A Truly Progressive Third Party

The time has come for TRUE revolutionary progressives to organize a militant left-wing party, one that does not compromise on principles, the Sanders agenda a good starting point.

We could begin by forming a broad-based united front against FASCISM, fighting and resisting all racist and sexist attacks across the nation.

One major characteristic that would distinguish such a party from the “democrats” and other “third parties” would be a GRASS ROOTS ASSOCIATION that actually ORGANIZES people around a number of issues, locally, regionally and nationally.

A militant left-wing party would run candidates for office at all levels but elections would NOT be the primary focus: it would get involved directly in the LABOR movement, assisting workers organizing unions and helping them elect militant leaders to existing unions. Such efforts would be led by the PEOPLE themselves, not politicians or individuals bent on establishing a career.

A truly independent third party would FIGHT for the rights of undocumented workers and ALL workers, primarily by ORGANIZING them; it would eliminate the power of the wealthy to control what happens to our schools, our water, the land and air; it would form local organizations of RENTERS and home owners and take control of our communities away from wealthy speculators, banks, hedge funds and greedy individuals; such a New Political Party would also play a major role fighting the carbon industries, and establishing actual programs — nationally and locally — to reverse global warming and preserve our planet for future generations.

Stop Ice Raids!

ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is gearing up to deport another round of immigrants ESPECIALLY those who fled Honduras and El Salvador due to gang violence in those countries.

What caused things to be so bad in Central America? Could it have anything to do with the intervention of the United States?

IN 2009 there was a coup in Honduras that was openly supported by then U. S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration. This opened the door to the near complete control of narco groups and the gangs that do their dirty work in that country.

But the coup in Honduras was not the first time the US intervened in Latin America — not by a long shot..

When the people rose up as they did in El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala and throughout Latin America, the U. S. did what they have always done when the people try to take control of their own country and make changes there: They intervened.

In fact since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine, every time a nation south of the border has attempted to solve its own problems in a manner that did not meet the approval of major US banks and corporations, military advisers have been sent, arms appropriated, sanctions imposed, coup d’etats engineered, and troops dispatched. As a result, nothing much has changed in Latin America since 1825 — the date of the first US intervention there.

In El Salvador alone seventy-five thousand people died during the Civil War; hundreds of thousands fled the violence and mayhem during the 1980s and beyond, most of them finding their way to the United States.

It’s a terrible irony that people forced by a deranged military dictatorship to flee their homeland would seek sanctuary in the nation that supported and supplied the regime that oppressed them. It is an even crueler twist of history that those refugees, and their children, would, upon their arrival in the U. S., and for decades to come, be viewed and treated as criminals.

By interfering directly in a war of liberation, one lead by the heroic FMLN, the U. S. prevented El Salvador from charting its own destiny. As a result, even after Peace Accords were signed there in 1992, and democratic elections staged, that country is still to this day recovering from the damage wrought by that war, one that leveled forests, destroyed industries and infrastructure, damaged almost beyond repair the rule of law, and wounded the very psyche of the people. The brutal and devastating war also created ideal conditions for the introduction of a massive narcotics trade, well organized narco-criminal groups, and a state of lawlessness that continues to hold that nation, and much of Latin America, in its grip.

Just last year thousands of children, many traveling on their own, endured the perilous journey from Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador to the U.S. in an effort to escape gang violence and mob rule. Most were quickly deported, though many await an immigration hearing.

We need to defend every law-abiding immigrant from Latin American. Let’s go after the REAL criminals in the immigration debate — corporations and businessmen that brazenly violate the democratic rights of workers in this country, paying people less than the minimum wage, stealing money deducted from paychecks earmarked for taxes and social security, violating health and safety standards in the workplace, denying workers the right to organize, and treating many people like chattel. We need to stand up to neo-fascists like the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump and the RepubliKlan, and not allow neo-liberals like the Clintons to take cover BEHIND the fascists while interfering in Latin America and other Third World Countries.

Power to the People!

Paul Smith’s Surprise

Pemberville, Ohio 1910

Emma Smith was a teetotaler. She did not approve of liquor and thought it was God’s most useless creation after Adam. Her husband Allen, in contrast, thought liquor served a useful purpose, primarily medicinal, if only properly dispensed. He would soak a string of rock candy in whiskey and suck on the medication whenever he had a cold, declaring its merits as a home remedy. It did not occur to him that his wife took note of how often he was afflicted with colds and flu, not to mention rheumatism and gout, all diseases which he claimed were easily cured with a little rock candy soaked in the proper medication.

 

Emma and Allen Smith had a son they called Paul. Emma maintained he was named after the Apostle, but Allen, who suggested the name and the pious association, secretly had an old friend in mind the day Paul was born. Though Allen hadn’t seen his buddy in many years, he hoped one day they would meet up again. Just the thought brought a smile to his face. “If I ever do meet that rascal again, I better make damn sure I call him by his nickname in front of Emma,” Allen thought.

 

Paul was an average lad; there was nothing remarkable about him except perhaps his ears, which lent him a certain dignity, giving him the appearance of a trophy. Paul was aware of his mother’s views regarding alcohol having heard them recited in bits and pieces and on a daily basis over the span of his ten years on the planet. He was also aware of his father’s attempts to circumvent such opinions while avoiding a direct confrontation.

