9/11’s Wars Only Filled Coffins and Emptied Coffers

 

On this 16th anniversary of 9/11, America’s darkest day in recent history, it would’ve been far too easy for this blogger to extensively lambaste America’s alleged ruler of that era… fault him for ignorantly or indolently or intentionally failing to heed a key intelligence briefing… one which would’ve provided him five full weeks to try to thwart that terrorist attack.

That squandered opportunity resulted in nearly 3,000 dead and over 6,000 injured on 9/11, itself, and, subsequently enabled war profiteers to make a killing (both figurative and literal) once the U.S. got entangled in two, ill-conceived, unwarranted wars. By some accounts both endless, never to be won battles, to date, have slaughtered 1,000,000 innocent souls… while bleeding humanity and the U.S. treasury dry. In other words…

All we have to show for the war on terror are filled coffins and emptied coffers.

Now, if you think my three above paragraphs are too strong and too long, you should’ve seen my three-pager word document, re this same subject matter, which never hit the www on this day!

Just so there’s no misunderstanding… I totally despise all terrorists especially ISIS, al Qaida, the Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. However, we can never expect conventional wars to ever combat and conquer any of these deplorable insane, intracranial ideologies. Indeed, terrorism’s specific latitude and longitude cannot be found on any world map, which makes the boots on the ground approach obsolete… which makes a damned fool out of any leader, who’d ever declare a war on terror.

The best way to thwart terrorism is to end nutritional and intellectual starvation wherever it’s found in our world… to see that everyone makes full use of their God given (or if you’d prefer) their innate talents… to not stand in the way of every industrious individual’s progress. When nearly everyone has a purpose in life… feels fully contented with their lot in life… it will become nearly impossible for any terrorist recruiter’s sales pitch to ever gain any traction.

True, that’s a tall order to fill and will take considerable time and effort… but that’s true of all worthwhile endeavors. And the sooner we, as a society wise up, the better.

 

 

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There’s Still So Much More of Our Work to be Done

 

Once again, it’s Labor Day in America… a “holiday” which:

  1. Ushers in the unofficial end of summer.
  2. Reminds students it’s time to return to their classrooms.
  3. Supposedly honors all industrious workers who’ve ever opted in to the once upon a time, time honored, time for money trade-off.

Well, I suppose, two out of three ain’t bad. To elaborate…

Oh, what an inequitable trade off item #3 usually involves.

Oh, what an utterly meaningless holiday this has become. How so?

Well, workers (who can still think for themselves) have become painfully aware of how, typically, their big bosses wallow in their own astronomical, wildly disproportional salaries and perks… how management feels no obligation to pay a living wage, provide job security and offer a comprehensive benefits package (inclusive of health insurance, paid sick / vacation days and pension plans). In some cases, these big shots even shirk their responsibility of providing a hazard-free work environment.

Without a doubt, such woes are closely related to that bloodsucker, who fronts the present-day DC régime (a foul, fetid, festering government / corporate mash-up). Throughout his pathetic, parasitic career, he has, personally, screwed over labor… e.g., stiffed them on paydays, outsourced their jobs and engaged in union busting.

Yet, hypocritically, he feigns outrage over his very own deplorable business tactics… has successfully suckered in his low information, gullible supporters into bogusly believing he’s the “good guy” who will fight to prevent immigrants from “stealing” their jobs.

To emphasize here, he does ALL OF THAT in spite of the fact that immigrants are NOT actually displacing all that many American workers.

You see, what he has failed to mention is how these jobs oft involve FIELDS most Americans would find unappealing. In fact, these jobs LITERALLY CAN INVOLVE FIELDS… the harvesting of fruit and vegetable crops (oft under horrific working conditions). Similar workplace hellholes shackle slave labor to sweatshop sewing machines. Either way, workers toil overtime and work their fingers to the bone while beastly taskmasters (literally?) crack the whip.

