Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

“You knew that he was a kid who was always sticking up for the underdog. Boy, if he felt something was wrong, forget it. He’d fight anybody tooth and nail, often at his expense. That’s worth a lot.” — Pete Jenny on RFK, Jr.

White Washing: According to one Merriam-Webster definition, to whitewash is to “gloss over or cover up,” which, in a sense, is what the racial form of whitewashing does. It creates a White world where sins against people of color, including Blacks, Native Americans, Asians, Latinos, and other minority groups cease to matter because, in revisionist history and reality, those minority groups barely exist.

Here’s one example believe it or not which ties into my neck of the woods on the Central Oregon Coast, and even Portland, OR: Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. With an eye like an eagle and as tall as a mountain was he. Daniel Boone was a man. Yes a big man. He was brave, he was fearless and as tough as a mighty oak tree. The rippin’est roarin’est fightin’est man the frontier ever knew.

We get to Boone in a moment, and all the mythology and falsified history of his very existence.

There are all sorts of ways to wash away complicity or guilt, and the color wheel is just one way to describe this highly sophisticated form of propaganda-marketing-PR spin-Revisionist history/thinking/mythology. Whitewashing is a form of fabrication.

Part of the fabrication are those scared cows like “we support our men and women in uniform.” I personally have a few hundred examples of going up against many armies of the lie, or battalions of the bullshit.

There are good journalists and good teachers, for sure, but the majority, for the most part, are not sacred or holy or fool-proof agents of democracy. There are many ways I have been hobbled for not supporting the illegal wars of this country, especially Bush’s “declared victory” in the Middle East. Hobbled by fellow journalists and educators.  I was living in El Paso, and Cocaine and Southern Comfort W Bush was the governor of that Tex-ass state. El Paso is a huge arena for military and retired military. The Mexican-Americans (88 percent of the population in El Paso/El Paso County) may have voted straight democrat on their ballots (Bush and other retrograde redneck vicious governors have come to town courting that vote), but many Latinx love their USA flags and military men and women from their ranks. So, going against Reagan’s wars in Central America or Bush I’s against Panama, Malvinas and his Desert Shield, I was up against supposed liberal left fellow teachers and journalists. Even supposedly disenfranchised Latinx.

Once the Prez or Congress or whomever (CIA, NSA) gets us into a war, we all must support the troops, no, tie a yellow ribbon on the chain-link fence sort of thing . . .  support the mission, support whatever the Commander in Chief does with his tin soldiers. How many times have I gone up against college/university presidents and provosts and department chairs and even my own fellow faculty when I questioned the veracity of rationales for bombing other countries. As Kim Peterson illustrates in his recent DV article, “North Korea Steadfastly Resisting US Hegemony,” by illuminating A.B. Abrams “… comprehensive book, Immovable Object: North Korea’s 70 Years at War with American Power, there is a whole lot of rooting for war and destruction by the average North American:

US wars are not only a function of its government and military. It is important to realize that the US carries out it warring and provocations against foreign countries often with overwhelming approval of the American populace. Abrams writes that the majority of American citizens supported using nukes against North Korea. (p 131) American public support for warring was also evident by support for intensified bombing by the US during armistice negotiations. (p 224) That this American public support for militarism was not an anomaly was revealed during the US attacks on Muslim nations following 9-11, with 70% of Americans indicating a belief in Saddam Hussein being connected to Al Qaeda. (p 390)

You can fiddle with terms like illegal alien, positing that no human being is “illegal,” or debating how the term “alien” ascribes more than a negative otherness to the person — it dehumanizes the person.

These are important discussions, especially in politics, in journalism and in educational circles. Yet, these discussions have lingered in academia, and have withered at the root of American enlightenment.

I’ve had to confront people about what it means to be humanistic and abiding by the Earth Charter and Dignity and Rights of All People. You know, that socialistic and humanistic and democratic and communist set of principles of for-by-with-because-of the people:

  • pinko
  • self-loathing white
  • un-American
  • anti-American
  • anti-patriotist
  • traitor
  • love it or leave it
  • bleeding heart liberal

These are terms of vile against me and others for fighting for the simple rights of people — some of the most able, of the land and poor village people and farmers whose lives are torn up, destroyed, disposed of, displaced through the strong arm and long arm of economic-cultural-political-military warfare.

You can be labeled “anti-American/anti-business/anti-poor” for questioning Walmart. You can be called a “traitor” for questioning bombing, chemical spraying, immolating, polluting, imprisoning, permanently displacing people the USA deems enemies, supportive of enemies of the state, or collateral damage.

Proportionality when discussed by the average American is questioning the very fabric of our way of life, our leadership and our own form of enslavement and dictatorship. The military is right, and whatever they need to intervene or overreach, they know the deal.

Proportionality in international law, however,  is not about equality of death or civilian suffering, or even about equality of firepower. Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against suffering that the action might cause to enemy civilians in the vicinity.

Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable does not constitute a war crime…. even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality). — Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court.

The above Moreno-Ocampo statement is more or less memory-holed, erased largely from discourse, and hardly every cited in educational circles. This form of washing away knowledge is called agnotology – a concerted effort to wash or erase facts, history. The white wash cited above, as in support the troops right or wrong, is well, pretty obvious in the K12 textbooks, or watching those crocodile-teared GOP or Democrats with their metal USA flag lapel pins, shakily saluting while death jets like F-15, 16, 18 models zoom above inebriated football fans. Hourly fuel costs —

F-15C Eagle Fighter — $41,921
F-16C Viper Fighter — $22,514
F-22A Raptor Fighter — $68,362

$1,500 – Predator drone
$11,500 – A-10
$70,000 – V-22
$32,000 – F-35
$44,000 – F22
$135,000 – B-2
$5,000 – F-16
$17,000-$30,000 – F-15C
$19,000-$30,000 – F-22

VIP transport:
C-20B VIP Plane (Senior Pentagon Officials) — $32,212
C-32A VIP Plane (Vice President, Cabinet Officers) — $42,936
VC-25A Air Force One — $161,591
E-4B Flying Headquarters — $163,485

Operating expenses total $206,337 for every hour the president’s plane is in the air.

Which brings us to more than just white washing, or blood money trading. Imagine the US military is the biggest single source of pollution in the world, and imagine creepy politicians and GS-18’s and highflying ex-four star generals and CEOs of the mercenary companies like Raytheon and Aerodynamics, just getting their free air time spewing lie after lie about a more sustainable US military — mean, green, lean fighting machine.

Greenwashing is a whitewash or green sheening by corporations to promote themselves as “environment friendly.” It also encompasses that environmentally and socially responsibility flim-flam, full of the PT Barnum deceptive promotion to lie through their teeth. Key concepts for all washing it marketing and advertising themselves as environment friendly. Spend money on the Mad Men and Mad Women, rather than actual actions, is called greenwashing.

Add to the wash of the green, blue-washing:  a technique deployed by corporations and companies to form collaborations and associations with various United Nations agencies to portray themselves as being compliant of the ten principles of United Nations Global Compact, while not being so in actuality.

Advertising spin of the blue wash variety is supposedly showing congruence with these principles above, to include actions against child labor, slavery and corruption, safeguarding human rights.

Then, well, we get into the latest arena of washing, bullshitting, lying, mind manipulation, closely linked to the fearful majority who would dare speak out against Zionism as a massively inhumane belief and operating system, one counterpoint to the 10 Principles illustrated above. You are, in a nutshell, pigeon-holed as anti-Semitic if you criticize these aspects of Zionism or the country (sic) of “Israel.” Washed out of existence, another form of washing. Akin to being memory-holed  as a non-human, a nobody.

Who would have thought Pink-washing would be tied to “Israel,” but . . . .

[Below: Anarcho-queer collective Mashpritzot hold a “die-in” protest against Israeli pinkwashing and the perceived homonormative priorities of the LGBT support centre in Tel Aviv]

Over a decade ago, activists adopted the term “pink-washing” to describe the Israeli propaganda tactic of washing away the oppression of Palestinians by painting Israel as a gay-friendly and liberal state. Israeli pink-washing tries to win the hearts and minds of international audiences and prevent solidarity with the Palestinian struggle

white paint overlay over a close up of details of a marble column

Reversing back to this screed’s start

We’ll get to Ralph Nader’s Radio Hour in a second. We’ll get to Daniel Boone too, in a second, tied to the white-washing pulled quote above.

First, a little bit of my work again in social services, a field that is for the most part vastly underpaid, with workers who are dedicated at first, highly motivated to help people, and whose lives are in many cases the epitome of sacrifice — student loan debts, master’s degrees for $17 an hour work, and mandatory several thousand hours of unpaid clinical hours.

Think about that for a moment — pre-Covid-19, a society fraught with trauma, fraught with chronic physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual illnesses. People who are left alone, left out to dry, folks who are traumatized by family, by neighborhoods, by circumstances. People who were already damaged in many ways in utero, and after birth, well, the society in general and at large, eating away at the typical American soul. Tape worms of the soul: Capitalism. Pin worms of the heart: Consumerism. The giant proverbial leech sucking people dry in this economic gulag: Market Driven Madness.

Some of the people I serve have head injuries. Traumatic Brain Injuries. That act of “god” or “fate” can alter a person completely for life. In most cases, there is a lot of physical impediment, or some, but the memory is shot-through, many times. Spotty short-term and long-term memory. Swiss cheese of the brain in many cases.

Then a head bash-trauma can also strip away a person’s emotional and empathetic cores. They just can’t feel the normal range of human emotions. No tears when a loved one dies. Little joy. Even brain injured children are considered low on the person’s emotional totem pole.

On the job, a person in this situation needs accommodations, needs personal support workers to help the injured person just do the basic activities of daily living/survival.

It isn’t an easy life — going from a perfectly healthy and active 15-year-old thriving teen, to a paralyzed, comatose and soon recovering brain injured human being.

My job is to support these sorts of people in getting work, and in getting to first base in the first place by coaching interview techniques, by helping contextualize life gaps, such as the years after a brain injury.

The emotional complexities of the human species are many times missing, and so I have to act as the bridge and interpreter as this person attempts to navigate integrated employment.

The problem is that this sort of survival is a growing concern. Emergency Medicine can keep people alive after horrific accidents, accidents which just a few years ago would have been a death sentence.

Now, what do the “recovered” do to survive, to find some niche in society by working and carrying on? When the society in general is still fifty years behind the times?

Many of the people with a TBI live a life surrounded by/surrounding themselves with mythology, sacred cows, propped up belief systems. They many times want to believe in “normal/normalcy” in a world where that — normal — is an ever-moving target.

The “new normal” is no normal.

Which leads us back to the entire white washing of USA, of this country’s past, this country’s under girder and foundations of, well, theft.

Brains and Daniel Boone

I write, participate in revolutionary activism, muckrake, and work in social services, as I have laid out in DV many times in the past 11 years, grappling with many different challenges in those gigs or jobs I’ve had assisting people — people in distress, traumatized, in full-blown crisis, a la PTSD. Brain injured as adults (war time, too), born with Down Syndrome, dementia and Alzheimer’s, mentally retarded (according to various school districts and Special Ed programs), with drug affected conditions leading to all manner of learning and developmental disabilities. Old and young, functional in terms of our “normal” society, or highly impacted by fetal alcohol syndrome or cerebral palsy, and the like.

I’ve worked with folks living with psychological disabilities, like schizophrenia. With full-blown mental breakdown caused by bad families, bad circumstances, bad drugging, bad war experiences, bad people. Everyone of the military women I have worked with were victimized by rape. Brutal. Many women in general I have worked with have been sexually assaulted. And with all of the psychological tears and battering those rapes do, there are also physical issues tied to pounded faces, pounded necks, and, thus, we have bad backs and necks and all the other secondary and tertiary things associated with violent attacks on bodies.

I’m working with what the people who come to me have, helping them enhance the positives and push down some of the barriers. And the barriers are more than just their own, their own families’, their own community’s. The barriers are cultural. Many Americans want “them” to maybe be seen but not heard. Many do not want them to be seen, either.

Another threadbare existence for tens of millions of people. Maybe more. And there will be more on the horizon with more and more people surviving crashes and accidents, left with major mental-psychological-neurological-physical disabilities. The handicapping comes from policies, legislation, lack of housing, lack of real support teams. Just one of a million things lacking in this Corrupt and Criminal Capitalism.

Funny stories arise, though. One fellow I work with read the local paper, Newport News Times. I’ve written for the twice-a-week rag. On homelessness and environmental stuff.

He was excited to know that the Oregon timber town where he lives once had a fellow and his brood there, on an island, whose family line included that fellow, Daniel Boone:

‘The history of McCaffrey Island’ —

Van Daniel first homesteaded the island in 1897 but never owned the property, according to James’ correspondence with Van Daniel’s daughter, Carol Holbrook. The family first moved into an abandoned shed on the island but built a full home there by 1901. Nine of their 10 children were born on the island, and they went to school by rowing to Oysterville.

The family made its living harvesting oysters and raising pigs. On the upper tier of the island was a waterfall and garden. Holbrook said there were no trees on the island when they first moved there, but they later planted many, including an apple and plum tree.

Holbrook said Indigenous people often visited the island, and her father hired them to help the family shuck oysters. One of Van Daniel’s sons also found arrowheads and beads on the island while they lived there.

When Van Daniel’s wife fell ill with tuberculosis in 1917, the family moved from the island to an abandoned house on the mainland. They didn’t sell the island because they didn’t own it. They never learned who owned the abandoned house they moved into on the mainland either.

So, of course, my friend/client got all excited because of that famously present seeding of lies the US school system and Holly-Dirt have perpetuated since that old cherry tree was chopped down, or that first “thanksgiving” with the Puritans and Pokanoket Wampanoag.

We talked about the old TV show the 35-year-old client watches — Fess Parker as Boone in the 1964-1970 TV series. Strange how these racist old series still float around the ether.

“Man, I always wanted to be like Daniel Boone when we watched that show. I watched the show when I was young. What was it, fifteen years or whatever after the show was cancelled.”

So, with his permission, we looked at the Boone myth which was precipitated by an innocuous piece in the local rag on some pioneer (sic) families and others who had that island.

Boone has been portrayed in books and in movies and TV shows as a regular tough guy, all-American, the new Adam paving the way for Manifest Destiny and land claims for a beginning white nation. Here is a decent two paragraphs that put the white washing in the context of Boone and his modern-day worshippers:

In 1992 Native people in KY and allies during the 500th anniversary of Columbus decided to correct local historic monuments to alleged heroes of colonialism in the Ohio Valley. The picture you see above is one example. It was a statue of Daniel Boone at the entrance to? “Cherokee Park”. There are 4 parks in Louisville named after the people driven from this land. Cherokee, Shawnee, Chickasaw, and Iroquois. Of course there are monuments all over this city to Confederate Generals, Indian killers, slave owners, and the like. There are absolutely none to Tecumseh, Blue Jacket, Harriet Tubman, or any native or African-Americans. A couple of streets that is it. So as I was watching Tecumseh’s vision, the PBS special last night, I was reminded of several things that deserve exploring. So once again I am going to poke holes in “American History” and saw the legs off of statues to genocidal murderers. Sorry. — Source.

To begin with let us be clear, the colonial Americans never had any desire to live harmoniously with their Indian hosts and in fact Thomas Jefferson explicitly ordered their removal and extermination, owned slaves, and was aside from his humane policies toward his fellow colonists was a rapist, slaving, ethic cleansing murderer. So was Boone. So let us be exactly and historically honest shall we? Let us start with Daniel Boone as he was the “Indian Fighter” exemplar. Now let us remember Tecumseh was born in 1768. Boone was killing Indians and escorting colonists as Tecumseh drew his first breaths and Boone then became an elected official and presided over the ethnic cleansing of the Delaware, Shawnee, Cherokee, and all the indigenous people in the way of “progress” till his retirement. Many would say he just did what was expected of him in that time. OK? What was expected of him was that he kill Indians and escort colonists to steal lands that belonged to someone else.

The fine line I have to toe is that I am there for my clients on many social services levels — the official duties — but I am also more importantly an advocate, a teacher, a model, a mentor, and someone they can relate to who happens to have years working with “disadvantaged” but who himself thus far has had or currently has none of the disadvantages they have had to bear (yet). Sure, we are all in this predatory, insanity called United Snakes of America together, but unfortunately (and for obvious infantilizing reasons) we do not have the same depth of research, life experiences, multiple perspectives, and worldly views. When I am with the average Biden Boy or Obama Yes We Can Cultist, I know I am with someone who is ultra conservative, ultra pro-money, ultra stupid when it comes to history and facts. That is the very nature of those millions of gears working to “white” wash or “green” wash or “pink” wash the world.

When it comes to sacred cows, well, the discussion turns interesting. And for many people, with or without trauma and disabilities, very uncomfortable.

Weight of Rape, the Weight of Racism

The reality is that the average “dude” or “gal” who may be coming at things with a less severely redneck or reactionary point of view, well, they either can’t fathom the number of people in the USA (no, I am not getting into other societies with just as bad situations) who have been violently raped as adults or sexually assaulted as underage humans. Mostly women, but not exclusively. In 2021, I still get people with or without college degrees, telling me, that “this is not a rape culture.” Telling me “many women are faking it.” Telling me that “Trump is a target because he is famous and has money . . . there is no way he did that . . . he has children, man, and what would his wife say if it was true?”

That white washing is a unique sort of push back against women.

Then, well, many just can’t take the Portland uprising anymore, as if Portland is this huge Fallujah bombed out metropolitan area. They can’t take “black lives matter” anymore. They can’t take the crescendo of news stories of more pigs/cops getting accused and acquitted of murder. The white washing of our murderous men (and women) in uniform is just so complete that the few that want to defund the military and the police, well, they are propagandized into people who are not true Americans, rabble, provocateurs.  “All those statues coming down, what do you think, Haeder? Isn’t that erasing history?” I just got asked this question. Again, people on their duffs, consuming main-line TV as if it’s crack.

So the beat goes on and on, to explain to them, that Andrew Jackson or Daniel Boone or even Honest Abe, coming down, well, isn’t it obvious that the disenfranchised and basically helpless people of this predatory land have to release something symbolic to show their disgust of this country’s white washing? I attempt to explain, yes, a better reaction and process would be to put a mural around each bloody statue, with just the head of the white murderer sticking out as he sits upon his horse. On that mural, well, the real history of this person’s contribution to Indian killing, Slave owning, Black murdering. Of course there are a million teachable moments, but in a country that doesn’t do nuance well, one that is all about flash in the pan, all about spasms of this or that reaction to the zeitgeist, we are not going to see those sorts of responses to the racist monuments. And yes, many of those confederate monuments were put up AFTER the south lost the war. Decades after. Tin monuments for tinhorn racists and rapists. They are not sacred monuments, in the true sense of the word. Sacred Racist Monuments.

Does Anyone Not Get Why a Democrat Would NOT Hire One Nader?

So, I do encourage folks to listen to Black Agenda Report, or to read Mother Jones, In These Times, The Progressive, Mint Press News, Consortium News, Counterpunch, DV, and others, for sure. But for most, I get them to listen to a bastion of powerful knowledge and real on-the-ground activism. Someone who actually ran for president of the US of A. Twice!

Simple stuff, not exactly radical Black Panthers or anarchy —

Ralph welcomes the former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Richard Cordray, to talk about how this important agency – created in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown and moribund in the Trump years – needs to start protecting consumers again. Plus, Ralph pays tribute to the late great muckraking journalist, James Ridgeway.

