Friday, March 25, 2011

On Wisconsin - Links to Articles by Prof. William Cronan

Prof. Cronnan wrote an op ed piece published in the NYT  which discusses corporate involvement in Wisconsin Governor Walker's union busting activities which serves only the interest of folks like the Koch brothers while demonizing state workers.

Cronan asks who and what's behind the legislation Walker rammed through here and discusses a semi-secret conservative organization known as ALEC and thoughtfully explores the conservative heart behind it with academic rigor and respect.  Even so, I admit I felt chilled all the way here in NM on a very warm day after reading through that and after perusing ALEC's site.

Now he's being targeted for retaliation by Republicans in Wisconsin where he is a working professor of history.  

Evil days, my friends.  Evil deeds.  Greed has become the master of the mighty.  Make no mistake:  We working people are their targets and the greedy have but one goal for us:  yokes and collars.

I will not submit.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More On Teachers: Taylor Mali At Wordsonfire "What Do You Make?"

This was put in my path tonight regarding defense of teachers and I just loved it.  I know my teachers made a difference.  They made it so I don't live my life in ignorance.

So introducing Taylor Mali at Wordsonfire, a spoken word event.

American Dreamers: Sometimes A TV Show Can Ask The Right Questions

This is a message... there is a message in this episode of Harry's Law.  It speaks to who we are and are not as Americans in handling our immigration issues, but also who and what the soul of a nation is as well as what the soul of law may be.  Not glib.

YouTube - MSNBC - Banksters & Government Exposed FINALLY by Mainstream News!

YouTube - MSNBC - Banksters & Government Exposed FINALLY by Mainstream News!

This needs to get passed around to everyone you know! One heck of a story about our economy here!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Despicible Rape Story Where The "Victim" Lied

This issue of rape is hard enough.  We who live through it are never fully healed... I've dealt with mine getting close to 50 years and there are days when a smell, a sound, or even a flash of color or a tone of voice can be enough to revive everything.

One of the horrible things that a woman can do is make a false accusation of rape.  It victimizes good men who don't and would never consider raping anyone, not even for a nano-second.  It ties up public resources from the police to the District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices.  It demolishes the legitimate rape claims of people who have been assaulted and injured in a way that is nothing short of profoundly life changing. 

Yet there are women who are so cynical that they will do that.  ABC News and The Daily Beast told the story here  and here .  This woman used a false rape claim to conceal her murder of a coworker.  Both acts are heinous and despicable.  There is no defense for her lie.  There is no excuse she can ever make that will spark compassionate understanding in my heart for her doing that.  It is people like her, after all, who create a climate where outsiders can say that an 11 year old girl who was gang raped in Cleveland, TX must've deserved it because of the way she was dressed or because she took a ride in a guy's car.  That is the egregious, unforgivable part of false rape claims.  

Because of women like her, the real victims of rape end up being blamed, trivialized, shamed and worse.

Heroes As Villains: The Case of Elizabeth Warren -

Heroes As Villains: The Case of Elizabeth Warren -

Great Krugman article. To the point.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dear Kwan Yin, Right Now I Think I Need A Dose Of The Serenity Prayer

Oh my dear Goddess Kwan Yin.  Lemme tell you.  Things have gone wild the last few days.  Here in the US, our states are fragmenting; politicians are ripping at our Constitution with the backing of major billionaires, trying to take over many states with a view to privatizing the resources of those states.  It's theft.   And we ordinary working folks, no matter what race we are, have big ol' targets on our asses cos' we got things they still want to strip away.  Like our voting rights.  And look at that Rep. King dude in Washington holding hearings about Muslim radicalization in America while totally blowing off the notion that American already has a terrorism problem with people who have connections to far right wing ideologies like neo Nazi-ism, nativism and white nationalism!  It's disgusting that those guys are ignored. No, no, gotta go after those Muslims.  9/11 and all that.  Funny thing is when it came to Rep. King regarding another terror group.  He liked the IRA... well, I maybe it's cos they were white and Catholic, but King more than tolerated them!   All the while in parts of the Arab world, people are throwing off, or trying to throw off the yokes of oppression and tyranny in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya for the sake of freedom and democracy.  We're losing it and they're choosing it.  Next upon our stage (with apologies to ELP) Japan had an 8.9 earthquake followed by a tsunami Friday  Damaged in that quake were some nuclear power stations with reactors that are damaged and in all likelihood, as I write this, going to have at least two meltdowns.  Disaster upon disaster for those hapless Japanese.  I think I'm close to information overload.  So many people hurting and in despair yet willing to go on and make it through today and then again through tomorrow.  Bewilderment.  That's what I feel.  A person can only do so much.  I forget I'm an al-anon type and should frequently take  the Serenity prayer's gentle reminder: 

