by Gilles d'Aymery
"Entre le fort et le faible, entre le riche et le pauvre, entre le maître et le serviteur, c'est la liberté qui opprime et la loi qui affranchit."
(Swans - September 26, 2005) BRAVO RONALD KNARR, you've just won the Swans' Award for Anti-Semite Idiot of the Year. In the September 12 "Note from the Editor," I asked a question in respect to the disrepair of US society and the disappearance of local communities, "how much more destruction shall we have to endure before people come to their senses?" Mr. Knarr sent me an e-mail with his answer, which I quote in full:
To answer your question in your third paragraph: As long as it takes people in this country to realize what countless east Europeans have learned time and again. We will endure it until the people in this country wake up and kick out the Jews.
OF COURSE, MR. KNARR didn't sign his e-mail, but he sent his venom as a reply to our regular "Swans' Release" that we send to people who have subscribed -- so it did not take me long to find him. Perhaps a few readers would like to congratulate Mr. Knarr for the well-deserved award and tell him a few words of their own. He can be reached at knarrrjATori.net (replace AT with the @ symbol). I only have contempt for the mindless troll.
ENJOY YOUR SUV! In the January/February 2004 issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Alfred Cavallo wrote, "The world uses about 27 billion barrels of oil per year, meaning that 112 billion barrels -- the proven oil reserves of Iraq, the second largest proven oil reserves in the world -- would last a little more than four years at today's usage rates. (See "Oil: The illusion of plenty.") In the May/June 2005 issue, Cavallo brings forth a piece of information that has received little coverage. He writes: "Without any press conferences, grand announcements, or hyperbolic advertising campaigns, the Exxon Mobil Corporation, one of the world's largest publicly owned petroleum companies, has quietly joined the ranks of those who are predicting an impending plateau in non-OPEC oil production. Their report, The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, forecasts a peak in just five years. (See "Oil: Caveat empty.") Hmm, no wonder we want to bring Freedom & Democracy to the Middle East...
THE DUMBEST MOVE PRIZE should be awarded to The New York Times for having elected to put their opinion columnists behind a paywall. Want to read Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, or Frank Rich? Since last Monday, you have to fork out $50 a year for the privilege. Okay, I know these poor people are suffering financially -- haven't they announced the layoff of 500 employees? -- and they're trying their utmost to figure out new sources of revenue, but they have it all upside-down, and it's a mean-spirited and self-defeating move. First, this "TimeSelect" subscription is a disservice to both the columnists who wish to be widely read and to the dissemination of the views presented by these columnists to the widest public possible. Second, it creates a disincentive to visit their Web site -- there is an abundance of other sources of news -- and what they gain through TimeSelect, they'll lose in advertising revenue, which depends on visitorship. Why should I visit their site if I can't have access to their most read columns? It's mean-spirited because they don't even allow a TimeSelect subscriber to e-mail the columns to a friend and as always in our neo-liberal paradise, it affects those who can't afford another $50 that easily. Furthermore, the move is self-defeating because it's only a matter of time before these columns will be posted on various Web sites under the provision of U.S. Code, Title 17, section 107; or we'll find a friend who has access to Lexis-Nexis and send the columns to his/her distribution list (even a TimeSelect subscriber will be able to do a copy-and-paste and send the columns to his friends). Tell you, these old white men are dumb!
HYPOCRITICAL PATTER: Dunno whether you noticed all those white network people descending upon, or reporting on, New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. Diane Sawyer, Paula Zahn, Chris Matthews, Brian Williams, Larry King, Charles Gibson, Ron Reagan, Bob Schieffer, Jim Lehrer, Wolf Blitzer, et al. All white, all multi-millionaires, all shedding crocodile tears -- with the notable exception of CNN's Anderson Cooper who appeared truly outraged by what he saw there. To watch Katie Couric in her waist-high, GORE-TEX® fly-fishing waders, with water to her waist, whining about those "poor people" and brave responders, or to hear CNN's Wolf Blitzer saying from "The Situation Room," "You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals, as Jack Cafferty just pointed out, so tragically, so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold," made me puke, literally.
