Friday, December 22, 2017

Stabbing Lopate in the back

Dec. 21, 2017

Just in time for the holidays, WNYC fired Lenny Lopate and Jonathan Swartz, and is still reviewing others that may face the same fate – a risk manager’s nightmare for a super liberal station.
This comes as a knee-jerk reaction by risk managers and liberal elite in a new purge, not overtly political in that most of the men accused nationwide lean towards the liberal side of the social barometer, yet part of a backfired attempt to bring down a president Liberals tried to paint as misogynistic, who won’t be moved by this misguided mistaken superior morality liberals have adopted.
This latest example of national hysteria is part of a human curse as we continue to follow a lemmings-like path off each new exaggerated cliff, a thoughtless mob mentality that strips of us of the better part of civilized behavior liberalism boasts to protect.
Listeners defending Lopate complained about the closed door hearings that made this whole political circus seem like a Stalin-like political purge, which it largely is, and where we are forced to settle for a statement issued by manage justifying why they fired him.
But like the rest of liberal media, WNYC cannot affords to have a disorderly house as they rant and rave about how foul Trump and GOP are, and so instead of reeducation and sensitivity training that a politically-protected Civil Service employee such as a cop would get, these unprotected broadcasts like Lopate get the boot – demonstrating to the world that the liberal left can be just as fascistic as they claim the right is.
I’ve known Lopate as a listener and a member of the WBAI community long before he worked his way onto WNYC. While he was often arrogant, sometimes on the verge of abusive, he was also the most knowledgeable and insightful broadcaster I have even heard. I will miss him around Christmas and Easter when he put a stunning gospel music show.
Yet Lopate never really completely toe the liberal line, speaking his mind, sometimes in harsh terms to an audience lulled into comfortable sleep by other broadcasters at WNYC.  Unlike these others, Lopate may not have been liberal enough. This is not to imply a conspiracy against him. But it clearly provided WNYC with additional motive for firing him rather than providing him with an opportunity at redemption, the station refusing to rally around someone who did not complexly embrace the propaganda the station broadcasts day in and day out.
Independent thinkers like Lopate are dangerous to both sides of the political spectrum in a civil war that pits one American against another, and it is often easier to stab one of your own in the back then to allow someone like Lopate to be used as a propaganda item by the other side, a sad commentary to these morally questionable times in which we live.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A long day's journey into night

December 20, 2017

Still ill.
This has been several weeks in the making, the run up from being rundown to finally when my chest fills with phlegm and the best I can do it cough it up at night and hope Nightquil can keep me asleep long enough to feel strong enough in the morning to work.
This is not one of those mornings, and yet, I work.
Yesterday, I wandered through lower Jersey City to cover two events, and got a chance to walk down two streets that remind me most of growing up in Paterson, where people struggle among vacant lots and run down stores to find hope.
People shout out to each other in the early morning, perhaps acknowledging that they have managed some how to survive another night.
Since most of my time is spent wandering through the wealthier parts of the city, this is a sad reminder of the real struggle people face, things we do not see in the protest or even in the newscasts which focus on the almost unreal antics of national leaders – few of which really represent the reality of people's lives, the hopes and dreams or lack of that makes even cold mornings like yesterday a relief, part of that long journey into night from which people can wake up alive.
I came to cover events in a part of the town where there is little interest to our readers, except in the sense that people here face the same hardships they did when I was a kid, the same racial profiling that makes cars speed up to get through traffic lights in order not to be near groups of men hovering on street corners – jobless, bored, hopeless souls who would like someplace else to go, but have nothing, and share that nothing with each other.
I walked down MLK Drive from near its top to a place near its foot on the south end, passing through these street corner gatherings, a stranger in their strange land, locked in a time warp from when I was a lone white face in housing projects in Paterson. If people noticed me, I didn't get a sense of hostility, as if we all had some reason for being in the same place at the same time, even if we didn't ask what.
In one place, when I was looking for the entrance of a senior building, some of these men gave me instructions, “You knock on the window, brother, until someone sees you.”
In another part of the street, I saw the new government building still unfinished in which the city has great hopes will help transform that part of the city into a thriving hub. It seemed isolated against the backdrop of buildings where windows are covered with plywood, and doors marked with the X of fire department suggesting danger.
I coughed as I walked, which made me fit in with a number of other men, struggling to stay warm, and healthy in these blocks, and others, who asked me for change, knowing I had something jingling in my pockets that might provide them with coffee I clutched in my free hand.
The walk was a lesson in humility, and an understanding of just how far we have not come, and how far we have yet to go before this part of town feels the way other parts of town feel, and while there is a survivor's pride here, life has to be more than just survival. This has to be more than a long day's journey into night.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The unforgiven (Nobody expects the women’s inquisition)

December 15, 2017

They’re coming after Dustin Hoffman now in what appears to be a sick frenzy of persona revenge for possibly sexual slights in the past.
Matt Damon, meanwhile, appears to want to make a distinction between some victims of this inquisition and others, a good point, if misguided, since the purpose of the charade is to make lawyers famous and rich, while shaming people.
The fact is the neo-feminists behind this series of attacks want to change the rules of engagement, in a kind of historic revisionism that often plagues misguided reformers, creating a new error of political correctness no man can possibly live up to short of self-castration, with accusations of real or imagined sexual slights spread by a blood-thirsty media which measures true by internet clicks and could care less about the validity of the charge a long as they get the headlines first.
Bill Cosby has become the model for the new Me, Too, shame by accusation women’s movement in what started out as an attempt to bring down President Donald Trump, and stop the expected move to load the Supreme Court with anti-abortion judges.
While Damon desperately tries to rescue some of the prominent liberal people accused, in truth, the movement has already backfired, creating a kind of new inquisition that tries people in the media for crimes they might or might not have committed – many of whom are prominent Democrats.
Al Franken was driven from office by a savage Democratic attack because he stood in the way of the Democrats to use Me, Too, to target the GOP, but the attacks have gone far beyond politics and appears to be taking the shape of unjustified retribution, creating a terror in which guilty are shamed along with possible innocent, even when some of the events occurred back at a time when social rules were different and we were young and foolish, not completely understanding where the line was between appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior – especially because many of us were raised with by fathers who operated under the mandate that a man went as far as he could until the woman stopped him.
Now those who were players then, question if they will be the next target of this new inquisition, for doing something that was considered acceptable then, but not under the new social order that has since taken over the American consciousness. In some ways, the current social order strongly resembles the second half of Charles Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities,” in which you complied with the new rules or lost your hand for having lived under the old rules before the new rules applied.

We struggle to make sense of something that does not make sense, find reason in the unreasonable, and remake former heroes into villains in an unrelenting and unreasonable surge of attacks, creating a whole new class of unforgiven in a movement destined to unravel the social fabric without any clear idea of what will replace it, and with no mercy for people who might be different today from who they were back when such behavior was more acceptable or at worst, tolerated.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A mad man president?