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Rachel Maddow On The Shock Doctrine In Michigan. Beware Your Freedom Is At Risk!

What is happening in Michigan is criminal and unconstitutional.   Rise up!  Speak up!

Friday, March 11, 2011

11 Year Old Girls Never Deserve To Be Raped So What Gives You The Right To Blame The Child?

Several news sources including CNN, ABC News, The New York Times and others have written about the 11 year old girl from Cleveland, TX.  The headlines have claimed the rape of this girl has split the community while inferring the that the girl and/or her parents and/or way she dressed and/or lack of supervision was the reason she was raped.  It's the old "she must've been asking for it" excuse and people are buying into it.  The NY Times article by James McKinley Jr. quotes one neighbor as asking:  “Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?”   

(My best guess (and hope) is that the victim's mother was at work trying to earn a living to support her family.  These days, thats pretty common.  The working classes don't have the luxury of being stay at home moms these days.  My mind wanders and I wonder why no one asked where the girls father was, but those things are beside the point.)

The girl was 11 years old.  

  • She's not an adult.  
  • She's not an adolescent.  
  • She IS a child.  

As a child, there a lot of things she lacks.  Developmentally, she is not equipped mentally, emotionally or spiritually to handle sex.  She is legally incompetent to give consent to have sex under 'normal' circumstances.  We as a society recognize this.  We know that a child of 11 years is not able to fully understand all the nuances, including long term 10-20, 30 years down the road consequences that go into giving "full and informed consent' regarding sex. The state of Texas says the age of consent is 17.  It's that simple. These Texas Statutes define the state's position on child sexual abuse and rape:  

Reading the statutes you see that it does not matter one iota whether the girl dressed up trying to emulate her favorite celebrities.  It does not matter if she was un-or-undersupervised.  It does not matter whether she talked sassy or talked smack or talked like a choir-girl or like a guttersnipe.  What DOES matter that she was 11 years old and 18 men forced themselves on and into her body and raped her.  They took videos of themselves raping her!  Those videos are how they were caught.    

This is not a Romeo and Juliet thing with a teenage girl and boy, both over 14 and within three years of each other's ages.  Per the NY Times article, force and threats were used and this information was also reported by CNN: amongst other news agencies.

I also wonder whether if this gang rape had a more sinister motive: Were they raping her to 'turn her out' so they could traffick her as a child prostitute.  Are the authorities even considering that as part of their investigation?  From the reporting, we know some of the men also were known to the police for involvement with drugs and drug trafficking, so them taking the step over to human trafficking isn't exactly improbable.  

This is a heartbreaking story and the galling thing is how few people, if any,  in the mainstream media are asking: "Where were the parents of the boys and men who raped that girl?  And why weren't the those boys and men taught that rape is wrong under any circumstance?"   After all, 18 males participated in raping a child and not one person from the mainstream media has seen fit to ask:  "What's wrong with these guys?  What's wrong with their thinking?  What's wrong with them that they'd participate in raping a child?"  Instead, the reporter from the NYT notes,  " Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”  That's a pretty stellar failure on the part of the NY Times, James McKinney Jr, and his bosses.

Excuse me???  What about the girl?  What about the 11 year old girl who did not deserve to be raped?  What planet are you all from?

I have yet to hear anyone in the mainstream media ask, "What about the girl?"  I'm not in the mainstream media but I want to know:  What about the girl?  What happens to her? Who is looking out for her best interests?

