Friday, November 29, 2013

black friday

 these pictures have been borrowed from a "twitter feed" from the Warehouse Workers United
The local television yesterday, to-day, and earlier ran story after story of  people shopping to buy unnecessary stuff. And they reported in enthusiasm, as cheerleaders of Mammon. They use unhesitatingly the language of advertising propagandists. "Black Friday" is to refer to an accounting term, where profits are written in black ink. "Black Friday", historically refers to the day Jesus was tortured, crucified, and died. This year the greedy stores pushed to have sales on the federal holiday of Thanksgiving Thursday. And the television had idiot, after gleekit idiot, speaking gleefully of great "deals", the word has become a mantra, a shibboleth. Outside stores before Thursday, days in advance, camping gormless idiots were interviewed. No, America does not dance about a golden calf; the rich have a bronze bull on Wall Street, and the poorer sort bow before electronic and plastic cows from China.
 
In Ontario California ten people were arrested for protesting against Walmart to-day. 
Why are the police in combat gear? Well, if a protestor can dress as Father Christmas, then the police can dress as Darth Vader.

Walmart is evil: to begin with.  There is no doubt whatever about that. Oh! But it is a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Walmart! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! As Charles Dickens wrote about Scrooge and Marley, the world can scrive about Walmart. Much of the audience is old enough to know that Walmart did not exist in their memory, apparently it took some time for it to expand from its corner of Arkansas. To-day, it is the largest company in the world. Its six chief heirs of the founder, Sam Walton, constitute 42% of the wealth of America, so i read—more gold than Croesus, and Rockefeller. 

What the hell is Walmart? An entity that buys inferior goods from China, sells it with underpaid servants (which they lyingly call "associates", just as the biggest Bolsheviks called everyone "comrade"), to poor customers. Walmart cheats everyone, and harms everyone. They wish to suck every dollar, they are the epitome of capitalism. 

If one chooses to use an old meaning of industry, Walmart helps to destroy American industry (they are joined by legion), instead of buying from American companies, they buy from Chinese (again they are joined by legion). Thus helping to depress America. In China, the workers are paid far less, and the government is far less concerned with health, safety, and all those bugaboos that the capitalist American and his preferred political party rant against.

Walmart (and legion, including such as McDonalds) underpays its servants, so that they require government assistance to survive. These capitalists and their preferred political party do all they can to reduce the availability of such help. Walmart and their legions do all they can to reduce their tax liabilities.

Finally these workers are organising, as did industrial workers in the past. But as in the past, the companies have the police.

The greed of capitalism is complete. Community and justice are not to be considered.  The desire is maximisation of profit. How is that done? Reducing cost of production, and increasing the price. When this is done fully, the product which is the goods and the labor would be reduced to zero, and the price would be all. Which is an absurdity. A nothing that costs all. A complete concentration of wealth, with no distribution. To receive everything, to give nothing.
"Capitalism is contradictory as soon as it is complete; because it is dealing with the mass of men in opposite ways at once. When most men are wage earners, it is more and more difficult for most men to be customers. For the capitalist [i.e. employer] is always trying to cut down what his servant [i.e. employee] demands, and in doing so is cutting down what his customer can spend. As soon as his business is in any difficulties, as at present in the coal business, he tries to reduce what he has to spend on wages, an in doing so reduces what others have to spend on coal. He is wanting the same man to be rich and poor at the same time."   —  Gilbert Keith Chesterton. The Outline of Sanity. 1926.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

the 4th Thursday

 Norman Rockwell. Freedom From Want. 1943.
 “The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

Franklin Roosevelt enumerated Four Freedoms in a 1941 speech. Norman Rockwell painted an image for each freedom. Cleveland recognised the importance [click]. This painting entered its own existence. The painting has suggested to many a particular, traditional, waspish bounty (no wine, for that matter no coffee). The speech was limning a better future, that was presently absent in the world. Rockwell was a good Democrat, and a supporter of FDR, and later JFK. Roosevelt's words looked at a time for the entire world to come, Americans have looked to the painting as a nostalgia for a past. Mark Twain mentioned the Thanksgiving holiday several times, he had this to write about the celebration of the day:
“The observance of Thanksgiving Day--as a function--has become general of late years. The Thankfulness is not so general. This is natural. Two-thirds of the nation have always had hard luck and a hard time during the year, and this has a calming effect upon their enthusiasm.” — Mark Twain. Following the Equator. 1897.
There are two stories: the cover story that the culture is obliged to portray, and the actual one.  For years here in Cleveland, the Cleveland parish of Saint Augustine has fed the poor, the handicapped, and the homeless each day of the year. They have had satellite centers, and travelling volunteers for this fourth Thursday in November. Year after year, the local television news channels film a story about Saint Augustine; sometimes they come on other days for a similar story at St. Auggie's. The new teevee reporter in town gets to find out. But go ask Sr. Corita Ambro, she is approaching eighty, this is not her first rodeo. The need is greater than one meal a year. The US does not like people that hunger for merely food, but there seems to be a cultural kudos to see the generosity of them being fed on the 4th Thursday of one month, and thanks to Charles Dickens, and on Christmas. People need to eat a few times each day. Saint Augustine is in the same neighborhood as the Four Freedoms obelisk, the oldest south side, or Lincoln Heights, now Tremont. Tremont is now known for having chic restaurants, and other trendy things.
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postscriptum: Overall i am not particularly fond of Turkey Day. I have been posting these little commentaries beginning July of '07, and have touched on the topic a few times. In one i quote Chesterton [click], and Twain in another [clickage]. The holiday has always felt contrived. Now, on the odd occurrence [the holiday has been a regular annual since 1863, but it has been a moveable day set by the President, so naturally when Franklin Roosevelt moved it, Republicans made a stink, so by law it is now on the 4th Thursday of November, as passed by Congress and signed by Roosevelt 26 December 1941 (not on the last, not on the next to last)] this year of having it as late as it can be, and the Jewish semi-lunar calendar having the first day of Hanukah as early as it can be this year, let everyone light a candle.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

