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Support Protesters At Standing Rock, North Dakota

September 28, 2016
Casey Camp-Horinek of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma with sons Mekasi left and Jeff right. Cowboy and Indian Alliance. Washington D.C. April 22-27 2014. A coalition of cowboys, ranchers, farmers, and native americans from the Ogalla region opposed to the proposed Keystone Pipeline.

Casey Camp-Horinek of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma with sons Mekasi left and Jeff right. Cowboy and Indian Alliance. Washington D.C. April 22-27 2014.

On the right is Jeff Camp. He and brother Mekasi are on both sides of their mother, Casey Camp-Horinek. In this photo taken two years ago in Washington DC, they are protesting the since-rejected Keystone-XL pipeline that would have bisected the United States from the Canadian shale fields to Houston. Had it been constructed it would have passed within a few miles of my in-law’s property in the town of Western, Nebraska. Nebraska farmers, ranchers and Native Americans, many working in conjunction with a grassroots advocacy organization called “Bold Nebraska” defeated this proposal, finally rejected by the Obama Administration in November, 2015.

The Camps, Jeff, Mekasi and mother Casey, were active and in the center of that movement. They are among the “long-distance runners” so to speak, of the movement for Native American rights with roots of activism, struggle dating back to the American Indian Movement occupation of Wounded Knee in the early 1970s, and before.  Read more…

The Iran Nuclear Deal…One Year Later: Interview with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU, Boulder. “Hemispheres Program.” Tues, August, 30, 2016. Part Two

September 19, 2016
Syria...still one country after all the bloodshed. U.S. plans to dismember it a la Iraq and Libya are failing.

Syria…still one country after all the bloodshed. U.S. plans to dismember it a la Iraq and Libya are failing.

Part One

More on the Iranian Nuclear Deal

Ibrahim Kazerooni (Continued): The Iranians are now becoming more and more militant when it comes to their support for Syria. They are aware of the failure of the Saudis in Yemen and other places, (which I am sure, Rob, you will be addressing later in the program) – this Saudi failure has weakened their regional position. Whether it is practical or principled, the Turks are trying to move closer to what is called “the axis of Resistance” to a degree. Although one needs to explain, if that is the case, how on earth can they justify the occupation of northern Syria.

But Iran’s position has hardened not only in their giving more and more support to the Syrian government. The Russians are doing likewise and now the Chinese are coming in to provide the Syrian government maximum support. For the first time since 1949 the Iranians have allowed Russia to use its territory for the fight against ISIS [in Syria], to bring in their long-range planes.

To add insult to injury to the United States, the Iraqis have allowed the Russians to do the same thing. So this alliance has created this unique dynamic and I believe it’s the first time since the Islamic Revolution (1979) in which any foreign country has been allowed access to military bases in Iran for the sake of fighting with ISIS so that now an alliance is being formed against the axis of the United States which includes Saudi Arabia, the Israelis and Turks on the north. The Qataris are at this point, out of the picture.

If you look at the comments made a number of countries, the Chinese and others , they have clearly indicated that they are “in” (in the alliance with Syria, Iran, Russia..). Somehow the Chinese are trying to retaliate against the United States for the Chinese concern regarding U.S. interference in the disputes over islands in the South China Sea and so are killing two birds with one stone. China is supporting Syria, strengthening it against the United States and NATO’s joint position. At the same time they are creating an alliance that the Turks, Saudi Arabia, United States and their allies find themselves increasingly marginalized in the Middle East in terms of Syria. Read more…

Where The Antelope Play…or Played

September 15, 2016
Abandonned adobe general store at Ocate, New Mexico

Abandoned adobe general store at Ocate, New Mexico; the front might be sagging, but the adobe walls are in very good shape, something that cannot be done without a great deal of continued care, attention…

Getting To Mora, New Mexico

There are several ways to get to Mora, New Mexico from the north, three principle ones. There is a highway that goes south through the mountains on U.S. 285. Reaching Rancho de Taos, turn left on to State Highway 518; spectacular I am told. Or traveling down I-25 across Raton Pass, one can either exit at Wagon Mound, or, a bit further on, at Watrous. The route from Wagon Mound, State Highway 442, passes through Ocate, Ojo Felix and La Cueva, there meeting up with State Highway 518 five miles from Mora. Leaving I-25 at Watrous, the road goes along the Mora River Valley past Golondrinas on State Highway 161 before connection to 518 a few miles south of La Cueva. From Watrous, the same Highway 161, a curious U-shaped road, one can also get to Fort Union National Monument, a poorly known, historically significant national monument that used to provision all the U.S. forts in the western region for decades in the 19th century.

