Jeffster Awards #42

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

This is the next installment of an ongoing series at Deconstructing Myths…the Jeffster Awards! This award will be given on an ongoing basis to five outstanding blog posts that caught my wandering eye. There are no strings attached or requirements for reciprocation. I don’t have time to comment on other blogs as much I’d like to so the least I can do is direct readers to some of these outstanding writers, poets, and visual artists. Please direct all feedback (likes, comments, follows) to the blogs themselves. I hope you enjoy these exemplary posts as much as I did. So, without further ado, here are the recipients of this week’s Jeffster Awards…hot off the (Word)presses.

The Devil at the Top at The Two Thousands

The Replacements at Kate Houck, Poems

The Fight to Keep Mumia from Being Silenced at Abolitionist Law Center

Poem for Hopi Land: All People’s Land at A Global Public Servant

A poem against internalization at Race-less Gospel

_________________

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rest in Power, Eduardo Galeano

Jeff Nguyen:

I am embarrassed to admit I did not know of Eduardo Galeano until recently. In the minds of the somebodies, we are all worth “less than bullets”. Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Originally posted on roger hollander:

Posted on April 13, 2015 by chrmaria


Dedicated to The Nobodies
The nobodies: the sons of no one, the owners of nothing.
Who don’t speak languages, but rather dialects.
Who don’t follow religions, but rather superstitions.
Who don’t make art, but rather crafts.
Who don’t practice culture, but rather folklore.
Who are not human, but rather human resources.
Who have no face but have arms.
Who have no name, but rather a number.
Who don’t appear in the universal history books,
but rather in the police pages of the local press.
The nobodies,
the ones who are worth less than the bullet that kills them.

losnadies

Los Nadies, by Eduardo Galeano

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The Age of Austerity©

(Photo credit: Teacher Dude)

(Photo credit: Teacher Dude)

The parties with the most to gain never show up on the battlefield.

-Naomi Klein

It is springtime in the land of homogenized milk and processed honey. The birds are birding, the bees are beeing and the ruling class in America is doing what it does best…ruling. The days of Kings and Queens may seem like an antiquated notion in 2015 but make no mistake, as George Carlin wryly observed about the American nobility, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it.” Since the 2008 financial collapse that saw not one high ranking Wall Street executive cuffed and stuffed, the American peasants have endured the indignity of roboforeclosures, dozens of states refusing to provide health coverage to their poorest residents, and the encroachment of the private, corporate sector into the hallways of the nations’ public schools. The American people have been repeatedly taken to the breathless brink by the corporate media who tell us that the government will shut down if more social services aren’t slashed and burned. Yet, somehow, there is always enough money for the U.S. military to conduct unending wars in mostly brown and black lands while domestic law enforcement keeps the homeland secure from it’s own (mostly brown and black) huddled masses.

(Photo credit: Jerome Olivier)

(Photo credit: Jerome Olivier)

What we have been living for three decades is frontier capitalism, with the frontier constantly shifting location from crisis to crisis, moving on as soon as the law catches up.”

-Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein has documented the origins of what is now known as disaster capitalism or the shock doctrine. The premise being that citizens in shock from a natural or manmade crisis are more susceptible to sweeping societal changes. In New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina was used as cover to dismantle public education and housing. From Latin America in the 1970’s to Europe in the 2000’s, the neoliberal policies of austerity have been characterized by deregulation, privatization and deep cuts in social spending. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA and the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership act as naked power grabs for corporate interests to be placed on par with the interests of the state. Here, fascism and feudalism intersect to meet the self-serving needs of the elite, where the public good is not even a consideration. National debt has been used as a sword of Damocles against countries who are given an offer they can’t refuse by means of crippling, IMF-backed bailout packages. Historically, as the full weight of austerity measures are applied, the public eventually reaches a tipping point where it mobilizes towards resistance, thereby, necessitating the need for the militarized, police state to step in to suppress dissent.

(photo credit: v3rbo.com)

(photo credit: v3rbo.com)

Unquestionably, however, something else is at work, something that cuts deeper into the American psyche. We have a profound hatred of the weak and the poor, and a corresponding groveling terror before the rich and successful, and we’re building a bureaucracy to match those feelings.”

