Thanksgiving to the Surge Troops

To the 30, 000 boys

soon to be sent off

to Afghanistan:

It may be a nice place to visit,

but I hope you don’t die there;

Better yet,

I hope you don’t get permanently maimed there,

whatever that means:

physical or psychological damage

that can’t be fixed

that will shape and possibly

destroy your life.

You are sitting somewhere now

knowing that this might be

your last Christmas at home;

but maybe you’re thinking:

Hell, they won’t get me!

Why are you going so far away

to fight for America?

Defending the Homeland?

Whose homeland is that?

Oh if only someone invaded,

so we could all

defend the Homeland;

I’d be right there beside you –

But you are off

to the mountains

and the deserts

of far off lands,

to seek out poor

disillusioned

embittered and

hyped up

young men with guns,

young men who have always had

less than you.

You cannot have mercy on them;

you cannot understand them;

hell,

you can’t even speak their language –

but it’s better that way.

I’m sorry you aren’t staying home

to build up our nation,

to make lasting beauty

that 50 years from now

your grandchildren will praise;

sorry you aren’t staying home

to love someone,

to fight for our future,

the future our children face;

we need your strong arms,

ingenuity,

and courage,

right here at home,

for we are

crumbling from within.

I’m sorry you are just “a troop”;

I know you have names

and faces

and lovers

and children

and parents;

maybe you have more

than those young men

you will be

blowing up;

it’s such a lot to lose.

But maybe you’ll come back after

seeing the world from

the other side of a gunsight.

Don’t put yourself in those people’s shoes,

you’ll be very uncomfortable,

Just plow ahead and

get the job done.

I hope you come home soon,

without too much

blood on your hands.

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Once upon a time…

comment in response to Roger Cohen’s NYTimes op-ed piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/opinion/21iht-edcohen.html

re: changing NYC:

I grew up in NYC, upper west side, late 60s-70s; the neighborhood was my larger family: In almost every store, I was known by name; when there were anniversaries there would be parties and the patrons would celebrate together, along with other local store owners. And as someone else mentioned, there were artists everywhere; I could always hear music being sung and played in the corridors of buildings; food was diverse and authentic, made with PRIDE, not homogenized and plasticized, never touched by human hands.
Everyone in the place knew their products, and you could usually get informed advice about whatever their specialty was, from cameras to books to buttons to cabbage.

When I was growing up in the final days of that city that once was, a child could have visions of becoming their own business owner someday, opening a store or restaurant, contributing to the neighborhood, knowing the people. It was also possible to live a decent life working part-time and being dedicated to art for the rest.

My family moved to Canada for 7 years, came back, and by the late 80s the whole neighborhood had changed, as had much of America.

Nowadays in most stores, nobody knows anything and nobody cares, and why should they? They’re just workers in faceless corporate chains who sell heaps of junk, the same junk on every block, in every city in every state across this nation. Maybe people can aspire to become a manager of one of these chain boxes, but never their own boss.

And as for artists and musicians, well…sure, there’s Brooklyn, and I’m a convert.

Let’s not mistake sweatshops for independently owned businesses; the two are not necessarily linked. And don’t forget about all the sweatshops that produce all that crap sold for next to nothing of its real value in this McDonald’s Wal-mart nation.
I currently reside in a city where the only fabric store for miles and miles is Joanne’s. If that corporate interest decides not to carry it, not to sponsor it, not to choose it, I can’t get it, and it may as well not exist, which affects me as well as those who design and produce.

When I get off that bus in NYC, my first stroll is always up those gorgeous blocks in what’s left of that garment district. The diversity and range is astounding, and truly reflects what is possible when originality is allowed and encouraged to flourish.

What a strange thing we have devised and the world seems to be gobbling up. What a sterile world we are creating. Aliens anyone?

“they didn’t care who they killed”

re: persons on trial in NYC for crashing planes into the world trade ctr:

“They didn’t care who they killed!”

Do we care who we kill?

Do drones flying around in Afghanistan care who they kill?

Did we care who we killed in Baghdad?

Did we care who we killed in Vietnam?

How can they call this “Justice” when the verdict is a forgone conclusion?  Are we actually willing to listen to what these people have to say? Aren’t they already found guilty by popular demand? Perhaps by government show trial demand?  What is a trial, a court?  Are we really willing to listen to at least their motivations?  Was it cold-blood, or self-defense?

Fairest courts in the world?!? We’re full of shit.

“As awful as these people are”, “[we are willing to try them in our court system]” – Does that sound unbiased to you?

“Are you suggesting we just take them out and shoot them?”  well, wtf? what’s the difference?  We may as well save our money, take ’em out and shoot ’em, cause we sure as hell have found them guilty – at least we could be HONEST about our CONVICTIONS!

Bastards

Today’s headline:

Drug Makers Raise Prices in Face of Health Care Reform –

November 2009

see: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/business/16drugprices.html?th&emc=th

And remember this, from Jan. 2009?:

Pfizer to buy Wyeth for $68B; cut 8,000 jobs

Associated Press / January 27, 2009 Published January 26, 2009

LINDA A. JOHNSON

“Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, said Monday it is buying rival Wyeth for $68 billion in a deal that will quickly boost Pfizer’s revenue and diversification –…”

“The deal is being financed by five banks: Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase.”

“By buying Wyeth, Pfizer will mutate from a maker of blockbuster pills to a one-stop shop for vaccines, biotech drugs, traditional pills and nonprescription products for both people and animals.”

for more gory details, see:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/26/business/main4752726.shtml

or my own post:

https://victorials.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/beginnings/

and don’t miss this, just 2 months ago (9 months after that acquisition):

Pfizer to Pay $2.3 Billion for Fraudulent Marketing

Justice Department Announces Largest Health Care Fraud Settlement in Its History

“…Pfizer has agreed to pay $1 billion [table scraps] to resolve allegations under the civil False Claims Act that the company illegally promoted four drugsBextra; Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug—and caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs. The civil settlement also resolves allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs. The federal share of the civil settlement is $668,514,830 and the state Medicaid share of the civil settlement is $331,485,170. This is the largest civil fraud settlement in history against a pharmaceutical company.”

– quoted from U.S. Department of Justice
September 2, 2009:

http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel09/justice_090209.htm

What’s the War costing US?

“The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic
Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis:”

“We show that investments in clean energy, health care,
and education create a much larger number of jobs across
all pay ranges, including mid-range jobs (paying between
$32,000 and $64,000) and high-paying jobs (paying over
$64,000). Channeling funds into clean energy, health
care and education
in an effective way will therefore
create significantly greater opportunities for decent
employment throughout the U.S. economy than spending the
same amount of funds with the military
.
a project of the
Institute for Policy Studies The U.S. government spent
an estimated $624 billion on the military in 2008. This
amounts to about $2,000 for every resident of the
country.”

“Amid the debates on the political and strategic merits
of the Iraq war, one aspect of military spending that
has been largely neglected is its effects on the U.S.
economy. Six hundred twenty-four billion dollars is a
vast sum of money-greater than the combined GDP of
Sweden and Thailand, and eight times the amount of U.S.
federal spending on education
.”

from:

The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic
Spending Priorities: An Updated Analysis
By Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier
Foreign Policy in Focus
October 9, 2009
http://www.fpif.org/pdf/0910Jobs_report1.pdf