Sadly I can begin to imagine what she went through as I was also raped as a child.  It has been over 44 years and I still have times when I have to re-process that experience.  People never get over having been raped.  This girl is in for a lifetime of work on herself to have any kind of decent relationship with herself, with her family and community.  She will face more personal self-work as she grows into young adulthood and has to face issues about her sexual identity, issues of intimacy with whoever she partners with.  

Being a rape survivor will impinge on her relationships over the course of her lifetime.  Given the community's response of blaming her, she will be challenged to assert her own personal dignity without feeling shame.  I pray for her.  I pray that her family's love and care for her will help her develop into a mentally and emotionally healthy woman over the next 8 years or so.  I pray she will be able to transcend this horrible experience and make something beautiful of her life for decades to come.

Sadly for one child, Cleveland, Texas, USA is a town without pity, a town without shame, a town without mercy.  And the sad truth is, that is true of a lot of cities here and abroad.  Why is that?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wal-Mart Wine

My buddy Windy in San Francisco sent this to me today.  Normally I seldom mention my friends cos they're private and not so web-social.  This cracked me up given my current mood about Corporatism and Government, it was so apt.

Wal-Mart announced that sometime in 2011 it will begin offering
 customers a new discount item... Wal-Mart's own brand of wine.

 The world's largest retail chain is rumored to be teaming up with
 Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery of California to produce the spirits at
 an affordable price in the $2 to $5 range.

 Wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to put a bottle of the Wal-
 Mart brand into their shopping carts, but 'There is a market for
 inexpensive wine,' said Kathy Micken, professor of marketing at
 University   of  Arkansas , Bentonville. 'However, branding will be
 very important.'

 Customer surveys were conducted to determine the most attractive
 name for the Wal-Mart wine brands and varieties.

 The top surveyed names in order of popularity were:

 10. Chateau Traileur Parc
 9. White Trashfindel
 8. Big Red Gulp
 7. World Championship Riesling
 6. NASCARbernet
 5. Chef Boyardeaux
 4. Pinot Newt
 3. I Can't Believe it's not Vinegar
 2. Grape Expectations
 1. Nasti Spumante

 The beauty of Wal-Mart wine is that it can be served with either
 white meat (Possum) or red meat (Squirrel).

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wealthy Dentist Commits Crime But Will Justice Really Be Served?

Yes, the rich are different from you and me.  Most of us ordinary people find a wallet and make an effort to return it to its rightful owner, contents intact.

Not so with a rich dentist out of Michagan.  Worth between 3-4 million dollars according to his own estimates, this bad guy dentist visiting Florida found a wallet and used the student owner's credit card to buy pizza.  It's reported he had plenty of cash on hand when he was arrested - enough to cover his purchase.

He got busted: 

Another take id'ed Dr. Ludwig as their "Moron of the Day" caught in the act:

Boston's My Fox gives us a pic of that wealthy yet dishonest dentist: 

And from,  I loved this note:  "Deputies say that when they asked him why he took the card and used it, Dr. Ludwig told them, "I picked up the card, what was I supposed to do with it?""  

Where on earth did this guy get the idea that kind of behavior was gonna fly?  How about the U.S. government which has been letting the wealthiest Americans off the hook for all kinds of crimes that they walk away from with impunity on the most part and slaps on the wrist the rest of the time?  It's a start.

We can laugh at Richard Lewis Ludwig, DDS.  We can also be fairly sure he'll get a bye on his criminal case too.  After all, with a generous campaign contribution to the GOP that he can easily afford, and a plea bargain that will let him keep his license to practice, not to mention his wealthy lifestyle,  he'll likely end up with probation along with an admonition not to set foot in Florida for a set amount of time. 

Frankly, I'd be very surprised if Dr. Ludwig went to prison for the three felonies he was charged with.  If he does happen to run into a humorless jury, he could go to a 'Camp Cupcake' type prison and after he gets out, will be 'rehabilitated' socially, economically and politically followed, a few years later, with some sort of pardon restoring all his rights.

