The pictures of the Ukraine invasion are horrific, aren’t they? The invasion has me thinking about Iraq and a pre-emptive war that had neither rhyme nor reason. A war based on lies, only there weren’t any pictures, except for those approved by Cheney, Bush, and Rice. Pictures of Iraq were not in everyone’s living room: pictures of the wounded on the battle field, pictures of the dead coming home. Not like Vietnam. The US war mongers learned during Vietnam not to show pictures of war. Johnson admitted that it was the pictures of war on the news in everyone’s living room, every night, that ended that war. For Iraq, embedded reporters were the answer. The excuse was the un-embedded reporter would harm the security of the troops, which is utter bullshit. The average human response to real (not a movie) carnage, in your living room, is: Make. It. Stop.
Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine is a war crime, as great a war crime as the United States invasion of Iraq. Pictures of what is happening in the Ukraine are on T.V. They’re on social media. Americans and human beings all across Europe are screaming, “Do something!” “Help these people!” The powers-that-be are looking for some kind of leverage that will make Putin stop. Unfortunately, the usual tactics — economic sanctions rapidly gaining in severity, military aid, guns, bombs, missiles, and a goodly portion of the world united against the invasion —don’t seem to be working. The threats are making him angrier and angrier, and like any cornered mad dog, he will strike back and go for the kill. Noam Chomsky, and I’m paraphrasing here, said we either reward him for bad behavior or end up in a terminal war. As I write this, there is no embargo on Russian gas, the stated fear being, that gas prices will increase even more across Europe and the United States. Of course, gas prices can easily be kept under control with a windfall tax, and price controls, but that’s not going to happen because the global economy is controlled by fossil fuels and fossil fuels will lobby us and the planet into extinction before they give up a cent of profit.
35% of the EU’s gas supply comes from Russian. 1/3 of that gas goes through pipelines in the Ukraine. Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine isn’t just about gas though. Of equal significance are Putin’s issues with NATO’s expansion into countries that were once part of the Soviet Union (conservative media disagrees) Five of those countries border Russia, and Putin has made clear that he believes he is being surrounded in order to be cut off. He could be right. Hegemony is the name of the game, and we the people are little more than pieces on the game board. There is no doomsday plane to carry us to safety. Are you familiar with the doomsday plane? The plane was built to withstand nuclear attack, and to carry the president, and whoever else is deemed important enough to survive a nuclear attack, to safety. As I write this I’m thinking the way I synthesize information — following the trail down the rabbit hole, connecting this to that, reasoned thought, logical argument, endless research — feels fairly useless when staring down nuclear annihilation. What exactly is the point?
I am tired of man and his wars. I am tired of government, ours and the rest of the world’s, that represent the economic needs of multi-national corporations before the needs of humanity and planet. I am tired of what is essentially a game of one upmanship, a vying for power, that has brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. I am enraged that any man or woman has the power to destroy the entire world with the push of a button. (And no I’m not blaming Biden for Ukraine, so please don’t write me and tell me he inherited this mess. I’ve been on the planet 60 plus years and it strikes me that every president inherits a mess.) That innocent Ukrainians are being driven from their homes, their country, and slaughtered in the streets as I write this; that ANY innocent people, in ANY country, are being driven from their homes, their country, and slaughtered in the streets, is flat out evil. The defense industry is chortling with glee over the profits to be made.
To all who take a stand for Humanity and the planet: We are sacred, howling resistance.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools.
Political Witch: Smart Crone Talking
Photo: Italian pianist Davide Mortarelli performs for Ukrainian refugees at the border in Medyka, Poland.
To send humanitarian aid to the Ukraine - link below.
Tech Billionaire, Mark Benioff, bought Time Magazine and Time Ventures in September 1981. Mark Benioff is an investor in Musk’s SpaceX, tweets mad love for Elon, and refers to Elon as a visionary. Like most tech billionaires, Benoit holds true that tech and business can save the planet, even though the capitalist system that allowed him to become so rich is destroying both the planet and human beings. Like most tech billionaires, Benioff is obsessed with climate change and throwing pots of money into a variety of technologies to stave off environmental collapse. In an opinion piece for the NY Times, Mr. Benioff proposed a new capitalism – he wrote:
“When we finally start focusing on stakeholder value as well as shareholder value, our companies will be more successful, our communities will be more equal, our societies will be more just and our planet will be healthier…”
Hmmmm. Capitalism is first and foremost about profit and return on your investment. The idea that you can spin something as vicious and voracious as capitalism into a service for the greater good is ludicrous. Any fool knows billionaires control the media and will spin whatever, however, in order to keep the system, that made them so rich, intact. Ergo: new capitalism. Softer, kinder, we care. Look at how much money we’re throwing at the climate.