Richard Cordray is the founding director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he served from 2011 to 2017. He is the author of Watchdog: How Protecting Consumers Can Save Our Families, Our Economy, and Our Democracy.

“Every aspect of our legal system has been turned around by financial companies to oppress individual consumers. And yet, individual consumers are not permitted (often by these arbitration clauses) to band together to seek collective justice against the company.” [ Richard Cordray].

Cover for Watchdog

So we talk about this issue, with me pointing out that antigovernmental entitlements or antigovernmental this or that is actually anti-public, anti-people thinking. The corporations — all of them, with the unholy facilitation of  banks, credit companies, tech companies — they are the enemy. And each and every politician they have in their back pockets is the enemy, but the public realm, the public potential for true democratic socialism, that is not the enemy. AT& T, Wells Fargo, Safeway, Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, and a few million other corporations are the true enemy. They have cooked the books, stacked the deck, and conspired to rip-off the public. Listen to just this one episode of Ralph, and when I ask people who are skeptical of my criticism of all corporations, they have a bit more to deal with here: Finances.

Listen to the beginning, where Nader talks about the death (and work of) the great American journalist, James Ridgeway. Note that this man was a muckraker, a man who looked for truth, and never tired of investigative reporting, never jading himself to the people’s needs. He did die, as Ralph states, a poor man.

Here’s a Mother Jones article on Jim when he worked for MoJo —

Jim Ridgeway—who leaves MoJo’s staff roster this week to become a contributing reporter—is, though he’d never put it this way, one of the legends of modern muckraking. Back in 1965 he helped establish the nascent field of consumer reporting when he revealed that GM had run a dark-ops campaign against a young Ralph Nader, whose book Unsafe at Any Speed detailed how automakers had knowingly sacrificed safety for sales. He went on to break more stories than we can count, digging into everything from energy politics to national security to the sex industry. MoJo co-founder Adam Hochschild remembers becoming a Ridgeway reader in 1968, when Jim and the late Andrew Kopkind started a newsletter called first Mayday and later Hard Times.

‘I still remember the yellow paper it came on, how eagerly I waited for each issue to arrive, and the pleasure of instantly knowing we shared a view of the world if I found that a new acquaintance was also a reader. It is sobering, in a way, to see how many of the problems Jim wrote about half a century ago are still with us. But it’s inspiring to see someone keep the faith all these years, especially someone who could have very easily had a successful and doubtless much more lucrative career writing unthreatening stories for the mainstream media. That, in fact, is where more than of few of the dissenters of the 1960s ended up.’

Most people I interface with do not know of Jim Ridgeway, and those that know about Nader, still incorrectly and stupidly think “he’s the guy that got Bush into office.” More white wash and agnotology:

It is true that approximately 95,000 Florida ballots were cast for Nader in 2000, and assuming every single one of those votes went instead to then-Vice President Al Gore (which is an incorrect assumption, but we’ll get to that later), Gore would have been easily able to supplant the 537 vote differential in the Sunshine State that gave Bush the presidency.

What that oft-cited factoid leaves out are the inconvenient truths laid out by Jim Hightower in Salon way back when, including the fact that only about 24,000 registered Democrats voted for Nader in Florida, whereas about 308,000 Democrats voted for (wait for it…) Bush! Further, approximately 191,000 self-identified “liberals” voted for Bush, as opposed to the fewer than 34,000 who went with Nader.

The conventional thinking goes like this: Nader voters lean left and Gore is to the left of Bush, therefore votes for Nader would have gone to Gore. But leftist academic Tim Wise pushed back on this summation in 2000, writing that “Exit polls in Florida, conducted by MSNBC show that Nader drew almost equally between Gore, Bush, and ‘None of the above,’ meaning his presence there may have been a total wash.” — Anthony Fisher

Covid-19 Fears, Fools, Fascists 

Hyper paranoia, misinformation, one bad leader leading a bunch of bad leaders. One man’s science, isn’t another 10,000 scientists’ and journalists’ science.

Everyday, a few dozen pleas by clients and their charges and their families about what to do next with lockdown A, B and C done, and more cases (maybe) of Covid-19 (many articles being scrubbed from the WWW about faulty tests for CoV2).

Amazing how many bad mask wearers I run into — literally, 90 percent of the masks out there in la-la land do not stop exhales from hitting the common air locations, whether it’s the grocery store, restaurant, liquor store, or on the beach.

The dichotomy of American thinking is the dangerous thing now, and the retribution, the white washing and green washing and blue washing and vaccine washing and the science washing, all of it, now, we have many new normal’s tied to more scrubbing (agnotology) and banning and outright fascistic attacks on people, like, well, Robert Kennedy Junior.

Agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data. It was coined in 1995 by Robert N. Proctor, a Stanford University professor, and linguist Iain Boal. The word is based on the Neoclassical Greek word ἄγνωσις, agnōsis, “not knowing” (cf. Attic Greek ἄγνωτος “unknown”), and -λογία, -logia. Proctor cites as a prime example the tobacco industry’s advertising campaign to manufacture doubt about the cancerous and other adverse health effects of tobacco use. More generally, the term also highlights the condition where more knowledge of a subject leaves one more uncertain than before.

David Dunning of Cornell University warns that “the internet is helping propagate ignorance,… which makes [users] prey for powerful interests wishing to deliberately spread ignorance”. Irvin C. Schick refers to unknowledge “to distinguish it from ignorance. He uses the example of “terra incognita” in early maps, noting that “The reconstruction of parts of the globe as uncharted territory is … the production of unknowledge, the transformation of those parts into potential objects of Western political and economic attention. It is the enabling of colonialism. — Source.

Check out Chapter One, Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance. That is, in a nutshell, something I have been battling since day one as a journalist (I was 19) and day one as a college part-time faculty (I was 26).

This is not child’s play, this entire game of narrative framing, myth-making, mind scrubbing, brain washing, collective Stockholm Syndrome, Collective Abused Spouse/Worker/ Student/Consumer/Citizen Syndrome. It infects our culture of words, books, TV, movies, mass education, media, social digital networks, Madison Avenue, history book creation, and the marketing that is the way of Capitalism. Mediums are the Message, but then, how the child is wired in utero, and then right out of the womb. Bombarded by ignorance in the culture and brain washed parents. Bombarded by images and sounds and the smells of consumerism, there to draw in newer and younger and more buyers of the junk, the dangerous products, the more dangerous ideology of the masters in this complex.

Learned helplessness is nothing compared to learned and gloating ignorance. And here we are, even here with the author attempting to be “objective” with a piece in Town and Country Magazine on RFK, Jr. Imagine what this writer says, doubting the veracity and the validity of Kennedy’s research into vaccines over a sordid historical record. Imagine, thousands of journal articles parsed by RFK, Jr., thousands of books annotated, thousands of people interviewed by Kennedy on the many troubling things around pharmaceuticals, drug makers, scientists using people as Guinea pigs and around vaccines. That’s Kennedy, man. Yet, the elite author of the more elitist rag (Town and Country)  has to put in his pretty shallow and sallow two cents.

The room that Kennedy, who is 66, uses as an office is walled with books on shelves stacked six high from floor to ceiling, hundreds and hundreds of books. On top of those: a long line of framed photos like cars on a freight train—old ones, recent ones, black-and-white, color. A sprawling L-shaped sofa with blankets and pillows, a big TV.

On this subject, I think he is dangerously wrong. But that’s not the most interesting thing to talk with him about, nor is it the subject of this story. You can judge his arguments for yourself on your own time. The debate about whether vaccines are safe rages every day, and you can go online and read studies and opinions on every side. You can read almost any story by or about Kennedy and you will encounter the substance of his beliefs in detail. There aren’t many doctors in the world who think it’s a debate at all, of course.

A deeper question than whether he’s right or he’s crazy is why Bobby Kennedy Jr. is doing any of this. There was a time when he was almost universally admired, a fighter for conservation and the environment—perhaps the dominant issue of our time—and a shining figure worthy of his family’s legacy. Now he is shunned by many of his former allies and admirers, ignored by much of the once fawning media, and just tuned out by many who are uncomfortable with his sometimes hectoring obsessiveness.

Look, I am in the process of writing my memoir/anti-memoir (sounds pretentious, but . . . really, does the world need Epstein’s madam’s book, another Trump tell-all, all the creepy stuff from the rich and famous, more crap from actors and musicians?). I have a wheelbarrow’s worth of novels (unpublished but hawked by my deceased NY agent) and plays and a teleplay and other such stuff. I’m 64, and, well, some things in my life have been amazing full circle existential wheels through the magic of ecology and meeting fellow man/woman in fellowship.

Drinking from the spring where Winona LaDuke’s father, Sun Bear, had his gatherings, sure, that was another wheel of life I have written about. I have hundreds of these moments, with a ship-load of connectivity to the circle of life.

For now, though, it’s Kennedy. Our two lives are so different in so many ways, that the circle, the multiple circles of connectivity, well, maybe it takes a working class fool like myself to really drill down on that stuff.

I am not taken by money, and in fact, I am anti-money, anti-rich, anti-famous. Celebrity culture is to me worse than the guys and gals I used to run with who were hooked on lines of coke and drams of Scotch.

However, here’s the interesting thing. Make that a decade ago when I heard RFK, Jr. speak. I got to take him aside, and talked with him, but that is another story. He was in Spokane as President of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. We already got our Spokane Riverkeeper, and Kennedy was in town  helping with fundraising for Spokane Riverkeeper and Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper. Kennedy was at the Fox Theater in downtown Spokane. I also met him afterwards.

Here you go — if you get any sense of Kennedy from the Vanity Fair article cited, you can see a real battler (that’s the epigraph to this essay above). He certainly came from a famous family. Our two lives are diametrically different.

But the circles, man, those five or 10 degrees of separation. I had an aunt who owned– with two other immigrant (Scotland) women — The Whale Inn, in Northampton, Massachusetts. An amazing restaurant and B & B. I had relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) who lived in Short Hills, NJ. My uncle was a well-known surgeon and did stints for Columbia University as an MD. Now, I was back east a few times, spending time at the Whale Inn, and in Short Hills, in the City, in Boston, and at Cape Code. Poor kid of the military man dad, and I got a taste of East Coast.

So, get this, I also had a mother who worked for an advertising agency in Albuquerque and part of that was some publicity for John and Jackie Kennedy when they came to New Mexico.  When we lived in Germany and France, many people thought my mom looked like Jackie.

Okay, so let’s get real — I have worked around people with developmental disabilities for a long time, officially the past decade. RFK, Jr. also spent time around disabled people —  “When not at school Bobby used to spend a lot of time at the house of his Aunt Eunice—his father’s sister, and Bobby’s godmother. She ran a camp for children with intellectual disabilities, and she founded the Special Olympics in 1968, and Bobby remembers there always being people at her house who had Down syndrome, ‘at every meal, virtually. I was always around people with intellectual disabilities.’”

He also to this day does animal rescuing and wildlife recovery. He drives a mini-van that has the stench of pit bull rescue pets and road kill he finds and takes back to boil and articulate or at least display the skull.

rfk pro celebrity tennis tournament august 26, 1972

[Kennedy in 1972, around age 18, at a tennis tournament named for his father. Even in his late teens, Kennedy was battling drug addiction, which he would eventually beat. — Ron Galell photo]

He was hooked on heroin until he was 30. He was and still is an avid adventurer. Much of that above I related to directly. Not heroin, but other drugs. The road kill? Yep. Animal rescue? Yep. Mini-vans? Yep.

environmental lawyer activist robert f kennedy jr l riverkeeper john cronin out on hudson river, revitalized through efforts of their riverkeeper, inc in legal fight against water polluting industries photo by ted thaithe life picture collection via getty images

[In the early 1980s Kennedy teamed with John Cronin, right, to revitalize the Riverkeeper Association, which routinely sued large polluters. The group spurred the creation of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, of which Kennedy is president. — Ted Thai photo]

Here’s my piece on the second Riverkeeper for our Spokane River, after the first one (Mike Chappell, 44) unexpectedly passed away — “A River for Fish, Kayaks, Swimmers”

nyc screening of trace amounts

[In 2014 Kennedy edited Thimerosol: Let the Science Speak, about mercury and vaccines. Cindy Ord photo]

The point I am trying to make in this essay is that the circles I recognize and write about are as real as anything on planet earth. What RFK, Jr. and I talked about back then, well, I will write about at length later. I did mention to RFK, Jr. how burned out I was getting being with the greenie weenies, the so-called sustainability wonks and their pandering to corporations … and not just through green washing. We are talking about eco-pornography. Kennedy got a kick out of that terminology — eco-porn. You know, Shell Oil or Exxon or Monsanto running multimillion dollar ad/PR/public disservice campaigns to sell their idea of snake oil to the global public. That those companies are the best and the brightest hopes for stewardship of the environment. Now that’s pornography of the utmost degree.

I mentioned how another state eco group was taking money from Proctor Gamble or CocaCola, for what I call blood money from those corporations. Lots of blood money in the game of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. We also talked about science gone awry, science for-by-because of  the profit motive, science in the name of Imperialism and Corrupt Capitalism. We also talked about vaccinations.

The circle I am drawing it that I was a young guy who did all sorts of adventurous stuff in the Sonora Desert catching rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, scorpions. Lots of crazy cool stuff scuba diving (roughing it) in the Sea of Cortez. Lots of crazy stuff on my own on Baja, diving and free diving and camping alone.

Another point is, while our lives are so different, there are things that connect us, in my mind. Kennedy was pretty jazzed about my writing, my activism and my ability to go for the underdog over any hubris or placating. He was definitely in favor of my concepts of fighting white washing, green washing and agnotology (he hadn’t heard of that concept).

Here’s the title to that six-month old Town and Country article —

What is Robert Kennedy Jr. Fighting For?

It’s no surprise he gets into battles. Kennedys seem to be born with their chins out. But why does the 66-year-old scion of America’s most prominent political family take his crusades—the environment, vaccines, you name it—to places where very few people want to go?  By Ryan D’Agostino, OCT 19, 2020

Note: Several months after the publication of this story, Instagram deactivated RFK Jr.’s Instagram account. “We removed this account for repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines,” a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said in a statement.

Here he is, now part of the systematic suppression of debate, discourse, ideas counter to the prevailing winds, the current paradigms. He’s questions Fauci, Gates, 5-G, and the motives of Big Tech and Big Pharma. What we all are supposed to do, no?

And yet, those people I support with developmental/intellectual/TBI disabilities, they want to know, they want answers, they want to understand how someone like me, or someone like Kennedy is looking beyond the parables of propaganda and virtue signaling and systemic silencing of countervailing thought and opinions.

I wish I had Bobby Kennedy’s email or physical mailing address to exchange words and ideas. That is another circle that may or may not come to fruition, though circles are really never complete or ending or beginning, now are they? I know he probably saw this documentary, probably saw my review of it in Hormones Matter — “Injecting Aluminum: Documentary Questions Vaccine Safety” 

The piece also appeared in Dissident Voice — “The Jury Has Been Out on Vaccines: Harm to the Brain, Immune System, Limbic System, Life”

2016 deer valley celebrity skifest

[In 2014, Kennedy married the actress Cheryl Hines, whom he met through his friendship with Larry David. “I have an amazing wife and amazing kids,” he says. “I have everything.”  — Emma McInty photo]

by Paul Haeder / February 16th, 2021

A December 2017 statement from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights notes that, while the US manages to spend “more [money] on national defence than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined”, US infant mortality rates were, as of 2013, “the highest in the developed world”.

The Special Rapporteur provides a barrage of other details from his own visit to the US, during which he was able to observe the country’s “bid to become the most unequal society in the world” – with some 40 million people living in poverty – as well as assess “soaring death rates and family and community destruction wrought by prescription and other drug addiction”.

Capitalism, it seems, is a deadly business indeed. — Belen Fernandez

A demonstrator from the Occupy Wall Street campaign seen with a dollar taped over his mouth as he stands near the financial district of New York September 30, 2011 [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

[A demonstrator from the Occupy Wall Street campaign seen with a dollar taped over his mouth as he stands near the financial district of New York September 30, 2011 — File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

How the Cookie Crumbles

She’s 80, comes from Ayr, Scotland, lives in a sea town along the Oregon Coast. She is caretaker for her 55-year-old nephew. Her heart-failed husband, liver shot through, dialysis weekly, is another of her charges.

Imagine, she and her family ran a small chain of shops — clocks, another locksmith, another fish and chips. That was in Bonnie Scotland.

Her sister married a bloke in the US Air Force, and she shipped out with him. Pregnant. Child Drew, early on, in Tucson at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, he was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome.

Regina’s sister and her sister’s husband immolated in a crash coming back from El Paso. Boy Drew left with a younger sister — the boy age 20, sis 16.

For 35 years, our Regina and her Bob raised the boy. Drew is now 55, and part of my job is to support him in his job at a grocery store. He’s been there more than 15 years, and he makes $12.01 an hour.

Forget that economic injustice for a moment. Listen to how the crumbling cookie goes in predatory capitalism — Regina has not been back to the old country in 20 years. She has two knees that are shot. She needs two replacements, but she is the caretaker for the chronically-sick husband. Drew lives with them, getting his two-times a week work at the grocery store as a bagger.

He’s got the infectious personality, and he also has some “issues” glomming onto female staff. Regina was not told that adults with Downs Syndrome many times have lost the synoptic connections tied to urgency for urination and defecation.

Sweet drinks he gulps down, like a lost man in the Sahara. He scarfs down or wolfs down his food.

Like anyone, Drew wants to be in a relationship, married, on some piece of property with a horse, dogs and big garden. He works eight hours a week, and receives under $800 in social security payments.

The state pays Aunt Regina for his care. Her biggest worry is Drew losing his job because of the bathroom accidents or the sexual harassment.

Regina is kind but firm, and her bedside manner isn’t from the latest holistic and enlightened training around people who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I tell Drew, that if he messes up one more time, the grocery store will fire him. The job is more than pocket change for him. He gets out, has responsibilities, is growing some from the integrated employment, and, mind you this is a big AND, I get him out of the house for a few hours a week so I can gain some sense of sanity. I don’t know if he has to be put into a state institution.”

Luck of the draw, luck of the gene expression, luck of the accidental car mortalities, luck luck luck.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles, and in capitalism, we are not judged by how we treat our aged, infirm, vulnerable, youth, sick, disabled, poor. The worse we treat “them,” the more “they” have to struggle, the more daily fear “they” have of failing, faltering, flipping out mentally, the more successful those Capitalists and those Investors and those Finance Wizards and those Upper Economic Class are!

Redistribution of wealth for “them” is taking every last penny from “them,” us. Working people at $12.01 an hour after 15 years in a national/international chain.

A mentality that posits that “they” meant to do that, defecate in their pants, or, oh, “they” know better, and, oh, “they” are gaming the system and pulling the wool over your bleeding heart social services worker heads.

Heartless in a Time of Plague   

Our Scottish Regina is worried about what will happen to Drew once she kicks the bucket, or when she is no longer physically capable of carrying on and running a household with a very demanding Drew and a very failing Bob, her 86-year-old husband.

We talk about the old country’s National Health Service. We talk about the failures of a society that has been ripped open time and time again by the purulent investors — another word for making money anyway they can.