November 5, 1980

We have a new president.
And a stillness hovers over our campus like a fog, fear stirred up in the overnight that few can completely explain in any reasonable terms.
All the professors except for the few token Republicans warned us of great danger if Ronald Reagan became president, and now Reagan has, and we stroll the campus walkways waiting for the earthquake to come.
Pauly, of course, always the troublemaker liked the idea from the start, if just for the change.
Some more radical characters on campus wanted it, too, but for different reasons, hoping to get back to their radical pasts when they still had relevance and students were less lethargic.
These radicals envision a new campaign similar to the one they waged when Nixon was president, breaking out their own anti-establishment signs and their long-winded speeches they have not been able to use since Nixon resigned.
Only everything feels different now. We're all older, and public attitudes have shifted, fewer young people to fuel the revolution, more of us with much more to lose if we do.
Professors warn us of the potential for war, claiming this will be Reagan's solution for everything, including population control when young men (no women yet) start coming back in body bags.
I don't believe half of what they say, but I'm ten years older than most of the kids here, and they embrace what the professors say, when I'm still skeptical.
I didn't vote for Reagan; I voted for Carter, even though I know Carter is a wimp, and has done as much to build up the military with new tanks, neutron bombs and cruise missiles as ever Reagan could.
I guess maybe some of the spouting professors' fears seeped into me about how Reagan might really be a madman, a new Hitler, who will try to conquer the world.
People in Germany elected Hitler once, too, and plunged us into a world changing war from which we still haven't fully recovered. He killed in the name of God and country, and from what the professors claim, Reagan might do the same.
Will he?
My girlfriend and I sat before the TV last night, listening to Walter give us his commentary, by which time there was little doubt that Reagan would win.
They called it a landslide, a political coup, and if you believe our professors, the world will suffer not just our country.
My girlfriend, who is ten years younger than I am and more susceptible to professors' rhetoric, doesn't didn't didn't smile, going off instead to study her French.
Our politics differ in degree, but not so radically that the result failed to scare me a little, too.
I have already seen the instability of the world, and the viciousness of the left and the right, recalling how the resignation of Nixon six years ago wasn't enough for many of my blood thirsty friends who wanted him crucified rather than merely humiliated.
Our world rattles with instability.
I've learned that politics is not about building anything stable, but about making sure the other party doesn't build anything our party didn't like.
So I keep thinking about the old pier in Atlantic City and the music pier in Ocean City, which people claim they want to rebuild, but never do, and so year by year, both slowly decay – the air full of unfulfilled promises, but very successful political sabotage that leaves us all with less.
None the less, there is change in the air, for both me and the government, one that will turn us both in some new direction.
Last night, the GOP started its comeback after being humiliated under Nixon and Ford, bringing changes that promise to sweep across the country like a strong wind, knocking down unstable structures.
The big question is what they will build in their place.
While the wind here subsides and leaves most of us dazed, we embrace sunlight after the terrible storm of the election, though we still hear the rumble of distant thunder even as the misery of rain has passed.
I recall Carter's face when he conceded, a man on the verge of tears, and how grave he looked before that when exit polls told him his reelection did not look promising.
It was a dirty election as all elections are, filled with misinformation each campaign tries to sneak into the press and so to give lies validity of news when they are still lies – Carter and the Democrats desperate to cling to power they've had for only a short four years, while the GOP was hungry to regain it – Carter looking spent now when he had gleamed so brightly in 76 when he beat Ford.
Back then, I was even more confused than I am now, angry at my boss and how even Democratic capitalists are mean-spirited when someone steps between them and their wealth. I was lonely, then, too, with no girlfriend to comfort me or share my bed, and bitter at a world that seemed incapable of living up to its promises.
We have a new president today, who won by a landslide, and I only hope the professors are wrong, and he does not blow down more than he builds up, and that the other party that hates him so much, doesn't destroy any hope for our future.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Castrating Gillibrands

They hunt us like dogs
Those female wolf packs we call “the Gillibrands” after that sicko senator that once tried to run for president on a man-hating ticket.
Gillibrands don’t want to kill us, they want to cut off our balls.
Any excuse will do.
In my case, my ex-girlfriend Cynthia fingered me in revenge for my dumping her.
To tell you the truth, I don’t really know why Cynthia hates me as much as she does.
But the Gillibrands believe anything any woman tells them about any man.
Now I’m told there are safe places where a man like me can go, but finding them is hard.
So I dress up like a woman until I can.
I make an awfully ugly woman.
But I can’t stomach acting like the ball-less men Cynthia and the Gillibrands tolerate, telling them yes to anything they say, telling them they’re always right about everything, when for the most part they’re not.
These are men who would castrate themselves if asked, and may have already.
Cynthia asked me to act like them, which is one of the reasons I needed to break things off with her.
And why she called the Gillibrands to emasculate me.
Gillibrands can do anything they want to any man for any reason any time a woman points her finger at him.
We all know in this political climate, it doesn’t matter if you did something bad or not, only if some woman said you did.
The longer I go undetected the better chance I have of finding a permanent place of safety.
Still I keep calling Cynthia, hoping she still cares enough to take it back or for me to makeup with her for whatever she believes I did.
When I finally reach Cynthia on the phone, she is still angry, telling me I’ll get what I deserve for dumping, and if she can’t have me the way she wants to have me, then she’ll make sure no woman can.
Now, I’m really scared, knowing nothing short of castration will satisfy her lust.
When I ask some men about a possible safe place they take me for a drag queen or a spy and tell me to get lost or get dead.
Worse, Gillibrands’ spies find out I’m in disguise and start to pursue me.
I do what you’re never supposed to do in that situation, I run like hell.
I’m all mixed up inside, telling myself maybe I’m better off as a eunuch since most women want their men like that.
I wouldn’t need a safe place to hid, and I would get on with my life without fear.
And there would be nothing worse Cynthia could do to me.
Only I refuse to give up my manhood.
I refuse to let Cynthia win or give hysterical man-hating women like the Gillibrands the satisfaction of castrating yet another real man.
But I’m desperate to find a safe place, because if I don’t, I’m better off dead.
When the Gillibrands come to get me, I do the unexpected. I shed the dress and pretend like I’m one of the ball-less men Cynthia was always insisting I become.
I feel smug and superior when they over look me in their search for a real man in a dress.
Then, dressed as a man, I seek out other men, who help me find the safe place I need.
But we all know the Gillibrands will never give up.
We are safe only until the Gillibrands break some real man who will then give us up

And so we live in fear, and I live with the realization that in the end, Cynthia and the Gillibrands have won.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Are Democrats creating a new fascist state?

December 10, 2017

Former president Obama went on TV this week to warn America about the potential for the United States to slip into a fascist state.
This from a man cool did his best to enable America to strengthen its police state in his love affair with secret agencies such as the CIA who spies on other countries secretly kills people we don't like and actively seeks to overthrow governments we oppose.
While on the other hand we now have Homeland Security, the FBI and NSA to keep tabs on what Americans hear do or not do. Democrats last week went nuts trying to defend the FBI which is a history of political abuse from beating up demonstrators and army deserters to overthrowing Jimmy Carter's government in order to allow Ronald Reagan to become president.
The FBI is so politically notorious that defending it seems ludicrous although Democrats are putting a lot of hope in it to begin the process of overthrowing the current government in order to regain power.
As taught in most good political science classes in college, power isn't merely contained in the governmental structure of executive legislature and courts but also outside government in such institutions as universities and media.
If you control media, government and education, you control the country, or at least, control the population.
Over the last decade or so media has clearly been taken over by the left and become basically a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party. This has long been true of the universities which have become propaganda machines for young people especially emerging artists and journalist who was in bring this perverted view into media.
Obama as President took clear control of intelligence organizations that secretly manipulated many things behind the scenes he apparently continues to have a strong influence over those agencies.
The last election was presumed to have gone to a Democrat, continuing the slow takeover of government and other institutions
The Democrats were supposed to win and so could guarantee the next series of appointments to the Supreme Court despite GOP opposition
The GOP, which took control of Congress marginally in the Senate substantially in the House of Representatives blocked Obama from appointing a liberal to the Supreme Court and thus changing the makeup of the Court over the next decade.
The appointment of a conservative justice would not have happened had Clinton won, since she was supposed to continue the take over.
Trump's victory further frustrated Democrat takeover of the Supreme Court and Promises to create a conservative court if Trump remains as president and continues to control the US Senate as is currently the case.
The need for the Democrats to discredit Trump and regain the Senate is paramount to take over the American government and would allow them complete control of every aspect of power including media universities and the US government along with its spy network.
The Democrats are desperate to regain the senate in order to control the Supreme Court in this attempted overthrow of the democratic process and full fascism that Obama predicts
Since it is likely that Democrats will eventually regain the White House they will need a friendly Supreme Court in order to further their agenda.
They need to destroy Trump in order to prevent him from dismantling the intelligence the Democrats control behind the scenes thus you have Democrats defending the FBI and its credibility when in the past groups like ACLU issued statement after statement showing how corrupt the intelligence agencies are and how unaccountable except to powerful leaders like Obama.
So it is clear that Obama is right in one regard we are headed towards fascism unfortunately it is the Democrats who appeared to be doing it luring well-meaning people into doing and saying stupid things.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

