L’Cha’im y Salud

 

The Moocher has way too much time on his unemployed hands as many of you know by now and when I say “many” of you I think you know what I mean ( and I am delighted that someone may). While constantly amazed and annoyed and just downright angry at how this ACA has played out through its nascent history; especially filtered through the raciallybrushed Hate of the Obama Presidency. In reaching for a new level of political snarkiness I was thinking of re-defining the word HOPHEAD to mean Hater of Obama Presidency but perhaps we shall leave it where it lay. In any event I for one (of millions?) still cannot access that damn “exchange site” either the federal one or in my home state of New York. There is something so screwy about all of this – from the “plan” itself to its implementation. Its a bequeathal to the insurance bosses via the notoriously reactionary Heritage Foundation:

Assuring Affordable Health Care For All Americans by Stuart M. Butler, Heritage Foundation October 1, 1989

2) Mandate all households to obtain adequate insurance. Many states now require passengers in automobiles to wear seatbelts for their own protection. Many others require anybody driving a car to have li a bility insurance. But neither the federal government nor any state requires all households to protect themselves from the potentially catastrophic costs of a serious accident or illness. Under the Heritage plan, there would be such a requirement. This man d ate is based on two important principles. First, that health care protection is a responsibility of individuals, not businesses. Thus to the extent that anybody should be required to provide coverage to a family, the household mandate assumes that it is t h e family that carries the first responsibility. Second, it assumes that there is an implicit contract between households and society, based on the notion that health insurance is not like other forms of insurance protection. If a young man wrecks his Pors c he and has not had the foresight to obtain insurance, we may commiserate but society feels no obligation to repair his car. But health care is different. If a man is struck down by a heart attack in the street, Americans will care for him whether or not h e has insurance. If we find that he has spent his money on other things rather than insurance, we may be angry but we will not deny him services – even if that means more prudent citizens end up paying the tab. A mandate on individuals recognizes this impl i cit contract. Society does feel a moral obligation to insure that its citizens do not suffer from the unavailability of health care. But on the other hand, each household has the obligation, to the extent it is able, to avoid placing demands on society by protecting itself. 3) Provide help to those who cannot afford protection.

that somehow President Obama found useful enough to be the crux of his big health hooha – and judging (thats all we really do here) from how he continuously thought the Republicans would respond to whatever he was doing it probably looked pretty good if you discarded how a majority of Americans who bothered to think about this at all really felt about how healthcare in the richest nation on earth should be because afterall it was the conservatives’ plan and it was working as “Romneycare” in Massachusetts and yet..and still with no so-called bipartisan support and with a blanket malice on the part of the Republicans and their corporate sponsors it becomes law with an added nod from the Supreme Court- which upon further consideration is no nod at all coming from such an unabled body of third rate -with limited exception- political stooges and a proud and fitting(?) cornerstone to President Obama’s legacy and now they had almost 3! years to set this up properly, 3 years to figure and write code and make it all so accessible, the crowning achievement of his presidency and its like being back in 6th grade and your term paper on the history of England is due tomorrow and you haven’t even started. Okay, there was always going to be problems with something so complex (not really) and massive but if I didn’t know any better I would say the incompetence and just the poor execution of this “rolling out” was planned- It would make a whole lot of sense if it were shown that this debacle was indeed deliberate because the alternative is too painful to consider.

With the entire Republican Party amassed against it -led by among many its nominal leader Rush, I mean Reince yourPriebus why couldn’t the Obama Administration seek the advise and know how of such as say a Jeff Bezos and others who have lots of experience with “millions clicking every minute.” The entire U.S. economy seems dependent now on the CLICK and SCAN -those who do and those who actually makes things CLICK and SCAN not to be confused with a well-known household cleaner that was originally invented by

bez0-002a

 

Reince_Priebus-216x300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two Michigan housewives working away in THEIR garage with different glues and sodium bi-products back in the early years of the Great Depression; sold their product to a big company for a million or so -usual American success tale; the name, of course, came under some social/political protest  in latter years and really hasn’t been seen on TV for a while – unlike that Washington NFL football team- but nevertheless still abides and is now part of an even bigger multi-national, now where was I? Too many distractions- which may or may not have played a role in the rollout. I’ve been stuck at the tax and income status part of the sign-up application. The pinwheel just won’t stop. I had ventured a phone call earlier- left my info with the mechanical voice on the other end and have as yet not received a call back within a day as stated. Still is that a reason to repeal? Perhaps I should just have left it with the NSA – just picked up the phone and whispered to the void. What were those Big Brother TV screens called again? Remember, the “2-way” -you had to watch. I keep picturing the entire Republican delegation screaming at “Obamacare” during the two-minute Hate. Distractions. I wanted to follow through for this “distraction” you are currently reading with how the Republicans try their best to misinform and out right lie about the ACA and of course the laugh is on them as the Democrats and Obama’s “Team” are doing pretty well in lousing things up anyway without the Republicans harping on any and every-thing for the sake of political points and their salvation. Its been done afore- Fox news “does” a story and one of the stations will refute it line by lying line but still when the U.S. Congress in the form of a Republican representative sets out to misinform and lie to the American public without any internal protest or outrage by any other Congressperson you have to wonder about the conversations that do transpire in those hallowed and harrowing halls of the people. How this mendacity is soon awash from coast to coast is no small wonder as the Republican propaganda and Hate machine is relentless – you know the drill, keep repeating the same lie over and over until it becomes part of everyone’s thinking and if everyone knows then it must be true because I forgot what was proposed in the first place and can’t remember any alternative reality. Fox said so, John Boehner says so, Eric Cantor says so, Mitch McConnell says so so and Rush said so so. And out in the middle of this land Reps are hearing from their constituents and in their enthusiastic glee to show their “distinguished” colleagues what a certain disaster the ACA is they air out their constituents concerns even when they are asked not to make it public which is how I came across the following in the Congressional Record – In thinking I would make like a real reporter I contacted the person whom the Rep had mentioned to find out more about her and her family’s attempt at obtaining healthcare. Our brief epistolary follows:

Dear Mrs K.

I hope you won’t mind this intrusion into your privacy but as I came across your name referenced by Rep. W in the Congressional Record and your letter to her I am wondering if you could help out this free-lance writer chronicling the advent of “Obamacare” on individuals like yourself. If I may ask, why did your company stop paying its share of your health coverage when they have been given at least a year’s grace to comply with the law’s mandates; what exactly were you and your husband covered for under your old plan and why wasn’t it explained that if you are to seek out the market place plans there are various options of cost savings and a formula based on how much you earn and considering that you and your husband have been cut $30,000 in income these past few years surely you must be able to qualify for some big savings-according to the law, or else you two must earn a small fortune between you checking people’s credit lines-; finally who do you really blame for this instance- your employer? Obama? the insurance company? Were you and your husband satisfied with your employer’s explanation? I do hope you both find a way out of this terrible quandary and I pray that things will work out for you both. In the meantime anything you can add will be much appreciated and please, if you agree and only that, you will allow me to attribute any quotes and data you would be so kind to send .

Sincerely,

Sam Enderby
www.joyfulmoocher.com

To Me
Nov 19 at 2:10 PM


Good afternoon,

Please take this as OFFICIAL notice that you do NOT have authorization to use ANY information you have obtained about me, my family or my situation in any way or format. This information was NOT public and I am not sure how you obtained any of this information but it was in a private e-mail between myself and Rep W’s office. This was NOT in the congressional records or speech which would have made it public. Please do not contact me further on this or any other issue. I do not appreciate your intrusion into an e-mail conversation I had with Rep W’s office and I had other conversations after that information that you obviously did not have that information with clarifications and other updates on our situation.

I do not appreciate your intrusion into my personal and private information and please do not contact me again.

Thank you for your cooperation in advance.

K

Me
To K
Today at 12:51 PM

Congressional Record

113th Congress (2013-2014)
THIS SEARCH THIS DOCUMENT THIS CR ISSUE GO TO

OBAMACARE–HURTING THE HARDWORKING MIDDLE CLASS — (Extensions of Remarks – November 13, 2013)
[Page: E1644]
GPO’s PDF

SPEECH OF
HON. W
OF MISSOURI
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2013
Mrs. W. Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks, I have received far too many heartbreaking stories from the people of the 2nd District about how government-run healthcare is impacting their lives.
Today, I rise to put a face on the horrors of ObamaCare and tell K’s story who hail from Missouri.
This is their story in their own words.
We, the working middle class, are the ones who are being hurt by this law.
We struggle every day to make ends meet.
But now, because of Obamacare, we received a notice from the insurance company that the plan we currently pay for does not meet the guidelines and we will no longer be covered on January 1st, 2014.
“Now we have to find an extra $500 to $600 minimum per month to cover the insurance that is comparable to what we had before. I have no idea how we will afford that kind of money and pay our bills and mortgage each month “
This is just one of the millions of examples of real people being hurt by ObamaCare.
This story is from K, a Senior Underwriter at an insurance company in Saint Louis, MO:
We, the working middle class, are the ones who are being hurt by this law.
We struggle every day to make ends meet. The one bright spot is that the middle sized family owned company that my husband works for paid 100% of both of our health care and dental premiums on a very good PPO plan. That was a huge benefit and a saving grace.
But now, because of Obamacare, we have received notice from the insurance company that the plan that they currently pay for does not meet the marketplace guidelines and we will no longer be covered effective on January 1st, 2014. They are not paying anything towards our insurance at all.
So now we will be trying to scramble to come up with an extra $500-$600 min per month to cover the insurance that is comparable to the plan that we had. I have medical issues so I have quite a few doctor visits and bills each year so I am not cheap to cover so it may even be more than that.
Thanks for your time and again thanks for standing up for us. Someone needs to help us before we all go bankrupt and lose everything we have worked so hard to build up during our lifetimes.

