Florida and Vietnam

Florida has now exceeded 50,000 Covid deaths. with thousands of new cases daily and our hospitals jammed to capacity.

Soon more will die of Covid in Florida in 18 months than all of our soldiers in the VietnamWar.

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For The Halloween Art Show

Vincent

By Pamela T. in chalk and Magic Marker

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ūüôā

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The Goddess of Retribution

Well here in Florida the covid virus continues to spread among the unvaccinated including school children and high schoolers pushing hospitals to the breaking point.  Our local hospital has erected a tent outside of its emergency room to handle the traffic.

Meanwhile our Governor works diligently to ensure that there are no mask mandates in school, no vaccine mandates for public employees and none by employers in their businesses.¬† I met a moron yesterday while getting my car serviced spouting about”freedom.”

Sheesh.

Meanwhile 3 local right wing radio celebs here recently died of covid after opposing vaccination since the start of the pandemic.  Anti-vax commentators are falling all over the country.

Virulently homophobic preacher Rick Wiles, who said in January that God sent the novel coronavirus to destroy LGBTQ people died yesterday.

Wiles was a far-right conspiracy theorist and”senior pastor” at the non-denominational Flowing Streams Church. He was the founder of TruNews, a website promoting racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

Wiles has said that Jews seek to obtain control of countries to kill millions of Christians, and has claimed that Jews are “deceivers” and that Jews “plot, they lie, they do whatever they have to do to accomplish their political agenda.”¬† In February 2020, YouTube permanently banned the TruNews channel.

Wiles was reported by¬†The Colorado Independent¬†in October 2014 to have said the spread of¬†Ebola “could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion”.¬† In late January 2020, he said the¬†coronavirus was God’s “death angel” and “plagues are one of the last steps of judgment.”

TruNews frequently described President¬†Barack Obama as a “demon from hell”.¬† Obama, he claimed while the former president was in office, was the “jihadist-in-chief” who was “waging jihad against the United States from inside the White House” and murdered Supreme Court Justice¬†Antonin Scalia as a “pagan sacrifice.’

In 2017, Wiles’ guests included someone who claimed President¬†Bill Clinton¬†is a flesh eating cannibal leading to his contraction of related diseases. Another asserted that Queen¬†Elizabeth II¬†of the United Kingdom is a “lizard person” who had¬†Diana, Princess of Wales murdered because the Princess was in the process of revealing that the Royal Family was involved in Satanism. ¬†He has also asserted that Israel and the “Jewish mafia” had President¬†John F. Kennedy assassinated.

Wiles had stated that the effects of Hurricane Harvey upon the city of Houston in September 2017 resulted from Houston’s “LGBT devotion”; had called Central American immigrants a “brown invasion” being used by God to punish White Americans for legal abortion; has claimed that the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was conducted by government death squads from a “gay/lesbian Nazi regime”; and, in July 2018, predicted an imminent coup (led by CNN’s¬†Anderson Cooper¬†and MSNBC’s¬†Rachel Maddow) that would result in the nationally televised decapitation of the¬†Trump family¬†on the White House lawn.

He would routinely announce the names of anyone who died of AIDS followed by the playing of¬† “Another One Bites the Dust.”

In March 2020, at a TruNews broadcast, Wiles claimed that the¬†COVID-19 pandemic¬†was¬†God’s punishment to Jews for opposing Jesus Christ¬†and the disease spread in synagogues. Wiles also¬†claimed¬†that the¬†outbreak in the United States¬†started at the¬†American Israel Public Affairs Committee¬†conference in¬†Washington, D.C.¬†on March 2, 2020.

TruNews¬†had credentials to cover the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, courtesy of the White House. Donald Trump and various members of his administration attended the forum, and Wiles publicly thanked Trump ‚Äúfor extending the invitation to be here.‚Ä̬† Wiles further thanked the President by calling the impeachment of Trump a ‚ÄúJew coup.‚ÄĚ

Wiles railed that the vaccines for protection against coronavirus are a plot for “global genocide” and virulently¬† opposed vaccination efforts.

In late May 2021, it was reported that Wiles had contracted COVID-19 and had been hospitalized.¬† He said that his wife was “very fatigued,” that his daughter-in-law was hospitalized, and that his grandson and other family members were suffering from coronavirus symptoms. He added that three staff members at TruNews were also ill with the virus.

Sometimes it is difficult to look for a bright side to the attack of the Covid.  With over 650,000 dead in this country and politicians playing with lives for primary votes one wonders where is the justice.  Where is the Karma?

Where is Nemesis,  the goddess who enacts retribution against those who succumb to hubris and arrogance before the gods?

She is here.

