Which to Celebrate This Year: Easter or April Fool’s?


This April 1st, I fear I won’t be able to say “Happy Easter” to anybody. I’m even thinking about boycotting the festival altogether as a cruel April Fool’s hoax.

That’s because Easter is a celebration of life’s triumph over death. Yet we “Americans,” despite the fact that 70-75% of us claim to follow the risen Christ, find ourselves immersed in a culture of death. We love it; we’re actually necrophilic. Somebody’s got to protest that.

Examine the evidence so out-of-sync with Americans’ faith claims:

* Our Religious Fundamentalist Party, the G.O.P., is engaged in all-out terrorism on God’s creation. Republicans are worse than the Taliban or ISIS. Alone in the world, they bully every creature on earth by denying human-caused climate change. Millions of humans and billions of other creatures will die as a result.
* Totally beholden to the arms industry, U.S. politicians of every stripe choose violence as their first response to most problems they face. Their remedy for school shootings? Above all, don’t adopt the common-sense policies that have worked in every other industrialized country. Instead, bring guns to school; arm kindergarten teachers!
* Rather than pursue nuclear disarmament, they tear up past agreements and modernize our overwhelming arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. (They stand willing to totally destroy North Korea for doing something similar!)
* While claiming to be pro-life, they wage a genocidal war in Yemen (and half a dozen other places) where millions of children face mass starvation and an unprecedented cholera epidemic.
* Our Commander-in-Chief proposes a military parade in D.C. that will cost up to $50 million that could be better spent on programs to help veterans needlessly traumatized by our country’s absolutely futile and endless wars.
* In fact, nothing has changed, except for the worse, since Martin Luther King identified the United States as the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.

On Easter Sunday, doesn’t all of this seem ironic – and infuriating?

That’s because everything I’ve just described profoundly contradicts the Christian faith so many Americans claim as their own. Jesus was non-violent. He refused to take up arms to defend himself or his family and friends. He had no fear of death. Or rather, he overcame his fear and endured torture and capital punishment rather than take a life. Protecting himself or his loved ones by killing or sacrificing others was not Jesus’ Way. Quite the opposite.

He taught his followers the Golden Rule (MT7:12). He said we should love our enemies (MT:5:43-48). When attacked, he told his followers to put away their swords (MT26:52). In the midst of his death throes, he prayed for his executioners (LK23:34). His Easter greeting was the repeated phrase, “Peace be with you” (JN20:24-29)

Imagine if 70-75% of U.S. citizens:

* Truly accepted those teachings
* Refused to succumb to today’s necrophilia because of our faith in Jesus’ Way
* Called upon that faith to demand that President Trump sober up, stop the
bombing, and abjure permanent war that is the cause (not the solution) of the world’s problems
* From that same faith perspective, recognized the NRA, the arms industry and their political servants for the terrorists they are

A faith like that would be worth embracing; it would make a difference and bring many of us back to our faith roots.

It might allow Jesus’ followers to say (and truly mean) “Happy Easter” instead of sneering “April Fool’s!”

The Florida School Massacre Is Domestic Terrorism: and the NRA and the Republican Party Are Terrorist Organizations


It was domestic terrorism pure and simple. Our children were its object. And our politicians don’t give a damn.

Of course I’m talking about the most recent school shooting in Florida. There, Nikolas Cruz, an expelled high school student slaughtered 17 of his former schoolmates.

But Cruz was white and a gun worshipper. So the politicians don’t care. Instead of talking about the most elementary, common sense restrictions on gun ownership, they bow down before the NRA and a sacralized interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Instead, they offer their de rigueur “thoughts and prayers.” They explain how “this is not the time to politicize the tragedy” by discussing gun control. They explain away the massacre’s causes in terms of the Mr. Cruz’s supposed mental illness.

However, just imagine the reaction if the shooter were an immigrant, a DACA dreamer, if he were black, or especially if his name were Mohammad! The response would be generalized and immediate regardless of constitutional protections, regardless of international law. Conclusions would be drawn about the intrinsic violence of Islam and about how immigrants are criminals and prone to mayhem. We would be told that all of them need to be expelled and/or excluded. There’d be references to “ISIS links.” There’d be talk about bombing, drones and military options.

Everybody knows that’s all true.

Moreover, if the shooter had been Muslim or immigrant, we would never hear mention of mental illness on his part. (Apparently, the victims of colonial control, war and U.S. bombing remain psychologically impervious to such effect.) There would never be sympathetic statements (as in the case of Charlottesville) about “very fine people” that can be found among those sympathizing with the violence.

