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Thursday, April 28, 2016

MAY DAY FROM MALTA 

[Editor's Note: Too often in America we forget the origin and meaning of May Day. Today, as the dream of real change fades with the demise of the Sanders campaign, we would do well to remember International Labor Day.]

MAY DAY 2016

No Gods, No Masters

By Joseph Cachia

“There is really only one 'non-negotiable' demand. And that is; 'power to the working class'.

Each year, as we join millions across the world to celebrate the victories of workers, our own Freedom Day remains still fresh in our minds.

On May Day, we remember that the workers' flag is not red simply by accident or for artistic reasons. As the traditional Labour song goes, “Our life's blood has dyed its every fold”. Not all those who wave the red flag or claim to speak for the working class actually do so while entertaining that feeling.

Of course, the workers have made some gains in this century of struggle.

We live in a globally integrated capitalist society in its highest stage of imperialism, fueling perpetual militarism and warfare. Consequently, we should be aware of the hijacking of our Socialist persuasions by the opportunistic deviation of the 'pseudo-left' factions, whose tendencies do not even deserve the term 'centrist', as these are simply unattested 'anti-Socialist' parties or groups. The 'pseudo-left' denotes political parties, organisations and theoretical blocs which utilise populist slogans and democratic phrases to promote the socioeconomic interests of privileged and affluent strata of the middle class. In other words, the "left" lap dogs of the capitalists. Not unlike the Greek Syriza Party, our Maltese ex-Malta Labour Party has been hijacked and all Socialist principles jettisoned. It is understood to have been converted into a 'pseudo-left' entity under the presumed caption 'Progressive & Liberal Movement'. How would our dear ex-PM Dom Mintoff be turning in his grave!

And is it really the trade unions who shape the future of work? Both the trade unions and the Labour Party have failed the workers miserably! Instead of giving concrete support and calling upon workers to take action, they did absolutely nothing. Our trade unions have become mouthpieces of partisan politics besides the morality crisis reigning in our Maltese politics.

However, the greatest setback for our workers arrived when Malta was tricked into joining the European Union. The European Union does not represent the unity of the European peoples, but rather the dictatorship of the most powerful economic and financial interests over Europe. In reality, the EU is the main instrument for inciting social divisions, fostering national antagonisms and developing authoritarian forms of rule. Since the financial crash of 2008, Brussels has imposed brutal austerity measures, besides enforcing privatisation decrees on Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and other countries, including Malta. It has condemned millions to unemployment and poverty; destroyed education, health and old-age benefits; and left the young generation without a prospect for their future. We must reject all that EU hypocritical fancy talk which finally is translated in to “I dictate”.

The achievement of our rights as citizens and our rights as workers should indeed be celebrated together. Our history has made them inseparable, as well as our destiny. Together we are stronger!

But today, the working class in its millions is not yet in a revolutionary situation. In fact today, it is the capitalists who are on the offensive and the working class that is in the position of the strategic defensive. In striving for our goals we must dispel the idea that change can come from government alone, while our people wait passively for delivery.

“Arise, ye prisoners of starvation.” May Day is the day of the working class, the class that has borne untold sufferings and has nothing, just nothing to lose but its chains.

“When the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century brought a rapid increase in wealth, the demand of workers for a fair share of the wealth they were creating was conceded only after riots and strikes.”

John Boyd

MALTA SOCIALIST PARTY
April 2016
FIGHTING FOR SOMETHING FAR GREATER THAN OUR SELF-INTEREST
Email: mailto:jmcachia@maltanet.netjmcachia@maltanet.net

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

CACHIA: BRITISH CORRUPTION 

Y. A. N. A. (You Are Not Alone!)

By Joseph Cachia

“You do not have to be convicted or even charged of a crime to be able to demonstrate that you've violated a personal conduct policy, which reflect s poorly not only on yourself, but on all of your teammates.”

