The National Anthem…

The National Anthem…

The National Anthem…

…does not give me or anyone the Right to protest, to free speech, worship or not worship, be secure in my home and possession. That right is expressed through the constitution, the law and my penchant to defend it absolutely.

The Star Spangled Banner is not a law or a founding document.

I praise this nation when it acts in the interests of humanity and condemn it when it does not.

The same people complaining about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s sit down protest are also the same people who support the Confederate Flag.

The same people who support the Confederate Flag claim this nan went to war to free the slaves…aaaaagainst the people flying the…I can’t say it again.

The national anthem is a song. it is not, however, a racists song, despite taking aim at mercenaries and former slaves,  a unit of which prevailed in a fight against the author, Francis Scott Keys, weeks before the poem was written. Keys, however, was very much a man of his times, pro-slavery and anti-abolitionist.

The Star Spangled Banner was written a 1/4 century after the constitution was ratified. So was “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” but we don’t recite poems about Ichabod Crane at ball games.

Ball games are now sovereign and holy national events requiring a recitation of an oath of loyalty to the nation?

The only way to be loyal to the nation is to regularly recite that oath at least once a week?

If you watch the anthem on television and don’t get off the couch, is that a protest or just you being a hypocrite?

We hear constantly that protest should be peaceful. What is more peaceful than sitting quietly? Maybe it is just protest the Right hates, unless it is for guns or against Planned Parenthood. Or is it that someone had the guts not to simply bend over and quietly accept injustice. Or is it just people of color they don’t like, especially if they get all uppity and stuff?

Protest is patriotic. It is direct action to correct the people’s government. Therefore Colin Kaepernick, recognizing an injustice, was acting as a patriot.

Incidentally, protest should not aim to be peaceful. It should aim to be effective. Whether a protest by the people is peaceful or not is a decision made by the state, authorities or an oppressive power. The protest’s task is to address obstacles to its effectiveness. 

You do realized you are being used? Right? Give yourself that much credit…

You do realized you are being used? Right? Give yourself that much credit…

You do realized you are being used? Right? Give yourself that much credit…


Media bad. Media very bad. Media…that’s the refrain from, well, the Media, and they are laughing at you all the way to the bank. Actually, you’re driving them there. Let me explain.

Ann Coulter today was on the Sean Hannity program, both quoted Breitbart in support of Donald Trump. Sean Hannity is on ABC and FOX at the same time, despite that they are so-called competitors. The head of Breitbart News, a media organization is now running trump’s presidential campaign. Hannity admitted last week to being an advisor to the Trump run, then uses his corporate network TV and radio show as a near endless positive media commercial for Trump. Hannity is primetime. a 30 second commercial in primetime on FOX runs about $20,000 for 30 seconds, or $40k/minute. In an average 40 minute show, minus commercials, last night Trump got an $800,000 commercial on FOX for nothing. He’ll get another tonight. I didn’t estimate here the near endless positive coverage for Trump and virtually exclusively negative coverage of Hillary 24/7 on FOX. Do the math.

Stay with me here. That means, since we are doing the math together, ABC, FOX, and Brietbart are part of the Trump campaign, especially since, despite what you think of her, all of their coverage of Hillary is negative. FOX regularly boasts as being the most watched news network, a consequence of predatory marketing and cable TV contracts favoring the Network over all others. Roughly  a million people/month, or around 32000 daily. So, who exactly is the media? Salem and Clear Channel, both in the bag for Trump with exclusively Right-oriented programming has 1500 stations nationwide, to less than 400 which could be called Progressive or Liberal-including NPR-, unless music is also now considered Liberal.

In Chicago it gets even more tangled. Sean Hannity, adviser to Donald Trump, who uses Brietbart News as a primary source, run by Trump’s campaign chief, runs on the Salem affiliate. That Salem affiliate runs a show by the Illinois Policy Institute, which is reportedly funded by Charles and David Koch and Illinois Republican governor, Bruce Rauner. Their spokes-mouth is Dan Proft who last week had both a columnist and a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, both of who are rabidly, like Proft, anti-Hillary and pro-Trump.

Members of the Chi Trib Editorial Board, as well as the executive board of the paper, belong to the very exclusive Chicago Club, along with Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. ITS A PERFECT CIRCLE! And all of them talk about the media as if it is some pejorative monster set to destroy American values. So finish the math with me for the slam dunk… The media creates an enemy that it calls, what? Yes, the media, to promote a candidate who will stand up to who? Yesssssssssssss, the media, by using what? That’s right the media.

Liberal indeed.


Putting a Cork in Climate Deniers. Delicious!

Putting a Cork in Climate Deniers. Delicious!

Okay, so what does Global Warming and a barrel of Grape Juice have in common? First, how many times have you heard the two prevailing arguments against man-made climate change? Truthfully, even the scientists don’t make it easy to find concise answers. So when a friend who listens a bit too often to Rush Limbaugh or FOX News says something like, the environment is cyclical, responding with a sharp fact-based retort can be daunting.

There were ice ages and then warm ups, they say, parroting oil company propagandists such as those from the Heritage Foundation, and those cycles have happened a number of times throughout Earth’s history, long before there were SUVs. The other popular refrain is that we tiny little humans are just too insignificant to affect something as large as Earth’s incredibly large environment.

First, apparently they never looked closely at the terribly thin and fragile veil of protective atmosphere as seen from space. As for climate cycles. Sorry, there are no “cycles.” Cycles implies identical or near identical repetitions. That has never existed in earth’s climate. In fact, there are no cycles. There have been numerous Ice Ages, but all due to different causes; a shift in axis, a decline in solar output, massive geologic activity, differences in the make up of the atmosphere (i.e., higher levels of oxygen), changes in ocean currents, asteroid impacts.

Likewise, warm ups in between are due to a number of variables as well; changes in ocean currents, soot or ash absorbing sunlight helping to melt glaciers, greater CO2 levels in the atmosphere, ocean currents, etc. Bottom line, the environment is always changing, that much is true, but it isn’t cyclical. Careful not to get drawn into the changing seasons cycle. We are talking about long term global scale events. They are just trying to bury you in minutia because they have no argument at this point. Why? Because Limbaugh doesn’t get that detailed. Details hurt his fake argument.

Finally, we are just too small to affect the atmosphere. Hmm, you mean like global thermal nuclear war and nuclear winter? Or a thousand square miles of the uninhabitable Chernobyl Exclusion Zone? Or the entire Gulf of Mexico after an explosion and spill in just one well? That kind of we’re too small?

I was aware of the climate and environment issues back in 1978 thanks to my sophomore chemistry teacher, an ex-hippie named Mrs. Russo. That was the first of 5 years of Chemistry education, culminating in a college level chemistry class and an organic chemistry class. It was Mrs. Russo who got me hook on that branch of science. Back then the environmental issue was pollution. Mrs. Russo had a brilliant way of illustrating that issue. She taught us how to make wine!

The similarity to wine and the Earth’s environment is startling. Both can be considered  a pristine, Eden-like environment for their respective inhabitants. The key to making wine is simply, to introduce tiny, microscopic bacteria to that comparatively monumentally huge sweet, sugary environment. Preposterous! says the Limbaugh bacterium. There is no way a few micro-organisms can affect a huge vat of grape juice. Why, we’ll just go on reproducing and doing as we please. After all, the great yeast god gave us dominion over all the juice in the vat!

The bacterial population explodes. There is an abundance of food, spurring exponential reproduction. But a consequence of the reproduction and the consumption of  sugar are two waste products; CO2 and alcohol. Essentially a great exhale and everybody peeing in the pool at the same time. In my sophomore at home experiments, performed many, many times, I placed a balloon over the top of the bottle. When the balloon no longer filled up, the bacteria were dead. Time for a cocktail, after filtering out the near complete extinction of the bacteria, that is.

Had the bacteria had the good sense for temperance and not listened to the Amoebic little Rush Limbaugh they might have reached a point of equilibrium, at least until they could build a tiny little rocket ship and fly away. But the lesson here is that, like that tiny bacteria, relatively small organisms can definitely impact their environment. Just ask John Steinbeck.


Regarding a comment I made about shouting down racist, religious or gender-based hate speech…

Regarding a comment I made about shouting down racist, religious or gender-based hate speech…
Regarding a comment I made about shouting down racist, religious or gender-based hate speech…The argument of too many on the right, and a few on the left is that they should be able to use derogatory language about anyone at anytime. If they are called out on that they assert that their right to free speech is being infringed. Its the same turnabout argument for the Christian right who claim that their religious freedom depends on being able to discriminate against others. It is critical to bear in mind that those asserting their right to use derogatory language about a minority group are using language that reflects a history of power dynamics by a dominant group used to enslave, discriminate, assault or to segregate. I believe that a progressive society reserves the right to resist and dismantle those systems of oppression on a social level through convention and intolerance to such negative and regressive behavior, the same way “No shoes, No shirt, No service.” defines a baseline of decorum. Do I want a law against using the “N” word or the like? Absolutely not. That leads to censorship of important social and historical commentary and literature, such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, but when some politician pandering to bigotry, someone who specifically uses racially, religiously or gender-targeted divisive and abusing rhetoric that affirms or defends degrading systems of power-enforced oppression-like using dogs and firehoses to keep Blacks from sitting at a lunch counter or attending a certain school-I believe the community has a duty to define and defend a baseline of civilized behavior. On the other side of the coin, and the reason I may align with but never pledge allegiance to any movement, I will resist simply trading one oppressor for another. When the Left overreaches and becomes oppressive, as they do at times, they too must be called out. That has gotten me into trouble a few times.

Everything For Love: A Memoir Of Love And War

Everything For Love: A Memoir Of Love And War

Everything For Love: A Memoir Of Love And War

On an autumn night in 1992 a Chicago Artist made a sketch of a young woman, a woman he had never seen, in a country he had never visited. Two years later they would meet and fall in love on the war ravaged streets of Sarajevo. A whirlwind romance amid the longest military siege in modern times. As winter closes in and the siege tightens, they ponder a desperate escape from the city, running a deadly gauntlet of snipers, landmines and death. Had fate carried them together across an ocean and through a war only to tear them apart again? Were they prepared to sacrifice everything for love? Their story made headlines. But here, for the first time, is the incredible true story of impossible lovers, and their powerful story of hope and survival. Everything for Love corrects the historical record, revealing a world in which love reigns supreme and remains as humanity?s greatest virtue.

Reform this!

Reform this!
I am tired of hearing Christians, mostly white American fellow Christians say that Muslims are in need of a reformation. Liberal talk host Thom Hartmann says it all the time. Christians, do you know what the reformation was? It wasn’t redefining human rights and becoming “modern” and “civilized.” It basically decentralized Christianity from a few kings to many princes. The so-called reformation caused the deaths of millions of Europeans, not to mention religious genocides against millions of colonized Arabs and Africans. Christianity was used to justify the genocide of native Americans, the Vietnamese, Chinese, Filipinos, Bosnian Muslims, Serbs at the hands of the Croatian Ustashe, Croats at the hands of the Serbs, in Uganda’s anti-Gay laws and The Army of God, the Nazis who killed everybody and justified American slavery, with Blacks enshrined in the “Originalist” constitution-Under God-as 3/5s a human being. In that regard, Christianity did not reform, it just put on a suit. 

Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve

Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve

How much did your property taxes go up in 2016? Ours went up by $1,000. Now – we are looking at more public school debt at pay day loan rates and a 30% increase in regressive utility fees.

It does NOT have to be this way.

Please get a copy of our book “Chicago Is Not Broke. Funding the City We Deserve” at It’s just $12 (plus shipping).

Please consider organizing a meeting at your condo association, block club, house of worship, university, business association or in your home. Our authors will come to you! We want people to use the book as an education and organizing tool. Each one teach one.

We are looking for volunteers to help on public actions: (1) City Hall on Wednesday, Sept 14 in the morning, (2) UIC Forum from 10am to 2pm. Call Tom at 773-770-5714 for details.

Watch this fun interview from the “Good Evening Show With Pat Whalen” from August 6.