snowy owl

Another unscheduled posting, but a snowy owl in Cleveland is a birder's bulletin; since i have another post already up to-day, which accidentally went out earlier (it stayed up only for a couple of minutes) when i pressed a screen button i had not attended (and i have one to-morrow of another bird related post); i sort of then planned to have the foto miscellanies come out on Wednesday (almost like the dustmen); but i read this girl was in town. Anyone remember Edie Adams? These arctic travellers are to be found on the north shore of lake Erie, and to the east around Buffalo, and to the west above Chicago; but they have wings and can go elsewhere. When she flew and her under wing was visible, she was quite white. Males do not have so much dark barring. Still, it was a little joy to see the bird beauty.

the coloration of snow on gravel makes chameleon plumage unnecessary
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postscriptum 7.30 p.m. 29 November: Since, i have posted this more snowy owls have been seen in town. This may be part of an irruption, which is a migration, beyond the usual area, in search of food. Further, i thought this owl was a female; it may be a young adult without its mature plumage.

#3 foto miscellany, animals

tropical butterflies Cleveland Botanical Gardens


 turtle traffic

 the sparrows could not tune sketch (F5, G4, F5, B4, F5, F5)
 you ever feel that you are just out there floating alone?
 now ask your local neighborhood kid about quoting a meerkat, "hakuna matata"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

what our pope has said now

 
On the 24th of November was issued an eighty-four (or 224?) paged (or rather 288 paragraphs and 217 footnotes) document from the Vatican, an Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. Now, it has been centuries long custom for such documents to be named by the initial words (in Latin) of the work. This one in English begins, The Joy of the Gospel.

Here is a portion that may satisfy the due deliberation and careful scrutiny of that American sage who is not yet familiar with Pope Francis' thought until "unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media", and "I was reminding viewers that we need to do our own homework on news subjects, and I hadn't done mine yet on the Pope's recent comments as reported by the media. Knowing full well how often the media mischaracterizes a person’s comments (especially a religious leader’s), I don’t trust them to get it right when it comes to reporting on the Vatican". Here it is Sarah, and after that i suggest reading the red print in the Gospels:
I. SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY’S WORLD

52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power.

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs”.[55]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings.

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.

60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. This serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.
Now, i have encountered people of positions to the one side, and to the other, of what mine is. I saw the following sarcastic comment on a chat board in response to someone not satisfied with the totality of Francis's exhortation:
Exactly! Because the poor don't matter; just female priests, gay marriage, and abortion rights.
What is cogent about this statement is that it successfully rebuts two political extremes, whom are obsessed with issues concerning gonads and genitals. People have hearts, and minds, and souls. Everything is not gender issues, and sexual morality. Francis will never satisfy all those who hate the Church, nor those who are obsessed by certain matters to the exclusion of all else, nor those who love Mammon. But, as the eastern Church says frequently, "May God grant him many blessed years".

the "Cleveland" Browns

banner of the Green Bay Packers, league champions (in the "Super Bowl" era) 1966, 1967, 1996, 2010 and 9 previous

It looks like Monday night there was a four hour debate at Cleveland City Council. Dona Brady, Kevin Conwell, Brian Cummins, Jeffrey Johnson, and Michael Polensek voted on behalf of the people of Cleveland. The others did the bidding of the establishment. The owner of the football stadium is the City of Cleveland, the owner of the football team and the profits is Jimmy Haslam. Earlier in the day, at a federal courthouse in Little Rock Arkansas, Haslam agreed to pay $84.9 million to settle several cases of fraud and theft his other company engaged in. It is to be remembered that Haslam's brother is the Republican governor of Tennessee. The family has had a way to combine government with business interests.
“It seems to me that $22 million* is not a lot of money for a team that is making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue with billionaire owners. The residents of the city of Cleveland are struggling and most are not going to the Browns games and couldn’t care less. …. To ask them to pay for this is something that I cannot support.” — Dona Brady
Haslam's man is the shady looking Joe Banner, he of the sparse beard, who was noticeably uncomfortable bullshitting his master's case. A little while ago the Browns won three games in a row, and the ownership put up a demand for city money. Since then, the team has not done well. In the meeting, the council president, Martin Sweeney ordered no comments on the team's performance.