If you doubt that, just recall that following 9/11 and shootings by Muslims, constitutional protections like the 4th Amendment were overridden without a second thought. In case you’ve forgotten, this is what the Amendment says:

‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’

Despite those clear words (every bit as “sacred” as the Second Amendment), the government now claims the right to surveil all of our e-mails, and listen in on our phone conversations. Moreover, it says it can extrajudicially kill U.S. citizens anywhere in the world regardless of what the Constitution might say. And this despite the fact that terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, compared with the frequency of school shootings, have been far rarer. Since the beginning of this new year, school shootings like the one in Florida have occurred once every 60 hours!

No, the time for calling terrorism by its true name has long since arrived. Nikolas Cruz is a terrorist. The NRA is a terrorist organization. And so is the Republican Party (along with pro-NRA Democrats). As Noam Chomsky has indicated, because of its stand on climate change, nuclear warfare, and (I would add) gun control, the GOP is the most dangerous organization in the history of the world. They are all terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.

In the name of our children that must be said and its logical conclusions acted upon!

Pedophilia in the Church & U.S. Military = the Same Syndrome: Young People Should Abandon the Army Just as They’ve Abandoned the Church


Sex scandal and pedophilia were in the news again last week. And this time it deeply involved more than the Catholic Church, Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey.  No, it struck even closer to home than that for all Americans regardless of their religious affiliation. It involved an institution even more revered than Rome, Hollywood, or any Christian denomination.  I’m talking about the U.S. Military.

Yes, we all know about Pope Francis’ faux pas last week when he appeared to embody the ecclesiastical “old boys” syndrome by defending Juan Barros, a Chilean bishop who apparently had shielded a notorious pedophile priest from legal prosecution. The pope’s snippy defense of his prelatic friend, smacked of the cover-ups of child abuse that have come to light in the church over the last 30 years. According to the syndrome, Catholic bishops throughout the world have moved pedophilic priests from one parish to another, where the sociopaths typically continued preying on unsuspecting altar boys and confessional penitents.

Such procedure and its accompanying hypocrisy are prominent among the reasons young people and others have abandoned the church altogether.

A similar procedure involving the U.S. military should persuade young people to despise and reject military service.

I’m referring to an article published in the New York Times last week about a pedophilic practice in the Afghan military known as “bacha bazi” or boy play. It involves the widespread abuse and rape of underage boys by U.S.-trained Afghan Army personnel.

And how does this involve the U.S. military? Its leaders have adopted virtually the same policy that Catholic prelates have used over the years. They’ve turned a blind eye to the scandal and in doing so have allowed it to continue.

You see, there’s such a thing as the Leahy Law on the books. It legislates that when a recipient of U.S. aid commits gross human rights abuses, all aid to the offender must be cut off. Yet, to block application of Leahy, the U.S. and its military arm have invoked another law. It states that in the specific case of the Afghan War, no other U.S. laws apply.

Is that cynical enough for you? Does it remind you of the practice that has brought such opprobrium on the Catholic Church?  Imagine the corruption of two supposedly highly moral organizations (the Catholic Church and the U.S. military) that go out of their ways to protect pedophiles and prevent enforcement of laws that would penalize child abuse! Yet, that is exactly what two of our most trusted institutions have allowed to happen.

Add this black eye for the military to the “Me Too” scandal of sexual abuse of women enlistees in various service branches, and you end up with an outfit whose sexual corruption absolutely dwarfs that of the Catholic Church. Fully 40% of female military personnel claim they have been sexually assaulted by their peers. Eighty percent say they have been sexually harassed. If military women must endure such abuse at the hands of their colleagues, can you imagine how the abusers treat “enemy” women?

It’s time to face the facts. The U.S. military is at least as sexually corrupt as the Catholic Church. It’s time for our decent young people to vote with their feet just as they have with the church.

None of them with any shred of conscience should enlist.

Bernie’s the Man: His Town Hall Meeting on Single Payer Healthcare


Tonight, Bernie Sanders held our nation’s first-ever D.C. town meeting on single payer health care. But he didn’t do it on national television or on cable. Instead, the meeting had to be held online. It was sponsored jointly by the news outlets, The Young Turks (TYT), Now This, and Attention.

Such sponsorship was necessary because the mainstream media (MSM) largely sponsored by Big Pharma, have no interest in an issue so vital to the American people. Network and cable are more focused on Russia-Gate and President Trump’s incoherent tweets. Predictably then, the MSM will continue to repeat Big Pharma’s tone-deaf talking points about single payer health care (see below).

