Archive for February, 2014

by lizard

First-time filmmaker, Daniel Skaggs, will be showing Missoula a humanizing depiction of “modern train-hoppers” during this year’s Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. After last summer’s inundation of Rainbows, Drainbows and Gutter-Punk “Anarchists”, it’s going to be a tough sell.

The Missoula Indy’s review by Erika Fredrickson probably won’t help Skaggs humanize the subjects he followed joined across the country for over a year, and this is why:

Besides falling into the Maumee River, which happened toward the end of production, there were a couple other near disasters. In Portland, Ore., just two weeks into meeting and hanging out with Skrappe’s group of travelers, Skaggs got drunk and stole beer from a convenience store and brought it back to the train yard. The cops showed up to haul him off to jail and he found himself in a predicament: take his camera equipment to the jail where it might get lost, accidentally or otherwise, or leave it with his newfound companions? He decided on the latter. After being released six hours later, he nervously wandered through the city trying to track down Skrappe and the gang. He finally found them in the parking lot of a Fred Meyer.

“There were 10 train-riding kids sitting outside with their packs yelling at people and causing a ruckus,” Skaggs says. “And Skrappe, who is such a charismatic individual, comes running up [with] my pack. He was so proud that he had [kept it safe]. And we eventually formed a really strong bond.”

I wouldn’t call getting arrested for drunkenly stealing beer from a convenience store a disaster—I’d call it consequences for an asshole breaking the law.

Though I’ve personally had a few positive interactions with members of this counter-culture, the majority of my interactions have been with rude, entitled punks who have zero regard for the messes they leave behind, and I’m not just talking about trash.

There is a direct connection between the type of behavior Skaggs’ crew apparently exhibit in this film and the panhandling ordinances our city is going to get sued over. We will see what happens this coming Monday, when City Council tries to pass compromise ordinances. From what I’ve heard, there is a good chance the Montana ACLU will litigate anyway. That means taxpayer money will be spent defending ordinances crafted to curb the obnoxious but not criminal behavior of, primarily, the seasonal migrations of travelers Missoula experiences every year.

At the end of the interview, Skaggs says it’s hard to be the object of public disdain:

“It was difficult after a year of being in the trenches, living on the street with these people when I knew I didn’t really have to,” Skaggs says. “And there were a few times when I really didn’t want to do it anymore. I had come from graduating at the top of my class at the university, getting an award and operating my own farm, to putting myself out there on the street being judged every day by the populace.

Boo-fucking-hoo.

Attitudes toward these traveling train-hoppers will probably get more negative as the economic engines of late-stage capitalism sputter and choke toward the inevitable cliff. My own animosity comes from watching their hypocritical dependence on local food banks, local ER’s and the generosity of people in the communities they travel through while too many of them get drunk and belligerent.

by lizard

I wrote a post last June about killing poets. In that post I looked at allegations that Pablo Neruda was poisoned by agents of Pinochet’s regime. That suspicion was put to rest after tests from the exhumed remains of Neruda found no evidence of poison.

The same can’t be said for Hashem Shaabani, an Iranian poet who was killed by hanging after being imprisoned and tortured for 3 years:

Freedom House has condemned the execution in Iran of acclaimed poet and activist Hashem Shaabani.

The watchdog said Shaabani, 32, was put to death on January 27.

An Islamic Revolutionary Tribunal reportedly had sentenced the poet to death, along with 14 others, last July on charges that included “waging war on God.”

Rouhani approved the execution of the Iranian poet and 13 other activists, providing a great opportunity for those who would love to see diplomacy with Iran fail.

I went to my library to look for a poem today, and decided something from the Persian poet Rumi would be appropriate.

*

QUIETNESS

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

by lizard

As the Sochi Olympics rev up with the opening ceremonies tonight, a very insightful phone conversation between U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was leaked on Youtube. Over at Moon of Alabama, the host, b, transcribed some of the conversation:

In a conversation leaked online and posted to YouTube on Feb. 6, voices closely resembling those of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland discuss loosely the roles of Ukrainian opposition leaders and the United Nations, and frustration over inaction and indecision by the European Union in solving Ukraine’s political crisis.

The voice allegedly of Nuland adds that Klitschko should not be given a role in government.
“I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she says.

“Yeah… I guess… in terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff,” Pyatt says.

Before the call ends, Nuland tells Pyatt she has “one more wrinkle” for him.