The television media has made a point of saying the city has a contractual obligation to pay. Hmm, when a small home owner, or resident tries to hold City Hall to an agreement, what are his chances? Contractual obligations are not important to the party with the upper hand. These necessary improvements are new scoreboards, audio system, and escalators. Really, what is the action on the field? Does not Boston's baseball park have a hand operated scoreboard? And who was paying attention to it when the Red Sox won the championship?

Well, Banner and the other Haslamites were surprised and upset that there was resistance on their successful negotiations with the city. It did not cross their minds all people would not bow before them. In a couple of weeks this could be brought up during a normal scheduling and simple majority vote would win it for them; but no, the Browns ownership got an expedited vote for an "emergency ordinance", which unfortunately by the inconvenience of rules required the establishment to get two-thirds of the votes. Sweeney corralled enough members to do their bidding, with Tony Brancatelli flopping over to complete the pass of the Browns wish 13 to 5. Sunday, as is usual, Cleveland lost to Pittsburgh 27 to 11. Since coming back to the NFL in 1999, Pittsburgh has won twenty-five times, and Cleveland five.

One galling thing that Banner kept pushing was that management was entitled to even more, and that other cities give more to the team's ownership. He cited how happy Cincinnati would be. Perhaps some cheese would have gone well with his whine. He did not say that the city of Green Bay Wisconsin OWNS their football stadium AND their football team. All Green Bay's home games have been sold out since 1960, the waiting list for season tickets is over 80,000. Sometime in the Reagan years, the National Football League forbade this situation ever to happen again.
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*15 years at two million dollars per year equals?  Yes, US business accounting.

lakefront, or do you fancy grey?

 the blustery has been caught in natural sculpture
A few, female, red-breasted mergansers on the open lake near shore, there were a couple thousand; but that is too many to get clearly in this camera. Notice the long narrow bill, and the cap feathers approaching a mohawk. This is the new age punk duck of North America.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

e.g.

exempli gratia is Latin for “for the sake of example”


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For some time there has been the stoking of the fear that Iran might create thermo-nuclear weapons (there has not been the corresponding fear that the countries which have had many such weapons for many years may be an ever present danger). And there has been a chief international fear monger and militarist advocating for military assault on Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu, currently premier of Israel. He and his neo-conservative allies in the US have been itching to have this war for years. Last night the news came from Geneva that Iran had concluded an agreement with the “P5+1” group:  Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States. The last to agree with this “peace” was France.

Last night, President Barack Obama told our nation this agreement would “cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb”. The president also said, diplomacy created a “new path toward a world that is more secure”. The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad, Javad Zarif, termed the agreement an “opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis”.

For most of the world this was good news. For most of the world this was good news, but not the Republican party. The Repukes are not keen on peace. The Repukes are against every possible thing that reflects well on President Obama. I have noticed the rank incivility, and evil character of John Cornyn many times. He has a vileness approaching that of Dick Cheney. He is the minority whip in the Senate, making him #2 in the Republican power structure there. Almost immediately he went on the idiots’ telegraph service, Twitter, and telegraphed this excruciatingly petty, stupid, and ill mannered statement:
“Amazing what White House will do to distract attention from Obamacare.” — Sen. John Cornyn (Repuke, Tejas) 
Everything is bigger in Texas. This state’s collection of misanthropic scum that has littered the American political scene this past generation has no near competitor. There has been comic devices wherein someone is named “the worst person in the world”. For this moment in time, the worst person in the world is John Cornyn.

Now, it may be politically permitted by the pharisees to quote a Jesuit:
The taproot of violence in our society today is our intent to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure. Even the possession of weapons which cannot be morally used is wrong. They are a threat to peace and might even be the cause of nuclear war. The nuclear weapons of Communists may destroy our bodies. But our intent to use nuclear weapons destroys our souls. Our possession of them is a proximate occasion of sin. — Richard McSorley, S.J. †2002.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

How Conservative Americans See a Democratic President

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Nov. 22, 1963, in The Dallas Morning News.

WELCOME MR. KENNEDY TO
DALLAS. . .


. . .A CITY so disgraced by a recent Liberal smear attempt that its citizens have just elected two more Conservative Americans to public office.

. . .A CITY that is an economic "boom town," not because of Federal handouts, but through conservative economic and business practices.

. . .A CITY that will continue to grow and prosper despite efforts by you and your administration to penalize it for its non-conformity to New Frontierism.

. . .A CITY that rejected your philosophy and policies in 1960 and will do so again in 1964--even more emphatically than before.