From: K
Received: 10/27/13
Dear A, I comes as quite a shock to me on how much of an impact Obamacare is having on myself and the country as a whole. Let alone the fact that I feel it was NEVER really explained very well to the American people let alone very well thought out by law makers when this plan was put together. This will further hurt our economy and drive it back possibly to the brink of another recession.
My husband had already taken over $10,000/ year cut in pay a couple years ago and I at the same time took over a $20 000 cut in pay, but we looked at it that at least we still had jobs. We struggle every day to make ends meet. The one bight spot is that the middle size family owned company that my husband works for paid 100% of both of our health care and dental premiums on a very good PPO plan. That was a huge benefit and a saving grace.
But now due to Obamacare we have received notice from the insurance company that the plan that they currently pay for does not meet the “market place” guidelines and we will no longer be covered effective on January 1st, 2014. My husband approached his employer and the comment that he received is that we will probably have to go out to the market place and get insurance from there because they don’t feel that they will be able to afford the insurance that is now being required by the new “LAW”. So along with that they are NOT paying anything towards our insurance AT ALL. So this will now along with cuts in pay, we will be trying to scramble to come up with probably around $500-$600 min per month to cover the insurance that is comparable to the plan that we had. I have medical issues so I do have quite a few Doctor visits and bills each year so I am not cheap to cover so it may even be more than that.
I have no idea how we will be able to afford that kind of money each month and pay the mortgage and other bills that we have let alone be punished with a penalty if we do not have insurance. That is ridiculous. You should have been able to put together a plan that would BENEFIT the people not PENALIZE the majority of them.
If the “PLAN” is that good why did they have to make it a law for everyone to participate. If it was done correctly people would WANT to participate. THAT is the “PLAN” that they should have put into place.
Thanks for your time and again thanks for standing up for us. Someone needs to help us before we all go bankrupt and lose everything we have worked so hard to build up during our lifetimes.
K
Senior Underwriter,

Dear K,
Now what was that about NOT being in the Congressional Record?

 

I have deleted names and places because I told my correspondent I would. Her Republican rep, who she refers to by first name, never gave her the courtesy and never offered a courtesy to the rest of the country’s citizens by promulgating the BIG Lie about “Obamacare”. Whatever its limitation and shortcomings and whatever its lamentable origins it is a fullout attempt to meet the healthcare needs of our entire nation by at least a universal inclusionary platform – and a bow to proponents of so-called free market systems and corporatism- and it is more than telling that instead of making this a truely BI-partisan effort the Republicans- enmasse-chose to deny the American people at least a chance, a beginning of something that by all lights should not be a privilege but a right – and for those of us who supported the so named public option- a free right, free in the sense of the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and by life we mean health- but they elected to fight against it every lick of the way because – well, in my narrowheaded thinking- they don’t like Obama; they don’t like the idea of a Black man as President and have acted that way ever since he took office. You would be hard pressed to show me otherwise. Besides they are on record publicly. K sent me back a note – apologetic in its way- saying to effect that she had no idea that her Rep had put her entire correspondence and private stuff in the very public Congressional Record after she was assured that it would be just between them. I would have written back but felt inhibited and I thought that what I wanted to ask would have sounded-well snarky in a word. I would have asked her if she planned on voting for her Rep in the next election. I then would have asked her if she would have asked-for me- why instead of spreading lies and misinformation like the rest of her (whole) party not at the very least get together with whomever-Obama say and his “health-team” and see how you can make this better- not destroy it. What was the Republican healthplan anyway? Answer: its “Obamacare”.

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

Of course, Mike said it better:

The Obamacare We Deserve

 

 

 

By MICHAEL MOORE

Published: December 31, 2013
  • TODAY marks the beginning of health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s new insurance exchanges, for which two million Americans have signed up. Now that the individual mandate is officially here, let me begin with an admission: Obamacare is awful.

That is the dirty little secret many liberals have avoided saying out loud for fear of aiding the president’s enemies, at a time when the ideal of universal health care needed all the support it could get. Unfortunately, this meant that instead of blaming companies like Novartis, which charges leukemia patients $90,000 annually for the drug Gleevec, or health insurance chief executives like Stephen Hemsley of UnitedHealth Group, who made nearly $102 million in 2009, for the sky-high price of American health care, the president’s Democratic supporters bought into the myth that it was all those people going to get free colonoscopies and chemotherapy for the fun of it.

I believe Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could — is a result of one fatal flaw: The Affordable Care Act is a pro-insurance-industry plan implemented by a president who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go. When right-wing critics “expose” the fact that President Obama endorsed a single-payer system before 2004, they’re actually telling the truth.

What we now call Obamacare was conceived at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, and birthed in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, then the governor. The president took Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions. In effect, the president was simply trying to put lipstick on the dog in the carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. And we knew it.

By 2017, we will be funneling over $100 billion annually to private insurance companies. You can be sure they’ll use some of that to try to privatize Medicare.

For many people, the “affordable” part of the Affordable Care Act risks being a cruel joke. The cheapest plan available to a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year in Hartford, Conn., will cost $11,800 in annual premiums. And their deductible will be $12,600. If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year. (Pre-Obamacare, they could have bought insurance that was cheaper but much worse, potentially with unlimited out-of-pocket costs.)

And yet — I would be remiss if I didn’t say this — Obamacare is a godsend. My friend Donna Smith, who was forced to move into her daughter’s spare room at age 52 because health problems bankrupted her and her husband, Larry, now has cancer again. As she undergoes treatment, at least she won’t be in terror of losing coverage and becoming uninsurable. Under Obamacare, her premium has been cut in half, to $456 per month.

Let’s not take a victory lap yet, but build on what there is to get what we deserve: universal quality health care.

Those who live in red states need the benefit of Medicaid expansion. It may have seemed like smart politics in the short term for Republican governors to grab the opportunity offered by the Supreme Court rulings that made Medicaid expansion optional for states, but it was long-term stupid: If those 20 states hold out, they will eventually lose an estimated total of $20 billion in federal funds per year — money that would be going to hospitals and treatment.

In blue states, let’s lobby for a public option on the insurance exchange — a health plan run by the state government, rather than a private insurer. In Massachusetts, State Senator James B. Eldridge is trying to pass a law that would set one up. Some counties in California are also trying it. Montana came up with another creative solution. Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat who just completed two terms, set up several health clinics to treat state workers, with no co-pays and no deductibles. The doctors there are salaried employees of the state of Montana; their only goal is their patients’ health. (If this sounds too much like big government to you, you might like to know that Google, Cisco and Pepsi do exactly the same.)

All eyes are on Vermont’s plan for a single-payer system, starting in 2017. If it flies, it will change everything, with many states sure to follow suit by setting up their own versions. That’s why corporate money will soon flood into Vermont to crush it. The legislators who’ll go to the mat for this will need all the support they can get: If you live east of the Mississippi, look up the bus schedule to Montpelier.

So let’s get started. Obamacare can’t be fixed by its namesake. It’s up to us to make it happen.

Michael Moore is a documentary filmmaker whose 2007 film “Sicko” examined the American health care industry.

TAVOLO PER UNO?

 

Three billion blogs out here and you stumble into mine. Well I thought I had a good one a couple of days ago but as is the case I had it all written out in my head at around 4 in the morning

I can't blog without wearing my fluffy shirt

I can’t blog without wearing my fluffy shirt

and when I arose I couldn’t remember quite what my great idea was let alone where the hell I put my socks or perhaps I should give Rand Paul a call ( a fellow moocher) and anyway what does it matter we ain’t saving the world here and we certainly ain’t paying the rent. I get waylaid; distracted, mired in the swampy suck of self-indulgence to borrow a phrase not from Rand the Scamp but this from Professor Simon Schama who has a fine way with words all his own. In any case what had me kicking off the blanket and pulling out the sheets and just giving my poor wife fits -was the thought that this is the best we can do. In a related matter I never thought this “Auto-Blog” would amount too much and even confessing to ulterior efforts to gain a nickel from this fell to ruin as I have once again proved to no one in particular that I am no capitalist but just a poor whore as witness the following:

Dear sam enderby, You are receiving this email because your Commission Junction publisher account has not generated any valid commissions during the last five months. Commission Junction is committed to maintaining a dynamic and productive network. Consequently, per the Publisher Service Agreement, we regularly deactivate accounts that are not actively earning commissions and do not have a sufficient balance amount. Your account has been deemed inactive and is scheduled to begin the dormancy process in the next 30 days. What that means is that beginning 30 days from now, your account will begin accruing a monthly dormant account fee against any balance that currently exists in the account. Once the account has reached a zero balance, the account will be deactivated. This fee only applies to dormant accounts that currently show a balance; if your account currently has a zero balance, no fees will be assessed and your account will be deactivated immediately

The Roman Ghetto

The Roman Ghetto

following the next 30 days of inactivity. 

There was this idea to sell stuff along with my nutty musings – you know everytime someone clicks and buys or inquires or just browses you get a wee percentage of something just for advertising that something on your site – I tried it with some general plumbing number tying it in to recent NSA concern about “leaks”- get it?- but no one clicked so they cancelled. It was my only effort to make something of myself AND you have to be accepted, OKed as I say, depending on the product and the appropriateness of your site; I mean who doesn’t need a reasonably priced plumber? Well so much for the business of publishing. No one will ever accuse me of selling out  (Actually, I think I did long ago). Speaking of which, I have recently been accumulating dozens of new subscribers – remember its free, kids- everybody and anybody is welcomed here. Unfortunately I think most if not ALL of you are SPAM. That was another thing I sort of let lapse. You see, there was this anti-spam program I could no longer afford to use so I let it go and now I’m attracting these innocent enough sounding subscribers with the weird hotmail addresses. I’ve even sent out some personal e-mails to these “people” usually starting “If you’re a real person please write back and say you are.” So far I’m about as successful as I was with my advertising program. Either that or most don’t understand English. For a long spell I swear I was getting most of my subscribers from Poland and points east. Serves me right I guess. This whole blog-schmog thing is a most solitary exercise for me. I think I am just pecking away here trying to remember what a subject and predicate is (are?). Actually I should refrain from those Polish references as I recently read that Poland is considered one of the top countries in its public education- we on the other hand, in a word-suck. I was hoping my “Twitter” account would attract some interesting people to connect with and I of course would introduce them to the “Joyful Moocher” and I could then look forward to some smart criticism and partake in some repartee and maybe start an actual dialogue with readers who are bloggers/writers and so forth but so far its just those subscribers from somewhere off the beaten googlemap. Talk about an indulgence: I have perused the streets of Paris and Rome and, yes, even Oswiecim, without having left the comfort of my bedroom-thanks to google Maps. The Brontes would be envious. While “in Rome” I visited the old Jewish quarter

The street Via Portico d'Ottavia (Octavia's Porch street) is still the centre of Jewish life in Rome. Initially built in 146 BCE, it was entirely renovated by Augustus, and dedicated to his sister Octavia. It was a small forum in its own right, with Greek and Latin libraries, halls for music and public meetings, and with precious works of art.  Because of its proximity to the river, the area also hosted the fish market. Fish was a most desired food, and fishermen had to pay high rents to the noble families owning the stalls. Nowadays the street is a lively hotchpotch of ancient, medieval and Renaissance architecture.