SO folks, unless you view these as attractive career opportunities, don’t ever blame immigrants for your having a tough time finding a new job. We should not be envious OF them… we should feel sorrow FOR them. If our society’s priorities weren’t so totally F’d up, instead of ICE agents rounding up and deporting immigrants, federal agents would be driving the reprehensible, slave driver bosses out of America.

I’m sure many of my international readers would concur that my abovementioned woes are hardly unique to America.

I’m sure we, the readers of John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath, would agree his plot presages the horrific, present-day dismal working conditions, crappy wages, workplace violence and societal upheaval.

So what’s a working stiff to do, huh?

Well, the problem solving must begin with a truly enlightened president / world leader, who would NEVER embrace wretched, low road tactics such as fanning the flames of racism. To get totally real here… most joblessness is actually caused by corporate greed, union busting, outsourcing, automation and workers’ lack of training / marketable skills.

No learned leader would ever fight to preserve the abysmal status quo of today’s undereducated and unskilled workforce. Allocating tax dollars to pay unemployed workers, of course, would be still be a necessity BUT how much better life would eventually get were he to also funnel additional funds into programs designed to educate and train his out of work compatriots. Education also must be ongoing… i.e., keep up with each and every new technological advance. In other words, our education does not end until the day each of us dies. For all we know, it doesn’t end even then.

Folks, I saw, first hand, how President Lyndon B. Johnson’s progressively minded government functioned. For four summers (spanning 1963 – 66) my own father, a public school teacher, had applied for and received a generous U.S. government stipend to attend college classes and wound up earning his Masters Degree in Chemistry. Bettering himself resulted in his earning a substantially bigger paycheck… of course, not before teachers had also won the rights to organize labor unions… to collectively bargain for a living wage, benefits and smaller class sizes… to go on strike whenever necessary.

Folks, a strong, healthy, happy, unionized productive workforce plays a major role in making America… indeed, every other nation… great!

This Labor Day… and for as many future Labor Days as it may take… we must remind ourselves that there’s still so much more of our work to be done… and that begins with educating / changing attitudes of governments, management and labor.

Meaningful work, which fully enriches our lives, cannot be ours until governments… not only in America but worldwide… cease and desist from devastating workers’ pay and rights.

Labor Day must, once again, become a true holiday… one, where the powers-that-be wholeheartedly honor each and every trainable person in possession of a strong work ethic… ensure every one of them a living wage, comprehensive benefits package, job security and a hazard free workplace.

 

 

Grate… Not Great (One Quick Limerick #019)

 

 

Grump bullies non-WASPs / non-straights, spews his hate,

Deems rule of law / liberty second-rate,

In big biz world, he’s a glutton,

He’ll melt down, push “The Button”,

That irritant makes america grate.

 

 

You can access more original limericks, poetry and lyrical parodies by clicking onto my poetry category.

 

 

99 Word Blog (#064) Would You Accept a Trump Victory?

 

To paraphrase 3rd Presidential Debate moderator Chris Wallace’s question…

Would you, Donald Trump, accept the voters’ wishes were Hillary Clinton victorious?

To summarize Trump’s circumlocution…

No.

Hillary Clinton was horrified… as was I.

I’ve since asked…

Would you, CommonSenseTom, accept the voters’ wishes were Donald Trump victorious?

Yes… but…

It’d be disheartening knowing that for every TWO passersby I meet, ONE of them likely hates women, LGBTs, non-Christians, ethnic minorities, disabled people AND had permitted Trump to take the wrecking ball to all societal advances we’ve made.

I now ask…

How would you feel about Donald Trump being victorious?

 

 

Cleo, Theo & Cosmo (Bus Stop Chat #003) Alienation

 

 

Even if you’ve missed this fictional series’ previous chats (archived in my “Cleo Theo Cosmo Chats” category) the single paragraph synopsis, below, can quickly get you up to speed.