Roger Goodell (Commissioner National Football League)

Relax, you smooth criminals !
You Are Not Alone !
(with apologies to Yana and Michael Jackson)

Dedicated to all 'Panama Papers' fraudsters.

It’s not £30,000 in Cameron’s offshore account; it’s at least £2 million!
British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to fend off criticism of an offshore trust maintained in the Bahamas, which was inherited from his father, Ian Cameron, in 2010.

However, according to senior British Conservative Party sources, Cameron had at least £2 million in offshore accounts. The money was paid to Cameron, according to the sources, as part of a deal by JR Central, a subsidiary of Japan Railways, to secure a lucrative contract to lay new rails for HS2, the new high-speed British rail system.
In order to ensure that JR Central received the contract for laying the rails for HS2, the firm spread the largesse of its bribes across the British political spectrum in 2015. In addition to Cameron’s £2 million; £1 million to Sir Jeremy Heywood, Britain’s Cabinet Secretary and senior civil servant; £1 million to Nick Clegg, the former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and Cameron’s deputy prime minister in the ill-fated Tory-Lib Dem coalition that survived until 2015; and £1 million to Ed Miliband, the former leader of the Labour Party.

In addition to the individual pay-offs, it was also reported that JR Central arranged what were described as “bungs” (English slang for “bribes”) to the major political parties. The Conservative Party received £25 million, Labour £10 million, and the Liberal Democrats £10 million. The entire £50 million bribery package was paid through Nomura Bank in Tokyo. (Intrepid Report)

Cameron is facing calls for his resignation as a result of the £30,000 offshore trust in the Bahamas. The real scandal however is that Cameron has siphoned into offshore accounts more than £2 million.
It's no surprise that partners in crime are never lacking – those good friends who get in trouble together or get each other in trouble and laugh about it!

Dear fraudsters, you and your loyal confidants may be able to stick together for some time but definitely not for all the time. Your dominion rests solely on the concealment of your dark dealings and once exposed will bring down the pillars of your empire.

In spite of knowing that corruption hurts everyone and has dire global consequences, trapping millions in to poverty and misery and breeding social, economic and political unrest, back here in Malta giving suspect corrupt politicians a 'standing ovation' beats all reason to understand local politics. Was this a testimonial of the grass-root level of the tentacles of public corruption?

In this regard, the role of honest journalism (if any remains) shoulders the responsibility of keeping the unknowing public informed and continually conscious of the behaviour of its leaders, as otherwise the apathy in the election of their leaders would spell the death knoll of any democracy. Excellent investigative journalism is never out of age! Journalism is just a gun. It's only got one bullet in it, but if you aim right, that's all you need. Aim it right, and you can blow off a pillar of crime. Aim it wrong, and you'll just make a big noise once, and nothing else will happen.
Consequently, because corrupt politicians undermine the public’s confidence in their government, every citizen is victimized by a dishonest member of parliament.

It is true that actually only the crime and the criminal present us the picture of evil, however it's more often the hypocrite that is rotten to the core.

The hardest hitting apprehension is however the realisation that crime and political corruption are always related and relevant. Corruption produces mistrust and mistrust unfortunately translates into apathy, instead of into revolution.

“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals with the blessing of more and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”
Tacitus

MALTA SOCIALIST PARTY / P.O. BOX 1 / COSPICUA, MALTA (Europe)
April 2016
FIGHTING FOR SOMETHING FAR GREATER THAN OUR SELF-INTEREST
Email: mailto:jmcachia@maltanet.netjmcachia@maltanet.net
Tel: 99866151

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Monday, April 18, 2016

REVIEWS OF JACK RANDOM'S WASICHU 

DARK NARRATIVE OF A GREAT WRITER

A Review of Jack Random’s WASICHU: THE KILLING SPIRIT
By Jake Berry

[The] opening pages of The Killing Spirit read and sound like an amalgam of Dashiell Hammett and Bob Dylan. The clipped sentences flow like measures of music singing off the page. After the first paragraph the reader feels thrown into a cold rushing stream – the stream of a man’s life and heritage, of history, myth and inevitability.