Gutting medical care, gutting entitlement programs, gutting progressive taxation, gutting the measures for health and safety for and by the public. Where oh where will Drew go once his aunt and uncle pass on?

Think of every dollar and penny pinched, and then think of how much we the taxpayer shell out for every nanosecond of the crimes of corporations eating at the belly of communities, and every penny taken in light speed for everything run by the imposters, the misanthropes.

Every million$ here, every billion$ there. Grifters and grabbers. How much did the first Billionaire’s “impeachment” cost us? How much does an Alex Jones or Tom Brady or Michelle Obama get paid for their insipid bolstering of their self-referential mythology? Each speech? Each rot gut book penned?

Every rivet sunk into a Hellfire missile, every pound of fuel used in US Military Terrorism Toys, every nanosecond million made through illegal and unethical investing through algorithm?

That Moon shot by India, or that Mars rover by Japan, or Israel gunning for more surveillance. How much is every human lifetime worth, if we are lumped together in that big pile of “other” and “non-human”?

That heartless cookie crumbling capitalism is rotten to the core. The joke is, though, by the filthy rich, the Art of War Friedman’s and Bezos and all the Google middling’s and upper crust, that if all the billions were taken from the filthy rich, and dumped into the majority on planet earth — the poor, the uneducated, the misbegotten, the terminal, the dysfunctional, the Jerry Springer protagonists and antagonists, in five years all that and more would be back in the hands of the Star Chamber 1,000 or 2,000 Multi-Billionaires.

“We’d just get it all back, because the masses are inherently stupid, know nothing about the value of a dollar, would buy all the junk and shit and whoring dreams we create to sell. We’d have all that so-called ‘redistributed’ wealth back in our hands.”

That myth is coupled with another one, where the rich and the rest of us, having collectively, as much as the 1,000 or millionth richest? Christian Parenti lays it out simply and clearly here:

The 85 richest in the world probably include the four members of the Walton family (owners of Wal-Mart, among the top ten superrich in the USA) who together are worth over $100 billion. Rich families like the DuPonts have controlling interests in giant corporations like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and United Brands. They own about forty manorial estates and private museums in Delaware alone and have set up 31 tax-exempt foundations. The superrich in America and in many other countries find ways, legal and illegal, to shelter much of their wealth in secret accounts. We don’t really know how very rich the very rich really are.

Regarding the poorest portion of the world population—whom I would call the valiant, struggling “better half”—what mass configuration of wealth could we possibly be talking about? The aggregate wealth possessed by the 85 super-richest individuals, and the aggregate wealth owned by the world’s 3.5 billion poorest, are of different dimensions and different natures. Can we really compare private jets, mansions, landed estates, super luxury vacation retreats, luxury apartments, luxury condos, and luxury cars, not to mention hundreds of billions of dollars in equities, bonds, commercial properties, art works, antiques, etc.—can we really compare all that enormous wealth against some millions of used cars, used furniture, and used television sets, many of which are ready to break down? Of what resale value if any, are such minor durable-use commodities? especially in communities of high unemployment, dismal health and housing conditions, no running water, no decent sanitation facilities, etc. We don’t really know how poor the very poor really are.   —    85 Billionaires and the Better Half by Michael Parenti

Ways of Thinking - Feudalism is very much alive

Image by Judite B

The books and discourse and deep discussions and analyses have already been posited and published, and yet, we are in 2021, and the school system, the media system, the propaganda machines of government-military-resource extraction-big ag/med/pharma/AI/finance continue to cobble truth, censor the reality of the penury system that is consumer-corporate-criminal-corrupt Capitalism.

Here, a hodgepodge of readings ramifying the thesis in this essay of mine —

Chris Hedges and Richard Wolff: Capitalism Does Not Work for the Majority of the People

Make No Mistake: The Rule Of The Rich Has Been A Deadly Epoch For Humanity

Michael Parenti: Does Capitalism Work? (2002)

The 1% Pathology and the Myth of Capitalism

Capitalism: The Systematic Poverty and Exploitation of Human Beings by Finian Cunningham

Michael Parenti: These Countries Are Not Underdeveloped, They Are Overexploited (1986)

Luxury Eco-Communism: A Wonderful World is Possible

The Growing Disparity In Living Conditions and Its Consequences by Rainer Shea

Covid-19 and the Health Crisis in Latin America by Yanis Iqbal

The Start Of The Great Meltdown For Industrial Civilization by Rainer Shea

MFTN: Poverty Will Kill More Of Us Than Terrorism

The Rich Are Only Rich If We Let Them Be by Dariel Garner

Mystery: How Wealth Creates Poverty in the World by Michael Parenti

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger + How Economic Inequality Harms Societies

Wealth Belongs To All Of Us – Not Just To The Rich by Dariel Garner

We Are So Poor Because They Are So Rich by Dariel Garner

Here are the source links — X and Y

Railroaded into this Mess 

It all comes back to the rackets — war, banking, big ag, law, prisons, military, computing, finance, insuring, retail, lending, investing, for-profit medicine, education, utilities.

The rackets of putting garnishments on all of our wages. The punishment rackets of fines, foreclosures, levies, taxes, fees, surcharges, add-ons, user fees, disposal fees, tolls, late fees, interest fees, penalties, wage attachments, wage theft, any-government-revenue/policing/judicial entity having the legal right to crack into any savings or checking or real estate holding they want to….And steal!

Imagine that freedom, uh? My Drew or my Don, they work for pittances, and they have their measly wages garnished if they make too much above the allowable social security benefit level. Imagine all of the flimflam, all those middle and peripheral and shadowy and underhanded people and agencies each taking a gram of flesh until that human life has been pecked away.

Stuck in a closet somewhere. Huddled around a TV, surrounded by the deadly products of a food industry responsible for billions dead. Food (sic) more deadly than cancer sticks, AKA cigarettes.

Think hard how those children-who-come-to-me-as-adults as their social services manager, wanting me to help them find jobs in a dog-eat-dog culture, where the cookie isn’t just crumbling, but rather smashed into smithereens by the capitalists. All those poisons in food, all the polluting, toxin-laced, dam-building, river-tainting, air-staining processes that bring us better living with plastics-fastfood-shelf lives of a decade. Better living through  chemistry, pharmaceutics, chronic illness, disease management, pain regulating.

Then, we cannot discuss the possibilities of a society with more and more allergies, more and more chronic illnesses, more and more learning disabilities, more and more developmental disabilities, more and more intellectual disabilities, more and more trauma and PTSD and generalized anxiety and physiological premature weathering.

And poverty does more than just kills. Poverty eats at the soul, drives people to unsafe harbors like consumerism, disposability, obsessions, addictions, inattentiveness, collective Stockholm Syndrome, perversions, empty calories-entertainment-thinking.

There are numbers just for one aspect of our consumer-retail-exploitative societies competing in a trans-national gallery of dirty capitalism — 4.2 million premature deaths annually? Five million? More? Exposure to air pollution caused over 7.0 million deaths and 103.1 million disability-adjusted life years lost in one year.

Attributed to dirty (polluted) air. Not dirty water. Not dirty food. Not dirty drugs. Not smoking. Not boozing. Not war.

The study uses existing data from IHME on global burden of diseases (Mortality and Disability Adjusted Life Years) related to air pollution such as Trachea, Bronchus and Lung cancer, COPD, Ischemic heart disease and Stroke. This study shows that air pollution is one of the major environmental risk factors for the global burden of disease in 1990-2015 and has remained relatively stable for the past 25 years. By region, the largest burden of disease related to air pollution is found in Western Pacific and South-East Asia, reflecting the heavy industry and air pollution hotspots within the developing nations of these regions. Moreover, the rates of Disability Adjusted Life Years increased because of increase in pollution, especially in South-East Asia region, African region, and Eastern Mediterranean region where populations are both growing and ageing. — Source —

I’ve written about this for years — how there is so much disconnect in Criminal Capitalism, where the marketing ploys and psychological tricks force babies and then toddlers and then kindergarteners and then grade schoolers and then more and more millions of growing minds to adapt to counterintuitive thinking, to accept death, slow or otherwise, as part of the social contract. Dog-eat-dog, predation, big fish/small pond, and the roots of America after decimating Turtle Island, one smoke and mirror show after another snake oil sales pitch.

Which sane or humane person would accept a PayDay loan scam? Which humane person would accept forced arbitration clauses? Which caring human would not endorse clean, well-run, full coverage public transportation? Which caring mother would not demand prenatal care, and medicine and clinics on demand? Where is the logic of old men and old women (look at the senate, the congress, the administration) running the lives of the unborn, newborn and youth into the ground.

Even the thirty-somethings in Brooks Brothers suits look, sound, smell, and espouse OLD. I don’t mean old and wise, or elder thinkers, or experienced and well traveled. I mean old in decayed.

If the world is saved, it will be saved by people with changed minds,
people with a new vision. It will not be saved by people with old minds and new programs. It will not be saved by people with the old vision but a new program.

The Takers accumulate knowledge about what works well for things. The Leavers accumulate knowledge about what works well for people.

—Daniel Quinn, Ishmael

These flimflam artists, these liars and cheaters and pontificators and media monsters, they are antithetical to a good governance, good society, good people.

They not only do not know the stories of Drew and his Aunt Regina and Uncle Bob, but they have no forward-thinking solutions to the aging old foster parents and the still healthy middle-aged Drew. With all his beauty. With all his kindness. With all his adept knowledge of how to get on, get along, get his day going. Drew, born in the cookie crumbles crap shoot. Regina, who was on her way back to the UK, Scotland, when she answered the call to take care of Drew and his sister.

This story is repeated a million times a month, worldwide. The penalty for living, for being human, for being not one of them (rich, powerful, greed-wielding) and for stopping their lives to do the right thing.

You wake up one day and believe you have a worthy life. You wake up and take account of what good you have done. You wake up and look in the mirror and wonder what it is you actually dreamt, thought, spoke, cared for, read, built, protected, grew, sheltered, did, held sacred, envisioned, husbanded, parented, fostered, ate, drank, created.

Did any of that living have purpose, or some connection to the humanity that is the real culture of Homo Sapiens, mother culture?

Daily, I have a million intersections with culture and cultures — Big D for deaf or small d for disabled? Brain-injured at birth, or hit by a truck at age 11. Traumatic Brain Injury from an early childhood beating, or massive psychological trauma from a rape at age 20. Born with any number of diagnosed maladies, or any expression of “being born on the autism spectrum.” Fragile X or fetal alcohol affective disorder. Or Downs Syndrome.

The luck of the draw is one enormous field of chance, and the outcomes are not just tied to the abilities — emotional, spiritual, economic, personal — of those you call family, but how the society at large and each community gauge the value of life, the value placed on those whose luck of the draw came up short in some areas.

But the world is fragile, and those on some neuro typical scale and those atypically neuro, can we build our culture together, and heal and protect and shelter and engender and facilitate and teach and learn from?

There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people. Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world. But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world. Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will ACT like lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.  ― Daniel Quinn, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit


The Music

“Life is for the living.

Death is for the dead.

Let life be like music.

And death a note unsaid.”

― Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems

Here’s a situational recipe for pure enjoyment while imbibing on beer, food and storytelling through a not-so imaginary alpine glen feast of Sean Ullman’s 2020 book, Seward Soundboard:

  • one part Beep bop Dizzy Gillespie on I-pod
  • field full of arrowroot balsam in bloom
  • eagles above with multiple attempts at talon locks
  • cedar plank near Alderwood fire with sockeye fillets flaking
  • basket of huckleberries
  • cold-water stream at your feet
  • 7.7 ABV IPA just uncapped
  • four people sitting around dusky fire passing around rhubarb and apple cobbler
  • a giant round of Gouda sliced with Bear & Son six-inch blade and antler handle
  • no sounds from interloping roads
  • clear sky, no high tension power lines
  • undivided attention of four friends while you start sounding out and riffing with Sean Ulman’s words 
  • final course of a little “We’ll Make It Through” by Ray LaMontagne

Oh yeah, all of that with a dogeared volume of this Cirque Press gem.

Ulman asked artists to read passages from Seward Soundboard and create works in response. This painting by Erik Johnson is featured in the book.

There are variations on this around the campfire story telling feast scenario, of course, depending on if you are, say, there in Alaska where I spent time (Hyder), or southeast, in a place like Nelson, BC, or further down the road, Bonner’s Ferry, or in Nez Perce land, on the South Fork of the Clearwater in Idaho.

The gem of a book – cloned fiction, sort of Pictures at an Exhibition of Seward – drips sea-full air and glacial tremors for all to ruminate inside, thanks to the creative juices of Ulman, who acts as bellwether for understanding the ebb-flow and syncopation of this Alaska town. Qutalleq in native Alutiiq, the population of Seward hovers around 3K.

Seward was once Mile 0 for the starting point of the historic original Iditarod Trail (now it begins in Anchorage and ends in Nome).

His book is a canvas of many changing hues a la J.M.W. Turner or Austrian artist Tina Blau. The silver tone photo paper of a W. Eugene Smith. A narrative poem of beat Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Juxtaposing of Phillip Glass and Neil Young singeing the air.

Ulman’s carried both tone and tenor in his remarkably simple ode to a quirky town by chiseling a narrator on a quest to dazzle us with poetic whale songs as part of a living mural. He is in touch with alleyways, bars, hikers and marathoners. The book is a lyric poem, and a day-in-the-life of a town’s eccentricities, proclivities.

Even though we surge along in his synchronous cavalcade of filmic shorts, Ulman’s writing harkens back to Hemingway in that this creative writing aficionado from Massachusetts (b. 1981) follows some simple rules of describing the essence of Seward – short declarative sentences. Subject-verb-complement!

He’s a fan of alliteration. That style forces the reader to lift into the Alaskan clouds or envisage the great body of water that is to Seward’s west. The weather is felt, heard, tasted, smelled. The pleasure of Seward is Ulman as wanderer. Voyeur of a town. He ended up in Alaska in 2007.

Like the circadian rhythms of bears or bald eagles, Ulman draws a town through the very corpuscles of its spirit: people, land, and a lot of birds. Music flows as the narrator is troubadour of reflection and admiration of the characters that make up part of the synoptical elegance of a place.

This slim book is, again, a read one undertakes with the glow of a wood-burning stove while hunkered down near Mount Hood, or, in a palapa at midnight along the Caribbean in the Yucatan as the ocean sprays a hundred acres of light from bioluminescence. I’d say, during my far-flung adventures in Vietnam as a journalist and wildlife support team member, if this book would have been published 25 years ago, I would have hauled it into the bio-reserve where I was studying. Read in bursts and spurts, sort of a grace note to my day, as I sipped tea and chugged rice wine before hitting the sack for another day deep into primary forest.

In a very literal sense, Ulman sculpts locals and the traveler/tourist into his field of vision. At times, his writing is a macro lens into humor and down-home observations. Other times, Ulman/narrator is there with a telephoto shot, capturing rare moments of feather quivering near an avalanche’s heaving dervish of snow clouds.

The people of Seward must be high-fiving Sean daily, because in one sense, this is a Seward Home Companion, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average” (no aspersions to Sean by alluding to Garrison Keillor’s long-running show).

The Map

We have a 150-page book in three-part harmony, and each section is anchored to light, shadow, soil, rain, snow, endless darkness, infinite days that capture this part of the globe. Seasons brought to the reader through upwelling of wind, ocean, reflections ricocheting off Resurrection Bay. He comes in with a Terrance Mallick scene setter many times, for example –

                “Fireweed dyed valley floors with burgundy stars. Tips curled into delicate sickles, bent to breezes and belched cottony-winged seedpods.

                Languid breeze ribbons shipped strollers nose-baths of brine.

                Coils of woodstove smoke smote ramblers’ brains, wracking rambling musings.

                Ravens clucked.”

This is on page one, and he gifts us two main characters – The Lightseeker and The Returner. Both of them weave their own stories/POV into the fabric of Seward. The Lightseeker is an old man hunting spectral truths, collecting beams of light, contemplating stars and glassy bodies of water. The Returner is a youngish woman, back in Seward after years in California. Her aging parents are etched into the granite and conglomerate bedrock of Seward.

Lots of chummy dialogue. The narrator is a wispy wren, rolling through windows and doors, carving space into glades and soaring over the heights of mountains. Seeker of the people, and always returning to the fabric of a community stuck up north, this avian god I envision is the muse and talisman of Sean Ulman. A community of locals doing life’s work as fishers, outfitters, service employees, retirees and even prison guards, Seward is an ecosystem which Ulman keeps it simple. The place is a veritable ramshackle of tourists around Fourth of July (30,000 swelling the streets and eateries and bars).

The Chamber of Commerce puts 300,000 the number of annual visitors.

Humanity is labeled by the narrator for what they do in civilization’s vast employment realm – painter, homesteader, baker, prison guard, clerk, barista, volunteer trail groomer, and on and on.

Here, one fellow, during the two days of snow in September – “A bleary-eyed, coffee-drugged plowman laughed like a madman as he sang, ‘Let it snow, let it snow, let cash flow . . .’”

Ulman’s narrator is sure to catch the artist’s angle of repose, as well as the writer’s emancipation of thought and feelings while looking through the wispy clouds into the blinking sky and into the snowcapped peaks.

                “Beyond eastern mountains, at the end of a pink and orange cloud-speckled sunrise, a ribbed cloud shelf (a sunny-blue flue), funneled to a cubed sky compartment.

This cloud catacomb was an ephemeral factory for poems.”

Whimsy and jazzy. As I stated, there is that free-jazz/outside jazz element to this wordsmith’s phraseology. There is Ulman’s compact writing style. There are the archetypical humans peopling the scenes as the flighty narrator hits this or that scene in snap-shot style, catching people in action. The feast of visuals is what drives each page to be turned and turned.

The reader, is there, witnessing the goings on, and many of the pages fill up with this or that town person, this or that townies’ goings on, this or that petite town dramas unfolding.

The words exchanged are sometimes arranged for people jaunting about running into friends, and sometimes the townies unleash soliloquies. Other times crisp, short dialogue chatters on the page, for example,  between two “sunglassed Nordic skiers” or, for example, with The Returner as she flirts with “the therapist.”

Again, the protagonists are Everyman and Everywoman, who are the stalactites and stalagmites of the journey through the Seward soundboard (lowercase ‘s’) – a slice of rough-hewed heaven with a whole lot of people jonesing for endorphins vis-à-vis mountain biking, trail hiking, running marathons, swimming and kayaking.

Threaded into the basket that is the soundboard are spirit people, those specters who take on the same avocations, defined occupations and place markers for Seward. The ghosts are watchers.

He takes minimal peeks into the real stewards of this place, the native people. Here, a whimsical passage: “A Native woman, without intended to, did not say a single word all day, including a dream (during a long nap) in which her dream double was being abnormally chatty.”

Image result for Seward Soundboard

Authorial Intent/Tensions

That little flowing sentence above draws me into Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the magical realism of dream time, curanderas, shamans and, of course, in the case of North America, the spirit worlds of Native people.

The persistence stage left and stage right entrances/exits of birds populating his book gives more credence for someone like me entering literary dreamtime as I seek colliding tribal forces and my own “talk walkabout” through animism many of the original people of this Turtle Island have taught me.

                “Plants panted.

                Birds bit bugs and berries, chirped contact chitter, shat turds.”

