any coverage to the half-term-governor-attention- junkie, Sarah Palin, she is a frequent flier on this topic and Continue reading

The United States of Litigation

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Seriously? That was my reaction to the news that Super Boat International Productions President John Carbonell and four other race officials of the annual power boat races in Key West, Florida are being sued for wrongful death in the cases of Jeffery Tillman and Joey Gratton. Robert Morgan also lost his life that race week. The three men perished in two separate power boat mishaps in the Key West races of 2011. Of course, any accidental death is tragic and difficult for surviving family members to accept and this is no exception.

An uncle of Tillman, personal representative of his nephew’s estate, is claiming that race officials were negligent in allowing the deceased to participate, because his boat “did not meet industry safety standards”. The suit goes on to claim his race partner, Mr. Morgan was 74 years old and “had a history of heart problems”. The men died when their 46-foot catamaran, Big Thunder Marine, flipped and crashed in Key West Harbor. Continue reading

‘Happy’ Veteran’s Day?

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Issue 36 Alex S

After our Veteran’s Day Parade flag waving and show of love and pride of those who have served their country, after all the metaphorical confetti settled to the ground and had been swept up, I was left with a nagging anxiety that something is wrong with this picture.

I must apologize for raining a little on this parade, but I am in a severe quandary. How do I speak to our national passion for war without upsetting those with that passion? I’ve tried to examine this blind faith in empire and been met with chilling hostility and often by the very people that hate government, big or otherwise. These same patriots that vocally “support the troops” and the billions of dollars it takes and lives lost or ruined trust in the military with frightening totality. Ironically they would be the same people that hate all things government right down to the post office and the park service. This double standard vexes me. Continue reading

Why Not Russell Brand?

There has been a vast unexpected emotional reaction to comedian/actor Russell Brand’s interview-gone-viral with the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman. If you haven’t seen it, you must, if only to see how it makes you feel. Mr. Paxman fired a first salvo at Mr. Brand by asking why he deserved to be guest editor of the political magazine, NewStatesman, with, “What authority do you have?”  Mr. Brand pointed out that “qualifying” as someone worthy to contribute to the political dialogue is an erroneous state of mind and responded: “Well, I don’t get my ‘authority’ from this pre-existing paradigm which is quite narrow and only serves a few people. I look elsewhere for alternatives that might be of service to humanity.”

Where is it written that only certain individuals must be properly sanctioned to speak in public on the critical issues that affect humanity at large? I think when we are subjected to outrageous and ridiculous blitherings on a daily basis uttered by the likes of elected officials such as Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz, the bar has been lowered sufficiently to allow someone like Brand the leeway to offer his thoughts. He is a public figure, like it or not, so he is in a fine position to be asked for his views and articulate them and he does it so well. Continue reading

Treason

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“Crisis averted”!!? Really? This governing by crisis is getting old fast! All this drama is great for soap operas, but not the serious business of governing the most powerful nation on earth. The hijacking of the congress by these treasonous cold civil warriors needs to never happen again, but in all likelihood will. The next congressional Kabuki theater performance is scheduled for January 15 when government funding will be up for vote again. Another matinee performance will be on February 7, when the debt ceiling issue comes to the floor.

Is it just me, or are the people that hate the government busy taking over the government to prove that the government doesn’t work by engineering failure of the government to be successful in governing? The folks prophesying both religious and political “End Times” (to some they are one in the same) are oddly gleeful as if they, the righteous, will somehow be spared the pain they are inflicting on the rest of us. Continue reading

Reflections on Columbus or Happy Genocide Day

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Here we are, another celebration of Columbus Day has passed, and every year it gets just a little bit more embarrassing, bordering on surreal. We citizens of the United States are slowly waking up to the reality that the Americas were heavily populated by natives and doing just fine without European “civilization”. The fact that the Europeans were greeted for the most part by friendly folks willing to share what they had, was taken as a sign of weakness by our “hero”, Columbus. Instead of honoring the people that invited him into their home, he enslaved and murdered them, of course, baptizing them before they were put to the sword. Not the best way to start a new relationship.