 

Though just a child, Paul knew the Smith men–his daddy included–would never dare directly confront their wives. From birth all seemed to instinctively know women were superior to men, which in the case of the Smiths wasn’t saying much. The truth is the Smith men had the character and moral fiber of an old wet dog looking for a bone.

 

Emma Smith used to say “Help me JESUS but the Smith men are living PROOF men descended from the apes!” Despite repeated efforts by women to “purify” the Smith men by attempting to breed the devil out of them, after five generations and thirty-two women, the Smith men remained as useless as ever.

 

Allen and young Paul tested Emma’s faith in a way that made Satan optimistic. Poor Emma was convinced that all of her days of labor and sacrifice would be for nothing and that young Paul would grow up to be just like his papa and his papa’s papa. That’s the way it seemed to her until one day when they had company over for supper…

 

The whole thing started one winter’s day when Paul spent a day in the attic.

 

Paul played there many an afternoon in the dead of winter when it was too cold outside to ride a sled or throw a snowball at some hapless clerk who happened by. A vast assortment of gadgets and gizmos awaited him up there in the attic; there were chests of clothes and hats and coats, busted lamps and pots and pans, big dusty bottles and broken mirrors. Young Paul and his brother Harry would play for hours on end making forts, inventing fanciful machines and discovering buried treasure.

 

On one such winter’s day, Paul and Harry played just a little longer than they should have. Both felt the unmistakable need to relieve themselves but just did not have the time to run downstairs, across the living room and out the back door through the snow to the outhouse. Paul noticed a big dusty bottle next to a broken mirror and suddenly had the inspiration to fill it up to the brim, seeing as how it was about a cup shy. So he did what he could to right what seemed to be a wrong, filling a void so to speak. Harry, being the younger of the two, did his best to make a contribution. Then Paul carefully stuffed the cork back into the bottle. And just in the nick of time, too, since the two brothers were unexpectedly attacked by a pirate ship.

 

Paul didn’t think much about the bottle after that: It just kinda sat up there in the attic with memories and moths, gathering dust for the longest time like some sort of an Egyptian artifact.

 

TIME PASSED SLOWLY as it used to back then. Summer came with its long warm days spent fishing in the lake, swimming in the river, chasing dogs and playing baseball. Another winter passed as well. A blizzard rocked Ohio that year, and Paul’s Aunt Nell froze to death when her carriage broke down on the way home from church. Still, for the most part, except for school, Paul was pretty much content; he played with his brother and his friends and ate his mother’s cookin’ and listened to his father’s stories. And though from time to time he had to put up with some quarreling–mostly about the Bible and drinkin’–Paul Smith lived a damn good life. He was probably too happy to even realize it. He had enough food in his belly, a warm bed at night and lots of time on his hands.

 

Then one day Paul’s father had an unexpected visitor–an old army buddy he hadn’t seen for twenty-some odd years. Allen Smith’s long lost pal wore a big furry overcoat, a waxed moustache and a sly grin which seemed to spell trouble to Emma, who looked him up and down like he was a traveling salesman. The reunion called for a celebration, and Allen knew just how to welcome his long lost friend. He scampered up the stairs to the attic and reemerged with a smile and a big bottle of a very special wine he had been saving for just such an occasion.

 

Young Paul’s heart dropped and he felt the temperature in the room soar. He glanced at his brother Harry and right away noticed he was having trouble breathing. They did not know what to do: if they confessed their crimes, most certainly the would get a whippin’ from a stick of their pickin’, if they remained silent, their dear old dad and his friend would surely discover their mischief and their punishment would be all the greater.

 

Being Smiths, Paul and his brother were not so much troubled by the moral ramifications of their situation as they were disturbed by the likely practical implications of their predicament. Moreover, they knew if they didn’t act quickly, in all likelihood they would be sent to bed, their father telling them the only supper they would receive that night would be the “food for thought” he etched into their backsides.

 

They did the only thing they could under the circumstances, being Smith men in training: They sheepishly begged a woman for help.

 

“Ma!” the boys cried, tugging at their mother’s apron. Emma watched her husband and his long lost friend wipe the dust off the big old bottle of wine. She shook her head in disgust.

 

“Ma, please! Don’t let Pa drink that wine!” Paul pleaded, still tugging at his mother’s apron.

 

“I can’t help it if you’re father is weak,” Emma said as she tended to some errand which in her mind was far more important than the foolishness of her husband and his “long lost” friend.

 

“No, Momma, please!” Paul insisted, gripped as he was by fear and trepidation and the prospect of no supper.

 

Emma, who watched her husband with great attention to detail as he sat at the table and poured two glasses of wine, suddenly sensed that her son–despite his Smithness–might actually have something significant to say.

 

“What’s wrong, son?”

 

Paul swallowed hard. “It’s just that . . .”

 

Emma’s eyes began to glow with anticipation.

 

“Yes Paul, what IS it?”