It makes me think that  if the shoe were on the other foot - if it had been Mr. Harrun Majeed, that US Navy veteran and current student, who found Dr. Ludwig's wallet and used Dr. Ludwig's credit card to buy $40 worth of pizza, then Mr. Majeed would be facing at least 5 years in a Florida prison followed by a lengthy parole.  He certainly wouldn't be allowed the post-prison 'rehab' that the wealthy get. Just wouldn't happen.  And he'd have plenty of hurdles shoved in his way too...for the rest of his life.

There's two tiers of justice in America, no matter what they tell us.  One tier for the wealthy and another for the rest of us and that, folks, is a wrong needing to be righted.

Lastly, there is the nasty little question at the back of my mind that wonders if, on seeing Mr. Majeed's name on the credit card, the Dr. assumed the guy was perhaps Muslim and had acted out of a more biased motive.  

Monday, March 07, 2011

Operation Flicker: 5200 Pentagon Employees Implicated Purchasing Child Porn

I think I may have discussed it in this blog, but I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.  It is something that started, at the hands of a neighbor, when I was 7 years old during the time my father was in and out of the hospital due to his terminal illness and during my mother's last pregnancy with my sixth sibling.  Neither were aware or able to protect me at the time.  I kept silent due to the usual threats & warnings kids in this situation hear.  Like many children in such a situation, it was not the first nor last time I was exploited.  Sadly there were a few men who took pictures for what I'm now sure are their 'trophy' collections.  I've had a bit over 45 years to deal with it, but some things come up to remind me that it's never really "over and done with."

As a survivor I do what I can to support organizations that fight human trafficking, particularly women and child sex trafficking, because I am aware of how narrowly I avoided becoming one of its victims.  One of those things that matters to me is to own it -- that is:  it's my experience,  I'm free to talk about it and to express my opinions about it especially when stories like the one in the clip I'm putting here on my blog today come up.

In 1964 there were no rape shield laws in my community and my name and address was published in the newspapers crime section.  That made it significantly easier for other predators to target me (and my sisters) almost up to the time I was out of high school.  (The official handling of my case, by APD, in 1964 was badly done with a 'blame the victim' mentality in which the police determined that I as a 7, 8, 9 year old victim had allowed the abuse with 'full knowledge and consent.' so in the end, their influence was more deeply corrupting than that of the original molester).  Looking back, it was like I ran a gantlet to avoid the pervs and their tricks at times.  Fortunately, between the time my initial molestation was discovered and high school, my fierce Irish-American mother had inculcated enough of a sense of self worth about my value to our family that I paid attention and learned to spot and avoid the worst predators and to extricate myself away from the subtler ones. I suppose it is fortunate the internet didn't exist back then.  Maybe it's hubris, but I'm reasonably confident pictures taken of me aren't as wide spread as happens today.

I saw this report today from Anderson Cooper where over 5000 Pentagon employees were found, through Operation Flicker, to have obtained child pornography, yet the investigation has stalled and little to nothing has been done.  Some of those employees are very high up in the organization.

This is beyond offensive to me.  This comes across as being an institutional problem -- and if these men (and women if any) who're entrusted with our nation's military missions are turned on by kiddie porn, then we can be sure that they are NOT going to be interested in preventing rape of civilian women and children in war zones, nor interested in prosecuting it.  Nor are they going to be willing to prosecute defense contractors for the same, including rape of American women overseas employed by those contractors.   These people need to be investigated thoroughly, they need to be brought to trial and they need to go to jail.  On release, they need to register as sex offenders and they ought never be allowed near a child again.   Then we need to turn our attention to whatever the hell it is that leads anyone connected with government to think turning a blind eye on these crimes is acceptable even for a minute.  They're not the kind of people I want leading this country.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Regarding Frank Buckles, The Last US Soldier From World War One To Die

The Daily Kos carried this article wherein Speaker John Boehner denied a request from a Democrat to afford Mr. Buckles the honor of resting in the Capitol Rotunda before his burial.  This was a partisan decision and was just wrong in my opinion.!-Boehner-denies-national-honor-to-the-last-doughboy#comments

As a veteran, I wrote to Speaker Boehner to express my disgust at his choice.  This is my email to Speaker Boehner

"Speaker Boehner,

 My father was a WWI Army veteran, my uncles served in WWII and Korea.  My half brother served in the army Viet Nam in the 1960s.  I served during the Viet-Nam Era in the Air Force and my younger brother served in the Army, a couple years after I did, during peace time.  We all served honorably and felt proud to do so.