Dark times will produce a dark narrative and its singer. Jack Random is perfectly suited for those times. Though this does not mean the writing lacks tenderness. In the character of Jerico Whitehorse he has distilled the ages to bring the process full circle. Evan as Jerico is a dreamer of profound insight and reader of those dreams, Random is the teller of the tale, the reader of the auguries now so abundant in the air around us. Ishmael leads us to Ahab and his cursed destiny to destroy the beast that maimed him. Jerico follows the depths of collective memory to meet Tohocua who would be damned in his attempt to repel the European invasions. Tohocua’s hatred is certainly more justified but he is equally fated, even by the elements, to disappear.

The question before us and before Jerico is how to live with this knowledge. Does the key lie at the terminus of the great river and the mysteries of New Orleans – a city that has died and been reborn many times? Only Jack Random can tell us, and he will, in a voice that carries the gift of all great writers – it awakens us to the full presence of what it means to be human.


ANCIENT WISDOM

A Comment on Jack Random’s WASICHU: THE KILLING SPIRIT
By Chris Mansel

The writing of Jack Random is at once effortless, mysterious and utterly powerful. When I was eighteen I spent some time in New Mexico and I can tell you the solitude and eerie silence is captured in Random’s writing as well as the feeling I get when I visit the end of the Trail of Tears in Waterloo, Alabama. The feeling of ancient wisdom and modern warnings.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

DRONES OVER MALTA? 


BY JOSEPH CACHIA

[Editor's Note: A passionate voice and guest writer from Malta.]


“Whatever one thinks of the justifiability of drone attacks, it's one of the least 'brave' or courageous modes of warfare ever invented. It's one thing to call it just, but to pretend it's 'brave' is Orwellian in the extreme.”

Glenn Greenwald


The Italian government has quietly began allowing armed American drones to fly out from its soil at the Sigonella station (a NATO and U.S. naval air base) near Catania in Sicily, Italy for military operations against (allegedly) the Islamic State in Libya and across North Africa. This is a breakthrough for Washington, as after more than a year of negotiations, Italy backed down and surrendered. Although the American media, through a political message, is trying to minimise this abuse by calling it 'defensive', it is not difficult to note the falsity and hypocrisy of such pretensions, as U.S. officials are constantly pushing for drones destined for offensive operations, while reports say that the Pentagon is attempting to persuade the Italians to allow the drones to be used for offensive operations, too. The 'Al-Arabiya', Middle East newspaper, reported that neither Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's office nor U.S. defence officials responded to requests for comment.

So, while European officials have remained reticent to intervene more fully in this highly factionalised and destabilized country, Italy has become a base for armed U.S. drone operations in Libya. And this time without any United Nations sanctions!

So now we have arrived at the Age of Drone Wars, the latest technological warfare, as the weapon of choice of most advanced countries – and right on our doorstep.

Although we are more than concerned and worried about our Italian neighbours, we don't want to meddle in their internal affairs. If Italian Prime Minister Renzi is in any way risking or endangering the safety of his people, through any possible retaliatory terrorist actions on his country, is surely the affair of Italians and none of our business. This rests solely on the concern, judgment and reaction of his own countrymen. Hopefully, we wouldn't have to cancel any plans we might have had for a pleasant night out in Rome!

However, as our country lies in direct line between these warring countries (Italy and Libya) any implications and repercussions through this situation may eventually concern and immerse Malta in serious trouble. We do not feel confident in asking anything of Renzi, though it would not be amiss to know if any considerations in any part of the negotiations had been given, before taking this dangerous step, of any possible or probable spin-off to be borne and suffered by other neighbouring countries.

But notwithstanding all considerations, we feel it incumbent to indulge in striving hard to know what OUR government perceives and acknowledges of this situation. We could not wait to get any internal official information, which after all should have even been divulged to the public before our knowledge from foreign sources. Are there any possible implications for Malta? And if so, how grave could these be?