The fawning editorial in Time magazine, listing the whys and the wherefores Musk was chosen as person of the year, paints Musk as a dark, brooding, modern day cowboy; a misunderstood genius whose work and inventions, particularly the Tesla and space travel, are driven by his desire to create a better world for mankind. What the fawning editorial does not say is that Musk did not invent electric cars and that Nissan, Volkswagen, Ford, and Chevrolet, sell more electric cars than Tesla. What the fawning editorial did not say was that Musk is anti-choice, anti-union, anti-childcare, and pays his factory workers less than other automobile companies. What the fawning editorial did not say was that Musk has received massive government subsidies but is against subsidies for the poor who were devastated by Covid. What the fawning article did not say was that Musk’s net-worth increased by $150 billion during the pandemic – a gain of over 600%.
The fawning editorial concludes, “….government dysfunction has delivered more power and responsibility to business. Progress is about steering capital allocation away from government to those who will be good stewards, rather than mostly old white men playing by their own rules while society gets left behind.”
Last I checked tech was run by young, skateboarding, white boys playing by their rules – angling for more freedom from government regulation, but still entitled to federal monies and massive tax deductions. As per the fawning editorial, those rules the iconoclastic tech boys (Musk) are making up, or refusing to follow, are ok because they’re not leaving society behind. Tech exists for the betterment of mankind. Pack your bags babe, we’re going to Mars!
Clearly the whole point behind Musk being person of the year was to position Tech as climate savior. Bezos, Musk, and Gates are investing pots of money in ways to reduce carbon dioxide. Gates is about nuclear power, your own personal back yard nuclear reactor, and Goddess know what Bezos is up to. Capture technologies are of particular interest to Musk, even though trees are the most efficient carbon capture machines on the planet. The point is technological advances are not going to stop or stave off climate change. Climate Science is adamant that the best way forward is working with Nature, to look to Nature for solutions, and fundamentally change the way we use our freely given resources.
We have the means to create a sustainable planet. (links below) We have the means to work with what’s happening and turn it around. But, there’s no profit in it.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Katherine Manaan
Middle Aged Woman Talking
Political Witch – Smart Crone Talking
Art: Malin Ostlund
Links for todays post:
Of course they told them they couldn't go home. It's high season for scented candles. If you go home you'll be fired, they were told. Not true! a spokesperson for Mayfield Candle insisted. I believe the workers. I remember 9/11 when people were ordered to stay at their desks rather than leave the building. A friend of mine defied the order and left and is alive because of it. I am thinking of the horrific shirtwaist fire where the windows and exits were locked and women leapt to their deaths. The point is no matter what the cause of the tragedy - human or nature - profit always overrides the needs of humanity. The job and the output of said job always overrides the needs of humanity. And now, he said-she said begins. The lawyers are circling. T.V. reporters also, looking for the "get," because there's a great deal of profit to be made from this tragedy. From any tragedy, because even tragedy is monetized. Tragedy is a great source of cash. I am wishing that every cent of that profit went to the survivors but it won't.
Once upon a time in the late 70's, sitting on a stoop in Manhattan getting stoned with my best friend. We were discussing the fact that all life was being reduced to dollars and cents by the powers that be. We were discussing the inevitable over-turn of Roe because the boys, and the girls who worshipped the boys' God, would never let it stand. Religion and capitalism, two systems power that had been eyeing each other across the ballroom for years, with a spattering of inter-marriage here and there, decided it was to time to dance. And dance they did. Schlafly stopped ERA - you'll have to go to the bathroom with men. Heritage Foundation was established and Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute. Paul Weyrich, one of the founders of the Heritage Foundation, went on to establish ALEC. Carefully organized, with money to burn, staying under the radar, and using divisiveness - the greatest tool EVER created by man for man - rabid conservatives got exactly what they wanted. Money and profit taking precedence over the needs of humanity and the planet, and an evangelical supreme court. And its all wrapped up in God's will and the will of God is mysterious and not for human beings to understand. People will do whatever they need to do, and believe whatever they need to believe, to feel safe.
Tornadoes hitting Kentucky were not the will of God but the result of climate change. That the tornado hit the candle company was also not the will of God; tornadoes know neither rhyme nor reason and aren't famous for compassionate choice. Someone is no doubt going to write me and say, “well they might have died if they’d gone home.” To which I respond, “but they were home,” and no I don’t expect everyone to understand that comment.
My heart is with the survivors; my heart is with those who lost loved ones. My heart aches.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools.
Smart Crone Talking: RE: Amy Coney Barrett
When I was writing politics some 15 years ago, I did a series titled “Woman Against Women,” examining the voting records of elected Republican women, rising Republican female stars, and the who and the what behind their rise to structural power. I took a great deal of heat for the title, the thrust of the criticism being women need to support each other, not rip each other apart. I was also told the title should have been woman against humanity, not woman against women. I did not, I do not, agree. Women can be and are as vicious to other women as patriarchy, especially conservative women, in the name of traditional values. Serena Joy lives and she is about to take her place on the Supreme Court. The judiciary, both federal and state, is now stacked with evangelicals, and American democracy is about to be fundamentally re-made according to their gospel, their God, and their Jesus.