That Bat-shit crazy SOB died yesterday- of Covid-19.

Fitting.  Indeed.

 

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The Other 9/11 – From the Archive

Salvador Allende Gossens-.jpg

Salvador Allende
26 June 1908 ‚Äď 11 September 1973

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The disappeared thousands
cry out from hidden graves
on the other nine eleven
we have willfully forgotten

remembering only our own
in white vestments with unclean hands;
no prayers for the tortured
no confession of our sin
no quest for absolution.

For Jara and the others
let us recall our guilt
for on the day I lost my faith
we lost our way
o’er the blanched bones of Salvador Allende.

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In Memoriam

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On Becoming a Theocracy

It is pretty obvious to this non-believer that our nation is becoming more and  more of a theocracy with evangelicals and conservative Catholics imposing their views on the majority through a thoroughly stacked Supreme Court.

Firstly there is not one “out” atheist in our government.¬† If you know one please enlighten me in¬† the comments section.¬† No candidates run as atheists.¬† I’m sure there are non-believers out there but apparently they are all closeted.

While am a non-believer I try to convince no one.¬† I try to live rationally ‚Äď for I believe that this is all there is ‚Äď this time; this moment.

I do not believe we were ‚Äúcreated in the image of God‚ÄĚ along with the rest of the universe notwithstanding that Mormons believe the Garden of Eden is in Missouri.¬† We are animals (as opposed to being plants) sharing most of our DNA with our dog or cat.

I do not believe the world is only five thousand years old or that dinosaur bones were somehow ‚Äúplanted‚ÄĚ where they were found.¬† I do not believe that any religion is literally ‚Äútrue‚ÄĚ notwithstanding that each of the major religions claims to be.¬† I do not believe in a ‚Äúgod‚ÄĚ that needs to be obeyed, worshiped and adored ‚Äď kind of like an emperor¬† of ancient times.

In Europe, 25% of Czechs are openly atheist. Meanwhile religion has had a string of victories lately at the Supreme Court ‚Äď you know ‚Äď you don‚Äôt have to do it if it is a ‚Äúsincerely held‚ÄĚ religious belief.¬† There are so many lately!

Now this is nothing new.¬† All my life there have been 20 somethings singing to Jesus , arms reaching to heaven with the look of the rapture on their faces.¬† It doesn’t bother or me at all.¬† I just shake my head and go about my life.¬† It only becomes troublesome when these folks try to impose their beliefs on everyone else.

When I was a kid I remember the fanatics insisting that our paper money bear the motto “In God We Trust.”¬† ¬†“Under God” was inserted in the Pledge¬† of Allegiance.¬† It was mocked in grocery stores in Brooklyn – “In God We Trust.¬† All Others Pay Cash” signs appeared at cash registers.

Why was it a national issue?¬† Because the believers wanted it done.¬† Period.¬† It wasn’t the idea of non-believers.¬† But hey; I’m easy.¬† put whatever you want on the money.

You all remember Hobby Lobby.  If not, Google it.

In 2014 the Court held that the Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate on private insurers must yield to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) because the mandate was violating the rights of closely held corporations and thereby the religious liberties of the owners of the corporations.

The notion that a corporation can be religious and thereby exempt from certain regulation is not a new concept in the non-profit sector and religious organizations, such as religious schools or other charity organizations.

What was new was the SCOTUS ruling that the exemption applies to¬†for-profit corporations, as well. The companies who brought suit in this case were ‚Äúclosely held corporations‚ÄĚ, in other words, family owned

The family that owned Hobby Lobby, which provided a medical insurance program to its employees didn’t have to include contraception services because contraception¬† was against their¬†religious values.

This opened the door to local wedding cake makers tp refuse to serve gay couples because it was against their religious values.¬† One also hears the argument from these folks that “This is¬† my business; I an serve who I like.”¬† Its the same argument heard during desegregation spouted by ax welding redneck store owners in Georgia..

They wouldn’t serve blacks.¬† Now they won’t serve gays.¬† Next there will be a belief test:¬† we don’t serve atheists.

Here again the Court is siding with the religious.¬† The rest of us,¬† tired of religious mythology,¬† don’t seem to mean squat.

Last week Texas effectively killed Roe 5 Р4 which is exactly what the religious wanted.  By doing nothing the Court rendered its decision.  It could act in a hurry when it wished but it but not not when it counted.  It was silent.

But not so today.

The Supreme Court granted a stay of execution on Wednesday night for a Texas inmate who wants his preacher physically by his side praying for him, “laying on hands” at the time of his lethal injection.¬† Texas execution etiquette doesn’t allow it.

