POC aren’t the problem for the Homeland’s “war on terror”

By ann summers

The problem is as it’s always been – the ethnocentrism of the European colonizers and their American-born descendants, basing their bias on property and power and in the case of recent GOP politics on the the fear of the Other defensible it seems only by force of arms.

And yet the data says otherwise – the number of muslim radicals is smaller than those who are white(sic) and blacks and Latinos are a danger only because their crimes might be race and class based and however territorially constrained by neighborhoods.

All that fear is good for new gun sales to incompetent consumer-operators, but it sucks for public safety institutions already predisposed to oppress POC. The real problem seems to be frightened white folks and more pointedly, their control of increasingly militarized police services geared up for terror.

In a Pew Research Center poll in July, the voters most likely to put gun rights ahead of controlling access were white men and women without a college education. Those voters are shrinking within the overall electorate, and, as they tilt more toward Republicans, they are receding even faster within the Democratic coalition. Whites who didn’t finish college provided about half of Bill Clinton’s votes in 1992 but only about two-fifths of Gore’s in 2000 and a fourth of Obama’s in 2012.


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Word Cloud Resized


Last-Minute Message For a Time Capsule

I have to tell you this, whoever you are:
that on one summer morning here, the ocean
pounded in on tumbledown breakers,
a south wind, bustling along the shore,
whipped the froth into little rainbows,
and a reckless gull swept down the beach
as if to fly were everything it needed.
I thought of your hovering saucers,
looking for clues, and I wanted to write this down,
so it wouldn’t be lost forever – –
that once upon a time we had
meadows here, and astonishing things,
swans and frogs and luna moths
and blue skies that could stagger your heart.
We could have had them still,
and welcomed you to earth, but
we also had the righteous ones
who worshipped the True Faith, and Holy War.
When you go home to your shining galaxy,
say that what you learned
from this dead and barren place is
to beware the righteous ones.

What could some future alien species understand in this poem by Philip Appleman? How would they break the code of a language that refers to things that no longer exist here, things which likely resemble nothing in their experience?

The answer of course is that Philip Appleman (1926 –  ) is not writing a note to future space explorers from Alpha Centauri, but to his fellow-inhabitants as a reminder of all that we could lose – a warning that the passionate obsessions of “True Believers” are a threat to life on Earth.

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Posted in Evolution, Fundamentalism, Humor, Literature, Poetry, Religion, Word Cloud | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Toward recovering the $7 trillion from offshore tax havens

By ann summers

If you’re rich and you don’t want to pay taxes, here’s a way to go. Drop that billion in a secret bank account abroad. It’s illegal, but there are plenty of people who will help you do it. And there are a lot of people who do it.

Just when reading Thomas Piketty’s book was important, another book this time by one of his collaborators (those damn Freedom Fries economists) emerges to make the issues of ill-gotten off-shore wealth important for the coming election…and yes, questions from this book should be asked during the candidate debates and in those town halls.

Then again these tax evaders did steal it fair and square, and providing the institutional support for all kinds of illegal and immoral activity is modern capitalism at its best – isn’t that the risk/reward game that everyone is supposed to play and too bad if you’re too poor to buy some bootstraps.

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Unintended consequences: The 1965 Immigration Act and its nativist contradictions for 2016

By ann summers

Would you go “back to where you came from” even if you’re from here, so that you could return to enjoy(sic) the rights of full citizenship and even though those you encounter on a daily basis discriminate against you for superficial reasons and make your life as difficult as it was before you left.

On the 50th anniversary of the The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Pub.L. 89–236, 79 Stat. 911, enacted June 30, 1968), nativism remains a wedge issue much as it had been for the Founders. And so many unintended consequences actually brought the very thing conservatives wanted to avoid and yet are what they stir fear about now. Those who tout some nostalgic brand of family values now wish to break up families in the name of nativist exclusion and the hoisting of anchor babies in the name of bureaucratic control and racial animus.

As much as we’d like to “stand our ground” or have the power to remove those who offend us in everyday life without our own exit, that visceral feeling however distorted seems to play well for the base of the GOP as a meme for political and electoral success and has become militarized in police services used to segregate populations on often flimsy anti-humanitarian grounds. That we have weekly television programs on daily life in the Prison Industrial Complex only distorts the cultural meaning of what Weber called an “Iron Cage”.