 

Paul clasped his hands behind his back and bowed his head. “It’s just that–it’s just…” Emma began to tap her right foot as if she was markin’ time to a march, and Paul KNEW he had to face the music. “Well…it’s just that…well, me and Harry, we peed in that bottle…”

 

Emma raised her eyebrows, turned and watched as her husband and his friend raised their glasses in the air. “I’d like to propose a toast to my old army buddy Pa… I mean STONEwall,” Allen said. Emma stood up straight as if the Lord had called her. “Yes that’s right… a toast to my buddy STONEwall. What a guy! It’s great to see you again after all these years!”

 

The two old friends smiled and clinked their glasses together. They looked into each other’s eyes and laughed, sharing some secret memory. This aggravated Emma all the more since she KNEW it had to be something EVIL they were remembering. Emma watched as her husband and his long lost friend tilted their glasses back against their lips. Her eyes were burning, though young Paul thought he sensed some pleasure in his mother’s otherwise grim expression.

 

Paul waited for his mother to say something. But she just stood there and nodded her head with satisfaction as her husband and his long lost friend gulped their wine down. Young Paul was properly mortified, which brought his mother untold gratification.

 

“But Mama!”

 

“Hush, child!” Emma said, her eyes aglow, bathed in the light of glory. “It serves em right…” And that night it seemed to young Paul that his mother enjoyed the wine more than the menfolk…

 

Paul could do little else but watch his old man and his long lost friend as they finished off that big old bottle of wine. After they had a couple of drinks, Paul figured his old man was getting kinda confused and possibly even intoxicated since he kept calling Stonewall Paul. But he didn’t attach too much importance to such things, though it did seem to agitate his mother.

 

Well the two men told stories and drank and slapped each other on the back, their discussions lasting late into the night. It seemed to young Paul that on most things, though both men had supposedly been at the same place at the same time, one would have never known it: they didn’t agree as to the facts of the stories, the time of day nor even the years that certain events transpired. But there was one subject upon which they happily reached a consensus: both Paul’s daddy and his long lost friend Stonewall agreed the bottle of wine they drank that night was the finest either had ever consumed.

 

Copyright © J.P. Bone

all rights reserved

Temple Street

They gather

as the sun sets

The moon rises

and it beckons them

But they pay it no mind

knowing nothing of the sky

the stars nor the sun

 

Seasons come and go

but their earth is sealed

by concrete

For them

the nights are hot or cold

 

The sea rises

sultry gusts rush

and their bodies ache

They rub against one another

a ritual without shaman

and struggle to free themselves

from skin they have outgrown

 

Males strut and posture

chests heaving

eyes glaring

They butt heads

The competitions is fierce

Dominance is temporarily asserted

territory established

marked by urine and blood

 

Males and females pair

They breathe in the sky

Hearts pound

carnal madness in their eyes

The moonlight is hot and wet

 

Before sunrise

skulls will crack

teeth will shatter

hair will burn

 

As the ritual concludes

a million stars race across the sky

like sperm in a womb

Their earth will move

dust and gas and molten rock

And for a moment

just a breath

they will feel alive

 

copyright © 2016 J. P. Bone

 

Digital Bedbugs

Scientists have recently mapped the complete genome of Cimex lectularius at the exact same moment that corporations have created digital bed bugs, tiny devices able to do far more than just suck your blood: They can spy on you.

But that’s not the only thing in your home that may have eyes, ears and more: Even your door lock may provide the key for big corporations to access your personal privacy, according to a new study entitled, Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the ‘Going Dark’ Debate.

The report by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, reveals just some of the technology already doing undercover work for tech companies.

“Appliances and products ranging from televisions and toasters to bed sheets, light bulbs, cameras, toothbrushes, door locks, cars, watches and other wearables are being packed with sensors and wireless connectivity,” the study reveals.

All these devices can be “connected to each other via the Internet, transmitting telemetry data to their respective vendors in the cloud for processing.”

It turns out that every cloud does have a silver lining — for big business and spy agencies, at least.

The list of corporations developing merchandise capable of snooping on their customers is a virtual who’s who of the world of high tech.

“Phillips, GE, Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tesla, Samsung, and Nike are all working on products with embedded IoT (Internet of Things) functionality.”

The scale and extent of these new spying technologies go far beyond the dark inventions of an Ian Fleming or a Iain Banks, and mask real potential for sinister use.

These technologies include: “Sensors ranging from gyroscopes, accelerometers, magnetometers, proximity sensors, microphones, speakers, barometers, infrared sensors, fingerprint readers, and radio frequency antennae,” all created “with the purpose of sensing, collecting, storing, and analyzing fine-grained information about their surrounding environments.”

Ironically the initial goal of the report, funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, was not to reveal the extent of corporate spying but to “begin to work through some of the particularly vexing and enduring problems of surveillance and cybersecurity.”

Toward that aim the “group” brought together “security and policy experts from academia, civil society, and the U.S. intelligence community.” During what they described as a “public debate,” they explored concerns by the NSA and other spy agencies that new encryption technology on cell phones and other devices might prevent them from monitoring communications by terrorists and other criminal groups.

After rigorous discussion, the majority of participants agreed that focusing on the use of encryption devices “does not capture the current state and trajectory of technological development.”

“A plethora of networked sensors are now embedded in everyday objects,” the findings state. “These are prime mechanisms for surveillance.”

In one of the few mentions of the potential perils of such developments the Harvard group acknowledged that these technologies “raise troubling questions about how exposed to eavesdropping the general public is poised to become.”