Prison officials rejected his request to have his pastor by his side, praying aloud and touching him when he’s executed. His lawyer argued that this was a violation of his First Amendment rights to practice his religion

So his lawyers took it to the Supremes to stay the execution on the grounds of religious freedom.  The Court immediately granted the request.  Laying on of hands was more important than Choice.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for doing away with capital punishment (the Christians we are talking about aren’t).¬† It is just another illustration of the increasing religious bias of the Court.

The order marks the third time in the past two years that the Supreme Court has halted an execution in Texas “over the state prison system’s rules on how religious advisers can attend to condemned prisoners as they die.”

As these believers gain power we are becoming a theocracy.  They have just about killed Choice.  Next they will come after the abortion pill and ultimately contraception.  Gay marriage is on the list.  The best way to control a woman is to make her into a vessel Рa womb.  Barefoot and pregnant.

School prayer is on the list.  The religious want t everyday for every child.

Once we get to mandatory Sunday service and heresy laws we will have become Taliban light.

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To the Barricades Ladies

Well ladies, the time for you to do battle has come.

Assuming of course you still would like to have a choice; it don’t affect me none.  I’m male.  If you don’t have a choice as to whether or not to have a child, its no skin off my nose.

By now you’ve all read about Texas, the attack on Roe, and the lack of action by SCOTUS.¬† Today South Dakota’s female Governor limited availability of the abortion pill.¬† Roe is virtually dead.¬† The GOP blocked a hearing for Merrick Garland as a replacement for Justice Scalia and then confirmed the bat shit crazy Amy Coney-Barrett as a replacement for Justice Ginsburg. You can read all about her on a post from the archive “On Amy Coney Barrett” dated 9/6/2020.

Back in 2019  the Alabama Senate approved a bill to eliminate abortion at every stage.  The only exception is if your life is in serious jeopardy.  No other exception.  Not even for rape or incest.  Not even if you are raped by your brother.  Nope.

Senator Clyde Chambliss, a Republican and sponsor of the bill in the Senate, defended the omission of those exceptions.

‚ÄúWhen God creates the miracle of life inside a woman‚Äôs womb,‚ÄĚ he said, ‚Äúit is not our place as human beings to extinguish that life.‚Ä̬† So f you’re raped by your brother and get pregnant it’s God’s Will.

More bat-shit crazy.

Last week the Texas legislature and its Trump wannabee Governor approved its own abortion law which makes Roe essentially dead in the state.   It deputizes any citizen to snitch on their neighbor and sue anyone who helps a woman get an abortion.  If you drive her to another state it could cost you $10,000.

The Supremes were requested to block the law until a hearing to  determine if it was constitutional.   They did nothing, rejecting the request for an injunction by a vote of 5 to 4.  But the court’s willingness to allow Texas to functionally outlaw abortions sends a powerful message. The justices have shown that they can respond quickly to emergency applications when the spirit moves them.

The court‚Äôs silence seems to mark a fundamental break with the respect the justices have long shown those on either side of the abortion issue. Saying nothing suggests that there was no emergency ‚ÄĒ and that a massive shift in abortion law in one of the nation‚Äôs largest states is a matter of no particular import. Americans opposed to abortion will celebrate Texas‚Äô law as a crucial step toward the protection of the nation‚Äôs most vulnerable. Supporters of abortion rights mourn¬†that the court has effectively reversed¬†Roe¬†without saying a word. Only the justices themselves seem to think that the matter is not worthy of comment.

Five Justices (all Catholics) have effectively killed Roe without a hearing or  public discussion; without presenting their views in a brief.

All of this is, of course, done in the face of the fact that a significant majority of Americans support Choice.   No matter. The religious fanatics will insist we  all do it their way.  Minority rule.  What ever happened to freedom FROM religion?

Soon states will move to outlaw the abortion pill and eventually get to contraception.

What will happen of  course is that well off Republican women who want an abortion will fly off elsewhere while the young and poor will seek abortion underground.  Nothing new there.  Sherri Finkbein flew off to Sweden.  If you are too young to get the reference, google her.

So ladies, the assault is clearly on and the battle may already be lost.  It is time to take to the barricades.  And you cannot count on Republican women to support you in your efforts.  Unless of course you like wearing a little red hat in Gilead and serving in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.

I‚Äôm with you ladies, having long been a supporter of choice.¬† But again, its no skin off my nose if you lose.¬† I lived through the time when there were no women on Wall Street, bank tellers were all men, bras were burning , mini-skirts in the office.¬† I remember when you couldn‚Äôt buy a condom in Connecticut even if you were married because some religious fanatic believed we should all use the ‚Äúrhythm method‚ÄĚ of birth control.¬† And I remember when a woman didn‚Äôt have the legal right to say ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ to her husband.