This bit of humor folds into another interesting scene – the guard at the Seward Prison (Spring Creek Correctional Center). That fellow ditches his shift to instead hike to Godwin Glacier. Hours later, he returns with a bit of ice from the ancient flow. He hands it to the warden. Deposits his keys and ID into his superior’s hands, along with the melting ice chunk.

His book ends on Labor Day, and then September 15, when “at 6:04 a.m., an 8.1 earthquake bolted the ocean floor 250 miles southwest of Seward.”

The various characters in the town consider the possible tsunami after-effect. In those last eight pages, we get people of Seward and tourists living out fears, hopes, dreams, ruminations as, of course, no tidal wave appears.

Again, Ulman bookends the novel this way –

                “Jovially clucking back (the first vocal sound she had made in two days), the Returner knew with thawing certainty that there would be no wave.

                Flapping shiny, black-tongue wings with astounding synchronicity, the ravens rolled on toward Seward.

                The Returner watched them until they shrank out of sight, then started running down the trail, back to the cabins, to pack up and head home. “

A Common Language

The people out west, well, sure, are a different breed apart. True of my time in Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas. And, Alaska, the western most illusion of dreams and hopes, boom and bust.

One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery. —Wallace Stegner

Hopes and dreams. Ancient Beringian, Alaskan Athabaskans, Ahtna, Deg Hit’an, Dena’ina, Gwich’in, Hän, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Lower Tanana, Tanacross, Upper Tanana, Upper Kuskokwim (Kolchan), Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Eskimo, Iñupiat (an Inuit group), Yupik, Siberian Yupik, Yup’ik, Cup’ik, Nunivak Cup’ig, Sugpiaq ~ Alutiiq, Chugach Sugpiaq, Koniag Alutiiq, Aleut (Unangan).

Ulman sows life into a town named after Secretary of State William H. Seward, who arranged the United States’ purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867. It’s on the Kenai Peninsula, named after the local Dena’ina (Tanaina) word “kena,”  — flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge.

He goes with the flow, hooking into the mundane and pedestrian, blowing colorful swirls of glass with his gift of word play and observation. I imagine Sean out there with camera in hand and notepad at the ready, not capturing life but rather galvanizing himself into life. Grafting what he is now teaching writing for Kenai Peninsula College and running a writer’s group at the senior center.

Here’s what Sean told a reporter:

—the end–

But especially for this book, it’s very important for me that this book is received by Sewardites and hopefully liked, but first being like, ‘Yeah, He got it.’ ‘Cause I’m not a local kid. I didn’t grow up here in Seward. But I love Seward. And I’ve studied it. I’ve been a student of it for some years now. And it’s just gotta be in that range. [S. Polix]

Note that I will be interviewing Sean for a back and forth discussion about writing, Seward, Pacific Northwest, his own roots, his demons, his skeletons in those closets, what it’s like being a man in 2021, and more.

Image result for Seward

Here, what Sean wrote to me after he read this review, which will be published in Cirque Journal #22.

Hi Paul,

I read the review and man, I’m blown away by it. 

I haven’t heard a lot of feedback so to hear all this from a writer I hold high- a writer with a mind and heart like you – it means a lot. A very lot.
Its rich for me to learn that u got the book and felt the style so closely. Like Id been waiting to hear of a writer feeling like the book worked n really offers an artistic experience. so , well, that wait is over. 

Yes, you got the riffs n the measures. Nailed it.

The opening is awesome! Honored to have the book in that scene of comforts. 

Honored by it all really. 
How much you wrote…
Terrance Mallick ! is my favorite. 

I like all the excerpts and quotes u featured. 

And I like what you wrote about Native people, doing that honoring – that is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, learning more about Native cultures. Something we can talk about maybe. 

I’ll respond more to your fantastic review when I’m back at my desk. I’m at a cabin now on my phone. 

Had to let you know that I love it.

I love when Reviews are their own piece of stylish writing – and this one with your tumbling idea after art reference after idea… is an off the charts fun experience. So many great sentences n moves you made dancing through it.

Thank you! I can’t thank you enough, I’ll be back in touch soon,

Photos courtesy of Sean Ulman. Sean and Sadie Ulman enjoy a sunny day on the Chickaloon Flats last summer. This year will be the second of a two-year project to monitor birds at the migratory stopover. — Source

Image result for Seward Soundboard

Here, a poem by Ulman, with accompanying image — Spork Press!

Pig City Subway

Slop. .     . scarce.
Grazing grows
scarf seatback foam.
Chairs: toilet&trough.

Tattered ad: miss piggy saddled on elfin hermit crab,
“deflated w/ inflation, hop the crustacean caboose”  puke-perfumed,  licked.
Locked locomotives root ↓ raunchy routes,
lunge off jagged lard-greased rails,
plunge n worm ↓ polluted wells, ram doors of
un-looted stalls: sweet n sour centipedes, moth broths, butterfly-flayed butterflies.

Tooth n hoof scraps pace foul final animal race’s races to gulp plopped dung
plump ripe-plum-fresh,
swill shed blood by-products.

Next stop grisly scrapyard razed-grazed to gristle.
Rib & jaw fossil trestles, pig bone drip castles,
rote motes clogged w/ innards n gizzards, ties n rails afloat n bloated.
Inhale charred knuckle rind Blizzards® on rust boat rides, lard sails, snout floaties.
Fares traded for goes at carnivore carnival games

(uncoiling curly fried tails, telling cryptic tales of frozen rations sepulcher, king of the pig pile, candied ham pie eating contests – contestants don pork pie hats).

Whilst such scarred scourge be purged?

Were refurbished frescoes of porky pulchritude facsimiles?

Sows farrow fallow farrows, litter fish-guts-gutted gutters.

Gates slime-sealed.
Penned porks relegated to purgatory glory.

Swine spill slouch squeal stomp romp into arcade of pitted station pit.
Runts impaled on bent rails.
Trampled busted trams acid-rain rusted.
Imposter conductor conducts gluttony lessons: accelerated masticating;
how to bash tubby piggy banks so hock rock-candy contents spill↓ gnashing mouths sleekly.
switches stuck on collision
under sewage silos.

Tooth-hollowed hoof un-hallowed ground.
It’s eat or be eaten, never ceding seeding poison pellets.

Rational to suspect ursine rationed to source end plague?

Pollution metropolis grappling refuge in fog-spawned fugues.

Was/is/will: futile.

[Sean Ulman, worder birder baller server, is writing a novel about Seward Alaska and Art. “Pig City Subway” is a piece from his comic book side project, “Forest City Tilt” featuring an elf poet protagonist. Other poems from that project have been published at Everyday Genius, Mud Luscious, Clutching at Straws and 13 Myna Birds.]
[Paul Bruns is a freelance graphic and web designer located in Cambridge MA. Paul enjoys learning about all things art, illustration and design, and has a passion for creating elegant user experiences on the web. He can be found online at Paul lives with his girlfriend Ashlee in the heart of Harvard Square.]

If I were asked what I want to accomplish as a writer, I would say it’s to contribute to the literature of hope.   — Barry Lopez, About This Life

A passing. A death. Moving on. Back to earth. A new journey.

Image result for Barry Lopez Oregon

He filled the air with lyrical words and ideas grafted to our role as writers and people living inside and with our natural world. He was steadfast in his role as a naturalist of sorts, but through and through he was a word conjurer.

He came to me when I was young, inside his book about wolves. I was in Arizona jumping the skeletons of saguaros with my 360cc Bultaco and learning the art of passage: working with ministers and laypersons helping Central Americans cross that political line between USA and Mexico.

Barry Lopez’s written words were in my heart.

The wolf exerts a powerful influence on the human imagination. It takes your stare and turns it back on you. … from Of Wolves and Men

Luckily for me, I heard wolves in 2002 along the Clearwater in Idaho, being let free on Nez Perce land.  Now, 42 years later, the tributes to his life, his writing, and how he touched soil and words come trickling in.  But the Lopez I also know is the young man who went to Norte Dame and considered being a Trappist monk, while a deep scar from his youth galvanized into his very being and turned him away from much man’s ways.

He is a writer who helped humanity understand their stories are valuable. I remember the television interview of him years ago, with Bill Moyers. Again, Lopez stressed he may be considered a nature writer but, in reality, he is writing about humanity.

Every story is an act of trust between a writer and a reader; each story, in the end, is social. Whatever a writer sets down can harm or help the community of which he or she is a part.

He was a gifted wordsmith. And like Winona LaDuke, he wanted to “recover the sacred.” The land shapes us all, and for Lopez, he spent time in that land – five years in the arctic as a biologist. His own biography is compelling in that odd American way.

[Barry with his wife, Debra Gwartney, and his daughters Amanda, Stephanie, Mary & Mollie. Finn Rock Oregon, 2016]

RIP — 1945-2020

Nascent Dreams

He was born Barry Holstun Brennan in Port Chester, New York. His family moved to Reseda, California, after the birth of his brother, Dennis. He was raised in a low-income single-parent family for a while, and his mother married Adrian Lopez, a businessman, in 1955. Adrian adopted Barry and his brother, and they both took his surname.

He died with laurels, awards, and 20 books to his name. Years fighting prostate cancer didn’t lessen his ferocity for wanting to be a “writer of help.”

For me, Walt Whitman says it in a nutshell, what it was to be Barry Lopez: “Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”

Part of Barry’s call to duty is acting as a bridge, a translator, an intermediary for humanity (Western Civilization) which has in general lost that language of animals. We have forgotten to talk to our brothers and sisters.

He stated in an interview with Nick O’Connell.” I’ve always been deeply interested in animals, in what they were doing and where they lived. They are for me parallel cultures. I think about them a lot and spend a certain amount of time with them. Natural history is the metaphor I feel most comfortable with as a writer—a kind of natural history that includes geography.”

When Lopez was 11, his family relocated to Manhattan, where he attended the Loyola School, graduating in 1962. He attended the University of Notre Dame, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees there in 1966 and 1968.

He also attended the University of Oregon in Eugene.

Conquest’s Lesson

He ended up planting his field of muses to grow into an Oregonian. In this process of tending his writing and spirituality in this adopted land, he always spoke of this amazing place that for thousands of years was home of people with a real land ethic. People who planned to live here generations into the future. Who planned their lives, habits and culture around the fact they would not be leaving, or engaging in some Diaspora.

That manifest destiny, that interloper mentality of settlers, Lopez also discussed with me and my students, since I had spent much of my life in land conquered by Spain – Mexico and Central America. And others who knew Barry personally also write about this root in his own intellectual life.

An amazing journey in time, space, and history, “The Passing Wisdom of Birds,” from Crossing Open Ground still drills into my core.  Lopez writes about Hernan Cortez’s destruction of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec Capital known today as Mexico City. Not surprisingly, Charles V called this Aztec jewel “the most beautiful city in the world.”

We know the story – after being driven out of the city a year earlier by Montezuma, Cortez then returns with a larger army and with vengeance in his heart and vindictive violence as his tool of domination. Lopez writes, Cortez’s army “laid siege to the city. Canal by canal, garden by garden, home by home.”

This is the barbarity of the Old World launching its systematic destruction of a people, culture and their own praxis by gestating in a new land as conquistadores with guns, the holy cross and racism. Cortez set fire to the great aviaries and nests of wild birds found throughout the city. Lopez writes,

The image I carry of Cortez setting fire to the aviaries in Mexico City that June day in 1521 is an image I cannot rid myself of. It stands, in my mind, for a fundamental lapse of wisdom … an underlying trouble in which political conquest, personal greed, revenge, and national pride outweigh what is innocent, beautiful, serene and defenseless — the birds. … Indeed, one could argue, the same oblivious irreverence is still with us, among those who would ravage and poison the earth to sustain the economic growth of Western societies.

I spoke with Barry when he addressed classes at Eastern Washington University and the two Spokane community colleges where I taught. I brought up the chaos of the country when we spoke. That was  in 2006. It was easy to rebuke much of America then as it was clear to pundits, academicians and writers this country was adrift (some déjà vu now, uh?). Easy to blame media, computers, celebrity culture and political impotence, for sure, but Lopez stressed to me and the students that we were widening the cultural disconnect with the land.

He actually posed this very question in the end of that essay, “The Passing Wisdom of Birds.” Is it possible to move beyond a moment in the Valley of Mexico when we behaved as though we were insane? Lopez’s answer can be found in Arctic Dreams:

Staring down pecatta mundi that day on the tundra, my image of God was this effort to love in spite of everything that contradicts that impulse. When I think of the phrase ‘the love of God,’ I think of this great and beautiful complexity we hold within us, this pattern of light and emotion we call God, and that the rare, pure ferocity of our love sent anywhere in that direction is worth all the mistakes we endure to practice it.

Think Like a Mountain

He hitched his entire life to the land, and the mental manifestation of what land language and biotic ethics mean to people who hold land as more than “just” sacred.

The land is the very essence of our own DNA, as many of us attempt to mine lost narratives in order to understand people who know the land and its inhabitants and geological prominence like the backs of their hands.

Sure, I met Barry Lopez several times – in bookstores and classrooms: Missoula, Seattle, Spokane, Portland. His Artic Dreams and Of Wolves and Men I read early in my own writing career.

I am part of the geology connected to Lopez. I live on the Central Oregon Coast, and the fires we had in 2020 tore through his and his wife Deborah’s property. The land will heal, but his 50-year personal archive of all his writings went up in flames.

Here on the Alsea River along the Pacific, I smelled the drifting ashes of those fires for weeks.

During the fires, Debra and Barry ended up in Eugene, and many have stated Lopez repeated these universal healing words we know from nature when asked what was next: “rebuilding, repairing, and replanting.”

I remember another appearance, at Spokane’s Auntie’s Bookstore, 15 years ago when he was reading from a new collection for which he choreographed, along with his wife, Debra Gwartney – Home Ground.

More than 45 writers, including Barbara Kingsolver, Charles Frazier, William Kittredge and Terry Tempest Williams, riffing with words found at the intersection of human culture and physical geography:  examples include just these — “portage” and “outcrop,” “windbreak” and “dry fall.”

What distinguishes American literature — especially from European literature — is this deep attachment to place [Lopez told Ann Colford of the Pacific Northwest Inlander].  And it’s not just in the usual suspects, like Cather and Steinbeck and Melville and Thoreau; it’s there in everybody’s work. Truman Capote. Updike. One of the impetuses in choosing the marginalia was this sense of, ‘Look at all these people and how they think about the landscape.’

ACE – Adverse Childhood Experiences

I have to end this remembrance of Barry Lopez with another path he crossed in his life, at a very young age, an adverse childhood experience for which I ended up also intersecting as a social worker for homeless, veterans, youth and those living with a developmental disability.

Lopez and I talked about the precarity of my own work as a part-time adjunct, part-time journalist, failed novelist with a New York agent and other gigs tied to social services. When I last spoke with him, I had not yet launched into working with the disenfranchised:  substance addicted humans, or the just-released prisoners, homeless and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The impact of Lopez’s childhood trauma and repressed PTSD hit me hard. I read his 2013 article in Harpers because someone who had remembered my reviews of two of his books when I was a reporter and Sunday book editor for the El Paso Times contacted me on Facebook.

“Did you see that amazingly open, truthful and sad article he wrote about his own abuse? Wow?”

Lopez was nearing seventy when he wrote this piece in Harper’s Magazine – “Sliver of Sky — Confronting the trauma of sexual abuse” (Jan. 2013).

He was seven when his family was introduced to this man, who ran a sanatorium and was known in California for his ability to help alcoholics kick the habit. Lopez’s story of shame, packing away trauma, sublimating that five years of abuse he experienced into a life — on the surface and deeper within through his own passages with nature, writing and teaching (he visited over 80 countries) – wallops any empathetic reader hard. While Lopez is compared to Henry David Thoreau and William Faulkner, he was in one sense carrying a shattered child inside.

Here, one of the less graphic passages from the Harper’s memoir –

From what I have read over the years in newspapers and magazines about scandals involving serial pedophiles, I have gathered that people seem to think that what victims most desire in the way of retribution is money and justice, apparently in that order. My own guess would be that what they most want is something quite different: they want to be believed, to have a foundation on which they can rebuild a sense of dignity. Reclaiming self-respect is more important than winning money, more important than exacting vengeance.

Victims do not want someone else’s public wrath, the umbrage of an attorney or an editorial writer or a politician, to stand in for the articulation of their own anger. When a pedophile is exposed by a grand-jury indictment today, the tenor of public indignation often seems ephemeral to me, a response generated by ‘civic’ emotion. Considering the number of children who continue to be abused in America — something like one in seven boys and one in three girls — these expressions of condemnation seem naïve. Without a deeper commitment to vigilance, society’s outrage begins to take on the look of another broken promise.

Sitting at the Table of Greats

Sure, my own life in the wild, inside nature, communing with manatees, hornbills, hammerheads or what-have-you has also been tied to not just the “land ethic” that Aldo Leopold wrote about, but also to recovering the sacred, which to me are the people who are in, by, because and for the land.

There is no climate change mitigation for vanishing forests, coral reefs and rivers unless there are holistic and deep green relationships we build within the biotic community as we work with the community of Homo Sapiens.

Interestingly, the work I have done with sexually-abused veterans, people living as homeless, and even those who are deemed “people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” as well as the work as a community college and K12 teacher, all tied into the threads that Barry Lopez gifted me to understand that connection – or in most cases, disconnection – we as a society have lost to the land.

Image result for Arctic Dreams

Yet Barry Lopez’s message, even among all the dire calls to action to stop the polluting, the razing, the clearcutting, the harvesting, the burning, the damming, the killing, comes to me in one of the last things he published – a forward to a biography of Richard K. Nelson,  Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson by Hank Lentfer (July 2020, Mountaineers Books).

This is an elegant and amazing connection to his own life writing in an old chair that Lopez had to mess with to keep viable as the place he found the fortitude and the ferocity of spirit from which to write and keep connected to Nelson man who was a real person of the people and land.

It seems appropriate for me to reflect first on the undistinguished chair I’m sitting in as I try to put together a few words to introduce you to this biography of Richard Nelson. I bought the chair long ago in a second-hand store, in Springfield, Oregon. I’ve had to repair it occasionally, to ensure its sturdiness. Two worn-out seat cushions, one atop the other, make it easier to occupy for hours at a time. Two newel posts brace a tapered backrest of wooden spindles. The caps of the newel posts gleam from the rub of human hands over the decades.

I’ve written seventeen books sitting in this chair, and I hope to complete a couple more in the years ahead. In the early 1980s, because I sensed that resting my back against a pair of cured blacktail deer hides from Richard’s hunts would put me in a more respectful frame of mind when I wrote, and that they might induce in me the proper perspectives about life, I wrote him and asked for his help. Would he honor our friendship by sending me a couple of blacktail deer hides? These were from deer he’d been given as a subsistence hunter (as he understood that relationship with them) in the woods near his home.

In my experience, no other non-native hunter’s ethical approach to this archetypal form of fatal encounter was as honorable as Richard’s. He hunted to feed his family, imitating the way his Iñupiaq, Koyukon, and Kwich’in teachers had taught him to, through the example of their own behavior in engagements with wild animals—humble, grateful, respectful. I felt the hides might care for me as I stumbled my way through life, in the same way that our friendship with each other would take care of both of us in the years ahead.

Even without the deer hides stitched to my own office chair, or the close camaraderie and corresponding with Lopez, I too feel the words of poets and writers like Lopez will “take care of me in the years ahead, wherever that passage way Mother Earth leads me.”