All of this means that Bernie Sanders is yet again ahead of his competitors on the communications curve just as he was in 2016 on the campaign-funding curve. Then he established himself as the most popular politician in America despite spurning contributions from large corporate donors. Similarly, although holding his healthcare meeting online, the ever-creative Mr. Sanders maximized tonight’s audience. According to TYT’s Cenk Uygur, in order for Bernie to capture an audience of size comparable to the one he reached tonight, he would have to appear on CNN more than a hundred times.

In any case, the meeting was a model of efficient organization, relevance, and clarity. It featured three panels of three persons each, and had them discussing our nation’s healthcare crisis, the cost of single payer programs, and the success of such programs in Canada, Norway, and France. The message was quite simple:

  • 36,000 Americans needlessly die each year, because they have no healthcare. (Imagine the response if that many were killed by terrorists each year.)
  • Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
  • But even if that right isn’t recognized as such, our present system is undeniably over-priced, wasteful, inefficient, and insane.
  • It actually has uninformed bureaucrats dictating instructions to highly-trained healthcare providers
  • Who waste untold hours arguing with insurance companies and filling out forms.
  • Inexplicably, it excludes dental and optometrist expenses as though they were luxuries.
  • Moreover, our system rewards callous employers who refuse to provide healthcare for their workers by giving them an edge over competitors with conscience who do.
  • The system even has taxpayers subsidizing the wealthiest family in America, the Waltons, by providing Medicaid to their underpaid workers.
  • Single payer systems everywhere in the industrial world provide better care at half our cost.
  • Everywhere they are so wildly popular that it would be politically suicidal for any politician to suggest their replacement with the U.S. system.
  • Single payer is popular because it requires no premiums, co-pays, deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Compared to such savings, any tax increase to fund the system here would be miniscule.
  • A single payer system even exists in our own country; it is called Medicare.
  • After Social Security, Medicare is the most popular government program in the nation’s history.
  • Yet, our elected representatives refuse even to acknowledge single payer’s success anywhere,
  • Because they are paid off by insurance and pharmaceutical companies to do so.
  • Medicare can be easily universalized by simply lowering the age for eligibility from 65 to the day of a child’s birth.
  • Despite the disinformation of opponents, doing so would not cost more. It would cost far less! Remember, we already pay twice as much for inferior healthcare as those countries with single payer.

In a TYT follow-up to Bernie’s program, one right wing viewer ignored its entire content. Instead, he tweeted those typical Big Pharma talking points I mentioned above. The tweeter summarized the town hall meeting in three points: (1) everything is free; (2) the rich will pay for it, (3) I don’t know how much it costs.

As the TYT commentator observed: “There’s at least one thing Single Payer can’t do. It can’t cure stupid.”

The Truth Behind Mr. Trump’s Crude Metaphor


President Trump’s done it again. He’s snatched away the patina of political correctness that normally conceals the brutal realities of a U.S. policy. His recent words about “shithole countries” say more than most imagine, not only about Haiti and Africa, but about history, colonialism, immigrants in general, and (surprisingly) about faith-inspired anti-colonial resistance. In other words, the offensive imagery is profoundly revealing and worth probing for its subconscious meaning and implications for immigration policy.

Begin by considering the operative words themselves. They were pronounced in the context of a White House meeting about immigration policy. There Mr. Trump wondered “Why do we want all these people from ‘shithole countries’ coming here?”

Such poetic metaphor suggests two meanings. On the one hand, it might imply that Haiti and Africa are somehow anal sphincters. They are orifices from which excrement exits a body. In other words, Haitians and Africans are nothing but human waste.

Alternatively, the geographical locations themselves would be places of defecation. They are toilets or outhouses. They exist to receive excrement – presumably from the likes of Mr. Trump and the country he represents. Accordingly, the countries he referenced are thereby reduced to wastelands.

Either comparison (sphincters or toilets) distorts the brutal history of colonialism. In every case that process has impoverished previously prosperous populations of countries and whole continents characterized not by poverty, but by a wealth that far outstrips that of the colonizers.

In fact, the colonial world’s wealth (three growing seasons, lavish biodiversity, rich rain forests, herds of exotic fauna, expansive acreage, abundant mineral deposits, and, in many cases, oil) are the very reasons why European and American colonists invaded them in the first place. They forced their ways in to transfer the colonies’ wealth to the “Mother Country” to feed her voracious bestial, but resource-starved industries.

In other words, rather than receptacles for receiving waste, the colonies’ function became the enrichment of the much poorer imperial centers whose conquistadors invaded and plundered them. In that sense, Europe was the shithole. As sphincter, it exuded sickly white marauders who plundered the lavish wealth of thriving black and brown indigenous peoples.