The street Via Portico d’Ottavia (Octavia’s Porch street) is still the centre of Jewish life in Rome. Initially built in 146 BCE, it was entirely renovated by Augustus, and dedicated to his sister Octavia. It was a small forum in its own right, with Greek and Latin libraries, halls for music and public meetings, and with precious works of art. Because of its proximity to the river, the area also hosted the fish market. Fish was a most desired food, and fishermen had to pay high rents to the noble families owning the stalls. Nowadays the street is a lively hotchpotch of ancient, medieval and Renaissance architecture.

– I was planning a “post” on the Vatican’s stated intention of sainting or canonizing or whatever the late Pope Pius XII and suddenly there I was searching for the old Jewish ghetto in Rome and scanning its cobblestoned streets when I “passed” the front of a building at 53 Via del Portico D’Ottavia and noticed a plaque on the facade and so immediately zoomed in to see what there was to see. (Via del Portico D’Ottavia, 53, Roma, Italy – Google Maps – I’m afraid this is not exactly the link I wanted to include in this spot but if you manually type this into Google Maps you can “go” there.) You keep zooming in until the little yellow figure brings you to street level and you can then utilize those clever directional arrows to “steer” your way around. The Plaque is to the left of the entrance door-your right as you’re gazing dreamily at your monitor- between what appears to be an open window and a closed window with a metal gate, about 15 feet up from the sidewalk. Its on a street that evokes

No stickball allowed

No stickball allowed

historical passings and to my mind’s eye what an old European street is- narrow with old buildings closing in on you and people moving and doing, walking, eating,-you can tell I don’t get out much and on this street just a few steps down from this plaque are a couple of Jewish eateries that I – if ever given the gift of overseas travel – long to sample.

They're on Facebook! With pics and menus and reviews. What a world.

They’re on Facebook! With pics and menus and reviews. What a world.

On the same side of the street as my plaque is something called BA GHETTO KOSHER (I think its BA) The awning says “SPECIALITA GIUDAICO ROMANESCHE MEDIORIENTOI” and directly across the street there’s  LA TAVERNA DEL GHETTO KOSHER-CUCINA EBRAICA ROMANA. Ok so what’s the big deal with another Jewish Deli and I tell you that if you lived in my neck of upstate NY where the closest chopped liver and kosher pastrami is 100 miles away somewhere in New Jersey well then you would know why I’d travel to the ends of the earth for a proper kneidelekh and kugel, and tzimmes. But back to the plaque; you may now zoom in again on the inscription and although it is probably familiar to speakers of Italian some of the letters are a bit fuzzy to this average dumb American who is not conversive in more than one language and even that is questionable, so it is hard to properly transcribe what is inscribed on the plaque on the building. There is enough to draw from, however, but I would prefer a complete rendering.  There is a date on the plaque : 16 Ottobre 1943 and there is this : “Deportati Ad Auschwitz”. The Jews of Rome were rounded up on this day – even within sight of the Vatican and without an utterance from Pius XII- and sent to Auschwitz. I believe the plaque is commemorating this and mentions a family that may have been living in this house then. I’m still trying to get an accurate translation. Interesting that in my random browsing through google and then on twitter I found a photographer who had just returned from Rome and had posted photos of the old Jewish quarter on line and I was able to ask her if she by chance- by a great chance had passed by this house and had taken a photo of the front-with the plaque in plain view so that someone could enlarge it and be able to read the inscription and so perhaps be able to obtain a true translation and she said “I have it” ! But that was over a month ago and I have not heard back nor will I ask again. Previously I had sent an e-mail to what I think is the current address of the Jewish Community Center in Rome asking for help but so far not a word. I also sent or rather stumbled upon the Facebook page of “the Tavern” or was it the place across the street and asked there if someone could be of assistance. I have also sent word to someone in New Zealand who writes about these very same places on her(?) blog. I did this through twitter, which is always a dicey thing to do-what given my own dismal history with connecting on it-I seem to only “attract” meshuganas from the right who seem to think my sarcasm is a sign of sincere political policy. 

 

@kimmar When you visited the Jewish Ghetto in Rome did you notice a plaque on the front of Via Portico d’Ottavia, 53?

 

In any case I await on shpilkes for any attention in this matter and in the meanwhile I will probably spend -now- the rest of my afternoon figuring out how to get back to my previous font.

 

Dig deeper online or is that click even more and the great Internet Machine  will reveal more of itself and the world. I stumbled across “my plaque” on a site titled “trip advisor” or something. Here it is:

ghetto-ebraico

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And “my” taverna answered my plea for a translation. And with my translation there are now more questions.  

Taverna del Ghetto Kosher This is the translation:

Settimio Calò came out of the house where he lived with his wife, Clelia Frascati, and nine children. When he returned there found it empty forever. His loved ones had been raked October 16, 1943 and then deported to Auschwitz along with more than a thousand jews in the name of the racist policy of fascism. None of his family returned. They represent all the families destroyed antisemitic hatred.  

December 8- Sam Enderby Thank you!!Grazie!! SO Mr. Calo survived? And his wife and children all died?

 

I don’t know why I was so incredulously stupid. The plaque says they NEVER returned! I’ll just chalk it up to the shock of somebody actually taking the time and bother to respond to me and of course the unspeakable sadness of Mr. Calo’s lost – I mean the guy had just gone for cigarettes:

“Settimio Calo, 44, a Jew who had lefty home early that fateful morning to join a queue at a tobacconists’ shop for scarce cigarettes, returned to find his wife and nine children gone. A married daughter living around the corner had also disappeared. He ran down the street in a mad panic and eventually made his way to the Collegio Militare, a building along the Tiber not far from the Vatican, where the Jews had been taken. Calo threw himself against the doors but an Italian guard took him by the arm and said, “Are you crazy? Get out of here. Don’t you know they’ll grab you too if they see you?” Calo kept pushing but the guard threw him out. “I walked a little, sat on the ground and began to cry, ” he said.

 

     The Jews taken to the Collegio Militare passed St. Peter’s Square, shouting to Pope Pius XII to save them..”  - from Mussolini-The Last 600 Days of Il Duce by Ray Moseley (Taylor Trade, 2004)

 

 

mrs hartzler, mr. huelskamp & mrs. lonegan’s anti-semitic son, steve

  October 13, 2013

 

Vicki Jo is 53 today. Once the head of the Missouri Women’s Council- way back in 2005- she was dead agin the ERA and yet there she was championing second-rate citizenship for all Missouri’s women and is often quoted as stating she did not want women used to pass some liberal agenda. She is a good Christian from one of those evangelical communities too numerous and by my unfriendly lights too convoluted to mention.

Here's Vicki Jo with our old friend Joe "You Lie" Wilson at a meeting at her alma mater U. of Cent. MO discussing the defense budget in front of 80 people who wandered in to a hall that held over 1100.

Here’s Vicki Jo with our old friend Joe “You Lie” Wilson at a meeting at her alma mater U. of Cent. MO discussing the defense budget in front of 80 people who wandered in to a hall that held over 1100.

She even penned a monograph called ” Running With God”, which could have been subtitled “With Jesus As My Campaign Manager”, which my local library for some reason does not stock. For over a decade Vicki Jo was a high school Home Economics teacher, a noble calling indeed. She had graduated with honors from the University of Missouri, a B.A in Education and an M.A. in Education from Central Missouri State. Ah, an Educator. Teaching the joys of making fudge on a sequestered home budget. I am not too old that I can still remember some controversy anent the teaching or inclusion of “home economics” at a time when some of the more vocal women right’s organizations took great offense at having this “pacifying and discriminatory” object lesson part and parcel of a young girl’s education then (in the 1960’s & 70’s). Anyway after more than 10 years of teaching there must be a wonderful subset of fudge-makers throughout the Christian hinterlands of Missouri. After her stint of domestic science she was rewarded with a seat in the State Assembly where she took a lead in adoption legislation and defending the sanctity of the only real marriage-that between a man and a woman. She was elected to the House of Representatives from the 4th District during the aberrational 2010 midterm election which saw the advent of the so-called Tea Party of which Vicki Jo is a proud member. She now is on the national stage. She toes the Tea Party agenda of basically Hating anythingObama. She has been quoted at a town hall meeting, “I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do, but they claim it is, so we are just going to go with that.” She has prattled on about her concerns over China, still campaigns successfully against allowing gay-marriage in her beloved state, and has voted to cut nearly $40 Billion from the Food Stamp Program while voting to give herself (and others) a considerable government subsidy for her family farm – over $800,000 so far and counting. I often wonder- no, I really do, how that fits in with her “good Christian” conscience. She has recently been featured in an ESQUIRE ! piece by a Charles Pierce entitled, “MEET THE MORONS WHO CAUSED THE SHUTDOWN”:

“Among other things, Vicky Hartzler apparently believes that the heathen Chinese are spying on us through our toasters. “And I am concerned, she is to have stated, they are shipping all the, I’m concerned about the microchips. That they are in many, many of the things that we own. And some of those are embedded, I believe, with, with detection and, uh, capabilities or tracking capabilities.”  

She’d also rather the government not tolerate those “fringe religions” because the First Amendment says that Congress Shall Make No Law Unless Vicky Hartzler Thinks Your God Is Freaky.”

And more than anything Vicki Jo has made her rep as being one of the most ardent and vocally strident opponents of gay marriage. According to “Right Wing Watch”: ” She said legalizing gay marriage would open up the floodgates to polygamy and polyamory (which she called “some big name”), and then she just got wacky. “Why not allow an uncle to marry his niece? Why not allow a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl if they love each other and are committed?” See, to Hartzler, marriage equality is just like incest and pedophilia.”  Just before the 2010 election the blog, “I Should Be Laughing”, a strong advocate for LGBT rights, headlined an article HATE HAS A NAME: VICKY HARTZLER (see Oct. 26, 2010). It began :

Vicky Hartzler is running in Missouri’s 4th Congressional District.
She opposes gay marriage; she opposes hate-crimes laws; she opposes the repeal of DADT.
Now, that doesn’t really make her much different than most Republicans running for office, so, why then, is Vicky Hartzler considered the most anti-gay political candidate in America?

In 2012, she won re-election with 60 percent of the vote.