Yet with an ebullient and dangerous detachment, the report suggests the “‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) promises a new frontier for networking objects, machines, and environments in ways that we are just beginning to understand.

“When, say, a television has a microphone and a network connection, and is reprogrammable by its vendor, it could be used to listen in to one side of a telephone conversation taking place in its room – no matter how encrypted the telephone service itself might be.”

“These forces are on a trajectory towards a future with more opportunities for surveillance,” the report concludes matter-of-factly.

As if to reassure the NSA and other spy agencies that they need not fret about lost reconnaissance due to encryption devices, the Harvard group asserted “The audio and video sensors on IoT devices will open up numerous avenues for government actors to demand access to real-time and recorded communications.”

The study findings do suggest that the “Internet of Things” devices could pose a threat to civil liberties, especially for those who live in “totalitarian societies.” However the participants did not include a definition of a totalitarian regime, and for good reason: Given the current state of affairs, the United States of America would likely fit the description.

The report cited examples of the dangers of IoT technology that have already appeared in the media.

According to the document, “In February 2015, stories surfaced that Samsung smart televisions were listening to conversations through an onboard microphone and relaying them back to Samsung to automatically discern whether owners were attempting to give instructions to the TV.”

The study went on to report that, “A statement published in Samsung’s privacy policy instructed users to ‘be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of the Voice Recognition.’”

Another case involving an “in-automobile concierge system,” was also described, one that “enables the company to remotely monitor and respond to a car’s occupants through a variety of sensors and a cellular connection.”

You have probably seen these devices promoted by car manufacturers on TV. Through a cellular connection a driver can speak with a company representative who can remotely monitor the car’s computer and, through software, start the auto if the car key is lost, diagnose mechanical problems, or dispatch a tow-truck.

According to the report, during the course of an investigation the “FBI sought to use the microphone” to capture conversations between “two alleged senior members of organized crime.” A federal court in Nevada required the company give access to the FBI, and though through appeal the Ninth Circuit “disallowed the interception on other grounds,” it “left open the possibility of using in-car communication devices for surveillance provided the systems’ safety features are not disabled in the process.”

Even “Hello Barbie!” dolls now have the functionality to provide intelligence for companies. Mattel manufactured a doll that “interacts with children by recording their conversations with a microphone, processing it in the cloud, and sending verbal responses through a speaker on the doll.”

There’s more: “Devices like the Nest Cam record high resolution video with a wide-angle lens camera broadcast over the internet to account holders…. The Nest Cam can also exchange data and interact with other devices, such as Nest’s thermostats and smoke detectors, which themselves contain sensors and microphones.”

Stating what is both fact and a warning, the report reveals, “Law enforcement or intelligence agencies may start to seek orders compelling Samsung, Google, Mattel, Nest or vendors of other networked devices to push an update or flip a digital switch to intercept the ambient communications of a target. These are all real products now.”

 CONCLUSION

The billionaire owners of firms like Google claim they take “great care” to ensure the technology they develop “will ultimately serve you, rather than our own internal goal or bottom line.”

Clearly the opposite is true.

It is of utmost importance that freedom-loving people understand that many of the tools they are using to promote social change and organize resistance have a dual nature. Social networks and digital devices provide a means to reach a vast audience and to help organize progressive movements. However, they are also a major source of both political and economic power for billionaire class.

What’s more, and this is crucial: In these times when fascists have come out into the open, seek the highest office in the land and organize other reactionaries and militia groups, we must keep in mind that if they were to gain power, the internet and all related devices would provide an extremely sophisticated means of identifying and locating the opposition. It would also provide them with means to create and distribute propaganda that would have a far greater reach than anything ever imagined by Hitler and Goebbels.

All the more reason for progressives to resist, using tools of the internet, but more important — good old fashioned grass roots organizing.

copyright © 2016 J. P. Bone

 

 

 

Karl Rove Gives Hillary a Gift

Hillary Clinton points to ads run by a Karl Rove super pack as proof that the RepubliKlan would prefer to face Bernie Sanders in a general election.

To use a football analogy, what Rove did is a double-reverse, an old but seldom-used trick. Often the easiest way to figure out why politicians say or do things is to measure the result. Clearly the Rove ad was a gift to Hillary, one she accepted with open arms.

“I think it shows how desperate the Republicans are to prevent me from becoming the nominee,” Clinton said with a big grin. “I find that, in a perverse way, an incredibly flattering comment on their anxiety, because they know that not only will I stand up for what the country needs, I will take it to the Republicans.”

Anyone who has followed Karl Rove’s career knows that LITTLE is as it appears in the hands of this self-styled student of Machiavelli. If polls are any indication, Sanders would be a much more difficult candidate for the RepubliKlan to defeat in a presidential contest than Clinton. Why? Because Sanders has changed the calculus of the entire campaign by taking on the Billionaire class and Wall Street. People understand that less than 1 percent of the nation’s population control most of the wealth, the media, and the levers of government. It is for THAT reason Rove gave such a generous gift to Clinton, Inc., at this very early stage of the campaign: you see Clinton is a not only a representative of the ruling class, she is a fully vested member.