Image result for Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson

I am reminded that Lopez believed a writer’s job is “to be of service.” Again, Lopez stated many times that we as writers are not placed in this role to tell people what to think. Our job is to help people frame their own thoughts. And to know their own stories and be able to tell those stories to themselves, their circle of family, or in the case of Lopez, to the world.

cover of Of Wolves and Men by Barry lopez

See Thank you, Barry Lopez from Orion Magazine Staff!

“Barry, forty years ago you taught me that all stories are about relationship: who I am to all creatures where I am . . . who I am to who you are . . . who we are to who we will become. So goes, now and always, my story with you.” — Kim Stafford, Oregon Poet Laurette

“It is not for me to say whether we see best with the hand or the eye. I only know that the world I see with my fingers is alive, ruddy, and satisfying.” — Helen Keller, 1908, The World I Live In

The legacy of a society is, well, how it treats its young, old, frail, infirm, sick, poor and those hobbled by structural and environmental injustice.

Some in urban planning circles also allude to how safe a community is based on the popsicle test – can a child or two walking from home to a store, get a popsicle without having to cross high speed roads or highways, without having to walk along long stretches of ugly dangerous buildings, and who can find a multitude of stores that sell good food and desserts like Popsicles. How easy it is for the child to walk there? Are the homes-apartments-duplexes-offices looking out toward the sidewalks? Are there porches out front where people linger and lounge? Are there trees for shade? Are there mail boxes? Are there stores and eateries on the ground floor of a stretch of businesses with apartments and housing one and two floors above? Are there people bicycling? Are the stores and businesses set toward the streets and their parking lots pushed to the back of the establishments? Are there scalable hardware stores with windows and many doorways? Are there neighborhood groups that patrol the neighborhoods? Are there mixed neighborhoods with lower economic mixed in with middle class? What are the officers of the peace doing? Are they walking and bicycling their beats, where they live? Are they battened down in huge bulletproof SUV’s with three computers, five assault weapons, and the A/C blaring?

The children, walk or bicycle from their home, and within a few minutes, they get to a place of business, without running through or dodging a gauntlet of racing trucks and autos. Are there elderly and families and business owners and customers there, doing their thing, on a scalable level?

We know that in capitalism, in this free (sic) market society, with the bottom dollar and the bottom line of more and more profits without work or building something as the drivers, we the people – those two children walking to get a fudge bar or organic apple – are not the drivers of the society, the communities, the neighborhoods.

Life in Capitalism is designed for speed, rot, decay, throwaway buildings and throwaway humanity. We have those massive systems of oppression run by real estate, insurance, finance, banks, building and paving, all those entities guarded by the US Chamber of Commerce whose job is to maximize the profits (gouging’s) of the large and medium-sized businesses that have run rough shod over us, the “regular people.”

Now, those old industries are being retrofitted for the next level of exploitation and enslavement vis-à-vis the economies of scale vaunted by the monopolies, the investor class and billionaires. And that scaling up is facilitated by the masters of logarithms and Artificial Intelligence and digital dictators.

Mom and pops – that is, the small family-owned businesses and the mini-chains of this or that service or consumer item – they are now on the cutting block in an amped up destruction of people’s lives, on a scale that would make a steroid using wrestler look like Mother Teresa on bread and water. Any chance of having a small business community have a say in how their communities and neighborhoods and census tracks are developed alongside with how their neighboring communities connect to this urban and rural planning, all of that inclusive and participatory democracy and governance are  dwindling ten-fold yearly.

Who makes the decisions? Who puts the brakes on suburban sprawl and rampant car-centric cities? Ahh, the masters of money and masters of stocks and the AI and Digital Dictators will have more and more say in the design (or miss-design) of both the built environment as well as the financial environments. Add to that educational environments, the healthcare environments, the food system environments, the housing environments. We the people do not have control!

Examples by Design
I’m putting in this opening above to help segue into the reality of my work now – one of many hats, but now, it’s social work and case management for adults living with developmental and intellectual disabilities. And some who have had traumatic brain injuries.

If the reader doesn’t have a bead on what the ID/DD community is, well, look it up. In a Western culture with more and more pre-newborns gestating into a slurry of forever chemicals, cortisol loads, heavy metals, stress hormones from mother, and a combination of all of this as a synergetic roulette wheel, coupled with DNA markers from mother and father, well, you can image that young boys and girls with disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder or mental retardation or any number of other aspects of life dealt from a genetic and poison deck of cards will be a huge burden on families, medical services, schools, society in general.

Go back to the Popsicle analogy, but this time look at how our cultures deal with the less fortunate – a child born is innocent, no matter what sort of spirituality or religiosity you hold or do not hold. Cases in point for me after more than two decades working with poisoned souls – the children of the storms: fetal alcohol-affected or drug-addicted or hugely malnourished inside the womb – we are barbaric in terms of how we “deal” with the afflicted or the people born into a life of one or multiple deficits.

Here, a composite – Drew was born to a mother who “experienced” drug and alcohol addiction. He was 5 pounds and four ounces at birth. He tested positive for cocaine and opiates at birth. He was in a nursery until moved to foster care in 10 days. His birth mother had several children “taken away or removed from her” because of her addictions.

He was adopted by an old woman, who loved him but died of cancer when Drew was 7. Neighbors reported to the child protective agencies in California that Drew was being neglected and the dying mother was not caring for him properly.

This is a common story in my line of work – multiple foster home placements per individual, lots of behavior issues arising by first year of school, from aggression, to defiance, to tantrums. Quickly he was put under a special education label – independent education plan. His ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, and anxiety, depression, aggression, isolating behavior, and poor stick-to-it-ness, all of that and more channeled him into special classes and into the special education network. Hearing voices and magical thinking and fantastical thoughts and paranoia, well, Drew is sort of a ward of the state. His foster/adoptive parents are his financial guardians, and he has county case workers and state ones lined up, along with nonprofit case workers.

I work with a nonprofit, again, as a case worker-employment specialist. My job is to get people like Drew jobs, but that process is holistic, systematic and definitely tied to the whole suite of getting young and not so old people ready to face competitive employment, integrated, no longer stuck in some sheltered workshop.

Those “sheltered workshops” included Goodwill clothing tagging rooms where all workers were those living with developmental disabilities; or even roaming crews of cleaners of office buildings who are all labeled ID-DD. That is a type of cloistering, sheltering from mainstream society.

My nonprofit, of course, is a middleman of sorts, replacing the services states, counties and cities should be providing by taking over the contracts to do the work of providing developmental disabilities safety nets.

Nutshells are the Only Teachable Moments
So, getting someone a job at a hotel to do towel folding or room cleaning, or helping someone land a job as a custodian at a school, and for those with more skills and with more confidence, a place in retail sales, that’s part of my work. Sure, in Portland I worked with lawyers who have cerebral palsy, and true, that type of person deserves an equal shot at being a lawyer or working at the level somewhere. These advocates have their hearts in the right place, to be sure, and no Five F’s for them – filth, factory, food, foliage, fur – because they have graduate degrees.

The reality is, though, someone with a lack of reading skills, with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and all the attending issues tied to the autism in that individual, well, working a cash register is tough (impossible for most), and doing public customer service at any level is tough. Behind the scenes jobs are the norm, and, unfortunately, the filth, food, foliage, fur and factory are the only choices sometimes. Life on the Central Oregon Coast where people retire or vacation, and where a fishing industry thrives, well, those job opportunities dwindle big time.

Aspirational:  all people deserve home, health, education, food, work, public transportation choices. Aspirational: sure, we need communities designed for that Popsicle test. Most of my clients of course do not drive, or can’t. Most clients have issues with navigating the absurd on-line employment applications. Many clients need me there in the actual job interview.

Many clients need a coach on the job, sometimes for life. Many clients work minimum wage for 20 hours a week to keep a bit of the SSI (social security insurance coming in). We are such a penury and usury society that my clients, even at minimum wage, get a dollar taken away from every two dollars made. This is how the system kills hope, advancement — the state gobbles up shekels after their first $85 is earned.

All the studies and anecdotal evidence show that a job for a person with a developmental disability or a physical disability, or even a psychological disability like schizophrenia, THRIVE with employment for obvious reasons: a sense of belonging, team work, doing something as a member of society, extra money, socialization, using the brain. But here we are again, failing the other Popsicle test – we penalize and penalize and penalize until people are stripped bare.

A few clients have to take urine tests for many jobs, and if they come back positive for cannabis, well, some outfits disqualify the person automatically from a minimum wage job. Even if that person has a medical marijuana card, in a state where pot is legal (it is in OR). Imagine that, all those politicians, those weak-spine things in DC and around state Capitols, and this is what they have legislated and this is how weak they are when it comes to day to day, people to people life-and-death decisions.

Study after study, and again, a million anectodical stories show THC and CBD actually pull patients off prescriptions and actually keep anxiety at bay and amp up focus.

The law enforcers and the bureaucracies and the policymakers are Neanderthals, really (no attack on those people, Neanderthals, but it’s a term of describing how behind the times and backward they are).

My job is to do work arounds, to do magic, and while mom and pop’s along the coast are shuttering daily, the small hotels are now owned by investment groups, and managed by the big daddies of hotel and motel management corporations. Having workarounds with national organizations, sometimes multinationals, well, those conversations never happen, let alone an email gets returned. They are not of, for and by the community. They are in business for the investors and profits.

The chances of having an offspring with one or a number of chronic illnesses or who might end up on the spectrum or might have brain anomalies because of gestational issues, or who are genetically programmed to come out a “certain way,” well, those odds increase monthly.

Yet the systems of oppression and the cops and the legal systems, they still incarcerate, batter and murder people with autism. People in mental health crises are tased and murdered by pigs. The systems of oppression are buttressed by the prejudices of Holly-dirt and the bullies of the world. It can be an overt Trump making fun of a disabled reporter at a press conference when he was first running in 2016, or it could be a Biden who pushed the crime bill, putting untold numbers of people with mental, emotional and situational abuse in chambers of hell – prison.

The spectrum of people who still do not understand why I work in “that field,” under all the pressures of emotionally traumatized and psychologically depleted people and their families, well, they might think of themselves as the beautiful people, the anti-Trumpistas, the LGBTQ folk, the African-American-in-the-VP-office loving folk, but again, they fail the Popsicle test.

Dream hoarders and Not in My Backyard vacillators, and all sorts of other liberal/neoliberal types, they are no friends of the Popsicle Test of a Sustainable, Fair, Resilient Community. They love their first and second homes. They covet a Stock Market hovering around 31,000 points. They love the Netflix mental diabetes junk they consume, and they have no idea why Biden is as bad as Bush or Trump.

And then I have to convince people to shed their prejudices against people that are not appearing “like themselves.” We do not use terms like “neuronormal” to contrast my clients with the mainstream, but in the end, what is normal in a society that shifts baselines almost weekly?

With the new normal full of paranoia, unapproved vaccines, and misleading diseased minds like Fauci and Gates leading the charge for a global forced vaccination program, one can image how paranoid my clients are who live in group homes or in small one-room apartments. TV and few friends ramify their fears. Lockdown is a locking up of the mind!

Some clients do not even want to meet me face to face on a beach with masks on. They are paranoid because of the mass polluting media. One disability on top of another and another. Welcome to America.

What is a disability? I suppose Helen Keller might figure in here:

When she was sixteen, in 1896, she was catapulted to national fame, writes Keith Rosenthal for the International Socialist Review. By 1904, when she graduated from Radcliffe College, she was internationally famous. She joined the Socialist Party of America a few years later and began advocating for revolutionary change. “She noticed the close relationship between disability and poverty, and blamed capitalism and poor industrial conditions for both,” writes Sascha Cohen for Time.

But even though she had strong politics and a national voice, nobody took her opinions seriously. “Newspaper editors would use her disability as a means to dismiss her politics and to dissuade people from taking her seriously,” writes Rosenthal. “Her radicalism, conservative writers would aver, was a product of the political ‘mistakes [which] spring out of the manifest limitations of her development.’”

Despite this, she was a leading light of the American socialist movement, Rosenthal writes. Among many other causes, she championed pacifism and the U.S. staying out of World War I. Source: Smithsonian Magazine


Eventually, in dog-eat-dog, kill your competition capitalism, we all become each other’s competitor, enemy. A few billion dollars here and there for hundreds of millions of struggling people is birdseed, yet the systems of oppression and suppression, along with the mass murdering media, cull agency, gumption, and the ability of people to stand up to the oppressors and the authorities and multiple graduate degree certificate holders.

What do the people I serve and the so-called “normal majority” have in common? There are variations on a Dystopian theme, whether it’s Blade Runner or Minority Report or Brave New World or 1984. Almost everyone in this country is confused, shattered, see-hear-speak no evil tied to their specific coalitions and ways of thinking. My amazing clients are enmeshed in fear and the outside world, thanks to the conflation of SARS-CoV2 to a body-eating zombie virus, eating them alive and culling them all eventually. No more hide and seek — it’s all duck and cover and mask and hide and isolate.

What that gives me as a worker are many people who deserve integrated employment but who are hobbled and shackled to the gestalt of a warped society. Do they have other ways of thinking and seeing and hearing? Of course. Do they have their own methods of surviving paranoia, depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, magical thinking, shattered executive functions, functional or complete illiteracy?

Of course. Of course. But again, the Popsicle test fails each time. Imagine, a job, 4 pm to 8 pm, in a town 15 miles from where they live. Can you see the public transportation system beautiful and timely and regular? Nope. Can you see all these taxi and shuttle services for free getting people to work and from work who can’t-won’t-never will drive? Where is that dreamland in Capitalism?

Yet every minute and every second of a 24-hour news cycle or 24 hours of a million channels broadcasting thousands of novellas, soap operas or series and movies, all are occupied with the stories and travails of the rich and famous, the idiotic heroes or pig crime dramas or Marvel Comic Book drivel. Rarely do Americans see what they live out personally, or view what they struggle with daily, or get to watch people like themselves in this battle to get the oppressors and Eichmann’s to bend to their/our will and begin to apply the tenants of the Popsicle Theory.

Otto Zehm

I can end with story after story of humanity hog-tied or knee-butted to death by the cops. Add to that demographic people living with psychological-intellectual-developmental disabilities.

You do not have to surf the internet long to find a few cases of autistic men and women or boys and girls getting pepper sprayed and handcuffed and body slammed by the pigs.

There is that case of Otto Zehm, and then Alien Boy which I wrote about here at DV. “Watching Brian Lindstrom’s Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse, I am reminded of my forty plus years in and around cops, with mentally distressed clients, as a social worker with homeless and re-entry and veteran clients, and as a teacher in many alternative high school programs, community college, prisons, with military students, and with adults living with developmental disabilities.”

I think that most of us instinctively avoid people with mental illness.

I think in many ways what my films are about is that search for my grandpa’s dentures: for that humanizing narrative that bridges the gap between “us” and “them” to arrive at a “we.”
—Brian Lindstrom, documentarian

Zehm was 32 years old when the Spokane cops killed him by putting him on the ground and forcing a cop’s weight onto his back while Otto’s diaphragm collapsed. He was a custodian, and back in 2006, the Spokesman Review deemed him as a mentally disabled custodian.

He went into a mini-mart for soda. It took almost a decade to find the pig guilty of murder. And this is how the DA and cops think of “mentally disabled custodians” —

Zehm either “attacked” the officers or at least refused to comply with their commands. Police Chief Jim Nicks said Tuesday that Zehm “immediately engaged” the first officer.

“Whether he lunged or turned quickly on him, whatever the case may be, the officer clearly felt there was a risk there,” Nicks said. “The suspect had a large two-liter bottle of pop. The officer had to take all those things into consideration as far as what level of threat this might be.

“But the bottom line is they had a duty and an obligation to detain and control him.” — Spokesman Review

I’ve been down this road many times over the years. My first police encounter as a newspaper reporter was in Ajo, Arizona. A very long time ago. Pima County Sheriff responds to a mother’s call about her Vietnam War veteran son having a mental crisis out front in the desert front yard. Fenced in. He needed some meds. The cops show up. And, while the veteran was on his mother’s property, which essentially was being paid for through the vet’s job and benefits, the deputy pulled his gun on the other side of the property line. He tells the 38 year old to drop the small knife.

A knife brandished by a shirtless and barefoot fellow in his OWN front yard.

Justified-six-shots-to-the-torso homicide. I was 19, and back then, I had  this gig as a newspaper reporter, the so-called “sexy” cop beat, and, while I pushed my editors to allow some of my secondary interviews into the piece (interviews I did from a USC criminal justice reforming professor, another from a police chief in Akron) well, those were cut from the published article. Those two sources discussed how police are ripe for this sort of homicide, and how the system is rigged to defend civilian killing cops. That was 43 years ago.

I spent time with the vet’s mother and his ex-wife, and in reality, this guy was pretty cool, a great rock hound, three years at the university in hard rock geology, but his PTSD was way too much. PTSD wasn’t even the terminology back then in 1976.

I think of Otto Zehm all the time now. I knew of him and said hello to him a few times while I lived and taught in Spokane. He cleaned at the Community Building where I did a lot of gigs as a poet and teacher. I had my radio show in that building, and I ran into Otto a lot.

There is no way in hell Otto could have done harm to a cop.

The irony is that in 2006 I wasn’t working yet directly in the field of developmental disabilities. Sure, I had students who had psychological disabilities, and some students with accommodations. Many students who came back from the killing mountains of the Middle East.

I ended up working with adults with developmental disabilities in Portland and the three-county area 8 years later.

Now I am back at it, and, I think about some of my very verbal and far-thinking men and women with autism disorders. I think of their defiance and their questioning and their inability “to get” that cops or pigs or sheriff deputies just are itching for a bruising. They expect instant compliance. That is compliance from a disabled person, or from a three star black general or a Mexican American female attorney.

You can read about the extrajudicial killings this country’s allows. And that, again, is the Popsicle Test failure Number 999,999.

All those promises for reform. With the Portland Police Bureau. Seattle PD. Spokane PD. A thousand other PD’s blemished overtly with police brutality, police coverups, police maleficence.

No Popsicles for the People. Including the Developmentally Disabled.

Amid coronavirus, parents want ice cream vendors to return - Los Angeles  Times

for Makenna . . . daughter, Celtic hounds’ tooth swimmer, goddess of fire

by Paul Haeder / January 30th, 2021

split second
like your birth
listening to me
still womb-huddled
maybe my booming
voice, a father’s whelping
call, a miracle of universal
labor, winched you out

split second
viral unleashed
sagging immune
system, his body
ravaged by chemo
the light in his
eyes, flipped around
brain swelling
your uncle journeyed
from microbiologist
to “daft one”
culled by total
cranial confusion
he mustered up
a 9-year old’s
glee: board games
cards, his whispers
fading light of

you his niece
holding court
as he tossed dice
went through
‘Sorry’ rituals
you learned young
fragility of brain:
air light water fire
wind from scattered
billions heaved
into premature death
you showed him empathy
but the empath’s
thread of prescience, too

do fathers really
tell daughters
their gift to life
are their orbs of emanating
rays, light soaked into
old epidermis shooting
into a father’s brain
corpuscle by corpuscle
more than daughter’s
DNA, but your wise
spirit, battered in ways
buoyant in other passages
split second light
turns inward, or
shuts half off
brain injury, traumatic
life shuffling
anything can split-fray
memory, spiritual continence

the father, me, holds
memory like grasps
hanging over jagged
edges, preserving
father for you
I feather memory
into rejuvenation
as gravity pulls
corpus closer
to the ground
from where you sprang

[photo by Makenna D. Haeder, Ice-Age Flood trickle, Spokane River] 

The tables were turned — David Rovics interviewed me in a wide-ranging, tangentially themed hour a few days ago. Here is what one Dissident Voice article has to say about Portland, OR-based Rovics.