For people unfamiliar with this part of New Mexico, both roads to Mora through Wagon Mound or Watrous cut through breathtaking scenery. On the Mora-Watrous road, which we took returning to Denver from Mora, we saw a herd of domesticated bison just before Golondrinas on Highway 161. On our way to Mora, especially between Wagon Mound and Ocate, there were antelope, a lot of antelope. We stopped counting after having sighted more than forty. They tended to congregate in small groups, four or five, a few individual stragglers here and there – sprinkled mostly to the north of Highway 442 for miles on end – as our Mora host and Denver neighbor, Sandy Garcia, had predicted. Read more…

Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II by Michael Burleigh, Some Thoughts

September 9, 2016
Polish hostages hanged by the Nazis near the Płaszów-Prokocim train station in Crakow, Poland, June 26, 1942. Burleigh's descriptions of the Nazi onslaught in Poland is one of the best, if most painful, chapters of "Moral Combat"

Polish hostages hanged by the Nazis near the Płaszów-Prokocim train station in Crakow, Poland, June 26, 1942. Burleigh’s descriptions of the Nazi onslaught in Poland is one of the best, if most painful, chapters of “Moral Combat”

For some, reading about World War II is “old hat.” What more can be learned? It could be just the opposite. I find that particular war a laboratory of the human experience in all its aspects, what humans are capable of unfortunately ; I continue to read and reflect upon that experience even more today than I did when I was young. To that end, I just finished reading Michael Burleigh’s “Moral Combat” last night, read cover to cover. I finished the last page with mixed emotions. Although the book’s sub-title is “Good and Evil in World War 11; there is very little “good” and mostly “evil” in this text, suggesting rather vividly that ours (humanity), is not a particularly “nice” species, one which, having destroyed so much of the natural world – with gusto even –  gives increasing indications of being its own  undoing.

On the one hand, Moral Combat is about as accurate a description of the horrors of WW2 as one can find…excellent discussions on all kinds of morbid things – Allied bombings, the Nazi invasion of Poland, what was going in Italy, the einsatzgruppens in Poland and Lithuania (who killed my relatives in Bialystok, Grodno, Prienai and Vilnius), the resistance movements, the fate of Eastern European Jews, Stalins pre-war and war excesses. His apologist portrait of Churchill, a man who had much reason to be immodest about, is interesting, but self-serving, that of Mussolini very well done. I suppose, Englishman that Burleigh is, the contrast between the two leaders should not be so surprising. Read more…

The Colorado State Veterans Home at Fitzsimons: A Long Term Mismanaged Administrative Disaster: Part Two: “The Hot Mess” and Fitz’s Health Inspection “Tags”

September 8, 2016

2013-12-12-colorado-state-veterans-home-2“The great (those in power) commit almost as many shameful acts as the outcasts of society, but they commit them in the dark, and make a parade of their virtues- and so they remain great! The little men hide their virtues, and expose their miseries for all to see – and so they are despised.”

Balzac – Lost Illusions.

Oversight.

Although other departments of the Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS) have gotten media attention as a result of system-wide mismanagement, for the most part, the Colorado Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons (CVCLC), nicknamed “Fitz”, has not, or hardly. Curious. Curious because over the last several years the place has been mired troubles. These have included chronic employee and management turn over; employees placed on administrative leave on questionable if not fictitious grounds; a system of administrative spying on employees and residents; an attempt “to purge” at least one resident critical of how the facility was run; and what many employees described as “an atmosphere of fear” (and some still do) despite recent improvements.

How and why it was all done remains a murky process in a state-run institution that should be open to public scrutiny.