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“Why Are You So Angry?”

A good friend of mine on FaceBook, as well in the real world, came up to me last night and asked me in a concerned way, “Why are you so angry?”, referring to my many political postings. I thought of the Buddy Guy song, “Damn Right I Got the Blues”. Buddy goes on to elaborate, “from my head down to my shoes…” I told her that it was a survival technique to purge, from my delicate system, all the horrid data I process on a daily basis. Which is true, but what I really wanted to say is, why aren’t you and every other sentient person in this fading republic as angry as I am?

Look at our clown car of a congress, for example.  Never in our history has a group of, what is laughingly referred to as, representatives shut government down to prevent enacting a law that some do not like. I’m sure we can all come up with plenty of laws we think are unnecessary or even harmful, but nobody is demanding a government shutdown over them. This absurd breath holding and foot stomping by a group that has weaseled and wiggled a majority control of the house by gerrymandering and creative redistricting is actually, for all intents and purpose, treasonous. We don’t need Osama bin Laden to crash into Capitol Hill; we have the Teabaggers doing a fine job of it.

In reference to my good friend’s concern, I think what angers me most is these cry babies and their temper tantrums would never have been tolerated a couple of decades ago, but the bar has been lowered down so far that screaming sound bites and mindless platitudes have replaced constructive dialogue making intelligent compromise for the good of the nation impossible. Ronald Regan, the president that is always trotted out as the right wing God of America, would never have tolerated these school yard bully tactics.

In spite of what Ted Cruz or any other hater may say the Affordable Care Act is not about “taking your freedom(s) away”, but simply a way for more Americans to BUY into the health care market without selling their  souls or their first born. This country is number one in health care costs and number thirty seven in quality of care. Something had to change. Morocco and Columbia have better healthcare.

So, yes, I am angry, but I am not going to quit letting anyone that cares to listen to know what I am angry about. My mental health depends on it.

Alex Symington

Key West

Here We Go Again! I Already Don’t Care About The Next Mass Murder

Here we go again, twelve more victims of a deranged killer with a gun. I don’t care anymore! Why should any of us care? It seems to be a popular American past time. Like football or NASCAR.  Why all the righteous outrage every single time this happens? We never do a thing about it, every single time! The only effect these mass murders seem to have is gun sales go up after, these all too common, events because gun “enthusiasts” are terrified the government is going to confiscate their guns. That never happens, ever. Never.

The NRA and the gun manufacturers lie to their followers about the threat to their second amendment rights to own and bear firearms by the U.S. government. Works every time. Their only solution to gun death is more guns. Mass murder with guns is good for business. After Sandy Hook and twenty babies being shot to death like dogs, gun sales went through the roof. What a testimony to America, mom, apple pie and democracy.

I really can’t afford to care anymore. I can’t keep investing my emotional capital into this black hole of the black heart of America. It is literally making me sick. Congress, you disgust me. This self induced impotency of government is indicative of so much that has gone wrong with us. From main streaming mental patients and closing government run mental institutions to “save money” to the NRA going from a gun safety and hunting education organization to one of the largest most powerful lobbying groups for gun manufacturers to promote gun sales.

We have literally sold our souls to the devil in the form of repeatedly electing him to office. Nothing is ever going to change if we don’t. So I already don’t care about the next mass murder. I just hope it’s not you or me or our children, but it will happen again and again and again.

Alex Symington

Key West

Open Letter to the Citizen – Follow Up

In a follow up to my open letter to the Key West Citizen [September 13, 2013] I feel compelled to add a few more thoughts on  small town local newspapers and their role in the community. I did a bit of research on the history of the KW Citizen via Wikipedia. The paper has a venerable history that started 128 years ago and has been published since in various incarnations and titles. In 1998 Solares Hill was added to the stable of publications owned by the previous Citizen’s publishing company, Thomson Florida Keys Media Group. Solares Hill was an independent magazine first published in 1976. The present owners and publishers purchased the Citizen along with Solares Hill in 2000. The last contribution to the Wikipedia site was entered on September 22, 2011. The paper has not yet entered the latest historical events of the last few weeks. I can’t wait to see what is posted to explain/rationalize said events.