Commenting on European pressure put on Yanukovych – or lack thereof – she explains that she has spoken to the United Nations and has gotten an official there who said that Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, agreed to send someone to Ukraine to “help glue this thing and to have the UN glue it.”

She adds: “And you know, fuck the EU.”

“Exactly,” Pyatt replies. “And I think we got to do something to make it stick together, because you can be sure that if it does start to gain altitude the Russians will be working behind the scenes to torpedo it. Let me work on Klitschko, and I think we should get a Western personality to come out here (to Ukraine) and midwife this thing,’’ he adds.

There was some question whether this conversation is the real deal, but Jay Carney essentially confirmed it’s authenticity when he blamed Moscow for the leak:

The White House is suggesting that Moscow is behind a leaked phone call in which a top U.S. official can be heard saying “f–k the EU.”

In the call, which was anonymously posted on YouTube, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt lay out their desired outcome for the crisis in Ukraine and accuse the European Union of not doing enough. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that the Russians tweeted out a link to the leaked recording, suggesting they were involved.

“The video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government,” Carney said. “I think it says something about Russia’s role.”

The Russian role? What does it say about the American role?

Jay Carney and the administration he propagandizes for don’t have much to worry about, imho. Americans are not very curious about US foreign policy, so I’m sure this simple deflection will be effective.

But for those who do pay attention, this is explicit evidence that Ukraine is a proxy conflict between Russia and western interests.

I wonder what kind of “fireworks” the west has planned for Sochi?

by lizard

Cherrie Brady, Laura Lee and Susan Smith have some important things to say about Obama’s reckless marijuana comments, but first they want you to know how effective their crusade was in Montana against medical cannabis:

Safe Community Safe Kids was formed by a group of parents out of concern for the unbridled spread of medical marijuana in Montana and its effect on our children, families and community. With the help from parents and others across the state, we were instrumental in passing legislation on this issue.

In 2011, the Montana Legislature passed a bill to repeal the 2004 voters’ initiative on medical marijuana. When Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed this repeal bill, the Legislature unanimously passed another bill, Senate Bill 423. The governor refused to sign or veto this bill and because of his inaction the bill automatically became law.

Senate Bill 423 was designed to eliminate the growing medical marijuana industry and turn back to what the voters thought they were voting for, which was allowing patients with debilitating medical conditions to grow and consume marijuana for their own limited use under medical supervision. This was confirmed when the voters would not support a ballot initiative created by the medical marijuana industry proponents to overturn the legislative action. Montana has been the only state that we are aware of whose legislature passed a law to stop the industry that drives medical marijuana.

Good job ladies. You have kept Montana communities safe from the societal destruction of marijuana. I’m sure the people who claim to have “chronic pain” are much better off with oxycodone pills or alcohol, substances that are never abused and/or destroy lives.

It was terrifying to see actual storefronts spring up across the state. Thankfully, SB 423 seems to have produced the desired outcome: eliminate growth of businesses involved with medical cannabis. Now all that illicit drug money can stay in the black market, where I’m sure it never mingles with illegal guns, or other, more dangerous drugs, like meth. Or Heroin.

But these crusading moms aren’t done. No sir, they are OUTRAGED at president Obama’s recent “cavalier” comments regarding weed:

As parents we feel outraged with President Barack Obama’s recent cavalier statement in regard to marijuana. Obama stated, “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

Obama’s dismissive approach to marijuana, alcohol and tobacco is sending out approval to our youth to make choices that are detrimental to their health, safety and welfare. We feel it is harmful and confusing to our youth for the leader of our country to suggest that the use of marijuana, alcohol or tobacco is just a bad habit or vice. His action undermines our ability to teach responsible and healthy behavior to our children.

These moms seem like they’re on top of it. They know how dangerously confusing mixed messages can be. Obviously they would never dream of consuming an alcoholic beverage in front of their kids, because then they might have to have a nuanced conversation about excessive consumption versus moderate consumption. And they better not let their kids hang out with kids who have parents that drink or smoke cigarettes. To be extra careful, probably no movies, TV, or music.

Finishing strong, these three courageous parents speak about responsibility, government accountability, and leadership:

As parents, we are the ones who have the responsibility to determine and teach what is best for our children. It is a poor decision for the president to undercut what parents across the nation are trying to teach children. Children should be able to look up to the leader of our country for inspiration. Obama’s example is frightening. He is performing very poorly as the leader of our nation on this issue.