There was also a concerted attempt to destroy the union at the facility, a branch of the state employees union, Colorado WINS. This union-busting campaign was engineered by since-fired Human Services Administrator, Vicky Manley and her hand-picked administrative pit bull, Debbie Blanc (also relieved of her duties at DHS). This campaign was initiated despite the fact that the union and the state government have, overall, a good cooperative relationship in an “employee-management cooperation” in the facility. Read more…

The Iran Nuclear Deal…One Year Later: Interview with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU, Boulder. “Hemispheres Program.” Tues, August, 30, 2016. Part One

August 31, 2016
Here in the United States the horror of it all is often ignored. Here a barefooted young man, a member of the 'Baseej' militia, cries while sitting at a broken caterpillar track at the Talaiye war front. Some of the war pilgrims walk barefoot to the front lines in order not to step on any possible grave of a dead soldier with their boots. Every year hundreds of thousand Iranians visit the fronts of the Iran -Iraq war (1980-1988) during their New Year (Noruz) holiday, in the last week of March. This trip is called ' Rahian-e Noor', or, Caravan of Light. Coming August 2008 it will be 20 years ago that a ceasefire between the two countries was signed. The death toll, overall, was an estimated 1 million for Iran and 250,000-500,000 for Iraq. During that war the United States armed Iraq hoping that the two Middle East nations would destroy one another. Unable to destroy the Islamic Revolution in Iran itself, the United States egged on Saddam Hussein to try to do it 

Here in the United States the horror of it all is often ignored. Every year hundreds of thousand Iranians visit the fronts of the Iran -Iraq war (1980-1988) during their New Year (Noruz) holiday, in the last week of March. This trip is called ‘ Rahian-e Noor’, or, Caravan of Light. In August 2018 it will be 30 years ago that a ceasefire between the two countries was signed. The death toll, overall, was an estimated 1 million for Iran and 250,000-500,000 for Iraq. During that war the United States armed Iraq hoping that the two Middle East nations would destroy one another.

Jim Nelson: I’m just going to give a brief introduction, highlighting the topics we’ll be discussing this evening. Later in the program we’ll be looking at the events in Yemen, a somewhat neglected subject in the mainstream media although not on this program. Recently, it has returned to the news, not as much as it should be. Before that we’ll look at Syria and Turkey and the current issues involved, the recent Turkish military incursion into northern Syria, included. But first we’re going to look at the Iran Nuclear Deal, now a year after it was finalized.

Rob Prince: Introduction

Tonight we want to discuss a number of recent events, as usual, try to put them into historical perspective and give some sense as to where the region seems to be heading.

As we went into the dynamics of the Turkish coup last month, we want to begin by stepping back a moment and look at what has transpired – how the United States, the European Union, Iran, Russia have – or have not – kept their parts of what is mistakenly referred to as “the Iran Nuclear Deal” – mistakenly because it not only concerned Iran’s nuclear program but also the lifting of economic embargos against that the country

We’ll return to the Turkish events shortly thereafter and address a number of questions:

– A month later, what are the consequences of the so-called Turkish coup – what has happened to all those people who were purged?

– Is Turkey involved in what might be called “a geo-political shift towards Iran and Russia, or to the contrary is its Syrian policy essentially “on course” with US – NATO plans?

Finally we’ll look at the failure of the Saudi war against Yemen and the current possibilites for resolving that conflict Read more…

Allenspark Meadow Mountain Cafe and The Wild Turkeys at Rocky Mountain National Park

August 22, 2016
Meadow Mountain Cafe, Allenspark, Colorado

Meadow Mountain Cafe, Allenspark, Colorado

It was just this past Saturday, August 19.

I dropped Nancy off at her all-day recorder workshop at the Allenspark art gallery right on Highway 7, 16 miles or so south of Estes Park and headed directly to the Meadow Mountain Cafe in town. At 9 am the place was packed but someone sitting by himself let me join him at his table. The redness in his face suggested a lifetime of booze, although he appeared sober; no breath wreaking of alcohol to ruin breakfast; mercifully he permitted me to sit at his table as long as we didn’t have to talk, which suited me fine. After a short time, he got up to leave..and kept getting up and up and up. Sitting I hadn’t noticed his 6’7″ towering figure.

Our agreed nonverbal table sharing didn’t prevent him from sharing his thoughts with others in this pleasant but somewhat cramped space that made up the interior of the restaurant. There was also a lovely patio, but it was too chilly out to enjoy it. From his conversation with the other clientele, my table mate, a Colorado Paul Bunyan, appeared to be something of a local, the “locals’ in Allenspark being mostly prosperous people from Texas and Oklahoma who have purchased mountain homes that for the most part, they visit for a few weeks in the summer. At least that is what the supersized SUVs and Hummers sitting outside the restaurant suggested.

The conversation flitted from one subject to another. It began interestingly enough. Read more…