MR. KENNEDY, despite contentions on the part of your administration, the State Department, the Mayor of Dallas, the Dallas City Council, and members of your party, we free-thinking and America-thinking citizens of Dallas still have, through a Constitution largely ignored by you, the right to address our grievances, to question you, to disagree with you, and to criticize you.

In asserting this constitutional right, we wish to ask you publicly the following questions--indeed, questions of paramount importance and interest to all free peoples everywhere--which we trust you will answer. . .in public, without sophistry.

These questions are:


WHY is Latin America turning either anti-American or Communistic, or both, despite increased U. S. foreign aid, State Department policy, and your own Ivy-Tower pronouncements?

WHY do you say we have built a "wall of freedom" around Cuba when there is no freedom in Cuba today? Because of your policy, thousands of Cubans have been imprisoned, are starving and being persecuted--with thousands already murdered and thousands more awaiting execution and, in addition, the entire population of almost 7,000,000 Cubans are living in slavery.

WHY have you approved the sale of wheat and corn to our enemies when you know the Communist soldiers "travel on their stomachs" just as ours do? Communist soldiers are daily wounding and or killing American soldiers in South Viet Nam.

WHY did you host and entertain Tito--Moscow's Trojan Horse--just a short time after our sworn enemy, Khrushchev, embraced the Yugoslav dictator as a great hero and leader of Communism?

WHY have you urged greater aid, comfort, recognition, and understanding for Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, and other Communists countries, while turning your back on the pleas of Hungarian, East German, Cuban and other anti-Communists freedom fighters?

WHY did Cambodia kick the U.S. out of its country after we poured nearly 400 Million Dollars of aid into its ultra-leftist government?

WHY has Gus Hall, head of the U.S. Communist Party praised almost every one of your policies and announced that the party will endorse and support your re-election in 1964?

WHY have you banned the showing at U.S. military bases of the film "Operation Abolition"--the movie by the House Committee on Un-American Activities exposing Communism in America?

WHY have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, fellow-travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?

WHY are you in favor of the U.S. continuing to give economic aid to Argentina, in spite of the fact that Argentina has just seized almost 400 Million Dollars of American private property?

WHY has the Foreign Policy of the United States degenerated to the point that the C.I.A. is arranging coups and having staunch Anti-Communists Allies of the U.S. bloodily exterminated.

WHY have you scrapped the Monroe Doctrine in favor of the "Spirit of Moscow"?

MR. KENNEDY, as citizens of the United States of America, we DEMAND answers to these questions, and we want them NOW.


THE AMERICAN FACT-FINDING COMMITTEE
"An unaffillated and non-partisan group of citizens who wish truth"

BERNARD WEISSMAN,
Chairman

P.O. Box 1792 --- Dallas 21, Texas
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postscriptum  3.52 pm 25 November 2013: 
Christian American Patriots Militia leader: We now have authority to shoot Obama [click], and [x]

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dallas, the Valley of Death

Half a century is a good, long time. It is a generation and an half. It is a rarity to live doubly, so much so that the actuary tables stop just before it is reached, at least it was so when i checked last. At 99 years, less than half reach the next year.

I have written these points before. When i was young, many were the homes that had a portrait of our pope John, and our president John. Fifty years ago to-day, sainted John XXIII had been dead for almost six months. And John Kennedy had that unique day which all have only once, the day (as the old wills used to have it) that he was both living and dead. It was an historic moment for our world. What both Johns represented was the hope for a better world. Both men were loved by the world far more so than either their predecessor, or their successor, and that is not meant to detract from those men, but to show the brilliance of the presence of those two men on the world stage.

Now, no person of good will or sound opinion would cast a stone against Pope John; but Kennedy in his private life made great transgressions, and the most obvious were against his wife. But on that last day, it was very apparent Jacqueline loved John. Now of course, in the United States there was a great hatred from the founding against Catholics. Now, there is also partisan politics, and the Republican hatred for Democrats has only grown. Before the drugstores and supermarkets were filled with several tabloid papers of prurient and scurrilous interest geared to sensationalism, and uninterested in decorum, and honesty. In the 1970s and beyond they ran many stories against all the Kennedys. As Catholics became Republicans, the Kennedys became more despised for their politics, and defined as bad Catholics by Republicans whom considered themselves Catholics. These Republicans drank deeply the poison of hatred, and their thirst has not been slaked. Before John Kennedy became president, there were public and private organising against him by Protestants, and foremost were Billy Graham (albeit sub rosa) and Norman Vincent Peale. The John Birchers and other far "right" extremist groups created charges and fictions against Kennedy*. These 'conservative' interests only grew, and merged together. So now, the richer and more publicly religious one has become, the tendency towards greater antipathy to the Democracy. The tipping point came under the reaganistas, and their allies led by the Jerry Falwells.