School House Fire (from The Villains of the Gallows Tree)

I can smell the smoke days after it happened.
I didn’t see the fire; I wish I had.
I always miss the good things when they happen even thought Uncle Harry says it isn’t good.
He also tells me to stay away from Dave; he just won’t tell me why.
Someone says Dave down by the school when the fire started, is all Harry says.
Nobody sets fire to school on the last day, not even Dave, bitter as he is at being left back in the sixth grade again.
The fire didn’t gut the school the way neighbors say, but could have it the janitor hadn’t seen smoke and called the police.
Newspapers are always betting stuff like that wrong; it’s why I read them; it’s why Harry always curses when he first gets up; he believes what he reads and it pisses him off.
Kids in the neighborhood think Dave did it, too.
What was he doing there if he didn’t start it, my other friend, Ralph asks, then asks me what I think, since I’m Dave’s best friend.
I’m Dave’s only friend. But that doesn’t mean I know what makes him tick; I don’t.
I don’t think he set the fire; that’s something I might do.
Still, I think back to that time on the Parkway bridge when I thought I light the match and sent it down onto the top of the cars driving below.
Now I wonder.
Maybe he ticks like a time bomb.
Maybe getting left back set him off; his younger brother, Dennis, egging him on, since Harry says someone said they saw Dennis down there, too.
My other friends, Ralph and Bill, Bob and Louie, all want me to go ask Dave: “He’ll talk to you,” they say.
“How can I talk to him when he’s in jail?” I say.
They say he’s not. The police took him home
I think if they think he did it why did they take him home.
“Stay away from him,” Harry tells me.
So I have to sneak out of the house when I decide to go, easing out the kitchen door while my uncles are watching V in the living room, out onto the porch and across the yard, knowing I can’t go across the boatyard or down the front stairs without risk that one uncle or another might look out the window and see me.
They’re in a mood; they might call the police.
I climb the rear fence into Mrs. Gunya’s garden and cross the manicured lawn to the flower bed near the First Street fence and climb over that one, too. She used to have a dog that kept people like me from doing this like this. But now she doesn’t. Someone poisoned the dog. I swear it wasn’t me.
I don’t go to Dave’s house first; I go down the hill to where the school is; the fire trucks are gone; so are all the police cars, except one with a bored maybe sleepy cop behind the wheel.
They left plenty of yellow tape for me to look at, duck under, get closer to the part where the fire happened.
To me, fire smells sweet, just the way blood does.
This isn’t sweet; it’s sour like melted plastic or burnt rubber.
I don’t gag; I just hold my breath until I stop feeling like I want to puke.
The fire didn’t burn down the school; it painted some of the windows black, and some of the bricks, and melted the banner that floated between the two wings that celebrates the city’s 50th anniversary.
This is all wrong.
Nobody burns down a school on the last day, even I know better – you wait until school is ready to open that way it stays closed longer. Burn it now, people will spend all summer getting it read and the fire stops meaning anything.
The newspaper made a big deal about it; how kids could have gotten hurt, how the dastardly act might have killed someone if not for the heroic efforts of the janitor who called the cops in time.
The papers get everything wrong; the only one in the school at the time was the janitor; and even he shouldn’t have been there.
The Dave I know I don’t know wouldn’t hurt anybody, no matter how many times they left him back.
Blaming me makes more sense. I don’t think. I do things then regret them, then still do them again like the old lady near the factory lot that called the cops when she saw me cutting through her yard like I did in Mrs. Gunya’s.
I cut through everybody’s yard. It’s no big deal. It’s no reason to call the cops on me. She did; it made me angry. I made Dave come with me when I decided to get even with her, one more mission for the Dynamic Duo, only this time it’s not imaginary, I told him, as we rolled out bicycles out his downstairs doorway to the street, peddling as fast as we could to get to her house where I lit the fuses to the ash cans I set by her door.
It didn’t go off for so long Dave didn’t think it would go off just the way he thought the rocket wouldn’t go off on the Fourth of July, when it did, and he wanted me to go check to see what went wrong, and I told him I had no intention of having the ash cans blow up in my face.
Maybe that’s what Dave wanted; he hated the ash can idea, scared that the old lady might keel over and die from the shock. I told him old ladies like that don’t die like that, someone poisons them like someone did Mrs. Gunya’s dog or runs them over in a car.
She’s so tough the mailman’s more scared of her than he is her dog.
Some people are born like that, too tough for anything to phase them.
All I wanted was to scare her enough for her to know not everybody is scared of her.
So we put the ahs cans inside her front door; she leaves it open so the paper boy won’t leave the paper on the stop where it always gets wet.
Then we ran, hid behind a parked car on the street and waited.
Then we waited some more.
And when we couldn’t wait after that, I refused to go back.
Then I did get scared. I thought she’d call the cops again and the cops would find us and know we wee the ones who put it there, and think like Dave thinks that I tried to kill her.
So we jumped on our bikes again and peddled as fast as we could to get as far from that house as we could, so if the cops caught us, they couldn’t prove we’d come anywhere near the place.
We peddled so hard I thought if anyone died of a heart attack that night, it would be me.
When the bang came, it sounded big – bigger even than when we threw ash cans in Emerald’s Cave to scare the gang there, bigger even than when the rocket demolished the old tree trunk in my back yard on the Fourth of July.
And me being me, I insisted we go back and look, even thought I thought the cops might see us and add two with two and come up with us at the culprits
I just can’t help wanting to see my own handiwork.
And so I dragged Dave back on the street full of cops and fire engineers and someone who must have been the fire chief scratching his head, mumbling about the old lady being right about there being a gas leak, and how lucky she was she wasn’t at home.
And Dave and me, we just stared at the flames consumed the house.
That smoke hadn’t smelled sweet either.
So when I get sick of stair at the blackened windows of the school, I head up to Dave’s house to ask him what’s what.
Since his mother already thinks I get Dave into too much trouble, I know better than to ring the bell. I pick up stones and throw them at the third floor window where I know he and Dennis share a room. I miss twice before I hit glass.
Nobody answers, so I do it again, and again, until somebody does, and this turns out to be Dennis.
“I need to talk to Dave,” I say, trying to sound loud enough without sounding too loud to alert Dave’s mom who is watching TV on the second floor.
“He doesn’t want to talk to you,” Dennis says.
“Why not?”
“Go Away.”
“Nor until I get an answer,” I say, staring at Dennis’s round face in the dim light. He looks a lot like a Jack-o-lantern.
“Go away.”
“I’ll right the bell,” I say, “and ask your mother.”
“Don’t do that!” Dennis squeals “You’ll get him in even more trouble.”
“What do you mean – more trouble?”
“Dave thinks you set the fire at school.”
“Me? Why would I do that?”
“Why do you do anything?” Dennis asks. “Just go away.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fourth of July (from The Villains of the Gallows Tree)