And so, while we are stupidly bickering on whose swimming pool is the largest, we have, most probably, agents of death flying over our heads while we are peacefully (?) slumbering our lives away! If our population is dormant, could we, at least, dutifully be informed of such more serious and worrying matters?

Unfortunately and very often, this stunning silence by our government on matters of grave national concern is divorcing our civil community from its elected administrators.

In this specific case, we feel that it is our duty to ask responsible authorities to enlighten us of our situation and of any eventualities. The Minister of Home Affairs and National Security and the Minister for Foreign Affairs are explicitly obliged to furnish the public with all relevant available information and not shoulder further additional responsibility for the needless secrecy of any data and any defensive and protection measures.

The most pertinent questions would include, among others, the following:

Was our government involved, in any, way, in the decision taken by the Italian government, considering the friendliness and goodwill existing between our two countries?

Is our air space being violated through the trajectories of these drones? Or was previous permission requested and granted?

Does our government know how many of these drones are going through our airspace? And if so, is our government cognizant of this fact?

Is Italy offering any insurance cover in the case of any mishaps?

How conversant and observant is our government of the legislation governing 'airspace in an age of drones'?

Why do I get the feeling that there's about to be a sharp increase in reported attacks on special forces engaged in anti-ISIS missions?

Brussels attack hits all of Europe, EU leaders say, in which case, blunders committed b y any one member puts all in danger of reprisals. As Albert Einstein had predicted “ It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

Most probably, the majority of the Maltese population hardly knows what's going on and much less the reason and technicalities of these ongoings. Still, we have a right to know what our government knows! Telling us that 'there is nothing to worry about', surely is not enough to put our minds at rest!


“Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate.”

Alvin Toffler

MALTA SOCIALIST PARTY / March, 2016
P.O. Box 1 / Cospicua

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

A REVIEW: MYSTERY SONGS BY JAKE BERRY 

MYSTERY SONGS BY JAKE BERRY


The first thing that comes to mind upon listening to Mystery Songs is the profound underlying presence of spirits in the house of poetry. There be ghosts here and shadows rising from the earth, inhabiting the air and swimming in the water, haunting the blood and the bloodline of all sentient beings. There is sentiment and memories and depth of feeling beyond the reach of mere mortals.

So many of these spirits are women with the strength to endure and thrive and rise like blooming flowers. We feel the decay, the heartfelt mourning, the long decline before the rising. Let your ghosts shine through. Let the water be your blood. The land, the Jimson Hollow, is who you are. You cannot escape. You can only drink and find the poet within your soul. After a while you begin to glimpse the truth, the longing and the love.

Master poet Jake Berry has been working his chops, polishing his licks and it shows on this new solo work. I love the down home feel and naked emotion of this work. I believe it is a work of love, a tribute to the female seed of his soul, to the loves of his life, no doubt his mother, his grandmother and the woman who stands by his side through the ages, his loving wife.

Mystery Songs can never be solved but they give me hope that we can survive and thrive and grow despite the darkest days and the most haunting nights.

Thank you, once again, Mr. Berry, for yet another masterwork.


Jack Random

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

DONALD J. TRUMP: MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN! 

JAZZMAN CHRONICLES: DISSEMINATE FREELY.






POLITICS OF THE WALL

Make America White Again!

By Jack Random



Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get them up against the wall!
There's one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me
Get him up against the wall!
That one looks Jewish!
And that one's a coon!
Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
There's one smoking a joint
And another with spots!
If I had my way,
I'd have all of you shot!

Roger Waters
Pink Floyd’s The Wall



The Donald Trump campaign has made it impossible to ignore the Nazi analogy. His rallies summon memories of the fascist movement in 1930’s Germany. He demands that his followers raise their right hands to take a pledge of loyalty, recalling the infamous Nazi salute. He instructs his security forces to remove from the gathering anyone who fails to fall in line, many of them unmistakably with darker skins than the loyal brood.