 

The twenty-something carpenter / homebuilder Cleo, fiftyish Catholic theologian Theo and thirtyish cosmologist Cosmo all call the bustling metropolis of Upland their home. Their similar Friday a.m. work schedules and dependence on public transportation first caused their paths to cross in mid-August ‘16. The punctually late buses usually afford them plenty of time to engage in sugary confection and caffeine buzzed, political and social commentary. From day one, these three newfound friends have established an immediate rapport, respect and resolve to chat on a weekly basis.

 

An earlier than usual, distinctly autumnal coolness has descended upon the city as September’s second Friday, early a.m. commute commences.

This new day, Theo and Cosmo have unintentionally met up at the Go Nuts 4 Donuts bakery while waiting in a somewhat long line. Once the “Hi how are yas” banter subsides the conversation steers towards more “serious” biz.

“I missed not seeing each other last week,” Theo says.

“Yeah, me too. Guess we’re forever at the mercy of early and late running buses.”

“Since Cleo treated us to a bagels and jam breakfast last time I figure it’s my turn to provide the sweets.”

“Well, since I’m ahead of you in line, how about if I buy this week?”

“OK… but since the coffee here is a bit pricy… why don’t I buy my own?”

“Fair enough. Well, at least we’re dealing with an efficient staff… wow… look how rapidly the lines are moving!”

“They do put the ‘fast’ into ‘fast food’. Hopefully, this’ll give us more chat time with Cleo!”

Upon exiting the bakery, they walk the short distance to the bus stop. Even from a block away, they can readily identify their female friend… center seated on the bench… talking animatedly on her smartphone between sips from her thermos’s steaming coffee cup. She’s welcoming whatever warmth will negate the chill in the air… be that assist from her black java or thick blue denim jacket.

The three friends exchange silent, cordial hello waves as the men settle in… assume their customary theologian on the right / cosmologist on the left seating arrangements. While both men tear open and empty sugar packets into their coffee, Cleo completes her call. Cosmo then presents and opens the white paper bag.

“Ta Da! We didn’t discuss, last time, who’d be buying what for our next breakfast… so I chanced it. Inside you’ll find a vast variety of ‘Go Nuts 4 Donuts’ goodies… plain, chocolate covered, powder sugar and cinnamon glazed,” I hope you’re up for a sugar buzz this morning.”

Cleo grins, “You’d better believe it… I’m addicted to such yummy, calorically incorrect decadence.”

Theo, next to dig into the bag adds, “I do hope there’s no 11th commandment.”

While taking a bite out of his powder-sugared selection, Cleo asks, “You mean the one that goes, ‘Thou shalt not worship false junk food gods?’”

Theo chuckles.

As chocoholic Cleo sinks her teeth into her chosen pastry, Cosmo asks her, “So, tell us how your brother and sister-in-law are doing… any plans to fight City Hall?”

“Yep… Al and Liv, with an assist from the ACLU, have obtained a temporary court injunction. The mayor’s Un-Welcome Wagons are now parked. The ACLU believes they’re dealing with closeted, small town, political bigots… that their anti-blight ordinance is aimed squarely at low income minorities… those who can least afford to pay for home repairs. I’d say the mayor’s comply or get your house condemned ultimatum is the epitome of localized Trump arrogance.”

Seeing how this discussion has saddened everyone, Theo tries to cheer things up.

“Cleo, I couldn’t help but overhear your phone conversation… your speaking in Spanish. While I’m bilingual, too, I could never even come close to your fluency.”

Suddenly, her body language becomes undeniably defensive… her facial expression a mix of dejection and indignation.

She practically snarls, “Like… uh… what’s it to you? I suppose you now want to see my papers or something?”

The taken aback priest sits there in jaw dropped silence. Cleo’s eyes dart both left and right. Her friends’ shocked expressions speak volumes. The echoes of her last words have barely died off when her apologetic words cascade forth…

“I’m so sorry, guys. Trump’s ranting and raving against my people, bogusly insinuating that Hispanics are drug lords, addicts, murderers and rapists, has put me on the defensive.

