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A Visit With Jeanette Vizguerra

February 17, 2017
Jeanette Vizguerra in Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church of Denver

Jeanette Vizguerra in Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church of Denver

Jeanette Vizguerra. 

Exhausted from the tension and the recent media attention, still JeanetteVizguerra, Mexican undocumented immigrant who has sought sanctuary at Denver’s First Unitarian Society church (corner of 14th Ave and Lafayette St. just east of downtown Denver) was willing to meet with me for a brief personal exchange. She felt safe and supported there, where she has gotten oceans of support from all over the city, country and the world. They help, give one strength to carry on against what I can only describe as the forces of evil.

I went simply to pay my respects, to express my solidarity with this mother of four, backbone of her family. She and her family have been in the United States for twenty years. Returning to the United States from Mexico after her mother’s funeral, her troubles with immigration began to intensify. Given the recent arrests of more than 600 people, including those technically protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) law, and getting essentially stonewalled by local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. This is Vizguerra’s sixth appeal to stay in the country with her children. She has been active, something of a leader among the undocumented fighting for their rights.  Read more…

San Diego – Strange Place – 2

February 10, 2017

2107-02-09-san-diego-113Home of the Pacific Fleet

This morning in the Bird Rock Coffee shop at 6:30 am. Four young men dressed in military fatigues, pleasant faces of the U.S. war machine, no hint in their composure of the destructive force in which they participate. San Diego is the home of the Pacific Fleet and as such one of the biggest military complexes anywhere, the U.S.A or abroad. When President-Elect Trumpty-Dumpty mistakenly speaks about the need to refurbish the country’s sagging military strength, it is primarily beefing up naval strength in the Pacific to which he is referring (according to some analyses with which I generally agree). Of course he leaves out the well-known fact that the U.S. military budget is by itself greater than most of the rest of the world’s military budget combined. Minor oversight, certainly.

Signs of it are everywhere, from the submarine base on Point Loma that one has to drive through to get to the Cabrillo National Monument to the ship yards one passes on the trolley heading south to San Ysidro. On the trolleys, buses, in coffee shops military people dressed in uniform. Robert, our homeless friend met on the trolley yesterday who invited himself to be our tourist guide at San Ysidro noted, not without some civic pride, that soon San Diego would soon become the home of the unified Navy Seal training headquarters – a kind of phd program in assassination and murder second to none. Read more…

San Diego – Strange Place

February 9, 2017
All that's left of

All that’s left of “Little Italy” is a mural next to a yuppy overpriced beer joint

The downtown area is as sterile as Denver’s – no character whatsoever, just a lot of skyscrapers and overpriced condo apartments that look like they’ll collapse when the next earthquake hits…and it will. But aside from all that cement forced into the dredged harbor, it is a fascinating place, death ships – submarines, aircraft carriers and missile-carrying destroyers – aside.

We stayed at a cheap hotel “neat comfortable rooms” – which it was, and were surprised by Nancy’s sister, Carol who came down from Palo Alto to spend a few days with us. She was staying at the same motel. It was the last of the moderately priced motels on a strip that has been gentrified by high-priced hotels and condos. The motel next to us is now being taken down and ours, Marina Motel and Suites, is next to go. Read more…

Cameroon: Northwestern Cameroon Explodes in Peaceful Protest, Government Repression: Part One of a Series.

February 4, 2017
demonstrations in Western Cameroon led by teachers and students

demonstrations in Western Cameroon led by teachers and students

After educators there announced a strike,on November 21, 2017 hundreds of people, mostly students and youth took to the streets of Bamenda, Cameroon in support. They were met by the Cameroonian police, not known for their training in police-community relations. As usual, the protesters were peaceful, the police/military armed to the teeth and quite ready to open fire, which they did.

When the day was over, according to opposition sources, three demonstrators lay dead, many wounded, hundreds arrested. But the demonstrations continued daily despite the repression. A week later, Le Monde, the Paris-based French paper often compared to the NY Times, ran the first of a series of stories on the incident that opens describing the carnage done that day. Here is my approximate translation:

The scene was horrific; it was shown all over the country’s social media…Young men and women, including youths even younger, chased by police (forces de l’ordre) in every direction…one video captured wounded youth, their bodies writhing in pain

Read more…

Death in the Everglades: The Murder of Guy Bradley: America’s First Martyr to Environmentalism by Stuart B. McIver. University Press of Florida. 2003, A Review

February 1, 2017

death-in-everglades1.

Although I haven’t been back since, there was a thirty year period of my life – from the late 1970s to 2008 – when I spent a good deal of time in southern Florida, Hollywood Florida, near Ft. Lauderdale to be precise. After selling our family home where my sisters and grew up in NYC, my mother moved to a condominium retirement community called “Carriage Hills” in Hollywood. It still exists. After her second husband died in a car accident, she lived most of the rest of her life with her older sister, my aunt, Malvina Stone, referred to in the family simply as Aunt Mal. The two sisters lived together there for fifteen years until dementia set in about the same time for both.

I loved visiting my mother and aunt, but had an uncomfortable sense of how, what had been little more than a tropical swamp had been transformed into strip malls, retirement communities and a completely depressing housing boom. There had to be more to Florida than this, I thought? The development craze, already well advanced there, had parallels to the orgy of the same just picking up on the front range in Colorado where I lived (and still live). Give me the swamp teaming with life any day over  southeast Florida strip malls. Read more…

Trumps Holy War Against Muslims: The Immigration Ban: What’s It All About?”

January 31, 2017
rebirth-2

Bill Amundson portrayal of Trumpty-Dumpty (printed with permission)

Trumps Holy War Against Muslims: The Immigration Ban: What’s It All About?” on “Hemispheres” Middle East Dialogues” hosted by Jim Nelson, interviewing Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. Tonight (Tuesday, January 31, 2017) at 6 pm Mountain Standard Time: KGNU Boulder, Colorado: 88.5 FM, 1390 AM and streamed at www.kgnu.org

Notes from: Trump’s Middle East Policy: Lost In the Desert: KGNU Hemispheres “Middle East Dialogues” with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince: January 24, 2017

January 30, 2017

us-bases

1.

Well, the Trump presidency has begun…

His election and the selection of his cabinet have already been described as “a corporate coup.” Instead of “draining the swamp” of corporate lobbyists and the like, he has replenished it and then some with a cabal of billionaires, extreme militarists pickled in conspiracy theories, and climate deniers.

His election and the selection of his cabinet have already been described as “a corporate coup.” Instead of “draining the swamp” of corporate lobbyists and the like, he has replenished it and then some with a cabal of billionaires, extreme militarists pickled in conspiracy theories, and climate deniers.

He has begun by instituting what is called the American version of “The Shock Doctrine” – a political blitzkrieg with the goal of radically restructuring the American body politic, restructuring the country, along cold, mean, uninhibited, uncontrolled, disaster capitalist lines…

Bypassing Congress where possible – even though it is Republican dominated – his administration started with a flurry of executive orders and Congressional maneuvers aimed at cutting social services, bolstering the military, cutting environmental regulations and attacking the federal civil service. President Donald Trump has announced to cut $10.5 trillion out of the federal government over 10 years by gutting federal agency budgets by as much as 10 percent while slashing 20 percent from the federal workforce and reducing the size of regulatory agencies by 75%. Read more…