It is our duty as citizens to hold the government accountable for their actions. Therefore we ask that Obama swiftly retract this statement and apologize to parents and children across the nation.

I like how these women seem to think they’re speaking for “parents across the nation” who feel “undercut” by some innocuous and—more importantly—ACCURATE statement by the president about cannabis.

As a parent, I can say quite emphatically that they DO NOT speak for me. The president hasn’t said anything I wouldn’t tell my kids, and I feel sad these women feel like their parenting ability has been compromised by a throwaway presidential quip.

The confusing reality is a MUCH LESS harmful substance—cannabis—is absurdly defined as a schedule I drug by the federal government while MUCH MORE harmful substances, like alcohol and cigarettes, are legally produced, marketed and sold to tens of millions of Americans.

If these parents are telling their kids marijuana is more harmful than alcohol and cigarettes, then they are lying, and lying to your kids is NOT good parenting. Once kids realize their parents haven’t been as forthright as they trusted them to be, then why believe them or any other authority figures when it comes to really dangerous drugs, like meth?

I would like to invite these parents to join the rest of us in reality, where the cost of enforcing cannabis prohibition is pointless, considering it has had no discernible impact on supply or demand.

The misguided, misinformed parents behind Safe Community Safe Kids may have won a little cultural skirmish with SB 423, but the end of cannabis prohibition is inevitable. Who knows, maybe some of the tax money can go toward treatment for those suffering from substance abuse.

That would actually make our community safer.

by lizard

Apparently it takes the death of a celebrity for mainstream news to suddenly realize there is a drug problem in this country. News outlets like CNN are describing the predictable market factors behind the significant increase in heroin use: increase in supply, decrease in cost, and competition among dealers resulting in higher potency.

What the news is failing to connect, though, is how the decade-long spike in use here in the states correlates perfectly with the increased production in Afghanistan—a direct result of America’s longest war. This NYT report came out just last November:

Despite years of international effort to reel back Afghanistan’s opium culture, cultivation and production hit record levels this year, and programs to counteract them have floundered, according to a new United Nations study.

Given how central an issue the country’s growing drug economy has become — driving official corruption, helping to fund the insurgency, creating instability in neighboring countries and intensifying a domestic addiction crisis — Western diplomats and officials said in interviews that the seeming failure of the drug war in Afghanistan will weigh heavily on the legacy of the dozen-year NATO military mission as it draws to a close next year.

“We have failed, we have lost — that’s all there is to it,” said one Western diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to offend Afghan government officials.

The new report, the Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2013, projects that the land area used for opium cultivation in Afghanistan, long the dominant supplier of most of the world’s heroin, reached a historic high in 2013 of 516,000 acres, a 36 percent increase from 2012. Now, 19 of the country’s 34 provinces are opium growers, also an increase, and overall production was up by almost half — 49 percent — from the previous year, according to the report, officially released on Wednesday.

When the American-led NATO invasion of Afghanistan commenced at the beginning of this century, opium production had been nearly eradicated by the Taliban. Our corporate media can depict the steady increase of production since the invasion as a failure, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s actually a feature of our presence.

Also, this isn’t new. CIA black ops have long required black budgets to fund their terrorism across the globe, including bringing in crack to predominantly black neighborhoods. Gary Webb dragged this dark reality into the light with his 3-part series, later turned into a book, titled Dark Alliance. Here is how the Los Angeles Times described the piece in 2006:

Many reporters besides Webb had sought to uncover the rumored connection between the CIA’s anti-communism efforts in Central America and drug trafficking. “Dark Alliance” documented the first solid link between the agency and drug deals inside the U.S. by profiling the relationship between two Nicaraguan Contra sympathizers and narcotics suppliers, Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses, and L.A.’s biggest crack dealer, “Freeway” Ricky Ross.

Two years before Webb’s series, the Los Angeles Times estimated that at its peak, Ross’ “coast-to-coast conglomerate” was selling half a million crack rocks per day. “[I]f there was one outlaw capitalist most responsible for flooding Los Angeles’ streets with mass-marketed cocaine,” the article stated, “his name was ‘Freeway’ Rick.”

But after Webb’s reporting tied Ross to the Nicaraguans and showed that they had CIA connections, The Times downgraded Ross’ role to that of one “dominant figure” among many. It dedicated 17 reporters and 20,000 words to a three-day rebuttal to “Dark Alliance” that also included a lengthy musing on whether African Americans disproportionately believe in conspiracy theories.