With the passage of Citizen’s United, the United States, morphed from evil corporacracy – government of, by and for the corporation – into the even more evil Plutocracy - government of, by, and for the wealthy. Neo-liberalism gave us coporacracy and coporacracy has given us Plutocracy. Watching the sham and outright power grab, that was the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings, Republicans argued that democrats were attacking religion and Democrats argued that Republicans were attacking humanity. Sheldon Whitehouse took the argument, out of the either/or, this-or-that, frame by making it unmistakably clear, with visual aids no less, that Plutocracy was behind the nomination and subsequent ramming through of Amy Coney Barrett. That should have been the headlines, that should still be the headlines; the sharp, utterly transparent feed between Plutocracy and evangelicals, which in a sane, reasonably intelligent world would trigger a sane and reasonably intelligent conversation about how to defeat dark money. Biden’s son is a distraction, distraction works well, Schafly single-handedly defeated ERA by telling women they’d have to go to the bathroom with men. ERA was about equal pay and equal choice, and had virtually nothing to do with going to the bathroom with men. Economic change brings social change and social change is more terrifying, more threatening, to the masses than states burning to the ground, which is why divineness is such an effective weapon for taking control of and changing the conversation.
I am voting for Biden but the fact that I am voting for Biden is not going to change the fact that the Supreme Court and state judiciaries are stacked with evangelicals. That Coney Barrett has no agenda is ludicrous. Any evangelical’s job is to create their God’s kingdom on earth. The idea that judges aren’t policy makers is even more ridiculous. You make law – that establishes policy. Yes, I hear rumors that Democrats are going to expand the court as payback for the Republicans’ bad behavior, but I seriously doubt it, and I am also keenly aware of how long that’s going to take and the damage that will done in the interim. What the Democrats are focused on is getting drump out no matter what it takes. What the Democrats are focused on is flipping the house. Both vitally important goals, goals I actively support and am working towards, but even if Democrats get drump out and flip the house that’s not going to change the fact that the Supreme Court and state judiciaries are stacked with evangelicals, and any policy change, any change to the law, will be passed, or not, through the judiciary. P.S. If you think an evangelical/ plutocratic viewpoint isn’t going to frame the final decision, I have bridge to sell you.
My best friend Frank, who I’ve known for over 30 years, tells me I have to take my victories where I find them, but I suck at that because I’m too busy seeing the big picture. Frank is much more positive than I am; he finds light and I am the voice of doom and gloom. He has a Libra rising, of course he finds the light. I am Scorpio, a water sign and I live between the lines. I was delighted to watch Savannah hold the orange one’s feet to the flames but it still felt like a little too little, a little too late. Every social issue, every issue of civil unrest, every crime against nature and humanity, is rooted in an economic system that has the majority on their knees with numbing worry and throw-up-on-the-floor-fear. What with the pandemic and people, jobs, and businesses dying, people are so scared and freaked out, it’s pretty damn hard to see the big picture and why would you want to? Because it’s so fucking grim. I am of mind and heart that if I am genuinely aware of what’s happening, no matter how shitty, and if I don’t try to make it something it’s not, I can find a way through. This entails stepping outside the frame, the expected; this entails a willingness to develop another type of consciousness entirely. A consciousness rooted in life force, in the earth, in humanity, not some bloodless creation.
Human beings are more important than a rich man’s profit. The evangelical stacking of the courts will support every policy that benefits the corporation and its plutocratic kings. The plutocrats will finance elected officials who support the creation of theocracy. This is not my God; this is not my Goddess, and I will not be quiet. Talk back my darlings.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools.
Political Witch – Smart Crone Talking
Art: Kristan Kwan
"Henchman." Gayle King got her panties in a knot over Pelosi calling drump supporters henchman. An "egregious," remark, divisive and upsetting. Pelosi, talking about the fact that drump has no respect and no understanding of the constitution, referred to drump's supporters in government as henchmen. Ms King jumped on the word henchman. Perhaps she thinks one democrat holding another democrat's feet to the fire demonstrates her journalistic integrity. That worked so well with Al Franken (scarcasm)
Perhaps Ms King thinks that divisive language is why the country is so polarized.
Not the fact that 200,000 people have died from Covid under drump's watch, environmental law has been completely eviscerated, the west coast is on fire, drought is rampant, the US health care system is one of the worst in the world, children are shot in school, racism is rampant, the economy is in the toilet, drump's stacked the courts with evangelicals, and has appointed an evangelical christian woman to the supreme court who is will destroy every bit of progressive (read humane) legislation that has been passed since the the 1950's.