Dave comes over to roll the box with me only because I promise real fireworks later.
He doesn’t like my pretend games of space ship and submarine inside the large box that the outboard motors come in for my uncle’s boat store next door to my house, and neither doe my uncle, Harry, who is upstairs trying to sleep after his second shift job out at the airport.
I make Dave stay.
We both hear the scrap of wood as Harry yanks open the second floor window. I peer out the handhold in the box and see his head sticking out the window upstairs. He can’t see us – except maybe where Dave’s feet stick out one end of the box. But he knows we’re inside and yells for us to stop making such a racket.
I try to wait him out, the way I sometimes do, hoping he’ll get bored or tired and head back to bed. But he’s in a mood, refusing to leave the window until I show myself, so I do, easing out the wide mouth of the box, standing at the slate walk that runs around the house from the front porch along the side to the back porch and then into the boat yard next door, Harry’s head framed by one of the two windows of his bedroom on the boat store side of the house.
Harry looks and sounds old, his eyes wrapped in weariness churned up by annoyance, sweat glistening on his forehead exaggerating the hairline his baldness creates, the frown crinkling his face to make him look much older than he really is.
“How many times do I have to tell you to be quiet?” he asks.
“I’m sorry, Uncle Harry. “I didn’t think the box would make that much noise.”
“It’s not the box; it’s you. I can sleep a wink for you’re your giggling. Why aren’t you at school?”
“It’s Fourth of July,” I tell him.
I want to see it’s a holiday and if we weren’t out of school for the summer, we’d had the day off anyway.
“We’re just playing space ship,” I tell him.”
“Space ships don’t giggle,” Harry says. “Why don’t you place space ship in a park somewhere?”
“We’re gonna,” I say. “Later, Uncle Ed promised to take us to Garret Mountain to watch the fireworks.”
“Fireworks are all we need,” Harry mumbles. He always mumbles when he’s talking to himself. “Who do you have in that box with you?”
“It’s only Big Dave. You know the kid from down the street near the liquor store?”
“Tell him to get out of that damned box. If he gets hurt, I’ll have a hell of a lawsuit on my hands.”
I kick Dave’s big feet sticking out the end of the box. His feet jerk. He does not yet get out until I kick him again harder, then he moves, crawling out on his back, crab-like, so large he must be a lobster. He has to roll over to stand, and once standing, he looks smaller than he is, slumped shoulders, head down, looking the way I should look whenever my uncle scolds me; I never do.
My uncle sighs.
“Okay. Now put the box by the trash where it belongs.”
“Do it!”
When my uncle goes, shutting the window with a definitive creak, Dave asks: “What now?”
“I guess we’re going to have to play with the real rocket ship,” I say.
“You said you wanted to save that for later.”
“Well, now I don’t,” I say.
I’m not good at saving things, good or even bad. I get things over with so I don’t have to think about them all the time, worry over them, whether they will happen or not. If I’m going to get ice cream, I get it, and eat it, and forget it when I’m done. When I’m going to be punished, I want to get the pain over with so I can get on with whatever I need to get on with.
Frankly, I’m surprised I waited as long as I have with the rocket ship. It’s different somehow. It took me a long time to make and I guess I don’t want it all to go up in smoke so quick, or forget about it after it happens.
I don’t tell Dave any of this.
I just tell him to come with me and I head around to the other side of the house, and the cellar door that used to be metal and slanted, a storm door like Dorothy needed before she wasn’t in Kansas any more. Now it is wood and straight, with a door lock I picked open as soon as my grandfather installed it to keep me from getting hurt after I fell out the kitchen window and through the open door to hit my head on the stone steps. He couldn’t fix the stone, so he fixed the door so that the next time I fall out a window I don’t land so hard.
I keep looking for the blood on the stone stairs I know is not there and feel the bump on the back of my head that always is.
Down the steps, then left, into a dark room of stone floors, and walls and brick beams holding up a wooden ceiling, walls lined with trusted and dented metal shelves on which my uncle and my grandfather store everything they think they might need some time; then never do, each thing covered in dust and layers of grease or oil: machine parts, boxes of nails or screws, tiles and brackets, cans of paint so old they won’t open, and when they do the paint has turned to rubber.
A lot of stuff sits on wooden planets along the floor, packed up outboard motor parts, and tools grandpa hasn’t used since he stopped building houses, as covered with dust as the stuff on the shelves, yet somehow more desirable, spirits of some former life grandpa still regrets giving up.
An old washing machine sits in the midst of this, complete with ringing, a gift grandpa bought grandma after moving into the new house after the war, a modern piece of contemporary convenience, out of date a decade later, and replaced by a separate washer and dryer, though grandma continues to hang the clean laundry on a line strung across the back yard from the back porch.
Dave, who has to bow his head to get down the stairs, tells me the cellar stinks, and it does. It stinks of mold and coal and oil, of grease and paint and soil, the dark concrete seeped in it, everything curved in or out, or sunk-in with rain water or the bugs. I can smell the wood, aged now, yet once new, and the sweat of the men who labored to build it, and the sweat of the servants who rushed up and down its stairs, a stair case abandoned by grandpa when his youngest son fell down it, the way I fell out the window, and unable to fix the stone upon which his son landed, he fixed the house so that the staircase ceased to exist, with only the pale newer wood of the repair showing on the ceiling where the staircase once descended.
The boiler, massive and black, sat in back like a very fat cat, mum now with warm weather, filling the space it has always filled, before Grandpa converted it from coal to oil, though in winter, both smells rose through the heat grates, bathed me and the room above.
The coal bin remains, too, like a black tooth along the front wall, through a shoot to a door on the outside, and then a door on the inside, a metal door mostly rusted difficult to open, only nobody opened it except for me, and then forcing the old metal to move, causing bits of rust to flicker off, revealing brighter metal beneath like evidence to my crime.
I open it again, and reach inside, fingers feeling the grit of coal from before my grandfather’s time, filled with memory and despair of all those who dug up the coal and brought it here, black death left to die in a cellar that no longer needed it, then my fingers finding what they needed to find, cool metal against my flesh, sift and long, I drag it out.
“Is that it?” Dave asked; I saw it is.
“It doesn’t look like much,” Dave says.”
“It does to me,” I saw, holding it in one hand, heavy like the metal crucifix I sometimes get to hold in church, smooth and potent from the powder I stuffed into it from my uncle’s shotgun shells, too many to count since this pipe is so long and so heavy it needs a lot of gunpowder for it to get off the ground.
“Are you sure it’s safe?” Dave asks.
It is not safe; it would not be fun if it was; I can’t tell him that. I need him to feel about this the way I feel about it, the potency of it, before we set it off and it all goes up in smoke.
“Come on,” I tell him. “We’ll do it outside.”
So we go out the way we came; Dave bowing his head at the stairs, me not needing to, still looking for the blood I spilled here and still not finding it.
I take the rocket to the stump on the side of the house, a stump that once was a dead tree when my uncles and aunt were my age, old yellowed photographs showing them sitting on its dead branches, a tree that accepted them as if its children, embracing them, until time fractured each and my grandfather cut it down, leaving only the stump for me to explore, and a place for the armies of ants to build colonies and for the decay that created sawdust and memories, leaving, too, a hole on top into which I fit my rocket, before I light the fuse, hissing as it burns, the heavy meal sputtering smoke and the stench of burning, and I stare at it, watching weeks worth of work coming to an end, I think maybe I should stop it, and save it, I just stare, though about when the fuse burns half way, I wake up and shout: “Run!” and we run, back around the porch along the slate path, passed the trash and the large box that is not a real rocket, and to a space under the window here my uncle sleeps, and into the boatyard, a grave yard on this holiday in summer that is not a holiday from school, and down a narrow alley between the board yard and the gas station, where we once hid from the man we hit in the face with peas from our pea shooter, and then we stop, hiding behind the thick metal bodies of old oil drums now filled with green rain water, and we wait.
“It’s not going off,” Dave says.
“Wait,” I say
“Something’s wrong,” Dave says.
Again, I say, “Wait,” in my head seeing the fuse slowly burning down, its scent burning in my nostrils mingling with the smell of oil, coal, grease and my own sweat.
“We ought to go back and see,” Dave says.
Before I can say, “Wait” again, it happens: a sound like the crack of a whip, louder, rumbling, like the sound of the box, louder, like the fall of a branch in a rain storm, louder, like the sound of an earthquake I have never heard, only imagined, louder, like the collapse of something deep inside me, beyond what I even thought I could hear, the fire works we expect, magnified, louder,
Then, it starts to rain, not water, bits of wood, splinters and dust, sweeping down in one gush of breath, not loud now, like a sigh accompanied by a wave of smoke, gray, black, filled not with coal or oil the way the vents send smells into the house on a cold morning, or fire, a burning, wood and earth singed.
Then comes the silence.
Quieter than any – the land having sucked up all sound even the chatter of squirrels and the drone of traffic from the street.
Then comes the creak of a window opening in my uncle’s bedroom
“Run!” I shout, and we run.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Blood on the Tracks (from Villains of the Gallows Tree)