 

In 1971 about the time Vicki Jo was helping out with the chores around the family farm after attending the Archie elementary school Morris Dees was helping to establish the SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER in Montgomery, Alabama.(www.splcenter.org) In its mission statement ( a curious phrase but nevertheless) it simply states” “The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded to ensure that the promises of the civil rights movement became a reality for all.” Over the years it has “shut down some of the nation’s most dangerous hate groups by winning crushing multi-million dollar jury verdicts on behalf of their victims.” In short it keeps tabs on our nation’s HATE and backs up its civility with action. Among its more recent actions :

10/03/2013 – As House Democrats introduced immigration reform legislation this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center urged lawmakers to protect the human and civil rights of vulnerable low-skill workers as they consider ways to bring 11 million immigrants out of the shadows.

10/01/2013 – The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit today against the town of Shannon, Miss., its mayor and its aldermen for unjustly denying a business license to a bar catering to the LGBT community.

09/26/2013 – For thousands of workers in poultry plants, a federal proposal to speed up processing lines will only bring more injuries and more pain.

 – The SPLC has reached an agreement with Florida’s Polk County School Board that will ensure children held at the Central County Jail receive an appropriate education vital to helping them return to their communities.

 – A federal judge denied a motion today by the Birmingham Police Department in Alabama to dismiss an SPLC lawsuit challenging the use of pepper spray on Birmingham public schoolchildren – a ruling that allows the case to move forward.

Get it? There’s over 40 years of case histories – defending the defenseless and exposing the goings on of our country’s more despicable citizens and organizations. One of these American anomalies is the FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL which as the SPLC notes: ” bills itself as “the leading voice for the family in our nation’s halls of power,” but its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians. The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBT people in its battles against same-sex marriage, hate crimes laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. To make the case that the LGBT community is a threat to American society, the FRC employs a number of “policy experts” whose “research” has allowed the FRC to be extremely active politically in shaping public debate. Its research fellows and leaders often testify before Congress and appear in the mainstream media. It also works at the grassroots level, conducting outreach to pastors in an effort to “transform the culture.”  There is a whole article on this group and its current leader, Tony Perkins (you can’t make this stuff up,) on their website if you would like to check it out. Remember, this is but one group out of many that the Center

A founder of the SPLC-One way to know just how well Mr. Dees and the SPLC has been succeeding is trying to find an image on Google of him and the SPLC that is NOT found on a "Hate-filled Anti-Semitic site".

A founder of the SPLC-One way to know just how well Mr. Dees and the SPLC have been succeeding is trying to find an image on Google of him and the SPLC that is NOT found on a “Hate-filled Anti-Semitic site”.

includes in its “HateWatch”. So it was with malice toward none that we came across in the Congressional Record of Sept. 19 last this contribution to our nation’s dialogue by none other than Vicki Jo from Mo.:

THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER MUST STOP ITS RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE — (House of Representatives – September 19, 2013) [Page: H5665] GPO’s PDF — (Mrs. HARTZLER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.) Mrs. HARTZLER. I rise today to speak against the discriminatory practice of the Southern Poverty Law Center through the use of so-called “hatemapping” and its proliferation of intolerance. While the group claims to be dedicated to fighting hatred and bigotry, the Southern Poverty Law Center has, instead, placed itself at the forefront of Christian persecution and religious intolerance. Because of its misplaced hatemapping, on August 15 of last year, Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Family Research Council and shot and badly wounded Building Manager Leo Johnson, who stopped Corkins’ intended killing spree. The SPLC’s radical intolerance of traditional values is not only hyperpolarizing, but spurred on this violence. Spreading discrimination against those who believe in traditional Christian values is not, in fact, fighting hatred; rather, it is espousing further bigotry. Our country was founded on the principles of religious freedom. When the SPLC demonizes any group or person who remains steadfast in their religious convictions, it only increases the amount of intolerance in our society. So I ask my fellow Members to join me in fighting against religious intolerance in the world today by calling for an end to religious intolerance against all groups, including those with Christian beliefs.”

Accusing the SPLC of “spreading discrimination against those who believe in traditional Christian values” and standing up for the FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL because of their unquestionable stalwart Christian policies. Its funny (sort of) that this shooting incident became a truncheon to try to beat a “liberal” civil rights group with instead of another example of why we need more gun control. But it seems Vicki Jo does have allies or mentors or cronies as but two days before her impassioned public stance another voice from the T-Party heartland was heard from- on the same topic: AMERICA’S INHERENT FREEDOMS ARE BEING ATTACKED — (House of Representatives – September 17, 2013) 

- (Mr. HUELSKAMP asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. HUELSKAMP. Mr. Speaker, freedom of speech and religion and the recognition of the God-given dignity of every human life are core principles upon which America was founded, but these inherent freedoms are being attacked. The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of the worst offenders–targeting and persecuting Americans who stand up for their moral convictions. This group routinely attacks mainstream, pro-family organizations, slandering them with false accusations of hatred and bigotry. Motivated by their inflammatory rhetoric, a gunman burst into the Family Research Council’s lobby last year and shot a security guard, later admitting that the assault was inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate list. We cannot let the beacon of freedom, known as America, become home to hate groups and other extremists, including those who slander their political opponents.”

Tim Huelskamp is from Kansas,

Rep. Tim speaking at a previous Values Voter Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council

Rep. Tim speaking at a previous Values Voter Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council

practically a neighbor of Vicki Jo’s and like her has a family farm that has received over $1.1 million in government subsidies over the years and yet finds it in his Christian heart to cut billions from the Food Stamp program – because? American children should go hungry? Huelskamp is another one of those T-Party yahoos who somehow manage to appear on TV alot spewing forth utter nonsense and ill-disguised hate for the Presidency of Obama. Like Vicki Jo he too has some sort of degree in Education and even boasts a doctorate from American University (right after Harvard and Yale and Missouri I scratch American off my list for quality schools thanks to their illustrious alumni). Why ol’ Timmy even tried to instigate a constitutional amendment to “restore the Defense of Marriage” Act.

( BY Brian Tashman on Friday, 9/20/2013

“Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), who bravely opposed federal aid to all those greedy Northeasterners affected by Hurricane Sandy, is now boasting about his support for a House GOP plan to kick four to six million people off the food stamp program. As Jonathan Chait details, the GOP’s draconian food stamp cuts were coupled with a push to preserve excessive subsidies for farmers and agribusinesses, which the GOP refused to cut as much as the Obama administration proposed. And, surprise surprise, Huelskamp’s family has greatly benefited from such government aidHuelskamp has been able to see a need for federal relief closer to his home. His brother’s farm received $1.6 million in federal subsidies from 1995 to 2011. The federal payouts included more than $30,000 for disaster subsidies. Huelskamp’s parents’ farm has also received subsidies. Politico reported in 2011 that the farm took in $1.1 million in federal farms subsidies from 1995 to 2009.While speaking to right-wing talk show host Steve Deace yesterday, Huelskamp had fun sticking it to all those whiney poors trying to receive food assistance for their families. Huelskamp pointed to Jason Greenslate, a California surfer who has been all over Fox News, as the face of American food stamp recipients. Media Matters points out that “labeling Greenslate a representative of SNAP recipients flies in the face of readily available data, which shows that the fraud and waste rate in the SNAP program is less than 1 percent and that 41 percent of food stamp recipients live ‘in a household with earnings.’” Huelskamp joked that his two kids always feel “starved” under his watch, but that with his vote to cut food assistance, he only “decided to starve a surfer by the name of Jason in California who has decided that he’s not going to get a job in life because he gets food stamps.” “Go pick up trash in a road ditch,” Huelskamp said, “you got to do something. There are 3.5-4 million American adults who are able-bodied, have no dependence and what do we require them to do to get a free check for food? Nothing.”

- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/rep-huelskamp-whose-family-takes-government-farm-subsidies-mocks-food-stamp-recipients#sthash.4c1Y255

Both Tim and Vicki Jo have expressed outrage that the “anti-Christian” intolerance of the Southern Poverty Law Center had caused

Such anti-Christian beliefs- What can you expect from those who killed our Lord?

Such anti-Christian beliefs- What can you expect from those who killed our Lord?

the wounding of a security guard at the FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL you would be hard pressed to find any statements from either concerning the murder of Dr. George Tiller while attending his church on Sunday morning (May 31, 2009) in Wichita, Kansas – the home state of Rep. Tim himself- . Dr. Tiller was shot in the head at close range because his killer probably knew that the notoriously-publicized “abortion doctor” wore body armor at the suggestion of the FBI because of all the threats on his life by Jesus loving patriots. The FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL was one of the prime sponsors of this year’s “Value Voters Conference” recently held in Washington, D.C. I don’t think its a stretch to state that most of all the Haters in Washington were there. I wonder if the breakfast buffet included lox and bagels and cream cheese. I should qualify that snarky comment by acknowledging that among the guest speakers at this years shindig was a guy named Mark Levin- from what I never understand a big-shot right-wing talk radio “personality” who heads some type of “non-profit” legal foundation (it once nominated Rush Limbaugh for a Nobel Peace Prize) that is funded by among others the Koch brothers, the Scaife family, the Olin Foundation, etc. -where the Haters get to put up their big bucks. Anyway I don’t know for certain if this guy is Jewish (please ha-shem, let him be a shabbos goy). Upon being introduced by the “2X Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Tony Perkins himself, he walked on stage and was offered a stool by Mr. Perkins and as he sat said to the assembled Christian-Family-Values-Crowd, “Can I get a drink?”, and then remembered where he was and immediately offered, “No, I don’t drink.”, and then launched into some claptrap about taking our country back which is always code for anti-immigration-Black-Jewish-Gay-Lesbian-fill in a minority -speak. I didn’t see Rep. Tim’s name on the speakers list nor did I notice Vicki Jo’s but a perusal of this all-star roster reads like a who’s who of ANTI-OBAMAcare. If I may, a brief aside: Huelskamp’s 1st Congressional District in Kansas was once represented by, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius’ father-in-law. Its her office of course who is responsible for implementing the Affordable Healthcare Act.

