Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Take Your War Away From Me

by Chris Mansel

here's to the aged and to the ill
who can't afford their medical bills
to the protester being beaten
voicing his opinion up a great big hill
to the Iranian child who has no idea
where america begins and Iraq ends

if I were an immigrant in a Haitian land
I'd be surviving however I could stand
on the Ivory Coast where oil does flow
I'd be wondering when the money will show
Darfur, Darfur wait for the rallying cry
how pathetic is it when its fashionable
when people die

air strikes always level the wrong ground
you can hear them like a screaming sound
we talk about the promises the government made
helicopters used to bring aid, now raids
stack rubble to the sky it won't hold a window
the dead of the world are more than just shadows


take my land but don't take my life
don't burn my house in the middle of the night
please take your war away from me
please take your war away from me

Chris Mansel

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jake's Word: Shut it Down!

[Editor's Note: This is Jake Berry's response to the latest Jazzman Chronicle: Shut it Down! The Irrational Rage of Willful Ignorance - reprinted below.]

One of your best screeds ever. Right on target. You sound like you've been living in the South all your life.

That is what all of this hogwash passing for politics is - old school Southern politics. It basically comes down to a simple equation: If you have a problem it is someone else's fault. The solution is to destroy this fantasy chimera even if it kills you and your children and their children in the process. Someone else is always to blame.

Freedom means liberty and responsibility. Everyone wants freedom. Freedom to get rich or die trying. Freedom to curse your neighbor one minute and pray for him the next. Freedom to do whatever you damn well please and blame someone else for the damage you do.

I agree with you. Let it crash and burn. It seems to be the only way we'll ever recover from subservience to the golden calf of Wall Street and the loud and proud stupidity of those who are so desperate to vote against their own best interests.

Too bad. While it may be true that all empires eventually crumble, the U.S. doesn't have to shut down just yet. But if that is what the people want, then give them what they want. They'll find someone to blame.

Rave on brother. We listen and learn.





By Jack Random

“Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, do you? Go ahead, make my day.”

Harry Callahan, Sudden Impact (1983)

Late Friday night the word came down that congress made a deal with the White House to avert a government shutdown. Too bad. If history teaches us anything it is that the American electorate does not believe in close calls.

In the last hour of the Bush administration, when congress was compelled to hand over billions to Wall Street in order to avoid a global economic meltdown, you would have thought we learned a lesson. We did not. We watched as the government reinstated the same catastrophic policies that placed us at the brink of catastrophic implosion.

We learned nothing. We continue to vent our rage at anyone but the criminal party. We continue to vote for pandering politicians who claim that government is the problem. We continue to support policies that favor the corporate elite.

I am reminded of the man who shot himself in the foot to cure a bunion. Seeing the damage the doctor said: Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t have a headache.

At some point we have to come to terms with the fact that we are a republic, a representative democracy, and therefore we are ultimately responsible for the actions of our elected officials. We enable them. We instruct them to get right back on that runaway train and point it straight over the cliff.

Feeling lucky, punk? Go ahead, make my day!

We all lived through the Bush years yet we are still listening to the same foreign policy geniuses that blundered their way into two losing wars in the Middle East. (If you thought we won in Iraq, check back in five years: Iran won the war and we were the biggest losers outside of the Iraqis.)

We all watched the free trade, free enterprise, free market economic purists drive us to the precipice of a great depression yet here we are doubling down on the same policies that created the crisis.

Like a compulsive gambler who’s been days too long at the tables, we’ve decided gambling is not the problem. It’s all a matter of timing. This time it will all work out. We’ll draw the lucky ace of spades and break the bank running.

Why shouldn’t it work out? Last time around it worked just fine for the CEO’s and the wealthy shareholders. They got to keep our money while we got our homes foreclosed, our jobs shipped out, our unions busted, our rights nullified and our wages cut to the bone.

