Saturday, December 27, 2014

Same As It Ever Was

Michael Franti and Spearhead have released a new song about Eric Garner and the Ferguson protests, and after the grand jury decided not the indict (as expected).  Video below, Same As It Ever Was (Start Today), written by Michael Franti and Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor; also featuring the Agape Choir.

Goodnight Irene

In the youtube below, Goodnight Irene, an award winning short film from director Sterlin Harjo of the 1491s.  With tongue-in-cheek on a few existentialist classics, Sterlin Harjo tells a beautifully poignant, very funny, and "all too painfully real" short story about “3 ships in the night” (so to speak) waiting together in an emergency room serving a poor Native American community.  As an eternity seems to pass, tales are shared and truths emerge … touching the lives of these characters in important ways .. starring Casey Camp-Horinek, Robert A. Guthrie, and Jon Proudstar.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Holiday Hot Tumeric

Hot Tumeric  

(adapted from Dr. Sanjay Gupta's Calming, Creamy Tumeric Tea)


1 1/2 - 2 (8 oz) cups of plain almond milk or cow milk, regular, low-fat, or non-fat (Dr. Gupta's recipe uses almond milk)

1 teaspoon tumeric powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon honey

whipped cream & additional cinnamon sprinkled, a few almonds

Optional:  a shot of amaretto


1.  Heat mug of milk in microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds.

2.  Stir in well, tumeric, ginger and cinnamon.  

3.  Then stir in honey.

4.  Heat in microwave another 30 seconds.

5.  Stir again, well.

6.  If using amaretto, now add the shot or portion thereof.

7.  Add whipped cream, sprinkle a bit more cinnamon, and a few almonds.


I seem to be acquiring a regular taste for this hot drink, and as long as I can dress it up, and with a "less intense" ratio of tumeric to milk, than the good doctor prescribes.  The drink is quite spicy, while creamy and comforting at the same time.  As Dr. Gupta discusses, the tumeric has anti-inflammatory health benefits, among others.  He emphasizes heart-health;  it occurred to me, however, that another consideration could be gum health since it's described as an anti-inflammatory.  Ginger, cinnamon, and honey also have their cited health benefits, along with the hot milk. 

Consider this drink, too, a substitute for hot cocoa, during the holiday season, and especially if it's challenging to find slavery-free hot cocoa mix in your area. 


Adults, you can also dress this holiday hot tumeric up with a shot of alcohol;  amaretto blends in very nicely, and right before you add the whipped cream, a dash more of cinnamon, and some real almonds.  

And I'm sure it goes good with cookies!

I suppose cow milk or whipped cream that is not non-fat, would take this drink out of an entirely heart-healthy category, according to Dr. Gupta.  Though I have no idea what the good doctor (or yours, if you can even see one in the U.S.A.) would advise there, and as far as cookies, alcohol, or gum health, either. 

The almond milk is really good with it, as long as you get a good brand for the almond milk - otherwise, I found regular milk better than poor quality almond milk.  With the good stuff, I used plain, not these flavored kinds like vanilla, etc.

Photo credits: via wikipedia, top, Botanical view of Curcuma longa, second, photographer: John Hill, "Native turmeric in the bush near Cooktown, Queensland, Australia," third, photographer: Simon A. Eugster, "Turmeric rhizome and powder," fourth, photographer: Rajkumar6182, "Turmeric field in an Indian village."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

¿Donde está mi hermano?

In the video below, Where is my brother?, written and sung by Arturo Leyva about the 43 missing students in Mexico, still missing.  Via Vox,
A project called Illustradores con Ayotzinapa (Illustrators with Ayotzinapa) invited artists to paint portraits of the victims, to humanize them as individuals. A musician named Arturo Leyva wrote a song about the students and used the portraits to create a video to accompany his music.

NPR reports that the normally festive and popular holiday, Day Of The Dead has turned somber this year, as the students' whereabouts is still unresolved.

Massive demonstrations have racked Mexico, protesters demanding return of the students alive, with supporting demonstrations taking place in major cities around the world.

Discussion of the missing students in videos below: 

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Through the lens of Ferguson, on Poet Claudia Rankine's book, Citizen: An American Lyric.