SO POOR, SO BLACK: What f****** hogwash! Yes, New Orleans had a population living in poverty far beyond the national average, which is currently 12.7 percent...and growing. Twenty-eight percent lived below the poverty line, and out of those 28%, 84% were black, which amounted to 23.5% of New Orleans's black population living in poverty. But what's the national average of African-Americans living below the poverty threshold? Answer: 24.7%. Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty, 12.7% of the population, but 24.7% of Black Americans are living in poverty (don't believe me? Check the US government's census bureau. There is/was nothing unusual in New Orleans. Blacks, the only segment of America that has brought culture to the world -- Jazz -- remain segregated into the lowest echelons of US society. Couric, Blitzer...arrgh! Racism is a given; always has been. But, here, the disaster transcends racism. It's a class issue. Nobody, from Wolf Blitzer to Katy Couric to Mr. Bush and Marie Antoinette care about the poor, whether black or white. What we do, from East Palo Alto, California, to New Orleans, Louisiana, is find any opportunity to gentrify the neighborhoods. Where money is at hand, poor people are disposable, black or white -- the difference, maybe, between poor black and white people, is that we lynch or shoot the former, and send the latter to trailer parks where the Pat Robertsons of this world milk them of the little they have, turning them, in the process into white trash Christian fundamentalists. Bush got elected thanks to them. Black or white, it's all about frickin' money and class. (Yeah, sure, there in no class in America!)
ALL THOSE MILLIONAIRES also whined about the infrastructure in New Orleans. Are those people kidding, or what? The infrastructure of the once US of A is utterly dilapidated. Go back to the late Seymour Belman's "In The Grip Of A Permanent War Economy" and you'll find out that the country has been going down the drain for over thirty years. By the time he wrote (March 2003), the hole was $1.3 trillion deep. Well, guess what, since then it has deepened to $1.8 trillion. Louis Uchitelle wrote in "Disasters Waiting To Happen" (New York Times, September 11, 2005), what any one (in California and beyond) with an inquisitive mind knows: The thousand-plus miles of levees along the Sacramento River are a Katrina-like disaster in waiting. The state is bankrupt. The infrastructure of the USA is in disrepair. (Here again if you do not believe me, perhaps you will the CIA factbook.) Put two and two together. Third World Country-USA? Welcome to the future! (And this is giving a bad name to Third World countries...)
QUOTATION FOR THE AGES: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this [she chuckles slightly] is working very well for them."
--Barbara Bush, the American Marie Antoinette....
WORKING VERY WELL INDEED. Cuba has a lower rate of infant mortality than the U.S. Actually, according to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, "in both Mississippi and Louisiana, infant mortality is worse (for every 1,000 babies born 10 die in their first year of life) than in Costa Rica (8 die per 1,000). For black babies in either state, the picture is still more horrifying: 15 die per 1,000. In poor, war-torn Sri Lanka, where per capita medical spending is only $131, babies have better odds, with 13 dying per 1,000." (See "A Health Care Disaster," September 25, 2005.)
SHORT REMINDER: 37,000,000 people live in poverty in the USA (12.7% of the population)
46,000,000 people do not have any health insurance (15.9% of the population)
The Forbes 400 (the 400 richest people in America) have a combined wealth worth $1.13 trillion, (TRILLION!!) -- that's more than the Canadian GDP...
"Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households." (source CIA Factbook.)
BOONVILLE NEWS: We are in the eye of the hurricane, whether singular or plural. Conserving energy should be on everybody's mind. Northern California is so-called "liberal." So, when I drive to Ukiah, 25 miles away from where I live, I drive kind of slowly, alerted that the best gas mileage one gets is around 45-50 miles an hour. The road to the little town, Boonville, is quite straight. Three miles away. I drive, as said, around 45-50 mile an hour. Cars are pounding behind me. Lorries, with loads of old redwood trees or firs, kick my ass. I move to the side to let them pass, time and again. The road to Ukiah is up and down a mountain's peak. Maniacs are tailgating. There are turnouts to let in-a-hurry people pass. I use them liberally.
LAST WEEK, after much let-them-live-and-pass, I ended up at the AAA office in Ukiah. I had an appointment with the insurance rep to try to decrease my rate -- $2,500 for two 18-year old vehicles, driven 4,000 miles a year at most. As the rep was busy in a meeting with his manager, I had to wait. I went back to the parking lot to let our friend Priam, the dog of the house, out of the pickup and enjoy a moment outside, as well as do his poo-poo. A car pulled into the parking lot. It was a huge Ford Expedition. The driver was a woman, young, in her late twenties. Priam and I ignored the car. We walked to the far end of the parking lot where there was some plantation... Priam, do your thing... On our way back, I heard a buzz... What's that? The engine of the Ford Expedition was running...the woman nowhere to be seen. I checked my watch... By the time she came back from the AAA office, at least 5 minutes had transpired. This is "liberal" California, where folks save energy and want to change the world!
Ç'est la vie...
And so it goes...