And Dallas in particular was a city where the establishment (which included the orwellian named Dallas Citizen's Council, which last supported a Democratic presidency in 1932), and other para-political organisations were especially venomous to democracy and Kennedy. The roll call was deep beginning with Major General Edwin Anderson Walker who had been told to resign by Kennedy in 1961 for calling Harry Truman and Mrs. Roosevelt "pink" (meaning soft on communism, or 'fellow travellers') and enforcing his John Birch Society propaganda onto men under his command. Walker made Dallas his home, in 1962 he ran for Texas governor, and lost. He led race riots at the University of Mississippi against the student James Meredith. His commercials on radio included these words:
Mississippi: It is time to move. We have talked, listened and been pushed around far too much by the anti-Christ Supreme Court! Rise...to a stand beside Governor Ross Barnett at Jackson, Mississippi! Now is the time to be heard! Thousands strong from every State in the Union! Rally to the cause of freedom! The Battle Cry of the Republic! Barnett yes! Castro no! Bring your flag, your tent and your skillet. It's now or never! The time is when the President of the United States commits or uses any troops, Federal or State, in Mississippi! The last time in such a situation I was on the wrong side. That was in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957-1958. This time -- out of uniform -- I am on the right side! I will be there!
On October 24th of 1963, UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson gave a speech in Dallas. Walker arranged a riot of his supporters to heckle Stevenson, and Stevenson was spat upon and struck by a sign, and did not finish his speech. In this, Walker and his allies were supported by the richest man in Texas, H.L. Hunt, the owner of much of the East Texas oil fields.

The pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas was W.A. Criswell from 1944. In 1953 Billy Graham joined his flock. Criswell wrote against Kennedy (and all Catholics) in 1960, for "Roman Catholicism is not only a religion, it is a political tyranny". Criswell was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1968 to 1970.

The publisher and editorialist of the Dallas Daily News was Ted Dealey (Dealey Plaza was named for his father). His paper was against unions, social welfare, federal aid, the United Nations, and all that sort. He was a (Joe) McCarthyist who saw communists everywhere. Dealey in 1961 inside the White House read a speech to the audience "....We need a man on horseback to lead this nation, and many people in Texas and the Southwest think that you [John Kennedy] are riding Caroline’s tricycle."

Now many of these sort of Texicans called themselves "independent Democrats" at the time, since then they have all become Republicans. Bruce Alger was the Republican congressman from Dallas from 1955 to 1965. Being an elected Republican in the South was then a rarity. When Johnson was campaigning for the vice-presidency, Alger had the slogan  "LBJ Sold Out to Yankee Socialists" printed up. Alger was the only House member against the school lunch programme, Alger is still with us at 95.

John  Kennedy gave us hope. Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama both knew the value of hope for people. But all of these people were hated by those who were against hopeful people. That ugliness is in evidence throughout our land. Now, John Kennedy made mistakes, but he was learning from them, and separating himself from them. John Kennedy had not accomplished much as president, but he was on the cusp of delivering. Kennedy was becoming a better national, and world leader. Glancing at history there are many "what if" moments. We have accepted that this was an American Camelot.

Fifty years ago, the calendar was as it is now. The 22nd was a Friday, and the Thursday next was Thanksgiving. What thoughts were uttered in communal gatherings? There were relatively few Catholics who were "conservative Republicans", Catholic priests did not often take the pulpit to rage against Democrats. What words of sad regrets were said on Sunday the 24th? Monday the 25th was a National Day of Mourning for President Kennedy. Funerals were held that day for John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Officer J.D. Tippit, and Lee Harvey Oswald. John Junior was three years old that day. Does anyone recall a different feel to the short orations before the turkey meal on the 28th?

Dallas Texas† was a center of money, hate, paranoia, and the evil accident of the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald. It is true that Oswald was a lone madman that had his infamous moment on the world's stage, with a mail order twelve dollar gun, and an eight dollar scope. If Oswald was a different man than he was, or not existent, there was the environment for other potential assassins.‡ John Kennedy knew this, his press secretary Pierre Salinger quoted him saying, "If anyone is crazy enough to want to kill a president of the United States, he can do it. All he must be prepared to do is give his life for the president's".
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*And we have seen as the Republicans took Tejas, the wretched figures it has thrust upon the American scene has steadily grown.
†Some of this paranoia directed at Kennedy is identical to the paranoia directed at Obama, the only real difference is that the majority of Republicans could publicly deny complicity, and say these 'ultraconservatives' were outside of the party, but to-day it is a rarity to find a Republican who is not infected with this madness.
‡Richard Pavlick was arrested in Florida, on the 15th of December 1960, in a Buick containing dynamite. He was shadowing Kennedy, and waiting for a ripe moment to detonate. [click], and [click].
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postscriptum: The Texas trip was looking towards the 1964 election. Kennedy and Johnson were to campaign in Houston, San Antonio, Ft. Worth, and Dallas. That was the only domestic trip that John brought his wife. Kennedy barely defeated Nixon in 1960, but Nixon was defeated in 1962 for California governor. Nixon after that had no interest in running in 1964. He supported Barry Goldwater. The liberal Republican candidates (they existed then) had no chance in the early 1960s atmosphere. Barry Goldwater was going to be the candidate. Most of the country thought Barry Goldwater was too extreme. Anti-catholicism was weaker in 1963 than in 1960. The race and civil rights issue would cost southern votes, but the advantage of incumbency would be there. Kennedy would only have been in electoral jeopardy if he had a continuing cascade of political and economic disasters. I suppose there is always anxiousness for the next election, and the uncertainty of the future, but a Kennedy Goldwater election would have been won by the Democracy, even with a southern hemorrhage.