She reads an excerpt in the video below:

Where Do We Go From Here?


October 17th is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.  So let's do it NOW.  #EndPoverty.

In the United States, this could be accomplished rather straightforwardly via expansion of the social security system to provide a guaranteed liveable income (a.k.a. basic income guarantee/B.I.G. or unconditional basic income/U.B.I.), along with passage of an improved and expanded Medicare for all.  
In the video below, in 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocates direct abolition of poverty via guaranteed basic income in Where Do We Go From Here - Chaos or Community?

In another powerful video below, Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks out on behalf of direct abolition of poverty via guaranteed basic income, and in his address to the Basic Income Earth Network's 11th International Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, November 4, 2006.  

As blogged before, basic income is not a new idea, with supporters from different political persuasions and proposals for its implementation coming in various forms and amounts.  For the most part, however, BIEN advocates seem to agree that it must be unconditional (without regard to employment or income status or means testing), individual, and liveable. 

A recent article here by Naomi Klein advocating guaranteed basic income.

A video discussion below with Occupy Wall Street organizer and author David DeGraw who coined the now historic phrase, "We are the 99 percent."  He, too, advocates a basic income.  

From Dennis Traynor:
In his new book, The Economics of Revolution, DeGraw writes:
“Having that much wealth consolidated within a mere 1% of the population, while a record number of people toil in poverty and debt, is a crime against humanity. For example, it would only cost 0.5% of the 1%’s wealth to eliminate poverty nationwide. Also consider that at least 40% of the 1%’s accounted for wealth is sitting idle. That’s an astonishing $13 trillion in wealth hoarded away, unused.”

And a 2013 question and answer session with Allan Sheahen, U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network Board Member and author of the book, Basic Income Guarantee: Your Right To Economic Security.


The basic income movement is reportedly gaining momentum, worldwide, with the 2016 Congress for the Basic Income Earth Network to be hosted by South Korea.   The 16th BIEN Congress took place at McGill University in Canada where François Blais, the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, recently announced his support for a basic income.  In Iceland, the Pirates Party is now proposing a guaranteed basic income.  And as blogged earlier, the Swiss will be voting on a guaranteed liveable income, having quickly gathered the requisite signatures for the ballot under Swiss law. 

A pro-business statement for a basic income:

Anonymous made a announcement, too:

Basic income pilots have been successfully implemented in communities ranging from Prince Edward Island, Canada to villages in India. 

On the Canadian pilot:

Why Basic Income? Campaign for a Basic Income Guarantee for PEI from C-BIG PEI on Vimeo.

On the pilot in India:

The 14th Annual North American Basic Income Congress is now scheduled for New York, 2015, with invitations for panel discussion proposals.

With November elections approaching in the U.S., and all the candidates who like to associate themselves with the ideals and vision of Dr. King - and sing his praises on Martin Luther King Day - well, I challenge them to "walk the talk" and outright declare support for his proposition in "Where do we go from here?" - and by strongly calling for direct abolition of poverty in the United States - through immediate passage of a guaranteed liveable income.
"If not now, when?"


Reflections on Columbus Day from John Oliver.


Not still a thing, however, in Seattle this year, where it was outright abolished and replaced by Indigenous People's Day:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Written Notification

To the community, of the community's continuing demise.

Received (minimally) by scores of motorists at the nearest freeway exit.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

People's Climate March

Coverage here and here and here of the People's Climate March and Flood Wall Street action over this past weekend.  Crowd estimates started at 200,000, then, as the crowd continued to swell, ranged from 300,000-400,000 participants in N.Y.C. alone.  1,600 related protests took place around the world - making this the largest climate protest in human history.  Marchers included environmental, health, labor, and indigenous rights organizations - many notables also observed in attendance such as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, scientist Jane Goodall, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, and various U.S. political leaders like Al Gore, Dennis Kucinich, and Senators Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse, among others.  Democracy Now! reports 100 arrests at Flood Wall Street on Sunday.