We see a pool of blood and think: someone got murdered.
The track runs in back of old factories nearly the whole way from Paterson to Passaic, isolated, dark, overgrown with weeds in the places the trains don’t reach.
Dave shivers and not from cold, says maybe a train his someone.
Trains don’t haul off the bodies they hit, I say, trying to make my stride match the rail ties, and never can, they always just out of kilter with the stride I take, so I have to hop a little to reach the next or slow down a little.
Dennis, who stages along with us this time, says maybe someone just cut himself on something; broken bottles litter the sides of the tracks, a jewel collection in the rush of train lights when we come here at night.
Too much blood for just a cut, I say. If the person crawled away, he didn’t get far.
Dennis says we should go look for him.
Dave says we should go home.
This is a dance we dance each time we find something bad on the tracks, Dave always wanting to go home or hide under his bed, like the time we saw gang of kids beat up someone we knew from school, or day we heard gunshots, Me and Dennis always go towards trouble, Dave runs away.
Maybe it’s not blood this time, Dave says.
I kneel beside the pool, my face painted red in its reflection – not like the red of the dye we painted that kid once down by the brook. This red smells sweet the way blood does, and feels sticky.
“Don’t touch it!” Dave howls.
Dennis asks if he can touch it too, but Dave grabs his shoulder and says, “Don’t you dare.”
Drips of blood dripped on the rail and down the side of it, and then a smudge of someone else who is not us touching it, maybe the person who bled, who fell here, and then rose again.
“This way,” I say, and follow the trail down the rail, one painful drip after another, not a lot, not often, but stead except where it gets smeared.
Then, we see a food print in the mud, and then more, bent, as if pushing a great weight after a hard fall.
Dave says we need to go back down the tracks and find a cop.
I say a cop will only think we did something wrong.
“What if he’s dead? The cops’ll think we’re in on it if we don’t tell,” Dave says.
I won’t go back, and follow the blood spots to the next smear, and the next, until I find more spears than drops, more of both, not just a pool now, but a stream.
Dennis pants beside me, an excited puppy sniffing out the trail in the dying light.
The tracks grow more dangerous with dark, haunted with voices and lights, sweet scents that are not blood or fire, more exotic, intoxicating, the ghosts of this place filled with intensity I can feel as well as hear.
I almost miss seeing the knife for the dark, glitter a little with the angle of the sinking sun, but it isn’t sun light that makes it look red.
“I’m going back,” Dave says, finally when he sees the knife, too, his shrill voice rising a little too loudly even for me.
I tell him to keep quiet. I tell him we’re not safe. I tell him we need to be careful.
We don’t want our blood in a pool like this guy’s blood is – whoever this guy is and where even he crawled off to.
Our lives swing on a pendulum between two dangerous cities, we drawn from one to the other across the safer ground of the city where we live, a city Dave’s mother desperately sought refuge in, a city rejecting all strangers of her kind, the vagabond gypsies that land like autumn leaves in this pile or that, taking up residences in whatever place they can afford with Dave’s mom pleading with landlords when her son came of age so that they might be on the right side of the boundary so he would not have to go to the wrong school where his face was the wrong color, she convinced his gentle spirit would get crushed in the violence clash of characters who he would meet over there, not tough enough to even toughen up at each beating, finding finally refuge on the lip of the right side where they could watch the violence from the front window of their second and third floor walkup but not be involved in it, with me leading Dave and Dennis to seek out the very violence she sought to protect him from, leading him to this pool of blood on the tracks we walked and he relying on me to lead him back to safety when safety is the last thing I seek.
I hold the knife in my hand feeling the warmth of blood that is no longer there.
In the darkness, howls rise, not of wolves, not of beasts we think of as beasts, yet terrifying still, filling the air with a child, and a lingering sense of hopelessness we all feel, me, Dave, Dennis, and even those who do the howling.
“Do they know we’re here?” Dave asks.
“I don’t know,” I say.
“Can we get back home?” Dennis asks.
“I don’t know,” I say again, knowing how little I know, even not knowing why I come here, and why I come back when I do know I will come across if not pools of blood like this then something equally bad.
“I want to go back – NOW!” Dave says.
I shake my head. Someone is hurt ahead of us, leaving a trail of blood the dark won’t let us see. He maybe dead even. But he may need us to help him. And I tell Dave this.
“We’ll call the cops when we get to the sweet shop,” Dave says. “The cops can help him.”
I shake my head; then stumble on blind, sniffing the sweetness I know is blood, no longer pausing over the places where the man fell; he has fallen too many times for that.
Why is he here? Is he someone we know?
In her madness, my other used to talk about people’s crosses, the burdens they carry on their backs the way Christ carried his cross, that bitter path life sometimes forced them to follow when they seek to go other places, and I wonder, if my footsteps stumble along a path I don’t intend to follow, and I also carry a cross I cannot see.
“I want to go back,” Dave says again.
I ignore him and stumble on.
Dennis agrees with his big brother.
I ignore him, too, sniffing the air, catching the scent of sweetness that is not fire, stronger, more potent, a fresh scene stirring up in me some primitive ability school and life in the city has hidden in me.
“It’s not far now,” I tell them, knowing they are too scared to care, the howling in the night, louder, too, nearer, somewhere ahead, or behind us on the tracks – perhaps both.
We find the feet first, old man’s shoes, thick with mud, curled slight up at the toes, wilting in the heat that has long expired, the man came next, work paints stained with black from the mud along the tracks. The red stains don’t show until we see his chest, and his hand splayed over the region of his heart.
“Is he dead?” Dennis asks, fear and curiosity mingling in his voice.
“I don’t know,” I say, afraid to touch him, my hand clinging to a knife I do know I should not have, yet cannot release.
The man’s pale face shows his age, not homeless or as ancient as I first thought, more like the men I see when I go to fetch my uncle out of Lee’s Tavern on Crooks Avenue, grim face stained with the relentless assault of hard sunlight, a truck driver maybe, or a man working on some loading dock.
Or perhaps a worker in one of the many factories or warehouses that boarder these tracks.
He doesn’t move; he doesn’t breathe. We do all the treating for all of us, heavy, quick breaths we cannot slow down, each needing to get as much air before we like him, can’t take in air at all.
“Now can we go home?” Dave asks.
I nod. He can’t see my nod in the dark and so asks again.
“Yes,” I tell him, hearing the howls that I now know come from one direction, not both, yet in the direction we need to take if we really want to reach home.
There are other ways, of course, long ways, wrong ways, that eventually lead back to where we want to go, ways our footsteps never sought to travel with crosses on our backs we never meant to carry.
And I lead them along one of them, they trusting me once more to get them back from where I’ve lead them in the first place, my cross to bear I guess.
I let the knife drop.
Later, I think about it, about the stain of someone else’s blood left on my fingers, about the finger prints I left on the knife, and how maybe the police will come knocking at my uncles’ door and ask me about the murder.
But I’m not Dave; I lose only a few nights sleep, so like the pool of blood slowing making its way into the earth, the fear subsides, and I move on, down some new path, perhaps a path I do not intend to take, yet a part of some place other than the fearful one I am on.
We don’t talk about the man or the pool of blood. Dave won’t even call the police. We just let it lie, like sleeping downs and making sure when we travel the tracks again we hurry passed the spot where the pool was.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Al Sullivan's Journal: The Russians did it

Al Sullivan's Journal: The Russians did it: The New York Slimes All the news that’s bullshit You have to love The Washington Post. In an attempt to bring down President Dona...