To anyone of my generation who remembers Pink Floyd’s epic rock opera, a metaphor for the Third Reich on British soil, the analogy could not be clearer.

Donald Trump is not a joke. Not any more. He’s pushed this movement, grounded in the Deep South where racism and bigotry are not so subtle, a step too far for any American who believes in diversity, tolerance and the founding principles of the republic to ignore.

Donald Trump is right about one thing: He made the wall a defining issue in this presidential campaign. The Republicans, having learned from their defeat in consecutive elections, were poised to let immigration recede into the background of public discourse. They had three minority candidates (two prominent Latinos and one token African American) teed up and ready to go. They only needed to boost their numbers in the minority vote by a five or ten percent margin to give themselves a chance.

Donald Trump undid the grand strategy of the Grand Old Party in his opening salvo. He accused the government of Mexico of deliberately sending criminals and rapists north of the border. Despite an absolute lack of evidence to support his accusation, he staked claim to the anti-Mexican immigrant vote. When he delayed his disavowal of David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan on the eve of the Louisiana primary, he erased all doubt as to the nature of his campaign.

Bigotry is a defining characteristic. A candidate cannot play for the racist vote so boldly and directly without being a racist. A voter cannot vote for a bigoted candidate without being a bigot. White supremacists do not unite behind a single candidate unless that candidate has delivered a clear message.

Anyone who voted for George Wallace in 1968 (Stand Up for America!) was not excited about his education policy and anyone who votes for Donald Trump today (Make America Great Again!) is not moved by his trade policy.

So this is where we are in the year 2016: A large as yet undetermined segment of our electorate is openly racist. This segment of the population does not care about reforming the criminal justice system. This segment does not care about rounding up ten to twelve million undocumented immigrants, ripping them from their homes and families, and sending them back to their country of origin. They don’t care about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and they don’t care about the mass disenfranchisement of Latinos or African Americans.

What does the Trump movement care about? They care about sticking it to the establishment politicians who have allowed their America to slip away. They care about reclaiming their place at the head of the ruling class table. They care about white America.

When I was in high school, though I attended school on the Westside where virtually all black and Hispanic students were enrolled, racial epithets were commonplace. The white students who ruled the campus were virtually required to tolerate bigotry. This was after Watts and the summer of flames when we really should have known better.

When I left high school I left attitudes of tolerated bigotry behind – or I thought I did. In the 1990’s I lived in Nashville for five years and witnessed enduring segregation and economic discrimination on a grand scale. Predominantly black schools were poorly funded while predominantly white schools enjoyed the financial blessings of their surroundings. Racial bigotry was a constant underlying all issues and policies.

Thirty years later I wonder if anything has really changed. In a new America where bias and bigotry have been left behind, the repeated documentation of black Americans shot down by white cops should have united us. Instead, it has divided us. The mind-numbing statistics on the disproportionate mass incarceration of black and Hispanic Americans should have shocked the entire populace into corrective action. Instead, it only motivated a segment of our society. Whether the Black Lives Matter movement translates into long-overdue reforms remains to be seen. It seems just as possible at this juncture that a backlash will occur.

Certainly, if Donald Trump finds his way to the White House, we can say goodbye to any progress on civil rights, voting rights, affirmative action or equal treatment under the law.

I have come to this conclusion: Human beings are inherently prone to bias. This inherent bias will manifest itself in racial, religious and cultural discrimination unless it is addressed, recognized and condemned.

I was recently invited to play golf at a local country club as a guest of a member. After the round, the members gathered in the clubhouse to consume libations and engage in verbal interplay. I felt like I was back in high school. Racial epithets flowed into the open air and I perceived, just as I did in high school, that those who used them were testing my willingness to tolerate their bigotry.

I did not challenge them though I should have. I’m fairly certain they know I did not belong among them. If by chance I should be invited back I will decline with a frank explanation.