Voices on the left who are not afraid of summoning phrases like social good and income inequality must be growing tired to death reminding people who work for a living that the parties in power do not represent our interests, the Tea Party least of all. They must grow tired defending the ineffectual Democrats over the offensive Republicans on the ever-diminishing grounds of least harm.

It’s like turning to the Don’s accountant to resolve the problems of the Don.

I know I’ve grown tired, damned tired, and I feel I’m down to two choices: Vent or walk away.

So go ahead, fellow voters, make my day: Shut it down! Let’s get a good look at life without the government. Let’s go back to square one. Let’s get back to the days of America’s greatness! Let’s have an industrial age without industry! Let’s work for lower pay! Let there be no safety standards, no inspectors, no regulation or oversight. If people die, so be it. It’s the cost of doing business. We have too many people anyway. Let a few thousand or million perish at the hands of the industrial machine. There will be more for the rest of us!

Why half measures? Let’s give all the money and all the resources to the elite. They’re better educated and nicer looking. They know how to behave themselves at dinner parties. Let them have it all and let the rest of us live in accordance with their wishes. What’s good for Wall Street is good for Pennsylvania Avenue!

Let them dig for oil in the national parks. Let them burn coal until the skies block the sun! Let them mark the way to the next mass extinction. Let them fight wars for oil and water and uranium with the blood of our working sons and daughters!

Go ahead, decimate social security, scrap Medicare and bring back a time where child labor is not only possible but necessary! Bring back squalor and recklessness in the workplace! Bring back segregated schools and reserve higher learning for the wealthiest elite.

Go ahead, let them have it all but don’t you dare say you did it for your children. You sold the children out along with the rest of us so at least have the courage to say so: You did it because you didn’t want to pay your fair share.

At least have the foresight to know your children and grandchildren will curse you for your selfish folly.

Go ahead, shut it down, let it crash and burn! But then, when it’s all done and the destruction has moved across the land like waves of a tsunami, have the decency to stand aside and let those who saw it coming and sounded a warning in vain, build a new world from the ashes of a fallen empire.

Let that be your final legacy.




(Please send out to as many people as you can)

To All Sports Fans,

We should all be thinking a lot about Bryan Stow, the Giants fan who is in a coma right now after being attacked after a game. This Monday night, the Giants and Dodgers will begin a second series, this time in San Francisco. But this issue has nothing to do with the Giants or the Dodgers. It’s about what it means to be a fan.

We all come out to watch the game of baseball to support our teams, to have a great time at the ballpark, and to remember and pay homage to the childhood wonder that we all felt growing up watching our heroes play. For me, being a fan is about knowing that I see the game exactly how my dad taught me to… even a little bit clearer (just like he always knew that I would). It’s about looking up with my little brothers and telling him that the Giants finally won it all! (And knowing he’s celebrating wherever he is.)

But to those fans who see yourselves as something like rival gang/club members protecting the honor of your teams, with violence if necessary, please know that you are missing the point, and you are truly disgracing your heroes. Giants fans out there talking about REVENGE for Bryan Stow, you are just as misled and in need of a look in the mirror as those FEW Dodgers fans who committed this crime in the first place, whether you act on it or not. And I hope a few of you are offended by me saying that because you absolutely need to think about the feelings and thoughts that resulted in that man being forced to fight for his life his life right now.

I mean I Haaaaaaaaaaate the Dodgers. Lol. But I why in the world should that extend to their fans??? Somewhere there is a Dodger fan with the EXACT same story as mine. A Dodger fan raises his hands just as high as a Giants fan when his team is doing well, and for the same reasons. The same goes for fans of the Yankees and Red Sox. We all just want to someday turn to our children, holding a ballpark hotdog, and watch with a smile as they experience the game for the first time.

So Monday night, regardless of the score at the end of the game, if you should come across a rival fan, look him in the eyes and tip your cap, (you can even refuse to smile if you like. lol), and give a fellow Sports Fan the respect that you both deserve.

John Miller