Some highlights below from twitter, including a highly visible polar bear spotted talking to media at #FloodWallStreet, then arrested, along with 2 Captain Planets.  Two large carbon bubble balloons were carried by the crowd, then confiscated and reportedly popped by NYPD on the horns of the infamous Wall Street bull.  One bubble was reclaimed by activists, repaired and then triumphantly passed around again.

I've included some music tweets (if you'd like relevant sound track while viewing).

Some international photos from Paris, Istanbul, Vietnam, London, and Australia:

Tweets from #FloodWallStreet the following day:

Friday, August 29, 2014


Richie Havens in Bethel, New York for Woodstock's 40th Anniversary. 

Laid To Rest

Michael Brown was laid to rest on August 25th, 2014 in a service attended by thousands of well-wishers including members of Congress, a representative from the White House and Obama administration, renowned civil rights leaders, film director Spike Lee noticeably in attendance, the parents of Trayvon Martin, and the children of Dr. Martin Luther Jr.

Among these many, many people who traveled into Ferguson to pay their respects, hip hop artists Talib Kweli & Rosa Clemente who speak out on Ferguson in this short video clip:


Below, Ferguson residents share the common experience of being racially profiled by police, and in an area where that profiling also provides a major source of funding for the city budget.  At around 8 minutes into the video, residents also confront Mayor Mike Knowles about a city which he has described as having "no racial divide," while the individuals speaking to him obviously feel differently, along with many of the thousands of protesters of all races and backgrounds, and over the last few weeks.


Below, the extended video coverage of the much discussed death of Kajieme Powell (alert: graphic, disturbing images) - a young Saint Louis man, distraught and seemingly suicidal after attending his mother's funeral that day; i.e. he went into the street shouting "Shoot me! Shoot me!" and, indeed, the police very quickly shot him, on the rationale that he was holding some kind of knife, which I understand was a kitchen or butter knife, if you could even see that item in his hand.  This young black man was also shot repeatedly, and then, in an even more surreal moment in the video, the police handcuff his dead body - ever more graphically demonstrating a total failure in human perception with respect to the real risks involved.  (And since obviously a dead body poses no risks requiring handcuffs .. unless we're watching ...  a Steven King thriller?)  It's as if the police are completely on automatic pilot - like Robo Cops - fully divorced from reality.  Rather than responding as the trained peace officers we should be able to expect, with community relations skills, psychology training and deployment of critical thinking.


In which case, what could that scene look like, instead? 

Discussion by Thom Hartman on how U.K. police disarm individuals holding knives, and even machetes;  i.e. for the most part, non-violently - working to first defuse the situation, giving the individual a certain amount of supervised space, versus closing in - which escalates and mounts tension - then engaging in conversation and trying to get the person to voluntarily put down any possible weapon, and before they move in to disarm - in which case, they use non-deadly means such as tasers or pepper spray/mace, not gun fire.

Indeed, lawyer Mike Papantonio, Ring of Fire radio host points out just how rapidly these officers reacted with gun fire to Kajieme Powell - within about 15 seconds of their arrival, he was dead.  He describes this as part of this "Rambo mentality" that we "cook up" like something out of a Bruce Willis or Rambo movie.  It's not based on a realistic assessment of threat leading to an appropriate form of police response.  It not only demonstrates what many describe as a total failure of communication, it shows this total failure of perception.  We're watching police officers - people in our society vested with a tremendous amount of public trust - yet, in this case, they appear to be functioning in the equivalent of a fantasy world - more like a Hollywood action film than real life.

Back in the Michael Brown story, a minor who wasn't armed, and who was, at the most, jaywalking, a grand jury of nine whites and three African Americans now meets to determine whether or not Officer Darren Wilson should be indicted on criminal charges. (And, as also discussed in the Thom Hartmann segment.) 

An indictment requires that nine reach the same conclusion - that Wilson "knowingly caused death to Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager."

The grand jury meets once a week and is expected to need weeks or months to reach a conclusion.

From ABC 7 (includes video at link)
How much justice can we expect coming from a grand jury, since the prosecuting attorney not only decides what evidence is presented, what charges are considered, who testifies, and - to top it off - instructs jurors on applicable law?
"A prosecutor can get whatever he or she wants out of that grand jury," said [law professor Byron Warnken] - and that, he says, makes for perfect cover for a prosecuting attorney, especially one confronted with a racially charged case. He can blame the grand jury for the final decision.