And I remember what it was like before the pill with abortion overseas for the well off and the neighborhood underground for the poor.¬† I remember families packing off their high school daughters to Italy to ‚Äústudy‚ÄĚ for a year while living with Aunt Filomina.¬† In Italy they would have their babies and put them up of adoption, then return to high school in Westchester.

And I remember my wife having to make a choice and making it.¬† She had our girls ‚Äď but she had a choice.

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The 7:11 from Middletown – for 9/11

He kissed her quickly on the cheek
shouted out to his two kids
bounded out the door to catch
the 7:11 from Middletown.

‚ÄúBye honey have a good day‚ÄĚ
drove on down the Kings Highway
railroad station parking lot
parking in his usual spot.

Bought a Journal at the paper stand
with a cup of coffee light no sugar
down the track the headlight coming
glad to see the train’s on time.

Climbed aboard and took his seat
regulars all know their place
all around him people chat
read the paper, work or nap

with boredom and civility
just like every other day.
‚Äėspress train only makes two stops
on the way to shining Newark

changing there across the platform
for the train to old New Apple.
Everyone now stand together
crowded crush time to New Apple.

Climbing out from underground
he rides the giant escalator
turning right and right again;
join the rush passed drug store chain

and National Bank of Who Knows Where
flower carts and coffee vendors
through the great revolving doors
transported to the highest floors

when he enters a surprise
Death is sitting in his chair.
“You didn’t know of our appointment?
Death is sorry but these things happen

Did you kiss her on the cheek?
Say goodbye to your two kids?
Have your coffee lite no sugar
on this beautiful September morn?‚ÄĚ

Then fly with me now
for the sky is a color of blue
you’ve never seen
in your lover‚Äôs eyes.‚ÄĚ

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Birthday Week!

This week is my birthday.  I will be 79 years old and officially on my way to 80.  Yikes!  My daughter, their hubbies and my grandson were at my house over the long weekend to celebrate.  We had a great meal at a favorite Italian restaurant and returned home for birthday cake and coffee.

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Pam, Marie and Clark

And a huff, and a puff!

Out on the lanai

Birthday hats!

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Shooting Down the Workers – The Great Railroad Strike – From the Archive

Samuel Jones Tilden - 25th Governor of New York
Samuel J. Tilden ‚Äď 25th Governor of New York
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Not  too many folks know much about the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, put down by Federal troops. It’s one of those now obscure labor disputes of ancient times; useless information which bears no resemblance to modern day America.  Certainly nothing mentioned in American History class in high school.

Au contraire mon frere!

The 1870’s were a period of monumental economic turmoil. And it started with a bank failure, railroad and business bankruptcies, a disputed Presidential election, massive unemployment and then the great railroad strike.

On September 18, 1873 the nation’s largest investment banking firm, Jay Cooke and Company collapsed.

As Cooke was the country’s top investment banker, the principal backer of the Northern Pacific Railroad as well as a prime investor in other railroads, and as the company which had handled most of the government’s Civil War loans, its failure was catastrophic. In response, the economy sputtered and then collapsed.

Shortly after Cooke’s demise, the Federal government slashed spending, the New York Stock Exchanged closed for 10 days, credit dried up, foreclosures and factory closings became common. Of the country’s 364 railroads, 89 went bankrupt, over 18,000 businesses failed between 1873 and 1875. Unemployment reached 14 percent by 1876, while many workers who kept their jobs were employed for a mere six months out of the year. A wage of $1 a day was not uncommon.

This economic cataclysm is now blandly referred to as the Panic of 1873.

With the end of the Civil War the country experienced feverish unregulated growth with the government giving massive land grants and loans to railroad companies and speculators all channeled through Jay Cook and Company. Thus, the massive overbuilding of the nation’s railroads, and the over investment by bankers of depositors’ funds in the railroads laid the foundation for the Panic and the depression that followed.

Sound familiar? Wait. There’s more.

The Presidential election of 1876 resulted in a narrow popular vote victory for Sanuel Tilden, the Democrat over the Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. While Tilden had an electoral college plurality of 184-165 he did not have a majority as required by the U.S. Constitution. He needed 185 votes,  South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana had sent two sets of electors, one pledged to each. There were deals to be made.

The election went to the House which formed a 15 man Comission (5 from the House, 5 from the Senate and 5 Justices) to decide the disputed electoral votes.