FRIENDS, at the risk of upsetting folks, we should ALSO be very clear that even if Sanders is elected president, without a strong organized people’s movement based on solidarity between all progressive groups and elements — especially those in the working class — Sanders would be able to accomplish little. What’s more, and this may upset some people, but I sure hope the Sanders campaign considers this: as Sanders comes closer to winning the nomination, he will increasingly be in the sights of the neo-fascists, the reserve secret army of the ruling class.

Though he is not a revolutionary, Sanders has already changed the political situation in the U. S. For the first time in decades, the media is forced to follow a campaign that aims to take on the wealthy and the power structure itself.

We must not ignore the history of those who have threatened the status quo in the past. Let us remember what happened to the socialist, democratically-elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, who was overthrown by a fascist coup backed by the CIA on September 11, 1973.

Here in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated after speaking out against the war in Vietnam, and perhaps more infuriating to the ruling class, connecting the struggle for Black liberation with organizing the working class.
That was in 1968, after the movement had already lost Malcolm X back in 1965, after HE began linking the struggle for Black Liberation to a battle against the capitalist system.

Even a wealthy man who became a reformer was murdered after winning the California Democratic primary in 1968. That, of course, was Robert Kennedy.

This is a violent nation and the billionaires like it that way. It helps keep them in power.

Ultimately we need to build a powerful movement to fundamentally change, from top to bottom, a very entrenched system that is based solely on making profit for the wealthy, no matter what the impact on people and the planet itself.

Bernie Sanders does not call for the end of the capitalist system. But as an independent left-liberal, one with integrity and a consistent progressive record, he deserves people’s full support, including grouchy old armchair revolutionaries like me.

The Second Time I was Executed

By J. P. Bone

One dark winter night I stood alone in the vestibule of a vast cathedral. Columns of marble lined the aisle like sentries, towering toward the heavens until they vanished in the darkness.

A brilliant ray of light beamed down from the night sky, illuminating a gold-handled broadsword that hovered in mid-air at the crossing. The sword thrummed, alive and angry.

In the still darkness of the cathedral’s nave, the blade began to pitch, whetting its edge on a glowing Möbius strip; it began to flip and rotate as if wielded by a swordsman approaching an adversary, whirling and thrusting forward, light flashing, the frigid night air sliced into perfect pieces that fell silently.

I watched, mesmerized, as the sword made its way down the nave until it confronted me, alone in the vestibule. A fierce celestial light flashed from the blade, which resounded with a blood thirst.

From high above a voice asked: “Do you want to live or do you want to die?”

I was beside myself, glancing from side to side, gazing skyward, astonished and without words.

Again a mighty voice boomed down from the heavens: “Do you want to live or do you want to die?”

The whole thing seemed ludicrous to me.

“I don’t care,” I said.

The sword sliced through the cold night air, moving so fast I could not follow its path, returning to the place it occupied in less than a heartbeat, as if it hadn’t moved, thrumming still, a brilliant light glistening through a delicate rose-colored film.

A bitter chill gripped me, and I reached out my hands to be sure they were still there. At that moment my severed head tipped off my neck, and fell into my open hands.

Looking up, I could see my headless body still standing, though unsteady. Gazing into the darkness of night, I asked: “Why did you do that?”

For a moment there was no sound, just the silent cold stillness of death. Then an answer: “You said you did not care.”

 

copyright © 2016 J. P. Bone

 

Just the factoids, Ma’am

We sent our very high tech internet reporter, Deranged Danny, on assignment to Sal Si Puedes, Arizona, to determine if undocumented workers from Latin America force wages down for American citizens — charges leveled by Donald Trump and others.

 

D-dot-Danny, as he is known, visited a street corner where immigrants gathered in search of work early one sizzling-hot morning. This is his report live! on IoT!

 

“Hello, everyone, D.Danny here with an e-report for the millions of freaks seeking dollars and sense and other advice on their favored device from a truly divine geek sublime. Today we’re doing an awesome story with real social impact so keep your other apps open as you grip your smart phones and bone-up watching those holograms shimmy and shine!

 

“Today’s question is: “Do undocumented workers drive wages down?’

 

“Holy crap, dude! watch out for that old lady crossing the street!” D.Danny shouts as a teckie — mesmerized by her smart phone and most unmindful — races her Prius through a stop sign. “Jesus, that was close!” D-dot declares. “You nearly nailed her! Awesome!”

 

D.Danny wipes the sweat from his brow.

 

“Okay, like I said, it’s an awesome morning here in Sal Si Puedes, one of the fastest growing towns in Arizona.”

 

Danny covers his mouth with his left hand, forgetting his google watch is set to pornify.itt. He whispers into his collar phone, asking his boss: “Is it still kosher to call places by their Spanish name? I think I saw a tweet from Trump about that…” He listens carefully to the response, pushing the white earplug deeper into his cavernous ear. Nodding his head with enthusiasm at the answer, he replies, “Awesome, Mr. Suckerberg, sir! Thanks a billion!”

 

Turning back to the camera, an app on a friend’s Google contact lens, D.Danny begins again:

 

“Sorry about that, hashtag-heads, tweetdopers and whoopeebook junkies of the universe. As I was saying a group of undocumented Latinos arrived early in the morning at this very un-awesome street corner way out here in the suburbs of Trumpland, a place where contractors and other businessmen routinely go to hire day workers. Be ready to ‘share’ and poke ‘like!’”