The Russians did it

The New York Slimes

All the news that’s bullshit

You have to love The Washington Post. In an attempt to bring down President Donald Trump on behalf of the Democrats and Hillary Clinton, the once great publication that gave us Watergate has abandoned every once of journalistic ethics in an attempt to relive its glory days.
One theory behind the Kennedy Assassination is that elements of the CIA – peeved about JFK pulling the plug on their attempt to overthrow the Cuban government under Castro – got together with the Mafia – peeved at RFK for coming after them as attorney general. The mob, after all, had helped rig the election for the Democrats by swinging Chicago in JFK’s favor, and they felt betrayed.
This theory holds water largely because of the players involved. It was more or less a successful overthrow of the American Government.
What we’re seeing here is a similar political coup by elements of American Intel still loyal to Obama, who have been feeding The Washington Post questionable bits of information in an attempt to undo the election that allowed Trump to beat Clinton.
This is a Democratic wet dream since without a scandal to do for them what Watergate did in the 1970s Democrats are likely to lose not just the 2018 congressional elections, but also the White House again in 2020.
The fact that the Russian conspiracy claiming the Russians influence the election is a democratic fabrication from the start – helped with Obama appointed Clapper – really is less important than the fact that the only source for most of these Russian stories comes from The Washington Post – which is still trying to get even with Trump for his insulting them on the campaign trail.
CNN, the New York Times and other so called objective news outlets simply repeat whatever questionable information the Post prints, not bothering to check whether there are other sources that might verify this information.
The Post with a clear anti-Trump agenda becomes to sole source of information being fed to it by anti-Trump members of the intel, who are doing the Democrat’s dirty work – no doubt in pathetic loyalty to Obama, who let them get away literally with murder while he was president.
As much as the Post and the Democrats try to steer public opinion into the belief that the Russians influenced the election, the outcome of the Presidential election had almost nothing to do with the Russians, and all to do with the Democrats waging a bad campaign, hoping to win on the backs of liberal voters. Clinton largely assumed blacks, women and Latinos would vote in massive numbers because she and media painting Trump as a racist. These numbers didn’t emerge because Clinton was largely the candidate of elite liberals, not people on the street. She also had a bad opinion of white working class, and these people did turn out – against her.
He cheating against Sanders did play a role in her losing the election. She arrogantly assumed Sanders votes had no place to go as she and media pumped up the anti-trump rhetoric. Many of these voters also stayed home.
This stupid idea that leaked emails about Clinton would push her voters to support Trump makes no sense, but it is a desperate effort to discredit voters who flat out rejected Democrats in the last election. Like Clinton, the Washington Post (along with NPR, CNN, The New York Times and the pathetic New Yorker – have become elitist in their view of who a Democrat is.
The fact that the Washington Post is engaged in overthrowing the government is no big surprise. Their ego has been dented because they only people who actually take the Post seriously are those who already believe what they right, scared politicians and other media – this last the most horrible of all First Amendment issues since media refuses to take the Post to task for gross unethical behavior.

If there is any truth behind Post reports, it will come out in an investigation. But the Post isn’t looking for justice, it is looking for ego gratification, trying to prove it is still relevant even after it has abandoned it journalistic integrity.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How the mighty press has fallen

The New York Slimes

All the news that’s bullshit
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Back in the late 1980s when I started my career in mainstream media (after nearly two decades being involved in underground press,) I went back to college to brush up on my reporting skills and journalistic ethics.
My professor and old school journalist from Rochester turned off the spell-check on our classroom computers, telling us that reporters needed to know how to spell.
While I never completely got the hang of spelling, some of the ethics sank in – which is a lesson as lost to contemporary mainstream journalism as the ability to spell is with me.
Some news organizations are worse than others. National Propaganda Radio makes no pretense at being fair – which explains why President Obama gave them a medal for bushwhacking Nancy Reagan years ago.
Crap News Network is so distorted that it could easily service as one of those trick circus mirrors or a lyric for the Rolling Stones song in which cops are criminals and sinners are saints – almost everything it reports is largely the opposite of what it seems, with its news copy crafted by some low level intern from the National Democratic Party. Diogenes would have burned his lamp out long ago seeking anything honest in their broadcasts.
The Washington Puke is even worse, if only because its publishers are seeking to recover old glories they briefly found while investigating Watergate in the early 1970s. Their whole purpose in life is to search under every rock for some possible Republican scandal they can uncover the way they did in the pace, and so desperate are they, they are not above creating a conspiracy where none exists.
Many people have higher hopes for the New York Slimes, because it’s hype always painted it as “America’s newspaper” when most of us in the alternative press knew just how inaccurate a perception this is, and how opportunistic Slimes has been, much like the recently fired FBI director, who played all sides in an effort to retain a position of power, its editorial content leaning towards whatever power broker that promised to give them clout, a conservative paper in the 1960s when most of us were against the war, and now a proponent for giving President Obama sainthood while giving the GOP a much hotter place to reside in its slanted reporting. While Slimes still prints an occasional brilliant piece from time to time, you often need a magnifying glass to find it and a lot of toilet paper to deal with open prejudice behind its eloquent purples prose that quickly fades into yellow journalism.
Yellow journalism has always been with us. Even Ben Franklin has a touch of hepatitis. But these days, jaundice appears to be epidemic among mainstream media where in the past it was generally on the fringe or the invention of some ego maniac with ambitions to be so powerful he could start a war with a bottle of ink, though even then this was considered a shameful abuse of power in the eyes of his peers.
The big difference is that nearly all of mainstream media wants to become Citizen Kane, and there is nobody left to hold them accountable for their abuses.
President Donald Trump claimed media is biased and unfair.
He’s right. It is. Nearly every news outlet in the county has taken sides in what is largely political theater, creating conspiracies, spreading misinformation or innuendo with no shame or apologies. But it is not up to The President or any elected official to hold media accountable, it is up to media, and we are not doing it.
Press associations are so consumed with protecting the First Amendment they left these outrageous media outlets get away with murder, and still blame cops and others for their blue wall, when media has a wall many times thicker and more dangerous than any Trump could build along the Mexican border.
Part of the problem is the concept of The Fourth Estate, which lets loose on the world brainwashed college kids who have all the clout of elected officials but none of the safeguards, nor any checks and balances except for greedy publishers consumed with internet clicks and equally biased editors who learned to spell but learned nothing about ethics.
The high and low point of contemporary journalism came at the exact same moment in time: Watergate.
Two men along with a host of other brave and dedicated journalists stood up against one of the most oppressive and corrupt regimes in American history, and brought it to its knees, an act unparallel in contemporary journalist history – but one which came with unfortunate consequences, inflating the ego of the Fourth Estate so that we mistakenly believed we had a place on Mount Olympus along with the political gods actually elected by the people. Instead of being guardians and watchers over the public good, we came to assume that we were a political power ourselves, and so as a result of years of inflated ego, we have out of control media outlets such as CNN, The Washington Puke and the New York Slimes all seeing to repeat what honest hardworking journalists accomplished when they did their jobs the way they were supposed to in the 1970s.
Watergate also changed the rules of journalism. The reporters that investigated Nixon used relatively new tools that later – and continue to be today – became abused by reporters and editors with far fewer ethics and far less talent.
What made the Watergate investigation work were the internal rules set by a remarkable publisher and an outstanding editor of the Washington Puke at that time, which were designed to uphold ethical standards and to limit mistakes. While mistakes were made, and innocent people’s careers suffered as collateral damager, on the whole, those reporters performed admirably.
But the Washington Puke has since resorted to all the bad habits typical of yellow journalism, not seeking truth so much as a repeat of its former glory, looking for dirt first, not objectivity.
Worse can be said of Crap National Network which has set itself up as some kind of moral barometer and truth-sayer when it lacks morality or truth or even the basic ethics my old professor expected from the most novice student reporter. It is difficult to know if CNN is deluded or corrupt, but its reporting certainly implies both.
Since National Propaganda Radio has little credibility when it comes to objectivity, I am not surprised or disappointed at its continued bias. Whereas the New York Slimes like the Washington Puke, demonstrates just how far our noble profession has fallen, and since they are both arrogant and unabashed in their prejudice, I can’t see their recovery any time soon – especially because we all know power corrupts and absolute unregulated power corrupts absolutely – because there is nothing for them to be accountable to except a sales chart.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Report from the front:how the press fails us