He is not one to wait for his turn to talk. He listens intently and when I’m finished asks another question. After all that Rovics has seen and heard during more than 20 years as a singer-song writer who has performed all over the world, he has yet to act like a self-proclaimed expert on anything. — “The Social Significance of David Rovics” by Jasmin Ramsey, July 25th, 2009

David and I have talked, exchanged emails, and alas, we are a few 110 miles away from each other, he in my old haunts, Portland, and me on the Central Oregon Coast.

Lyrics by Rovics strike me hard since I was a social services activist and practitioner in Portland for people who were homeless, civilians, youth, ex-military and former prisoners.

Each couch by the street has a story
I wonder what this one maybe
Did they leave their home and move into a car
Or find a sofa to sleep on at a friend’s house
Did they stay near, or go far away
Disappear without a trace […]
When they come to evict your neighbor, what will you do?

— “Each Couch by the Street” song by David Rovics

We both feel the sting of parasitic capitalism as artists and writers (we are artists) in this predatory and war capitalism, pre- and during-the-plandemic.

Here’s what I stated:

Rovics is acutely aware that most of the thriving artists who might weather economic tsunamis are white artists, but there are thousands upon thousands of BIPOC artists who continue working but do not have those “safety nets” underneath them. The mainstream and commercial art scene will continue to be a white wave.

This gentrification is now coupled with lack of income(s), Rovics says, as artists who used to be able to show and sell their work (and bar-tend and wait tables), and in the case of musicians, perform and then peddle “merch” at venues, have zero options for in-person engagement.

Mounting debt, continuing eviction threats, and increasing vulnerability to disease and illness also are additional factors to the mental health stress of artists. David knows of artists who just have shut down, and can’t work. Others are manic, going through sleepless periods but producing a lot. For Rovics, he fits this latter category, but he admits he is not immune to GAD – general anxiety disorder. He told me he watches a lot more news feeds than he did before the pandemic, and doesn’t sleep through the night. — “On the Streets, In Union Halls, On the Frontlines: Have Guitar, Will Travel” by Paul Haeder, November 25th, 2020

Listen to the interview. Yes, we covered a lot of topics, and the kernel of the interview is around my own newspaper journalist roots, and the many jobs I have had in communications — as a faculty at colleges and universities teaching writing, composition, literature and creative writing. And as a writer who happens to need a 9 to 5 job to continue writing in this exploitative and dead-end celebrity culture.

I do this sort of writing to promote where I work, and for now, it’s with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Job developer, coach, life skills mentor, and more: “When the going gets tough, Shangri-La comes to the rescue”

I’ve written about this many times, and many of the pieces have ended up in Dissident Voice, which is a semi-safe harbor in the sea of chaotic blogs, aggregating news sites, and specialty discussion boards and Zeens.

The number of gun sales in Oregon by Christmas Day, 2020, was a whopping 400,000. The year before, an anemic 300,000.

It is the law of the gun. Guns in jets, guns in bombers, guns in schools, guns here on the streets, in Salem, at the Capital, guns in Grand Theft Auto V, guns in purses, guns in boudoirs, guns in locker-rooms, guns in nurseries, guns in  churches, guns in cars, guns in drones, guns guns guns.

Dalton Trumbo, quote from Johnny Got His Gun :

An equation: 40,000 dead young men = 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain matter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will never be lived, 100,000 children that will never be born (the last we can afford: there are too many starving children in the world already)….

Did anybody ever come back from the dead any single one of the millions who got killed did any one of them ever come back and say by god I’m glad I’m dead because death is always better than dishonor? Did they say I’m glad I died to make the world safe for democracy? Did they say I like death better than losing liberty? Did any of them ever say it’s good to think I got my guts blown out for the honor of my country? Did any of them ever say look at me I’m dead but I died for decency and that’s better than being alive? Did any of them ever say here I am I’ve been rotting for two years in a foreign grave but it’s wonderful to die for your native land? Did any of them say hurray I died for womanhood and I’m happy see how I sing even though my mouth is choked with worms?

Of course, the sideshow bantering about the attack on the Capitol, the five dead in DC (remember Four Dead in Ohio?), who did what, is it a coup, are the halls of Congress sacred and hallowed, and something never seen before in the history of the United Snakes of America.

(from “Journey Through The Past” soundtrack)

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
Four dead in Ohio (Four dead)
Four dead in Ohio (Four)
Four dead in Ohio (How many?)
Four dead in Ohio (How many more?)
Four dead in Ohio (Why?)
Four dead in Ohio (Oh!)
Four dead in Ohio (Four)
Four dead in Ohio (Why?)
Four dead in Ohio (Why?)

Of course, hysterical bantering on both sides of the political manure pile. Then all those “defund the police” woke people now wanting to throw the book at anyone and everyone at the “event,” even those milling around, or those who just came in for a selfie and had nothing to do with the ramming of the Capitol doors and baracades.

This is an inside job, of course — white nationalists in the police department, and a bunch of others flashing badges to get inside the Rotunda.

Impeach again, do a 25th amendment thing, call out the Guard, more laws, more fences, more surveillance tools, more eye, face, skin recognition AI. The trillions being made, passed back and forth, and the people with MAGA hats, and the people with Biden Buttons, the moldy media, the entire shit show really doesn’t give us a look at the new normal. This is old hand, the Cool Hand Luke world of Indian Slaughtering and Slave Torturing.

[Speaking to her son Luke] You know, sometimes, I wished people was like dogs, Luke. Comes a time, a day like, when the bitch just don’t recognize the pups no more, so she don’t have no hopes nor love to give her pain. She just don’t give a damn.”— ArlettaCool Hand Luke

Oh, the upside world of right-side thinking — Many people arrested during the J20 protests of Trump’s inauguration, as you will recall, faced decades in prison for breaking storefront windows. Then, those two Black Lives Matter protesters who are lawyers, Colin Mattis and Urooj Rahman, went to town on an empty NYPD police car (vandalizing it) and are now facing federal charges with a sentence of 45 years to life.

The slippery slope that is the United Snakes of America. Lock her up. Abu Ghraib them all. Throw the key away.

Look, I have been thrown down and handcuffed several times over the years for, get this, peaceful protests. Protests where we had a fucking license (parade permit) to do our little First Amendment show.

In Arizona, in Texas, in Washington, in Oregon. I have been thrown down and cuffed as a teacher. As a frigging journalist. Try and protest the timber tyrants, or push for dam removal, or how about protesting Sea World or a zoo or circus for their elephant imprisonments.

I guarantee, those Proud Boys, those MAGA women we see at events, at the Capitol, all those bearded bikers, those blue-collar millionaires, come on, liberals, there is no dialogue to be had. They never has been. You think there is dialogue here?

They are unable to reason with evidence. In fact, they exclude or misrepresent it. They are incapable (literally) of thinking in a “complex” way, considering the dynamic integration of five or more variables, each one carrying vectors of competing classes, histories, nuances, and identities not subordinate to the narrowness of life, mercantile ideology, linear and rigid as the interests of capital accumulation. Their most humane reasoning is a rehash of the most banal philanthropic vocabulary, spread in self-help seminars or business coaching. — Source, Granma

Elizabeth Eckford, age 15, pursued by a mob at Little Rock Central High School on the first day of the school year, September 4, 1957

So, that was a whopping 64 years ago, the year I was born.  We can go back farther:

Notice the smiles:

Sure, remarkable what the old deplorables did at the Capitol?

Well, let’s go back to 1919, when a white mob rioted through the streets of Washington, DC, while cops passively stood by and President Woodrow Wilson remained silent. A Black community in what’s now the Shaw neighborhood (Utah Avenue and Logan Circle) drove back the rampagers. Forty people were killed over a three day period. Who incited it? It took more than a 100 years for the esteemed Washington Post to admit to inciting and abetting it. The NAACP wrote a scorching letter to Wilson, the most racist president of the 20th century:

the shame put upon the country by the mobs, including United States soldiers, sailors, and marines, which have assaulted innocent and unoffending negroes in the national capital. Men in uniform have attacked negroes on the streets and pulled them from streetcars to beat them. Crowds are reported …to have directed attacks against any passing negro.

I don’t know. I hate to pull rank, but I am surrounded by people who, to put it lightly, have been so insulated, so cloistered, so self-isolating, that the things I have done on the streets, and the people I ran with and those I worked with and those I still work with, and the ground-truthing, and, well, I can’t say so much more here because I have a job that requires me to have a spotless record, of sorts — all of that from the heart and mind I have done, it goes unknown by the cloisrtered ones. I won’t even get into what expungement means to me.

Even bourgeois life, when it infiltrates the head of the proletariat, usually produces pathetic ideological monstrosities. It produces, for example, reverential victims whose libido expands by repeating ready-made phrases and prefabricated slogans to anesthetize one’s own reality in very diverse contexts and times. The victims learn the rules of the oppressor: Everything else before questioning their premises and conclusions. Everything before recognizing differences and diversities. All to incense their precepts and their egos infected with legal mediocrity. That is what the bourgeois palestras live on and their disciples learn a lot (knowingly or not) from that. They are armies of the ideology of the ruling class in daily action. Stuck here and there, infiltrated in the media and in the modes. They are all armed, with speaking swords, convinced that they must convince us, and impose on us their authoritarianism of egos and sell us their mediocrity made up as if it were a civilizing achievement. — Source

But I am hearing these bizarre things about the entire Capitol Siege, and alas, more censorship, more incarceration, more DA’s, more scrutiny, and, sure, we have a messed up country, but it has ALWAYS been that. The elites and the so-called liberal class have not been warriors of true egalitarianism and Marxist economy and organization. This here country is all about opportunities, and hoarders, and many of those “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” la-la land folk, well, they are dream hoarders. I guarantee many of those LA stars caught in the scandals involving paying bribes to get their vaunted children in the best schools are/were/will be Obama-Hillary-Biden backers.

The country was set up for a gilded age, followed by another and another gilded age. Now it’s Bitcoin Age, with the Digital Technologists and the Millions Working on Apps and AI and Robotics, well, they are right smack at the top of that next Fourth Industrial Revolution Gilded Few.

There is no housing guaranteed. There is no medical care guaranteed. Teeth rotting? Good luck, Charlie. Bosses strip away any semblance of our rights, and we can’t organize into collective bargaining units without $2000 an hour legal outfits swooping in with their Leer Jets to denigrate and dissolve solidarity through every trick of the book.

The son-in-law Jared Kushner’s old man, pardoned. For what? Here we have it, no, the chosen elite:

Jared’s father was actually prosecuted back in the early 2000s by Chris Christie, then the US Attorney for New Jersey.

While under investigation, Charles hatched a revenge plot against his brother-in-law, William Schulder, for cooperating with prosecutors in a tax evasion case against him. Charles hired a hooker to have sex with Schulder in a Jersey motel room, where a hidden camera was rolling. The elder Kushner then sent the footage to Schulder’s wife, Ester, who is Charles’ sister.

The revenge plot backfired … the Schulders gave the footage to prosecutors, who tracked down the prostitute. She eventually snitched on Charles.

Christie recalled Charles’ plot last year, calling it “one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes” he ever prosecuted.

Look, there are people even on sites like DV who really believe there is a dialogue to be had with those Trumpies. This is the first sign of weakness and sickness. I live in a rural locale. I have lived in big cities but spent much time in flyover country, much time with ranchers, blue collars types, farmers, construction folk, pipe fitters, cement workers, and more. I guarantee, I have had hundreds of conversations with people who truly believe they are the great white race, that the great USA is a land of KKK milk and Slaver honey.

Flags that appeared at the MAGA-Rage: Trump flag, Gadsden Flag, American flag, Blue Lives Matter Flag, monarchist Iranian flag, Confederate flag, Israeli flag. But, that sorry-assed Robert Reich said Trump could thank Putin, even though not one flag of the Russian Federation was found. .

Primary Mockup

Old Mitch, in his youth:

Then there is the quintessential white hope, Trump, pushing off the Medal of Freedom to South African golfer Gary Player, who believed that South African blacks were/are not as evolved as his white ass: Here, endorsing apartheid in his 1966 book Grand Slam Golf:

I must say now, and clearly, that I am of the South Africa of Verwoerd and apartheid … a nation which … is the product of its instinct and ability to maintain civilised values and standards amongst the alien barbarians.

Barbarians, one and all. Think of all the people working 80 or 90 hours a week, for staffing agencies. Mostly women, pounded and pounding the keyboard, the spreadsheet, the phone, to get people jobs in the warehouse, or in those manufacturing dungeons, or in trucking, logistics et al business.

In a Time of Covid-19. Think of all the people trying to survive, waiting for the revenuers and the repo men and women and the eviction notices from those Black Lives Do Not Matter Blue Lives Matter deputies. Knocking on the trailer door at 10 pm. Serving papers after millions of papers served.

The cops, lording over the forced evictions, the cars and furniture and appliances hauled off. They, in their SWAT Team gear, fancy squad SUV’s, amazing, stoic and mean men and women, while the babies and children and old people in wheelchairs are carted off.

Scenes from the Nazi’s coming into France and overtaking homes, belongings.


My aged friend, Barbara, 71, writes this to me today:

Meanwhile, Wall Street is booming, Bitcoin is soaring, and Big Tech is consolidating to fend against anti-trust actions.

Co-ordinated efforts? Seems to be the PUSH for the privatization of EVERYTHING as good soldiers for “democracy..  (little d)

All the world is a STAGE, Paul.  All this nonsense of defending anything is a ruse….
The media PLATFORMS have never made so much money all over the world…this is a gold rush…they won’t be stopping this anytime soon.

And then I just have to go back a few centuries, and remember the number 1.5 billion. 1,500,000,00 acres. Stolen. From Native Americans:

Their tenuous grasp of the subject is regrettable if unsurprising, given that the conquest of the continent is both essential to understanding the rise of the US and deplorable. Acre by acre, the dispossession of native peoples made the US a transcontinental power. To visualize this story, I created ‘The Invasion of America’, an interactive time-lapse map of the nearly 500 cessions that the US carved out of native lands on its westward march to the shores of the Pacific.

I guarantee those MAGA’s and Deplorables and their Backers are not shedding any tears for the First Nations? No tears for slaves or the legacy of generational trauma. Is it a brain wiring problem? Is it education? Family influences? Look at that map above.

I also guarantee those liberal right writers and prognosticators are not having real dialogues with redneck lumber guys and gals, redneck fishers, redneck construction gals and guys. Ex-military. Current cops.

Europe’s 20th century atrocities are easier for most people to envision than the dispossession of Native Americans. Stalin’s gulags destroyed millions of people in the 1930s and ’40s; Germany systematically murdered two-thirds of the continent’s Jews during the Second World War; Yugoslavia devolved into a bloodbath of so-called ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the early 1990s. Accounts of those episodes describe the victims as men, women and children. By contrast, the language used to chronicle the dispossession of native peoples – ‘Indian’, ‘chief’, ‘warrior’, ‘tribe’, ‘squaw’ (as native women used to be called) – conjures up crude stereotypes and clouds the mind, making it difficult to see the wars of extermination, forced marches and expulsions for what they were. The story, which used to be celebratory, is now more often tragic and sentimental, rooted in the belief that the dispossession of native peoples was unjust but inevitable. 
— Claudio Saunt, Richard B Russell Professor in American History, co-director of the Center for Virtual History, and associate director of the Institute of Native American Studies, all at the University of Georgia. His latest book is Unworthy Republic (2020). He lives in Athens, Georgia.

Now I can end with my own aggressive article on the Zoom Doom. My own, but what’s the point, uh, when my friends have their AA meetings on Zoom, and my workplace is Zooming, and the entire country’s transfixed by Zoom, Twitter, Fuck-You-Book, Tik-Tok, Instagram. Look, I have been teaching college since 1983, and I fought and I fought against correspondence schools, and fought and fought against on-line schools. Some tenured retired piece of human smear from UT-El Paso, living the life of luxury in Hawaii, and teaching the juicy literature courses. This was before Zoom doom. The illogic and inequity of that, well, it fell on deaf ears.

I have studied this up front and personal. Thousands of students I have taught, and many more thousands I have come across as an activist and big time (for a while) teach-in and conference and year-long theme organizer. I guarantee, every single hands-on activity, every single river clean up, every single face to face with a controversial author or thinker are the only way to learn for most people!. But I will give you this piece from the Wrong Kind of Green. The link and some quotes. I’ve done the research myself on this, however. I have attended dozens of talks and conferences and dog and pony shows with fellow faculty and administrators saying we have to treat students as customers. We have to go bog with big tech. We need more remote options. Less faculty, more people served over the WWW. I have been a union organizer of faculty (PT) and I have seen this stiff arm salute after stiff arm salute to the Brown Shirts of Tech. In the Union, and in the colleges and universities where I did my work. I am currently working (wage slave with four college degrees getting paid just above the minimum Portland, Oregon wage) with adults on training them and assisting them and coaching them and mentoring them on how to get, keep and move on with jobs. You know, adults with ID/DD. Oh, that’s about a 80 percent unemployment rate for these clients.

My job is to get them mainstreamed work, not in some sheltered workshop (Think Goodwill in the old days having people with Downs Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy and the like in a room sticking badges together for 25 cents an hour) or enclave (Think of a big office, and those same people listed above put in another room stuffing envelopes for, oh, half pay).

Lo and behold, I am going out to see my clients, to see their foster parents, their guardians, their parents and families. FACE to FACE. While the higher paid with Oregon-drenched benefits and health insurance health and human services and service coordinators all sit at home in front of their computers, demanding we all meet in a Zoom Doom room or Google hangout.

Now we have new shelters (not for the houseless) and new enclaves (not for the starving). Zooming and living 24/7 on the shit they pass off as journalism, news. One more stupid comment about Trump and about the yahoos storming the capitol, well, then, I guess I will go ballistic AGAINST the dimwit controlled Democrats.

Give these greenie weenies or rightwing liberals this news, and they try to attack (one Fuck-You-Book or the like, digitally). Imagine Noam Chomsky calling the Republican Party as the most dangerous organization on earth, and then you get this from the Dementia Patient, Bumbling Pathetic Biden and his More Pathetic Caregivers:

Biden’s principal concern yesterday was to uphold the stability of the Republican Party itself. “We need a Republican Party,” he said. “We need an opposition that is principled and strong.” He referred several times during his brief remarks to his “Republican friends,” and stressed that he would strive to “unify” Republicans and Democrats to accomplish “things we have to agree on and work together on.”

Within the framework of American bourgeois politics, Biden’s statement that the Democrats need a “strong” Republican Party means that the worst possible outcome would be a rout of the party of Trump, the incubator of fascism. Biden and the Democrats want to make sure that a political instrument essential to the defense of ruling class interests is not shattered by the at least temporary failure of the coup.