 

Three Anglos pull up in ten-foot-tall turbo diesel one-and-a-half-ton pickup truck, the anti-personal grill in front emblazoned with the brand name: Road Kill. Two giant Anglos leap from the monstrous vehicle, quickly pivot, and with supreme caution — as two slaves might carry a king — dutifully lift their boss out of the cab and carefully set him down on the pavement. A group of Latino workers gathers around as the boss adjusts his cowboy hat, narrows his eyes, and haunches his frail shoulders.

 

“Hola, amigos,” he says. “My name is Frederic Kingsley van Biene, the Third. You can call me Bossman. Now. How many of you have experience roofing?”

 

All the workers raise their hands.

 

“Awesome,” he says, thinkin to himself: easy money. Frederic Kingsley van Biene, the Third, looks them over carefully like a judge evaluating livestock at a state fair. “I will pay each of you $12 an hour to do a roof today. Is that cool or what?”

 

There is a muffled commotion as the workers talk it over in Spanish. The Bossman seems perplexed, and turns to his foremen. “Maybe you should offer a buck more?” one of the foremen says, his suggestion offered with a timid upward inflection. Frederic Kingsley van Biene, the Third, removes his brand-new spotless cowboy hat and scratches his pallid bald head.

 

The laborers push one man forward as their spokesman.

 

“Ah, well, mister Bean, we all talked it over,” the spokesman says. The bossman grimaces. As the worker grips his sweat-stained cowboy hat, rolling and squeezing the rim, he swallows hard and continues: “Well, it’s like this: we must insist that we be paid less than that — it is far too much!”

 

Frederic Kingsley van Biene, the Third, is bewildered. He rolls his eyes back as if to read a screen on the inside roof of his brain. A grin forms across his pot-marked face.

 

“Well, you’re right, dudes, it’s true. I don’t imagine any of you have papers. I mean why the hell would you be hanging around on this incredibly hot street corner at this impossibly early time of day in this God-forsaken place looking for a job if you had papers? And honestly, I don’t care about any of that. In fact I much prefer to, ah, help hard working people from south of the border, you know. Viva Frank Zappa! and all that. But I’ll pay you $11 an hour, though it is way more than I need to, you being Mexicans and all — I mean it’s cool, you know, because, well, this is a kinda dangerous job. It’s a two-story house, you see, and one side of it overlooks a cliff with, well, a darn good drop. About a hundred feet. And the roof is very steep, too, you know, nearly a 38-degree angle. Now no worries, I’ll be providing you with the most modern ladders. They’re cool looking, too. Also I’ll provide you with awesome safety equipment — a thirty-foot rope and a pocketsize copy of the New Testament.”

 

“What about the tar?” one of the foremen ruefully asks the boss, hand shielding his mouth.

 

“Oh, that’s right, I nearly forgot to mention that. Doing a roof, as you all surely know, includes working with tar. No biggy, really. I mean it’s hot. Well ya gotta boil it before it’s soft enough to put on the roof, you know, and even in this heat it takes a while to melt tar so you can use it. Just make sure that you keep your gloves on. If you don’t have gloves, no worries, I’ll provide you with a cool pair. I’ll just deduct it from your pay. Anyway it’s because the job is just an itsy bitsy bit dangerous that I’m willing to pay you ten bucks an hour — before taxes, of course…”

 

The spokesman for the workers, a man who speaks and fully understands Arizonian English, briefly consults with his fellow laborers. After a moment, he responds:

 

“We have talked it over, and — no disrespect! But we won’t work for any more than the minimum wage!” he says with righteous conviction. “It’s only fair, you know. Heck for twelve dollars…”

 

Ten,” Frederic Kingsley van Biene, the Third, interjects.

 

“…Yes well for ten dollars an hour you might — maybe, you know, though it’s a stretch, but times being so tough, you might be able to hire a gringo for that much, though you really would have to pay taxes for them. So we only agree to work for — well at the max the minimum, which here in Arizona is eight dollars and five cents an hour.”

 

The other workers nod their heads up and down in support, a few slapping their leader on the back. “We want to drive wages down for our North American brothers, you know!” the leader asserts.

 

“And for our North American sisters!” adds a Latina worker in the back of the crowd. “In fact, whatever you are going to pay the men, I insist you pay me a dollar an hour less!”

 

“Well,” Frederic Kingsley van Biene, the Third, says, “that is awesome!” And the bargain is struck.

 

The camera turns back to D.Danny, who is slipping his index finger up and down his smart phone, gazing at a stream of photographs with a lecherous grin before he realizes he’s being filmed. He turns to the camera:

 

“Okay, so now we know the facts: Mexican workers do drive wages down…

 

“If you want to watch the entire video, go to comodify.net, enter the bit coin algorithm, and for fifty bits you can see the whole show. Just swipe yer phone across your temple chip so we can send you daily updates!” he says, and with his left hand hiding his lips whispers, “and swipe your data…” And with a mega-sized celebrity smile, he wraps up: “Excellent! This is D.Danny saying have an awesome day!”