The New York Slimes

All the news that bullshit

Right wing media is filled with paranoia over how slanted the so-called mainstream media has become – possibly because with outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN slanted their news coverage, Fox can no longer take credit as the “bad boys” of Journalism, and by comparison, Fox even looks and sounds reasonable. This is a remarkable accomplishment that should be mainstream media some comfort since they have ranted and raved for years about how slanted Fox was.
Perhaps we ought to award the mainstream media a Pulitzer Prize for this, except in accomplishing this feat, mainstream media has completed gutted journalistic integrity and violated every possible principle of journalistic ethics.
News reporters working for these organizations should go back to college and get their money back. They obviously learned nothing while at school, except out to use a thesaurus to help manipulate the general public into believing a skewed point of view. Any weekend edition of The New York Times becomes a lesson in how not to be an objective journalist.
You can’t blame NPR or any of its affiliates since they never pretended to be objective, and has also been something of a minor league of news where second rate reporters go to earn a living or washed up mainstream reporters go to die. NPR has been so unobjective over the years, some of its reporters even earned citizenship medals from President Obama for slanting their news to the left – such as the medal awarded to the host of Fresh Air, whose claim to fame was bushwhacking Mrs. Reagan in the 1980s.
NPR hasn’t improved; mainstream media, envious of NPR’s ability to slant stories, has moved to the left as well, largely becoming the propaganda arm for the Democratic Party.
Why is this happening, you might ask?
There are a number of theories, among which is that media has become full of itself, believing its role is not to merely report the news (well or not) but to influence public opinion, elevating itself as the Fourth Estate to a role that historically required an election and oversight, and a balance of power among those who govern.
Media has no oversight. It operates on its own rules. Attack it, and it bands together like a pack of rats, much the way the American Medical Association does anytime anyone criticizes a bad doctor or the way members of a mob family might when one of its own is threatened.
Editors no longer demand objectivity. In fact, they seemed determine to interject personal opinion into news pages, making frequent use of yellow prose that will not-so-subtly force readers to accept as truth their opinions. Any accurate study of a Sunday Times will show this abuse as the purple prose proliferates every section from real estate to entertainment in a non-stop attack on the current administration. Since The New York Times is considered the bible of journalism by many, far lesser news organizations such as CNN and The Washington Post become poster children of outrageous violations of journalistic ethics – partly as a Harpers Magazine article recently noted – the reporters and editors see themselves on social par with the people they are covering – a ludicrous idea at best, and a dangerous one at worst.
Corrupt reporters have always been a fact of life, reporters that are on the take from one party or even the mob (as made clear in the movie The Godfather), but in the past, there were internal checks and balances, responsible editors and publishers, some who still remembered the ethical boundaries that keep the news industry honest.
This is the big change – partly due to the sometimes brilliant and yet clearly flawed reporting that brought down President Nixon in the aftermath of Watergate.
Now, every news agency thinks it has the power to bring down a government it does not like – and so leaps into each edition with both feet.
Even that would not be horrible if it was done innocently and fairly, attacking all leaders regardless of party affiliation.
Some right wing radio hosts believe the real cause of this shift to the left comes from how news organization recruits journalists. New journalists do not learn their craft in the newsroom so much as in a class room, and so some people feel, they get indoctrinated by a largely left corps of left wing professors long before they actually put pen to paper (a lost concept) in a news room.
There may be some truth to this since we see a similar left wing propaganda infecting other graduates such as the proliferation of those with Masters of Fine Arts that parade the world without any real vision of reality and no sense of social purpose other than the one injected into their naïve heads while in the classroom.
But empty-headed artists are far less dangerous than a similar breed of journalist who comes into the newsroom with preconceived notions and no notion of objectivity. This would not be as serious even were the newsrooms occupied with a better breed of editor, whose world experience might temper these misguided newbies. The problem is that editors are of the same ethic-illiterate breed, and publishers – seeking to supply fodder for a particular audience – allow news to be distorted to fit the preconceived opinions of their target audience.
So we get an invasion of gonzo journalists, combined with unethical editors and unscrupulous publishers in a perfect storm of bad journalism – paving the way for a kind of propaganda even Stalin might have envied, unchecked by any other real power, attacking anybody who dares call their journalism unfair.
On top of all this is the idea that media organizations believe it is their duty to take political positions – outside the editorial pages – blurring the line between fact and opinion in an effort to steer the public in a particular direction – checked by nobody, not even journalism organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists who should be but won’t criticize their own or hold them accountable for the gross misconduct that we now see as main stream media news.
And God help anyone who is not a journalist who dares to tell these news dilatants that they are wrong.
Never mess with anybody who buys ink by the barrel.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The best press money can buy

"The difference between burlesque and the newspapers is that the former never pretended to be performing a public service by exposure." -I.F. Stone, 1952

There is no such thing as an objective media. This is a lesson I learned a lot time ago when writing for and being part of the underground media movement.
Any media subject to advertising is automatically biased.
America has the best press you can buy, as long as you can afford to pay for it.
A free press is always an out-of-control press by its very nature, and the theory of having no overseer to regulate it, is that somehow with all the conflicting accounts, the truth emerge.
This, of course, assumes that the audience is intelligent enough to look for alternative opinions and not satisfied with accepting what it wants to hear in the first place.
When a majority of major media agree on anything, you have to be suspicious, especially in an era when nearly all major media is owned and controlled by a few individuals.
Free press stops being free when these individuals decide to take one side over another, and the control that we all so fear might come from government, comes from these puppet masters behind the scenes, who want to direct public opinion down a particular pathway.
This is largely what we are seeing now from major media, an unspoken agreement for an unholy alliance aimed largely at bringing down a government these individuals dislike.
American Media has always been deeply involved with politics a kind of strange dance and which media influences policy and policy reflects media's wishes and wants.
People talk about yellow journalism and when Hearst created his own war that made the United States into an international power.
This is nothing new headlines and propaganda go hand-in-hand.
What makes journalism great over time are those people who are the exception to the rule, a few brave people and organizations that have risen above the muckraking to become truly inspired.
This is why the Washington Post today is such a tragedy because it has -- to quote and Indiana Jones film -- fallen away from the true faith and become just more muck. It has ceased serving a public use and has become an instrument of destruction.
At a time when media is largely controlled by very few the concept of Free Press ceases to exist and what we get our propaganda machines designed to steer public opinion in certain directions.
Trump calls this fake news but in reality it is bad journalism, biased reporting designed to benefit a particular group or ideology. Individual stories may have validity but when you look at the pattern, the constant drumbeat that media like New York Times CNN and the Washington Post gives us, we begin realize there is an agenda in this case it appears that they want to bring down the current government.
Part of this has to do with its own frustration its inability before the election to steer voters into a particular outcome. This failure showed how less influential media has become now that everybody has access to their own media outlets.
I keep thinking I was a scene in The Godfather where the mafia don talked about controlling its own press ie we have people on the payroll.
To Greater extent this is what the Democrats are doing now to use liberal media to make up for what they could not do at the ballot box.
Since no one by the nature of media and journalism actually oversees what media does, we can do just about anything they just about anything and get away with it.
Trump can't challenge media without accusations of censorship. Media even those that are reasonably fair sides with slanted media to defend the concept of Free Press, a concept that is really not a reality
There is no such thing as a free press Just an Illusion
 There are individuals who might fight for objectivity in each newsroom but they are clearly subject to editorial review and in the end management controls the medium and the message

"I am not an editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one." -Mark Twain

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Best Women's Erotica of the Year (volume 2)

I wrote a review of “Best of Women’s Erotica of the Year,” volume 2, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel for the Hudson Reporter last week.
Unfortunately, the review had to be very tame because of the general audience the newspaper serves, and so I could not give an adequate flavor of the stories the book contained, even though I made my own notes after reading each story to reflect what I thought the story was about. I intended to use them for a blog essay, and may still. I’m including a handful of these short pieces along with a link to the news review so you might get a better idea of what the book is actually about.