In America there’s always plenty of hate to go around. Pick a year, a place, take some darts and throw them at a map and I’ll show you where and when some horrific thing happened. The Tea Party thrives on this and its brother, FEAR. They now show up in their patriotic regalia and flags waving and in some places their shining guns and always they are armed and swathed with their CODED language of hate. You don’t have to listen too hard but I am always angered that our so-called “legit” media doesn’t question or point this out enough. This week there’s an election – a special election thanks to Governor Christie’s machinations- for U.S. Senator. Most people -who follow NJ politics, go ahead raise your hand- know that Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark is running. He’s running against a myopically glib Tea Party pol named STEVE LONEGAN. For some reason this guy is making a race out of it both figuratively and literally. Anyway a few weeks back he made a few remarks- I saw on TV- that as far as I know were never followed up on and I wonder-as always-if its just my always present paranoia or did someone else pick up on LONEGAN’S words:

His Mom NEVER had Food Stamps why should anybody else's single Mom get theirs?
His Mom NEVER had Food Stamps why should anybody else’s single Mom get theirs?

 

“MAYOR BOOKER HAS BEEN ANOINTED BY HOLLYWOOD. THE HOLLYWOOD ELITE HAVE DESCENDED FROM THEIR PENTHOUSE APARTMENTS IN THE BEL AIR HOTEL FROM THE HEIGHTS OF HOLLYWOOD HILLS TO COME TO NEW JERSEY TO TELL US WHO OUR NEXT U.S. SENATOR WILL BE – THE THIRD U.S. SENATOR FROM CALIFORNIA” Then he went on to let everyone know that Booker wanted to “ram Obamacare down everyone’s throat”. A curious and yet not too surprising an utterance. Everyone from Henry Ford to Marlon Brando from J.Lee Rankin to Liberty Lobby from Louis McFadden to Richard Nixon knows what a narrow-minded (and bigoted) fear-mongering pol means when he uses “Hollywood” in such a context. Nobody can convince me otherwise and STEVE LONEGAN CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATE FROM NEW JERSEY IS AN UNABASHED ANTI-SEMITE AND NO ONE HAS CALLED HIM ON IT – UNTIL NOW. Equating Mr. Booker with the two JEWISH WOMEN senators from California he showed off his TEA PARTY math and underlining thought.

 

 

  

 

try crossing Brooklyn Ferry

In this last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine beginning on the page right after the traditional penultimate crossword page the heartless editors decided to place the so-called annual list of the “super-lawyers” – the top attorneys in the NY Metro area, including, as if it was a new reality game show, the rising stars. I have always thought this list which has been published in other print publications over the years to be just more hubris on the part of an already bloated and much too compensated profession; a paid advertisement which is open to any and all lawyers in the New York City area – mostly Manhattan, where the clients with money live and work- there must be a million lawyers give and take the thousands of politicians and in any case the list as constituted

Inexcusable

Inexcusable

this year adds an additional 120 pages to the paper’s magazine section coming as it does right behind the life-sustaining Sunday crossword puzzle which this past Sunday made it most inconvenient and downright impracticable to fold the paper properly and in an appropriate and traditional compact and comforting manner in which I am most accustomed to so as to best meet the always anticipated challenge of the weekly puzzle. The added bulk made the folded page warp, made it quite gibbous as a matter of fact, impossible to fill in those boxes neatly so you had to open up the full page, the full two pages for the puzzle was on the verso necessitating the use of a table so the page would lie flat! Really, an inexcusable inconvenience. No wonder the Giants lost their fifth in a row. The set-up was all wrong. But there’s something else: There’s an additional 120 pages as I say, small type names and on almost every page is a lovely photo of selected partners and members of individual law firms- sometimes two to a page. Not every law firm mind you but those somewhat smaller ones seeking a bit more exposure – especially in such a classy showplace- to announce and show themselves. I am – as my irregular reader knows- an old grouch who spends most of his time with his trusty mutt, Willie the Sleeper, in a cabin in the woods in upstate New York waiting for his wife to return from her part-time minimum wage (UNION!) job at a local chain-grocery (and all this JOYFUL MOOCHER can say is thank God for SNAP)- being an artist of extraordinary depth and feeling does not pay the rent these days – and because I have so much or so little, depending on your outlook, TIME on my hands I tend to notice certain little things like these almost family-like portraits of smiling attorneys in their Armani-like finest white-shirted attire ( and the men are dressed nice, too) and what you notice or more to the point what you don’t notice and upon further consideration of subject and place is that in the so-called most polyglotted, diverse, celebrated melting-pot metropolis that ever existed on this unfriendly planet a celebration  (of a sort) of what should be a honorable and a most aspired to profession suddenly in this context becomes such an obvious symbol of just how segregated (still) and apart we (us) are as a society, as a nation. Look on these lists and portraits and ask yourselves and myself and all why in all these pages you can find only three (3) photographs of law firms- among just the “super ones”- that include at least one African-American – and one photo that does include several brothers and sisters is a firm based in Brooklyn, all the the rest in Manhattan. Am I the only one who takes affront at this or thinks it bespeaks volumes? So pleased they all are with themselves. To paraphrase Joltin’ Joe- ah, to be white and a lawyer in Manhattan. Better than pinstripes.

Pacem in Terris

A few years after my grandfather died my mother had his copy of the “Tanach” rebound by a Moroccan Muslim from Queens (NY!). My mom thought that her father would have enjoyed such an ecumenical gesture for we were typical liberals after- all, who tried to always mind what zayde would do and say. He wasn’t a railroad man for nothing. Anyway, upon its return the bookbinder made sure to mention that there was an old newspaper clipping still placed in my grandfather’s book. He had left it where he found it. The article as I recall was an account of the funeral of Pope John XXIII and the lead or headline stated that the good Pope had requested a particular passage from “the Jewish Bible” to be read -the clipping is long vanished but I believe the passage was from the Book Of Isaiah and I wouldn’t be surprised if it included the line about beating swords into plowshares. My grandfather was so taken by this that he saved the article and placed it in his Tanach in the pages where the verse was located ( so the next time you see a sign reading “Isaiah 2.4″ being held up at a football game just think of my grandfather). Interestingly, for me only, on the reverse side of the article was a story that was filed by a “journalism 101″ professor I once had ( its always a small world here at the jm). My grandfather came from a religious family but he himself was not a religious man tho’ he was widely read in the “holy” books and he always maintained an inquisitiveness and a guarded posture toward the world. Wary, always. I would come to think of this later but I always thought he lived where he lived – and by extension my mom and my father and me- in a rather goyishe  (forgive my slanderous idiomatic usage) section of Queens, NY because he wanted to test (God). That and to be within walking

Sunnyside Yards around 1965-

Sunnyside Yards around 1965-

distance of Sunnyside Yards, where the Pennsylvania Railroad- at one time- had its offices. At any rate he was rather moved by the Pope’s request because- lets face it- Popes as a group weren’t shall we say so nice to the Jews which pleased a lot of people living in certain parts of Queens at the time, but we can discuss this later. But this Pope-John XXIII- not only impressed my grandfather but succeeded in making a lot of Catholics angry when he convened what is called the Second Vatican Council and this convocation had the chutzpah to state as official church doctrine that All Jews or at least Most Jews were not and are not responsible for the death of Jesus (see: Nostra Aetate). After almost two thousand years this was some gantseh megilah. I can’t help it but I always think of the old Lenny Bruce bit about the Jews being “christkillers” accusation and the note from his cousin (Morty?) found in the basement. Looking back with a squinting gaze it was a scary time – the big Vatican hoo-hah started around the time of that Cuban Missile Crisis and ended around the first large military escalation in Vietnam. By the time it ended Pope John XXIII had died. His death of complications from cancer came less than 6 months before the death of President John F. Kennedy of complications from some well-placed bullets along a busy Dallas intersection. Even though the Pope was 81 and the President 46 (!) at the time of their respective deaths a case could probably be made that something almost ethereally good went away from our world then not to return – at least not yet. Fifty years later with the Cold War behind us, with the advances in science and technology and medicine,  with a newly resolved civil and human rights agenda, with the U.S.A. still at the apex of its powers what, if anything, has changed – about us? About our world? What have we learned – if anything? Well, we’ve learned how to do a lot of stuff except what we should have been doing all along- how to be with one another. If this is starting to sound a little schmaltzy well it may have to do with this:

About two months before he died Pope John XXIII issued what is now a famous “papal encyclical”, PACEM IN TERRIS (Peace On Earth). Famous, yes, but seldom read now and sadly- for these past 50 years, taken to heart. It was addressed not only to Catholics (in Queens and around the world) but to all men (and women, we assume) of goodwill. Among many things it stated: “conflicts should be resolved not by arms but by negotiation” –

Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII

Its taken us a little while to grasp this; that “every man (and we’re making a moral leap here-and woman) has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life-these are primarily FOOD, CLOTHING, SHELTER, REST (!), MEDICAL CARE and finally the NECESSARY SOCIAL SERVICES. Therefore a human being also has the right to security in cases of sickness, inability to work, widowhood, old age, unemployment, or in any other case in which he is deprived of the means of subsistence through no fault of his own.” – Or just the things left out of Paul Ryan’s budget. But wait, there’s more and then we’ll dismiss. The Pope also said: ” Furthermore- and this must be specially emphasized- the worker has a right to a wage determined according to criterions of justice, and sufficient, therefore, in proportion to the available resources, to give the worker and his family a standard of living in keeping with the dignity of the human person.” So, uh, Pope John XXIII was no Republican.

Rep. Anna Eshoo Rises

 

Here at the Joyful Moocher we always encourage our reader(s) to check out the Congressional Record from time to time to see just what your Congress has been saying- usually a great deal about nothing; they say a lot and do much less, however there are those that have done much and have important words to share with the rest of us. Many of our favorites represent districts in California, which considering that Willie Mays lives there, doesn’t surprise us.