-Matt Taibbi

Austerity as economic theory conveniently masks the true ideology behind it’s cruel countenance. In America, the resistance to austerity repackaged as “The Sequester” has been minimal because we have been conditioned from the cradle to the grave to esteem the wealthy, rugged, “self-made” man and to envy the lifestyle of the rich and famous. As long as our faces are turned in veneration to the poverty-challenged, by necessity, our backs must be turned in contempt to the poor. Thus, the pot of water starts to boil for the middle class frogs who might have been warned to jump by the rapidly boiling pot of lower class frogs. So long as we tolerate austerity, or the severe life, for our prisoners, our black and brown citizens, our homeless, our mentally ill, our drug addicted, our migrant workers, our abused women, there won’t be anyone left to speak out when they finally come for the rest of us. For there to be hope, much less change, it will take a monumental shift in the way we value the dignity of each and every human life in this country. To be compassionate means to be a co-sufferer in another’s suffering, to turn our eyes to their struggle. After all, a watched pot never boils.

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Waiting on a world

(Photo credit: inefekt69)

(Photo credit: inefekt69)

Waiting with bated breath
for a word to fall from a pen
for a song to rise like wisps
dreaming in expectant repose

Waiting for the morning rays
to crack open the Southern sky
revealing the secrets
only the stars were able to bear.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The less I know

We will rise

by Lowkey with Yemeni poet Sanasino

Is it just dream? Am I a fool for trying?
I stand defiant but my enemy’s the tallest giant
Will my visions be reality? They tell me never.
I wanna feel the unity that Malcolm felt in Mecca
I wonder if it made sense in his last moments
People don’t value the soul cause they can’t hold it
Find something real beyond death and misery
And understand the present in the context of history
It’s been established Sykes-Picot was a bitter marriage
Since the day Thomas Edward Lawrence tricked the Arabs
Please be loyal ’til we deep in soil
You can ask Mosadeq about BP oil
This is a battle that many better men have died fighting
But I hope to leave an insight through my writing
My pen fires at the men who defend liars
I send fire till the end of your empire.

Guess who’s back, descendant of the occupied
I represent the sentiments of many men you’ve colonized
The President is eloquent but he’s never been on my side
His melanin’s irrelevant cause everything was prophesized
There was a time when they talked about the Arab Nation
Broke our good leaders the roadmap was a fabrication
Took your Keffiyeh and changed it to a fashion statement
You sat with Satan, Camp David means assassination
Peace in your imagination, that’s not real
I’ve been where Arafat got poisoned and Sadat got killed
I’m not a martyr, I’m just a man without a masters or a master,
Runaway slave, it’s freedom I am after
This is a battle that many better men have died fighting
But I hope to leave an insight through my writing
My pen fires at the men who defend liars
I send fire till the end of your empire.

Peace and solidarity to the people of Yemen who have woken up on the wrong side of the War on Terror™.

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The more I see

True to it’s word, March went out like a lamb, albeit, one dressed in lion’s clothing. Saudi Arabia has finally joined in the festivities taking place in the Middle East, as it’s military launched airstrikes in neighboring Yemen. In geographical terms, this is the equivalent of every Midwestern state in the U.S. deciding to unilaterally invade Wyoming and Colorado. Saudi Arabia has longed backed Islamic extremism which, coincidentally, serves the crusadish interests of the twin towers of global democracy. Israel must preserve the illusion that they are surrounded by Muslim infidels determined to wipe their nation off the face of the Earth. A peaceful Middle East would contrast quite starkly with the brutal, decades long occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Israeli military. The U.S. needs it’s boogeymen to justify the never ending War on Terror™. Fortunately, there are artists who remind us that the world doesn’t have to go down in flames. In the enlightened words of Michael Franti and Spearhead, “It seems like everywhere I go, the more I see, the less I know.”