World's End

She came alone, naked, thinking no one might see her.
World's End, a last survivor, she thought and then saw the two men fishing, wondering at what they were about before realizing she needed to cover up since at the end of the world can be as dangerous as when all that went on as usual in the world before.
This story conveyed in print by someone who seems to want to imagine a world without the usual rules, where love doesn't mean shackles, where people can make new rules or live without any as long as all involved agree
And so she makes love to one then, the other and then both at the same time, feeling them together inside her in a way she could not imagine, somehow giving birth to a new world in which she can, they can, explore and she/they mingling limbs and seed, touching and being touched, finding out what it means to go beyond the borders of the Old World by leaping off its edge into one brand new.


He plays her like he might his instrument, drawing out of her music even she does not know she has inside, each touch filled with harmony and pain and intensity of lust
Alone in a crowd at first to watch him on stage and later a private performance in which she is the instrument into which he injects himself bow and all and she taking it all in stir-fried magnified Turtle soup boiled up and served still in its shell also out of it, her pain also her pleasure, her need met and compounded like interest in a bank book she has come to collect.
He knows how to play her and she lets him, his fingers on her key and the key she keeps hidden deep, all the notes played hot but never sour, each reverberating elsewhere in her like harmony or echo or part of some instrument she alone knows of yet which needs him to set loose, a moist duet she aches four, hearing it all with every part of her not just her ears, his mouth blowing into her, his flute stirring up a haunting sense of something beyond hearing felt instead, powerful and complete.

Northern lights

Remote cold, she retreats from a warm place to escape herself and the baggage of a relationship that no longer works in her life, asking the woman she meets in the mist of the snow and the Northern Lights how she keeps romance together with her man for more than two decades and,  after hearing this woman make love with a man in the kitchen on the counter top the night before, is told she has no hold and so does not strangle love the way others might in other relationships and so she the Sun Queen makes love with the same man and then makes plans to become an ice queen instead, choosing to move to a place where she might continue to share this, stretching the limits of traditional romance, loving by letting go, preserving by not clinging, this need to have and have not, to love but not so much as to strangle the love itself, permanence that is not permanent or rooted in concrete.

On his knees

She is surprised when he asks to marry her; she a lady in a society where people do not cross class lines and he someone she hired to lug her gear as they go in search of artifacts, treasures in remote places. He says he needs the money when he doesn't and she wants someone to serve her and so needs this more than she apparently needs love, to maintain control, needing a man who will do what she wants him to do and rather than imposing his idea of Love or passion on her, this last lingering on the tip of his tongue and in the passion that he brings into her at her insistence and also as a surprise, she needing control of each aspect even as she spins out of control inside herself, his touch setting free something she did not know as caged and though she keeps him down on his knees she is the one set free and then once free can agree at last to what he asked in the first place, though they're both know who is the real master and how he must willingly continue to serve.


What does it mean to surrender completely, to trust enough to let someone do whatever they want whatever they think you need, to give pleasure or withhold it, to lead you places you may not go on your own, you need not speak to give in and perhaps such lessons can be best given with a touch,  the soft caress, the kiss, the movement in the moist corners of your world, stirring up fire and then letting it linger, unabated, with you craving for the touch or kiss or more, trusting that the person to whom you've given all, will give you what you ache for, what you beg for, the idea that in surrendering you become free left with no need to choose only to obey, no need to think, only to accept and in accepting, feel drawn in, doing what you are asked to do and realizing in this you like it and feel it and sense the intensity of pleasure you would not have felt if left to choose for yourself, surrendering, trusting, feeling, and easing that ache you never knew existed until it is gone.


You always wanted them to do what they eventually do to you, they taking charge after you've been in charge for so long, this taboo lingering in the air even after it ceases to make sense, you've always lusted after what youth gives them and they know it and they invite you back after they’ve ceased being under your control, where they might finally give you what you want and what you need, two of them, one after the other, or both at the same time, each touching you in ways you always needed to be touched, yet could not ask for and do not now, both around you like a duality you don't completely understand, unable to tell whose touch is whose when it no longer matters as if the two of them are one  but can provide you with double the pleasure inside and out, moving over and round you a serpent plunging into the depths of you, so deep you do not know where or when or if it will come out and do not care and want it never to stop yet when it does you feel satisfied in a way you only imagine, they are perfect gift to the teacher they finally had.


He doesn't lift a finger; she does all the work, he watching remotely, the perfect voyeur, while she roams strange rooms naked, seeking something in places like this even she doesn't completely understand, some sense of satisfaction she can't find fully clothed in the world beyond such walls, who she is and what she wants and how maybe to get these, giving herself the pleasure she knows she deserves and in a shock giving him pleasure, too as he stares at some screen somewhere, watching, then speaking to her, asking her to do what she does so he can see it and this relationship somehow stirring up passion, crackling like static on the radio when lightning flickers and lights dim and she hears distant voices of people  she will never know and yet somehow in touching herself with him watching she knows him and herself.

Serious faces

Some things are worth waiting for especially when it comes to an office romance she knows she shouldn't have, yet craves for, and gets at the moment when she most needs the comfort, sharing more than love making as she and he create a parting memory in a private personal party amid an office party where all others are oblivious to what they do, clicking off photographs in an old style photo booth, the way teenage lovers do, trying desperately to remain serious and stern and like teenage lovers, they can't keep it up, this serving as foreplay to that final moment when they both come to what was inevitable from the start, not love certainly, but romance, absolutely intense, knowing each other literally from the inside, out no cigarette ending moment just a heavy sigh.


Sometimes an old line is the best line when you really mean it, and when you have the look to make up for it, and she hears him and knows he doesn't mean a drink when he asked if she tastes as good as she looks and is no cannibal in the ordinary sense, and something stirs her to life, needing to be tasted, this line like old wine, perhaps even better with age, making her ache and wet, making her need to be sipped, spread hipped to let him in, just a taste and then another, so hot as to live up to her name, circling it all to make it all happen in one sitting, drunk on it, aching for him to come again so she could be, too, this brief encounter, parked in a parking lot not a Lover's Lane, burning, wanting more, this old line like fine wine, making her feel as if she has served him a full meal, just to taste, just a sip of the sap that flows out from her, she does taste as good as she looks maybe better, good enough for him to want to come again, anytime, she says.


When you wake to find a slice of lime on your pillow, you remember his mouth tasting you in ways you only imagined, his body pressing into you in ways you can still feel, the stranger you met on this trip you didn't expect to meet, needing to meet, feeling yourself before you are brave enough to go to him and demand he take you and aching when he does, this contrasted to the loneliness you felt before and how puzzled at his thinking lime makes pure what may not be pure and you wonder if the lime works when he goes to taste those parts of you you claim as unclean then he bangs you like a bell until you yell, this brief meeting in a place you never expected to meet anyone, your need lost in this taste of lime where his mouth goes, and then other parts going to that place in you of other need “please, please me” the Beatles once sang and he does, lime making everything pure, lime making it alright and you waking to a slice on the pillow beside you, a reminder of what was and a promise of what might be again.