As for a future Biden administration, it will be a right-wing regime viciously hostile to the working class. Biden’s effort to strengthen the Republican Party is aimed at marginalizing and attacking the left. It is combined with the twin pillars of Democratic Party politics, the anti-Russia narrative of the military and intelligence agencies and the promotion of racialist conflict. The policy of a Democratic-run government will create the best conditions for the further growth of the far-right.

World Socialist Website, another one of thousands of alternative being killed by Google Gulag.

Now, of course I am trauma informed, caring, a caregiver for people with any number of mental, physical, psychological challenges. But Biden is not my client or patient. Nor is the psychopath Trump who also has diagnosable mental illnesses. And the millions of others in the billionaire, millionaire, celebrity, political class. Yes, there are millions of elites and those in power and the cops and pigs of security and the soldiers and their generals with diagnosable mental and psychological illnesses, BUT I AM NOT THEIR CAREGIVER! So my attacks on the presidents’ mental acumen or psychological issues and their proclivity to sexual assault and misogamy, well, they might be from their DNA strains and family upbringing, but again, I AM NOT THEIR COUNSEOLR. So let me rail!

More mental illness on the horizon, big time! All schools closed. And this is it for USA, for the globe, now — all mothed-balled at home, trembling like Anne Frank, but she faced death squads of Nazi’s, and they, us, now we are hiding away from the flu, the Covid-19, but really hiding away from people, from messy and loud and confronting people! That is what is happening in colleges of all places. Doom Zoom Rooms. And most students are okay with it, because 18-and-20-year-olds have been brought up with Chrome Books and all that anal probe technology.

I’ll pull rank — I have taught for centuries, been an activist for centuries and still have been put into a place where I too have had to learn the totalitarian tools of the Google and Gates Brownshirts. I guarantee, kind folks, I am not some Luddite, and alas, I guarantee, the ranch has been sold down the river. That ranch being clear thinking, aggressive antigovernmental and anti-corporation thinking, great people skills, community-based work and education. That ranch has been sold down that old river of the Military-AI-Digital-Surveillance-Big Biz-Big Media-Big Ed-Big/Rotten/Monopoly INDUSTRIAL complex.

Shift those narratives, those perspectives, those ideas, and cull history, dissuade dissidence, radical thinking, outside-the-box questioning, and you get a shifting baseline disorder. And Collective Stockholm Syndrome. Collective nanosecond by nanosecond general anxiety disorder. That is what the masters and their brownshirts and Gestapo and SS do to generation after generation.

And I am composing this on a laptop. And it’s shit or shite. Slower and slower everyday. Lenovo . . . Core i5.Super model, FIVE years ago. This is the masterplan — get us all dependent on our diapers, hole us up, get the middle managers at home and ordering the rest of us around with their Zoom Doom triple-chin glee. Order classes delivered on-line, order self-help coaches to deliver drivel on-line, order dildos on-line with on-line video instructions. Get those Doritos and Dramamine from Bezos and Walton and Company. They (USPS, Fed-Ex and UPS) do not even knock on your door for deliveries. They deliver all that shit/shite by leaving the shit/shite outside.

Now, a million lifetimes of people looking at what sanitoria do to the human and community psyche, what orphanages do to developing brains, what isolation does, what solitary confinement does, prisons, etc., and what the typical older or aging shut-in faces. Millions of lifetime hours researching what is good for little Johnny and little Juanita and old Mabel and old Chung. Millions and millions of white papers and theses and journal articles on why isolation is bad on the body, brain and body politic.

Zoom Doom. I am slated to be part of an Oregon “legacy author” reading, and that means I have to turn in a recording of me talking about me, talking about the influence of Oregon’s landscape on me, and then they say “read for about 5 minutes from your most recent work.” FIVE FUCKING minutes of the actual writing And, the library where I send this recording to can edit it. Hmm, what do they not want in and what do they want out . . . what is or is not acceptable to their patrons?

Death by a million edits, a million censorings, a trillion self-censorings JUST to be heard or paid or to move on. Faustian bargains every three steps in our lives, by the hundreds, daily for some of us.

Vaccine passport? Of course. I had one when I was six months old when we went from LA to the Azores. I had one in France, Germany in the 1960s, I had them when I worked in the prisons as a teacher. I have had to prove my negative TB results working with adults in a memory care facility and with adults with ID/DD. I have had to get my tetanus shots and prove it. All those tropical disease vaccinations, yep, proof to work in Guatemala and Vietnam.

So, yes, my military days, proof of vaccinations. Forced vaccinations. SARS-CoV2,3,18,222 will be the same.

And these adults, holed up at home, in front of their newer and newer laptops, triple screens, super printers, amazing mic and video cams, newer and newer software, more and more Brownshirt Techies having control of more and more of our lives.

So, yes, we should QUESTION it all. To find some sort of realized and studied truths. Today’s solutions are tomorrow’s problems. But the rightwing liberals want compliant people, virtual signaling, no questioning the narrative, and now there are thousands of narratives being developed by the Brownshirts!

Virtual learning is training affluent students for a life of self-directed work at home. It is training low-income students for a life of no work at all. Alex Gutentag

Long-distance learning

Here’s Alex’s last paragraph. Yes, he did a good job, but alas, schools need massive reforming, revamping, rethinking, and that takes our collective effort. There are hundreds of ways to teach, and there are many many youth being left behind, dropped, scolded for their actions, and yes, we have hundreds of millions of people going into schools who have multiple chronic illnesses, many mental challenges, psychological challenges, and yes, each child is a product of what they eat, drink, see, watch, read, do, think, believe, hear, see, smell, touch, create, imagine, dream, and breathe. And all that in terms of what they DO NOT eat, drink, see . . . . etc.

If a society wants to put any hundreds and hundreds of groups, demographics, people in this or that category on the chopping block 100 million, 200 million?), then that’s what you get in 1800’s slavery days, 1800’s kill all Indians days, and “Every tenth Indian can be kept alive” Teddy Roosevelt days, and you get the racist supremacist nature of Capitalism then, right at the start, when the Columbus evil hit those island shores, onward, including just back a few decades back, last year and now.

Sacrifice Zones are where those of us in the 80 Percent who are the walking and wounded are kept because of those EZ’s — economic zones. Exclusive partnerships with the devils of finance with the devils of industry with the devils of Brownshirts Tech and the devils in government, mostly politicians and the whores of K-Street.

Schools are necessary for communal and individual well-being—they are just as essential as health care. In their education children do not only learn content; they also learn by example and through experience. It is our collective task to consider what message continued policies of school closure and austerity send to the younger generation. They will not forget it if we fail to develop alternatives. — AG

"Greater income inequality, increased unemployment, growing dependence on government, and more mass migrations are a few of the most pressing problems that failing to train the next generation of workers for the digitally driven economy will bring." [page 3]

Paul Kirk Haeder has covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/ community journalism in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He’s worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, and PK12 districts. He organized part-time faulty. His book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. He blogs from Waldport, Oregon. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque JournalRead other articles by Paul, or visit Paul’s website.

This article was posted on Sunday, January 10th, 2021 at 8:15am and is filed under ActivismAnti-slaveryClassismCultureDonald TrumpGunsOpinionOriginal PeoplesPrejudiceProtestsRacism.


he holds by-catch

silent guy, put

on “the spectrum”

he sorts through whiting

salmon sharks

cookie cutters

threshers, dog fish

indiscriminate lashing of 

boat nets, trawling and seining

vast ecosystems

Pacific depths

Learn More: Shark Bycatch | Oceana Europe


he knows 500 species

by heart, Asperger’s

the old label

he pulls in gasping sharks

or flat octopus

even the state

gal with book

in hand is stumped

but our young man

diagnosed 30 years

ago, first grader

mother pushing

boy, until now

in an RV overlooking

the docks he works

hour after hour sorting

menial sometimes 70

hours in week:

Shark Bycatch – A Budding Conservationist's Mind


obligate ram ventilators

their lives are continual swimming

passing water onto gills

oxygen keystone

gillnets are their




white tip reef

scalloped hammerhead


pelagic blue

Brian Raymond: Bycatch ::


wreathing on seafloor

caught in a web

slow death

sounds only this young

man, trapped in autistic

elegance, in awe of death

he brings home jaws

dumps babies from

shark bellies into

pickle jars

drying shark skin

hanging up in RV

he’ll try cooking

anything they let him

take, shark graveyard

finds, like archeologist

he holds


in between

long nimble fingers

California Sets New Rules on Drift Gillnets | Shark, Save our oceans,  Sustainable fishing

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” –Upton Sinclair

The College Degrees are Part of the Problem, not the Solution 

Moreover, this false consciousness of the holder of the university degree is to some extent legitimized by the “social expectation” of the family, community or society that believes that “university degrees are automatic vehicles for personal and family socioeconomic advancement”. And there is no greater self-deception than this in a free market of titles with closed labor markets!

One more detail. Just as a college degree doesn’t make its holder more learned or more capable of surviving on a crisis-ridden planet, it doesn’t make him or her more honest or ethical than the rest. Graduates aren’t better rulers/authorities, better public administrators, or better caretakers of Mother Earth, just because they carry a degree! Let’s look at the current dire political stories of Abya Yala.    Ollantay Itzamná 


Image result for POTS syndrome

So it starts here – “What do you think 2021 will have in store, Paul?” Or, an article from the New Yorker on the year of the plan, err, pan-demic!

Feb 12, 2021 – The Year of the Metal Ox. Chinese Zodiac. And, what is that 2020 Year of the Rat signifying in its last throes? The rat – persistent, enormously large in p[populations, easily malleable, cleaver, smart, and  . . .

The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.

The Rat is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支 / dì zhī) Zi (子) and the midnight hours. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳 / yīn yáng), the Rat is yang and represents the beginning of a new day.

Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.

In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.

Paired with the Celestial Stems (天干 / Tiān gān), there is a 60-year calendrical cycle. Although zi is associated with water, the years also cycle through the five elements of nature (五行 / wǔ xíng).  Source.

Batty for Bats

The reality is this 2020, not ending until Feb. 12 2021, is a year of nothing new under the sun, but for a majority of the world, this is the year of multiple plagues.

Those plagues, hmm, go deeper than some bioweaponized virus. Or should I say, now, bioweaponized speech.

The novel corona virus. Right. So, wet meat markets have been around for centuries. Bats? Corona? Count that over 42 or more bat viruses of them.

Most of the oldest known bat fossils were already very similar to modern microbats , such as Archaeopteropus (32 million years ago). The extinct bats Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon (48 million years ago) and Hassianycteris kumari (55 million years ago) are the first fossil mammals whose colouration has been discovered: both were reddish-brown.

Batty for Bioweapons and Viruses

Very suspicious, no, the bioweapons labs and all their triple PhDs and MDs going back and forth from USA, Canada, Europe, Israel, and in a few cases, China. There are BSL-3 and BSL-4 protocols, but all of them put the scientists and workers in Haz-Mat suits with air source blasted into the head piece from an outside source. There are BSL-3 labs in many Ivy League schools, in Canada, and of course with the US Military in cahoots with various for-profits and governmental agencies.

Very suspicious indeed, no, Fort Detrick, Maryland, closed October 2019 for   safety (containment) violations.

But this auspicious year, of the ox, hmm, is it foreboding or is it a sign of change, huge change, positive change?

The Ox is the second of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal.

The Ox is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支 / dì zhī) Chǒu (丑) and the hours 1–3 in the morning. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳 / yīn yáng), the Ox is Yang.

Oxen are the hard workers in the background, intelligent and reliable, but never demanding praise.

In Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal. Because of its role in agriculture, positive characteristics, such as being hardworking and honest, are attributed to it.

Paired with the Celestial Stems (天干 / Tiān gān), there is a 60-year calendrical cycle. Although chǒu is associated with earth, the years also cycle through the five elements of nature (五行 / wǔ xíng).  Source 

Yin and Yang — The Age of Aquarius 

We are talking the yang against the yin of the rat. Certainly, the ox is huge in Chinese, Japanese and Korean culture. Symbolizing more than strength and hard work, but intelligence.

In the sheer anthropometric sense, the rats have always been in the USA – politics, banking, military, policing, business, and, alas, every sort of president has a slew of rats in their employ. Lots of rats eating at the inside out of this country. Rats, like a plague of Bill Gates, et al exploding on the land.

The hard-working ox, well, that is us, the eighty percent – the worker, the laborer, the knowledge workers who are in that white collar game for advancing social-cultural-racial-gender-economic-ecological justice.

Shoulders square, and one foot in front of the next. No stopping us. Except for, hmm, the “plague.”

And that is the plague of silence, the plague of weapons, the plague of money changers, the plague of police, the plague of chemists, the plague of all that is wrong with the “Complex.” Military-IT-Prison-Pharma-Med-Oil-Real Estate-Finance-Insurance-AI-Banking-Surveilence-Media-PR-Education-Law Complex.

Filled with “those” anthropized rats as the Plague Bearers’ Little and Big Eichmann’s.

Plagues — All Tied to Rapacious Capitalism, Predation, Shocks to the System

Let’s get back to the germ of this intellectual insemination – a friend emails me a day ago, with this article:

In April, Lawrence Wright published a shockingly prescient novel about a global pandemic sparked by a mysterious virus that originated in Asia. As his fictional world hewed ever closer to reality, and it became clear that the covid-19 outbreak was hardly the fleeting episode that President Trump insisted it would be, The New Yorker asked Wright to spend the better part of the year reporting this narrative.

Remarkably, the very scientist who had helped Wright invent a fictional pathogen and vaccine for his novel—Dr. Barney S. Graham, of the National Institutes of Health—ended up becoming the chief architect of the first two vaccines to be authorized for emergency use in the United States. In addition to Graham, Wright also interviewed epidemiologists, researchers, public-health experts, frontline medical responders, and key individuals across federal and local governments. The result is a work of sweeping reporting that takes readers inside laboratories, hospital rooms, and the White House for an astonishing and comprehensive examination of the science, the politics, and the human tragedy of the pandemic.

This week, we have devoted nearly the entire issue—something we’ve done on only a handful of occasions in The New Yorker’s history—to Wright’s exploration of the past year and what went so wrong with America’s response to the coronavirus. His narrative of the pandemic is filled with insights about vaccinology and White House intrigue, but among the most powerful segments of the piece are his portraits of ordinary Americans, such as Dr. Ebony Hilton, a Black anesthesiologist in Virginia, who knew from the start that the pandemic would lay bare our society’s deepest inequities. The pandemic may be the biggest story of our lifetime, but Wright, as always, has woven his tapestry from the smallest threads. —The Editors

I Am Asked Why, How, Who, What, When . . .  Because, well, here you go:

Now, I am working with adults with developmental disabilities, which is a concentrated, focused job, but I have time to check the dumb phone and email back this —

As always New York twits get it wrong ….. plague year? the head of one vaccine company with an Indian name says we are looking at a decade just with SARS-CoV2 …. Then the WHO says another thing, and it’s two years, with rescue drugs just around the corner (now we call this vaccine apartheid, because the poor and the LMIC’s  — low and middle income countries – will be shit out of luck)  …. but I’ll go with USA and DARPA as responsible for this novel virus and HIV and Lyme disease… and well read up on polio…. the vaccine caused/causes polio….. this ugly bioweaponry goes back to Hitler and even he refused to unleash his stockpile of sarin…. the irony uhh?

Check out this:

Five years to control the pandemic.

Four or five years to get the vaccine.

Pandemic supplies.

“This virus is here to stay,” said Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. “The question is, how do we live with it safely?”

Alas, this is emailing and texting USA. I am working, and getting my full attention on a New Yorker article takes a lot, and I easily skim the long piece, and it is same old middle-urine-stream writing, alas, elitist writer for an even more elitist publication. You will not get anyone on the doubting Thomas side of things tied to the origins of this virus, history of USA messing with viruses and gain in function experiments with RNA, and you won’t get people doubting the masks, doubting the positive rates, doubting lockdowns, doubting the efficacy of Gates and Fauci and the entire bombastic bunch in Trump’s LLC, and the weasel democrats, and, well, the media is the message, no longer the medium is the message.

I expect the reply from this particular friend because she is pugnacious and at 71 with her own multiple odd and curious intersections with spooks, CIA, Iran-Contra, I have to let it fly.

Curious… Why do YOU think DARPA, et al, released this bioweapon?  Why are you convinced that it’s from the USA? Like 9/11 and JFK assassination….the conspiracies and perspectives are endless.

I understand complexity but somewhere along the line, there must be a general reason for all of this.

Please don’t say, “So the wealthy can keep and control the currency”. Or….It is written in the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Vita or the freakin’ stars.

So say you…….. What’s BEHIND the “Grand Plan” to poison humanity and make every living place uninhabitable? Are we merging with the “DEVINE”?   HA!

Now, the response may sound perturbed, but this friend knows my disposition and my serious look at the world of Capitalism, and the elites and a few million sociopaths who would unleash any manner of death to the globe. Here, one response:

Whew. I thought my years knowing you and pontificating and polemizing were enough for you to understand why I know DARPA, US Military, US Tech (now) and Big Pharma and other covert forces do the things they do, and have a documented history of doing those things.

So, I will have to write a Dissident Voice piece, using your series of questions as the jumping off point, okay?

Look, I may just be some scraggly wannabe novelist, failed, and someone way outside my ability zone struggling, but I have been around the block a few times. And I am a story teller, which means I have inserted myself into many people’s lives. As well as studying the real journalists of our time.

So, the friends I have had, and even senior NCO students I taught, and my own two fucked up years in the military, and my old man’s 32 years total, and then all his friends and colleagues, and my work in Central America and Vietnam, well, Barbara . . . .

Fort Detrick and DARPA and a bunch of other actors have been researching and morphing and bioengineering viruses for decades. That’s documented.

However, Fort Detrick, under the auspices of bioweapons researchers, civilian and military, and DARPA, have created vaccinations and formularies that were given to my buddies. Experimental malarial vaccines in 1977, as my buddies were Airborne in Thailand and other parts. Many years of forced vaccinations, forced prescription drug use, etc.

An extra $300 a month in 1977, and signed documents saying once the person dies, in or out of the military, the body goes to the US military, err, DARPA, bioweapons labs at Plumb Island, Fort Detrick and dozens of other places.

The corona viruses have been around for tens of thousands of years, or more. In bats. There have been guano collectors, bat eaters, and others for thousands of years. I was in bat caves, with Vietnamese and Laotians who caught bats — even the ones we were studying — and put them in oil and deep fried them, and alas, I ate a few to not show the pussy American wimpy side. I have been with guano collectors in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Vietnam.

Do you think you want to believe that a wet meat market — they have been around for thousands of years — really realized this novel virus, and now others, and now variants and more and more and more?

I have some cheap land for sale on the Pacific in Nicaragua I’d like to sell you, woman.

I am not sure what you are asking? There are not a million conspiracies around 9/11, nor are there dozens even, around JFK, MLK, RFK, et al. There are not dozens even for SARS-CoV2. I can point you to real researchers and journalists and book writers who have dug deep. I guarantee the conspiracy in each case, well, it is not some jumbled up at cross-purposes thing.

But, enough, already. I will try and address your skepticism or your fair series of questions in a long polemic. Give me a day or two.

Vietnam and ecocide and some pretty strange poisons from moldy wheat and other lovelies sprayed on the Viet Cong. Agent Orange as a soil contaminant. Shit, you want the research paper on cigarettes’ connection to lung cancer that came out in, drumroll, 1956? So, a system of capitalism run by sociopaths, hmm, they knew the cancer connection, multiplied by number of people smoking worldwide, and, alas, how many have died from smoking related diseases. Right, not a conspiracy.