The commission via the Southern Electors eventually awarded the Presidency to Hayes in return for a commitment to the Southern electors to remove Federal troops from Southern states.  The vote was 185-184 in favor of Hayes.  This deal was part of a proposal put forth by Thomas A. Scott, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  More about him later.   The election of Hayes and the withdrawal of Federal troops from the south signaled the imposition of Jim Crow and the beginning of another hundred years of black oppression.

The mood of the country grew darker, as the majority who had voted for Tilden felt disenfranchised.

The Great Railroad Strike started in Martinsburg, West Virginia on July 14, 1877 in response to two wage cuts in 6 months by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  Striking workers would not allow any of the stock to roll until this second wage cut was revoked. The Governor sent in state militia units to restore train service, but the soldiers refused to use force against the strikers and the governor called for federal troops.

The strike spead to Maryland. When the Governor called out the Guard, citizens in Baltimore attacked them in the streets as they marched to Camden Yards to put down the strike. The Guard fired on the crowds, killing ten and wounding 25. The mob burned the station, destroyed rolling stock and damaged engines. The President sent the Marines to Baltimore to restore order. (The Orioles baseball stadium stands on the site ‚Äď Camden Yards)

The strike then spread to Pittsburgh where on July 21, state militia bayoneted strikers, killing 20 and wounding 29 others.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Machine Shop - Pittsburgh
The Pennsylvania Railroad Machine Shop ‚Äď Pittsburgh
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Our Thomas A. Scott, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, often considered one of the first robber barons. suggested that the strikers should be given ‚Äúa rifle diet for a few days and see how they like that kind of bread.‚ÄĚ

The burning of Union Station - Pittsburgh (from Harpers Magazine)
The Burning of Union Station ‚Äď Pittsburgh (from Harpers Magazine)
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Rather than quell the uprising however, this action  infuriated the strikers who then forced the militiamen to take refuge in a railroad roundhouse and set fires that razed 39 buildings and destroyed 104 locomotives and over twelve hundred freight and passenger cars.

On July 22, the militiamen mounted an assault on the strikers, shooting their way out of the roundhouse and killing 20 more people on their way out of the city. After over a month of constant rioting and bloodshed, President Hayes sent in federal troops to end the strikes.

The strike’s fury spread to Reading Pennsylvania where 16 strikers were shot by the state militia. The citizenry destroyed the Reading bridge, the railroad’s only link to the West to stop the militia from proceeding to Pittsburgh.

The Burning of the Reading Bridge

On July 24 rail traffic in East St. Louis and Chicago was paralyzed by strikers as coal miners went out on strike in sympathy. The Mayor of Chicago called for 5,000 vigilantes to help restore order and shortly after Federal troops arrived.

On July 25, violence between police and the mob erupted with events reaching a peak the following day. These blood-soaked confrontations between police and enraged strikers occurred at the Halsted Street viaduct and on Canal Street. The headline of the Chicago Sun Times screamed, ‚ÄúTerrors Reign, The Streets of Chicago Given Over to Howling Mobs of Thieves and Cutthroats.‚ÄĚ.

Order was finally restored, with the deaths of nearly 20 men and boys, the wounding of scores more, and the loss of property valued in the millions of dollars.

On July 25, 1000 men and boys, many of them coal miners, marched to the Reading Railroad Depot in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. They looted the depot when the town announced it would only pay them $1/day for emergency public employment. The mayor, who owned coal mines, formed a vigilante group that shot 16 strikers, killing two.

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 began to lose momentum when President Hayes sent federal troops from city to city. These troops suppressed strike after strike, until at last, approximately 45 days after it had started, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 was over.

Who got blamed for the strike?¬† The Illinois Governor ¬†blamed the ‚Äúvagrant and willfully idle‚ÄĚ.

Others, like the editors of the New York World blamed ‚Äúthe hands of men dominated by the devilish spirit of communism‚ÄĚ.¬†¬†¬† Socialists.¬† Immigrants.

In the 1876 election deal, Thomas Scott of the Pennsylvania Railroad, whose ‚Äúmediation‚ÄĚ plan delivered the Southern electoral votes to Hayes got a federal bailout of¬† the Texas and Pacific railroad in which he owned a large stake. While it is not clear if this deal led to the sending of federal troops to the strike-torn areas, the possibility of a quid pro quo arrangement is reasonable.

In the years that followed workers learned they had to organize into unions to obtain rights and work for labor legislation. The railroad workers had no union in 1877 ‚Äď and they were shot down in the streets by their own government. ¬†It was not the first time and it would not be the last. ¬†Do you have any doubt your own government would do the same to you today?

Meanwhile in Newport, Rhode Island the Vanderbilts of the New York Central Railroad dynasty would be building Summer cottages within 15 years . The Breakers and Marble House would be the scene of many a fabulous social season.

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