“I’m sorry, too, for unintentionally striking a raw nerve,” adds Theo, “Trump deserves to be charged with committing hate crimes.”

“As do those who he’s emboldened to follow his lead,” Cosmo adds, “Dangerous Donald’s profiling has gotta be tough on all minorities.”

“And that makes life extremely unpleasant and downright dangerous, for my family… for me… for the entire Hispanic community. We’re getting unjustifiably and illegally detained and questioned. Our only ‘offense’, by Trump’s skewed standards, is our higher skin melanin content. And don’t think such profiling could never happen to you, Father… if not for your collar, by now, I’m sure your Mediterranean features would’ve raised at least one law enforcer’s hackles… I mean… you are of Greek extraction, are you not?”

Theo nods yes as Cleo continues her now somewhat subdued rant.

“The irony is all of my living family members are born in the U.S.A. American citizens… and we’re fed up with having to constantly prove it to a Gestapo channeling police force… cops whose main mission has become ferreting out, rounding up and deporting illegals… making life miserable while making points with their superiors. To be sure, here, my family and I do love America’s once upon a time grand vision… where our differences are supposed to meld to make us stronger… but… Adolf Trump’s tirades have totally Mucked up everything for everyone. And btw, I start out spelling that “M” word with the letter “F”. I hope that doesn’t offend either of you.”

Cosmo responds, “Trump is the far bigger obscenity here. What he’s doing, I suspect has already brought America to its breaking point.”

“We may already be at the point of no return,” suggests Theo.

Cleo responds, “My family and I feel the same way. We’re even seriously considering Mexican citizenship, should Donald Trump ever become president. That damned wall he incessantly rants about could work two ways… you know… could also serve to keep that xenophobic bastard and all of his likeminded, rabid rabble out of our lives, too.”

“Although I know it’s a highly unlikely event, I’m constantly looking up to the heavens… wishing some ETs would land and offer me a lift to their home world.”

“Well if they ever do touchdown, let’s pray it’s nowhere near a Trump rally. Those boneheads would easily provoke an interstellar war we’d never be able to win.’”

“Well, it looks like vehicles of a terrestrial origin are now approaching,” Cosmo points out.

Two buses now pull up alongside the littered curb… their lit up route signage indicating that Theo and Cosmo will be leaving Cleo as they had found her this early a.m.… all alone.

“I’m buying breakfast next week,” Theo proclaims as he rises. Just before boarding, he turns to look over his left shoulder. With a grin he shouts above the rumbling diesel engine, “You two have a great day at work and an enjoyable weekend.”

With his “Take care Theo, Cleo,” Cosmo, too, heads off to his bus and climbs aboard.

“See you guys next Friday,” Cleo shouts out and waves.

With time to further mull over her Trump complicated life in solitude, Cleo laments the demise of civil American society. As her ears detect the diesel drone of her in the distance bus, the tears well up in her distant eyes.

 

A note to my readers: My game plan is to post these Cleo, Theo & Cosmo Bus Stop Chats on most, but not all, Fridays.

 

Coventry & Cleveland Un-Covered

As the legend goes, early in the 11th century, Godiva, Countess of Mercia, rode on horseback through the streets of Coventry to make a political, anti-taxation statement… this noblewoman’s long tresses acting as her one and only fashion statement.

Fast forwarding one millennium to our 21st century, as the legend in the making goes, on Sunday, July 17, 2016, 100 women, latter-day Ladies Godiva, participated in Spencer Tunick’s “Everything She Says Means Everything” photo shoot… peacefully protested, au naturel, outside Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena (which, btw, is this week’s “scene of the crime”, HQ of the Republican National Convention).

Tunick’s goal was to toss the photographic equivalent of sabots into the mindless Republican machinery… to sabotage their business-as-usual, paint by the numbers, just phone it in, presidential nomination process… to try to teach a lesson to the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump that he must never presume anything… i.e. never take for granted the millions of people he has offended… i.e., never underestimate the power of women.