I believe that racism and all forms of bigotry persist and are allowed to spread because good people refuse to call it out.

So the next time you encounter someone who confesses sympathy for Donald Trump, remind them of his comments regarding Mexican rapists and his apparent ambivalence toward David Duke and the KKK. You don’t have to be angry. You don’t have to accuse. Just let them know that you know, that we all know, what lies beneath their support for the Donald.

Jazz.



JACK RANDOM IS THE AUTHOR OF GHOST DANCE INSURRECTION – JAZZMAN SERIES (DRY BONES PRESS), WASICHU: THE KILLING SPIRIT, NUMBER NINE: THE ADVENTURES OF JAKE JONES AND RUBY DAULTON, A PATRIOT DIRGE – JAZZMAN SERIES, PAWNS TO PLAYERS: THE STAIRWAY SCANDAL – CHESS SERIES, THE GRAND CANYON ZEN GOLF TOUR, HARD TIMES: THE WRATH OF AN ANGRY GOD AND JAZZMAN CHRONICLES: VOLUMES I – X (CROW DOG PRESS). HIS WORKS ARE AVAILABLE AT AMAZON.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Grand Canyon Zen Golf Tour: A review by Jake Berry 

THE GRAND CANYON ZEN GOLF TOUR - A Memoir by Jack Random – Featuring the Handbook of Zen Golf (Crow Dog Press) $13.95 available at http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Random/e/…/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1…


Lest you think this a light new age collection of clichés wrapped around zen and golf, think again. Jack Random (aka Ray Miller) brings to both subjects, and their inevitable coalescence, the gravity of experience and the music of a master story teller. This is a road story, and is not out of place among the ancient tales from Gilgamesh's search for the plant of immortality to the Odyssey or Twain and Kerouac. Written in a voice that sounds like a cool concoction of Dashiell Hammett and Hunter S. Thompson, yet never imitative of them, Random's odyssey is born of a time when he lived on the sweet edge always barely one step ahead of the courting allies of death, madness and the ultimate ecstasy from which no one returns. Despite the dangers he never abandons his brooding wit. One feels that no matter how difficult the circumstance he retains enough detachment to laugh at himself and Wiz, his traveling companion (and better known to some as James Wisniewski – musician, visual artist and designer), as they wander from golf course to canyon to locations so stark and abandoned it chills the bones. Random does not take his zen sitting down or his golf along carefully manicured greens – though he's no stranger to either – he makes demands of himself and the world he encounters in the manner of a sorcerer and seer. The two wandering bodhisattvas might tee off anywhere, and nowhere, and transform the entire landscape before them into a rough that will deliver enlightenment or else. The book is appended by a revised version of the Handbook of Zen Golf composed by Miller and Wisniewski and published under other nom de plumes. The original was small enough to fit in a pocket and designed to be carried on the course. The wisdom it contains is certainly as valid as it was then for a round of golf, or for a lifetime. Even if you don't golf or care anything for the sport you'll find yourself caught in the pleasure of following the journey through one adventure to the next. This is a fine example of Miller's style – awake to the harsh realities of the world and forever seeking the spiritual in confident, unflinching prose loaded with no small amount of poetry.

The Grand Canyon Zen Golf Tour is only one of many volumes by Jack Random now available online at amazon.com in both print and digital versions. There are novels, screeds and collections of the political writings that frequently appear on the Random Jack blog. Random is that rare combination of a writer of genuine substance that is always a pleasure to read.

Editor's Note: From Chapter 12: "Jake Berry is a poet’s poet, a master craftsman of words, an inventor of language and an architect of letters and imagery. His name in the underground circle of poets is legendary. Poet, musician, songwriter and graphic artist, his seminal work Brambu Drezi as well as Species of Abandoned Light have found a noted publisher in San Francisco."

The Pocketbook of Zen Golf was designed to fit in a pocket; the Handbook was a little large for the average pocket.

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