 

copyright © 2016 J. P. Bone

The Second Crucifixion of El Salvador

An immigrant from El Salvador who has been living “legally” in the United States since 1989, may soon be forced to return to that Central American nation.

Unlike hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans who are deported every year for working in the U.S. without papers, Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova was warmly welcomed when he arrived in Miami from El Salvador; in fact he was greeted like a king and quickly granted permanent residency.

Why? Vides Casanova was Minister of Defense in El Salvador and in command of the National Guard during that nation’s Civil War (1980-1992).

It may seem strange that Vides Casanova would get a hero’s welcome in the U. S. since during Civil War in El Salvador, tens of thousands of innocent people were tortured and killed by the military and government-backed death squads.

According to the New York Times, before Vides Casanova retired to the United States with a generous pension, he “was praised by American officials as a reformer struggling to root out human rights violators from his corps.”

In fact Vides Casanova “participated in or concealed torture and murder by his troops.”

In an important decision, the U. S. Board of Immigration Appeals ruled March 11 that, among other crimes, Vides Casanova “covered up the role of National Guard troops under his command in the rape and murder of four American churchwomen in December 1980. Those killings,” the Times piece said, “as much as any others by the Salvadoran armed forces during the decade-long war, revealed the rampant violence of the military that Washington staunchly supported in its Cold War confrontation with leftist guerrillas.”

The United States provided over $7 billion in weapons and financial assistance to the dictatorship in El Salvador in the 1980s. It also provided military training for the Army, National Guard, and even to death squads organized through that nation’s Treasury Police.

Why did the United States support the dictatorship in El Salvador? They were but one legion of shock troops in a century-long effort by the U. S. military industrial complex to maintain control over all of Latin America and its people.

In the 1980s, the FMLN — a united front of progressive political groups — led the people of El Salvador against a military government that had ruled since The Matanza of 1932, a massacre of 32,000 peasants by General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez. General Martinez, one of El Salvador’s many dictators, murdered peasants in the tens of thousands in order to crush a planned revolt organized by Farabundo Martí, the Salvadorean revolutionary from whom the FMLN derived their name.

So when the people rose up as they did in El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala and throughout Latin America, the U. S. did what they have always done when the people try to take control of their own country and make changes there: They intervened.

In fact since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine, every time a nation south of the border has attempted to solve its own problems in a manner that did not meet the approval of major US banks and corporations, military advisers have been sent, arms appropriated, sanctions imposed, coup d’etats engineered, and troops dispatched. As a result, nothing much has changed in Latin America since 1825 — the date of the first US intervention there.

Seventy-five thousand people died during the Civil War in El Salvador; hundreds of thousands fled the violence and mayhem during the 1980s and beyond, most of them finding their way to the United States.

It’s a terrible irony that people forced by a deranged military dictatorship to flee their homeland should seek sanctuary in the nation that supported and supplied the regime that oppressed them. It is an even crueler twist of history that those refugees, and their children, would, upon their arrival in the U. S., and for decades to come, be viewed and treated as criminals.

By interfering directly in a war of liberation, one lead by the heroic FMLN, the U. S. prevented El Salvador from charting their own destiny. As a result, even after Peace Accords were signed in 1992, and democratic elections staged, that country is still to this day recovering from the damage wrought by that war, one that leveled forests, destroyed industries and infrastructure, damaged almost beyond repair the rule of law, and wounded the very psyche of the people. The brutal and devastating war also created ideal conditions for the introduction of a massive narcotics trade, well organized narco-criminal groups, and a state of lawlessness that continues to hold that nation, and much of Latin America, in its grip.

Just last year thousands of children, many traveling on their own, endured the perilous journey from El Salvador to the U.S. in an effort to escape gang violence and mob rule. Most were quickly deported, though many await an immigration hearing. Unlike Vides Casanova, they await those appeals in jail.

At a 2014 deportation appeal, Vides Casanova’s attorney, Diego Handel, told an immigration judge that it was unfair to deport his client because “The United States government was an active participant on the side of the El Salvadoran government,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

“U.S. officials have not been held accountable for their role in the violence,” the attorney said.

copyright © 2016 J. P. Bone

 

to read the New York Times piece by Julia Preston, published March 12, 2015 click on the following link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/13/us/general-in-el-salvador-torture-and-killings-can-be-deported-immigration-court-rules.html?_r=0

 

 

 

 

Hillary is the Bomb

“He has said he would do anything I asked,” Hillary Rodham Clinton declared with astonishment, extra double-A eggs with blue bulls-eyes dangerously close to popping out of her head.

Hillary was, of course, referring to her housemate, publicist, political strategist, campaign manager and chief fundraiser Bill. A delighted crowd purred with expectation as Hillary waited for just the right moment: “I would put him to work!” she said adding a huge exclamation mark just outside the dialogue balloon.

Bill in a pink apron cooking lentils, Bill tending to the roses in the garden, Bill paying the bills, Bill cleaning the tub, Bill washing the dishes, Bill coaching a girl’s soccer team…

Wait a minute — nothing domestic for Bill! This is an international assignment.