After his career was effectively destroyed by sycophantic corporate journalists, Gary Webb allegedly committed suicide in 2004, and to this day it remains easy to ridicule anyone who cites Webb’s work as a loony conspiracy theorist.

CIA involvement in drug running is no longer just a theory—it’s a substantiated fact. To what degree and for what purpose remain a bit murkier to discern. Money is the obvious motive, but I think there’s more to it than that.

Don’t expect CNN to delve into any of this. The second Justin Bieber does something illegal again, this heroin crisis will be shelved to make room for the next worthless spectacle.

by jhwygirl

This is a public service announcement. Northern Plains Resource Council is sponsoring a panel in Helena tomorrow night. If ya’all are so inclined, it’s a worth discussion with some well-informed panelists.

Democratizing the Grid with Clean Energy
Thursday, February 6
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Helena College Lecture Hall, Room 125

Join Sleeping Giant Citizens Council for a panel discussion on renewable energy.

· Learn about available rebates, tax incentives, and how you can save money AND start producing clean energy.

· Discuss policy changes to increase Montana’s renewable energy portfolio and ongoing advocacy efforts (and how to push back against fossil fuel interests).

· Hear success stories from homeowners who have installed small scale renewable energy projects.

Panelists will include representatives from Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Montana Environmental Information Center, Sage Mountain Center, and local homeowners with renewable energy installations.

This event is free, but donations will be accepted.

Questions? Contact Page at
page@northernplains.org

Chris Hedges in Missoula

by lizard

Chris Hedges can be difficult to listen to because his assessment of where capitalism is taking the human species is bleak: annihilation.

It’s also true.

Because Hedges’ perspective is the antithesis of “business friendly” I wasn’t sure if the Missoulian would even cover it, but they did. Here’s an excerpt:

Hedges saved his harshest criticism for the Democratic Party, which he said serves the interests of the wealthy instead of the poor and downtrodden that it used to champion.

In particular, he accused former President Bill Clinton of undercutting the labor movement with the North American Free Trade Act and triggering the latest economic collapse by deregulating the nation’s banking industry. He has sued the Obama administration for violating the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution with rules allowing the military to hold American citizens without due process for vague terrorism-related associations.

With this in mind, I’m considering reviving an idea a friend first introduced to me in 2008 as he pitched his support for John McCain for president. Basically he contended that Democrats are more dangerous in power because they neutralize their base while carrying out the same essential policies of the elites, who reside not in America, but a magical place Hedges called Richistan.

There is also an addiction analogy I’ve used, describing how recovery doesn’t usually happen until an addict hits bottom. Maybe a Republican in charge in 2016 will provide the accelerant we need, if we make it to 2016 without WWIII going hot.

Even though I try to remind myself to remain skeptical of Democrat politicians, sometimes I let my defenses down. I did that recently with Dirk Adams because he says stuff like this on his campaign website:

The Senate is a representative body. It belongs to the people, not the parties. The people of Montana and the people of every state deserve Senators who show up. Who listen. Who debate. Who explain.

I can promise you right now that I will never dodge a question. You will know where I stand on every issue. You will know who is working for me and who to get in touch with. I will never turn down an opportunity to hear your thoughts or explain my positions. I don’t know if that’s how political consultants would tell me to behave, but I don’t give a fig for any other way of operating. And if every candidate would take the same tack, I don’t know who would be elected, but I know that we as a party and a country would be better off.

Actually, we would be better off if people like Dirk Adams and his fellow Wall Street gambling addicts weren’t enabled by the party that should be acting as a counter-weight to the corporate takeover we’ve witnessed.

What am I talking about? James Conner provided some important context to what kind of Democrat Dirk Adams would be in office last September. In his article, Conner quotes from this Politico piece examining Adams’ past in banking:

The only Democrat currently running for an open seat in Montana is a career banking executive with a business record that could be problematic for his party if his bid gains steam. In fact, his last bank failed only 18 months ago: the Controller of the Currency closed Home Savings of America of Little Falls, Minnesota in February 2012 when Adams was chairman and CEO of the holding company.

The Treasury Department’s Inspector General chalked the failure up to “an aggressive growth strategy” based on adjustable-rate mortgages and poor risk management practices, among other “questionable activities by the management.” The FDIC, acting as the bank’s receiver, could not find a buyer.

This is the kind of behavior that blew up the economy. Now Dirk Adams wants to portray himself as a rancher. That’s rich. Wait, what was that Dirk?