And in every case, after the Second Inter-Capitalist War (aka World War II), when the colonized rebelled to reclaim their own abundance, the colonizers intervened repeatedly to keep the stolen resources flowing to the shitholes up north – to keep in poverty those they had impoverished.

Ironically, Haiti represents a case in point. There attempts at re-appropriating stolen land and other resources have repeatedly been repulsed by foreign invaders.

Haiti’s rebellion began in 1791 shortly after the French Revolution. It was then that Toussaint Louverture led the first successful black slave rebellion – against the country’s French imperialists. Such effrontery to white supremacists has never been forgiven.

The unacceptability of blacks and browns in rebellion explains the U.S. support of the brutal Tonton Macoute under the Duvaliers (“Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc”). Their death squads were responsible for the assassinations, torture, and disappearances of thousands of Haitians from 1957 to 1986. The CIA supported them at every step.

The threat of Haitians struggling for liberation from foreign control also explains U.S. opposition to former priest and liberation theologian, Jean Bertrand Aristide. (And it’s here that the previously-mentioned connection to faith enters in.) In 1993 Aristide was elected with 67% of the vote. Aristide’s popularity and the reason for CIA opposition to his presidency is suggested by the connections the former priest made between his faith and his rejection of the U.S. rape of his homeland under the Duvaliers. In a January 1988 interview, he said “The solution is revolution, first in the spirit of the Gospel; Jesus could not accept people going hungry. It is a conflict between classes, rich and poor. My role is to preach and organize….”

Even before the 2010 earthquake (which killed 300,000 Haitians!!), Haiti’s infrastructure and social fabric were devastated by reactionary outrages against faith-inspired struggles for national control of the country’s own resources. Haitian society still reels from the policies of American clients concerned only with preserving their own wealth and cooperating fully with the foreign agendas of their D.C. puppeteers.

None of this is acknowledged by the Trump Administration, the mainstream media, our TV talking heads, or even by the leadership of the Catholic Church. Instead, everything has disappeared down the shitholes (Again, please excuse the crudeness of Mr. Trump’s metaphor) residing between the ears of those concerned.

The fact is that all colonized countries particularly in Africa have rich histories like Haiti’s.

This means that the poverty and desperation of immigrants from those places is explainable by a combination of colonialism, counter-revolution, and (very often) religious persecution.

The president’s crudeness has afforded valuable opportunity to recover all of that hidden history. It provides occasion for appropriating the memory so important to denizens of the Global South in general.

Their people are not human waste. Their countries are extraordinarily rich, not poor. Instead, both have been systematically plundered and impoverished. Our lavish lifestyles are the direct result.

Put otherwise, all of us can benefit from Mr. Trump’s vulgarity. It can lead us to flush the toilets our brains have become.

Such cleansing can reveal the real reasons that the United States must accept immigrants not only from Haiti and Africa, but from other Global South countries its policies have devastated repeatedly for so long. The immigration question is one of justice and reparation.

Flush away!

I’m Not Racist!

Here is a must-see video. It’s Joyner Lucas‘ hip-hop dialog between a white man and a black man. When I saw it yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking how good a discussion-starter it would have been in courses I’ve taught.

See what you think.

I only wish that there had been a third participant in the dialog —  someone who might helped the principals see that their anger is misdirected.  They are not each other’s enemies.

No, the real enemy is the system of capitalism run by the 0.1%. Its underlying ideology of extreme individualism, and vicious competition keeps everyone’s eyes off the ball by pitting blacks and whites against one another. Meanwhile, the system enriches the few while failing miserably to provide adequate jobs, wages, education, housing and health care for the majority.

This is an example of the system’s “divide and conquer” strategy that works every time.

Through your comments, please share your reflections.

The Effing Morons Have Taken Over: It’s Time for Revolution!


Recent events have shown that our government has no legitimacy at all. None.

As a result, we should all be out in the streets every day. We should be joining a revolution in response to the incendiary words of the Declaration of Independence identifying the right and duty of citizens to dethrone abusive governments:

“. . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce (the People to) absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

With this posting, I’m inviting us to think about rebellion in the light of the most egregious of the “abuses and usurpations” we have been made to endure.

And here I’m not just referring to the outrageous Trump administration whose “tax reform” ignores the country’s majority and which is in the process of looting our national treasury on behalf of the already filthy rich. Just watch: they’ll soon be coming for our Social Security and IRAs.

[By the way, do you know what that tax plan represents? It’s not just a refusal to tax the rich to pay for schools, hospitals, roads and bridges – and those ridiculous wars. Rather, it’s a plan to borrow from the rich to pay for those senseless conflicts. In other words, instead of having the 1% pay for their oil wars; we’re paying them! Taxpayers borrow from the banksters to meet those “unfunded mandates,” and then PAY THEM INTEREST rather than COLLECT THEIR TAXES!! The result will be an additional $1 trillion in debt over the next 10 years. What a scam on the part of those liars who up until the Trump election were deficit hawks!]