The body of my beloved country, my beloved humanity and beloved planet are dying an ugly, painful death. People have no money, people are being throwing out of their homes, homelessness is on the rise, an utter sense of powerlessness permeates the collective, fascism is an absolute reality, and Ms King, chose to focus on a hang nail. That my darlings is what pathological - they go low, we go high- looks like, which is right up there with bad compromise.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools.
Katherine Manaan - Smart Crone Talking
Roe has been overturned. Know the women, the unseen faces, who've been working tirelessly to take bodily autonomy away from other women. They are Christian Fascists and in the process of creating a world that fits their religious views. This is an old old post form 2015, but it was clear the writing was on the wall. I took a great deal of crap for writing a series entitled woman against women. Too divisive I was told. But there is no happy medium here, no balance no compromise. Bodily autonomy is an essential right.
The nationwide juggernaut of anti-abortion legislation we are witnessing, is clearly part of a perfectly coordinated and precisely executed strategy to chip away at abortion rights at the state level. It’s quite brilliant actually, why take on abortion at the federal level where a win is not guaranteed when with the right language in the right states, a win is guaranteed. This is the thinking of Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “You don’t have to overturn Roe to actually make progress at state level,” she said. The point is to make Roe “crumble under its own weight and become irrelevant.” This is why all the legislation you’re seeing is geared towards making abortion, a heart wrenching and remarkably hard choice to begin with, as horrifically difficult and humiliating as possible.
AUL, the legal wing of the pro-life movement and Charmaine Yoest, its President and CEO for the past three years, are players behind the bills for pre-abortion ultra-sounds, trans-vaginal ultrasounds, forced viewing of an ultra-sound, abortion waiting periods, parental notification, required viewing of state established anti-choice websites, re-defining gestation time, the question of fetal pain, abortion causes breast cancer lies, required pro-life counseling, and clinic regulations so restrictive that clinics have to close their doors.
The effectiveness of AUL's bills, like the effectiveness of ALEC's bills, AUL's favored big brother, is due in large part to the language, what is called “model language” and that language is spelled out in AUL’s annual report, Defending Life: Proven Strategies for a Pro-Life American. Once the bill is written, and AUL will provide lawyers to help, it’s just a matter of getting it into the hands of an anti-choice elected official, in a state friendly to anti-abortion measures, to move it through the legislature. Defending Life just happens to rate the states friendliest, and not so friendly, to anti-abortion legislature.
AUL under Charmaine Yoest put together the report, The Case for Investigating Planned Parenthood, which reads a lot like my divorce papers wherein my ex-husband described my daily Buddhist chanting as “strange rites and rituals involving loud noises and loathsome odors.” Along with accusing Planned Parenthood of misusing federal funds, which is impossible as Planned Parenthood is audited every year due to the Hyde Amendment, the report accuses the organization of “assisting those engaged in prostitution or sex trafficking,” “failure to report criminal child sexual abuse,” “willingness to provide women with inaccurate and misleading information,” and “willingness to refer to substandard clinics.” It also accuses Planned Parenthood and its affiliates of plotting to defeat common sense federal and state laws and legislation meant to protect women and families in order to “enrich their bottom line with attorney fee awards.”
The investigation was opened in September 2011, by the vehemently pro-life Cliff Stearns, (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Having had the honor of working with first responders I already knew who Stearns was; he was the man who decided that the names of the men who for months on end dug for bodies in the toxic wreckage of the World Trade Center and desperately needed medical care as a result, should be checked against all terrorist lists when they applied for aid under the Zadroga Bill.
On January 31st, 2012, Susan G. Komen announced that they could no longer fund Planned Parenthood as they were under federal investigation and their new guidelines outlawed funding any organization under state or federal investigation. Keep in mind the investigation began in September of 2011, Komen was defunded in 2012 so the guidelines had to have been written after the investigation into Planned Parenthood started. The loudly anti-choice Karen Handel, who wrote the new guidelines, was hired in April, 2011. That someone so loudly anti-choice and openly against Planned Parenthood was hired as a senior vice president responsible for federal and state advocacy efforts speaks volumes to Komen’s receptivity to the anti-choice movement.
A married mother of five, a breast cancer survivor, a high-powered career – she testified against Sonia Sotomayor – Charmaine looks like the person you sold doughnuts with to raise money for your child’s class trip and comes across as the kind of reasonable, rational woman you’d believe if she warned you away from the produce at the store on the corner of Elm and Maple, in favor of the produce at the store on Main. Her appearance, her demeanor, her way of answering every question as if she is protecting and empowering women, perfectly masks the true thrust of the pro-life movement namely the harassment, coercion, and intimidation of women and the absolute annihilation of women’s reproductive freedom and choice.
Charmaine Yoest is one of the female faces of the moral authority that is Patriarchy. She is a woman against women.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Kat Manaan MAWT