Personally, I think Montana voters are pretty smart. Montanans know cow patties when they see them. So they can tell the difference between real ideas and a pile of power-grabbing partisan nonsensical BS.

In the reality that exists beyond the political rhetoric, fewer and fewer citizens are even bothering to go through the motions of voting. Can you blame them?

Chris Hedges tried to provide some inspiring oratory after his thoroughly depressing assessment, but my cynicism prevented me from buying in. I left before the end of the Q&A, but a friend told me Hedges talked about being good friends with Greenwald, someone I’ve grown suspicious of because of the kind of corrupting cash that can transform even the most stalwart critic of the US empire into another player in the shadow-play on the cave wall.

Ultimately it was worth listening to what Hedges had to say. I agree with his opinion that resisting what the elite know is coming will be most effective at the local level.

Stay tuned…

The Dark Side of Celebrity

by lizard

When celebrities die, there is always speculation. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s reported death by overdose earlier today is already being linked to a string of overdoses from fentanyl-laced heroin hitting the east coast. I’m sure in the online fractals of paranoia, the speculation will deepen. Heath Ledger will be involved. And illicit knowledge. What did he know and/or who did he cross?

It’s easy to get caught up in the intrigue. I remember when Paul Walker died thinking of the death of the journalist Michael Hastings. The latter I presume to have been killed in a similar fiery luxury automobile crash, but Paul Walker? What could he possibly know? I waited a few weeks to let the internet do it’s thing, which is this:

Paul Walker and his friend were killed shortly after they discovered a conspiracy to supply victims of Typhon Haiyan with a prototype permanent birth control drug hidden in medicinal supplies and food aid. They had a damning recording and they were on their way to rendezvous with an ally who would have helped them get in touch with the right people. Turns out they were betrayed and someone rigged their car’s breaks to malfunction after a certain speed.

This is all easily dismissed. Don’t think twice, it’s alright. And certainly don’t listen to Dave McGowan discussing the bizarre happenings of Laurel Canyon.

by lizard

Mother Jones is reporting on the dire psychological state of the 1%, causing one of its members—Tom Perkins—to freak out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, of course.

By asking if a “progressive Kristallnacht” is coming, Perkins has curiously decided to begin by going full Godwin. You’ve got to read it to believe it:

Regarding your editorial “Censors on Campus” (Jan. 18): Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”

From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendant “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?

Tom Perkins

San Francisco

Hilarious, right? It get’s better. Clearly that whole Occupy thing really hurt the feelings of the wealthy. Here is a quote from a therapist who provides therapy to the wealthy (Mother Jones):

“I think that with Occupy Wall Street there was a sense of the heat getting turned up and a feeling of vilification and potential danger,” Jamie Traeger-Muney, a psychologist who counsels people who earn tens of millions of dollars a year, told Politico on Thursday. “There is a worry among our clients that they are being judged and people are making assumptions about who they are based on their wealth.”

The article goes on to cite a previous story Mother Jones did about the increasing need for therapists to counsel the wealthy, post economic crash:

Although wealth counseling has existed for years, the 2008 financial crisis really sent the aristocracy sprinting for the therapist’s chair. The 2010 Capgemini/Merrill Lynch World Wealth Report, a survey that takes the pulse of zillionaires around the world, found that after the crisis, spooked clients were demanding “specialized advice.” Financial advisers must “truly understand the emotional aspects of client behavior,” the report warned…

“Any time there’s an outside focus on wealth,” it’s not fun for the wealthy, [Traeger-Muney] says. Heirs, she adds, have it the worst: “They feel like they’re in this 1 percent position. They get bad press from people who make fun of them. It feels like their worst nightmare coming true: the idea that they’re now responsible for other people’s unhappiness and lack of wealth, when they didn’t ask for [their millions].”

When you de-personalize wealth accumulation, then yes, wealth accumulators are partly responsible for the unhappiness people have experienced as it relates to the exploding disparity, lack of opportunity, and increased misery of late-stage crony capitalism.

Instead of being upset at those meanies involved in OWS, Tom Perkins and his ilk should be happy that the US police state coordinated such an effective reaction to their encampments.

I do wonder if the message of supporting violent protests in other nations, like Ukraine, might not be a little worrisome for people like Perkins. Clearly our political class doesn’t mind if protestors use violence against governments that are not aligned with US interests. The problem is if you extend that logic to America, Timothy McVeigh is a freedom fighter taking on a corrupt government.