But Bill going around the world? And with Hillary’s blessing? So theirs IS an open marriage, after all…

Suddenly Hillary takes great pride announcing how many people “love Bill.” And many have. “I’m very lucky that my husband has been so experienced in all these areas,” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

If it is possible for Hillary to get out of character for just a minute it seems that she may be violating some tenet of bourgeois feminism invoking as she has the image and influence of her husband to further her own career.

Or am I still living in the 60s?

Next thing you know the Democratic front-runner will be flirting with the notion of including Bill in her cabinet, which would require a legislative measure of some audacity, which, flashing forward then back, would require a miracle of some magnitude – that Hillary be elected President of the United States.

Of America.

Or perhaps all of this is simply a campaign ploy, part of “the conversation,” Hillary’s way of helping us “visualize the future.”

Let’s try.

Close your eyes for a moment and tilt your head back… That’s it.

Keep your eyes closed tight now! Yes there you are, in the crowd… And there SHE is… Hillary, right hand raised in the brisk morning air, palm arched, fingers stiff, nearly a military salute, Oliver North swearing to tell the truth, a hand gesture laden with more meaning than any other, save one.

A Woodstock-size crowd hushes, poised as it is to witness history and take cell-phone photos of the Capitol Rotunda, Hillary Rodham Clinton, uncharacteristically on the left, facing the Supreme Court Chief Justice, on the far right as usual, a historic moment, the climax of a long career, faithful spouse Bill facing the crowd, behind the Bible, he has Nancy Reagan eyes…

“So help me God,” Hillary swears.

The masses erupt with adoration, a seething orgasmic swirl of love gushing across the land. Another Clinton White House! Let the party begin!

Ah but that is all just a fantasy now, though among oddsmakers six will give you nine that Clinton will win the nomination. That’s clearly what corporate America expects, where they’ve wagered their bread… Yes almost all the big boys are behind Hillary, behind Bill, behind the Clintons. Politics makes strange bedfellows, it is said, in this case bringing together an estranged husband and wife and the military industrial complex in a ménage à trois, weapons of mass destruction far more arousing than leather, whips and chains.

“I can’t think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton, can you?” Hillary said with an impish grin.

But wait a minute, there’s just one problem with Bill as national cheerleader – remember? He got caught with his pants down. Yes it was just a blow-job, yes it was just a little white lie he told, but he said it under oath and was impeached. Bill should have said it under his breath, under the covers, under wraps. But he didn’t. And yes, it’s damn unfair — Republicans can screw people and get away with it when democrats get in trouble just opening their mouths.

But Bill DID have sex with that woman. Yes that one. And it was such a humungous moment in history that it even changed the way people define carnal relations. PART OF THE LEGACY of Bill Clinton is that a lot of young people think they can have oral sex and claim they didn’t – have sex, that is…

But despite Bill’s violation of marital vows he proved over and over again his fidelity to something bigger — the Clinton’s unorthodox open marriage, a blissful union of free markets and new age fascism.

Let us not forget that Bill ushered through the GATT and NAFTA treaties, cut the safety net for immigrants, attacked poor people under the guise of welfare reform, while always — always — demonstrating absolute fidelity to the big corporate donors that are the holy union of Clinton, Inc.

As far as the whole Lewinsky affair goes, Bill confessed and asked to be forgiven, establishing what is now ritual, a key element of political liturgy — the blessed act of contrition. Bill paid penance for his sins; he traveled the world and visited the sick and homeless, raising money for the disadvantaged and the poor.

And now he has been called again, this time to help poor Hillary.

“I believe in using former presidents, particularly what my husband has done,” Hillary explained, “to really get people around the world feeling better about our country. We’re going to need that. Right now, they’re rooting against us and they need to root for us.”

And Bill can do much to buttress what voters think about Hillary, to make them feel better about her, to root for her, to send her money.

Remember this is a Clinton we’re talking about, not some left-liberal or progressive, for godsakes, certainly not a reformer. She’s as safe a bet to stand for, well, nothing as a $20 wager that Bill will get caught with his pants down again, something that simply won’t happen with Hillary… And Hillary wears pants, too, a la Diane Feinstein, the Democratic trend-setter in the Senate, modeling the last word in fashion as well…

Some of her critics suggest that Hillary is no longer a feminist: No liberated woman would put up with someone like Bill, the argument goes. Okay maybe Hillary isn’t as militant as Maria Shiver, so what? Her corporate backers know what she is, the voters know what she stands for, which is more than they can say about a lot of the other candidates for president. Hillary has a clear identity: She is a hawkish dove, a conservative liberal, a foe of welfare and friend of the indigent. Hillary opposes the War in Iraq and “certainly wouldn’t have voted” for it if she knew then what she knows now, though clearly it was not a mistake for her to give George Bush the power to bomb Baghdad.

In short Hillary is as Clinton as they come. All she needs is a little more sex appeal. And that’s simple: She just needs to threaten to invade Iran, and to “not rule out” the use of nukes. Not rule out, mind you. That is an important detail. Yes Hillary has to show us her muscles, demonstrate her strength, prove she will take-no-prisoners. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! THEN her nomination will be assured because then Hillary – not George, not Barack, not Tom, Dick or Harry, but Hillary will be the bomb.

Still relevant after all these years

originally written for These Green Times

copyright © 2008 J. P. Bone