Here, from another heroine. The observation apocryphally attributed to socialist activist Rosa Luxemburg, imprisoned for her opposition to German involvement in World War I and then summarily executed by the state, expresses it best: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

Because Capitalism is Efficient, Has Invisible Hands, Gift that Keeps on Giving

I get the questions sent to me via email, from various places my piece end up as my primary publishing source, and then those on the WWW who take pieces and put them onto other sites.

Always the ones about — “Show me socialism in the world that works? Remember, those socialists in Soviet Union and China murdered tens of millions. Capitalism has brought people out of poverty. Socialism puts people into poverty. The USA, for the most part (according to Gallop or PEW or Fox News) is a great country that gives to the world, that produces the brightest and the best, that is the place where all those ‘other” people risk their lives to come to.”

Or variations on that. My friend, again, follow up:

Do write a long polemic…send it my way.

My “skepticism” is mainly an inquiry into your research, sources, conclusions, etc.

You might be glad to know that I actually read your stuff carefully enough that prompts curiosity.

My oldest brother worked for DARPA after Vietnam.  Whiz on all things Alternet, which became commercialized to Internet.

I don’t dispute or am the least bit surprised about bioweapons. I’m just distilling the conversation to WHY destroy humanity to “save it”?

It may be as simple as the short term nature of Capitalism.  Whether you die with big TOYS or not, you still die.  A grease spot in history. A figment of a long forgotten motive to be remembered for things that don’t matter.  So what?

“So What?”  is the real predicament.

Write about THAT!

Zooming and Dooming — Small and Big Screens, the Digital Dashboard

Good fodder for face-to-face discourse, which is now fading quickly in terms of the professional and administrative and knowledge work and computer data entry employee. Education, too. Students learning NOTHING on a Zoom. Offices not shuttered (big savings to those corporations to foist empty skyrises onto cities). Imagine, people at home, tapping away on a keyboard, Zooming in, Zooming out, forever glued to home office, home dining table, the fridge and toilet and microwave at the ready, with old Spot there wagging the dog tail, and the feline curled up on the lap while making this or that white collar transaction, all for the benefit of the overlords, the capitalists, the elites.

So, all those small shops — from this or that cool handmade item, to this or that piece of furnishing, toy, tool, utensil, food item . . . . . all those lunch counters and street food carts and little hole in the wall Thai, Mexican, Cantonese, Italian, Greek, Ethiopian. etc., any place to run to get lunch, roll, cup of tea, all of those gone.

The consequences of downtowns depopulating, and all of that foot traffic, all the time just being in with other people (oh, tolerances, oh, learning how to interact with others, not just those in your immediate household, and just dealing with life, man, and life doesn’t happen in a Zoom-Ready House).

Stepping Back

We can discuss how out of balance we are with time — and disallowing those who have looked at the “law of time” from even getting out of a New Age arena. We can look at what it means to be in a place which is a type of human prison — four perpendicular walls with battened down windows and sheet rock ceiling and wall to wall carpeting or flooring. That what mother culture/mother nature intended?

We can look at the good in the hearts of the common people, the people of that land, and, sure, there are some terrible outcomes of the Judea-Christian-Abrahamic mentality forced into peasantry. We know that a small town can be stifling, but again, that is usually a small town dominated by Catholicism or other Christian sects, or those of Islam.

But alas, the answer to the power of a few destroying, yes, the world despite themselves, that evidence has been around for a long long time. Armies pressed into service to raze, ruin, rape and remove the indigenous people, or even the peasants. How’s that working out historically? Things improves in 20th and 21st Century compared to Roman Times, Genghis Khan  days, the days of Franco, Hitler, Pinochet, the French Indochina, the Belgium Congo, he Armenian Genocide, the Rape of Nanking? How was that American War Against Vietnam? How many — 6 million Vietnamese dead or dying as a result of the poisonous Red White and Blue. Sure, the number 22 — American veterans a day killing themselves.

This number has now been eclipsed by the more than 60,000 U.S. veteran suicides in a recent span of just 10 years. More than 6,000 veterans committed suicide every year during that timeframe, despite the fact that the total number of veterans declined by 18 percent.

Project 22 documentary

Well, hmm, I wonder what my friend would say about War is a Racket, if that book is not validation of the price of capitalism by the elites on not only the wounded, the murdered, the land, but think about the concept of a Military Industrial Complex to begin with. Think about all those beautiful people with their engineering, chemistry, law, sociology, physics, medicine, pharmacy, business, geology, et al degrees who are part of the Matrix — all those schemes and companies and for-profits and governmental-CIA approved agencies bent on domination: of sea, air, land, town, city, state, country, region.

I am not sure why it is difficult to make that leap into the Plan-Demic, a weaponized virus experiment gone, well, will-rogue, or intentionally set out to do what? Neutron bomb? How many communities of color have been destroyed in this country directly from the SARS-CoV2 disease, and then due to the economic and mental and isolating fallout of this planned disease of capitalism that has set up towns and cities with not enough good health care; no system of support and decent response to a national emergency; no system to force the hands of the Pelosi and Trump and McConnel and Biden types to actually save the communities, the mom and pops, the schools, the people who are dying from a petri-dish generated virus or the BlackRock a la Larry Summers disease of not keeping our own people alive and sustained.

You might have one percent of the population hit with Covid-19 deaths and injuries, but how many is that? One percent of 310 million, well, 3.1 million. Around 400,000 dead? Now, how many will be dying and dying and dying that slow death by a thousand Capitalist cuts in the coming year(s)? Now that isn’t tyranny? Now that isn’t proof that the elite are perfectly fine with One Percent Death from SARS-CoV2 and One Percent Death and/or Injury from Vaccines and then how many tens of millions thrown into poverty,, instant precarity, joblessness, houselessness, without electricity, water, phone service? Right, so those slow deaths by a 1,000 days, not a sign that yes, the elites, from Gates to Musk, from Soros to Buffet, Bezos to Sims, all of them, they are masters of the madness? They aren’t monsters?

They all have their think tanks, their Aspen and WEF conferences, their lobbies and secret associations and voting and trading blocks. They have their vision of who is bad, who is good. They believe that we all should be picking up ourselves by our bootstraps while their boots are squarely planted on our proverbial collective necks.

Pay for success finance deals will be well served by the global vaccine market that is being advanced through Gates’s outfit GAVI.  Vaccine doses are readily quantifiable, and the economic costs of many illnesses are straightforward to calculate. With a few strategic grants awarded to prestigious universities and think tanks, I anticipate suitable equations framing out a healthy ROI (return on investment) will be devised to meet global market demands shortly. — Wrench in the Gears.

The price of the war in Iraq, with the sanctions, is a few hundred thousand babies and children dead? That’s an okay price. Multiply that by a factor of 10 or 100 or more.

Unsafe at Any Speed

The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That’s the only difference. — Ralph Nader 

Now look, it can be a Thatcher or Albright or Bolsonaro or Franco or Nixon or whomever . . . . then those behind the scenes, the overlords of the George W. Bush and Tony Blair types.

Look these boardrooms are full of people who think the price of cigarettes is profit and a few persnickety independents who tie smoking to any number of human cancers. Paying out for cancer lawsuits is, in the words of every corporation, the external costs of gobbling up profits. They got that bunch of research papers in the 1950s that pointed to lunch, throat, tongue cancer. That is, drum roll, 70 years ago, and do they now stop hawking cigarettes? And how has Philip Morris expanded?

Now, these are not monsters? Not just Altria and Phillip Morris, but the entire suite of lawyers, marketers, bankers, PR-spinners, growers, packagers, manufacturers, governments, and chemists and agronomists.

Is this just not one example in a million about the racket that is capitalism, and when you wed that with the CIA, the full force of the government and the private sector players who have the ears of the politicians, then I can’t think of just a few dozen more to illustrate it. I can think of millions.

Earlier this year Altria executives estimated annual U.S. cigarette volumes would decline between 4% and 6% through 2023, sending company shares down sharply.

The Richmond, Virginia company acquired a 35% stake in e-cigarette maker Juul, which has quickly grown to dominate the U.S. vaping market. Juul’s high-nicotine flavored pods have helped Altria offset declining cigarette sales, but it has also attracted new scrutiny. Members of Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and several state attorneys generals are investigating Juul amid allegations that its early marketing overtly targeted teenagers. Since its launch, the portion of high school students using e-cigarettes has mushroomed to 20%, according to U.S. survey figures released last year.  Source.

Oh, so smoking the tobacco leaf is down in terms of profits, but then vaping is up. Smoking is blamed for some 7 million deaths worldwide. More than 20% of the world’s population smoked in 2015, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization. That figure was down nearly 7% from 2000.

Not enough to illustrate why a plan-demic is not so far-fetched in the minds of the World Economic Forum, Gates, a thousand Fortune 1000 companies, vaccination makers (sic) and, well, you get the bloody picture that the Plague Year has always been the Plague Year for the Other, those in the crossfire, crosshairs, cross-contamination, cross-purposes of the bloody United Snakes of America.

Ahh, so, regulating e-cigarettes and even calling tobacco as a murder-and- cancer-delivery product, nah, not in a capitalist world. Look at how Wells Fargo spins this:

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said the combination “would make a lot of sense,” allowing the companies to cooperate amid the “global arms race” for non-traditional tobacco products.

Both companies have been pivoting in recent years to cigarette alternatives, with tobacco sales feeling the pinch of bans, taxes, stigma and anti-smoking health campaigns.

Philip Morris, based in New York, has been rebranding itself with new products and the slogan “Designing a smoke-free future.” The company sells its battery-powered iQOS device in 40 countries. The iQOS heats tobacco without burning it. It will soon be sold in the U.S. under a licensing agreement. While U.S. regulators have allowed the sale of the device, they have not yet ruled on whether iQOS can be marketed as less harmful than cigarettes.

Oh, these are sick people — lawyers, marketers, investors, banks, more. Altria has tons of wine companies, and they used to own Kraft Foods. Now, my buddies who live up on the hill where I live, in the half a million dollar homes overlooking our mini-town, with our bungalows and double-wide manufactured homes, do they invest in this merger? Big bucks to be made on Wall Street. Is this the disease, the root of the evil? Good all-American liberals and conservatives, investing in cancer? Hmm, is that the disease that would allow for hundreds of colleges around the world, and many private outfits, and governmental outfits, to test, produce, retest, retrofit bioweapons, as in poisons, bacteria, viruses?

A site called Investopedia. Whew, now that will turn any good Dorothy Day or Berrigan Brother’s white in the face!

Still Addicted to Dividends? Satisfy Your Craving With Tobacco Stocks.

The reason is simple. Cigarettes are among the least price-elastic goods in existence, meaning that as they get more expensive, the quantity sold doesn’t drop by as much as the price increases. Smokers often grumble about rising prices, as they should: every pack sold has to account for the costs of lawsuits past and present, multi-billion dollar settlements, and other litigative obligations. But as high as prices have risen, they haven’t risen enough to change behavior on a large scale. People who want their fix, want their fix. And rather than run the risk of spending less on smuggled cigarettes instead, law-abiding smokers will continue to pay through the nose. Altria sold over half a trillion cigarettes in the United States last year.

Oh, a trillion divided by 2, 500,000,000 cigarettes sold in the USA? And Altria used to own Kraft, Nabisco and dozens of other companies not even remotely connected to Cancer Sticks.

Oh, Brother Thou Art . . . . Schemer, Faust, Devil, Eichmann, Milton Friedman

Let’s recap — so all of these war profiteers (because this was called a war against a virus, and the economy went into a war slide, and the number of dying and sick people is war-like numbers globally) in the Fortune 1000 and those not publicly traded yet, and those drug and chemical and marketing companies, and all those N95 mask and plastics makers of PPE, sure, they have been reined in, right? Caps on profiteering? Regulated to do this and not do that to the American people? Sure! NOT.

The full extent of the Gardasil scandal needs to be assessed: everyone knew when this vaccine was released on the American market that it would prove to be worthless…I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all time because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers. Gardasil is useless and costs a fortune and decision-makers at all levels are aware of it! Cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, paralysis of the lower limbs, vaccine-induced MS and vaccine-induced encephalitis can be found, whatever the vaccine.” — Dr. Bernard Dalbergue (former Merck employee)

No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable…for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death. – President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die, are injured or are disabled from vaccine injuries, thus reversing many of the intentions of the original legislation establishing the FDA [source]

Image result for HPV vaccine

So, the former Mengele, Doctor Dalbergue, working with Merck, now has turned over a new leaf. And, then, Obama’s buddy, Reagan, he was never a good guy and never turned over any good altruistic leaf, are they cut from the same cloth?

For instance, DARPA spent $10 million on one project in 2018 “to unravel the complex causes of bat-borne viruses that have recently made the jump to humans, causing concern among global health officials.” Another research project backed by both DARPA and NIH saw researchers at Colorado State University examine the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in bats and camels “to understand the role of these hosts in transmitting disease to humans.” Other U.S. military-funded studies, discussed in detail later in this report, discovered several new strains of novel coronaviruses carried by bats, both within China and in countries bordering China. [Source]

So, my own background in and around US Army, and with my own friends who were in the US military, including working with geneticists and pathogen experts, I would have to say — Believe that the US and its allies and the doctors and the military and Big Pharma, yep, they have been messing with diseases ever since USA captured Japanese in Unit 731.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) facility at Fort Detrick, Maryland —is touted as  the U.S. military’s lead laboratory for “biological defense” research since the late 1960s, but believe it, there are many more secretive ones out there, thanks to Western Science and Culture.

We don’t have to go back to WWII. Here,  one study conducted in Southern China in 2018 resulted in the discovery of 89 new “novel bat coronavirus” strains. Each one uses the same receptor as the coronavirus known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Drumroll — this study was funded by the Chinese government’s Ministry of Science and Technology, USAID — an organization long alleged to be a front for U.S. intelligence, and the U.S. National Institute of Health — which has collaborated with both the CIA and the Pentagon on infectious disease and bioweapons research. [Source]

So, What Example Do You Need that These Elites Are Sociopaths? 

A society that has nuclear weapons, dropped two of them onto Japan, and who has manufactured 10,000 warheads, and whose plutonium facilities have contaminated millions, nah, those people would not be the same people who would release a pathogen like one of the 89 novel bat viruses, which happened to be used in genome and protein sequencing experiments?

Imagine, Duck and Cover was the great learned method of personal protection against the effects of a nuclear explosion, which the United States government taught to generations of United States school children from the early 1950s until the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s.

No, these scientists and eggheads and politicians and military strategists and marketing experts and what is collectively called, America’s Brightest and Best, no, they would not hoodwink the world with a pathogen that would demand a financial and cultural and life and death reset, even if that pathogen might morph into a more virulent one.

Neutron Bomb — The neutron bomb case study suggests a model of a “technology reserve,” in which China develops a weapons technology to match the capabilities of another state, but defers deployment and keeps them in reserve. The longer report also considers how this model might apply to China’s decision-making on BMD, ASAT, and HGV systems. To assess the drivers behind Chinese decisions, the report uses five variables as an analytical framework.

Yet, as always, the Chinese are anticipating the USA, which of course, flaunts the bombs, the pathogens, the bioweapons, the chemical weapons, economic bombs, too — That grand Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory developed the concept in 1958. Then, development was carried out as part of projects Dove and Starling (they call the deadly bomb after birds). The early USA device was tested underground in early 1962. Designs of a “weaponized” version were carried out in 1963.

Headlines Will Send Cortisol Levels Out the Roof

So, more African Americans have been murdered by police this year, during Black Lives Matter protests, than the year before. Hmm, so you work for FedEx, and have tons of packages fall on you because of faulty equipment, lacerate your liver and break some bones, and, well, OSHA fines the billionaire-dollar thieving company, $7500, and a judge brings it down to $5,100? And then you are 23, strong young man, and the same kind of accident — equipment failure — unloads tons of packages onto you, you hit a metal pole, straight on the chest, and, bam, you are dead in three days.

These stories never-ever end, and they accumulate by the tens of thousands daily in this society, pre-Covid-19, during-Covid-19, and beyond. Forced to sign non-disclosure agreements with Amazon to not tell anyone their good, bad and ugly Covid-19 prevention methods?

Yeah, so an entire multi-level society of 80 percent of the 310 million population, will be eating more than just crow under the Biden Billionaire Club. Unemployment, underemployment, partial employment, and more, and none of that gets us on the streets? No huge phalanxes of protestors standing down the rent, the mortgage, the credit card, the school loan, the medical bill effing thieves?

This is not a communist aggregating place to find articles, but there are some interesting ones, and clear ones — so in their search engine put in “bioweapons.”  Counterpunch Magazine.  

You’ll get the picture. No, not just Americans, but . . .  a shit load of hell from the White Civilization, the Europeans, the others.

Again, reading the new medical and nutritional guidelines — not sugar until four years of age, and breast feeding immediately after birth for at least six months. The sugar lobby and the Nestle lobby and a shipload of scientists (sic) and the lawyers, jostling to stop these recommendations. They whittled it down to the “first two years, don’t let Johnny or Juanita get refined sugar.”

Headline after headline, and you will then know why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers but humanity gets ulcers, hypertension, cardiac issues, diabetes and a ton of chronic illnesses, thanks to this Capitalism society.

And yet, those best and brightest in Capitalism’s Armies, they don’t fight for us collectively. The 17 million worldwide who die of coronary disease. It’s on us, right? Just like caseine and dairy do not cause cancer. Right. And it’s addicting.


[In an earlier chapter of The Cheese Trap], I briefly mentioned casein, the protein that is concentrated in cheese. And casein has some secrets to tell.

If you were to look at a protein molecule with a powerful microscope, it would look like a long string of beads. Each “bead” is a protein building block called an amino acid, and, during digestion, the individual amino acids come apart and are absorbed into your bloodstream so that your body can use them to build proteins of its own.

So the calf digests the proteins in milk, breaking apart the chain of beads and using these amino acids to build skin cells, muscle cells, organs, and the other parts of the body.

However, casein is an unusual protein. While it does break apart to release individual beads, it also releases longer fragments—chains that might be four, five, or seven amino acid beads in length. These casein fragments are called casomorphins—that is, casein-derived morphine-like compounds. And they can attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.

In other words, dairy protein has opiate molecules built right into it. [Source]

Again, this society, as Ralph states, this society creates so many problems with unfettered capitalism, and, in the old days, pre-Plague of Censorship CV-19, we also have a ton of people who have solutions. But they never get to the table. You’d think a public intellectual and public political figure and a legal eagle for the people would be in on any administration? NOPE.

It all goes back to, well, food, land, water, farming, food, community, small is better, acting locally but thinking globally, and did I say food and shelter?

Of course, you get academic degrees to generate better and faster economic income without greater physical effort. This is a socially shared illusion. The farmer usually instills in his son: “So that you are not like me, study so that you can be someone in life”. But does that guarantee us fulfillment? And why is the fear of death a companion that brings us back to Earth, our origin and destiny?

The COVID19 pandemic came and confirmed the deadly error of the western and westernized academy: the peasant families survived the planetary confinement without major anxiety and suffering! If we are not able to grow our own food, no matter how many titles or how much money we possess, we will die trapped in the fear of encountering the virus in the other who provides us with food. [source]

[original source — Ollantay Itzamna  ]