So, Michael Brown's body was laid to rest this week, but what will happen in America, and in the months ahead, with this issue? 

8.29.2014 Editor's Note. This blog piece contains several minor editorial corrections.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#Ferguson Challenge

More comedy and social satire as Jon Stewart returns (August 26th show) with an extended *what is stupid* in mainstream news coverage on the past few weeks in Ferguson.  (And if I didn't have people like Jon and friends to tell me about it, I couldn't otherwise bear to watch it, myself.)


Senior Missouri Correspondent Michael Che gets in on the act, too, as he searches far and wide for a safe place from the "Shoot Me, State" - and starting out first in lovely southern California ..

Are we there, yet, Mainstream News?

John Oliver also takes a good long look at Ferguson and with a youtube currently watched by more than 3,500,000 people. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Heavy metal comedian and social satirist Steve Hughes takes on the growing job crisis and the need for an unconditional basic income.

Myths vs Facts

A wonderful and enlightening presentation by Federico Pistono on an unconditional basic income (U.B.I., a.k.a. Basic Income Guarantee, B.I.G.), and at the Future of Work Summit at NASA Ames Research Park in California, June, 2014.  Also spotted in attendance with some questions for Mr. Pistono, former NAACP President Ben Jealous.

Editor's Note 8.27.2014

For some reason, the comment response button isn't posting my reply to Jack Saturday's comment below.  (Unless it's suddenly going to post it 3 or 4 times later....)  

He mentions recognizing Dr. James Hughes (IEET) and Michael Albert (Z Magazine) in the audience (see comment).  That seems to be correct, though I don't see their name tags.   I looked again more closely at the video and do spot name tags on others asking questions.  Those individuals include Erik Brynjolfsson of M.I.T., Salim Ismail, now with Singularity University, and Technology and Engineering Emmy Award Winner Philip Rosendale of Virtual World "Second Life."  

Jack Saturday, thanks for your comment.  I hope the identification of these cutting edge thinkers inspires others to view the video presentation on guaranteed basic income. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hands Up! Don't Shoot!

Linked in this post and shown below, some of the news coverage of the last couple of weeks in Ferguson, Missouri where unarmed 17 year old Michael Brown was gunned down in the street by police officer Darren Wilson in front of eyewitnesses.  The Saint Louis teen was in town visiting his grandmother just days before beginning college, with an autopsy confirming reports that he had been shot at least 6 times, also showing that he was shot twice by Wilson in the head.  

The teen and a friend were walking in a quiet street when they were trailed by Darren Wilson in a police vehicle and told to get off the street.  Somehow Michael Brown wound up inside the vehicle with the police officer, a struggle ensued, and the teen got away, fleeing the officer, still unarmed, and before he was shot and killed from a distance.  Here, Michael Brown's friend tells press what happened.

As a horrified community gathered on August 9th at the grisly scene, authorities then left the teen's dead body lying in the middle of the street for at least several hours:

One young witness was on twitter when he saw Michael Brown shot and killed, sequentially reporting his observations in real time, as the gun was fired again and again and again into Michael Brown's body, and then, while confined to his nearby building by police, as he continued to witness the slain teen's father arrive and react.
Community leaders have been demanding that the officer in question be arrested for murder and that Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson resign.  Currently, Wilson has been on paid administrative leave, and Wednesday, as Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in town, having promised action, a grand jury has been scheduled to convene that same day in an investigation that could reportedly take months, while a police union representative stepped forward to (ironically) urge respect for Darren Wilson's due process rights.  
A number of civil rights leaders (e.g. Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Philip Agnew of Dream Defenders, among others) have flown into Ferguson, marching and meeting with community residents. 

Michael Brown's parents at a rally in Ferguson:
Some discussion of various issues below by local community leaders and activists:

Protests have been taking place day and night in this Missouri area just outside Saint Louis where most residents are black, yet practically all police officers are white.  Racism is reportedly such an issue in the local police department that one of the few African American police officers in Ferguson, 27 year veteran Captain Ron Johnson, was himself moved to join in with the marching protesters before taking a lead community role urging calm, speaking at a local church gathering, and later seen negotiating order between demonstrators and law enforcement authorities.  