In spite of public nudity being illegal in Ohio, 1,800 women (Democrats, Republicans and Indies, alike) had signed up to appear before Tunick’s camera. A small sampling of their rationale for doing so became known via interviews with the Huffington Post, where one Lady Godiva (a.k.a. Republican Jennifer Dienes), who is disgusted with Trump’s bigotry and hostility, had this to say…

“I don’t support the Republican party with Trump at the forefront. There were a few people trying to scare me out of it [posing nude]. A lot of people were saying, ‘My mom is going to kill me!’ But it was presented in a classy, peaceful way. Sometimes you just have to stand up for what’s right. I’m proud of what I did.”

Another Lady Godiva (a.k.a. Deanna Bergdorf), concerned that any gains women and minorities have made could easily be stripped away during a Trump régime, had this to say…

“I fought to hold in my tears as [Tunick] explained that we were gathered together to make a statement against the rhetoric of hatred that’s being spewed out from the Republican party; against the misogynistic, xenophobic, racist, anti-LGBTQ, ableist platform that has defined hating others as an acceptable American lifestyle.”

One cannot help but admire these women who are peacefully fighting back… attempting to weather the tsunami proportioned tidal wave… a.k.a. that Republican / Trump oppression, which Bergdorf so spot on, eloquently outlined above.

Folks, at this point, the easiest thing for me to do would be to link my blog to the Huffington Post in order to more fully flesh out the details to this story… titled…

100 Sheroes Just Posed Nude At The Republican National Convention

However my rationale for not doing so follows…

Firstly… while I, personally, wholeheartedly believe that the human body is neither offensive nor obscene… I still wish to maintain a family friendly blogging website… i.e., one that flies below the MPAA PG-13 rating (no easy task considering the offensive and obscene Trump and his toadies… a.k.a. the win back the Oval Office at all costs, totally unscrupulous GOP hardliners).

Secondly… as the thousand-year-old legend goes, a man named Tom (a.k.a. Peeping Tom) could not resist the temptation of sneaking a peek during Lady Godiva’s ride and, as a consequence (depending on who the storyteller is), was either struck blind or dead. My being named Tom… well… were I to make Tunick’s photos available, I believe I’d be, at the very least, doubly at risk of losing my eyesight.

Ergo… I’ll leave it up to you to rev up those search engines to (at your own risk) sneak a peak at Tunick’s portfolio… to check out the (un)coverage of this anti-Trump protest in Cleveland… a.k.a. New Coventry.

 

Let’s Do The Math

 

Add in paranoid rightwing, xenophobic, false piety,

Subtract civility, amity, tolerance, levelheaded sobriety,

Multiply the fear factor, caused by media instilled anxiety,

Divide further the already too fractured, factional society.

 

On May 5, 2016, a clueless, unworldly passenger aboard an American Airlines jet unjustifiably profiled her seatmate… suspected him of being a terrorist… this all escalating to the point where the accused, Guido Menzio, a renowned, University of Pennsylvania, economics professor was detained and questioned… and the flight was delayed by more than two hours. So why did this all happen?

Just because she didn’t understand the mathematical symbols… the differential equation… Menzio was jotting down on a pad of paper. Just because he was so absorbed in his work that he ignored her small talk. To get down to the actual reason… just because he wasn’t Caucasian enough for her liking.

True, a sensible level of caution in our post 9/11 world is not a bad idea… the key word being sensible. But, think about it for a moment.

If any airline passenger ever has evil intent, would not this person…

ADD in a bit more friendliness… you know… disarm suspicion by “killing” everyone with kindness?

SUBTRACT the aura of suspicion by doing the math at home instead of on the plane?

I think it’s a safe bet to say…

It is those, who no one ever suspects, in the least, who perpetrate terrorist acts that go down as planned.

Considering how Menzio was the injured party in this incident, it’s only fair that I yield the podium to the good professor… let him get in the final word… and… btw… being the consummate mathematician he is… he SUMMED up everything perfectly… Said he…

“Trump’s America is already here.”