The crazy and vicious elements, that were evident in Dallas, were all beyond Goldwater. To-day, all those extremists exist. They are all solidly inside the Republican party. Barry Goldwater would have a difficult time making a place for himself in that party to-day.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

on work and money

I have been thinking the last few days, that, i may never work for another again. Of poverty and indignity, i have to contend.

I have often been frugal, by necessity.  And it must be recognised that so much is spent on things unnecessary. Now, this is hard to avoid, because the US has a consumption desire, and an economic ethos to programme people to spend; and with this there is the overwhelming motivation to separate people from their money. US capitalism does not see people, but markets and dollars.

Health and longevity are of consideration. For my self, i need mostly food. Clothing i have mostly enough. My expenses are mostly utilities, property tax (no rent, that is a lot to be pleased about), and gasoline. 
 Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner
Now i know, hourly wages make a difference. Management lies. Here in a Walmart [click] store in Canton Ohio, the WORKERS have in their breakroom a collection for food for the store's WORKERS. Management, nationally, lies about their pay rate; local management is upset the story became public, and is lying about how altruism has sprung up in their unit, and outsiders should not construe it in a manner management does not define. The CEO of McDonalds, Jeff Stratton, similarly told [click] an employee, who had the temerity to complain of misery wages after working years, was answered by the multi-millionaire that he had worked longer, and she could always apply for food stamps. She and others were arrested [click]. And more recently, their website [McClick] suggests for employees to sell off Christmas presents in order to have more money.

And of course there are many in the US who believe in the abolition of minimum wage. My trade pays several times minimum wage, to the dislike of contractors, and jealous scabs; but i have gotten old, and i am not built as a sprinter, and i have been known to speak my mind and the truth, and am not wanted for labor. But in the past when i was younger, and work was more available i had opportunity to earn more wages. I often turned down over-time, especially as i got older.

I am over a year away to take the earliest possible retirement. I am not willing to take certain types of abuse and indignities, even at my pay scale. Of course, this in part, benefits the contractor. He will get a more pliant individual in my stead. We are not humans, but 'human resources', we are equivalent to tools in the shed, just as interchangeable, disposable, and of material value, or as economics courses, and business schools say "a cost of doing business".

As a living being, having a physical body, i like you must relieve my body of waste. I have never lingered in these spots. If i have to use the euphemism to pass water, or to 'go for a dump', i  need to go. Often we have primitive conditions, that are not sanitary. The other indignity, is for management (and that includes the scum, who is foreman, and in our trade, supposedly a brother) to object for us to take the time. Years ago, we were always provided water (the livestock is to be watered); that is becoming rare now. We are expected, contrary to our contract (contracts mean very little to management), to either go without, or to bring our own; of course, guaranteeing a spot to keep it is not certain (the contract had stipulated a place would be provided for break, and storage), and it would be odd to strap a canteen to our ass. I am tired of arguing about this, i am not willing to hold my piss and shit until i get home. This sort of asinine indignity is more than i wish to bear. Union representation does not want bother, for they do not want to fight for all their members, nor are they interested. They are interested in man hours, but they are not interested in an equitable distribution of man hours; so, if one fellow is a problem, well, the next guy may not be; and if he can not take the hint...


Speaking of piss, i have taken so many piss tests over the years to get to work, or to get a card so to be allowed to receive a work order. Workers are always suspect of being drug fiends. We have legislators (read Repukes) who believe the poor should be constantly tested to prove they are not drug fiends, and if they are, well, they and their families should be denied food.
New Republican teabagger member from Florida [click], Henry Jude "Trey" Radel III is a dope fiend that excuses his addiction on account of his alcoholism. Before being elected, Radel was a radio mouthfoamer on a Florida station, that also carried fellow drug addicts Limbaugh, and Beck. And darling little Trey, used to be an Ohio boy, from Cincinnati Elder. He went to the Jesuit university in Chicago. Apparently, he does not share the world view, or the love of humanity as the Jesuit pope; but can anyone expect a Republican 'entrepreneur' (as he self-identifies) to have such ideas?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

from St. Luke Lakewood, miscellany #2





I have always appreciated stained glass, i would not have been displeased to be such a glasier. For those who are students of christian art, you know the subjects of the glass well. The pelican, cock, lamb, and fleur-de-lis are fine attractive glass. These were the most interesting panes of larger windows.  I used the El Salvadoran Martyrs' glass for a page [click]. I am trying to remember, the Second of March was overcast in the afternoon. That statue is of St. Paul of Tarsus. 