The bizarre act by the publisher to drop Solares Hill and Paradise magazine came as a total shock.  Along with these publications several people were told they were out of a job with absolutely no warning. This reprehensible treatment of respected professionals by the publisher is an insult, not only to these fine journalists, but reveals the out-of-state corporate contempt for the citizens of Key West and the readers of Solares Hill. Was any thought given to perhaps combining the two magazines and creating a new Solares Hill that could come out on Thursdays? Secondly, but equally important, why the irrational black out/suppression of local opinion on one of the most serious issues the citizens of Key West have been faced with in decades? A binding referendum to dredge the harbor or not, at a price tag of, at least, thirty five million dollars of our tax money, so that larger and longer cruise ships than we already have can belly up to our docks. Wouldn’t the extra controversy generate more sales and adverts?

As I mentioned in the open letter, one can’t help but be suspicious of the real reason for the black out. Continue reading

Channel Dredging: The Private Takeover Of Public Money

We citizens of Key West are personally experiencing a vivid example of what the country and most of the planet is suffering from; a myopic hell-bent-for-leather private takeover of public money and public institutions with no regard to environmental or cultural history. Utilities, schools, mail service, hospitals and prisons are now seen as money makers and private income streams at the expense of serving the people whose money created said institutions.

We see small, but powerful and influential factions seeking to expand their empires at the expense of the public. Private enterprise is a fine thing when responsible and aware of the cultural and environmental impact of its enterprise, however in today’s current state of capitalist purist ideology all bets are off. The quarterly bottom line and increasing it is the only objective. In fact the concept of leveling off and maintaining the status quo, no matter how much money these corporate goons have is an anathema!

If “terrorists” were destroying our reef and advocating for more and bigger silt making machines to further damage our true tourist economy engine, the marine environment, and these “terrorists” swarmed onto our little island and drove away all the visitors that were spending real money, we would be up in arms!

We citizens of Key West are victims of this purist capitalist ideology in the form of the channel dredging issue. This mental obsession of never ending expansion of profits is being advertised as a “study”. The use of the word, study, implies if we agree to it and vote “Yes” and the study is done, we will have another opportunity to say whether or not we want the dredging done. This is not so! If you vote yes, you are voting for dredging and you will not get another opportunity to say “NO”.

This is a perfect example of public money being used by private industry. Thirty five million, at least, of yours and my tax dollars to create a bigger money maker for a small, but influential group of individuals that live in Key Haven. To add insult to injury, the cruise industry pays virtually no taxes per the Section 883 exemption for cruise industry income derived from cruises that embark or disembark passengers in the U.S.! That is some serious capitalist purist Chutzpa!

Vote NO to dredging on October first. It will be the last time they ask you for permission to dredge!

Alex Symington

Key West (not Key Haven)

HELLO BLUE!

The Support the Study PAC is circulating a plea for donations to cover $ 750,000.00, for what is essentially only half the local responsibility of the three million dollar cost of the channel dredging study. The  state, apparently, will come up with the  other $ 750,000.00. As to be expected, there are statements in their glossy brochure that are quite misleading if not untrue. I prefer to call a spade a spade, so henceforth I am going to refer to this PAC as the Support the Dredging or STD.

The STD proponents of dredging are tenaciously hanging onto the word “study” to lull the citizens of Key West into believing that a yes vote is a rational thing to do. No it isn’t, far from it. In the STD fund drive cover letter they list all the economic benefits of the cruise industry and imply that a no vote will cause the existing cruise traffic we already endure to vanish over night along with those monies they generate. Not gonna happen. A good portion of these existing ships that are a thousand feet long and can carry 5000 passenger and crew are not that old and will continue to cast their shadows on Key West docks for years to come.

The use of fear is a tried and true tactic used throughout history to manipulate people. Continue reading