THE 40TH VOTE TO REPEAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT — HON. ANNA G. ESHOO (Extensions of Remarks – August 02, 2013)
[Page: E1208]

 

annaeshooHON. ANNA G. ESHOO
OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Friday, August 2, 2013
Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, there is something extraordinary taking place. Not only are we implementing the Affordable Care Act across 50 states benefitting hundreds of millions of people in our country, but there is simultaneously an effort in the House of Representatives to repeal the law for the 40th time.
Imagine. . .this is not the fourth time, but the 40th time that Republicans are moving to take away rights to which Americans are legally entitled. These are the rights signed into law by the President and confirmed by the United States Supreme Court.
There’s never been such an effort in Congress in the history of our country where a measure has been taken up 40 times. I believe my friends on the other side of the aisle are on the wrong side of history.
I would like to highlight this phenomenon through the lens of constituents and the rights they have and the rights that my Republican colleagues want to take away from them.
They want to reopen the prescription drug donut hole that was created through the program that they supported, costing seniors thousands of out-of-pocket expenses a year.
They want to take away from children the ability to stay on their parents’ insurance policy up to the age of 26.
They want to take away lifetime limit caps on insurance policies. How can anyone argue that lifetime limit caps were ever good policy?
They want to take away preventive services from Americans like mammograms and colonoscopies.
They want to take away health care premiums that are actually spent on medical care instead of advertising.
They want to take away the right to plain language explanations of plan benefits.
And most of all, they want to take away the rights of my constituents to health insurance for those with preexisting conditions.
Thomas Jefferson said in 1808 that “great innovations should not be forced on slender majorities.” I think an overwhelming number of American people would say they are in favor of the rights they have under the Affordable Care Act, versus going back to a time of discriminatory practices of private insurers.
END

Hello, Central? Get Me Everybody

 

6/20/2013

I was going to title this piece of nonsense “Letter to an Unknown Terrorist” but of course I’m paranoid enough to think that as soon as I type “letter” and “terrorist” certain red lights flicker in a locked room somewhere and I get the attention of a 20-something high school dropout who is a whiz at code and donkey-kong (well, that dates me) and I finally get me a real subscriber/reader (actually I think those that have “signed-up” and its free by the way, all use a Polish e-mail address for some reason, unknown by me of course, but I enjoy the irony as one of my great-grandfathers was from Warsaw and my bubbe on my father’s side was from Bialystok, so…I can just imagine the disappointment ontelephone-operators my eavesdropper’s monitor when those funny-sounding foreigner names appear to be reading my cleverly inept postings ,at least i can imagine, and the speed at which you can seemingly put something out into this cyber-ether and get a response from someone somewhere in a swift second now I realize the Ad Companies have been doing things like this for years, viewer analyses, listener patterns, and of course the Government, our government in the guise of the NSA and CIA and FBI and DIA nobody talks about them or about the Navy and Army Intelligence, The Brits, of course,  and how many others – there is a whole other world -or not of Corporate America intelligence business-

“Classified top secret documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by US Attorney General Eric Holder, published by The Guardian on Thursday, show that US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) judges have approved sweeping general orders authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor US communications data without individual warrants.”

 and all this has been going on for some time-longer certainly than the Internet’s been around probably since the Truman Administration which put an imprimatur of sorts on our National Security State- and probably way before that, that being 1947- I better close parenthesis or I’m liable to drone on) so in my silly and oh so profound tweetings I can crack wise about an article I read in IN THESE TIMES about us older (and wiser?) Americans looking for work (and not finding it) and within a minute-perhaps two at the most- an e-mail arrives asking me if I was “looking for a job”. Scary.

Sam Enderby @stwise75 15 Jun

I GOT THIS ROCKING CHAIR I’D LIKE TO SELL- A Dream Deferred for Older Americans Struggling to Find Work – inthesetimes.com/working/entry/

Wenona Truxler
@stwise75 We see you are looking for a job we want you to work for us To join our team now go to @YouAreHiredNow
08:39 AM – 15 Jun 13

I live for these responses to what I proclaim in the cyberether but still it was pretty fast- as if “they” were anticipating my very move. I can just imagine what my Polish subscribers make of this although I just bet that if I made another bad Polish joke or unflattering reference to Poland I would have another dozen subscribers, now go figure. But I’m digressing here as the concern here was to be brief and

“The FISA Court, the administration has claimed, provides oversight and “transparency” over the process. The actual procedures that the secret court has authorized have, until now, remained concealed from the population of the United States and the world. Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) authorizes the NSA to engage in bulk data collection. Under this authorization, the NSA is supposedly only allowed to obtain communications without a warrant from “non-US persons.” This includes any communications between people outside the US, and any communications from someone outside the US to someone within the US—if it is the “non-US person” who is the target of the snooping.”

well, irreverent or is that irrelevant? You’re Most Wanted Terrorist, an influential leader and hater of all things American and Western and Non-Muslim- probably a NYYankee hater, too- and you have a not too vast coterie of followers and co-evildoers at your beck and call- Why would you have their names ,coded or not, addresses, coded or not and phone nos., coded or not on a smart phone or on your Mac or whatever else is handy and cool and can store a million gigabytes of your favorite Debby Boone tunes. Why would you send out your deathtinged messages via the Internet knowing that there is some 20-something High school dropout taking down your every word? You have personnel and potential targets and all kinds of explosive techniques to buy and distribute and pay for and coordinate and you’re going to jeopardize all that by logging in? Unless you’re as lame as our Republican Party you will not. And with apologies to the late Jimmy Cannon, you will not even bother with an old manual Underwood (no carbon copies, please). In a recent issue of STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE published (online!) by the NSA a Mr. Mike Sulick, described as a former Assistant Deputy Director of Operations at CIA, wrote, ” …terrorist groups operate like intelligence services. Terrorists spy before they terrorize”Gulliver_s_Travels_1939_Part_7 or as WaltKelly may have said they case the jernt. Like us they gather info about their enemies soft spots, watch their comings and goings, get to know the lay of the land and every other Hollywood B-movie bit of spy dialogue-literally. They also, Mr. Sulick continues, ” vet potential recruits by rigorous screening procedures (high school dropouts with a taste for code and Hunan may apply).

Appearing at a Senate hearing, Patrick McFarland, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general, said USIS, the company that conducted the background investigation of former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden, is now under investigation itself. McFarland declined to say what triggered the inquiry of USIS or whether the probe is related to Snowden. But when asked by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., if there were any concerns about the USIS background check on Snowden, McFarland answered: “Yes, we do believe that there may be some problems.”***

Materials found in al-Qaida safehouses in Afghanistan (and what house isn’t?) and other countries include

Course reading

Course reading

training manuals on espionage tradecraft (they’re like a worldwide club or a guild) such as identification of clandestine meeting and dead-drop sites, technique to recruit sources, covert communications, reporting on targets. U.S. forces also discovered -in Afghanistan- HANDWRITTEN NOTES – with guidance on operating undercover, including tips on traveling in alias, pocket litter to carry (yes, he wrote pocket litter) and types of clothing to wear down to details about the proper underwear to don in a foreign land.” Of course, you’re a Most-wanted Terrorist leader and you know to use HANDWRITTEN notes – to be eaten later we presume, or burned and instead of sending a secretly coded text via the magic of internet-space you whisper your command into the ear of a hopefully trustworthy comrade – because as all terrorist/intelligence organizations the world over know the best way to get over on your enemy is to have one of yours planted (embedded, if you will) right along side them in the enemy’s own house or camp or book club. And knowing full-well that all electronic, satellite communications are being read and listened and decoded and checked and double-checked -and by now who doesn’t know it – why chance it? Its hard enough trusting the ear closest to you which begs the question now posed to the freedom-loving liberty or death American public and their cracked representatives – does vigilance still require the Government in which every dept-NSA, CIA, Homeland – to snoop on all our texts and e-mails and phone calls and googling and such knowing full-well, as I say, that the Most Wanted Terrorist is NOT using any of that because the Cat’s out of the bag – so why are you still listening to us ?

Of the 4.9 million people with clearance to access “confidential and secret” government information, 1.1 million, or 21 percent, work for outside contractors, according to a January report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Of the 1.4 million who have the higher “top secret” access, 483,000, or 34 percent, work for contractors.***

The demands of eternal vigilance will be forever busy and profitable  because this “war on terrorism” is an even better scam than Soapy Smith’s Soap Bar racket. Its the gift that keeps on giving. Its hard to know whether the outrage over the extent of this surveillance program is real or memorex as quite frankly, my dear, it appears most of us don’t give a damn. Nevertheless, we are still dealing with nefarious evil-doers who remember to stock up on “pocket-litter” but know even what kind of underwear to “don” while visiting foreign lands ( now that underwear bomber was donning his Ralph Lauren 100% cotton boxers with the Lauren trademark on the left bottom side or were those the doublestitched briefs with the soft elastic band and the convenient large slit over the crotch )

 

(To Be Continued)

*** NSA Can Keep Data On U.S. Citizens Indefinitely: Report

 

 

By RICHARD LARDNER and KIMBERLY DOZIER 06/20/13 09:18 PM ET EDT AP

_________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

THIS IS THE BUSINESS WE’VE CHOSEN

 

Monday 5/20/2013

If I was a betting man I would wager that upon the combined wisdom and gold of those assembled shareholders in Tampa tomorrow (Tampa!) our Jamie One-Bank will be crowned anew as both chairman and chief exec of JPMorgan Chase. Afterall, why mess up a good thing and that bankster has been a golden goose for a while even during these highly critical times.

The Once and Future

The Once and Future

The only question left really is why hasn’t this bank made even more money. I mean it “suffers” a humiliatingly multi-billion dollar trading loss and still managed to make record profits for the year. Why try to change it now? What are the “rebels” angry about? Poor publicity? A bad rep? An anti-people perception? C’mon. And this coming from the likes of a guy who was chief of Exxon? Misleading investors? Who among the deep pockets down in Tampa is hurting?

He always made money for his clients

He always made money for his clients

Only the little people (all 99% of us) are hurting. And we still need banks. And, quite frankly, they’re not that many viable ones left to put whatever pennies we may have left into. No, there won’t be a demotion for Jamie. The best the rich boys and girls can do for themselves would be to come up with a better “Risk management”, some sorting process or program that would put the brakes on (automatically) some overreaching bet or algorithm. Why complicate a 19% increase in your stock price? Keep blaming Obama for a rotten  business atmosphere; plenty of well-paid lawyers to battle obscene regulations; the SEC is really a bunch of wusses anyway; who cares if you’re inconsiderate and threatening to credit card pikers; there’s plenty of little people to foreclose on still and plenty more to sucker in to buying. C’mon go vote and then party some more.

________________________________________________________________

THE NEXT DAY…….

Live Blog: Dimon Wins Crucial Vote at JPMorgan

BY DEALBOOK
Outside JPMorgan Chase's annual shareholder meeting in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.Chris O’Meara/Associated PressOutside JPMorgan Chase’s annual shareholder meeting in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.

11:52 a.m. | Updated

Jamie Dimon and the 10 other directors of JPMorgan Chase were all re-elected at the bank’s annual shareholders meeting in Tampa, Fla., today.

Mr. Dimon, the nation’s most powerful banker, held on to his title of chairman after JPMorgan’s shareholders defeated a proposal to split the two top jobs.