Photo from a livestream:

Some Ferguson protest scenes below, including a makeshift voter registration table urging civic involvement.  Protesters also turned out the following morning to help clean up from protests the night before.

The raised matter of calm appeared questionable, as most protesters have been peaceful, with the issues they demand justice on, quite legitimate.  On looting, interestingly enough, Walmart electronics was reported as a major Ferguson target - perhaps what really inspired this massive militarized show of force - against people for things - not even against looters, but citizens exercising their Constitutional rights.  

Indeed, many of these protesters were observed protecting smaller businesses seemingly before the police did so, the police at that point, seemingly more concerned with the marchers - any looters, by then, the raison d'être for quashing innocent protesters' Constitutional rights. 

Below, Ferguson Market shown protected by "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!" protesters:

In the tweet below, community members peacefully but firmly protect a local beauty business:

I don't know if the following photo shows the same beauty business, or a different small beauty business, but this later tweet shows police in charge of guarding a local beauty business,
Walmart, now shown below, after massive militarized police response was summoned, and while meanwhile, over in Ohio, a 21 year old Walmart customer is shot and killed by a policeman in the store.

Protests against Michael Brown's killing spread quickly throughout the U.S., from New York City, where numbers swelled considerably, to a light brigade over a midwestern highway, a silent Pacific Northwest vigil, and captured with a defiant fist thrust in the air, to New Orleans where protesters (seen in the youtube below) entered the police department itself vigorously chanting, "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!" - while holding their hands up in surrender - and expressing the unified sentiment of this coast-to-coast outcry - that an unarmed individual who had, at the most, been jaywalking, had, for all purposes, been summarily executed for doing so, in the middle of that street, in the United States of America.  Most certainly, among reasons, because he was black, and the police officer, a white racist.

The racists of all racists seemed to agree, declaring with their usual ugliness that they were heading into Ferguson, and that they were fundraising for Wilson:

In all fairness to descriptions of public sentiment, the Pew Research Institute released poll results showing that whites tend to view race as an all-too-pervasive emphasis in the Ferguson story, while blacks tend to view race as all-too-relevant to the issues.

Here, I'm not sure what happened to all the other groups.  The poll also does not indicate, on the "face of things," whether or not subjects saw their own due process rights at issue in discussion (and as to what must surely and also concern penalties for jaywalking).  

For a great deal of mainstream coverage centered on the growing militarization of police departments around the U.S., and as the police response in Ferguson often resembled more of a military response to demonstrators protected under the First Amendment, than an initial response to angry looters and occasional bottle throwers.  For example, while some certainly resembled police officers (engaged in a questionable crackdown nevertheless, along with now widely criticized police training),

others, like county police, appeared virtually indistinguishable, at a close distance, from U.S. armed servicemen setting foot in .. perhaps Iraq?  The uncomfortable collective sentiment, that they were being set down, this time, say, not on foreign soil, but amidst their very own fellow Americans .. and to quell Constitutionally protected and legitimately growing dissent.  

In the meantime, more journalists were cursed, threatened, and arrested, and Amnesty International observers came in,

All, too, as *armed forces* shot at peaceful protesters and journalists, among other projectiles, late Cold War era tear gas canisters landing on residential streets and front yards, and as citizens fled, collected, photographed, tweeted, and analyzed the remnants.

The short end of that tale that, not only is this stuff "no joke," to begin with, but that stuff was phased out by the U.S. in favor of "safer gas," though it landed in the hands of Yemini security forces, too, who used it against spring 2011 protesters "causing extreme reactions including convulsions and muscle spasms. The physical effects among protesters were so severe that they initially believed they were being hit with nerve gas."

So went the response in Ferguson, Missouri to justifiable community outrage, and even as the majority of U.S. protesters were non-violent, with many restoring any needed order themselves. A curfew, also known as martial law, was imposed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon under wide spread criticism, opposed and then removed, while the National Guard was also summoned in.

The hauntingly eloquent J. Cole Michael Brown tribute, Be Free, that has gone viral: