Thursday, January 28, 2021
Monday, January 25, 2021
Happy Summer To All
Past Project and News of Visit to Florida
Thanks for all the materials and contributions to our photo album for Aunt Audrey of Florida. The photo book turned out great with many photos covering the entire family. Aunt Audrey loved it.
We spent an afternoon with Audrey, Barbara and her children (David and Melody), Diane & Phil and their children (Joe and Jennifer), and Linda & Chuck (with Andrew and Chester). It was a wonderful visit, but too short a time.
It is exciting to learn that our extended family has grown in numbers with two new members. Stephen Taylor in July of 92 and Jennifer Marie Kirby in August 92.
Reasons to Celebrate
We’ve got good reasons for a celebration, now lets have one. A party is planned for Saturday, October 3, 1992 at noon (to whenever) at Duff Park in Penn Hills.
Directions to the Park and Party
Take the Penn Hills exit off of the Parkway East. Take the exit which blends into Rodi Road. Follow Rodi Road and turn LEFT off of Rodi Road onto Duff Road. The corner of Rodi and Duff has Alway Tires, Ryan Auto Glass and Newport Square.
Follow Duff Road up a long hill, and at the crest of the hill at a baseball field, make a sharp left turn. The road is before the school and beside the tennis courts. This road leads directly to the Park Pavilion and our party.
If Uncle Joe’s family wold bring deserts and Aunt Margaretmary's family would bring salads, Uncle Leo’s family will do the rest.
Please RSVP before September 25 and if you are unable to attend, please send news and pictures.
Love, Aunt Audrey
Sunday, January 24, 2021
Monday, January 18, 2021
Subject: My thoughts on MLK day and beyond
Martin Luther King was Angry and So Am I
As I sit here in the prelude to Martin Luther King Day I am angry, frustrated and depressed. This morning I tuned into our church service only to be advised that while we, as a predominately white church, were singing some black spirituals this was not to be seen as an appropriation of 'blackness' and that we shouldn't be ashamed to do so. But why should we ever have to be reminded of such a thing. Singing another culture's songs should always be seen as a celebration of that culture's traditions and a spreading of understanding. It made me upset insofar as it was just one more example of the current trend being imposed on us to apologize for the accident of being born 'white'. I refuse to be ashamed of who I am. I am, however, ashamed and deeply saddened by what many whites have done both historically and currently to people of color both in this nation and around the world.
Yes, "Black Lives Matter", but so do Palestinian and Afghani and Syrian and Iraqi and Yemeni and Iranian and Indonesian and Congolese and Sudanese and Libyans and Venezuelans and Hondurans and Cubans and all of the other people of the world which we Americans have been directly and indirectly complicitly involved in murdering – and not just historically, but at this very moment in the support of corporate greed and the expansion of empire. And, yes, this is an equal opportunity killing by Americans of all races and creeds, regularly celebrated in our corporate media as some perverted form of the defense of freedom. But freedom for whom?
What we call freedom in this nation is not freedom in any real sense of the word. It is an illusory meme draped over the our corporate killing ground to give us comfort while living in violent kleptocracy run by oligarchs and plutocrats whose only concern is grabbing everything possible regardless of the cost in human and environmental destruction. They succeed by controlling what we are allowed to know and how we are allowed to know it. They own the media which controls the propaganda which we are daily fed and they knowingly feed it to us in a manner to insure that we mere 'consumers' will always have reasons to hate one another – but never 'our betters'. Thus, our media minders insure that class issues are never allowed to rise to the surface of the discussion. We are always forced instead into issues of culture, race, gender or religious differences that are intended to separate rather than unite us.
One of the ways of doing this was devised by the CIA propaganda apparatus. That was to promote the idea that anyone suggesting that a conspiracy might exist from within the government was a "conspiracy theorist" and then equating such a person with being nothing more than a fringe loony. The problem is that there have been many actual historical conspiracies engaged in by high governmental officials of the United States – many by operatives of the CIA – which have been well documented – and they continue to this day. The reasoning, of course, is that by creating the 'brand' conspiracy theory as a loony tune concept would eliminate any possibility of actual high-level conspiracies from being exposed. And, for the most part, this has worked exactly as planned.
This is not to suggest that every conspiracy proposed is real or that some persons proposing them are not crazy as loons. This is what gives the whole scheme credibility. We know, for instance, that Bush's Iraq War started as the result of an actual conspiracy on the part of the Bush administration, planned well before 9/11, to 'cook the books' so to speak by creating fictitious evidence and by funneling false information to Judith Miller of the New York Times to gin up popular support for a devious and terrible undertaking. But even before that, 9/11 was also used as an excuse for attacking Afghanistan in another attack planned long before 9/11 in an effort to drive out the Taliban because they had refused to agree to a proposed pipeline through their nation which would have benefitted Halliburton then chaired by Richard Cheney. This too was a conspiracy, though never touted as such by the media. Thus, 9/11 was an extraordinarily useful tool for the start and continuation to two never-ending illegal wars of choice which have resulted in the deaths and injuries to literally millions of people in multiple nations since 2001.
The CIA has been involved in literally hundreds of conspiracies of various natures since its founding at the end of World War II including the smuggling of heroin and cocaine from Southeast Asia and South and Central America into the U.S. But these are never discussed in polite company nor, heaven forbid, on mainstream media. There is the current conspiracy, operating in the open, to overthrow the legitimately elected government of Venezuela and the one just defeated where Honduras took back its legitimate government following an overthrow by the CIA assisted by Hillary Clinton's State Department. There was the conspiracy following World War II to save many high-level Nazi officers and scientists by moving them to South American, the U.S. and parts of Europe where they would be secure and available for our use. But we don't like to discuss this too much.
I could go on and on, the list is almost endless. There is the fabricated case against Julius Assange and Wikileaks for which Assange is still being tortured in Britain for the crime of publishing material he was handed – something the New York Times regularly gets away with as they and he should. But because Assange released information which was embarrassing to the United States he must be severely punished if not murdered. And on, and on, and on . . .
And now, as a result of the assault on the Capitol, Joe Biden is proposing a new Domestic Terrorism law to supplement the already terrible Patriot Act which gave widely broad surveillance powers to the national security state. This is an awful idea which was, as with the Patriot Act, already in the official pipeline prior to the Capitol assault. The official excuse is the need to go after right wing vigilante militarism. But what the powers that be really fear is not the right, they are entirely comfortable with fascism in its various forms. What they fear is the progressive left because it is the progressive left that is willing to call out the Democratic Party establishment for the neoliberal corporate posers that they are.
The Democratic Party establishment as well as the 'liberal' mainstream media have firmly and thoroughly aligned themselves with the national security state. At this juncture there is essentially no separation between the two. It now appears that at least half of the commentators on CNN and MSNBC are former or current members of the FBI, CIA, NSA, Justice Department, Defense Department or other military or security agencies. The primary bastion of liberal news, the New York Times has long been a semi-official conduit of propaganda from the CIA as is NPR. Sadly the right wing media and the Republican Party are no better. They just spew a different brand of similar prowar pro-surveillance propaganda aimed to keep their particular audience angry and inflamed against the left.
So where does this all leave us? It does, I believe, leave us in a form of Orwellian hellscape where nothing is true and everything subject to distorted propaganda. If one dares question the prevailing dogma he or she is charged with being a "conspiracy theorist" and thus a "nut case" unworthy of consideration. And now that private monopolies such a Google, Facebook and Amazon are being permitted to disappear any and everyone they chose from the Internet dissenting voices of whatever stripe are at great risk. The probability of a new Domestic Terrorism Law threatens to clamp down and dampen dissident views even more. These certainly make it appear that the United States is on the cusp of becoming a purely fascist society in the most horrendous Orwellian way imaginable – not by soldiers stationed on the street corners, but by very effective thought control managed by corporate overlords and their political heiring's with a hard-right Christian fundamentalist military standing guard in the background.
I don't know about you but the prospect of this makes me very, very sad and very glad to be old. Perhaps you noticed that I made no mention of the imminent global climate catastrophe in this piece. That was no accident. I did so because in this scenario there is simply no possibility that the powers that be will take any meaningful action – even if such action is possible – to ameliorate the coming destruction of life on planet Earth, at least life so far as we know it.
So as I write this, now in my late seventies, I realize that I have now lived through the highlight period post-capitalist wonder in the world. Coming out of the Great Depression in the 1930s and 1940s and following the horror of World War II there was an optimism that humankind had embarked on a new and more enlightened course in the world – that prosperity for all could be at hand. And yet here we are now, a scant 70 or so years later looking at an Orwellian present and desolate future if there will be a future for humanity at all. How could it be that we have allowed our so-called civilization to collapse in on itself so catastrophically so quickly? How can it be that we imposed on ourselves a system of greed and self-interest to the detriment of all life to take control of our very existence? In the end it is nothing less than a form of self-immolation. It is the Icarus myth writ to a civilizational level. Who now will be left to write the obituary for humanity?
"You're not to be so blind with patriotism
that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong,
no matter who does it or says it."
- Malcolm X
Mark Rauterkus Mark@Rauterkus.com
Friday, January 15, 2021
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
Saturday, January 09, 2021