Even if JPMorgan shareholders had accepted the proposal, the bank would not have been required to act. But the board will likely make changes to derail future calls for a shake-up. The possibilities include reshuffling the bank’s risk committee or giving its lead director more power.

11:48 A.M.Shareholders Back Dimon With Even More Votes

I

A HABITATION OF DRAGONS

 

5/9/13

We are indebted to Zack Beauchamp of THINKPROGRESS (over and over) for bringing the following to our attention:  An article in the NRA’s “youth” magazine appearing  about the time of the Newtown, CT shooting which, of course, has meant nothing to this violence promoting lobby nor to their political hacks in congress.

NRA Youth Magazine Recommends Kids Build Indoor Home Shooting Ranges

By Zack Beauchamp on May 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

“The National Rifle Association (NRA)’s overtures to children have come under fire after its annual conference last week, which advertised weapons for children and advocated storing firearms in kids’ rooms just on the heels of the fatal shooting of a two year old by her five year old brother. A ThinkProgress review of the NRA children’s magazine, InSights, found another piece of disturbing advice: kids should build target ranges inside their homes.

NRS YOUTH MAGAZINE current issue

NRS YOUTH MAGAZINE
current issue

We thought for the horror of it to take the actual article as it appeared in the issue Zack is describing and interpolate another article about the learned impetuousness of kids from another time but illustrating the fun and game quality of being a kid that should inform all children’s lives in all times and places. (“BB, It’s Cold Outside,” ran in the January 2013 edition of InSights and was written by Mark Sanders. So its at least two citations for copyright theft and a possible third but we figure he’s dead or should be):

Okay. Its winter. The cold, nasty, I-don’t-wanna-get-out-of-bed- time of year. Sure, school may be out for a few days at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we all know what the real drag about this time of year is: It’s harder to get out and shoot! We’ve all been there, friends. You have our sympathies.

How often do we think of our own childhood as we watch children play! After finishing the school work — and sometimes before — it was a pleasure to head

"Remember to keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target"

“Remember to keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target”

outside and let childhood fantasy run free in games like thief or cowboys and Indians. 

But hey, this is no excuse to let the wintertime blues get you down. Quite the contrary-if you want to get an edge on your hunting/shooting buddies(or a family member whose shot is always just a little bit better than yours)-

Sherlock Holmes and Nat Pinkerton were the models for our inventiveness. Buffalo Bill roused us to courageous deeds, which often ended a free-for-all. We devoured the ten-penny novels, which often led us to imitate their tricks and pranks. Karl May’s thick novels did the same, bringing our imagination to a fever pitch.

now is the perfect time of year to get some practice in. While everyone else is in hibernation  mode, you can set up an indoor range in your house and practice with a good old-fashioned BB gun.

Our post-war youth do not always have it as easy and pleasant as earlier generations. Particularly in big cities, the lack of room to play has particularly noticeable effects on children. The spiritual pressures of the last fourteen years always weighed heavily on children’s souls, hardly allowing their natural playfulness to be expressed.

“BB guns?” you sigh. “But I’m shooting a real gun now!” Ask yourself this, though: What good will a

"BB guns?" But I'm shooting a real gun now!"

“BB guns?” But I’m shooting a real gun now!”

higher powered rifle/shotgun/whatever you’re shooting do, if you don’t want to take it outside? Exactly. Thats why we suggest the humble BB gun.

And the asphalt literati thought that it was bad for children to be interested in military games. Such snobs joked about the little lad with a wooden sword and a paper helmet.

BB guns aren’t the flashiest shooters out there but with some simple precautions, they’re safe to use on a homemade indoor range. When you’re trying to improve accuracy BB guns are the best. If you have a habit of flinching when pulling the trigger BB guns will help you work that out.

In this area, too, much has changed since 5 March . The national revolution also did not leave children’s souls untouched. Even the youngest children sing the Horst-Wessel Song with burning enthusiasm and real devotion.

The fact that there’s no powder or shells to clean up after is a bonus, too. Don’t build the indoor range yourself and tell adults you did it afterwards. Have you ever heard the phrase, ” Sometimes it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission?” That idea doesn’t apply here.

The youth greet S.A. and S.S. men with raised arms and a joyous “Heil Hitler.” The strong figures in brown shirts earn the respect and quiet admiration of children’s hearts, joined with the longing to themselves become such a Hitler soldier.

You want to let the grown-ups know your plans before you put them

You want to let the grown-ups know your plans.

You want to let the grown-ups know your plans.

into action. OK? OK. Remember that even though you’re not on a formal range, you still need to follow all of the rules of gun safety.

There is a lot of noise in the courtyard of a large Munich apartment building. The boys have invented a new and lively game. Between them, they have gathered 2.40 marks to buy the necessary equipment. A “Brown House” has been built with cloth and sticks in the center of the courtyard. Inside the tent are a picture of Adolf Hitler, and a postcard with the words of the Horst-Wessel Song.

Wear your eye and ear protection, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, do not load the BB gun until you are ready to shoot

The five- to twelve-year-old boys have done everything themselves. The happy owner of a drum is the leader. They practice hard, and succeed. They study the songs. Things often get lively, for example when the Karl-Liebknechthaus, made of old trash cans, is stormed. It is then searched, and the communists taken off to a concentration camp.

and keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target.

The littlest S.A. man

" and the communists are taken off to a concentration camp"

” and the communists are taken off to a concentration camp”

is so eager that he is often in the courtyard early in the morning to call his comrades together. He is thought to be very brave. His improvised brown shirt is a little tight around the neck. He can hardly breathe when the collar is buttoned. When a grown-up expressed concern, he proudly answered: “An S.A. man has to be able to put up with that!” With a thoughtful wrinkle of his brow, he got back to work.

 

Zack’s article goes on to say that “the online edition of the article links to a previous InSights feature article, which helpfully reminds young children that “The first and most important thing to remember is that with air guns, any projectile that does not hit a proper pellet stop has a very high possibility of a ricochet or bounce back. This is particularly true with a BB gun using round steel projectiles.”
Though BB guns are powered by air rather than gunpowder, they’re still very dangerous. A 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics found that BB guns and similar weapons send roughly 22,000 Americans to the emergency room each year, the overwhelming majority of whom are children aged 5-14. These injuries have, in some cases, been fatal. The American Association of Pediatrics has concluded that these guns “are weapons and should never be characterized as toys,” partly because “the range of muzzle velocities for nonpowder guns overlaps velocities reached by traditional firearms.”
It’s also questionable whether young children can be trusted to accurately carry out all of the NRA’s safety instructions. Not only are young children notoriously clumsy and irresponsible, but it’s unclear whether, say, an eight year old is capable of understanding the difference in lethality and risk between BB guns and real firearms. The Savage Arms .22 “Rascal” .22 rifles, which are frequently advertised in InSights under the banner “One Shot! One Thrill!,” don’t look all that different from some BB gun models.”

And if you haven’t guessed by now the snarky interpolation is a translation (of course) of a little human interest article that appeared in the Illustrieter Beobachter of April 15, 1933. Its about a new game that the kids in Munich were playing that spring based on the Nazi suppression of the Communist Party. A couple of months before the Nazis had taken over the Communist headquarters called the Liebnechthaus and the kids made a game of it- called it “Concentration Camp” The German article hearthfilled ending portends a rosy future and seems not out of place- in my snarky thinking- as a coda to the NRA’s sage advise for its kids:

“In the evening, their mothers call them in for supper. The Sandman then slips into their quiet dreams, drumming and trumpeting, and they sing, attack, and triumph.

The youth once again has a future…”

 

martha roby, my rock-a-bye baby.

5/8/13

Back in July, 2012, we babbled something about the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding, that is barely upholding, the Affordable Healthcare Act, derisively referred to as Obamacare, even by President Obama, and its so-called public mandate, lamented that there was even such an act to begin with but it was better than nothing – which seems to be our government’s mantra of late- and while a paean to our great insurance companies and republican think-tanks throughout our green and growing land it is rather disgraceful when you think of what might have been and, well, anyway we mentioned at the time an upcoming young Republican congresswoman from Alabama, the Hon. Martha Roby, whose outrageous (to us) comments on the floor of the Congress at the time deserved condemnation and it appears she – true to her DNA and her daddy’s love – is once again trying to lift her wings and show the world what a fine example of  southern republican womanhood she intends to be. We find it fitting and proper that at a time of still great hardship for so many of our unemployed and for so many of our lowly-wage workers young Martha is boasting about a new bill she will introduce today that may give our holy job creators just what they need to take away a workers overtime pay and offer instead something called “comp-time”, time away from work. This is what’s been reported and ‘though we have not yet read this tactless document we cannot imagine a more cynical and manipulative and mean-spirited and just down-right rotten piece of legislation directed against the working poor. But coming from the mouth and mind of Martha Roby we are not surprised. It is also ironic that at a time when yet another Black man was to be executed -this time the night before Ms. Roby’s noble gesture, we find ourselves confronted with a true daughter of the south. To blow our own horn ( its an old Besson) we wrote then:

“IT IS PRECISELY THIS COLLISION OF IMMORAL POWER WITH POWERLESS MORALITY WHICH CONSTITUTES THE MAJOR CRISIS OF OUR TIME.” – Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

When young and white (yes I know but its for a reason) Martha Roby rose to speak in Congress on behalf of her 2nd Congressional District in Alabama

Always smiling. Couldn’t find a photo
with her dad.