I think Tom Perkins should be worried. The vast, obscene disparity in wealth will lead to greater and greater social unrest as the safety net unravels, opportunities disappear, and people can’t afford to feed their kids. In a world where 85 of the wealthiest people have as much wealth as the poorest half of the entire global population—3.5 BILLION people—something has got to give.

The street battles in Ukraine may be happening half a world away, but I think it’s worth trying to understand what underlies the violence being expressed on the streets of Kiev.

In a previous post about US foreign policy supporting fascists and other extremists, JC provided a link everyone should check out—a photoblog of the protests in Ukraine. It offers both a visual perspective and some important context, important enough to quote at length:

I came to Kiev. I came to see for myself what is happening here. Of course, an hour after arriving at Maidan, you begin to understand that everything what you’ve read in dozens of articles, saw in TV news reports is total crap. In the upcoming reports I will try to, as objectively as possible, to sort out this new wave of Kiev revolution.

Usually reporters try to answer the question: “Who came out to Maidan and why.” Depending on the political leaning of MSM, the answers are different. Some say it’s “fascists who came out to lynch the Moscali (Ukranian derogatory for Moscovites and Russians in general).”, some say “they’re bums and slackers, who’ve got nothing better to do” and “instigators on the government payroll.” In reality, there is no answer. Those who came out are completely different. Remember, how a couple of years in Moscow there was a MSM buzzword “angry townspeople.” Here you see football fans, retirees, office plankton. And everyone is standing together. A sweet, ol’ grandmother is pouring Molotv cocktail in a nationalists’ bottles; and a manager of a large company is carrying ammunition to the student. And as it seems to me at this time, these people do not have a specific plan, nor idea of what to do next. Of course, individually, everyone has their own plan to “save Ukraine.” For some its “we need a couple of crates of AKs and grenades, we’ll sort things out here quickly.” Others “need to ask the world community for help and bring in the UN troops.” At this time there is no central idea of what to do, an idea that can unite and point in one direction the people at Maidan.

The only thing that is completely clear – people came out against Yanukovich.

The burning barricades are visited by people who have come to let out anger and resentment that have accumulated over the years – for the excesses of cops; for the corruption; for the ‘golden toilet’; for the stupidity of the sell-out officials. An elderly man, 80 years of age, walks up to young guys in masks and asks them for a bottle of flaming liquid. They ask him:

“- Grandad, you wont be able to throw it far enough!
– Just give me one, I want to show these beasts that they cannot treat me like this”

Unfortunately, the Ukranians had bad luck with opposition. The street mob is not controlled by anyone. Klichko and his company met with Yanukovch yesterday. Later they came out to the people, began to say something, but no one believes them. And no one wants to follow them. The main mass of people are completely non-political. They come out to kick Yanukovich and his company’s ass. Everyone has their own grievances and vision of the future.

So what’s the message here? If American citizens have no redress for their grievances regarding the corrupting influence of money in our politics are we justified to occupy buildings, build barricades, attack police, and burn DC to the ground?

The use of violence was a heady topic of conversation during OWS. Chris Hedges wrote extensively about avoiding protestor violence and letting the violence of the police state stand in stark contrast to peaceful protests. Chris Hedges will actually be in Missoula tomorrow to give a talk at the University, which will start at 8pm.

But that’s tomorrow. Today is Super Bowl Sunday, a day where money and violence reign supreme. As Roger Goodell pulls in a salary of nearly 30 million dollars, and the NFL enjoys revenues topping 9 billion, you might want to ask yourself why the NFL is a non-profit that hasn’t paid taxes since 1966.

Go Seahawks!!!

by lizard

Denis Johnson is known more for his fiction than his poetry, but I’ve long enjoyed his collection The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly. The title of the book is taken from a bizarre work of art created by James Hampton over 14 years. Check it out.

For this week’s poetry series, I’ve selected a short poem from Johnson’s collection. Enjoy!

*

VESPERS

The towels rot and disgust me on this damp
peninsula where they invented mist
and drug abuse and taught the light to fade,
where my top-quality and rock-bottom heart
cries because I’ll never get to kiss
your famous knees again in a room made
vague by throwing a scarf over a lamp.
Things get pretty radical in the dark:
the sailboats on the inlet sail away;
the provinces of actuality
crawl on the sea; the dusk now tenderly
ministers to the fallen parking lots—
the sunset instantaneous on the fenders,
memory and peace…the grip of chaos…




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