I did not have a story for the parish. Now as i understand, a son of the parish is a Capuchin cardinal in Boston. Our Francis, apparently, respects the man; but i have not heard that he has cleaned up the disaster of Law and Lennon. Should being a son of a parish mean anything?; well Krol was cardinal in Philadelphia, and a son of St. Hyacinth, and Lennon sold that campus for $38,000. That was all that parish meant to him.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

duck season

Ohio's duck season this time: 
Lake Erie Marsh Zone, Oct. 12-27 and Nov. 9-Dec. 22
North Zone, Oct. 19-Nov. 3 and Nov. 30-Jan. 12
South Zone, Oct. 19-Nov. 3 and Dec. 14-Jan. 26
Mallards are easy to find about here.
wood duck, Aix sponsa
 circle of quack

Sunday, November 17, 2013

i don't like to be yelled at

I have been watching, or have had in the background, WJW-TV8 news broadcasts. Of the local television, they have the most hours of broadcast. They, as do others, want as many viewers to watch as many minutes/hours as possible. They make money on commercials. I have typed these essays, or looked at my fotos, or surfed the web with it on in the background. Now, from time to time, a faceless contemptible jerk begins a commercial for some s****y furniture warehouse by yelling frenetically screaming very rapidly (i thought a law was FINALLY passed over the objections of the shyster business interests to moderate the volume of commercials); i reach for the remote and shut down the television, and it is never fast enough, the screaming begins at delta zero of the commercial. After a while i may remember to turn on the television, i thereby 'miss' other commercials, and some programming. F**d runs many, many commercials for trucks with an edgy Boston Irish loudmouth (Cleveland has suffered greatly from a particular current Boston Irish self anointed know-it-all), the teevee often goes off with him. Do these geniuses not realise that i can not be the only one who has this response?

Well, i was reading about a 'confrontational evangelist' on a college campus. I was reminded of Jed Smock, he has a wiki page [and see this], and two short (18 and 4 minutes) films about him. I was surprised. He is still in business, and it has grown. I saw him at two of our Ohio colleges in the late '70s.

Again, i do not like being yelled at. I don't deal well with bosses, and cops, and any tyrannical jerk who barks like a rabid dog at me.

Well, being a good Catholic boy, and never being in any Protestant service whatsoever, i was surprised and jolted by aggressive 'evangelisation'. I was familiar with the television, and i could turn channels (Oral Roberts -- nuts, Billy Graham -- boring, Swaggart -- disgusting, Robert Schuller -- pablum, Rex Humbard -- i forget), and the on/off knob; and the gabby porch hoppers with apocalyptic scripts of fantasy. The teevee preachers i found as bad entertainment; Art Linklater, and Ed Sullivan were far more entertaining. Well, what i encountered on campus were inquisitorial episodes of great discomfort, and occasionally deception. No, this was not the way of Christ, this was the way of psychotics, and yet people defended them (and some agreed with their method) for their sincerity, devotion, and goal.
Back to Jed, for some reason i thought his name was Judd Smock. I was always corrected. At the time, he was already in a routine of college touring; so people that were there at school before me, were familiar with his act. I thought the name was made up, apparently it was not. I thought Smock was a play on 'Schmuck', and 'Jed' and 'Judd' were not normal names (to my ear).  Well his patter, he repeated on each arrival, sort like vaudeville—you have a five minute act, and therefore a career. Five minutes was about as much as one could take, but many people knew his back story. He used to do a bad Mick Jagger, where he sank down on a knee (if i remember) and sang (ok, maybe not sang, vocalised) "i can't get no satisfaction". He had Sr. Cindy, whom i just now read became his wife. She was not the headliner.

I never did see such a large crowd about him. He used to set himself in a spot that had much intersecting foot traffic, and you would come upon him not realising he was in performance. Some people were just walking from point A to point B, and he would intercept and accost them. If it was not obvious that he was in performance, it would have been an assault, for it was very similar to being challenged to a street fight. If one had a shirt with the name of another college, he would provoke. He had special venom for someone with a Catholic school jersey. At the time, there were foreign students from southwest Asia on campus and he would attack them about being Moslem. I did not see him with, although i could guarantee the same tactic (ambush) directed at, an east or south Asian student. He would see a non-european ethnic physicality to a person, and assume their religion and belief system. Welcome to America.

Catholics in confession would tell their sins, their transgressions, privately to a priest. This bobo would publicly accuse people at first sight that were unknown to him as having committed a particular sin, or series. How would he have foreknowledge? As a Catholic, the term 'presumption' comes up. Apparently, the rationale is to rebuke the 'sinner' to belief. Under the worst of communism, and other totalitarian dictatorships, some petty commissar or other functionary would accuse one of something, and one would be forced to confess. No, this is NOT of Jesus. And Jed, and the others have converts. Oh, to be 'born again' of such parents in the faith.