expressing her “Deep” disappointment with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Affordable HealthCare Act you might have expected that a young woman with a Music Degree from NYU (!!) and a Law Degree from her father’s alma mater would be more understanding and at least intellectually inquisitive as to the meaning of what had transpired- perhaps empathetic toward what the Law was at least trying to do-instead of twisting the ruling around to fit her uninformed notions about what is good for Amercia; instead she blurts out the usual scare bites heard from every Republican and Murdoch-paid stooge: “the American people have already weighed in and overwhelmingly rejected the law,” (Overwhelmingly?) “It will result in as many as 20 Million Amercians losing their existing health coverage;” “it will Suffocate small businesses”; “overbearing regulations”; “hampering job creation”; “estimates indicate that the law will actually cost 800,000 Amercian jobs”; and she would replace it with some type of “free-market” reform.(The Republicans don’t have a plan really ) I guess in Amercia in 2012 with all our freedoms (disassembling) its perfectly proper and fitting to stand up in the House of Representatives and Lie one’s ass off for sake of political expediency. By the way the reference here is the Congressional Record of June 29, 2012.  It is not just Rep. Roby’s remarks alone of course – there were and will be others just like hers but what I’m trying to get a handle on is how does someone that young – she’s a bicentennial baby – and that-seemingly – educated (NYU for goshsakes!) can be so dismissive of facts. Is it because she’s now a politician so what do you expect? Is it Republican trope to misrepresent the healthcare law? Why are they so dead set against it anyway? It was their “plan”. Now its Obama’s ? And therein lies a Mitch McConnell. “From their lips pure puffs of plain crap crowd out the atmosphere-until the mark of authenticity is murk and fetor”. But to be that young and unquestioning in her own mendacity.  Raised in Reagan Amercia? Comes of age in the Bush-Clinton era; matures(?) in the Bush-Cheney years where she learns hate is a virtue? Born in Montgomery, Alabama, the First capital of the Confederacy, center of civil rights struggles, her parents’ child like everyone else; her father,

the judge (her dad)

lets see, is currently THE Chief Judge down in Alabama, a Reagan nominee and later Bush, who was recently quoted in the L.A. Times of all places, just before the Supreme Court decision,  as so concerned that “If we uphold this are there any limits on the powers of the federal government?” So worried is he that his freedom will be swept away like a bad margaret mitchell novel. This is the very same judge who sat on one of the appeals courts that denied a petition presented on behalf of Troy Davis seeking a new hearing. It was rejected 2-1 because according to the ruling it had already been rejected before. Such intellectual gravitas; such human understanding. And I wonder why the daughter turned out the way she has.(I can’t help but think of a Tom Lehrer lyric – and yes I’m exposing my prejudice again but nevertheless-” I wanna talk with southern gentlemen and put my white sheet on again.”)

Why should this country and its poor and indigent have a reasonable healthcare plan, its limitations aside, and why give a reasonable doubt to a condemned man who may have had a decent shot at freedom?

Troy Davis, Executed Sept. 21, 2011
age 42

Why do we – at least 95-99% of us – keep sending representatives to Washington that have not an atom of concern and interest into what is really needed to make life better for us and our kids? Why do we elect such abominations?___________________________________

Congresswoman Touts Worker Protections That Her Bill Would Weaken

By Bryce Covert on May 7, 2013

Today, the House is set to vote on the Working Families Flexibility Act, legislation that would weaken rules requiring businesses to pay employees overtime wages when they work more than 40 hours in a given week and instead give employers the option of providing their workers with “comp time,” or time off from work. The bill is being touted as a Republican response to the need for today’s working parents to balance work and family by allowing them to accrue unpaid overtime hours.
A big worry of opponents of the bill is that employers will have the power to coerce employees into taking comp time instead of having to pay them overtime wages. When confronted with this possibility, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), told the Sirius radio show The Morning Briefing with Tim Farley that employees will be able to turn to existing worker protections against coercion under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):
The employee absolutely can pick up the phone and call the Department of Labor and report their employer because that is not allowed. The anti-coercion and discrimination provisions in this bill are very clear, that an employer cannot not use compensatory time in any way to coerce or discriminate or force an employee to take compensatory time… All of the protections that are currently under the Fair Labor Standards Act exist under this bill as well for the employee to make sure the employer does not take advantage of the employee.
But workers may not be as well protected as Roby indicated. While the bill does give workers the right to sue, George Zornick reports at The Nation that they are denied the use of a faster and cheaper avenue through the Department of Labor. On top of this, it doesn’t give the Department of Labor any extra funds to investigate or enforce the anti-coercion provisions. This means that workers who experience intimidation may have to hire their own lawyer and shell out lots of money to bring a case.
Meanwhile, the balance of power often rests with employers. Workers are fighting wage theft, or employers violating FLSA overtime laws, at huge rates. A 2009 survey reported that two-thirds of low-income employees had experienced a wage law violation in the previous week alone. The problem has been on the rise, with actions filed in federal court alleging wage and hour violations increasing by 400% between 2000 and 2011. Many employers are already failing to follow the FLSA’s rules.
Opponents have other concerns with the legislation. The FLSA requires overtime pay for work over 40 hours a week, which provides a big disincentive to ask employees to work long hours. That could diminish if employers can offer comp time instead. Employers may also be able to deny requests to use the comp time if they can claim it “unduly disrupts the operations of the employer” or that the request didn’t come in “within a reasonable period.”
In the radio interview, Roby also pointed to the fact that public sector workers have had this arrangement since 1985. But as Alex Seitz-Wald reports at Salon, “that move was to cut costs for government, not provide workers with more freedom,” plus government employees generally have a union to help them fight employer violations.
In fact, this is an old idea that has had trouble gaining traction over the years. Seitz-Wald points out that Republicans introduced similar legislation in 1996, 1997, and 2003. If Republicans are looking for policies that can help today’s working families, they could consider paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and protections for workers who request flexible working conditions.

It’s Just The Whiteness of You

elizagilkyson

Eliza Gilkyson

Its probably an indication of my age that most contemporary music is a distant planet for me. I realize the marketing geniuses cater to a much younger crowd and, I guess, why not, as I was that crowd once but of course a funny thing is I didn’t have much to spend once upon a time and now in my yeatsian gray years I still don’t which just goes to show how I have managed my erstwhile earning years however thats for another time for right now I wish to relate before the daily haze of my existence sets in another fortunate connection (because here at the Joyful Moocher we’re always trying to connect) that makes my unemployed hours (except for this pecking time) almost bearable for it involves my Ipod- yes, I did splurge a while back during a win streak (i.e. my wife’s credit card) and a few tunes that I hadn’t heard before kind of caught me by surprise- a happy surprise. The tunes were written and sung by someone named ELIZA GILKYSON, whom I never heard or at least couldn’t remember hearing before although she does sound a little like a singer I had heard long ago but never got the name but there was something about the voice and the melancholy lyric long since forgotten and, anyway, I was and am particularly taken with the songs on this album- called , uh,uh -wait …”Roses at the End of Time” and one especially- a satirical gem called 2153 – as in the year 2153 ( and no, it ain’t like Zager and Evans or whomever ). You never hear this on the radio, at least I never have and so far still haven’t – and the album, I believe, is a few years old already. One of the verses states :

” Oh, they went for the literal translation 
Of every text and symbol sacred work and screed 
They obsessed over minor variations 
Misconstrued the truth to justify their deeds.”

Another title, “Slouching Toward Bethlehem” also appealed to my yeatsian yearning and what a state of affairs it is between the cable companies and the commercial radio conglomerates ( I haven’t even heard her on Jonathan Schwartz). Still whats a redblooded American old man listening to music do when confronted by an unknown voice and song? I googled.( Not bing-ed. Bing is for Johnny Burke and Harry Warren.) And I found her, natch, and found out that not only has she been recording off and on for over 40 years (they don’t show) but that she had recorded on a label that

The Wonderful Utah Phillips-Labor Organizer, Folksinger, Poet, Gandy Dancer

The Wonderful Utah Phillips-Labor Organizer, Folksinger, Poet, Gandy Dancer

 

 

also recorded that lovable Bruce UTAH PHILLIPS who I once saw perform in a basement of a Greenwich Village apartment building way back when when I was part of the crowd enjoying moose turd pie and she has a husband, Robert Jensen,  who is sort of a radical professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin who is forever tweaking the noses of the school machers and speaking out against American imperialist interests and has distinguished himself by writing (teaching?) about the insidious racism that has infected this country for hundreds of years (there are some good things going on down there at least in Austin, I mean, c’mon doesn’t Willie Nelson still cook there?). I have read one of his essays, “White Privilege, White Supremacy” – originally published by CITY LIGHTS ( remind me to tell you of the time I walked out on Allen Ginsberg at Brooklyn College) in a book called the Heart of Whiteness. It has been included in another book called WHITE PRIVILEGE, Essential Readings On the Other Side of Racism. Professor Jensen cites a 2004 study by United for a Fair Economy that just shreds any doubt anyone may have regarding inequality in the United States. If I may mooch some examples:

 

  • At the slow rate that the black-white poverty gap has been narrowing since 1968, it would take 150 years, until 2152, to close.
  • Black unemployment is more than twice the white race, a wider gap than in 1972(Prof. Jensen uses “race” in this fashion although I would qualify such usage before)
  • Black infants are almost two and a half times as likely as white infants to die before age one, a greater gap than in 1970. ( In other words-from the time I graduated from high school (!)- I know its hard to believe- until now this stat has only gotten worse. Thanks “Sam’s Generation”.
  • White households had an average net worth more than six times that of Black households -in 2001 (!)

 

 

 

Dr. Dorothy Brown, Professor of Tax Law at Emory University Law School, writing in the December,2012 issue of Forbes, wrote that “the median net worth of white households is now 20 times that of Black households.” Dr. Brown explains some of the huge disparity in house-value as a harsh corollary to the old there-goes-the-neighborhood response:

If you think this is class and not race, you are wrong. A 2001 Brookings Institution study showed that “wealthy minority neighborhoods had less home value per dollar of income than wealthy white neighborhoods.” The same study concluded that “poor white neighborhoods had more home value per income than poor minority neighborhoods.” The Brookings study was based on a comparison of home values to homeowner incomes in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, and it found that even when homeowners had similar incomes, black-owned homes were valued at 18% less than white-owned homes. The 100 metropolitan areas were home to 58% of all whites and 63% of all blacks in the country.

Those conclusions are supported by a large body of research. Put simply, the market penalizes integration: The higher the percentage of blacks in the neighborhood, the less the home is worth, even when researchers control for age, social class, household structure, and geography.

A 2007 study by George Washington Universitysociology professor Gregory D. Squires comments on why most whites avoid racially diverse neighborhoods: “Evidence indicates that it is the presence of blacks, and not just neighborhood conditions often associated with black neighborhoods (e.g., bad schools, high crime), that accounts for white aversion to such areas. In one survey, whites reported that they would be unlikely to purchase a home that met their requirements in terms of price, number of rooms, and other housing characteristics in a neighborhood with good schools and low crime rates if there was a substantial representation of African Americans.”

 

When blacks buy homes in majority minority neighborhoods, we increase the racial wealth gap. Whites who want to experience racial diversity at home also pay dearly.”

Of course Prof. Brown IS writing for Forbes here and there is some of that “Blacks should try investing more in the stock market like the white people” and perhaps some of this income-wealth disparity will diminish. Anyway what’s important to see is that these brutal statistics still continue. Our (white) privileges still have fatal consequences whether we care or not.