But that’s not what I’m addressing here.

Neither am I referring to Trump’s completely arbitrary, unlawful, and severe provocation of Muslims across the world by his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Everyone knows that Zionist repression of Palestinians is the root cause of Islamic terrorism. Yet (to avoid Rex Tillerson’s more explicit designation) this effing moron is in effect inviting further 9/11s. (Remember that when the inevitable attack comes and everyone’s asking again, “Why do they hate us?”)

I’m not even referencing climate change and the ignorant decision on the part of “the most dangerous political organization in the history of the world” to unilaterally deprive our grandchildren of nature’s abundance. (Those are the words of Noam Chomsky. Regarding such despotism, he has famously said, “The party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.”)

No one has the right to commit such outrage.

All of those acts (and many others) should be enough to persuade us that any trace of democracy we may have once enjoyed is gone. The man in the White House and these criminals in Washington don’t represent any of us – just their club of plutocrats that includes Democrats as well as Republicans.

But even their latest acts of gross ignorance and unprecedented kleptomania are insignificant compared to their greatest outrage.

And here I get to my main point.

It involves not just the Trump administration, but all of the criminals who have run our national horror show since the end of the Second Inter-Capitalist War (aka World War II). They’ve all been terrorists and mass murderers. ALL of them: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and now Trump.

According to Daniel Ellsberg’s new book, The Doomsday Machine: confessions of a nuclear war planner, every one of them stood ready to use nuclear weapons to incinerate 98% of the world’s population in one fell swoop. Ninety-eight percent! (Ellsberg, of course, is the most famous whistle-blower in history – the one who released The Pentagon Papers in 1971. Now his new book reveals what he learned during his stint as an insider formulating U.S. nuclear war policy.)

That policy was not just about deterrence or response to a first strike by the Soviets. It involved a policy of FIRST STRIKE now so dear to Mr. Trump’s heart. Eisenhower, for instance, was firm in his insistence that in time of crisis there could be no waiting for a Russian attack. For him (and subsequent occupants of the White House) our country had to strike first. In Eisenhower’s mind and in those of his successors, “first strike” was best and “second strike” was a distant second best. “No strike” when provoked was unthinkable.

Guided by such policy, from the early ‘50s onward, plans targeted every city of over 25,000 inhabitants in Russia and its satellites, and in China too.

The planned destruction is mind boggling.

How many people would be killed? How about 100 Holocausts – 600 million? That was the Pentagon estimate when the world’s population was 3 billion.

And it didn’t even count deaths resulting from Russian and Chinese retaliation!

Neither did it take into account the smoke and debris that would be swept up into the atmosphere blocking out the sun and causing nuclear winter. That climate change would make food production impossible and have any survivors starve to death (except perhaps about 2% of the world’s population near sea coasts that could provide mollusks and other ocean foods).

Pentagon estimates are that about 2/3 of the planet’s population would perish. Actually, (counting deaths from Russian and Chinese responses) the figure would be far closer to 3/3.

No one should have decision-making power like that. In Jefferson’s words, its arrogation by morons amounts to “abuses and usurpations” designed to reduce us all to circumstances equalling “absolute Despotism.”

But it gets worse. According to Ellsberg, no single person had the power to initiate a nuclear war. Many people did (and do) — down to the rank of Major in the field or Pacific Fleet commanders in the navy. If communication were cut off, and if those morons judge they are under nuclear attack, they have the power to respond in kind.

Is that terrifying enough for you? “Abuses and usurpations” anyone?

The fact is we are all effing morons for allowing this non-government to survive without rebellion.

So what should we do in response to such outrages? At this point, I’m not sure about particular steps. But at the very least we should

  • Throw the bums out. In 2018 truly drain the swamp. Get rid of ALL Republicans and their Democrat enablers.
  • Replace them with Bernie Progressives – with a goal of reviving the New Deal that provably raised living standards for all Americans, not just the rich.
  • Institute a special war tax to fund the on-going war on terrorism – to be increased with each new conflict.
  • Before imposing such taxes, hold nation-wide binding referenda on their advisability.
  • Stop dead our country’s nuclear weapons modernization program.
  • Begin serious world-wide negotiations for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
  • Force Israel to honor U.N. Resolution 242, thus removing the major cause of international terrorism.

And if none of that works, make discussion of rebellion and revolution respectable again – in the name of Jefferson’s brave words. It’s our patriotic duty!