Early christianity, converted the pagan roman empire; certainly this was not the method used. There was a love, and much real suffering of the christian. I have heard, and read, Jack Chick-like views of constantinian christianity. I followed that rubbish back to a XIXth century preacher/professor at Bucknell college. No, that method is more akin to the US hydra-headed lunatic fringe of calvinistic protestantism. It is a mean narcissism of willful spite. Throughout history christianity has made compromises with society, but this is a ruthlessness against humanity—a psychotic puritanism, that would not be able to recruit unless there was a frame of reference already in existence.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

en passant

Sandy Ridge, North Ridgeville Ohio

This was yesterday's my most interesting photo. I believe, this is the same pair of sandhill cranes i photographed before. They walked out of the water, just a few feet away from where i had seen, and pictured, them before. It is something, as with Thibodeaux the pelican, and some of the other recent bird celebrities about Ohio (there is a white hummingbird in a Columbus metropark [click]). They are lost migrants that have chosen to camp out in a spot. They are migrants whom favor a locale, similar to people.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

fencing by smiths

Brinsley Tyrrell & Steve Jordan. Orchard School Cleveland.
This was built for the old school, which was torn down and the wrought fence of many figures was fenced off. A new school was then built, and the temporary steel fence was pulled out.
They also made a series of police and fireman on Rocky River Drive. This scene has pipes and drum corps. Note far left, one fireman is in a wheelchair, and his pusher has been given a shawl. I have seen this public contribution to sculpture before [clicky].

While i was taking photographs, in this neighborhood rife with cops and fireman, i encountered a couple of extremely rude drivers; i cannot prove a correspondence, and regretted not displaying my annoyance. Pedestrians, even in crosswalks crossing with the light, are not always tolerated.
These smith artists were also working at recently formally opened Dike 14 Lake Erie overlook.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

mid-November Erie lakefront

 sweet gum tree, Euclid Sims Park
  Perkins Beach, ring billed gull
These phragmites pom poms are torches, this is at Dike 14. These reeds frequently are lit by teen age arsonists at Mentor Marsh.

East 72nd, fun with not so scared geese; they would regroup after each rush by the child.
 East 55th

duck, duck, duck, duck, goose, goose
 birders on the quay looking for a gannet

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

#1 in a series of miscellany for 2013

In these pages and on quijote, i have posted, especially this year, many fotos from annual celebrations around Cleveland. For many, it was from first attendance. A lot of these i always meant to go before to, and had not. And the far majority were great fun, and without examining them all, i can not come up with one that stank (take that back, there was one; it was a library event which was weak, or i misjudged the audience). I can say the Cleveland Metroparks came up with some really entertaining events. A couple of events i was too tired to continue on to; one a day is pretty good. I missed some church/ethnic festivals, i would have liked to go to (Romanian, Armenian, Byzantine at Burton), and a couple of other fests. Now a resource for me, to find date and time of many of these events has been the updating festival schedule page [click] on Ohio Festivals [click]. The proprietor has put in five years of travel to seek fun and food, and is proud to be rolling up 300 reviews on his odometer, or is that stat counter?

A few Saturdays it rained. It was too wet for me to go to the dragon boat fest, i got very wet at a doggy parade. The Slovenes had a new parade that i didn't go too. I missed some Akron stuff. Winter events, i currently have less desire to go to. Chinese New Year is fun, and it is mostly inside. The Patrick parade weather is dicey. Now that i have seen to some of these things once, the urgency is less. The Rocco's pole climb, i would like to make again; the historical re-enactors were great. Now, i don't generally post real commercial events, they have big bucks. I have considered the Browns muni-lot, but so far no. Just now there is a tv commercial from the casino, no, don't do that. I also posted some nature fotos, art (not that which looks like heaped scrap), and architectural shots. Beyond that, a lot of political, and religious commentary. For the political stuff, i borrowed images created by others: cartoons, posters, u.s.w. 

For the two of you who visit this site regularly, you may remember on the last day of last year, i posted six sets of photographs that i took that year and did not place in a previous post with copy. For the first three months of this year, i posted on this site several fotos without accompanying story, as i did for the first half of the year on the slavonic quijote site. I took a lot of fine pictures, last year and this. Of this surplus, i have random shots still. I will post them sporadically until the end of the year. 

[paragraph redacted]

When i was in university, (i think i was in engineering at the time, maybe not), the professor acting as counselor mentioned internships. I asked him how much does it pay. He said nothing. That closed the road on that. Internships are a form of wage theft. Wage theft has become ever more prevalent in the US. There is a distribution of wealth in the US, it moves from the poor to the rich. This started in the 1970s, after forty years of the reverse, and it was formalised under Reagan and has grown exponentially since. So much in this country is seen directly from the perspective of wealth [click the following: a, b, c]; and of the 'common man', well the term is becoming extinct.

Well, back to the extra pictures, these were fotos from Lakewood Ohio:
 Some porch ornaments look neat to many passerbys.
 There are a lot of saloons in Lakewood. This one is not selling drinks under this name now.
This was in a large grocer's lot. Perhaps, at that point i considered the zombie infatuation America has, and found it humorous.
 Here is a remaining stone.