I want to tell you, as a woman who comes from a family where military service, even if only for a single enlistment, is a tradition, that I am profoundly disgusted with your partisan decision to deny Mr. Buckles the honor of resting in the US Rotunda as the United States last WWI soldier, simply because a Democrat asked for that special recognition.  Shame on you and those who counseled you to this tainted, ignoble decision!   How cruel you're proving yourself to be.  I'm ashamed of you.


Friday, March 04, 2011

In Support of Wisconsin And The Rest Of America's Public School Teachers

Jon Stewart did a brilliant job on this take on Teacher pay versus Wall Street executive pay.   Teachers should be as valuable, if not more, to our society than the money boys on Wall Street.

One commentator made note that teachers work nine months out of the year and aren't there in the summers. Its true.  What they don't say is that many teachers spend their summers going back to school to further their professional education in the teaching fields.  They're getting their masters and doctorates.  They're refining their knowledge, they're learning newer methods for teaching and they're learning about changes to local and state laws may impact what and how they teach in the classroom.  Some teachers spend summer education time getting certified in health care services to help with special needs students as more schools lose school nurses due to budget cut backs.  What teacher enters the teaching field thinking "oh, I'm gonna be giving insulin injections to my diabetic students!" or "Wow, I get to help do a tube feeding during lunch." ???  The state does NOT pay for that ongoing education.  The teachers pay for it out of their own pockets... out of the money they save out of those previous nine months earnings.

Other teachers spend their summers working to acquire the school supplies their students will need for the following school year.  Stocking up pencils, pens, reams of notebook paper, binders, and even classic books appropriate to grade level is on their agenda.  Budget cut backs in the schools have forced them into that, even though they know that there is a group in each school whose parents are so poor their parents simply can't afford to buy those school supplies.  Again, the schools are not paying the teachers to do that for their students.   Some of those same teachers spearhead clothing drives - again for the sake of poor kids - so that they have clothing that is acceptable to wear in school.

Still other teachers spend their time researching and writing to obtain grant money to keep science, math and music and even physical education in their schools because states budgets don't provide for them in too many places!  They do it because they know it is proven that music and art help students learn better in math and science even from the start and over the long term.

Let us not forget the teachers who spend their summers in summer school teaching the kids who've fallen behind or failed their classes due to lack of parental support and involvement in their child's educations.  While there are some parents who're indifferent to whether Johnny or Suzie learn anything, there are other parents whose support is missing because they're working two to three jobs apiece to make ends meet in this topsy turvy world where their labors go more toward supporting tax breaks for corporations and the very wealthy.

Let me tell you:  YOUR states are NOT paying teachers to do these things during the three months between school years.  Not a single damned penny our of your tax dollars (and theirs since teacher pay IS taxable income) supports all that summer work and development!  Your states are getting a deal paying those $50K year salaries with benefits.

So yes... watch and enjoy Stewart skewering the talking heads on the right who want to keep cheating you, your kids and your society out of decent educations by cheating the teachers who already work for a pittance compared to the six and seven and eight figure incomes of Wall Street and other corporate executives.

Thank you Mrs. Weeks, Mrs. Truedell, Mr. Fishbeck, Sr. Marie Vianney, Sr. Marie Gonzaga, Mrs. Martinez, Mr. Paskiewicz,  Mrs Getz, Mrs. King,  Principle Neal, Mr. Go, Mrs. Martin, Mr. De Llameter, Mrs. Charon, Ms. Civerolo, Principal Rounds, Miss Giffen, Mrs. Magee,  Mr. Dennis.  It was you, amongst others, who gave me the foundation with which I could later study at UNM with the likes of Prof. Bock, Prof. Berthold, Prof. Johnson, Prof. Weigle, Prof. Harris, Simon Ortiz, Prof. Geary, Prof. Slaughter, Prof. Huaco, Prof. McNamara and more.   I am grateful.