The United States has long struggled to define what it really means to become American and which immigrants qualify. George Washington declared the country was open to “the loppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions,” but the idea persists that America is a “Judeo-Christian nation,” that being a Muslim American is a contradiction in terms, and that some nationalities are inferior to others….

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Posted in American History, Civil Liberties, Conservatives | Tagged | 6 Comments


Word Cloud Resized


I am by choice most thoroughly a creature of the West Coast convergence of sea and desert, which gives new meaning to “dry land.”

Autumn, when the sun recrosses the equator heading south, might tempt me to try a different country. There’s something very alluring about leaves turning amber and russet, then crackling underfoot, about light that glows in an ever-afternoon, and air that breathes soft and cool upon the skin but smells of smoke-tang and apple cider.

Yet while Time may tarry, it never stops. As sure as the sun, as constant as the constellations, Winter will follow Autumn. And then I look around my dry-scape of arroyos and beaches, content to be warmer than the creatures of that other country. Better earthquakes than blizzards for me.

In celebration of the glories of this enticing season, I offer two very different poets.

John Keats, drawn a month before he died, by Joseph Severn

John Keats, drawn
a month before he died,
by Joseph Severn

Our first poet is John Keats, who was born on Halloween – October 31, 1795, in London – and died on February 23, 1821, of tuberculosis in Rome, where he had gone in a vain attempt to restore his health.

But in his 25 short years, he won undying fame, and wrote some of the most beautiful poems in the English language:  “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy,” “Ode to a Nightingale” and “To Autumn,” which is the final work of his 1819 odes:                   

                        TO AUTUMN

    SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
        Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
        With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
    To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
        And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
            To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
        And still more, later flowers for the bees,
        Until they think warm days will never cease,
            For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

    Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
        Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
    Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
        Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
    Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
        Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
            Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
    And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
        Steady thy laden head across a brook;
        Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
            Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

    Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
        Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
    While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
        And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
    Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
        Among the river sallows, borne aloft
            Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
        Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
        The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
           And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” that time of his full power as a poet was too short for Keats, and he died when the songs of spring were yet to come.

Keats did possess the gift of prophecy: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”

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For Trump the Master-Brander, being POTUS is just another job

Brand, Blast, Bait, and Switch

By ann summers

We may see real power brokerage at the GOP convention with delegates as the capital – a new arbitrage tool for tRump. If he’s savvy, Trump will have one of his media partners do a documentary of his primary path to the convention as a hybrid episode of Celebrity Apprentice, since for Trump, the Presidency seems already to be a lovely parting gift.

The 60 Minutes interview also revealed Trump’s exit strategy as the CEO of America, that he could leave the Presidency early simply because he was disinterested in it. And as we saw from the Bush-43 years, the Veepstakes could get more pricey or costly. The Donald, unlike half-term governors, can see Brighton Beach from his porch, and maybe he’s in it for the lifelong Secret Service protection.

And if that bit of triangulation wasn’t enough, Bubba has weighed in on the possibility of Trump winning the GOP nomination. Scott Walker’s exit signaled that a still overpopulous group of prospective candidates will be chasing less available money, the mother’s milk of politics. Time to fish or cut brands.

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Ted Cruz and the incest taboo: Pulling a Boehner to resign

Sen. Ted Cruz and House Speaker John Boehner

By ann summers

Ted Cruz as creepy Uncle ‘Bagger – the victory of Tea Party forces seeking to unseat House Speaker John Boehner got what they wished for and the guy behind the curtain has now forced all the Klinghoffers to flee the Carnival Cruz of Fools. In the GOP House’s case the ‘baggers got what they wanted, but now they cannot stomach the Pyrrhic victory of getting Boehner to sacrifice himself for the good of a party that lives for false consciousness. Cruz’s shop stewardship of House members may be as close as he ever gets to an executive relationship with legislative branch authority in 2016.

Another school argues that the incest prohibition is a cultural construct which arises as a side effect of a general human preference for group exogamy, which arises because intermarriage between groups construct valuable alliances that improve the ability for both groups to thrive.

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