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Jeffster Awards #41

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

(Photo credit: skulzstudios)

This is the next installment of an ongoing series at Deconstructing Myths…the Jeffster Awards! This award will be given on an ongoing basis to five outstanding blog posts that caught my wandering eye. There are no strings attached or requirements for reciprocation. I don’t have time to comment on other blogs as much I’d like to so the least I can do is direct readers to some of these outstanding writers, poets, and visual artists. Please direct all feedback (likes, comments, follows) to the blogs themselves. I hope you enjoy these exemplary posts as much as I did. So, without further ado, here are the recipients of this week’s Jeffster Awards…hot off the (Word)presses.

The Monsanto Story: Planting Seeds of Deception at ashiftinconsciousness

THE DOJ FACTS REGARDING THE SHOOTING OF MICHAEL BROWN ARE BASED ON MYTHS at Gronda Morin

Phonics…for your little warriors in training at Inclusivity Zone

“Modern Banking” by Carl D’Agostino at I Know I Made You Smile

Building of the week: the farming kindergarten at Make Wealth History

_________________

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

Posted in Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No moss

(Photo credit: Sunish Sebastian)

(Photo credit: Sunish Sebastian)

The stillness of the stone
perching motionless on the grass
unmoving yet content
in its state of rest
and blissful unknowing

The force of the kick
that propels its mass forward
in perpetual acceleration
rolling like the pebble
that becomes the avalanche

The stirring of unequal
and opposing forces bent on slowing
the rolling of the rock
so it remembers its place
is to stay at rest.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Longform: The Hunting of Billie Holiday

From his first day in office in 1930, Harry Anslinger had a problem, and everybody knew it. He had just been appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics—a tiny agency, buried in the gray bowels of the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.—and it seemed to be on the brink of being abolished. This was the old Department of Prohibition, but prohibition had been abolished and his men needed a new role, fast. As he looked over his new staff—just a few years before his pursuit of Billie Holiday began—he saw a sunken army who had spent fourteen years waging war on alcohol only to see alcohol win, and win big. These men were notoriously corrupt and crooked—but now Harry was supposed to whip them into a force capable of wiping drugs from the United States forever.

Harry believed he could. He believed that the response to being dealt a weak hand should always be to dramatically raise the stakes. He pledged to eradicate all drugs, everywhere—and within thirty years, he succeeded in turning this crumbling department with these disheartened men into the headquarters for a global war that would continue for decades. He could do it because he was a bureaucratic genius—but, even more crucially, because there was a deep strain in American culture that was waiting for a man like him, with a sure and certain answer to their questions about chemicals. 

***

 Jazz was the opposite of everything Harry Anslinger believed in. It is improvised, relaxed, free-form. It follows its own rhythm. Worst of all, it is a mongrel music made up of European, Caribbean and African echoes, all mating on American shores. To Anslinger, this was musical anarchy and evidence of a recurrence of the primitive impulses that lurk in black people, waiting to emerge. “It sounded,” his internal memos said, “like the jungles in the dead of night.” Another memo warned that “unbelievably ancient indecent rites of the East Indies are resurrected” in this black man’s music. The lives of the jazzmen, he said, “reek of filth.”

His agents reported back to him that “many among the jazzmen think they are playing magnificently when under the influence of marihuana but they are actually becoming hopelessly confused and playing horribly.”

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Hitting Bottom: Incarcerated Women in the Prison Power Hierarchy

Jeff Nguyen:

Women who are incarcerated probably didn’t get the memo that today is International Women’s Day. David Chura gives an incisive look at women in the system whose prison status really is a reflection of their true status in the general population of society.

Originally posted on Kids in the system:

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Postblog.

A prison can’t function without its pecking order. Call it what you will, chain of command, hierarchy, rank, it all comes down to power. Who’s got it, who doesn’t. Who’s on top, who’s on bottom. It’s an all-inclusive, endemic culture: wardens, top assistant wardens, captains, sergeants, and rank and file officers. Frontline correctional officers top inmates, and inmates top whomever they can.

Support staff is notched in there somewhere, just one step above inmates. These “civilians”—medical workers, teachers, social workers, chaplains—are viewed by corrections with almost as much suspicion and contempt as inmates. I know firsthand all about that suspicion and contempt from my years teaching high school offenders locked up in an adult county prison. You get the message pretty quickly when time after time you’re kept standing behind some prison gate or security door, waiting in plain…

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